Like most of you, I grew up with large breasts....
Like most of you, I grew up with large breasts. They started at the ripe age of 11 and by 15, I was in D cup bras. I was professionally measured right when I decided to go on a weight-loss plan about 1.5 years ago and was shocked to find out I was a 36G (I'd been wearing 36DD bras). Wearing bras that were actually my size definitely helped after this, but the horrible back/shoulder/neck pain + tension headaches did not stop. I was hopeful that my plan to lose weight would decrease their size.
Six months and minus 20 pounds later, I got re-measured. No change. I was crushed. Not only was I still in pain, but finding clothes/bras/swimsuits that fit were an expensive, patience-testing nightmare. I went shopping to find a new dress for my company's holiday party last year -- it took me four stores and three hours to finally find one I loved that fit me. Not only that, but I haven't been able to run comfortably for years, something I used to love doing. I do pole fitness for exercise almost exclusively, but I do really want to be able to run again!
After a ton of research and thought, I decided that this was the year I make a reduction happen. I had an initial consultation in June, and my insurance, to my immense surprise and delight, approved full coverage. My pre-op appointment is actually tomorrow (9/7) and my surgery is scheduled for Monday, 9/19. I'm excited, nervous, hopeful, and anxious all at once. Mostly, I want the pain to go away, but I'm apprehensive about how my breasts will look and how I'll feel about them afterward. It's been part of my identity for almost 20 years (albeit unwillingly); getting used to smaller breasts will be a huge paradigm shift. But by and large, I am very excited for this. I'm hoping to document everything here so that others might find this helpful, as I've found others' reviews here helpful, too!
My pre-op was a couple days ago, and it went very well. I got tons of questions answered, received a booklet with pre-/post-op instructions, and my surgeon addressed all of my anxieties with me. This is all feeling a lot more real now. I'm still feeling more nervous than excited at this point, but I think that's pretty normal. There's definitely a lot to look forward to -- just have to get over the mountain of surgery and recovery to get there first!
5 days to go!
I'm getting more and more excited and nervous each day! Everyone has been so supportive and encouraging, and I'm sure I'll be happy with the results. I bought some button-up shirts and PJ tops for afterward, and I'll be getting my groceries and prescriptions on Friday. My boyfriend and I are taking a weekend trip up to OC to play around on Muscle Beach, have Jimmy John's and Lucille's, and just have a ton of fun before Monday. I'm really looking forward to that. :)
One Day More...
Holy crap, I'm getting so nervous. We are about 12 hours away from when I have to be at the surgical center. The excitement hasn't gone, but the nervousness has definitely grown by a lot over the last couple of days. Just trying to read positive reviews here and take deep breaths. I'm sure all my nervousness is for nothing and all will be well, but anxiety is a drag sometimes like that.
Day of Surgery!!
19 Sep 2016
Day of treatment
I had my surgery about eight hours ago. Everything went incredibly well, and I've been resting at home. My boyfriend has taken such excellent care of me. He is such a gem. :)
I'll go more into depth at a later date, but I'm doing really well and not in a huge amount of pain or discomfort. Percocet helps. :P The hospital staff were all so very caring, sweet, and skilled. I can't sing their praises enough, really!
Last night was SUUUUUPER rough. I woke up around 2:30 a.m. to take my next dose of pain medication and the whole left side of my head was in terrible pain and pressure, and I was really nauseated. I called my doctor, who gave me some ideas on what it might be (caffeine withdrawal being complicated by anesthesia, etc.) but wasn't 100% sure on what it might be. She advised me to take another pain pill and if I didn't improve, go to the ER. Thankfully, it didn't come to that and the second dose helped a lot.
I woke up this morning pain-free in my head and just a little achy for my chest. My boyfriend has been wonderful beyond words in taking care of me and supporting me emotionally, too. When I was feeling awful last night, I started crying and asking why I'd done this. He reminded me that it was all temporary and it would be worth everything I was going through. He reminded me of all the wonderful things that would happen in the future -- being able to find clothes more easily, better posture and breathing, being able to go running with him. Seriously, I don't know what I did to deserve such a gem of a man, but he is incredible.
