Can't Wait for This Weight to Be Lifted...

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Even though I've spent the last few months of my...

Even though I've spent the last few months of my life looking at boobs, before and after photos of boobs, scars on boobs, sizes of boobs, old boobs, young boobs, no boobs, new boobs... I still feel like boobs are such a taboo subject. So I'm going to get past this right now. Call them what you will; breasts, boobs, boobies, titties, tatas, milkjugs, bee stings... women have got 'em and always have had them. Men do not (with the exception of the man-boob). They do serve a purpose and I would never want to have NO boobs... they're an important part of a woman's body, her figure, her self confidence, her identity.
I'm just sick of feeling like my BOOBS DEFINE ME. Anyone else have this feeling? Like, I'm always the girl at the party with the huge knockers. I get the cat calls, the whistles, the comments. I choose my activities and my wardrobe based on my chest size. Since when did my boobs OWN me, control MY life!? I'm taking my life (and my body) back!

I've been nervous to share my story... like, maybe someone somewhere out there will recognize my story, or my pictures... and will know it's me. And you know what, I really just don't care anymore. I've kind of been a creeper on this site for a while, and it's the stories, photos, experiences and comments that helped me make the decision to TAKE BACK my life, so the least I can do is share my story so maybe someone... somewhere out there... can find in my story what I found in everyone else's - hope and courage.

A little background (without too many details): I'm 27, 5'4" and about 170 lbs. I work in the financial industry and own a house with my amazing boyfriend and share it with two ridiculous fur-babies. I like crafting, reading, yoga and treasure hunting at the local flea market.

My story:
I was always a pretty busty girl. I was the first of my friends when we were younger to "grow a set"... and that was noticed, FAST... by almost every boy in my school. I think the strapless bra I bought for my prom dress ten years ago was a C or D and I thought I was busty THEN... (what I wouldn't give to go back to THEN). I was always self conscious of my chest size. I was never really active because I just felt so damned uncomfortable in my own skin. After I graduated high school, I travelled a bit and worked abroad. I battled with weight, up and down, up and down (I am a lover of all things sweet) and my boobs just grew. And when I lost weight, it was never from there. And when I gained weight, it went there. Repeat. Repeat.
I always wore whatever bra I could find at La Senza or wherever that could even REMOTELY hold me together and looked alright under a shirt. I had side boob, I had boob spillage (over and under) - I had it all. A few years ago, my also large-chested friend convinced me to go for a PROPER bra fitting at a specialty store where I found, much to my dismay, that I was not indeed a DD or DDD or E but in fact (depending on the bra) a G or H. I didn't know the letters of the bra-alphabet went that far. But I bought a FITTED bra and it did make a WORLD of difference to my back. Because my back, for my age, is WRECKED. Chiro. Massage. Physio. Ibuprofin. Headaches, headaches. More headaches. More massage, more chiro. Oh, the joys of big boobs.

I've been considering a reduction for a long, let me tell you a LONG time. Originally my family doctor wouldn't give me the green light because I wasn't done growing. Then it was because I was (and am) considered overweight and she wanted me to try and lose 10-15 lbs and see how that affected my boobs. Well let me tell you, it didn't make them SMALLER, it just made them HOLLOWER and SAGGIER. Super attractive qualities on a young woman. Eventually, I just kind of gave up.

I am typing a lot... where did this explosion of words come from!?

Anyways, in November of 2012 I started thinking about it again. I was fed up. My doctor had finally approved me for a reduction in August and sent in the referral...but in B.C., once you're approved, the waiting list for a reduction is (on average) 4 years. I just decided one day that I didn't want to wait. So I made a list of all of the things holding me back from making this decision. Money. Fear. Scarring.

So I researched local surgeons. I called the surgeon's office and got a cost estimate for out-of-pocket (non-government funded). I went to my bank to see if they could make something work - if I could somehow finance it. If I drained EVERY SINGLE PENNY of my hard-earned savings, I could almost afford it, but I wanted to see if I could take out a loan. Bank approved the amount. I discussed what I was wanting to do with my boss - she totally supported my decision and said she would get all of the necessary paperwork lined up for my time away from work. I called the surgeon's office and booked a consult. The surgeon I chose was the result of hours of research, patient testimonials, and a recommendation from a friend of mine who'd had the same procedure completed by him.

