Hi all, I'm sure those of you interested in BR...
Hi all, I'm sure those of you interested in BR already know aaall about The Struggle. I'm also sure those of you who don't would have already read all about it. But I have my own tidbits to add to all the pre-op recollections and I hope it can be as reassuring and insightful as the other thousands out there.
To start, I am actually Eastern European and growing up in eastern Europe was not a fun ride - I went from being teased about being black/mixed to being revered for it once Bulgaria discovered Beyoncè. I should mention that The Ideal Bulgarian Woman, to this day, has big boobs and a small behind and, although I've always wanted a big butt and underwhelming chest, around age 13 I had neither, so throw that into the mix and walking down the street quickly became even more of a nightmare than usual. I remember once, after puberty had done it's wicked work, forgetting my headphones on my way to school. When I realised this in a panic I couldn't remember why it had become so important for me to be listening to the radio (phones barely had mp3 capabilities at the time but bless Sony Ericsson's walkman series) and decided I'd survive without. I was speed-walking home in tears 10 mins later to get them, class be damned.
Safe to say the change from being called names like chimney baby, chalkboard, monkey etc to all of a sudden being harassed sexually at age 13 was enough of a trauma. You all know what happens next - back pain, neck pain, the ever ilusive bra size etc. Speaking of bra sizes, I didn't even know about back circumference and cup sizes until I moved to the UK at age 18 and discovered Marks and Spencer. I had, up until that point, never walked into a store and known what "size" to look for. As far as I was concerned sizes were for normal people. I, on the other hand, just sort of drifted towards the plus section and took anything that could hold the twins ( I use the term 'hold' very loosley). I also discovered the glory of Non-Padded and Non-Molded Cups in Britain. You know, the ones that are literally just sacks of fabric attached to an underwire? Hail thee granny bra, for if nothing else atleast I could bend without my melons slapping me in the chin.
You'd think all that would have been enough to get me under the knife but no. In fact I only learned breast reduction was a thing recently from my mom. The third-to-last straw was discovering I am actually a US size 4 (UK 8) in clothing if it weren't for my chest, shallow as that may seem. The second-to-last was finally getting into the habit of using the gym and actually loving it apart from the excruciating jolts when running which ruined it for me. The last was when I lost some weight (I am not fat or even chubby but I thought I had no waist for the longest time and have always had a bit of a potbelly) but the boobs would barely budge a quarter cup size! I didn't even want them to be perky I just needed them to shrink in volume. I could handle rolling them up into my bra for the rest of my life but at that moment I became painfully aware that unless I had the very flesh sucked out of them by no less than two ravenous babies (like my mother before me) I would actually have to carry the beasts until I died. And I was NOT ok with that. So my mom urged me to look into surgery. I was to look for said surgery abroad, as the cost in the UK is prohibitive and there is no such thing as insurance covering any of it (Ha! You dare think because your spine and psyche suffer that you have medical rights? Eh, no).
The rest is history in the making - I found a surgeon abroad, went under the knife and came out the other end in one, albeit stitched together, piece and do not regret that I did. Yet, anyway - I hope I won't have any complications ever. I am currently 14 days post-op and will share all my trials on here. Your reviews have helped me so much, one must pay it forward.
15 Days PO and..
Hi all, I'm back to type up some of my woes. Alright, it's literally just one - I have mentioned this before in the odd comment but, for those of you who don't know, I actually saw my new breasts for the first time yesterday afternoon. My PS' instructions were to keep my bandages on for two weeks and then wash, dry and send a photo of his handiwork to await further instructions.
All good up until this point, although I did cry a little while taking off the crusty old gauze and bandages. Not from any pain - just messed up emotions.. although I'm not sure why. Probably a combination of fear and anxiety of seeing my mangled breasts for the first time, sadness at what I had electively done to myself, further sorrow when I allowed myself to think about the implications of parts of me being in some dumpster somewhere in Spain. In those couple of minutes before I actually saw my incisions, the full force of what had happened hit me. I had actually undergone surgery; it finally sunk in. I guess the last 13 days have just been a sort of limbo as, although I could feel and see that they were physically smaller and hurting and swollen, I hadn't actually SEEN them at all.
