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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The blog you've all been waiting for...

I was going to title this "My Vegas Boob Job" but now that I am getting more familiar with how these search engines work and tracking keywords, I opted to try to limit the pervs to my site.

Anyhow, as you may have known, I recently decided to have "the girls" reduced. 

Oddly, once I announced this publicly, on Facebook, I was inundated with a number of private messages to please let everyone know how it went because they were considering the surgery themselves.

Before you think I've gone all Vegas on you-- rest assured, I'm still quite grounded-- this was medically necessary.  My insurance may have disagreed, but I will be arguing with them on that point.  You see, they removed more than they had anticipated- the maximum possible, in fact without causing damage to my blood flow (more on that later)- and it was all fibrocystic tissue.  Very heavy fibrocystic tissue.  I jokingly say that it feels as if a weight has been lifted from me.  It has.  I did not have marshmallow boobies.  I truly had some boulders.

Basically, I could have been exercising my little butt off for the next 10 years, stayed fat, damaged my back and I still would have had giant, heavy boobs.  I knew this.  It just took a $7800 gamble for me to prove it. 

So the details...

In order to do reduction mammoplasty, they basically cut around your nipple (they do not cut it off), reposition to a high place on your breast, make a U incision underneath your breast with a straight line up (think anchor).  They suck out the tissue (in my case, NOT FAT!!!), remove excess skin, sew everything back up and you're on your way out the door.

When I went in for the surgery, I had a complete "Nip/Tuck" moment-- they drew on my chest.  I asked for a happy face.  The poor surgeon, Dr. Cameron Earl, had no idea what he was getting into when he took me on as a patient.  When I asked to be a large B, small C, he laughed.  He then explained that he couldn't.  I could hear men around the world the sigh in relief in unison (my male friends have all been fascinated by why I would ever want this done....).  Basically, due to blood flow to my nipple, they are limited on the amount of tissue that can be removed.  In a normal "medically necessary" reduction, they will remove 500 grams from each breast.  He said maybe a large C.

During the surgery, they removed 650g+ from each of mine- which surprised the surgeon.  This limited the "size" reduction that was possible- I'm still a D cup more than likely but can I tell ya, 1300 g of weight off my chest is quite lovely.  The fibrocystic tissue weighs more than fatty tissue (which I could have reduced with weight loss).  If I had been doing this for cosmetic purpose, I might have been more upset, but considering the results (stay tuned), I'm good with a D cup.

I woke up a few hours later in the recovery area.  I had the surgery done out patient, at a surgical center, by the way.  I don't do well with anesthesia, so I expected to be nauseous.  What I didn't expect was that my back- the reason I was there- had gone out in surgery.  I can't lie on my back for long- and certainly not 4 hours.  Dr. Earl joked that he hadn't touched my back, but I will say, I think it reinforced the fact that I really wasn't joking about my back pain.  It felt the same as Friday mornings, after tap class on Thursday nights. 

I didn't puke.  Which shocked me.  I think the back pain was worse than the nausea. 

Because of the cystic nature of the tissue, I was put on antibiotics for a few days and my drains were kept in.  I had a feeling they would leave them in over the weekend, which they did.  By far, the drains have been the most uncomfortable part of the recovery-- I couldn't sleep on my side.  I ended up sleeping in the recliner and propped up in couches (our bed is fairly high and hard to get in and out of without using my arms to push).  So that part sucked.

So the surgery itself was not bad.  It felt/feels like a series of papercuts. It's starting to itch a bit.  Nothing awful.

But wait- here's the fun stuff.

Anesthesia and painkillers slow your system.  Antibiotics give you diarrhea.  Or at least me.  I've always joked they should just pay me to test every drug- I get every side effect known to man.  I think it's called "environmental sensitivity"- my body hates drugs.  Anyhow, I basically was constipated with gas.  Once my back pain subsided, the gas pains started.  And they sucked.  I finally gave up the pain pills (which were just Tylenol with Codeine because I'm allergic to the good stuff).  I'm still working my way through that.

