I have been small chested my entire life. Coming...
4 May 2016
Day of treatment
I have been small chested my entire life. Coming from a family of well endowed ladies, I patiently waited for my breasts to appear throughout my teens and early twenties. After all that waiting, I managed to top out at barely fitting a 32B. And as my stepmother used to say, I could wear a bandaid over my nipples, go bra-free and no one would know.
While I have loosely toyed with the idea of breast augmentation since my late teens, I always hesitated to move forward due to the fear of pain and inability to screen for cancer. After a few lumps were found during an annual gynecologist visit, I had a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy to ensure everything was okay. I also decided to get tested for the BRCA gene given the high rate of cancer in my family. Fortunately, the biopsy showed benign lumps and I tested negative for the BRCA gene.
This experience gave me the opportunity to discuss implants and cancer screening with experienced professionals. Those discussions and my healthy test results helped push me to consider augmentation in more depth.
Beginning in January 2016, I began reading reviews on RealSelf, watching countless videos on YouTube and researching doctors. Living 30 miles south of Seattle, I decided to speak with doctors in my city. While 30 miles is not too far, Seattle traffic can be brutal and I wanted to avoid spending hours in a car after surgery and my follow up appointments.
I met with three different doctors at local Tacoma, WA clinics based on reviews - Artistic Plastic Surgery, Aesthetica Clinique and Franciscan Plastic Surgery Associates.
Given all my research, I arrived prepared with a list of questions; I'm sure they loved that! While all doctors and clinic staff were kind, patient and helpful, I ultimately felt that Dr. Nichols and his staff at Franciscan Plastic Surgery best addressed my questions and eased my concerns.
Primarily, I wanted to guarantee that I had a very natural look; a size that fit my small frame correctly and maintained a tear drop shape. Additionally, while I wanted a natural appearance, I knew I wanted saline implants for my peace of mind. I knew that the implants will eventually fail and I would feel much better knowing salt water would enter my body rather than silicone. All doctors took the time to explain the difference between both silicone and saline implants while one doctor was slightly more pushy in encouraging silicone due to the more natural feel and lack of rippling.
Another doctor approached size by allowing patients to select their own. As a woman with essentially no breasts, I really did not feel comfortable selecting the implant myself. There was help from a nurse however, the sizes suggested were so large! It felt as if they assumed that anyone desiring breast implants hoped to look like a top heavy Barbie doll. The suggested size was 450cc. I am 5"2', pear shaped with a current weight of 135lbs (I typically maintain a weight of 125lbs but have been neglecting the gym after gorging over the holidays). It was just way too much for me and I did not think that an implant that large would assist in reaching my goal of looking natural.
Dr. Nichols and staff were AMAZING at discussing my concerns, explaining implant variations (high, moderate and low profile) and ideal size ranges for my frame. Although I had notes, photos and clear goals, neither of the other clinics provided the same level of insight as Dr. Nichols' staff. It felt like they understood my concerns and goals and were carefully working to select the best fit for my body and my vision.
After considering my consultation experiences, I made an appointment to move forward with Franciscan Plastic Surgery on May 4, 2016 (today!).
I'll post some before photos and prepare a few more entries about my experience leading up to surgery day and my recovery so far.
