Finally taking the plunge and getting a breast...
Finally taking the plunge and getting a breast reduction. Surgery will be July 5th, Co firmed this morning!
I remember playing outside when I was a kid, maybe 8 or so, and overhearing my aunt say to my mom "looks like she might need to start wearing a bra soon". I also remember sitting in the car around the same age and getting mad because the seat belt would lay across my chest and I could see the shape of my just-starting-to-develop boobs. I've hated them ever since. In high school, I was active in sports, and wrestling was by far my favorite. I wasn't any good, but it was fun, and that's all that mattered. Then junior year rolled around. None of the uniforms fit me. I couldn't wrestle without the uniform, and I knew trying to stuff myself into one would be a bad idea. They handed out uniforms on team picture day, and that was my last day of wrestling. When I got the pictures back, I felt humiliated. I threw away as many as I could, but my mom had handed out a few of them to family. Two years ago, I found a couple more of them in a box as I was cleaning out my mom's house after she passed away. I shook my head at the photos and quickly threw them in the trash before anyone else could find them, feeling almost sick that my body could do this to me.
Last year (2015), my boyfriend and I were browsing at Goodwill, and I was looking for a dress to wear to his friends wedding. I can usually fit into XL tops, so I started looking for that size. I found a few that looked absolutely huge (not that XL is huge, it's not, I just felt that in comparison to my short and generally small frame, they would be very large on me) and even thought "these might actually be too BIG for my boobs!" I was excited. Then I tried them on. The first one wouldn't even stretch over my boobs. The second one buttoned up the front, and the buttons wouldn't close. I tried on the last one, and it fit perfectly everywhere - except for the boobs that wouldn't even partially fit into the dress. Staring at myself in that mirror and trying to not start bawling in the middle of the store, I made the decision. I didn't care how much it would cost, but this surgery was going to happen. I haven't exercised since high school because my mind made the leap of "well, you can't wrestle, so you can't do anything athletic". As an adult, I've weighed anywhere from 108-160lbs, and the smallest my breasts have measured the entire time is 34DD.
My back and shoulders have hurt since I was around 16. I get a lot of rashes underneath my breasts, especially in the summer. If I wear a sports bra (in an attempt to keep them off my ribcage when the rashes start to hurt), they get smashed together and I get rashes between them in addition to the ones underneath. My gynecologist prescribed an anti-fungal cortisone cream to help with the rashes. When used as directed, the rash will clear up, them return a few days later. After a few cycles of that, I gave up.
My surgeon says he expects to take out around 1-1.25lbs total, but I'm a bit worried that it won't be enough. I go for a pre-surgery appointment in late June, so I will make sure we are on the same page before the surgery. Ideally, I will be in the B cup range when all is said and done, but I do try to be realistic about it. I can deal with the physical pain if I have to, I'm doing this more for the emotional abuse my body has put me through. I really hope I'm not disappointed afterwards.
Two more days
Surgery is in 49 hours! Doc is saying 4-6 weeks of work. He used a photo of my breasts to show me roughly what they will look like after, and it looks like he will be removing around 2/3 of each breast. The nipple will be around 3-4 inches higher than it is now. If I wasn't doing this now, they'd be at my knees by age 35! Getting nervous, pharmacy didn't get my script filled yet, so I'm going to have to stop in on the way home from surgery. Not happy about that. Maybe I can fill the script at the hospital while I'm there since my pharmacy dropped the ball. I keep looking down and smiling, knowing they will be much smaller. Dreading not being able to drive for a week. I also have a job interview scheduled for two days after the planned removal of my drains, so that might be a bit rough too. Going to try to get a few before photos in the clothes I plan on wearing home so that there is a good comparison (not comfortable sharing the topless ones, but may see if the nurse can do an after shot).
Post op day 1
Surgery was yesterday, July 5th. Fighting with nausea and sleep right now, haven't really ate much either. Trying to stay hydrated. Drainage has already gone down quite a bit, but they stay in until my post op on Monday. Still no pain, haven't taken any pain meds. Every now and then I get a small zinger here and there but nothing worth taking anything for. Very swollen and tight, and I feel a bit weak, probably from not eating much. My back hurts because I keep sliding down ok n to uncomfortable positions in my bed and can't really lift myself back up to scoot back into place. Wish I had a recliner, but this will have to do for now. My boyfriend has been taking care of my drains for me, which is awesome. He was.only able to get two days off.work though, so he goes back tomorrow. I haven t even really looked down at them much yet because I know they are still very swollen. At least they finally feel like they are mine. Imy very much looking forward to being able to sleep on my side.
6 days post op
Leaving in about an hour to hopefully get these darn drains out. Got a couple blisters on one side and some welts on my stomach from where they were sitting last night when I slept. The smallest blister hasn't drained on its own yet, so my guess is the doc will today. The bigger one has drained a couple times on its own, but hasn't filled back up yet, so hopefully that one is getting better.
Still swollen, and the top half is still numb. Have some sensation in the nipple area and underside, but no pain. Armpits feel bruised and painful to touch, but fine otherwise.
