Twenty plus years ago I made the decision to have breast implants. I had always been small breasted. Even though I had a nice hourglass shape, I appeared bottom heavy because I had small breasts. I was teased by quite a few people, people close to me about having "fried eggs" for breasts. It took a toll on my very fragile self esteem. When I became pregnant with my first child I put on nearly 60 pounds and my breasts got larger and larger. With my second child, I had lost 40 pounds of that, but put on nearly 30, then with the final child I had lost all of the weight and then some, gained 50 pounds and finally lost it all once again... along with any breast fullness I did have, I was left with empty sacks. I could roll them up and shove them in a padded bra, but it was truly liked rolled socks in the bra cups.
I was given options, get a reduction and a lift or implants. I obviously chose the latter. I also chose to go up to a full C cup. I wanted to feel and look better and I thought that was how to go about it. Initially I LOVED them, not going to lie, they were full and pretty...and I looked great in clothing. I did not have any post op depression....later I did have post op disappointment. As my breasts healed, they shifted. The first issue was my nipples were too high, I was bottom heavy and could not find a single bra to wear. Surgery number two happened to lower them. Then one shifted.... the implant on my left side slipped out of the pocket behind the muscle and so I lost fullness on the top and the breast sat partially under my arm when not under a bra. To my horror within just a couple of years my right breast implant went flat!!! so surgery number three. The results were not positive. The implant was placed too high, and never settled down to the proper placement, so now I had one breast under my arm pit, and one that actually looked like an 8 ! No joke!!! I have managed to disguise this with a good bra, but could never be seen without it in public, no bathing suits or backless outfits. This bugged me, a lot. I could not stand in front of the mirror without getting upset. Instead of helping my self esteem, the breasts were once again diminishing it. I did not even want my husband to see them, how could I if I did not even wish to see them. To top it off with my fibro, my neck began to hurt quite a bit as did my back, and this last year I was diagnosed with arthritis in my shoulder, and began to have neurothopy in my left breast....even went through ultra sounds and an extra mammogram for that breast to see if what I was experiencing was cancer. Then I was speaking to a few people who said implants, even saline like mine, can cause auto immune issues, I began to wonder if my implants,though I do not believe caused my fibro, certainly fed into many of my issues. I decided right then to have my implants removed. Implants have a 15 to 20 year shelf life, so have always feared them going flat, and so that too fed into me making this decision. So I made the appointment.
I went to a very renowned plastic surgery center in my area, and was told that I would be a very small size, perhaps smaller than I was before implants/pregnancy, as the implants caused muscle and tissue atrophy; loss of muscle and tissue. I was also told that I would most likely have pretty good symmetrical results, and no bridges were burned, if I wanted implants back in, I could have them. As we were paying out of pocket, the doctor gave me a deep discount, and though it would nearly clean out our savings that we had set aside to remodel the kitchen and take a vacation this year, and then some, my husband and I agreed to move forward. I set the date, May 8th. I was excited, and scared. Needless to say my blood pressure soared. Something I have a real problem with due to the anxiety I suffer from and my pain levels. I spent the next month doing my best trying to not dwell on it. My daughters were supportive; being small breasted girls themselves. They told me all the perks of being small, going braless, wearing "petals" , being able to wear backless dresses...the cute bras I would now be able to buy. My husband promising me a trip to a local specialty, privately owned, bra shop for pretty bras... all very appealing. Plus if I wanted to there was always great padded, uplifiting bras out there. The day came very quickly, we paid for our oldest daughter to come out from Texas to care for me for the first few days, hubby arranged to have that Sunday off, Mother's Day as it would turn out, and my middle daughter arranged to have the following Monday off. I was all set. I would be having my breast implants removed and a lift.
I went in for prep at 7:30 a.m., BP soaring to say the least. The nurse tried to insert the iv in my right arm...failing, then the left, again failing ( hello human pin cushion) and finally inserting into my left hand ( I still have the scab and bruising). I met with the anesthesiologist and told him of my issues I had with the tubes from when I had my hysterectomy the previous April, and then spnt about 15 minutes with the doctor as he drew the dots and lines on my breast before being laid down and before I knew it waking up in recovery. I woke up feeling sick and needing to use the restroom. No pain. The nurse dressed me. I used the restroom, the whole time with a bag over my mouth... just in case. Then once I came out, I was put in a wheel chair, my daughter was called and I was taken home.
Warning photos below .....nothing too graphic, but also not my normal photos I post........ no nude photos...promise....
I came home with an ace bandage around my chest and drains hooked to that. Not pleasant for sure. The drains needed to be recorded and emptied four times a day. I was also leaking at the main entry point of the drain on my left side, so had to put in extra bandages and a washcloth to protect my clothing. My youngest was a trooper and not being squeamish took on the job of that task of the drains as my oldest could not quite handle it and my husband had his own doctors appointment to be at as well as needing to go back to work. I spent the day resting on the couch, watching tv, and doing my best to sty upright and comfortable....sipping on ginger ale and eating crackers as I could. I had a sore throat, totally normal, and so also sucking on cough drops. Day two and three was spent pretty much the same way. That Monday I had my first post op. The nurse put me into a surgical bra, but did not feel comfortable removing my drains as the doctor had thought would happen. I was told to come back Wednesday. Finally one drain came out, but the other would stay in until that Friday, my one week point. The job of recording and draining the bulbs were all on me. I gritted my teeth and got through it.
