I know there’s many out there considering breast reduction for one reason or another. I decided to keep basically a diary of all my appointments and updates, so if others wanted to read step-by-step what I went through, here you go!
Each diary entry is written soon after the update/event happened, hence why it’s written in “present time” for the word choice.
Appointment #1, January 28 2017
This appointment was a regular physical as well as to raise my concerns with my doctor. I told her that I am in pain with my breasts, bra or no bra. My entire back is aching and it’s gotten to a point where I feel that the surgery would be good thing to consider now, considering the fact that it’ mildly been on my mind for at least 6 months. I’d say in the last 3–4 months the pain has been getting worse. The base of my neck (where it touches my spine) also hurts, and bras painfully dig into my shoulders most of the time. I’m a 32DDD last I was officially sized, and my doctor agreed with me that a reduction might be a good thing, since I have a bit more bust than the average girl for my height\/weight\/frame (I’m naturally slender frame).“,“She tells me that because of my insurance, we will have to have at least one more appointment. She basically told me “this is going through the motions” so we have a paper trail to give the insurance, even though she said if it were up to her, she’d approve me right away. So she tells me “for the record” to use ibuprofen and and wear bras made specifically to be supportive to help my back. If I’m still having pain, come back in about a month. She tells me that due to medical risks, she needs to tell me I might lose sensation around my nipples as well as parts of my breasts, I tell her I am ok with that
Appointment #2, March 9 2017
This appointment is quite a bit shorter. I tell her that the ibuprofen is doing nothing and the I’m still hurting with the bras. She says alright, let’s forward you to a plastic surgeon. So the clinic put in a referral to a plastic surgery place around where I reside and when I checked the reviews, majority (90%+) are very favorable for this surgeon, so that leaves me feeling comfortable
Consultation (Appointment #3) March 16 2017
Consultation day with clinic! I sat in waiting room after filling out all the proper papers and then had to watch a basic “this is information about breast reduction!” type video (yeah, it was kinda cheesy 1980s style video). Afterwards, the nurse came in and asked me some basic questions, like if I had been experienced back and/or neck pain. I was told to change my top into some kind of black scrubs type material that connected the front and back by a clip on my shoulder. After I did that, she came back inside and took pictures at different angles of my breasts (standing forward, 45 degrees, and 90 degrees) to show to
insurance for help proof that this procedure would aid me (medically). She said then to put the smock-thing back on and wait for the doctor.
About 2–4 minutes later, the doctor came in and I sat down on their patient chair-thing (you know that piece of furniture in the doctor’s offices they make you sit or lay on). He told me to take the smock-thing off and he took some measurements and asked me to clarify some things I had written on the papers when they first checked me in. He said that he thinks I would benefit from the surgery. He asked if I had any questions and I asked them about the approval rating as well as how to reduce the chance of scarring. I asked if there were any kind of complications, how they would help me out. He told me they treat their patients like family and that if I did have post-operative problems (he said the chances were extremely slim and that they’ve done over 900 of these operations) that the clinic would happily help me out and the costs would be absolutely minimal.
After he answered all my questions, he told me to expect a call from the clinic within 2–3 weeks so I would know if my insurance would approve of the procedure. He told me that their clinic had about a 90% approval rating because of how hard they fought on my behalf to prove to the insurance that this was indeed medically beneficial and NOT just for cosmetic reasons. I left feeling reassured of everything.
Update on appointment #3, Part I
About no more than a week later, I got a call from the clinic telling me that my insurance was giving them a hard time and they recommended that I call them on my own to see if I could clarification as to why they were giving the clinic a hard time. I was a little upset, but called my insurance company. It came down to them telling me that since I was NOT obese and/or transgender, they told me that I would need to send ALL medical files and doctors notes about this particular issue. I called the clinic back and let them know what was going on.
Update on appointment #3, Part II
After I called the clinic, no more than another week after that, I got a call from them telling me that my insurance approved the procedure! It was just up to me now to call them and set up a date for the procedure! I want to do it about a week after the spring semester for school ends so I have all summer to adjust to my new boobs. So now I just gotta make sure everything is ok with my folks in terms of the date set up and make sure nothing is going on with my boyfriend/fiance around that time, then I can call and set up a date!
