5’5, 210 Lbs., 50, BA, 565cc HP Sientra - Pittsburgh, PA

In order to make it easier for those like me, I...

In order to make it easier for those like me, I have tried to put all the key words in my title to make searching for a story on a plus-size, older woman’s experience easier to find.
Before I start, I just want to say thank you to all the lovely and brave ladies that have shared your stories. I’ve been reading and reading and re-reading so many. I’m finally sitting down to share mine. My story is similar to others that I have read. I never had big breasts. Especially in my 20s, I was 110 lbs. with an A cup size i.e. no boobs. I was always trying to hide my chest with ruffles on bikini tops, padded bras, and loose tops. As I gained weight, I did gain some in my cup size but mostly in my band size. At my highest weight, 274, I was a 44d with my stomach sticking out further than my boobs. A problem I still have at 210, 42c.
In 2014, I had gastric bypass surgery and lost 90 lbs. While I was reading the WLS forums the inkling of PS started stirring. Tummy tucks, BAs and BLs. I was down to 184, then started gaining weight over the last 4 or 5 months, up 40 lbs. When my clothes started getting tight I started stepping on the scale and was so mad at what I gained back, I then started journaling my food and exercising – something I never did faithfully. I lost 14 lbs. and STOPPED. I’ve been at the same weight for two months! I can’t take it. I don’t know if it’s a stall – long stalls are common in WLS patients – or if it’s something else. If it’s just a weight-loss stall then I don’t know what to do.
Anyway, earlier this year I started thinking about BA and researched online and found two PS that seemed to be candidates for consultations. I then spoke with my husband who was totally surprised that this was something that I’d ever want. Of course, he’d love it, lol. I told him that if PS was more prevalent and I was more confident back when I was in my 20s, I would have had it done. He totally supports whatever I want to do and has always said he loves me like I am. He is the only one who knows that I’m going to do this. I have started what I call “double-bubbling it”. I wear a padded-increase-your-cup-size-by-2 bra with an underwire regular bra on top that is a cup size larger than what I am. It’s ridiculous, but what I need to do to start transitioning into my after-BA body without it being too noticeable. I was so nervous to make that call to set-up my first consultation.

4-7-16 CONSULTATION #1 with Dr. Anna Wooten, Wexford PA

The office staff at Dr. Wooten’s lovely office were all so helpful. She on the other hand, was not. I gave her my health history which included the fact that I was on Plavix (blood thinner) for a heart-stent that was placed in 2009. Once she heard that, it seemed that’s all she focused on. Now remember, I went through gastric bypass surgery while on Plavix, I just had to stop taking it for several weeks before and after, no problem. I told her that I wanted to schedule surgery for September so I could lose as much weight as I could before surgery. (Mind you that I didn’t know I would be in a stall from that time on, geez)! She didn’t take any measurements, didn’t have me try sizers. She took a cursory look and said that I’d need a lift with my augmentation and to come back when I lost the weight and we’d do all the measuring and sizing then. I then went to the patient coordinators office to get an estimate, $7500 for the BA/BL, saline implants. She doesn’t have her own surgery facility but uses an outside surgical facility. After we left, needless to say, my husband and I agreed that the consultation was awful. I wouldn’t know how awful her consultation was until I went to my next professional consultation.

4-13-16 CONSULTATION #2 with Dr. Brian Heil, Wexford, PA.

Dr. Heil has a thriving and beautiful office/surgical complex. The place was buzzing with activity. His PA met with me for measurements, had me try on sizers and explained procedures and answered any questions that we had. The only negative at this point was that they had no larger bras. My personal bra was an underwire so it wouldn’t work. I stuffed myself into, I think, a 38. I was afraid for my husband to get a sling-shot to his face when he was trying to hook it. I tried on sizers 400 to 650cc’s. With how tight the bra was, the 650’s probably equate to 600. Which is what I thought looked best with my body size and type. Dr. Heil then came in and I loved him. He’s very soft spoken, has a sense of humor and said that he’s not one of these surgeons that pats a woman’s knee and says ‘don’t worry, honey, I’ll take care of what size looks best for you’. He was not condescending, he listened to my concerns, my wants and expectations and confirmed that they were not unrealistic. He does the full anchor incision for the lift and implant. He did recommend a lift and said that he would pull the skin from the side boob (see hideous photo above) during the operation. Then to the PC for the quote $10,000 for BA/BL and silicone implants. Very promising.

4-16-16 CONSULTATION #3 with Dr. James Fernau, Pittsburgh PA.