The night before surgery, I bought everything I thought I would need such as baby wipes to use until I could shower, bottled water, fruits, veggies and a stool softener to have just in case. I also packed all my pills, ID, insurance card, Chapstick, hair tie, water, apple sauce and directions into a ziploc bag. I cleaned up the house, washed the sheets to ensure a comfortable sleeping environment and set a TV tray with some goodies next to the couch.I would highly recommend everyone do the same prior to surgery. It was nice to have less to worry about on our way out the door in the morning and even better to come home to a prepared space.Surgery was scheduled for 9:45am with a check-in time of 7:45am. For the first time in my life, I was early to something and arrived at 7:30am giving me plenty of time to freak out in the waiting room.When we arrived, I signed some disclosures, watched TV and then eventfully went back to get settled. They performed a pregnancy test, checked my medical history, had me undress into a gown and placed circulation cuffs on my calves.My husband and dad were able to come back and keep me company while I waited. Eventually, the anesthesiologist, doctor and surgical nurse came back to prep me. Once the doctor marked my chest (without my dad in the room), I was ready to go.After a quick bathroom break, the nurse led me back to the operating room. The table was heated and comfortable. I climbed up, the anesthesiologist told me she would provide a sedative to start the process but not put me out. All my nerves and uncertainty were pointless because it was over before I knew it. It's possible I was alert for a while but the next thing I remember is waking up in recovery with the nurse. She provided some applesauce and pain pills, let my husband and dad back into the room and shortly afterward I went home.The ride home was okay and for the most part I just felt like my chest is really tight. Even with an anti-nausea patch, I felt sick walking from the car to the house. My husband gave me an ice cube to rub over my skin because I was very hot. That helped a ton and I was able to make my way to the couch to relax.I stopped eating and drinking at midnight the night before surgery and while I was starving at the clinic, I wasn't hungry after surgery. I've spent the day eating light food such as soup, salad and rice crackers. To maintain hydration, I've drank water all day long.The pain seems to have increased over the past several hours. My husband set an alarm to ensure I take my pills on time and stay ahead of it. My chest still feels tight but my back is beginning to hurt more and my right side and right arm are noticeably more sore and weak than the left. You never realize how much you use your arms until you're unable to use them. Watching me crawl off the couch, attempt to grab something or scratch an itch is laughable. However, it hasn't been too bad so far but I've heard from several people that day two is much worse.I have propped my side of the bed up as instructed and am hopeful that taking meds during the night will decrease the likelihood of waking up in major pain. Guess we will see.Here's a photo of my beautiful surgical bra and bloated belly.
Post Op Day 1
Today was supposed to be dreaded day of pain but it really was not that bad. Sleeping proved as difficult as I imagined and I woke up pretty stiff. However, once I started moving more this morning, I was back to a low level of pain.
The most difficult part of recovery is not using my arms. They are still very sore and weak which means that when sitting up my body relies on my abs and pec muscles alone. Regardless of the approach, sitting up feels awful.
I'm also dealing with constipation thanks to the pain meds. It's not incredibly uncomfortable but I am certainly starting to look bloated. Finally caved in and took one stool softener to see if it helps. I hope to stop taking the pain meds in the next 1-2 days so hopefully the constipation subsides by then.
Here's some quick stats in case I didn't provide them earlier:
Starting bra size: 34A/32B
Implant style: moderate profile
Implant size: 330cc
Implant filling: saline
Going for my first post op tomorrow morning so I'll provide more details then. :)
Post op night #2
Last night was much better than the first night. I only woke up once to take my pain meds and use the restroom. May arms are still incredibly weak so getting out of bed remains a challenge. At this point, I just fling my legs off the side of the bed and then slowly slide off until I'm in a squat position and can stand. It's absurd, I know.
I'm going to focus on using my arms more today. I've noticed that I've been keeping them to my sides and not extending them much; I'm a human T-Rex. Hopefully using them will increase my range of motion and ability to sit up like a real person.
I have my first post op appointment today and I'm excited to see everything. Oh and only one more day until I can shower again! As a clean freak, this no shower thing has been less than ideal.
I am also going to decrease the pain killers to one every 4 hours and see if it's tolerable. They make me incredibly drowsy and I find myself falling asleep for minutes at a time throughout the day. I don't know how anyone could use these pills recreationally; it's too much for me. I am still constipated after taking a stool softener so I'm going to take a few more today. Fortunately, I don't feel any pain or discomfort but I would like to fix it before I do. Still no real appetite but my husband has been great at giving me light items to snack on over the past few days. I've also drank more water than I ever have before.
I'll post more photos and updates when I can.
First Post Op Appointment & Learning my Limits
I had my first post op appointment today. Everything went well; they said they are healing as expected although they are still quite swollen.
Prior to surgery I purchased two bras from Brilliant Contures based on forum suggestions. They are beautifully made but my doctor felt that the size was too small and compression was unneeded. As I was feeling good after my appointment, we went to Walmart to purchase some cheap sports bras so I could get out of the surgical bra.
