Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Importance of E

So I ran out of vitamin E a few weeks ago, and never got around to getting some more. (I'm a procrastinator like that, I'll put off the doing it later.) This last week or so I've been paying the price.

Thanks to the JOYS of PMS my breasts have been extra sensitive this last week, and the scar tissue has been pretty painful. It felt like it was trying to tear from the inside. It really didn't help that I had to wear my oh-so-lovely torso length Spanx this week and last, and the top elastic rests right under my breasts. I wanted to rip my breasts off. I think that might have been just a little more comfortable. The scars were even a good bit redder than they had been.

I finally got around to getting some more vitamin E, and once I sat down to rub it in (my husband's favorite part of the day) I swear I could hear my breasts start to purr. It felt sooooooooo good. I swear it felt like the scar tissue started to loosen just from a few applications of E.

So I hereby make a pledge to my breasts: I promise you, dear boobies of mine, that I will take better care of you. I will rub you with vitamin E every night. If you promise not to get all sweaty and greasy on me I'll even rub you in the morning.

10 weeks, 1 day post surgery. The scars are completely healed, and natural sag is taking over. Damn gravity. I liked the perky boobs!! (Hm....looking at this picture, I think my areolas are starting to stretch a little. )

What they should look like in about a year. I hope. While I love my new boobs, I don't love my new corners. I love how round they look like that, though. Too bad I'd look like a giant white ape if I walked around holding my corners in like that.

Instead of holding the corners in by hand, I'll settle for a bra. This is my favorite for the time being. I still don't wear underwires, the scar tissue is still a little too sensitive for that.

When I bought this bra it was only about a week after surgery. I still had bandages on and had to have one of the ladies at Lame Giant help me get the bra on. I should have waited, but who can turn down a BOGO sale? Not me! I wish I had taken pictures when I first got this bra. It looked horrible, I had the pointy Madonna look going on , and there was soooo much loose fabric in the cups. It doesn't look that great in the pic, but it's comfortable. And no, the wrinkles don't show through my tops.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Before & After

4 weeks difference and 600 grams from each side, just for comparison sake. The pic on the left looks like the nips are pointing to the sky, but they don't, I had to take the picture myself so the angle is kinda funky.

Holy crap, they're starting to look REALISH.

OK, so I still have corners, but they're definitely not square anymore! I've been able to wear a real bra, no underwire, for almost four weeks now. Technically I'm supposed to still be wearing the GoT, but I just couldn't do it. I think I'm going to burn the GoT, and do a little dance around the fire.

The scarring is healing beeyewtifully, and I make sure to put pure vitamin E on them every night. I can tell when I forget, the scars are tight and uncomfortable the next day.

I haven't had ANY back pain due to my breasts since the day I woke up from the surgery. It's incredible. I had forgotten what it feels like to NOT be in pain. Friends have mentioned to me that they notice how much more easily I move around now, and that I'm UP a lot more than I used to be.

I went swimming for the first time this past weekend, and it was wonderful. I was able to swim and not have my breasts try to flip me over from their buoyancy. My bathing suit actually fit PROPERLY!

Holy crap, they're pointing the direction they're supposed to, and NOT at the floor!

Just about all the deep tissue bruising is gone, and I rarely have problems with the vice-grip pain anymore. I do admit, though, that there have been a few times I've put band-aids over my nipples to keep them from rubbing on the fabric of my bra. The excruciating sensitivity has gone away, and they're about the same as they were before surgery. I'm also regaining feeling in the anchor-area. Yay!

I've removed just about all of the stitches. I think that helped a lot with the sensitivity/vice-grip issue. They were supposed to be dissolving stitches, but most of them just came loose and started to slip out. All I had to do was pull on them and they came out with no problem. There are a few spots where the skin is still degraded, where the incision areas meet, but they're healing.

I'm looking forward to being able to work out. I haven't been able to exercise without back pain since I was 14 or so.

It's funny, the first question that friends ask when I haven't talked to them in a few days is, "How's the boobs?" I never realized my knockers could be so fascinating. LOL I do find myself staring at them in disbelief in the morning though, when I'm brushing my teeth. I still have a hard time getting my mind around the fact that THOSE are MINE.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Gravity is takin' over.

2 weeks after surgery and I was finally starting to get some realistic droop to the SquareBoobs. The bruising was finally starting to heal, the steri-strips were ready to come off. I was still on Lortab for the pain, but only once or twice a day. For the most part ibuprofen seemed to take care of the pain, and helped reduce swelling as well. They were still pretty tight, and I still had to sleep on my back. I was pretty excited about the fact that I was getting CLEAVAGE again, though.