The date of my consult was in early January 2013. I met with him, we discussed the risks, the procedure, the healing, etc. etc. He was totally professional and wonderful. We discussed what my goals were, if I am planning to start a family in the next few years, the risk of not being able to breastfeed, the risk of my breasts growing back during a pregnancy, etc. He answered all of my questions. I booked my surgery for March 4, 2013.

I had my pre-operative appt on February 19th. I met with the nurse, we reviewed medications, went over a checklist, what I need to get ready, what I should expect, etc. To be honest, I think I've been ready for this surgery for the last 8 years. I just needed to get past those things that were holding me back. Yes, I'm spending a lot of money, but you know what, it's just money. I can afford the loan I took, I can probably even pay it back quicker than it's scheduled to be paid off. I can absolutely pay it back faster than the FOUR YEARS I would have to wait to get it paid for by the Government.

My surgery is Monday morning at 7:30 A.M. All kinds of emotions are coursing through me. I'm nervous, yeah. I'm not much for pain, in fact, I may be the crankiest b!tch on the planet when I'm in pain. But I KNOW that the pain, the soreness, the swelling, the bruises, the bleeding, the oozing... all of those lovely things that come with... will be TOTALLY worth it. I'm excited. I'm excited to take back my life and my body. I'm excited to be able to buy a sports bra; to go for a hike, to run on a treadmill. I'm excited to be able to buy a bathing suit that doesn't KILL my neck... to spend a day out on the boat in the sunshine and not constantly be readjusting! I'm excited for the way my clothes are going to feel. For the weight (literally) that's going to be lifted. For the freedom.

Surgeon says I will probably go from a G/H cup to a C/D. I told him I'd rather him go on the smaller side in case they grow back a bit. I just know that anything will be better than these monsters I am carrying now.

Surgery is in less than 48 hours. Tomorrow I will spend most of the day getting ready... getting bedding/clothing/etc. organized. Cutting up snacks and making sure things I need will be accessible without reaching/lifting. Then, just (trying to) relax and wait. The wait's almost over.

Okay... so it's been about 24 hours since coming...

Okay... so it's been about 24 hours since coming out of the anesthesia. Here's a replay of all of yesterday...