I haven't removed the bandages fromantic the nipple area yet because the idea of doing so makes me a bit woozy (anxiety reaction, yay!). Also have gauze padding around the bottom of the bra band because it's leaving irritating red marks if I don't. Drains have been down to 10-15cc for the past couple days. Moving around much better now.
Post op appointment rescheduled
Drove an hour and a half to my appointment today just to be told that the doc got called in to an emergency surgery. I go back tomorrow to get the drains out. A pain in the butt, but I understand. If I lived closer it wouldn't have been so annoying, but that's the world of medicine for you. My left and my future MIL made a day of it and went to a craft store and the book store. Had a good time and it got me out of the house and in public for the first time since my surgery. Let's hope for better news tomorrow:)
Drains are out!
Finally got my drains taken out today, one week after surgery. A little more sore now since all the bandages and tape are off and the surgical bra is straight against the skin, but still feeling good. Took some motrin this morning for unrelated pain, still no pain meds needed for anything related to my surgery. Armpits are numb but I have feeling everywhere else. No visible stitches anywhere.
Second post-op appointment in three weeks on the 4th of August, and looking to return to work August 8th. Still not allowed to sleep on my side for two more weeks :(
Slowly getting back to normal
It's been almost 2 weeks since my surgery. I'm getting out and about like I used to, went for a walk yesterday before it started raining. I plan on going to a local festival today (no rides for me, surgery or not - weak stomach when it comes to spinning). Driving is getting easier but I would much rather drive my boyfriend's car than mine, his steering wheel is easier to turn.
My only complaints at this point are my suegical bra (the band hurts all the way around, slightly better if I flip it up though) and my blisters - they've stopped filling up as much but now look pretty gross. Will probably leave a scar.
Now I need to focus on losing around 40-50lbs. Right now I have the motivation to start working out, but I'm limited to pretty much just walking. I don't really eat that much, but will have to start paying closer attention. Last time I counted everything, I was averaging around 1300 calories a day, so I'm not sure how much more I should cut. All I know is that I look 8 months pregnant now :( With my short hair, I actually feel much less feminine (which is weird because I have never even thought about whether I look feminine or masculine or anywhere in between....). Maybe I am just more aware of my appearance now?
Two weeks post op
Feeling pretty good. Been out walking everyday for the past 4 days. Never did take any pain meds (not even otc Tylenol or motrin). Only pain I have is a stinging sensation in my armpits (mostly the left). The outer sides are still pretty numb but I have sensation everywhere else. They still feel a bit heavy towards the middle in the morning when I first get out of bed, but within a few minutes it goes away.
Very dry skin on the outer numb area. Back pain is pretty much gone, but I'm holding off on declaring the surgery a success in that aspect until I get back to work. I have more energy now than I did prior to surgery, and even my sciatic nerve hasn't been bothering me as much as usual. I have about three more week off of work.
Recently made the transition into regular shirts instead of button up ones. They fit different. I held up an old bra to see what the difference was - I filied up less than half of it, and it was on e that was too small before! Very happy with the surgery and seem to be healing pretty well.
3.5 weeks post op
Drove an hour and a half to the docs yesterday (and two hours back because of traffic) just for a 30 second "it's fine, there's no infection" appointment. I go back in 2.5 weeks. I did take the opportunity to visit the mall and buy a new outfit.
I'm finally able to move my arms pretty freely although I still use caution and try not to move them quickly. They get sore with humidity still, especially when I'm moving around. These cooler temps help though. Still out walking a mile a day. One more week off of work, but I'm still nervous about returning because of the physical nature of my job. Lots of pushing heavy containers, overhead reaching, twisting, climbing, and pulling. I'm starting to think an additional week would be helpful, but I will be off lifting restrictions in a couple of days according to my post-op instructions paperwork. Going to call just to double check everything next week. Looking forward to getting more physically active soon. Feeling good.
I tried on a dress yesterday when I was shopping. Before surgery, I couldn't fit into an extra large because of my chest, and now I could probably fit into a medium if the rest of my torso would cooperate!
4 weeks today
My doc (his nurse) is supposed to confirm tomorrow that I'm able to go back to work next week. The T-Junction on my left side is still open a bit, so there's a small possibility I'll have to wait another week to go back. My armpits are starting to get more feeling back in them, and the stinging sensation is gone on the right side and much less than it was on the left side. Almost more of a sticky sensation now. The outer sides are numb on both sides still, but I have more nipple sensation that I did prior to surgery, which is really weird to me. Not sure if I'm a fan of that or not.
Still walking a mile most days. Overall feeling really good and getting pretty bored at home every day. I've been trying to find things to do, but I live in a small town. Walmart is half an hour away and is only entertaining for so long.
I'm almost 6 weeks post op. Been back to work for almost a week. I've got a full range of motion and generally no pain except for a few zingers here and there. I'm down 5-6 cup sizes depending on swelling. The T-Junction on the left side is still open, but looks better than it did. All the scabs are gone now except for the holes from my drains. Some soreness aling the long incision on the right, but its completely closed up. Just the two open spots on the left which im getting very impatient with. I have my next followup appointment in three days. I'm expecting that to be another "everything looks good, take a few photos, and out the door in 5 minutes" appointment. I like those types of appointments, but not the 3 hour round trip for it.