Bra shopping is so difficult now! I bought a wide range of sizes and styles but nothing fit when I tried them on at home. So I'm back in the oversized, itchy surgical bra with a plan to exchange my Walmart bras tomorrow. I've considered buying a front closure bra from Victoria's Secret but it seems silly to spend $60+ on a plain bra I will only use short term.
Even though I was feeling good today, walking through a store carrying my purse really put me over the edge. After about 10 minutes my back are right breast were throbbing. My husband was kind enough to take everything off my hands and I started to feel better once I was relaxing at home again. I'm glad I still have several days to return to work. There is only so much TV watching I can do but now I know that I need to ease myself into returning to daily activities.
I still don't have much of an appetite and haven't been able to go to the bathroom since Tuesday; today is Friday. I've taken two more stool softeners and decreased to one pain pill every 4 hours. Overall, I'm feeling good but have to remind myself to take it easy and not go too far. Also, I can finally shower tomorrow! I'm so excited to take a warm shower and see if these babies will drop some. After seeing them at the doctor's office today, I can definitely relate to everyone's Frankenboob comments. They are quite flat, large and silly looking at this point but I know it's temporary.
Post Op Night #3
We had some friends over last night. After being stuck in the house with nothing to do but watch TV for three days, it was nice to change up the routine. We ordered pizza so my husband could have a break from cooking and spent the evening catching up and joking around.
I had reduced my pain meds and was feeling pretty good but about 3 hours in, I started to feel nauseated. I'm not sure if it was the pizza, which is the first heavy thing I've eaten since before surgery, or the constipation. I decided to call it a night and went to bed.
Getting up from bed remains the biggest challenge for me. Even though I have propped 4 pillows on my side I always seem to slide down the bed and wake up almost flat on my back. Because we have been reducing the pain pills, this was the first night I did not set an alarm to wake up and take anything. I slept fine but when I woke up my left side, near the incision, was throbbing. I thought that the jumbo surgical bra may have been resting on it but that didn't appear to be the case. After struggling for a minute, I managed to get myself out of bed and downstairs to take a pain pill and two Tylenols. This was probably the most pain I've felt so far but it was also the first time I have been without any medication in my system. I'm still working to decrease the pain meds; fortunately, the ones I took this morning kicked in quickly and I feel good again.
It's a beautiful day so I'm hoping to get out and enjoy the sunshine! After I shower (yay!!), we need to find a more comfortable sports bra that actually fits my babies. I'm not sure when this ridiculous constipation will end but I'm going to increase the stool softeners today, too. I don't feel too bad right now but I am very obviously bloated and would like to get past this part sooner than later.
Sports Bra Exchange!
Managed to return all the ill fitting bras and crammed my new boobies into a large, front zip sports bra after removing the liners and accepting that it will not fully zip up. It's a whole new world to go from not needing a bra to being slightly too big for a large sports bra. I can't wait for them to settle over the next several weeks. I'm excited to find my new size!
Post Op Day 4
Finding a front closure sports bra is such a challenge! I still am shocked at how large they look, especially in a bra. The right one is starting to soften more and the left is slowly catching up.
Pain today was better and I'm officially off pain meds completely. Sitting up in the morning continues to be an unpleasant experience but I'm hopeful it will improve soon. One more day off work and it looks like I should be in good condition to return when the times comes.
Post Op Day 6
Today was my first day back to work. It went well even though I would have rather been at home binge watching terrible reality TV shows some more.
The pain on my left side became noticeable on post op day 3 and is still present today. Based on what I've read, it appears to be related to healing so while annoying, I'm not overly concerned.
As I tend to be stiff and sore in the morning, I attempted to sleep on the couch sitting with my legs propped last night. Not surprisingly, I managed to get about two hours uninterrupted sleep in before waking and making my way to bed. I propped myself up with a collection of pillows, as I have every night, and woke up almost flat, as I have every night. Fortunately, I was able to sit up myself this morning! I had to get creative but I still managed and was not in the usual, tear-worthy pain once upright.