Didn't sleep a wink Sunday night.. kept tossing and turning... thinking and rethinking... to be honest, I was thinking "this is my last night trying to sleep with big boobs"... "I wonder what that new shirt I bought will look like with smaller boobs"... silly thoughts like this.
Got up early (surgery was at 7:30) and had a shower with the spectrojel like they requested. No lotion, makeup, hairspray, etc. Put my hair in a braid to get it out of my face. Wore my loosest and most comfy PJ pants and a tank top/shirt (just until surgery) and a zip up sweater (not a tight one). Boyfriend and I drove down to the clinic. My surgery was performed at the Okanagan Health Center - there are five surgeons with offices in that building, it's the same place I went for my consultation as well as my pre-operative appointment. Half of the floor is the surgeon's offices/consult rooms/etc. and the other half is the Surgical Center. The hospital is about 2 minutes away if need be.
We arrived at the Surgical Center and were taken into a small room by an RN, the nicest nurse I'd dealt with during my experience. She instructed me to change into a gown and provided a robe to go over top (to cover any "gaps" in the back). Once I was changed, all of my things (clothes, purse, post-surgical bras, shoes, etc.) were put into a rubbermaid tub with my name on it. The nurse went through all of my forms, confirmed my name, birth date, the surgery I was having, an allergies, etc. Did some "teaching" - how to relax before the anesthesia, how I'd feel coming out of it, what to do later that day when I got home, when to take my medication, how to sleep comfortably, not to move my arms ("pretend you have flippers and your elbows are glued to your sides"), when to take off the tensor bandages, when I can shower, what to look for to identify hematoma, infection, etc. When she left, the anesthesiologist came in, reviewed the same information, asked if I had any family history of trouble with anesthesia, allergies, etc. Then the OR nurse came in - same questions. Then the surgeon came in. We discussed again what my goals were - smaller, more manageable size in general but proportionate for my body, lifted and improved shape, and some lipo around the underarm area (side boob) to improve end result as well. He literally took out a sharpie marker and a ruler and started marking. You'd think it would be uncomfortable but he really did make me feel at ease, we even talked a bit while he was making his markings. When I was all marked up, he left and the OR nurse came back in. I put on a hair net/cap and she took me to the operating room.
The operating room wasn't at all what I expected. They had said it would have big windows, floor to ceiling (where I could see out but no one could see in - it's on the 4th floor), lots of light... that I would lay back on a table and I should try and take myself to my "happy place" (Chesterman beach in Tofino, on a warm afternoon, with a salty breeze and a frisbee...) and try to relax as much as possible. The room was not like that. When they brought be in, there were two other OR nurses. I had to tell them in words what procedure I was having done and what my allergies were (penicillin and shellfish). It was awkward - like standing in front of a class as a kid doing show and tell. There were windows, but not floor to ceiling, and there was a table with all of the tools laid out... that kind of freaked me out. In my imagination, I would drift off into Tofino dreamland and once I was out, they would wheel in the lights and the sheets and the monitors and the IV and the tables of shiny tools. So I laid down on this table and they put warm blankets over me. The anesthesiologist poked my left hand to give it some freezing then placed the IV in. I've never done well with needles so I my breathing started to increase and I started to cry a bit (not my proudest moment, but I had a billion emotions coursing through me)... and that was all I remember.
When I started to come out of my anesthesia, my body felt heavy. My eyelids were heavy, my head was heavy. I tried to look around but my head just rolled to the side. There were some nurses there who asked me some questions, I can't really remember what they were. The next thing I was aware of was a burning sensation along the bottom of my breast (I imagine where the incision was). At that time I was only wrapped in the post-op dressing (gauze, etc.). When I was a little more alert, the nurses propped me up and put my post-op sports bra on (closes in the front) then wrapped two tensor bandages around my chest. They kind of just compressed everything and the pain felt more contained. They helped me up and I got to put my PJ pants and sweater back on. I got to sit in a recliner for a bit, ate some crackers and took my first pain pill. Next thing I knew they were putting me in a wheel chair and wheeling me to the elevator, down to the main floor, and helping me into the car for my boyfriend to take me home.

When I got home I was CRANKY. Everything hurt. I cried. I cried a lot. I knew there would be pain, that it wouldn't be easy, but I didn't know what KIND of pain to expect. I've never broken anything, never had stitches, never had surgery (other than wisdom teeth coming out). We made up the spare room so I had my own bed and a billion pillows. I'm not a back sleeper, so sleeping was incredibly difficult. I used pillows under my knees, on the side of my body, in the small of my back, under my arms. I'm sure it was a sight to behold.
I took a second pain pill and managed to drift off for a bit. When I came to, I really had to pee... that was difficult. Pulling up my own pants was challenging (but I managed). I felt a bit better after that. Even played a game of cribbage. Ate some of the cut up veggies and cheese I'd prepared on Sunday afternoon. Iced my sides and under my breasts for 10 minutes every hour. Practiced deep, full breathing as per instruction of my nurse.
Sleeping last night was miserable. I woke up around 2:30 hoping it was morning. Took another pain pill. Under my arms where they did the little bit of lipo hurt the most. Got up and iced. Went back to sleep for a bit, woke up and sat up a bit in bed and read for a while.
Finally got up this morning. Stood up a little too fast and got a bit of a head rush. Need to be more careful about that. Today I am just supposed to spend the day relaxing but I am supposed to get up and walk around a bit, get the blood flowing. Also supposed to stay well hydrated - tons of water. I have a water bottle basically glued to my hand. Speaking of my hand, the one that had the IV has a nasty bump and bruise on it.
One of the nurses from the office called this morning to check in. Told her other than being sore all over and not sleeping, I'm okay. Not noticing that one breast feels heavier or larger than the other (which can be signs of blood pooling inside the breast - leading to a hematoma) or that the tissue at the top of one breast feels harder than the other. She told me for the first few days, it's okay to take the pain meds, not to feel bad or weak for needing them. I think I just have a fear of over medicating.
To be honest, I haven't really had a chance to LOOK at them yet. They are wrapped beneath a million layers. The tensor bandages can come off tonight and I might get a bit better idea, but until the bra and the dressings can come off on Thursday for a shower, I don't really know. I can definitely feel they are lighter. My shoulders don't feel the pull. But my body is in a lot of pain so it's hard to wrap my head around any kind of improvement yet.
I did take some "before" pictures but I'm a little shy to show them. I feel like my boobs look worse in photos than they did in real life. I may gather the courage to post a bathing suit photo in a day or two, and then depending on what the situation is under the tensors and dressing, maybe after I have a shower.
I want to thank everyone who's commented on the wishes of a smooth surgery and relaxing, speedy recovery. I got through the scariest part and now am just focused on taking it a day at a time, relaxing and recovering the best I can.

