Trigger Warning for boob talk, anxiety, surgery blood, guts, gore, and pain.
I got my breast reduction surgery exactly a week ago.
The night before/Day of I was extremely panicked. I have really high anxiety and an irrational fear of general anesthesia and never waking up from general anesthesia, as well as a very low pain tolerance. I ended up being so panicked and frantic that the surgeon ended up prescribing me Valium just so I could calm down and relax.
The day of surgery, we got to the surgery center pretty early. I’m sure the nurse was thrilled when I started rambling about surgeries gone wrong, such as recently, when a woman in Russia was supposed to get some ovarian cysts removed, and instead of pumping her with saline, they pumped her filled with formaldehyde and she was basically embalmed alive. But that’s anxiety for you. And it wasn’t like I had never gotten surgery before or gone under general anesthesia before. I got my wisdom teeth out in college, a tonsillectomy as an adult [which I don’t recommend- OW], the D&C where they found the polyp on my uterus, IVF egg retrieval surgery before being treated for cancer, and then of course the hysterectomy for my cancer, and I had always been fine after those, a little nauseous and tired, but fine, but anxiety doesn’t separate events like it should.
The doctor came in shortly after and drew on my boobs to mark where the nipple would be moved and the stitching and their new size and everything in blue sharpie. I also asked him if I was going to die even though I admitted as I asked that it was a completely irrational question. The anesthesiologist came in a few minutes later and there was a little debate over what medicine they could actually put in an IV for me due to allergies. I’m allergic to penicillin and ceclor, and have a pretty adverse reaction to levequin [it makes me feel like a zombie], I don’t remember which drug won.
Shortly after that was decided she injected some anxiety-relieving stuff in my IV and that worked like in seconds. I was feeling fucking amazing and not thinking about the surgery at all, as soon as she injected that and my mood became less dire. Then they whizzed me away to the operating room and helped me onto the table.
My last memory is the doctor asking me what kind of music I wanted to listen to, and I said rock/alternative, and he was happy about that because the last patient wanted to listen to Taylor Swift, and an Alice in Chains song came on, and I mentioned I saw them in concert in 2009 and the new lead singer [not that he’s really new anymore] sounded so much like Layne Staley… then I was out.
I came to, I don’t even know how many hours later, and I was exhausted, I just wanted to go back to sleep. They had me in a breathing mask, and told me I needed to breathe on my own or I’ll be stuck in the mask, once I was able to breathe well, they brought me water, and I got to leave a little while later.
I had two drains, which I had expected, but wasn’t excited about. In fact the left drain was so filled when we got home to the house that it was overflowing and just leaking blood everywhere.
The first two days after the surgery, I basically stayed in bed. I couldn’t do anything myself. I even needed Justin to take me to the bathroom because I couldn’t walk without support. I marathon watched America’s Next Top Model on hulu [thank goodness there are over 300 episodes of it available], took pain pills with made me hazy and zombie-like, and napped.
The first two days after surgery I had to pee constantly, I’m sure that was mainly from the fluids you get pumped with under anesthesia, my bladder has since returned mostly to normal, which still sucky, as in I wake up every 4 hours or so to pee [I rarely sleep through the night], but still preferred o over having to pee constantly.
The third day I grew bored with my sedentary life and managed to leave the bedroom and join Justin in the computer room for several hours. I also took my first shower since surgery that day, though I needed help, Justin basically had to do the showering and washing part, I had to hold the drains, and the hot water felt wonderful.
However, the sports bra that I had bought did not fit me. I was super super swollen, though I mean, given the surgery I got, swelling is to be expected. Therefore, Justin had to re-wrap me in the ace bandage and that was very uncomfortable because my boobs kept on popping out of the ace bandage and getting irritated on fabric. I amazon primed a bigger sports bra, but I still had to wait two days to get it.
Once my new and bigger sports bra came my life changed dramatically. There was a lot less pain and irritation.
