I really need the collective support of realself...
I really need the collective support of realself to get through my explant scheduled on 9/24/14. Here's my story:
I was a late bloomer, slim, and had an athletic build as a teen. My dad teased me quite often about my lack of breasts and then would follow up by saying that I could always get a "boob job." We'll, at the age of 19, that's exactly what I did. It makes me sick to my stomach now to think back on his comments. Who the heck says that to their daughter? I have a daughter and would never dream of telling her anything other than she is beautiful the way she is.
I can't remember the implant size, but I told the surgeon to make me proportional. I was a small b cup. I look back at pictures before the BA and I had lovely breasts. There was nothing wrong my size. When I came out of the surgery, I was quite large and the surgeon told me not to worry. The implants would drop and the swelling would go away and I would love my size. I had gone from a B to a double DD. The size didn't look natural and I looked out of proportion. The surgery was very painful. I woke up from anesthesia and immediately couldn't breathe, which I was told was normal and the chest muscles would eventually loosen. About 2 days after surgery, I started having issues with lactation. I had never been pregnant, but I started leaking breast milk. When I called the surgeon, he told me that my prolactin level must have elevated because of the surgery. Such a weird complication! I now know that prolactin levels can elevate in response to chest wall injuries. It's a problem that I've had to deal with off and on for the last 22 years.
About 2 months after the surgery, one of the implants started to slip. It was very noticeable in clothing. I went back to the surgeon and he replaced the slipped implant. I should have just had them both removed. The surgeon was still insistent that I was still not healed from the surgery and I would get my desired size. This never happened, unfortunately. And over time, the implants have shifted causing a wide presentation and uneven nipples.
After my second surgery, my sister was diagnosed with malignant hyperthermia. This causes a very serious reaction to anesthesia that is genetically passed. I grew to hate my implants, but felt that my now 50% odds of having MH made a 3rd elective surgery too risky. If I knew the implants could be removed under local anesthesia, I would have removed them years ago.
I've had 2 consults and feel confident with my PS. I'm very concerned about having an anxiety attack during the procedure. The dr prescribes a sedative, but said I won't need an IV. I think that rules out conscious sedation. I really really want the implants removed and I'm hopeful that will motivate me to face my fear about being awake during the procedure (such a better word than surgery!).
The procedure is set for 9/24/14. My breasts are soft and the dr doesn't recommend capsule removal or drains. I was told it would be a simple "skin surgery" with little risk of complication. I should be back to work in a week.
I'm not worried about how I'll look after the explant or the recovery period, my only concern is for the procedure itself. I could really use some support.
3 Weeks Until Explant!
Three weeks from today I will be implant free :)
My husband hasn't been very supportive of the removal. I think he's coming around, though he still doesn't believe my that there's a shelf life when it comes to implants. Strangely enough, the explant isn't a conversation I feel very comfortable having with him. We were dating at the time I got the implants and, I don't know, maybe there's a small part of me that blames him for not telling me I was perfect the way I was. I know I need to own the decision to get the implants. Nobody forced me to augment. It was a really stupid decision that I regret and am ashamed of. Definitely not anything I would ever do today.
Speaking of being ashamed, I have teen boys and am trying to decide if the surgery is something I have to tell them about. I'd rather keep this quiet and not discuss it. Any advice appreciated.
2 Weeks Until Explant
I can't believe I'm down to 2 weeks! Still feeling anxious about the procedure, but I'm feeling more determined the closer I get. If I have to start sedating myself a week prior, then that's what I'll have to do :)
I bought a front closure bra this week. I have my preop on 9/22, but have no special instructions to follow at this point. Everything I know about preop stuff really comes from this board. I will avoid aspirin/ibuprofen for the next couple of weeks. The last thing I want is to get to my preop and have the surgery rescheduled because I took something I shouldn't have.
I really appreciate reading through everyone's stories. It gives me the courage to get these bags out of me.
1 Week Until Explant
Next week at this time, I will be home recuperating. I can't believe I'm only a week out. Ack! Still feeling very determined and I know how important it is to have my implants removed. My pre-op is on 9/22 and I'll be very honest with Dr. Gabriel about my level of anxiety about the actual procedure. I may need the max amount of whatever sedative he prescribes :)
Things I'm looking forward to:
--No more worries about all my weird health issues and whether it's caused by my implants.
--Sleeping on my stomach.
--Sleeping on my side :)
--Wearing bathing suits without worrying about whether everyone knows I have implants.
--Mammograms that aren't intensely painful.
--Mammogram results that are clear and not difficult to read due to dense breast tissue.
--Showing and not just telling my daughter that the body we are born with is beautiful.
--Not having to disclose to every health professional that I have implants.
--Soft boobies :)
--Clothes fitting better.