Today is the second full day after surgery. Two...

Today is the second full day after surgery. Two nights of trying to sleep miserably. I'm trying to stay positive and focus on happy, healing thoughts but the fact is that I'm grumpy and it hurts and all I want to do is curl up into a ball and cry. I was up around 3 AM last night to go to the bathroom and take another pain pill and the pain was SO intense I felt nauseous, like every step I took I was going to throw up. So I took my pain pill and I took some gravol, which thank god pretty much knocked me out for a solid 5 hours. Got up this morning, iced some more, I think the bruising is starting to come in. I got to take the tensors off last night which made it much easier to breathe deeply but also makes me feel the pain more I think. I still can't see much because I have the dressings and sports bra on but along my ribs is starting to turn a yellowish colour, I can only assume that's bruising. Yuck. I am happy I did this but I'm in pain and I feel like a lazy blob, just laying around the house. Can only watch so many movies, read so many books, pin so many things on pinterest! I was going to try and get out for a short walk to the end of the block or something today but it's SNOWING! Honestly, weather...

So last night was the big night. Shower night. ...

So last night was the big night. Shower night. Bandage and dressing removal night. I waited all day for my guy to get home from work to be there for the support in case I needed it... I had really mixed feelings about letting him help. We love each other and he totally supports me in this big decision and I know he would walk to the ends of the earth and back for me, but part of me didn't want him to see them while they're so banged up. Some inner pride of mine wanted to keep them a mystery until they were all healed up and then I could reveal them by wrapping them up first in fancy lingerie that I've never been able to wear until now.

Turns out I needed his help, so that whole fantasy is kyboshed.

I'm going be to as honest as possible with this whole experience. Keep in mind that my body is bruised and swollen and sore, I don't mean to freak anyone out.

Taking off those bandages has got to be THE most painful thing I have ever experienced in my entire life. I've never given birth, never broken a bone, never had stitches, never even twisted an ankle... so I don't know if that gives me a lot to compare it to, but it was excruciating. I understand why the dressing tape has to be so sticky, but they should invent some kind of tape that loses it's "stick-power" when you get it wet, or after 3 days. I debated ripping it off like a bandaid, FAST AND FURIOUS, to just get the pain over with, but I was actually afraid I would rip a layer of skin off. It took us about half an hour of agonizing pull-stop-breathe-breathe-pull-STOP!-pullpull-STOP! to get the bandage off. I was crying. And shaking. And dry heaving. I had to sit down. And when all was said and done and the bandages were off, what I was greeted by was not pretty. I am every colour of bruise in the book... black, blue, green, yellow, brown. I mean, I've researched and I've looked at hundreds of pictures, but nothing could have prepared me for that on my OWN body. It took a few minutes. I didn't want to look at them. My guy just sat with me and held my hand and told me that I'm beautiful and brave and how much he loves me. Then he told me I'm starting to smell and I need to take a shower (always the joker). That kind of helped me. So he helped me into the shower, helped me wash my hair, even remembered the conditioner. Helped me get out, dry off, towel dried my hair. Got rid of the nasty bloody dressing. Helped me put my sports bra back on with some dressings (no tape!) to absorb any leakage.