I’m pretty independent now. I can sit and play video-games, in front of my computer. I can walk up and down stairs. I can mostly dress myself. I can use the bathroom and get on and off the bed in the middle of the night by myself, which I’m sure makes Justin happy. I even made myself a cup of coffee, granted it was with a keurig, but I still feel accomplished.
There are still things that drain me. Yesterday, Justin wanted to go to Red Robin to get their teacher promotion [we’re both teachers], and the walk from the parking lot to the restaurant [where we found out there was a 1 hr and 30 minute wait, HELL NO] and the walk back to the parking lot drained the hell out of me and I napped for an hour [part of that might have been Texas heat though]. I still can’t play with the cats or let them sit on my laps because either a] they think the drains are chew toys or b] they’re really heavy and it’s too much weight for me to handle so soon after surgery. There are certain things I can’t get myself from the fridge because they’re too heavy for me.
I don’t sleep very well, part of that is for sure the drains, they’re just so heavy and uncomfortable. The sleeping on my back thing hasn’t really been a big deal since I was always mostly a back sleeper, but I do use a blue pregnancy pillow I named Lucina to help keep me elevated. I’ve never really been a good sleeper to begin with, I suffer from severe insomnia and have since I was seven years old. I’ve had a really hard time sleeping since surgery, harder than usual, I suppose that could be either as a result of anesthesia making my insomnia worse, the evil drains, or just my general anxiety. When I do fall asleep, I usually have awful nightmares that wake me up, and wake up almost every hour. I’m hoping my sleep will slightly improve soon because I miss having energy and I miss sleeping.
I do feels tons better, but I have to make sure I don’t push myself too hard, especially since I’m traveling overseas in about a month, and I don’t want to regress especially since I am stitched up and bruised and weak.
Today I had my first post-operative appointment and I’m healing well. They removed the right drain, and it hurt, when they were clipping all the stitches away I wanted to scream in pain, but the actual removing of the drain itself was fine. I still have nipple sensitivity. I’m still swollen, but I won’t be down to a normal size for months. Hopefully the left drain can go bye bye next week. I was also finally allowed to take off the compression stockings, which overjoyed me more than it should, again, I understand their necessity, but man were they freaking uncomfortable and a week in them was way too much.
I can take ibuprofen and melatonin again, so I’m going to start to try to ween myself off of the pain meds. I’ve never been a big fan of pain meds to begin with, especially when addiction has been a problem in my family before.
I refuse to look at my boobs. I’ve seen PLENTY of post-operative breast reduction photos, so I know what they look like, I just don’t want to see the bruising, cuts, stitching, or anything on myself, if that makes sense.
They are definitely smaller. I can’t tell you what size they are because they’re so swollen, but I was able to completely button close a shirt today that I was unable to button close for years. I’d probably estimate between a C/D, but that’s not a definite thing, but that’s a huge difference between the G/H that I was before. I can definitely tell they look smaller, I can feel my torso again, and when I look at older pictures and my pre-op pictures, there’s a huge difference.
I weighed myself the other day, and I’m down 10 lbs and those 10 lbs were all fucking boob… imagine carrying an extra ten lb weight on your chest all the time, IT SUCKS.
Truth: BREAST REDUCTION HURTS, it is a painful surgery, but totally worth it. And if you do get it, you really will need somebody to stay with you for at least the first three or four days before you’re able to be mostly independent. The drains are also more painful, in my opinion, than the actual surgery, but I do understand their necessity.
Hopefully I’ll get back to reviewing books soon, but at this moment, in time, I don’t have the patience nor the level of comfort to actual read them [even though like 6 books I preordered all came out yesterday!] and enjoy them, but eventually book reviews will be back, at the very least, it’s a ten hour or so flight from Houston to England, a 2 week cruise, where I really can’t do much because I’m still healing, and then the same ten hour flight back, so I’m sure I’ll do a lot of reading on that trip.
Til I update again, adieu.