Still struggling with the weight loss. The diet aspect is the worst part for me. I'm walking 6+ miles a day at work, and a mile on the days I don't work, but I'm still limited as far as vigorous exercise until my incisions close up. Working night shift is kicking my butt because I tend to eat to stay awake. Would love to meet with a dietician to try and come up with a solution that works for me - food that doesn't require much prep and is easy to transport and store. I've been eating more fruit, but my sweet tooth is kicking my butt. I tried sandwiches but those get boring quick.
8 weeks out
Almost 2 months post surgery (8 weeks yesterday). Feeling pretty good, but I still get some pain after the more physical days at work. I sleep with a small pillow against my chest at night when I'm laying on my side, otherwise they are a little sore in the morning. I've caught myself sleeping on my stomach a few times but it didn't hurt. I've got two small scabbed over areas on the left breast at both ends of the vertical incision. The skin is still numb on the outsides of both breasts and into the armpits and back of the arms, but I do have feeling in most of my right armpit now. Never lost sensation in the nipples, and it actually increased, but has been lessening back to presurgery levels, and I'm absolutely ok with that. Some "dog earring" still on both sides, but the right side looks to be shrinking a bit. Left side isn't budging yet, but hopefully it does soon.
I tried on a wire free non-sports bra the other day for the first time. It was a 36C, but I didn't like the way it fit. I feel like my breasts are still pretty wide, so it may still be hard to find something that fits in the cup. I might have to stick with sports bras for the most part, but I'm hoping for a better shape to form in the next few months. I also tried a pullover sports bra, and was very much looking forward to it until I put it on. I forgot how much of a pain in the butt they are to get on and off, especially the compression bras. I'm still looking for something with good support for cardio. Tried some zipper front bras but they don't stay closed no matter what size I try. The front hook bras are doing good, and I've gone from a 38 to a 36 band as the swelling has gone down. I think they'll probably settle around a 36C, but time will tell.
Overall, a successful operation and I'm happy I decided to do it. The upper back pain is much improved, but the middle back pain is still troublesome. I actually ended up going to the ER the other day for back spasms and they took an x-ray, but didn't find anything wrong. The back spasms were a bit disappointing, but I think that's more work related.
Overall feeling pretty good. I have another appointment in two weeks with the surgeon for a followup.
Two and a half months post op
24 Sep 2016
2 months post
Feeling around 90% healed. Incisions still hurt sometimes, especially when I rollol over in bed. I still sleep with a small pillow against my chest for support when I lay on my side, but can lay on my stomach with no problems or pain. The area around the back of my upper arm/armpit on the right side still hurts, a sharp stinging sensation when I tough it or rub it. The skin is still numb there and through the armpit, along with the outsides of both breasts, some places underneath both breasts, and a pins and needles sensation in the left armpit, mostly when shaving and putting on deodorant. Occasional aches in the side of wach breast. The scars are still depressed and red but all incisions are fully closed.
A huge improvement in my sciatic nerve pain. I couldn't believe it made a difference with it, but so happy it did.
I've actually been out walk/running twice so far, but I'm not pushing hard until I find a good compression tank or something to minimize any bouncing. It doesn't hurt, but I don't want them flopping anymore than they need to. It's so weird that they don't touch my ribcage anymore!
Doc said I still have swelling on the sides that should go down. Currently measuring/comfortably wearing 36c without underwire, but I only have one that is an actual bra and not a sports bra. Time will tell as far as actual post op size goes.
I'm having a very hard time finding lined, wire free bras. I did find one danskin pullover sports bra with removable linings, and it fit well, but I couldn't get it back off! My boyfriend had to help me pull it over my head. Needless to say, not putting that one on for awhile. Sticking to my front hook bras that I bought post op. I did find a zippered bra, but it won't stay zipped up. As soon as I let go of the zipper it unzips. It didn't feel tight.
I return to see the doc again in January unless any problems arise before then.
6 months out
The six month post surgery mark is coming up in a few days. I can't believe it's been that long already! I've decided sports bras are super comfy and it's pretty much all I wear now, although I have found one wire free bra that I like. Most of the wire free bras have a weird cup shape.
As far as scarring goes, towards the center of my chest, the scars are thin white lines, but as you get closer to my arm pits, they are still a darker red. The dog ears in the center are gone. The vertical incisions are heading in the direction of thin, white lines, but not there yet. Going to be some visible scarring at both the top and bottom of the vertical incision on my left breast where there was some separation and stabbing, but I'm not worried about it. I don't plan on posing nude :). I'd say roughly 2/3of each breast is still at least somewhat numb. Within the past couple days I've been getting a few zingers in my left armpit, so hopefully that numbness is starting to go away. Still a bit tight feeling above my breasts, and a little bit of a pinching sensation at the incision sites where they're still red (I'm guessing it's from bras/my arms rubbing on the area). The drain sites are still a bit tender, and I think there is still a little bit of swelling on the sides towards the end of the incisions.
They're still nice and perky, and I love them! Still a great decision! Would definitely recommend the procedure to others. Next appointment with my surgeon is in two weeks.