Now that I've had a bit of time to get past the initial viewing, I'm okay. I know the bruises will fade. My nipples are a kind of weird colour, I'm hoping they'll return to a slightly more normal colour with time but will discuss with my PS at my follow up appointment next week. They're a good size. Maybe a C cup, hard to tell until all is said and done and settled. Still proportionate to my body (meaning not TOO small). Pretty even in size so far. It's just weird. Different. I can't really describe it. I know I'll get used to them with time. Even though it's still my skin, my tissue, my nipples, they feel so alien.

I can't wait until I'm feeling a bit better and more mobile so I can try on my clothes and see what a difference they make with certain clothes. I've always bought clothes to accommodate my boobs, so I have a feeling it's going to be interesting. Gives me an excuse to go shopping :)

My best friend stopped by yesterday with a belated birthday/"new you" present. She got me some chocolate smothered pretzels, a lovely new journal, a "grow your own garden" kit and a gift card for La Vie En Rose towards my first new bra when I'm ready for that. I'm really lucky to have such a supportive group of people in my life.

On a side note, I need to ask: has anyone else experienced HARSH and painful stomach indigestion and heartburn from their antibiotics or pain meds? I'm on day 4 of 5 of my antibiotics and it just started yesterday but this pain in my chest/stomach when I eat or drink anything is ridiculous. I've lost any of the little appetite I had because eating is so painful. I'm going to see the pharmacist today and ask if it's a side effect of the drugs, but thought I would ask here if anyone else has experienced anything similar?

Beautiful, sun-shiny day here so I got my sh!t...

Beautiful, sun-shiny day here so I got my sh!t together and went out for coffee and a walk downtown with my friend. In my efforts to get out of my stretchy lazy pyjamas that I've basically been living in for the last 5 days, I put on some yoga pants and my first piece of regular, pre-operative clothing since Monday. A 3/4 length button down shirt. And guess what! NO button gaping at the front. The pockets on the chest actually sit ON my boobs, not above my boobs. The shirt even feels longer (less distance to go to get over, I guess). I ecstatically reported all of these findings, in detail, to my boyfriend... who just smiled and nodded. I advised him that he will probably have to experience similar fashion/fit updates as I eventually work my way through my entire closet and basically get to know my body in my clothes all over again. Hallelujah!

In other reports:
My incisions along the bottom are oozing a bit and it's kind of gross. I'm sure they would be a lot more comfortable if the band of the sports bra didn't rest ON TOP of them. I keep trying to pull it down a little but it always moves back up. Any advice?
I also still have feelings in both of my nipples. If I have this now, does that mean it's going to stick around? Any feedback?

Okay, a second update in the same day but I'm...

Okay, a second update in the same day but I'm having a bit of a freak out and I need some feedback because Google is just making me freak out more. My bruising a couple of days ago (as in the photos of Day 4) was mostly yellow with a bit more severe colouration around the bottom incisions. Today is day... 5 I guess and I had my second shower so got to take a good look at them again. Along the incision (above on the breast and below on the top of my stomach) on ONE side is starting to turn a VERY purple/red/kind of blotchy colour and does not look like bruising. I'm a little freaked out thinking it might be a hematoma but no amount of Googling or Wikipedia can really show me what to look for to identify it. It's slightly (but not severely) more swollen and tender than the other side (which I know can be normal) and I can't really tell about the pain level because I'm still taking my drugs. I'm just worried because my surgeon's office is closed until Monday and I've been told if it's a hematoma you need to act on it RIGHT AWAY.
Has anyone experienced a hematoma or had similar sounding symptom that was just bruising? I appreciate your responses in advance. I'm going to call my surgeon's office Monday anyways but just wanted to ask here too.

So today is day 6 after surgery. Last night was a...

So today is day 6 after surgery. Last night was a rough night's sleep. I've been able to make it through the night the previous few but last night I woke up around 4:30 to take a pain pill and ice. I had a good little cry and skuttled awkwardly into bed with my guy (I've been sleeping alone in the spare room to make it easier for both of us to sleep) for a bit.

Yesterday I went back to Walmart and got another front closure sports bra (like the one I'm already wearing) but a band size up and it's INFINITELY more comfortable. Still gives enough support but doesn't dig into my skin and cause more irritation than I already have.