That Monday... swollen, extra gauze pads,
and drains still in.
Friday rolled around, just a few days ago, and I am happy to report that the final drain was taken out, bandages replaced and I as told to come back in one month, June 11 for my next check up. At that point I hope to be told I can be in a regular bra and that everything is progressing nicely. So that is the clinical story, but there is more to it. There is a physical side, tightness, some pain, soreness, itching.... oh my the itching is horrible. I am not doing the pain pills now, but there are moments I am tempted. They really mess with my system.... not to be graphic, but I was constipated for nearly a full week and when I finally could go, it was beyond painful, even to the scary point and I have had two days like that. The exhaustion is overwhelming and my fibro is reacting with flairs all over, not just in a spot or two. My arthritis is not fun at the moment, throbbing really all day and night. The surgical bra is uncomfortable at best and well there is not a single item of clothing seems to be able to cover the darn thing. I was also able to finally shower and that was wonderful, but it was the first time I truly saw my breasts without the surgical bra. They are bruised, blotchy with red, purple and yellow are stitched up in what is called an anchor shape, so around the nipple, down the front of the breast and across the bottom of the breast. They are still very swollen, hard on the lower half, and soft on the upper part so they are mis-shaped The doctor had said he was happy with the symmetrical look, but the nurse had said though they were close, they were not twins, but sisters....so in my head a-symmetrical... and today looking in the mirror before my shower, I am right. As each day passes they change shape. One is bigger, fuller on the top, the other is more swooped and fuller on the bottom... very much like they were when the implants were in me. I guess I should have expected this, but I had hoped they would be pretty, and as close to symmetrical as possible, so that when they finally heal, and yes it will be weeks, or even months before they are fully healed, they would look nice for myself as well as my husband and well I could go braless in tops etc .... seeing them how they are and knowing that if it is not all swelling on the larger one etc etc and with them sitting at two different levels, I will not be any more comfortable than I have been the last 20 plus years. Size wise it is hard to tell what I will end up being. I am smaller of course, but I appear larger than what the doctor or I expected... but a lot of that is more than likely swelling. I expected to be a small to medium A cup and I nearly look like a nice B.... only time will tell.
How I look today... added tissues to hide nipples... wanted to keep it PG
The other huge part of all this is the emotional side. The paperwork warns of depression, says acceptance of ones new body will come or seems to come within a few days to a couple of weeks. I do not think I at the moment anyway, have an issue with the size, though as I put clothing on each day and can not cover the straps of the bra and the seams of the bra show as well and make me look like I have four nipples, I do mourn my former size and my normal bra... that will come soon enough. What I am struggling with is how they look. Lack of sleep, as I am forced to sleep on my back and can not get comfortable, I am sure does not help with my attitude and acceptance. Not really having someone to talk to this , my feelings about it all, is very hard; my husband says I look great, that no one notices the surgical bra showing, that he is sure the breasts will settle and look nice and that he does not see the a-symmetry ...that no one symmetrical anyway etc etc. I have told him he has to say these things if he wants to stay among the living LOL .... OH and he loves smaller breasts... "more than a hand full" he always says, he never really liked the larger breasts. I am worried about having the same old issues that I did with the larger breasts because of the size and shape difference, finding good bras, and then there is the issue of none of my clothing looking good on me, top wise. Never mind as I previously mentioned, how I look naked... not liking what I see in the mirror for the rest of my life. I already have self critical body issues. I see all the flaws, and have a hard time accepting them, no matter how hard I try. I know this may come as a shock for those who follow this blog and my FB or Instagram accounts where I am always sharing fashion photos and look self assured and I preach self acceptance... on many levels it is so much easier to pick others up and make them feel good and nearly impossible on some days to do the same or accept the same for myself.
It is still early, Friday will only be two weeks, and I am positive that my breasts will change quite a bit as swelling goes down, they possibly shift as they heal, and I am hoping with time I shall become more accepting of how they look in and out of clothing, especially after I am able to wear a normal bra and buy some new tops that fit better. It is going to be a long road and not an easy one if how I have felt for the last week and a quarter is any example. I do find sharing this will all of you very therapeutic....even if seems to be my readers way, there is no comments left.... I know you are seeing and possibly reading this and maybe knowing that I might help someone else facing this, to know that they are not alone, be it by choice or for medical reasons ; it is still not an easy journey and having support and someone to talk to that understands, sharing my feelings and what I am going through is a huge weight lifted... so thank you do that.
So that is my first week after going back to natural.... I will be posting each week over the next several weeks giving updates and you can always find me over on my FB page..where though I am truthful with how I am dealing with all this, I am trying to not dwell on it. I so dislike pity parties, but it is nice as I said to be able to share my journey.
Til next time.....