So far, recovery has been pretty easy. Jowever, today I couldn't help but notice the relentless tightness in my chest. Maybe it was because I was sitting at a desk and not as distracted as I had been while at home. Regardless, I'm ready for it to ease up. Now that I've noticed it I can't seem to unnotice it. My back is quite tight as well so I have been using a heating pad in an attempt to loosen it up some. Hopefully my back will feel looser soon and the looseness will translate to a more comfortable feeling in my chest. We'll see!
Here are some Frankenboob photos from post op day 3 and 6 for comparison.
The Adventures of T-Rex Arms
While healing, I have been cautiously keeping my weakened arms close to my sides. Given my limited range of motion and unwillingness to reach for or touch anything outside of my small bubble, I have joke my referred to myself as "T-Rex Arms" to my friends.
Post op day 3 I felt adventurous and/or tired of being stuck indoors and decided to stop by a friend's place for his birthday. While some people are aware of my surgery, I have attempted to keep the details to a limited group. Although my friends tend to be loving, supportive and all around awesome, I would still like to avoid becoming the "friend with implants" if possible.
So, while at this party, guarding my poor arms at my side and attempting to act normal, the birthday boy decided to high five me (we're not a high five group; blame it on the alcohol). We were sitting on the couch, a friend between us and he called for my hand. I gingerly stuck my poor left hand out low and close to my body hoping he would rethink the dreaded high five. He didn't. He accepted that his high five was now a low five. He went for it and in one swift move, my weaken hand gave way with both our hands landing in the middle guy's lap. Yep. Thanks to T-Rex Arms, the birthday boy and I simultaneously cuffed another friend in the balls.
There was no explaining it so I just giggled and the birthday boy quickly blamed it on me and my "T-Rex Arms". While he's not in the group that knows about my surgery, I think my unexplained inability to move like a normal person is obvious. He's onto me. They're all on to me but whatever, #TRexArmsForLife or at least a few more days.
Post Op day 7
No major changes. Arms are slowly getting stronger and flexibility is increasing. Was able to sleep almost flat and woke up without severe pain. I also got a new soft bra today that is less restricting than the last one. I think I can return to regular bras without underwire in a week but will probably wait until my bruising subsides. In trying on this new one I noticed the extreme difference between my left and right side. That left one sure doesn't want to drop anytime soon! I swear it hasn't moved since surgery. I know it's common but will probably mention it during my one week post op so the doctor is aware. Here's a photo of my sexy lopsidedness.
It almost seems like a cruel joke that I have eagerly awaited the arrival of my breasts since I was 10 years old only to finally accept they weren't going to show up at 25, spend years contemplating breast augmentation, finally do it and then have to wait weeks (?), months (?!), years (?!?) for them to settle into place. Each day is slowly better but I can't help but daydream of a future with normal looking breasts. They're larger for sure, but this silly swelling and tightness make them look comical at best. And of course, I had surgery right as the warm weather showed itself. I have to remember that it will be worth it in the end. Thank god for the Internet and countless brave ladies that undertook this journey before me. Every time I panic and think I may look like a monster forever, a quick Google search assures me that it is only temporary and pretty breasts await on the other side. Godspeed, boobies. Godspeed.
Post Op Day 9
Each day is better but mornings continue to be hit or miss. This morning I woke up and both my breasts felt like they were stinging near my incisions. My husband helped me sit up and the left side throbbed. For the first time since my surgery I actually cried in pain. After sitting upright in bed for a few minutes, I made my way to the bathroom, washed my face and began to feel normal again. The discomfort always begins when I wake up, intensifies when I sit up and then dissipates after a few minutes of movement or being upright. I know it'll improve once my muscles loosen up more.
I had my second follow up this morning. The doctor said everything looks good, prescribed a muscle relaxer to help with the tightness in my chest and taught me some massaging techniques. I can begin massaging at anytime but will probably give myself a few more days.
Hope everyone else is recovering well! And those thinking of surgery, feel free to ask any questions you may have. I'm happy to help. :)
I confirmed the details with my doctor, finally!