Then on Saturday I decided to change my bra.  The surgical one they had given me wasn't big enough (again, they weren't anticipating the extensiveness of the cysts), so it was a nice C cup.  My amazing husband (who is not getting enough credit in this for his patience), went to JCPenney and picked up a bra.  To minimize his discomfort in the lady things department, I called ahead and they set it aside.  Anyhow, when I put on the new bra, I hit my nipple.  That caused a vasovagal syncope-- simply put I passed out. If you've been a friend of mine for a long time, you know, I pass out frequently.  My husband panicked, call 911 and fortunately I woke up quickly.  He called Dr. Earl who recommended that I elevate my feet and drink a ton of Gatorade.  Which I did.  All was well.  I think the damage to Shane's heart was substantially greater than anything to mine.

And then there is my nipple.  That bloodflow issue I mentioned, earlier?  Well, my nipple started to look a little Cajun- you know blackened?  Not a good thing to have a Cajun nipple.  It wasn't horrible and was a somewhat expected side effect, but still.  I kept having this vision of having a NUK pacifier implanted to replace my dead nipple.  Realistically, what would more than likely happen would be the tissue would deaden and fall off and a new nipple would grow.  Or a new nipple would grow and deeper tissue would fall off which would result in a skin graft with a nice tattooed nipple (I would have gone with a happy face, I think).  But again, the doctor is excellent, so he prescribed a nitropaste to revive the bloodflow to the area.  It is working nicely.  Oh, but the side effects- could cause me to pass out (in fact, he said "will more than likely for you") and has given me excruciating headaches.  Which are making me nauseous.  I haven't passed out though.  I normally ditch medications that make me sick, but the thought of no nipple clearly motivates me to suck it up through the headaches.  You just don't want to talk to me any time until I'm off it.  I'm not nice.  I don't get headaches often and I have a new found sympathy for those that get migraines.

But how do I feel- aside from the side effects of the drugs?


My mid back- which had been the issue- feels normal. I can sit up. I put on a shirt and could button it.  I'm not hunched over.  My shoulders are relaxed.  It is amazing how great I feel after such a short period of time.  I feel like I want to run.  Which I can't for another 6 weeks.  But still.  My energy level is through the roof.

From a cosmetic standpoint, there is bruising.  Looks like my boobs were used for punching bags.  They are in the post yellow, purplish phase now.  And it was hilarious to take off my bra and they stayed put- that's been a long time since that's happened.  Oh, and I look about 20 pounds thinner.  No joke.

How do I know this?  Both my kids gasped when they saw me.  I look that different to them.  I trust them.  They are children.  They are unfiltered. 

From a negative standpoint, my greatest fear prior to the surgery was realized- my ass, does in fact, look bigger.  Actually, my stomach- albeit it's bloated- looks scary.  But since neither is full of cystic tissue and I can actually move again, I'll deal with that in 6 weeks. 

A few things still concern me.  My Cajun nipple should be fine, but it's still not 100%.  I'm concerned about loss of sensation, although that really seems to be coming back.  I'm very concerned that since this wasn't fatty tissue, that the cysts could recur and I'll be right back where I started.  Hopefully, if I can get my weight down quickly, my hormones will rebalance and I can avoid that somewhat.  I'd hate to be right back where I was in a few years.  I'm not concerned that losing weight will shrink my boobs to A cups-- that had been a concern before it was apparent the tissue was not fat.  I'm still not sure where things will land, so to speak, but overall, everything looks well proportioned. 

Would I do it again?  Yes.

Was it easy?  No.  I'm still recovering.  A friend said she was recovered in a few days- I don't buy it.  I think she must have just had a lift.  This was much more difficult than I had anticipated and the drug reactions are still not making me happy.

Would I recommend it?  I think if you are as uncomfortable as I was, don't think twice about it.  I would not have done this simply for cosmetic purposes.  If you just want a lift, I would recommend a good bra.  I was in pain before, so this is nothing.

I wanted to have something out there for people to read that was an honest account of the procedure.  I'm not embarrassed to have had this done by any means.  And I think if anyone is considering it, they shouldn't be embarrassed either.  Based on the emails I received, I know I'm not alone.

So I said I would keep you abreast... also, a very heartfelt thank you for all the kind wishes.  I feel guilty.  This is nothing compared to my friends fighting cancer.  And I mean nothing.  I look at what they go through- talk about side effects- and I feel bad complaining about a little gas and a headache.  I am very lucky to be in great health, have an excellent team of doctors, and a wonderful husband.

And that's the scoop from Mama Bean's World today!

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