Anyway, after my mini-breakdown, sitting on the toilet lid in my mother's bathroom, I finally unveiled The Breasts and lo and behold there were white strings sticking out all along my incisions. I wasn't expecting that but I was actually relieved that there had been something other than gauze, pus and willpower holding these babies together. That was yesterday, day 14 PO. Now, on day 15 PO, comes the doubt and uncertainty - I haven't actually seen anyone on here (or on google) sporting white strings post-op. Don't get me wrong, I trust my surgeon knew what he was doing; it's not him, it's me.
I did some researching and now know that dissolvable stitches can also be white and that's reassuring - my PS always uses dissolvable stitches. What's got my bra straps in a knot is that the only other patient of his who bothered adding photos to her review had black stitches which were thinner and, as one would expect, melted away of their own accord, the same black stitches I see come up when I managed to find the odd BR patient who hasn't been glued or stapled together instead.
I cannot imagine these melting into my skin or perhaps the parts outside will fall off once the portions buried underneath the skin have dissolved? My worry boils down to this - have any of you ladies had stitches like these and what did you do with them? Is it uncommon or just wildly undocumented to have the white dissolvable stitches used on the outside? Again, I will stop wondering and worrying once my surgeon gets back to me after seeing my update photos. In the meantime I want to know what other experiences are out there :3 On that note, my back is killing me from sitting in bed all day. Just saying.
All is grand in Dangling String Land
Just a quick update - the hanging stitches will come off on their own, my PS reassured me. Huzzah, hooray!
Some more good news - I've been given the go-ahead to sleep flat on my back! I'm cleared to sleep on my sides too but I'd rather play it safe and just not but the whole propped up on pillows thing really hasn't been doing it for me. I cannot wait to splay flat on my spine! My toes are curling in delight just thinking about it.
I will post some more pictures further down the line as for now I'm not really comfortable having my new boobies sprung free without my compression bra on. And I LOVE my compression bra - it is a bit pricey but well worth it considering I'll be wearing it night and day for the next several months. It's the i-bra from Macom, in case anyone wants to look it up and it's oddly comfortable to sleep in. And I'm the kind of person who cannot even stand to wear socks under the covers... Anywho, I will be wearing my bra from the hospital when this one goes into the wash but I will be buying another i-bra in white, maybe red too just to spice things up a little? Yes, me thinks.
Hello all :) It has officially been One Month (and a day or two...) since my breast reduction and to say I'm just happy would be an understatement. Try elated, euphoric, light-headed... you get the idea. I haven't been able to send my 30 days post-op pics to my surgeon yet because no matter how I tried the pictures wouldn't attach but that doesn't mean I can't show them here, right?
I hope not to jinx anything but I think I'm healing pretty well. I think it's safe to say they have scarred, although nowhere near enough for me to be naughty and flail about my house braless. Something tells me one of the reasons some ladies have separation AFTER their boobies have scarred (as far ahead as week 10!) may be because their sports bras aren't as supportive as a specialised surgical bra or they were naughty and stayed braless at home while doing housework. Maybe both but don't quote me on that. Now, I haven't been completely comatose in my bed these past 4 weeks but I'm paranoid about ruining my results (that I paid thousands for) because I was too confident in my healing, therefore I have tried really hard to be the best couch potato I can be!
That is not to say I DIDN'T try on almost half my wardrobe to see the difference and man, was there a difference. Tops and dresses that I bought because they were calling to me but never ever wore in public? They actually looked good ON me! I can't wait to whip my body back into shape and reap the benefits next Spring/Summer! True, I still have to steer clear of my all time favourite shoulderless pieces (ahem, surgical bra..) but I think I'll survive the loss - after all, it's only temporary.
Speaking of temporary - I had an itty bitty weeping wound that I thought was at the T-junction of my leftie. Turns out it was actually a few millimetres above, hallelujah. I taped some gauze over it the first week after removing my bandages but quickly discovered it wasn't helping - no matter how gentle I was, the gauze would always rip off whatever scab the poor thing was trying to create. Whiiich kind of defeated the purpose... So I hiked to the pharmacy and spotted some hydrocolloid plasters that I had never ever heard of but looked promising and more cost effective. Plus my surgeon had told me to just use a plaster anyway *shrug*. Three days later - weeping wound heeled, dry and looking all "Who, me? A wound? Dunno what you're talkin' about..". I still put a plaster on that area on both breasts, though, like a weird miniature safety blanket. Go, go, hydroco'!