Implants style: Natrelle 68MP
Volume: 360cc - each side
Placement: Under the muscle
Starting size: 34A/32B
New size: Unknown but will update in a few months once the drop.
On Telling People About Your Surgery
I had an interesting exchange with my dad today. We are very close and when I decided to move forward with surgery, I discussed it with him. While he didn't love the idea, he is always supportive and joined us the day of surgery and helped my husband care for me a few days during recovery. As a result, I think he feels like I have saddled him with a secret. Close family members that see or speak with him regularly were left with unanswered questions while he was caring for me and unavailable. Today he checked on me and during the exchanged asked when he could discuss it with family. I was somewhat taken aback when I quickly responded by saying, "never." I have been very selective with the people I have confided in and given the relatively small change in appearance and my tendency to wear loose or layered clothes, I do not think anyone outside of that small circle has noticed.
It seems like our society, and quite possibly our world, is full of people that feel entitled to discuss other people's bodies. From the time we are born other people attempt to dictate how we will adorn our bodies, where we will take our bodies, how we will interact with our bodies, who, how and under what circumstances we will allow others to interact with our bodies and so on. If you are a female or trans, it seems that these opinions are expressed with even more fervor.
Everyone has an opinion about elective surgery. Good or bad, everyone feels something about it. I did not decide to get breast augmentation because I am recovering from cancer; I decided to get surgery because I wanted larger breasts. That's it. It's vain; it's unnecessary; it's financially and possibly medically irresponsible but it is the truth.
I wanted to do it so I did it. And I know people will feel some way about that. People will always feel entitled to opinions about my body. People may discuss my tattoos, piercings, hair color or style or anything else. It is out of my control regardless of how pointless and harmful I think it may be. I know that and frankly, I haven't told many people because I do not wish to give them more to talk about; more to judge; more to cloud their views of me, an entire person.
You get one life and I am a firm believer that you should do whatever you want with that life. If you desire something and that desire or thing does not negatively effect those around you, then get what you want. Fuck the masses. Fuck everyone that thinks they've earned the right to tell you who or how to be.
Post Op Day 18 - Bra Shopping
Anticipating that bra shopping would be difficult for the first few weeks of recovery, I purchased some bras recommended online prior to surgery. Unfortunately my doctor advised against them and I've been playing bra catch up ever since. I've bought sports style bras in stores and online only to find that they do not fit well or comfortably. After being limited to one semi comfortable sports bra for weeks, I finally decided to go for a more regular style yesterday. Now that my flexibility is improving and pain is decreasing, trying bras on proved much easier. I was able to find two comfortable, wire free bras and even managed to wear a normal, relatively low cut shirt today! Let me tell you that wearing a sports bra during the warm spring months makes assembling an outfit a chore. It's so nice to have a normal(ish) bra again! And so far no discomfort so double success!
I know it'll be a while until my final size is known but one of the well fitted bras is a medium and the other a 34C. I suspect that is where I will end up once it's all said and done. My goal was a large B or small C and 360cc was the biggest they could go on my body. I can't help but feel envious of the larger breasts I see on here but I think mine fit me well. I'm relatively petite and wanted a natural appearance; these seem like they've been there all along so I'm happy.
Post Op Day - first workout
Returned to my gym today for my first workout following surgery. My trainer knows about my surgery so she prepared a simple plan that focused on leg exercises and some ab work. We're going to ease into exercising and see how I feel after each day. I began exercising more frequently a few months before surgery and would like to get back to 5 days a week soon. I'm planning on going two more times this week due to the holiday weekend and should be back on track next week. On a side note, how big do my ladies look in my work out shirt?! I've been wearing so many loose shirts to conceal the sports bra that this was the first time I had seen them in a form fitting top.
Because I wasn't sure about what my incisions would look like or how the tape may be attached to them, I've been waiting for the tape to loosen over time. The left side is still fairly attached but the right was loose enough to easily remove today. I'm very surprised at how great the incision looks and glad it was healed enough to remove the tape without issue. The incision is not very noticeable and is right in the fold. Can't wait to sneak a peak at the other side; I think the tape will be ready to remove in 1-2 days.
C'mon, Lefty! Time to Drop.