Pre-Op Appointment #4, April 17 2017
My parents came with me to my pre-op, basically because this is a big surgery and I knew they’d be obscenely pissed if I didn’t include them in this process (so I brought them along mainly for keeping the peace between us, our relationship has been rocky to say the least for the past 2 years or so). I wanted my boyfriend to come, but he had super important school deadlines he had to meet, that if he came to this appointment, he wouldn’t have been able to meet. Him and my parents dislike each other too, but that’s a story for another day.
Ok, so onto the appointment! Their financial person came out and explained that my insurance said we would have to pay the deductible, and that the surgery center would fight on my behalf to make sure they would pay everything else, since this surgery would greatly benefit me medically (and NOT cosmetic procedure).
Once that was done, my Mom and myself went back to one of their appointment mini-rooms (you know what I’m talking about if you’ve EVER been to a doctor/hospital/clinic) and a nurse came in. She took my basic vitals (blood pressure, pulse, respiration) and asked me if my current medical history was up to date with what she had. She then began to explain the procedure to me, gave me a checklist for the surgery date (what to buy on the side, I needed to get some bloodwork done prior to surgery so they could make sure my body would be ok with surgery, as well as giving me prescriptions to help post-surgery, like pain relievers and anti-nausea stuff). She told me that the surgeon would not be able to guarantee post-size, since most of the time, you can’t really “know” that until you cut the patient open (as well as adhering to insurance policy guidelines, if there’s any at all, regarding reduction surgeries).
I asked about scarring and she told me that you can’t really do anything for it until you’re about 6 weeks out, then you can really start using oils/ointments/etc. to help reduce the chance of visible scars. She explained to me that the surgeon would give me drains (they look like long plastic tubes with a little bulbous structure at the end, kinda like the shape of a mini grenade to give you a picture), and explained how to use them (how to empty them and how to get rid of a blood clot in them, if it happens to happen). Nurse explained I’d have to sleep sitting at a reclined angle for the first few weeks to help blood flow, and that she STRONGLY recommended I try to walk at least a little bit during the first few days.
Also, do NOT lift anything more than 5 lbs for the first few weeks post surgery, since my body will be healing (and she doesn’t wanna risk me opening up a stitch by accident). I’m going to need someone to drive me around during the first week post surgery as well. The pain killer prescriptions are super strong stuff (they’re classified as narcotics), so be VERY careful with what I do (signing stuff, driving, operating equipment, etc.) while using them.
Nurse explained to me that it will hurt to lift my arms, so I’ll need someone to help me shower and get dressed/undressed. She recommended I get a few front-clasp (or front-zipper) sports bras (NO underwire until 6+ weeks out). I have a few sports bras now, but I need to get some just for this, since none of them are zipper or have clasps on them. I know my boyfriend would be more than happy to basically be my medical assistant with my recovering time (dressing/undressing, bathing, emptying drains, etc.).
She told me that if I had any metal (piercings, internal structure like a heart pace maker, etc.) inside me that I’d have to get it taken out or something similar. When my mom left to use the bathroom, I told her about my frowny piercing and she said she recommends I put in a plastic temporary piercing, so the hole doesn’t close up, and that there would be NO risk of anything happening during surgery (she explained it to me that to help keep the bleeding minimally, the device they use would have a BAD reaction to any kind of metal on me, so that’s why I couldn’t have my piercing in with the surgical steel that it is). Unfortunately (because of saliva and all that jazz) this piercing is a ROYAL PAIN to modify on my own, so I likely have to go to a shop/salon to get it done (I’ve tried MANY times to modify it on my own, no such luck).
Also, no swimming or any hard-core exercise until 6+ weeks out, to give my body time to heal. She recommended absolute minimal sun exposure to help the healing. No drinking or smoking (I don’t do either to begin with) to help the healing process as well. When we left, she gave me a great informational packet explaining everything that we had gone over. I’ll get a call a few days before my surgery date (since my surgery is scheduled for a Monday, I’ll get a call on Friday) so I know what time I have to arrive at the hospital.
Overall, I am very satisfied with everything so far and excited for the surgery!
Surgery Day! May 8 2017
I got a call from the doctor’s office on Friday (May 5 2017), going over last minute preparations (fasting past midnight on Sunday for example) and to make sure my medical history and current list of medicine was right with what I was taking for my other health conditions. I knew I was going to have to wake up early, because my adoptive-Dad also mentioned that when he had to come in for surgery on his nose, he had to get to the hospital super early. She told me to be there by 6:30 AM latest. I was basically a ‘corkscrew’ in bed the night before, because I kept turning over, NOT able to get comfortable on the bed (looking back, I seriously don’t think it was ‘pre-surgery jumpiness’ because I have been in 3 other surgeries in my life, excluding this one!