Took new photos this morning that show the red/purple colouring along the bottom incision on my right side. It's definitely the more tender side. I'm trying not to worry as I bruise pretty nastily in general (my hand is still yellow and brown from the IV and it's almost been a week) but I know I'll feel a lot better once I talk to my surgeon's office and go in for my first follow up. One more thing I noticed this morning is that my skin is kind of shiny. Kind of weird.

A lady I work with is coming by today sometime to give me a reiki session - reiki is a type of energy healing. I'll post again if there's any kind of miracle improvement :)

Went in for my first follow up appointment today. ...

Went in for my first follow up appointment today. The nurse took me into a room and had me change into a gown and sit on the patient table. She took a look at the bruising and said everything seems normal, as everyone bruises and heals so differently. She then propped the head of the table up (like my bed) and had me lay down so she could remove the steri-strips from the incisions. It didn't hurt at all (nothing compared to removing the dressings), just a slight pulling feeling on the skin. She was really pleased with the incisions and how they are healing, cleaned them up a bit (very gently) and asked if I wanted a mirror to take a look at the incisions myself. I didn't think I could handle it in front of another person - something I'd rather look at and examine in private. She said to expect for the edges of the incision to look "jagged" but said they will smooth out over time - the body does it naturally. Then she had me wait for the surgeon to come in for his review. (I will post photos tomorrow)

My surgeon came and and had me sit up. Took an overall look at them and was very pleased with the speed of healing, incisions, etc. As for the reddish coloured bruising along the bottom incision on the right breast, he said it may have been a bit of blood pooled and dried beneath the skin but because it wasn't swollen in size or causing me a lot of pain, he didn't seem there was cause for alarm (NOT a hematoma). Said the bruising is usually worse around the incision site as that's the site that sustains the most "trauma" during the procedure. As for the "hard" feeling of my breasts, he said that will go away in time - it's the body's natural reaction to trying to preserve the area in event of trauma.

He advised that I'm still to wear my sports bra day and night for another (at least) 4 weeks, when I have my second post-op appointment. I figure once I am a little more mobile and can lift my arms over my head without difficulty that I might upgrade to a different sports bra for during the day, something more comfortable and more supportive. The sports bra I'm wearing now is fine except it rubs right along the incision line and I'd like to try and find something else that's not as irritating. I've been going for light walks to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air a bit and he said that's fine but not to start exercising any more heavily for another couple of weeks. I figure some leg exercises can't hurt if I'm not moving my upper body. I do have some super-sensitivity in my right nipple after today's visit - every little movement I make can be felt and although it's not a painful sensation, I'm definitely conscious of it (only on the right side, left is fine). As I still have feeling (pretty regular, a little hyper) in both of my nipples, I asked him if that should stick around after I heal. He said everyone is different but if I have any amount of sensation NOW, chances that I will go completely numb during/after healing are slim. He did say though that I can expect some changes and I just need to try and be patient as they settle in.

It's a week and two days since the surgery and although I have a loooong ways to go in healing and reconnecting with my "new" body, I am so SO happy that I finally did this. Worth every penny.

So yesterday I hit the three week post-op mark and...

So yesterday I hit the three week post-op mark and I'm feeling pretty good! I'm able to do pretty much everything (things you take for granted - like getting dressed in regular clothes, showering and shaving your legs, etc.) with the exception of heavy lifting and repetitive activities, no matter how strenuous (like vacuuming). I'm driving, I'm out for walks. Still wearing the sports bra 24 hrs/day except for showering and have been advised by my surgeon that that'll continue another few weeks (still healing).

The incisions all look pretty good. The incisions around the nipple are pretty much healed up, the only "iffy" places are where the incision around the nipple meets the vertical incision and then again where the vertical incision meets the incision along the bottom crease. There are a few dissolveable stitches poking through in places and they're itchy but other than that they aren't too uncomfortable. The skin on both breasts is kind of peeling. It sounds gross but it's just a little bit, the dead skin being sluffed off I think. Showering is fine but my nipples are super sensitive to the water (not temperature but the pressure of being hit directly) and get kind of swollen if I stay in the shower too long.

This week was supposed to be my last week off work, but after discussing with my absence management case manager through my work's benefits program, I won't be back to work until April 8th (rest of this week and one more week). I feel totally ready to go back but I guess that's the decision they made after reviewing my surgeon's notes and the medical questionnaire he completed as per their request.

