From JJ to D and Thrilled - Sydney, AU

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29/3/13 I went from a 34E to a size 38L when...

I went from a 34E to a size 38L when breast feeding my son just over 6 years ago and only reduced to a 34JJ despite losing lots of weight after the birth. I hated my breasts. They caused huge amounts of back and neck pain and looked awful.

I have just moved from London back to Sydney and decided that now was the best time to do something about it as I am not yet working here.

I went to my GP and she was happy to refer me to a cosmetic surgeon as my boobs were so big. I made an appointment to see him a week later. I couldn't wait. For me it was a done deal, all I wanted to know were the costs as having just moved back to Aus I didn't have private health cover.

The Surgeon was great. He agreed they needed doing, and rather than try and sell me on the procedure, the first thing he did was tell me all the things that could go wrong e.g. Infection, losing the nipple, scarring, uneven sizing, reduced nipple and breast sensation etc etc. He then examined the breasts and took some pictures. I asked a few questions including could I speak to some of his prior patients and he agreed to provide names.

Later that day, his office sent thru a quote ($7000 less $1350 Medicare) for his services including aftercare. The hospital would be $2,726 for the surgery and $1,151 per night for a private room. My estimated stay was 2 nights. Other costs would be c$2,500 for the anaesthetic and c$1,500 for the surgery assistant. I haven't had all the bills yet but total cost estimate is c$AUD15,000.

The next day I spoke to two of his current patients. Both of them spoke very highly about the doctor and one of them had consulted two other surgeons before choosing him and both of these surgeons had spoken highly about my surgeon so it gave me more confidence. Plus they talked me thru their surgery and healing process. I rang my surgeon that afternoon and booked in for a week later.

I couldn't wait. I got teary every time I thought about it - tears of relief and happiness that I was finally doing this.

I went into St Vincents Private Hospital on Tuesday morning at 11am for a 1pm surgery. At 1pm my surgeon came in and drew on my breasts while I stood up. I was then taken in to the operating area and woke up in recovery about 6.30pm. I didn't feel any pain (really!) just a tightness around my chest where the bandages were. As I didn't need pain medication I was taken straight to my room. My husband arrived about an hour later but didn't stay long as I was quite tired.

I didn't sleep very well that night. I usually sleep on my stomach/side so found it difficult to sleep propped up on my back. Plus every time I did drop off I was woken by the nurses for blood pressure etc checks. BTW the nurses and others staff at the hospital were lovely. Made me feel very relaxed, nothing was too much trouble, and they shared in my joy about the surgery. I had two panadeine forte that first night but didn't need anything else. I could get out of bed to use the toilet with the help of a nurse to carry my drip and the drains. The surgeon said he had removed approx 2.4kg of breast tissue in total and put in over 300 stitches.

I was a bit scared to look at or touch my boobs that first night and day. It felt a bit surreal, to have such a dramatic change made so quickly. My boobs are a bit smaller than I expected too so that was a bit of a surprise.

On Wednesday morning the surgeon came in early and advised the drains and drip could be removed. One had not had any liquid in it at all since the surgery and came out very easily and with no pain, though there was bleeding from the drain site afterwards. The other one hurt a bit on the way out but there was no more blood. The surgeon checked me again that afternoon due to the bleeding but all was ok. He said I could go home if I really wanted to but I decided to stay another night as there was still some bleeding around one nipple and I was still quite stiff. I only needed two paradol that day as there was very little pain. One of the nurses helped me put on a sports bra. I slept much better that night and the nurses did not wake me at all.

I was awake early the next morning and moving around when the surgeon came in. He removed some of my bandages and replaced others, then covered much of them in a waterproof bandage and said I could have a brief shower, which was lovely. My husband picked me up just after 10am and I went home.

I've looked at my new boobs quite a lot since coming home, and hubby helped drape my old bra over my shoulders to see the difference. All I could do was cry with relief when I saw how big the change was.

One unexpected effect is back pain. I am getting a lot of that which I think is due to two things -
1. We are staying in short term accomm while we wait for our furniture to arrive and the bed is very uncomfortable
2. My back and neck are getting used to the change in my body structure.
I wish I had had a good back, shoulder and neck massage before I had the surgery.

Today is Friday and I've spent most of the day in bed or on the couch. It is getting easier to move so tomorrow I'll head outside for a while I think. I've only needed two painkillers since coming home and they were for headaches rather than breast pain.

I am really looking forward to buying some new clothes - all my tops are too big now! I'm swing the surgeon next Thursday so will write more afterwards.

"I'm swing the surgeon" should read I'm seeing the...

"I'm swing the surgeon" should read I'm seeing the surgeon next Thurs!

One unexpected result from the surgery is the...

One unexpected result from the surgery is the reduction in back fat. I used to have a roll at my back around my boob height - that has now gone! Yay!

The back pain has reduced over the last day or two. I still feel a bit spacey sometimes but have been out and about at the beach and at picnics since Saturday. There has been a little bit of discomfort and stiffness under the breasts but I still haven't needed painkillers. I'm just about to go shopping for new tops. I think I will be buying a size smaller than usual - woohoo!

I've lost 5.8kg since the surgery - 2.4kg breast...

I've lost 5.8kg since the surgery - 2.4kg breast tissue and the rest general weight loss by eating really healthily and no alcohol. So very, very pleased to be able to buy tops a whole size smaller today!

Today is Day 14 post surgery. I now have quite...

Today is Day 14 post surgery. I now have quite severe bruising and swelling on one breast (Wei shades of green and grey!). Rather than cut too far around my side, the surgeon decided to use liposuction which has caused the bruising and swelling. The other breast is fine.

I had the stitches out 5 days ago and immediately found it easier to move. I had felt quite stiff til then and had a bit of difficulty sitting/standing up. I can now move around really easily. The stitches came out of one breast really easily but hurt like hell coming out of the other one. The surgeon advised that the breast tissue had been tested and nothing had been detected. Phew!

Even with the swelling I am still thrilled with the result.

I seem to be suffering a bit from the surgery after effects though. I get light headed and spaced out every few days. Am hoping that disappears soon.

Today marks the 5 week mark since the surgery and...

Today marks the 5 week mark since the surgery and my boobs have settled down a lot. The light headedness I referred to in previous posts continued until approx the third week after surgery. If I was too active (e.g. moving house - not ideal only 2.5 wks after surgery, or out and about with friends) I had to spend a day or two in bed to recover but that has all gone now.

The swelling and bruising got a lot worse - the side where I had lipo turned black and swelled to about 50% bigger than the other side during week 3, but thankfully all the bruising has now gone. The swelling has not gone completely - that will take a few more weeks.

On Sunday I noticed a protrubent vein along my ribs and up into the bandages so I went to see the surgeon yesterday, one week before my scheduled 6 week review. He removed all the bandages and advised there is a small blockage in one of my veins. The treatment is regular massage with sorbolene and hot compresses. Apart from that he said I am healing very well.

I thought the stiffness I feel under my breasts would disappear when the bandages came off but it hasn't. Apparently this will take a few weeks longer. They look very different in size and shape still so I am trying not to worry about the appearance for a while longer. They also still feel quite numb.

I think the hardest part of the surgery for me has been having to sleep on my back. Last night I could finally sleep on my tummy or side and I got a much better night's sleep. I can now start swimming again and next week I can start pilates and gym based exercise. Really looking forward to that.
James Southwell-Keely

GP referral

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