My cats have actually been really great, too. They've mostly been laying with me in bed the last couple of days. They're such great comforts. :)
Today I'm going to just keep taking it easy. I guess so far, all told, it's been a pretty good experience. I am looking forward to seeing what my surgeon has to say at my first post-op tomorrow!
I had my first post-op appointment this morning! A friend of mine took me to the surgeon's office since I'm still on the pain meds. My surgeon removed the gauze from the inside of the bra and took a look. She was very, very happy! She said I should be pleased, as everything looked really great. I think they look tiny compared to where I was before! I'm excited but I'm also a little unsure of how they'll settle.
I can't shower until tomorrow, which sucks because it's been so humid here and I feel super gross. I'm going to sponge bathe tonight, and a good friend of mine is coming over later to pamper me. Mani/pedi, facial, and hair wash. I have the BEST support system ever!
Overall, I'm still doing well as far as pain management and mobility. I'm moving around the house better and better and can do a few more things for myself now. :)
PS - Official Numbers
Right breast: 296 grams
Left breast: 322 grams
Total: 618 grams = ~1.4 pounds
I feel like I'm improving by a lot each day! My mobility continues to get better and better, and I've found that I'm needing my pain pills less often. The first few days, I was taking 1 - 2 every four hours; now I'm comfortable taking 1 every six hours. My appetite is starting to come back, too. I had two sandwiches for lunch instead of just one! I've also been sleeping a lot more recently -- has anyone else experienced that? I thought I'd be sleeping more in the earlier days, but I've been down for at least 5 hours during the course of the day.
I can shower today, but I'm waiting until my boyfriend comes here after work, just to be on the safe side. It's going to feel soooooooooooo good. The sutures are starting to feel kind of itchy, mostly on the undersides of my breasts, but it's definitely not unbearable. I've noticed I have a ton of loss of sensitivity in my nipples. My left one has a little bit of feeling, but my right one is completely numb. I'm hopeful that will change as they heal!
It's been one week!
I am now officially 7 days post-op! Everything seems to be going well. I have bruising, which you can clearly see, but not a lot of pain or discomfort in my breasts. There are a few spots you can see where the compression bra has irritated my skin, but so far it hasn't been a huge deal. I still have tape over the sutures; that will come off at my next post-op appointment on Wednesday. At least I think that's what my surgeon said -- I was pretty drugged up on that appointment. xD
I've been doing GREAT on the pain meds. I only needed half a Percocet twice yesterday, and the first one was for pain I was having unrelated to my procedure (I think). Some really whacky lower abdominal pain that I thought I would have to go to the ER for, but it subsided with rest and the painkiller. I had my first unassisted shower last night, which went super well, though I was sore after and that's when I needed the second half of the Percocet.
I feel more and more like myself every day. I did take today off work as a precaution because of yesterday's weird abdominal pain episode, but I think I'll be back to work on half-days this week, as I still tire very easily. I can do more things for myself now, like showering and caring for my cats and doing laundry, which feels amazing.
Most importantly, I've had a remarkable change in the amount of back/shoulder/neck pain and tension compared to what it was before the procedure. My posture has improved, and I haven't had a tension headache even once in the last week. I'm over the moon with all of this, and I can't wait for the next few months to fly by so I can settle into my new size and get back to exercising. :)
Had my second post-op today! My surgeon removed the tape over the incisions and then removed the external sutures. That was slightly uncomfortable, but not bad at all. She put new tape over the incisions afterward.
All in all, she was really very pleased with how everything looked. The right breast is more swollen than the left, but she said that was normal -- "there's always one that doesn't want to cooperate as much!" I have to continue wearing the compression bras day and night until I'm one month post-op. I also can't exercise beyond gentle strolling for at least another few weeks. That's still okay with me for now -- I'm still tiring pretty easily and don't feel up to doing much more than walking in any case. Also, it's SO HOT outside lately.
I went back to work yesterday and today on half-days, which has been a mixture of great and terrible. It's great to feel productive again, but man, I have a backlog to catch up on! My coworkers have been great, though, and really stepped in to help me while I was out last week and Monday.