I started taking the steri-strips off the night this picture was taken. At this point I was still wearing the Garment of Torture, and the steri-strips rubbing against the seams was agonizing. I even took to wearing a cotton sports bra underneath the GoT, to protect from the seams.

After I took the steri-strips in the anchor area off I realized that I had lost all feeling above the incision, up to the nipple area. The areolas themselves actually GAINED sensitivity, not something I needed. It felt like somebody was clenching my areolas with a vice grip and twisting with all their might. As far as the anchor area though, my husband could have poked me with a needle and I wouldn't have felt it.

I had my first follow-up appointment on June 7th. The doctor said that I could take the rest of the steri-stirps off (YAY!!) and that the incisions looked wonderful. He recommended pure vitamin E or Mederma every night, and allowed me to go up to no more than 10 lbs of lifting for the next six weeks. Apparently a 4 year old boy is still included on that "no more than 10 lbs" list.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sponge Bob Square Boobs

Late in the afternoon the day after surgery I was finally ready to take a shower. I got all unwrapped and again just stood in front of the mirror and stared.

Oh shit.

They're SQUARE.

Nobody told me they were going to be square!!


As I stood in front of the mirror obsessing over the fact that my breasts were now square, the drains in the side were dripping all over the place. Bah, OK, hurry up and get in the shower.

Now, in the aftercare instructions I was told to not raise my arms above my shoulders for at least a week, preferably two. Have you ever tried to wash your hair without raising your arms?

I finally managed to get cleanish hair without having to call MIL in to help me. I did, however, need help getting dressed once I'd managed to drip dry long enough. (More staring at the SquareBoobs in the mirror.) After drying off I put on the Garment of Torture for the first time. It felt wonderful, at first. It felt like somebody was holding my breasts up for me, exactly where they needed to be with just the right amount of pressure.

Getting through that first day after surgery wasn't too bad. I was sore, but as long as I stayed on top of the pain with two Lortab every three hours the pain was tolerable. If I tried to make it to four hours then I went over that edge of what is tolerable. I spent the entire day in the recliner and dozed off & on. I was able to get up & down on my own most of the time, unless I was getting the point that I'd need pain meds soon. The itchiness from the sunburn was beginning to kick in, as well, which was FAR from pleasant.

On day 2 after surgery MIL helped me remove the drains, which felt great. No more dripping down my sides every time I moved!! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture with the drains in, so no Frankenboobies.

I did, however, notice that I was getting cleavage. At first they had been a square uni-boob, minus the sports bra. So cleavage, no matter how achy it was at developed, was a step in the right direction.

The pain was lessening, as well. It was beginning to feel as though I were a preteen again, rushing through the development of breasts. Sore beyond belief, but bearable. By day 2 I was able to get to four hours between doses.

Over the next week I was able to get on top of the pain, and lowered my dosing to 2 Lortab every 8 hours or so. I had drainage from all of the incisions, but it was no longer bloody. The Garment of Torture was no longer my loving friend gently holding up my breasts to where they were supposed to be. Instead they were my frenemy, forcing my breasts to defy gravity while simultaneously trying to rip my nipples out by the root. (Yes, nipples have roots, didn't you know that?!) I know it was just the feeling of nerve tissue reconnecting, but it was by far the worst part of the entire pain process.

One week after surgery, MIL had to leave. Since I was driving her to the airport I couldn't take a Lortab, so I was finally down to 1000 mg of ibuprofen. I had taken to wearing a cotton sports bra underneath the Garment of Torture, and that morning I sat down at the computer in just my sports bra for a few minutes. I had only been sitting for a moment when I heard and felt a pop in my left breast, just above my areola. OW OW OW OW OW!!!! A muscle had popped loose into the position it wanted to be in. Nobody had told me THAT was going to happen either. I tried calling my plastic surgeon, but it was surgery day so nobody was in the office. I finally came to the conclusion that even though it hurt like hell I wasn't going to die, and as the day went on the soreness subsided. 3 weeks later, however, there is still a bit of a lump where the muscle is.

2 days after surgery. Lots of deep
tissue bruising, keyhole & anchor
incisions closed with stitches and

It's C day!!

My surgery had been scheduled for 11 AM on the 25th, perfect timing for getting the girls off to school, Matt off to his friend's house, and off to the hospital by 10 AM.

As soon as I arrived at the hospital I was taken to my recovery room. Once I got changed into my beeyewtiful hospital gown the action started. Nurses were in and out, making sure that I was really me, that they really were going to be doing a breast reduction and not a penis reconstruction or anything else, and getting all my IV's set up.