The white stitches I was so anxious about continued to fall off, save for a few on my areolae and one lone ranger hanging on the side, bless his little stringy soul. My left nipple still has no feeling (but reacts, yay!) and there's an area below it that has also gone numb, but my right boob can feel all, everywhere and the nipple is so damn sensitive I have to shield it from shower water, it is that painful. Having a sensitive nipple is taking some getting used to, considering I barely had any feeling before the surgery. Forget about foreplay. Was that tmi..? I'll take that as my cue but I will update again soon!
Aaaand the pictures wouldn't upload -___-
THESE were supposed to sit poised above my 30 Day Anniversary review....
A Holiday Quickie
Merry Christmas! Exactly 6 weeks PO today and just wanted to post a positive quickie :) I've been feeling amazing lately. Despite being unemployed, despite my return to uni looming in the N.Y. and especially in spite of my lack of social life, I feel Grrr-ate!
It's not about being energetic or anything, it's just that every time I walk past the mirror I actually like what I see and that's a feeling you cannot replace. There are items of clothing I'd bought, years before this operation, even though I couldn't wear them, and seeing now that I can actually pull them off and not just with confidence but also being completely comfortable with myself is such a high :). I went out and bought my first new sports bra this week and also ordered the first of a robust wishlist of swimsuits. I'm slowly going to start rebuilding my underwear drawer; I have rarely been this excited to spend my hard earned money!
I really wanted to share this, even though it's not technical or really informative. But it just felt like the right place to express the bliss. I hope everyone reading this, whose already on the smaller side, can smile and nod in fond reminiscence whereas those of you who are counting down to D-Day can have these same feelings to look forward to.
I'll post soon about what I'm doing to manage my scars, how I'm sleeping and what is and isn't working for me, ofcourse with some more pictures of the boobies. Until then - good luck on your journeys, happy healing, enjoy the holidays and see you in 2016!
Some comparison updates at 2,4 and 6 Weeks PO
I'm obsessed with comparisons. After week 4 I was cleared to moisturise which is mainly why my breasts look so much better. Before that they were dry and the scars were still peeling. A more verbal update coming soon, for now I'll just leave some pics for you guys. Happy New Year!
The really, Really, REALLY long NY update.
Hi all! Finally here with a much needed proper update. The first day of 2016 marked the end of my 7th week PO and nothing horrible has happened yet - I'm still here and my breasts are still whole. Here's what's been going on so far:
SLEEPING Habits - I have been sleeping on my sides for the past week or so without a pillow under either arm - it's been alright but not 100% comfortable so I think I'll just go back to having a pillow either side to cushion me. I was propped up for the first 3-4 weeks until I was cleared to sleep flat on my back and, if comfy, on my sides. I still wake up swollen and when I get up and out of bed I have a moment of - not "pains" per se but for lack of better word - jolts and it feels like the inner incisions and breast tissue are complaining about being unsettled when they've been in a certain position the entire night. It only lasts a second but it hasn't gone unnoticed.
MOISTURISING Routine & Scars - Along with clearance to sleep like a normal human being after week 4, I was also cleared to start moisturising the incision sites. My boobies were under wraps for the 1st 2 weeks PO and the next 2 weeks had been dedicated to showering and letting the incisions dry and heal into scars. I had been allowed to put cream or whatever over my boobs so long as it went nowhere near the incisions. You can see from my pics from week 4 that my boobs were dry and flaky. Since then I have been using plain non-scented, organic, cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil and my own amateur mix of virgin olive, coconut, tea tree and lavender oils (which I have used for years on my face as well) to moisturise and massage my scars, twice daily. I started with my 4-oils-mix for a week and then figured I should tone it down a bit and have been using just the coconut oil. Twice daily for me equates to once after I wake up and once before bed. My skin is now nice and supple, hydrated and soft and my vertical scars look like they'll be blending in nicely in no time, where before they were a stark whitish pink against ashen brown skin. The rest of my scars - like around my aereolae and the outside of my breasts - feel softer and the couple of hypertrophic scars (ropey and more raised with hyperpigmentation) on the insides of my breasts (see pics) have been losing said hyperpigmentation. It's too soon to comment on flattening OR softening but I have reason to feel optimistic.