So overall, everything has been going great! I'm super happy and I would definitely call this a success. Changing my review from "Not Sure" to "Worth It" right now. :D
Two Weeks Post-op!
Yesterday was my two-week anniversary. :D Still doing great over here! As you can see, there's still quite a bit of swelling and bruising. The hardest part for me will be waiting for all of that to go away, as well as being able to exercise again. But you can definitely see improvement in the swelling between this week and last week, which is super exciting (and makes me VERY glad I'm photo-documenting all of this).
My energy is still rebuilding itself. I saw an old friend on Sunday and we spent the day walking around and shopping, which made me really tired around 7:00 p.m. Mostly I take it easy at home and at work, and nap when I'm able to, which seems to help.
I think nerves are starting to regenerate, as sometimes I'll have very sudden, shooting pains in my breasts. They never last long and they're not unbearable, more uncomfortable. The breasts are both starting to have less numbness in areas that were previously numb, which makes me happy! I still have total lack of sensation in my right nipple, but hopefully that will come back in time.
Overall, I'm still really, really happy with everything. I'd do it all again. What's more, because I've been so open about this on social media, some friends have come to me to ask for advice about having the procedure done themselves. :)
Three Weeks Post-Op!
Not much new to report over here! Still quite a bit of bruising on my left breast for some reason, and none on my right. Weird. The two do seem to have evened out, though, which is great! Still very, very happy with everything. Just for kicks, I threw on one of my old 36G bras this morning and laughed for awhile at how large it is now. :D
I was very lethargic this whole weekend. I'm not sure if it was due to the procedure or something else, but I slept SO much. It was like I couldn't get enough sleep. I feel pretty okay today, good enough to go into work, but it was definitely a strange weekend full of sleep. Not the worst thing in the world, I suppose.
Next week will be one month post-op, and I can stop wearing the compression bras 24/7! I have my next appointment with my surgeon on the 19th and hopefully she says the tape on my incisions can come off. It's getting pretty annoying. And hopefully I can do more exercise other than walking, but I'm pretty sure she still won't clear me for pole until another couple of weeks. Blargh. Just walking makes me sad.
(Almost) Four Weeks Post-Op!
I'm one day early in writing this, but I figure you won't hold it against me. :P
I took the tape off of my incisions last night -- it had all almost fallen off anyway and wasn't being useful. I have another post-op appointment tomorrow, so I figure if my surgeon wants to reapply tape, she will. I'm actually really pleased with how the incisions/scars look so far. I know they'll get better over time but I was honestly expecting worse. I took a bunch of pictures because I know this is an aspect of healing a lot of people are curious/concerned about. Note that the skin indentations are just from my compression bra and not a result of the surgery. Also, the red places above each nipple are from where I was trying to wipe off the tape residue. I took side profile pictures, too. Look how freaking perky they are! I'm amazed.
Will update again after my post-op tomorrow! Hopefully I can start wearing regular bras again! Huzzah!
Also, I made some side-by-side comparison photos. What a massive difference in not only appearance but in pain relief and self-confidence! :)
One Month Post-Op!
I had my one month post-op appointment with my surgeon today! She was really happy with how the scars are looking and healing, and said we didn't need any more tape on them. She advised me to start massaging them with lotion to help the healing process.
And she had more great news! I don't have to wear compression bras anymore, and I don't have to wear bras 24/7! HOORAY! Not only that, but I'm cleared for all kinds of exercise, so long as I ease back into it slowly and listen to my body. SO excited!! My next appointment is in late November, right after Thanksgiving.
My surgeon reminded me that at only four weeks post-op, I was still going to have a lot of swelling, which will take months to fully resolve. Her advice was not to go all-out on new and expensive bras, but buy some inexpensive ones and keep re-sizing as my breasts adjust and settle. The final size probably will come around the 6-month mark.
So I went to Target today to buy bras. It was SO surreal to me that I was there for bras. I probably haven't bought bras from there in ten or more years. I picked up two very comfortable day-wear bras (36C) and two sports bras (medium) for just under $60. That's as much as I would have spent on ONE solid 36G bra before. My mind continues to be blown at just how life-changing this has all been!