--Exercising without my huge boobs in the way, especially in yoga class.
--Hugging people without worrying about whether they feel my implants.
--Getting rid of my chronic neck pain and spasms. Not sure if it's caused by the implants, but I've read so many stories on RS that explant helped.
My preop today was scheduled for 9:00am. Monday mornings are usually rushed so it was probably bad planning for my nerves to schedule it at this time. I ended up getting on the wrong freeway and was 5 minutes late. I was sooo worried that my blood pressure and heart rate would be high and the surgery would get postponed like I read in another review. Anyways, I sat down, tried to slow my breathing, and was called out of the waiting room by the Dr.
Dr Gabriel had me sit in the hallway while we waited for his surgical scheduler to get off the phone. We chatted and he made me feel a million times better about the surgery. He remembered my family history of malignant hyperthermia and commented that doing the explant under local anesthesia really is my safest option. He was compassionate and reassuring. He said everything I needed to hear. After talking with him, I feel so much calmer about Wednesday.
On to the particulars--I'm to take 2 keflex and 1 clonodine at 10:00am the day of my surgery. I then to take 1 Ativan at 10:30. He wrote me a prescription for Vicodin, but I'm to hold off until after the procedure. I'm also supposed to bring an extra Ativan to the surgery at 1:00. He said the Ativan/clonodine combo should knock me out and I might need my driver to carry me to my appointment. I think he was joking about that, but I'm all for being so loopy I can't walk.
I have no special instructions about eating or drinking. He didn't say anything about compression or recovery. I guess I'll find out on Wednesday.
I just picked up my prescriptions. All 5 only came to $13. Crazy cheap! Oh, and I noticed something funny on my payment paperwork. It lists the procedure as bilateral implant removal and the reason states unacceptable cosmetic appearance. Kinda makes me laugh because I can think of a dozen other better reasons--patient's breasts are uncomfortable, patient can't take a deep breath, poisoning patient's body, patient no longer wants fake breasts. I just paid $1500 for an explant and I'm fairly certain my after photos are going to scream "unacceptable cosmetic appearance."
That's about all I can remember. I was expecting a longer appointment and was pleasantly surprised I didn't have to undress or have my vitals checked :)
Less than 24 hours!
Ack! Repeating to myself that I am stronger than I think.
I did it!!
24 Sep 2014
Day of treatment
First let me start by saying a huge thanks to every single person that has posted their story. Thank you to everyone that personally encouraged me to explant. Without this support, I wouldn't be sitting here right now in my bed without implants.
I was intensely anxious yesterday and took 1/2 of a sedative to get me thru the night. Woke up this morning and felt sick to my stomach and I really had a lot of self doubt about whether I could go thru with this.
At 10:00 I took my 2 keflex and 1/2 of the clonidine. The instructions were for a whole pill, but I hate taking meds. I don't even like taking Tylenol. At 10:30 I took 1 mg of Valium. And at 10:45, my husband convinced me to take the other half of the clonidine.
I sat on the couch and felt nothing from these meds until about 11:45. My head started to get a little woozy, but I was still aware of my anxiousness. We left the house and checked in at 12:45. Dr Gabriel came out and introduced himself to my husband and then took me into a room. I changed into a robe and slippers. I had terrible cottonmouth from the meds so he also brought in a glass of water. He stepped out to check on the operating room and came. back in and escorted me to the OR. I was pretty wobbly at this point. He told hubby to come back for me in an hour.
I laid down on the table and they made me comfortable with pillows. I took off the bathrobe and then they washed my chest area with freezing cold antiseptic. I started shivering and they turned on the lights to help me get warm. Once the antiseptic was cleaned up they draped me with blankets. It took me a bit to stop shivering.
The dr numbed me up. I have quite a bit of numbness from my previous surgeries so I felt very little. I think the numbing medicine made my heart race, because i was fine and then it started to pound during right after the numbing.
Dr G started on the right breast first. He kept asking me if I felt anything, which I didn't. I did sort of feel the skin stretchers, but it wasn't unpleasant. He found and drained the implant and suctioned the water. He said I would feel cold water but it felt warm. The uncomfortable part came next. He used his finger to pull the implant off the capsule. He called it tickling, but there were a few moments were it felt burning pulling sore. And that was it, the implant was out. He sutured me back up and started on the left side. Same procedure. No pain until the "tickling" and there was a single quick moment of pain when the silicone bag was adhered and he had to pull it off.
Throughout the whole thing, Dr Gabriel kept telling me to breathe. He could feel my heart race. My hands were tingling too. I was trying to deep breathe but it wasn't slowing my heart rate down. I really think it was from the numbing shots.
Start to finish it was about 30 minutes. I got dressed and waited for my husband in the hallway. He thought he had an hour and ran and got groceries.