SIZE & Settling - If you've followed my progress, you'll know that I bought exactly ONE bra after the surgery - a sports bra in a UK 34C. I was disappointed and not, at the same time - 1) it was a high impact, racer-back bra with no strap adjusters which is how I explain to myself why the 32C was so high, too tight and gave me ass-crack-cleavage - no, thank you; and 2) my breasts were (and are still) swollen so even fitting into a higher band C cup is a victory. I'm having trouble imagining the swelling bringing the size down THAT much, to the 32C I wanted to be BEFORE I set out to lose 4-5kg but they say hope dies last. As far as settling - they seem to have rounded off at the bottom, without yet "bottoming out". I wouldn't mind if they dropped a little bit more (they sit a bit high which I'm guessing my ribcage has something to do with) but I want the overall shape itself to stay exactly the same. Please, stay the same!
SWELLING, Pain & Other Discomforts - I am still not working and not driving but I have been moving my arms with little caution since week 5. I bend, reach, wash, cook, push, pull and tug as necessary but I've still stayed away from any really heavy stuff that would've strained me pre-op too. My breasts aren't rock-hard swollen anymore but they ARE still swollen - I can tell even if the naked eye cannot. I have the occasional zing and tingle but it doesn't last long and they don't happen often. I get some numb spots at times but, again, that comes and goes and I haven't been keeping track of when they happen to try and weed out the catalyst. I'm taking it all in stride. I'm due for an interview this Tuesday and, if all goes well and the pay is worth it and they want me, we will see how the boobies take to going to work after almost 2 months of off-time. I didn't plan to be off that long!
BRAS, Bralessness & Final Comments - Despite my plans of investing in another Macom bra, or two, I never actually got around to it. My PS told me I could start looking at prettier non-wired bras after my 4 week PO consultation and I also bought the sports bra to rotate with the surgical bra from the hospital - it just seemed overkill. I might change my mind when I start work because the Macom i-Bra is still the one I prefer going out in - Marks & Spencer's sports bra leaves itchy indentations when worn for 4+ hours and the comfy nameless surgical bra doesn't have enough coverage to compress. We'll see how that goes but it's still MACOM for the win :)! I mentioned at some point that my breasts didn't feel right when I didn't have a bra on but that's changed - it's still weird but that's because sudden moves would contain them in a bra but can send a jolt if I'm braless. I give them a few hours a day to breathe after massaging them with oils, just to get them and myself used to the feeling and it's been great. They're pert enough that I'm comfortable without feeling exposed when traipsing around the flat (like I would with my pre-op sagging sand-bags), at the same time I get to enjoy the fact that even when I'm braless I look my age! I have some knots in my back, shoulder and neck muscles but they're from before the operation and I know getting rid of them is just a matter of a good deep tissue massage once I can lay down on my tummy (I still don't feel comfortable doing it). My left nipple is still numb but the tissue underneath it isn't so I'm guessing there's just a nerve that hasn't re-connected yet; my right nipple is still sensitive but not AS sensitive as in the beginning.
THE Things I've Tried & Left For Later - Silicone sheets. I bought a box - ScarAway - and although I can't outright say they're useless, I think I'll leave them for later. I tried them for a few days, which is not nearly enough to rate them good or bad, but my mom said to me that if one has to decide between (what can crudely be summed up as) a natural product and an unnatural product, then ofcourse it's better to go with the former. So I chose to treat my scars with organic oils while they're still new. It also helps that I already have all the oils in my drawer whereas the sheets had cost me delivery time and a bit of money AND I couldn't use the oils at the same time. In fact I wouldn't have been able to moisturise my skin with anything if the sheets were to stick to my skin. Enough said.
