I hope you are all having a really great Thursday – it’s hard to believe week four of quarantine is almost over. We’ve become accustomed to the new change of schedules and outings and it’s not so bad anymore.
But the real reason I’m jumping on and why you clicked this blog is to read about my breast reduction – part two. It’s exactly 11 months since I had my surgery and I haven’t meant to stay quiet for so long, but at the same time.. I needed to mentally hash out everything that happened. I’m one to wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m pretty open. But what I was expecting to happen and what happened are two different things and I think I really had to grieve my experience the last year. Not only that, I’ve grieved my results. I’ve never had such low confidence with a shirt off in my life.
There will be some graphic photos in this blog, so for your consideration, I will link them separately so you don’t have to see them while scrolling if you don’t want to.
If wanting to read my breast reduction part 1, click here. This blog was written on day five after surgery and I’m glad I could get my thoughts out, but I feel it was very unrealistic to blog so early as typically if anything does go wrong, it’s in days 7-21. Day 6 is where it all went wrong for me. But if I’m being honest, I should of listened to my inner voice prior to even having the surgery.
So let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
My Breast Reduction – Part Two
I had always dreamt of having a smaller chest. Even at my skinniest I had ever been ( a very unhealthy weight with a BMI of 18.3 ) I still had EE breasts. So that age old theory of losing weight to lower your breast size – It didn’t apply to me. After five babies I was dying to have this surgery as even carrying my kids in the ergo or wrap for 10 minutes would kill my back and I would have back pain for hours after. So when Rhett was 4 months old, I went in for the consultation. You have to understand that Rhett was a VERY needy baby and I held him 90% of the time, so I had horrible back pain. I was going to the Chiropractor twice a week and my BMI was only 26.6. At the time of consultation, my breasts were 36/38 GG. On a size 10/12 frame this is pretty dang heavy. I was desperate and tired of carrying around this extra weight my entire life. That desperation clouded my judgment and I hope and pray that my experience will open your eyes to the importance of choosing the right surgeon.
Okay, so lets scroll back a bit. I had been on the wait list to see a very requested and popular breast surgeon for 13 months. Around the 14th month I got a call from the clinic and they told me that they could finally get me in, but there was a catch, I would have to be seen and have the surgery with someone that recently trained under my surgeon. She was brand new, but they assured me that she was amazing. Me wanting this surgery so so bad, I looked past my uneasiness and scheduled the consultation.
I had my consultation and the uneasiness became more apparent. The doctors bedside manner was terrible. She was very cold and straight forward. I looked at this as a good thing that she was so straight forward hoping that it would be a reflection of my surgery. I also brushed this off as cultural differences and just kept in mind how badly I wanted this surgery. I also kept reminding myself that the surgery was very straight forward. My doctor explained to me that she was going to do the Lollipop method on me. I’m putting a graphic below of the different methods.
I will admit, a few days prior to surgery I was getting really nervous and wanting to cancel. I didn’t know anything about the doctor who was doing my reduction, she had no reviews online and I just felt this uneasiness that I couldn’t explain. But I wanted this surgery so bad so I just kept chalking it up to fear of having a major surgery.
Surgery day came and this day was the only good out of the process. The nurses who looked after me were so incredible. Big kudos to you nurses out there – you’re the REAL MVP’s.
Waking up out of surgery I was in a lot of pain. I remember them waking me up and asking me if I was in pain and I kept saying “yes” and they kept giving me more morphine. What I didn’t realize at the time, was my surgeon did a completely different method on me then she told me she was doing and I got 60% more stitches.
I was given over 450 stitches internally and externally. When I was only supposed to get 200 from the original method.
If you look up to the diagram, the “lollipop method” they stitch around your nipple and down your breast. With the method I received “anchor” not only did I have stitches under my breast as well, but I was cut open from side to side of my breast. Way further than the diagram shows. Almost up to my armpit. This has led to my severe confidence issues of my breasts and I will have photos below so you can avoid what I went through.
So… let’s get back to my experience shall we? I’ll continue on from part one of my breast reduction.
Day 6. I woke up to a lot more pain in my left breast. Up until this point, I hadn’t really looked at my breasts as it was a pretty gruesome view. I had left the bandages/bra on. But this day I really needed a full shower and so I undressed and got in the shower.
My first sight of my breasts was alarming. I had so many more stitches than she told me I would have. So much bruising. BUT, I had also completely ripped open on the left side.
If you would like to see the images, click here. They’re too gruesome to have on this blog. I only have images from the day it started splitting and then after I got it stitched up. Not sure why I didn’t take a picture when it opened up the worst.
I took a picture and showed my best friend ( as she had this surgery the year prior by the surgeon I was on the waitlist to see ) and she calmly urged me to go to emergency. Later when we were in person, she told me she was screaming inside. It looked that bad.