I feel great. Still a little groggy from the sedative and clonidine. I have no pain. I did take a quick peak of the girls when I was still strapped down. They look pretty sad, but I'm so happy to be at a point in my life that will embrace and celebrate my body in its current form.
I'm wrapped up Ina compression bra with foam placed inside the bra. I'm quite comfortable lounging in bed right now. If I use my arms, the pec muscles feel funny so I'm avoiding that for now.
I've cried happy tears twice so far. Once after the right side implant was removed and also on the way home. I'm proud of myself for doing this. I wish I would have done it 20 years ago.
1 day Post Explant
Not such a good day today. I suspect the antibiotic is causing an upset tummy :( I have only had to take Tylenol. It's really just pain at the incisions. I'm bound up pretty tightly and the bra is pushing on the incisions. I'll be so glad to get this off.
Took a quick peak at girls. Small and deflated, but I do still have some breast tissue so I'm happy about that. I showed the hubbs, who didn't want to see (he thought it would make him sick!), and even he was pleasantly surprised.
I have my post op tomorrow. Hopefully I get to stop wearing the compression bra and my antibiotics will finish up tomorrow as well. I'm hoping Saturday will be my feeling great day :)
Little is the New Big :)
Healing is happening! Had my post-op this morning and got to take off the foam pads and compression bra. Boobies are deflated, but I'm pleasantly happy that I have enough there to work with. I have no bruising and have only needed Tylenol to deal with pain. It's really only the right side at this point that is uncomfortable at the incision.
The doc said I can shower (yippee!) and no longer have to wear those horrible foam pads inside the compression bra that get sweaty. I go back next week for a dressing change with the nurse. I have my last follow-up with the dr in 3 weeks.
Tried going for a walk yesterday. I didn't get too far. Still feeling a little weak and nauseous. The nausea comes with a yucky clammy feeling. Ugh! The dr did give me the go ahead to stop the antibiotic. Thank Goodness!
I have absolutely no regrets about removing the implants. I'm so happy with my outcome. Even if I don't "fluff", I know I can rock what little I have left :)
Day 5 Post Explant
Feeling pretty good today. Had to pop into work and deal with a couple of problems. Felt so good to be there that I stayed for a couple of hours. Yesterday I finally had a little bit of an appetite. Boy did those antibiotics do a number on me. I've now lost 6 pounds. Not sure how much of that are the implants.
Incisions sites are doing well. I have to still be careful on the right side. For some reason it feels so much tighter. I'm still getting used to the feeling of not having implants. I keep thinking I'm swelling because I can feel jiggly breasts even with the compression bra. I haven't felt this in over 20 years! Even few hours I check to make sure it's not swelling, and nope, not any bigger it's just my breasts. How funny is that?! Bending over is an experience. Still not used to the feeling that my boobs are about to fall out--not sure how else to explain it.
I'm going to try and post pictures. I can't figure out how to take side shots. The pics are from yesterday, but I can already see a difference :)
3 Weeks Post Op - 2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back
Today marks 3 weeks and 2 days post op. Not much has changed in how I look. Still wearing compression bra and hoping to get clarification back from doctor on when I can stop it. Unfortunately, I had a bad reaction to the surgical tape. My incision sites are irritated and terribly itchy. The right side was swollen, but it looks better today. I'm more uncomfortable now than immediately after the surgery. I saw my dr today and I'm to alternate between baby oil and hydrocortisone cream. I just need to be patient and let my body heal. It's so frustrating, though :( I'm tired of "healing" and want to skip ahead to "healed."
So that's my update. Sorry to be such a downer :(
Awwwww, thank you! I had a bit of a pity party for myself yesterday. Today, I'm mentally much better. I had a tape reaction during my initial BA and I told my dr about it during the consult and also during the actual explant. Since he still used tape, I assumed it was hypoallergenic and I wouldn't react. I took Benadryl and that helped the itching and Im wearing a pre explant sports bra, which is too big but I can pull it down over the irritated areas. I think healing is going to be a few days at least. The areas aren't flaming red and hot anymore. Just really irritated and itchy.
On to something positive.....my neck spasms are gone! For at least the last 10 years I've had excruciating neck and shoulder spasms on the left side and a small area of numbness. I've gone thru physical therapy, taken tons of muscle relaxers, bought pillows, new mattresses, reorganized my workspace for ergonomics, tried chiropractor adjustments, and massage therapy. Nothing helped. It's only been 3 weeks and my left side muscles have fully released, the numbness is gone, and I no longer have the knot under the shoulder blade :) I've seen a lot of specialists about the spasms and not one said it was the implants, but it clearly was. I know how dramatic this sounds but I'm going to say it anyway, I really do feel like this surgery has been life changing.