With one bad and one good experience, I felt that I needed a third consult to make up my mind if Dr. Heil was the one. I had come across Dr. James Fernau earlier and he was only a few miles from my home. So I called for an appointment in April, which I was able to get within a week. No husband with me this time, I was welcomed to the elegantly decorated office by Sheila Fernau, RN, BSN who was training Alana Fernau, their new Office Assistant. They were both so friendly and efficient. Nurse Fernau showed me to the exam room, a very relaxing space, and took my history and answered any questions that I had, then brought in the sizers. I had worn a larger bra that I had so I could get an accurate look. The largest sizers they had were Sientra 595ish. I loved the look. After reading all of your stories, I decided I wanted 600+ to account for the under-muscle shrinkage. Nurse Sheila then went to get Dr. Fernau and he confirmed that 600cc wasn’t unrealistic with my measurements. He also said that I was borderline on needing a lift, so I will think on that issue. He was confident, knowledgeable, and down-to-earth, with a great sense of humor. He answered all of my questions before I even asked them. Even before getting the quote I knew Dr. Fernau was my choice. Dr. Fernau has his own surgical suite so…bonus, only a short ride home after the procedure. The quote I received for BA with silicone was $7000. I mentioned that I wanted to lose more weight and that I didn’t want to be scheduled until Sept. (which was open) and would call with my decision. Dr. casually mentioned that I could get a tummy tuck, too. (Uh-oh a seed was planted…hmm tummy tuck).

Magnesium Citrate

TMI but want to help after reading so many accounts of issues post-op. I had a bout with constipation about a month ago. The only way I could go was by using glycerine suppositories. Finally I thought, I can't keep doing this so I saw my PCP and he recommended Magnesium Citrate liquid which is over the counter at any store. He said the suppositories will only clean you out from one end, that's why I continued having problems. Magnesium citrate will flush you out. It works within 1/2 a day at the most.

Magnesium Citrate photo

I keep a bottle in the house at all times.

Underwire Bras

I see many of the ladies go back to underwire bras post BA. I'd love to finally get away from them. Does anyone feel the wireless bras suffice?

Cardiologist Cleared

I was concerned I would have to have a lot of preop tests. Told my cardiologist, "I want to have plastic surgery." He said, "go ahead." That easy. It helped that all my labs are good, BP is good and I've lost 26 lbs since I saw him in Feb.

Filling in some details...

Dr. Fernau had just acquired the Crisalix virtual imaging program and I was able to stop in on 5-4-16 and get before and after virtual 3D images to add to my research. Wow! What a cool technology. The before pic is deceiving as it’s an underwire bra and you can’t see the mess (boobs) that’s going on underneath. But at least I got somewhat of an idea of after size – although they look a little torpedo-ish. Lol.
On May 9th I called Dr. Fernau’s office to ask if 9/2/16 was available for my BA (and BL?) and was penciled in until I came in with my deposit. Made an appointment, for May 17th to arrange surgery and pay deposit.

More fill-in details...

I met with Nurse Sheila to pay my deposit and review and sign all pre-op paperwork, received prescriptions, lab orders, doctor releases (PCP, cardiologist), and instructions. We determined that I will meet with Dr. Fernau again, July 11th to re-address size, to lift or not to lift and any other concerns regarding my medications and cardiology issues. Plus my husband will get to meet him and see what made me so confident and relaxed in my decision to trust my surgery to Dr. Fernau. Little does Dr. F know, in the interim from our first meeting and now, I’m leaning towards wanting a tummy tuck, too. So I have that question and the fact that I think I’ll be happier having the lift and what profile to get and, oh, maybe I should go to 650cc. Unless I get the BA now and have a lift with a TT later. Now my thoughts are running wild. I’m so looking forward to meeting with Doctor to discuss all of this.

Up-to-date, a bit late

To bring my story into real-time this is the latest entry into my time line for BA. I had my pre-op appointment with Dr. Fernau on July 11th. I had to wait ½ hour or so. His nurse explained that he was finishing up a complicated consultation. I understand and respect him for that because it shows that he will take the time with each patient – he certainly did at my initial consult.
We spoke for some time regarding to lift or not to lift. Dr. Fernau said that since my nipples are at the crease and I'm getting larger implants (Sientra 565cc HP) I'll have a nice outcome. He said that if I was his family member he would suggest going without the lift, and why spend an extra $3-4,000 when you don’t have to. I trust his experience so my final decision - I am getting implants without a lift. I think I will be happy as I’m not looking for perky – I’m not 20 – I want to feel confident and sexy for myself.
I had also been toying with getting a TT – as you’ve read. So I mentioned that if I didn’t like the result of just the implant that I could have a TT later and get a lift at that time. But, Dr. Fernau no longer does TTs and BLs at the same time. To explain it in my simple terms, not his, it boils down to the fact that you’re pulling from two directions (breasts up, tummy down) it’s counter-productive and doesn’t achieve the best result, there have been recent cases published, etc. So even though he HAS done them in the past – he no longer does them now.
The TT is on the back burner at this time anyway for several reasons 1. I do not have enough PTO time – newer job – to get the proper recovery time off; and 2. I’m STILL at this weight-loss stall and I’m ready to scream. I definitely want to get – at least – 30 pounds off before I consider it.
So, enough of my babbling, I’m even more confident in choosing Dr. Fernau. My husband agreed with my feelings that he’s down-to-earth, honest and skilled. Hurry Sept. 2nd, 46 days to go!

Meh

Just feeling down. I'm not excited about my surgery any more. I'm not anxious or scared, just sad.

One month left

I can't believe sx is 1 month from today. Got bloodwork done yesterday. Today will be EKG and chest xray. Next Tues. is appt. with PCP for medical clearance. Hot a snag yesterday as PS said they will only do 6 mos. interest free care credit. I was planning on 12 months. I told them that was going to be a problem. Haven't heard back. Will have to figure out alternate financing of they don't agree. Can't afford $800 monthly payment right now. Hmmmph!