After waiting three hours in emergency ( I had no direct access to my surgeon ) she told me it was fine and I was to go home and rest.
I did what she said, but the left breast continued to rip open even more and fat from inside my breast was now protruding out.
I went back to emergency on the Monday ( A day after my first visit ) and after waiting another few hours, I asked/begged that she stitch me back up as I didn’t want an infection. It was oozing this yellow and white discharge and also bleeding on and off. I was terrified I was on the road to get an infection.
My left breast was now ripped open 3/4ths of my breast. It was beyond painful. In order for her to stitch me up I had to taken an Ativan as I was quite out of sorts. She had to give me internal and external stitches as shown in the below photo and then she had to cut off the remaining skin that was flap that was sticking out.
The photo above is taken a few weeks after this all happened. The stitches directly after this all happened looked pretty nasty.
I went home with anxiety though the roof. I was terrified of my stitches splitting again. This led me to have some pretty bad mental issues during this process as I literally wouldn’t move or do anything in fear of ripping them. Even lifting my arms to wash my hair or picking something up off the floor was terrifying.
I think this process was especially terrible for me as I felt I was so alone. I didn’t have access to my surgeon at all. The clinic was super hard to get through to and I actually found out that my surgeon left the Country for good, two weeks after I had my surgery…
I asked the other Doctor about why she just left the Country and he said she got engaged. I also asked why she switched methods on me and he had no clue and he said that should of never happened.
None of it should of happened.
Every day was a mental battle with my anxiety as I had no idea what to expect, no surgeon to talk to, no one to give me advice or tell me how to take care of my breasts. I basically went off everything my best friend told me and she had a completely different experience/surgery than me. She said she was back to normal life after a week. It took me six weeks to get back to normal and I have a really high pain tolerance. I would say the hardest part of my experience was the mental battle.
My surgeon had stitched me extra tight due to the fact that I had nursed Rhett a few months prior and she said it could cause drooping in months/years to come ( so she stitched me extra tight because of this.. but it also led to all my issues and ripping open )
Oy! Are you still here with me? I promise, I’m not trying to complain.. this Is just my experience and I’ve honestly toyed with not saying anything at all, but I think it’s important to share my experience if it even helps one of you.
The next few weeks after this whole ordeal was mostly just me having severe anxiety of ripping open again and repeating this whole thing. I actually did start opening up on the right side, but luckily it never progressed too much.
I had to swallow my pride for weeks and weeks and ask for help from family. It was horrible because I felt capable and able, but I was terrified to open up again. My Grandparents, sister-in-law and others stepped up to help during this time and I will be forever grateful.
So how do I feel today about this all?
I feel completely unhappy with the job my surgeon did. I expected the scaring to be bad. But what I didn’t expect was to have fat bunched in weird places and puckered parts of my breasts. Surgeons like to call these “dog ears”. Also, since she stitched me so high under each armpit. it’s like I have these massive pockets of fat that never go away. I will have to have these fixed someday as you can even see them through clothing – but I will need a few years before I even think of having them dealt with AND I will make sure I go through a reputable surgeon for that.
Below are photos of how my breasts look today – 11 months after the surgery. Below you can see the gathering of fat on the sides of my breasts and the “dog ears” on the cleavage. I never expected these results and I’m so so unhappy.
It’s really hard to show how badly they look in person unless I photograph my entire chest without covering it – but we aren’t here for nude shots 😉 Trying to keep it PG-13 HAHA!
So.. in conclusion to this very long winded blog, here are my thoughts and recommendations:
- Do research into your surgeon. If they are well known in town, that’s a great sign. Also, you can look surgeons up online too and most have reviews. When someone is cutting into your body and altering a part of you, it’s really important to do your research.
- Ask questions. Ask for stuff in writing. It’s your their word against yours and if you do not get anything in writing, you’re screwed.
- Listen to your inner voice. If something feels off or not right, chances are your voice is right. We have this voice for a reason
- This surgery is a fairly easy/uncomplicated most of the time. If you’re going with a Doctor who is trained and has spent quite a few years in their field, you will be in great hands and your recovery should be very smooth sailing.
- Be your on advocate. Push to be heard.
- Make sure that you have help after your surgery and also, make sure your doctor gives you proper direction on how to care for yourself.
I was supposed to be seen in September 2019 for my 4 month follow up surgery and I still have yet to be seen and it’s mid April. I’ve called the clinic multiple times and I even went to my regular doctor in January to get another referral sent in to be seen as I’m so unhappy with my breasts – and still no follow up call, nothing.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your research on the clinic/doctors.
If you have any additional questions for me about anything at all, please drop them below and I would love to answer.