I woke up around 4:50 AM (the hospital is about a one hour drive one way, on the dot) and got out of bed around 5:00 AM. Boyfriend got up and out of bed around 5:10 AM. We made ourselves halfway decent (I used tooth paste and mouth wash BARE MINIMUM, like the smallest amount you can think of for the tooth paste), since I was nervous it might cause an issue with my surgery (plastic surgery people NEVER mentioned anything about brushing teeth, just use absolute bare minimum water if you NEED to take any medication in the morning.
Got to hospital, went into the surgery waiting room for the specific company that I was getting it done through inside the hospital. Nurse had me sign waivers and privacy legal documents. When she took me back, I let her know that I couldn’t take out my frowny piercing (pierces the lower gums and inside of the lip, that connective tissue) and she said that was fine, just sign a waiver basically stating if something DOES go wrong because of the frowny, it won’t be the hospital’s and/or its staff fault. I happily signed it. When taking my blood pressure, my pulse popped up as 137 beats per minute (hint: the average is 60–90). She asked if I was nervous, I told her it was very likely from my adderrall XR I had wear off me Sunday evening, since it has a tendency to linger and make my heart beat quite jumpy.
She got me to change into the “sexy” (yes, sarcasm) purple dress they make patients wear for surgery (most of the time it’s white or some variation of white, but for me, it was purple and basically paper thin). I also had to put my hair in a blue hair net thing they wear in hospitals. I put on my fluffy socks too, since nurse said it has a tendency to get cold. The blanket they put over my lower torso was also SO NICE AND WARM
My family came back (mom/dad) and my boyfriend. They were asking if I felt comfortable and ready, to which I said the surgery itself doesn’t really ‘spook’ me because I’ve had 3 surgeries (excluding the one about to happen) in my 23 years of living. The anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself. He asked if I had questions, I said I didn’t and felt ready for the surgery. He said that the surgeon will be very soon.
So my family stays for another 5 minutes or so before the surgeon came in (he was the man who measured me at my pre-op!). My parents said they wanted to respect my privacy and left the room, my boyfriend followed them. I took the paper purple-dress-thing down from my torso and he marked up my chest (you’ve seen the “surgery” marks people make on patients before surgery). He asked if I had a preference for size. I told him B or C would be nice, but my main goal is to just look proportional for my body type. He mentioned how my chest did look quite asymmetrical, due to the excess skin tissue, and I agreed with him.
So he left the little room I was in (it had a curtain for privacy instead of a door). Nurse came in and said my family and boyfriend was coming in for a last minute “good luck”. Once we exchanged goodbyes I was rolled into the operating room by the nurse and anesthesiologist. The doctor said he had put a relaxer in my IV drip. I told him I could feel it. I remember him and the nurse talking and then I blacked out because of the relaxer.
Next thing I knew, I was being put on a wheel chair and wheeled outside. My boyfriend brought up the car and the nurse helped me inside. My parents wished me good luck with my healing and we drove home. I’ve been relaxing in bed ever since. I took a pain and nausea pill they gave me and am likely due for another one soon. The best way to describe the pain is like a searing knife cutting the underside of my breast (borderline-burning type sensation) and it feels like pins are painfully sticking into my nipples and stretching as far as they’ll go.
They inserted what look like clear, plastic tubes into me with a small balloon shaped attachment. These are drainage tubes and will help collect blood that has resulted from the surgery. The doctor set up an appointment for tomorrow, so I might be able to get them taken out, tomorrow!
I’ve walked a little bit around the house (they strongly recommend walking at least a little bit to help restore blood flow to the legs). My boyfriend said to me in the car that the surgeon told him and my parents that overall the surgery went EXTREMELY well and the hardest part was getting my breasts to be roughly symmetrical because of how bad the asymmetry was. I still have that “distant anesthesia feeling” that people who have gone through surgery know what I am talking about (where you feel like you’re maybe 90% there, but not quite 100%). I also drained the tubes, which I’m happy I didn’t pass out at because I normally pass out when dealing with lots of blood like that, it was around 6 oz total that filled up the drains between the two of them.