Care Credit terms

Be careful if you are using Care Credit because it is the PS office that decides what terms they'll accept. My PS says they'll only accept the 6 months no interest plan. Good thing I checked as I'll have to get a bigger cash payment together and use Care Credit for partial payment. Stress that I don't need right now.

22 days to go

Medical pre-clearance tests done. Had my preop with PCP yesterday. Still back and forth with being excited and being unsure.

Paid in full

I went and paid my balance on Friday. Still feeling anxious from laying all that money out. Buyer's remorse big time. 10 more days till B-day.

MY pre-op double bubbles...

Since I'm telling no one about my new acquisitions, I've been wearing 2 bras in order to make the transition less noticeable. I put on an add-2-cup sizes underneath a d-cup underwire. And underneath it all are my saggy flapjacks. I can wait to get rid of this rig. So uncomfortable and hot. 10 more days.

Ugh, update from last night disappeared. Thank you all for your support. Just got home about an hour ago.

Just got home about an hour ago. Short check in to let you know doing okay. Just took muscle relaxer and percocet. Reeelaxed and falling asleep. Will post later today. Thanks for your support.

Thank you!

I'm sorry if I don't get around to thanking all of you for stopping by as quick as I like. I appreciate you lovlies more than I can convey. You are all so supportive. I'm going to try to give back as much as you've given me. Uh oh, eyes a getting heavy and I'm starting to lose focus.

Over and above

Dr. F went over and above and also removed a couple of moles, even 1 on my face, and several large skin tags that were right at my collar and forever rubbed by my seatbelt. Extra detail that's much appreciated.

Nothing to see till tomorrow.

I get to take a shower tomorrow. Right now I just have the black bra with strap so can't see anything. I'll take a pic at the big reveal. Starting to get itchy. Gotta see if I have any benadryl around here. Best wishes for you all.

Than and now

Today's feeling

Felt really good yesterday morning. Just felt like I had overworked muscles. So I thought I'd try Tylenol for pain - I can't take nsaids - didn't work and had to go back to percocets and muscle relaxers. I'm starting to get zingers. I am extremely itchy under this bra. On the plus side I didn't have any nausea at all. Today I go for my post op check. I'm waiting for them to call with my appt time. Sill feeling pressure and aching. I'll take more photos after today's shower. Best wishes for all of you.

Aftercare concern 1

Since it was a holiday weekend they didn't give me a post l.p. appt time. I was told that someone would call today to let me know what time to come in. So this a.m. I took some fitful naps thinking the call was coming at any time. Finally at 10:45 I gave in and called myself. The receptionist said that dr. Furnau was just finishing up with a patient and she would catch him as soon as he came out of the exam room to find out when I should come in. It is now 5:00 and I never got a call. Is this the warning bell of things to come? Luckily I don't FEEL anthing is wrong but what do I know, I'm not a doctor. This is why I'm waiting to do a review until after my release.

Post op 1

I called early this a.m. and was told to come in and they would see me right away, after yesterday's confusion. I arrived about 40 minutes later and was seen within 10 minutes. Everything is looking good. Lefty is riding high so I was given a piece of foam to add under the strap. Dr. Fernau showed my husband how to push down on that spot 4 times a day for 4 min.each time. It's uncomfortable but not unbearable. The incisions are very small, even Dr. was impressed that he got them so small. Dr. Fernau and Nurse Sheila retaped my incisions as there was some dried blood underneath. Nothing more to do with those until I see him in 2 weeks. I was told to put bactiban ointment on all of the skin tag and mole removals that he did. There are about 7 of them. Dr. F. rocks. I was also told that I can sleep on my side of I felt up to it, my back and hips are killing me. I just sent hubby out to get a wedge pillow. I HAVE to wear the bra and strap for 4 weeks. They provided me with a Merena bra with built in strap. I hope you are all doing well, in whatever stage you are in. Thank you for your support.

Marena Bra

My PS provides a Marena bra with built in strap. It feels great with the support and has 4 rows of hooks on the front as well as hooks on the shoulders to adjust the straps. I have a 3x which I think would fit a 40 - 44 band. I wore a thin shirt underneath it because the band can be a bit stiff at first. Mine is black and I want to buy a 2nd in a taupe color. They are expensive, anywhere from $50-75. I have my 2 week post op tomorrow and am going to ask if I can buy one through the office at a discount.

Yuck and more yuck!

Yes, these are POST-op photos. Photos taken 9 days post-op. In one of my earlier posts I had relayed the to lift or not to lift discussion with the Dr. He said that since my nipples were at the crease and I'm getting larger implants (Sientra 565cc HP) that I'd have a nice outcome. He said that if I was his family member he would suggest going without the lift, and why spend an extra $3-4,000 when you don’t have to. I trusted his experience so I ended up only having a BA but think I lost the gamble on it. My PS thought it would be good but the way things are looking now - yuck! Unless they look significantly better in time, there will be a lift in my future. :(
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