That wraps up my end-of-year update and wow, it was a lot. I hope there's something in all of that gibberish to help someone out or for you ladies to relate to. Any and all questions are welcome because my mom is making bread and stew as we speak and the delicious smell of her cooking is seriously distracting me which means I probably left something out..
A huge thanks to anyone who's read this far :) I'll keep you guys posted!
Boobs go to work - 2 months 2 weeks PO
27 Jan 2016
2 months post
I'm back with a quicky. No HUGE changes to report since my last post, really - I'm still massaging my scars twice a day, but I'm now rotating the 4-oil mix with pure coconut oil and sometimes cocoa butter, depending on how much hydration my skin needs that day. The scars seem to have lightened in the fold under my breasts, whereas the part of that scar that is visible under my arms seems to have darkened. I'm not really worried about it - they used to be reddish purple and angry-looking, I guess they're settling now. Yay! I know it will take time for the raised ones to settle and flatten so I'm trying extra hard to just wait for it. The vertical scars are more or less invisible - you wouldn't really notice them unless you're close enough - from a distance you'd have to know to look for them to notice.
Anywho, I started work, finally. If any of you were curious - I got stood up at the interview I mentioned a couple of posts back... Yeaaah. But it's all good. I like to think of it as a blessing in disguise because I am so glad I got my current job instead - I wouldn't have known about it if those guys hadn't bailed on me. It still wasn't nice being left standing in the lobby for an hour, though. Who does that?
So I've been taking the boobies to work for a week or so. It's waitressing, nothing fancy, but I am loving how active I have to be for it - I'm back i the game! I'm not carrying heavy trays - instead I'm always walking up and down podiums, to the point where my legs shake on the way home and I HAVE to have a soak in the bath before bed or I'll be completely stiff the next day. I love it. You can't really appreciate being active until you've been forced to do absolutely nada for over a month. And I hadn't worked in three! So. How do boobies like working? They plead the fifth during the shift - go mostly numb so I don't really feel them, no pain, tugs or zings, no discomfort at all. I even take off my bra in the last half hour when things have calmed down and then go home braless just to give them a break. I massage them after a hot soak (with lavender oil in the water to relax, of course) and the morning after they feel swollen and tender but not... painful or anything.
I know some of you ladies get back to work within the first month if it's an office-type job, and most of you are back in the second month no matter the job. I didn't expect to be heading into my third month post op before getting back into the rat race but I'm actually happy that, by some sadistic twist of fate, I couldn't get a job until this late. I feel like it gave my body more than enough time to heal in anticipation for it so that I don't get complications. I'm fairly confident my scars won't suddenly open, and if I was going to be allergic to my stitches, something would've gone wrong by now, right? Right.
So, here are some bra and swimsuit comparison pictures to look at. Is it just me or is the band size post BR always one size up from pre-? I know someone on here who was a 30G pre-op and measured a 32 band size (cup varied between brands) post-op (no weight gained btw...). And it's not the first time I've read that. Maybe the same band in a higher cup is a little bit bigger and that's way the same band size with a smaller cup fits too tight? Just an observation..
Taping :) and a Rant :(
I've decided to combine taping with my moisturising routine. To explain myself - due to the cut of my uniform, I can't actually wear my compression bras to work so I was either wearing no bra or a normal wireless with no support whatsoever.. which defeats the purpose and resulted in more swelling. But that was kind of expected anyway. What worried me into making this decision was that I noticed more numbness along with the swelling - I only discovered the numbness after a couple of colleagues elbowed me in the boob during a busy night last week and, as I braced myself for the pain, felt... nothing. Absolutely nothing! My boobs had been completely numb for a while which explained why they hadn't been giving me any grief about how active I'd been. I also noticed that they've digressed into being more agitated, like they were around weeks 4-6, so I've had to come to terms with the dawning possibility of oils and cocoa butter alone just not being able to cut it when I'm working.