I've been getting out for at least hour long walks (light walks) every day this week and the weather's been awesome so that helps. Can't wait to get back to yoga (downward dog without my boobs falling out of my sports bra... AWESOME!), get on my bike... go out on the boat... to get the green light from the surgeon to go ahead and start at the gym, etc. I'm excited to work out, to get stronger. Might go and try the stationary (reclining) bike at the gym next week... get my heart rate up a bit.

Today is... five weeks and three days since my...

Today is... five weeks and three days since my reduction. I had 5 weeks off of work under my employer's "short term disability" program - my salary and pay was covered 100% for this amount of time. For anyone out there who is worried they will need this much time off - it TOTALLY depends on what you do and if your employer is willing to work with you when you return to work. If I WASN'T covered for time off, I probably would have taken two weeks, but I'm glad I was able to rest/recover at my own pace and not force myself to go back early because of money.

I'm back to work this week on 4 hour shifts only, working up to 6 hour shifts next week, then back to full time (8 hour shifts) the week after. I'm glad they put the return to work program in place because even 4 hour shifts are hard to get used to after having 5 weeks off. I requested the morning shift (7:30 AM) so I can get used to getting up early because my full time schedule is 7:30 - 4:00 every day. Getting up at quarter to six in the morning has been tough but I'm getting back into the swing of things. Tuesday I came home from working 4 hours and had a two hour nap I was so tired. Other than that, I'm doing pretty well at work. Not lifting anything TOO heavy and making sure to ask for help if/when I need it.

Sleeping is still uncomfortable but at least I can turn from side to side or sleep on my back. Can't sleep on my stomach but that's probably best for my back anyways. Maybe I'll be a converted stomach-to-back sleeper for life after I'm all healed up! I'm sure my chiropractor would LOVE that!

Not much pain left other than sensitivity in my nipples and sometimes when I stretch weird or roll over in bed. I'm REALLY itchy at night and when that happens I just put lotion on the incisions and massage them a bit. Still wearing a sports bra 24/7 though I do wear a different one during the day than I do at night (more support during the day).

I have my second post-op appointment on Monday afternoon and I have a couple of things to address with him. There are a few places in the incision where I know there are still stitches - I'm wondering if they'll just work their way out over time or if they need to be taken out. Wondering when I can start scar treatment and what the best options are (he had said before any silicone based scar treatment - does anyone have any recommendations?). Wondering how much longer I have to wear my sports bras during the day before graduating to a different type of bra - and if I can go straight to underwire or if I have to get a wireless bra. I love my new boobs but I am sick of the flattened sports bra uni-boob... I want to show them off, damnit! Wondering when I can start exercising at the gym more vigorously... ie) classes, going swimming, etc. If chlorine is okay, hot tub/steam room.

I know I have to be patient and wait for my boobs to settle into their new shape. I know it will take time. I'm a little concerned that one is larger than the other. I know some amount of size difference is normal but one definitely (and noticeably) looks bigger to me. Also they still look kind of "boxy". Sigh. Now that they're smaller, I just want to be able to wear pretty bras and pretty nighties and buy new clothes to show them off!

Has anyone had any experience with their boobs "growing back" after a reduction? That's my HUGEST and WORST fear. That I'll have spent all this money and gone through all the pain and healing only for them to grow back. I know if I live a healthy lifestyle, eat well and exercise, I should be able to lose some weight and keep them from growing back but I'm still TERRIFIED.

Just for fun I went bra shopping on Monday and tried on a TON of bras. Depending on the bra, I'm about a 36-38 C or D. Found a couple of nice fitting and comfy bras at La Senza that were both 36 C's - posted a photo of the black one I liked.

Will update again after Monday's post-op appointment with any news! :)

7 weeks post op! (my last post said 5 weeks + 3...