My poor left boob cannot keep up with the right. It's not visibly noticeable when I'm wearing clothes but I can tell that my bras fit differently on the left side. This photo looks a bit more extreme than they do in person but it's definitely accurate. The right has settled faster than the left. Ahh, patience.
Seven Weeks Post Op
I'm seven weeks post op today and feeling great! My boobs are softening more and sitting closer together in some bras. I almost have cleavage! Crazy new world. I also just realized that I need a new swimsuit for our upcoming Forth of July trip. I haven't been as quick to return to the gym as I had hoped so hopefully I can find a suit I'm comfortable with. I have another follow up in two days and will post an update if anything important comes up. Hope everyone else is doing well. :)
Musings at 8 Weeks Post Op
Immediately following surgery my breasts felt foreign. Just like everything I had read and heard, my stretched muscles made it feel as if baseballs had been shoved under my skin. The stiffness, periodic pings of pain, inability to sit upright without assistance and unending cycle of bra adjusting left me more aware of my body and breasts than ever before.
Week six was supposed to be the golden week. By week six the pain would be gone, the stiffness and limitations a thing of the past and most of all, my breasts would again feel like a part of me. It actually began with week five. I didn't think about them every second of every day. I didn't feel like a science experiment. I didn't feel limited. And actually, I felt lucky. I thought, "Great! I hit the week six feeling a week early. Things are moving faster than planned. I got this."
I don't know if the week six feeling actually hit me at week five or if I was getting ahead of myself. I don't know that it truly matters. I do know, however, that at week eight my breasts very much feel a part of my body. These breasts feel so real to me, so original that I forget they are there. Worst of all, I check for them 2-3 times a day sometimes when I really shouldn't.
When I wake up and without the recently familiar back pain, I quickly grab my boobs, sigh to myself and think, "still there". When I daydream in traffic without feeling the discomfort of resting my hands on the steering wheel, I snap out of it and check on my breasts. Haven't gone anywhere. I don't know if this weird obsession is a result of my newfound comfort or due to spending six weeks thinking about them. Now that I've passed the six week mark, I no longer have to calculate the weight of each item I pick up or worry about the consequences of tripping and catching myself with my weaken arms. I can stretch my arms over my head and behind my back. I am finally free to not think about my boobs and now all I can do is think about my boobs.
Although my breasts still have some settling to do, I decided to get officially fitted for a bra today. I know they may change more over the next few months but wanted to buy a more comfortable bra and could only do so after having a better understanding of what size I am. While I had assumed I would be a 34C, Victoria's Secret fitted me at a 32DD. Cue jaw drop. Of course this lead to speculation among the friends I rapidly texted from the fitting room that VS has fallen victim to vanity sizing and my actual size may be smaller than suggested. I think that is quiet possible but whatever. For today I will bask in the glory of going from an A to a DD over night and consider myself a part of the grown up boob club. Once the novelty wears off and they drop more, I'll get a few more fittings at other stores to narrow down the most accurate size.
Bratastrophe! AKA: That Time My New Bra Gave Me Blisters
After reading online a bit, I decided to go to Nordstrom for another bra fitting. It seems that some women swear by them and prefer their fittings over Victoria's Secret. The woman I worked with was great and fitted me at a 30DDD; VS previously fit me at at 32DD which is the sister size.
I bought three bras and a bralette before going on my merry way. Unfortunately, the morning after my first day in my new strapless, I discovered these awful, unsightly blisters across my chest. The bra had been somewhat uncomfortable the evening before but not nearly uncomfortable enough to prepare me for this.
The bra has the same plastic like material around the cups and back to help it stay up. Because the blisters are isolated to my poor boobs alone, I do not think they are the result of an allergic reaction to the bra. Rather, I think that the bra must have been ill fitted and rubbed throughout the day. It was a warm day and we were quite busy outdoors so I could have overlooked any subtle discomfort.
Anyway, I'm planning on returning the bra as soon as I have a free moment. If anyone has some suggestions for treating the blisters, please let me know! They're high up on my chest which limits my late summer clothing options quite a bit.
Looks like they didn't upload. ????