I've been snooping through a lot of the comments on here and some of you ladies have been prescribed the best of both worlds - tape for a couple of days, moisturise for a couple days, repeat. I've mentioned before that oils really work best for me. At one point someone here made me look like a bit of an idiot, replying that moisturising will eventually fade anyone's scars anyway, no matter what you use; basically belittled what I had to say and that hurt me. My comment was based on what I know about my body. I sincerely doubt that moisturising your acne scars with Loreal Perfection will regenerate the skin until they disappear or, likewise, do away with stretch marks. And I also doubt that coconut or olive oil works for everyone under the sun - some people's skin just don't do oils and that's normal - we're all different! I hope that I haven't given the impression that I am speaking for everybody - I always explicitly say "I, me, my" - just the same way I really wish people wouldn't patronise my comments - with all due respect, they are based on very personal, critically reflective observations of *MY* body and how *I KNOW* my skin reacts to this and that. I express my observations here in the hopes that maybe what works for me might help somebody else, too, and I don't appreciate that intention of mine being distorted and the information I'm sharing being branded silly and inconsequential :(. Rant over...
Back to the topic - ya'll know I love my oils! They are the only thing that blend my scars, to the point of non-existence, as you can obviously see with my vertical one :). I don't usually get hypertrophic scars (apart from 1 or 2 from the playground, and what 8 year old tomboy cares about scar treatment...) but I did develop them in mirrored spots on each breast after the incisions healed. If I was able to continue wearing my compression bras 24/7 for the next 6 months then I would've continued with just moisturising them as my PS recommended. But a girl's gotta eat, so as of today I'll be taping for most of the week when I have work, to stop the scars from stretching and help them flatten , and then I'll moisturise when I know I have a full 48 hrs to wear my compression bras.
Have any of you ladies started taping a few weeks in? Did it help flatten any raised scars? My PS never taped my incisions, does anyone else have the same experience? Or is it weird that I didn't get taped..?
There's tape and then there's Tape.
15 Feb 2016
3 months post
I have discovered that my raised scars don't like tape, or atleast not microporous tape. Like, at all. They got irritated and it was really uncomfortable. I felt like I was doing more harm than good!
One of you ladies mentioned the Mepitac tape - it seems to be the best of both worlds - Silicone and Tape :D so I'm thinking of trying that instead but I'd be lying if I said I was in a hurry.... Back to the oils and butters for now.
Tape aside, I think my scars are entering another itchy phase - I haven't taped them for a week but they are starting to itch something fierce, like I-want-to-put-my-breasts-through-a-grinder-for-relief kind of fierce... The struggle is real!
An update..that doesn't say much :D
16 Mar 2016
4 months post
I've been away from you for a while but hey! No news is also good news, I hear. And I really have NO news. Nothing new to report, no tragic nor miraculous turn of events - my nipples haven't fallen off but my scars haven't vanished either.
Some of yall know I started work a few weeks ago so I guess I'd like to confess that I have proudly told my colleagues about my surgery. The reactions ranged from mournful "Whyyyy?!"-s from the men to surprised "Reeeally??"-s from the ladies but after that it was all flattery and good vibes. Nobody mentioned the scars if they even noticed them - I work in a cabaret so sometimes the scars on the sides are out depending on the uniform that day - and the people to whom I actually pointed my scars out to were like "Yeah...and?". Bless them all :3
I guess what I'm trying to say is that although the scarring was never a deterrent for me getting the surgery (I know it's close to a dealbreaker for some ) I was suprised that it actually mattered to me how people close to me (and especially any guys I date from now on) would feel about my scars. It took me a while to admit to myself that it mattered.. like I felt ashamed of myself for caring about what others think. My scars don't bother ME..but what if I met a great guy who didn't mind the surgery (he didn't know me when I had sandbags, right?) but DID feel weird about my raised scars? And I don't mean how the scars LOOK, cos you can ignore how they look..I mean how they feel.
My friends don't comment anymore because it's now just a normal part of me, like a leg or an ear. My boobs, scars and surgery aren't a hot topic - and that's nice. Because everyone else has just moved on I now constantly forget that I actually.had.surgery :D That I've only had these breasts for 4 months and 3 days! They just feel right, you know?
I guess I just wanted to share some of the minor emotional discoveries but in terms of swelling, scars etc? It's pretty much the same as my last update :) Soon I will share some pics with some new triangle bras I ordered so look forward to that!