7 weeks post op! (my last post said 5 weeks + 3 days but it was actually 6 weeks + 3 days)

I had my second post-op appointment with my surgeon today. Waited a while in the room, wrapped in my beautiful blue gown (sarcasm). He basically came in, took a look at them, said they're healing well. He said the scars are pretty red (in the scale of scar redness? I don't know...) but look good. There are still some spots along the bottom incision where the skin is "rough" - not opening or oozing but he said the skin will "smooth out" over time as the breast tissue settles and the bottoms round out a bit. There are also a few little dissolvable stitches that are working their way up and out of the skin; he said that's normal and can take up to 3 months for the stitches to completely dissolve.

I had a couple of questions for him... he gave me the green light to start wearing underwire bras - said it might be easier to "ease" into them - a few hours a day and gradually building up, as I'm not used to wearing them and they may irritate the scars a bit. He said I don't need to wear anything to sleep anymore but honestly I'll probably still wear a sports bra or fitted top for the support for a while longer. Also gave me the green light to go to the pool, so long as I don't have any rashes or little openings in the scar line, as I could get an infection. Good to start working out, doing whatever I want, just to listen to my body and not push "too hard, too fast".

The nurse took some post-op pics, which is kind of awkward. Basically, I'm standing in a narrow little room in my dress pants (from work) and dress shoes, with the blue gown tucked around my waist and she has to take 5 photos at different angles. My scars are still super red and the shape is still a little weird so I'm hoping they take some more post-op photos (as awkward as it is...) later down the road.

I booked my next appointment for July - not quite 3 months from now. Will see how things look then. DANGIT, I forgot to ask him how much he took out of each breast... I KNEW I forgot something! I'm so curious! I'll have to remember to ask him then!

Going to try and wear a regular bra to work tomorrow - will pack a sports bra as a back up, just in case it starts to get uncomfortable. Can't wait to see how my old clothes fit wearing a new bra - it's hard to tell with a sports bra because everything is kind of flattened and boxy.

Going to try going back to hot yoga this week as well... my body is feeling pretty good but the muscles in my upper chest (below my collar bones but above my boobs) are still REALLY tight... I can't do certain stretches I used to do before with ease. Will see what I can do at yoga! :)

I can't believe it's been almost TWO MONTHS since...

I can't believe it's been almost TWO MONTHS since I had my reduction. Time just flies! I had five weeks off and I've been back at work for two weeks so this is week 8? Or... seven full weeks since the procedure?

I feel awesome! Work is good, my back feels good, I'm happy with the way they're healing. I've been walking, hiking, exercising and I even tried a Zumba class at my gym last night! I was a little nervous about the "bouncing" around so I wore my sports bra plus a workout top with a built in bra. Nothing was really sore afterwards but my scars were INCREDIBLE ITCHY and I had a nasty heat/sweat rash... probably from wearing close to two sports bras, not enough air circulation. I'm going to try spin this week too and I'm planning on my sports bra and a cotton tank/shirt, so I'll see if that's any better.

Haven't braved the pool yet as there is one spot on the vertical incision that some stitches are still trying to work their way out and it's a little sensitive. I don't want to jump the gun, hop in the pool, and end up with an infection of some kind.

I'm sleeping in a nighty WITHOUT a bra and it's perfectly (and blissfully) wonderful, not uncomfortable at all (except when I lay at certain angles on my side). Every couple of nights I'll still sleep with a sports bra, but I figure the air and "breathing" is good for the girls!

I've been moisturizing morning and night with a gentle aloe moisturizer, and then applying a scar-reducing gel (silicone based like the surgeon recommended). The guy at the pharmacy told me all of the scar-reducing products are B.S. but I figure it can't hurt to TRY, right?

Happy with the healing but I do find they are a little different shape and size. I know it takes a year or so for them to finally and actually settle, so I'm trying not to be vain about it. Considering what I had before (one was WAY bigger but they were both HUGE), this is an immeasurable improvement anyways!

So here I am, eight weeks (or is it seven?) in and SO SOOO INCREDIBLY HAPPY and relieved that I finally had the guts to take charge of my life and do this for myself. I believe it came at the right time in my life, but for anyone reading this or contemplating a reduction, I wish I would have done it SOONER. Gotten over the fear, gotten over the doubt and just DONE IT. The scars are battle wounds, reminders to me to LOVE MY BODY, every imperfect and beautiful inch of my body, and to take care of it and to celebrate it!
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