I understand the point of asking a patient to not drink or eat for 12 hours before surgery, however, it makes finding a vein, even in my lovely veiny arms, an impossibility. It took 5 sticks and two blown veins to finally get a good line going. That is the most difficulty I have EVER had in getting an IV going.

The nurses also wrapped some compression pads around my legs, to be sure I wouldn't end up with any clots in my legs.

In the midst of the chaos a lady came in to fit me for my compression garments. She gave me two garments of torture, with the order to wear them 24/7 for at least the first 2 to 3 weeks, but preferably the entire 6 weeks after surgery. They were essentially a heavy white elastic fabric, with seams going across the breasts in all the wrong places. The shoulders were adjustable with velcro, and the front closed with 3 eye-hooks and a zipper over them. They were like armor breastplates, and went from mid-sternum to the last rib, as tight as can possibly be.

Shortly before surgery the anesthesiologist came in to go over what he'd be doing to knock me out, and finally my plastic surgeon came in to recheck his markings.

Finally, it was time. I was wheeled into the operating room, climbed up onto the operating table, and the last thing I remembered was getting my arms strapped to the table.

The next thing I knew, I could hear somebody talking to my MIL, telling her that I should be waking up any time now. I was able to move my head a little bit, but that was it. Surgery had taken 3 hours, and apparently I took to the anesthetic quite well. I had a really hard time waking up. I knew that I wasn't going to be allowed to go home until I used the bathroom and kept down some water, though, so I pushed myself. I remember MIL feeding me ice chips, and feeling the sudden need to go to the bathroom about an hour after I started waking up. I had a hard time talking, so I could only say, "Pee." MIL and the nurse helped me sit up, and I could only choke out, "puke!" Thankfully they got a bag to me in time. I managed to get to the bathroom & do my business, and get back. Once I was back in bed I told the nurse, "OK, I've had water, I peed, let's go!" Dangit, I forgot about that whole KEEP the water down thing. Semantics...

The pain when I woke up was strange. It really did feel as though I had had body parts cut off. Huh, go figure. Over the bandages I had an ace bandage wrapped tightly around everything, and the compression helped a lot. It was extremely painful, but somehow not what I expected. Through the haze of the pain and the drugs, all I really remember thinking is, "Wow, my back doesn't hurt!" Even that soon, I was already noticing a difference.

I was finally released around 7 or 8 PM. I dozed all the way home, and once I got into the house I went directly to the recliner and passed out. The anesthetic was NOT letting go of me. MIL left for a short while to go get the girls and Matt, and the only thing I remember from that evening is hearing the kids talking. I tried waking up to say hi to them but it was like I was on a completely different plane of existence.

Finally, around midnightish, I woke up and was wide awake. I was able to get up and get myself two more Lortab, and even sliced myself some cheese to go with turkey and crackers. I went into the bathroom and just stared.

Wow...they were...


You're taking HOW much off?!

On May 24th, my 10th anniversary, I had my pre-op appointment. The surgical assistant went over everything that would be happen the next day, what I needed to do to recover properly, and gave me my prescriptions that I would need after surgery.

Then the surgeon came in to do his markings.

It was warm out that day, so some of the markings sweated away, but they were still fairly clear. As he marked he explained to me what he'd be doing, but I couldn't see very well as he was marking. It wasn't until I got home and was able to look into a mirror that I really understood.

He would start by cutting around my areolas, separating them from the tissue he'd be removing. He didn't think that he'd have to completely remove the areolas, which would improve my chances at keeping sensation. He would essentially be removing all the tissue from the top point of the triangle, down. Once that was removed he'd move the areolas up to the point of the triangle, then bring the tissue together around it like a keyhole. Then he'd close the bottom in a straight line going down, and across the bottom, like an anchor.

From the top point of the triangle down to the bottom of my breast, he'd be removing 7 1/2 inches in length of breast. He estimated that in order to get me down to my desired size, a full C cup, he would have to remove 500 grams from each breast, or approximately 1.1 lb each breast.

Just a note to anybody that may be having the surgery; if you go tanning at all, DON'T go in the few days before surgery, or at least be careful about it. I had been going tanning to help deal with depression, and decided I would get one good last tan in before surgery. I had never used the booth that you stand up in, but decided to use it the day before surgery. Not my brightest idea. Or maybe it was my BRIGHTEST, as you can tell by my burn. The sunburn made recovery after surgery much more painful than it had to be.