Post-Surgery Breast Reduction: Day 87

So it’s been a while. Nearly three months and things are drastically different now. Since the last time I took photos things have taken a great turn for the best. My scars are healing really well. I’m pretty thrilled with the way everything is going right now. There’s definitely still some healing left to do but the progress has been just remarkable. Especially considering where I started. I feel that documenting this is helpful not just for me but for anyone considering the surgery. Now remember, I got an infection which made my healing time longer than normal. But at least here you can see what you can expect, which I wish I had been able to see somewhere because it can be rough to wrap your head around all the changes.


I think my right side is healing up quite well. Actually I think they are both healing up really well, what’s deceiving about this situation is that while you don’t have any open wounds anymore there is still a lot of healing going on under the surface that you can’t see. But overall I feel pretty good about the way things are going. I turned the corner sometime in March, I can’t really identify exactly when it happened. But it was amazing, it was like one day things just turned around and everything starts healing rapidly. My doctor had said this to me and after a while I was convinced he was lying but now I see where he was coming from. He said it’s like pushing a boulder up a hill and once you get to the top it just rolls down the other side. So I finally got to the top of the hill, thankfully, and am now on the other side. There’s still a good amount of healing to be done. The nerves aren’t as confused as they were before but there are definitely still moments where wires get crossed.

right breast day 87

It’s amazing how quickly this has all started healing up since my last post. I still had open wounds and barely pink skin and now all of that is gone. And the scars are starting to fade. It doesn’t look quite as good in these pictures (someone took them upside down, love her but not always the best photographer). But things are starting to look pretty good to me. I’ll post in another week because every day the healing is INCREDIBLE. I can’t even explain how quickly things seem to have turned around.

left breast day 87

A deviation from the latest string of posts

You know when I started this blog I didn’t intend it to be too personal. And then I had a horrible break up and two surgeries so I guess those lines have blurred considerably. Surgery can be a little difficult on the spirit and leave you feeling a little emotionally drained.

Anyway this morning I found this letter I wrote to myself two years ago. It was fortuitous that I found it today because I’ve been feeling pretty down lately and it is really appropriately timed to remind me that I have to try to lift my spirits myself and to be kind to myself.

Letter to myself

dear rhea,
you are breaking your own heart. let her go. be good to yourself. cut yourself a break. you are a good person and you deserve to be happy. and you deserve to be loved. to be loved by someone who gets you. in the right ways. to be with someone who brings out the best in you. i know it still hurts and that’s ok. it’s ok because you are a caring, kind person who needs some time to get over everything. and it’s ok if you never come around. you don’t have to be friends if you don’t want to. you deserve to be good to you. first and foremost. when you are ready, you will find someone. and it will be great. until then, enjoy the time you have with your friends and family and everything else. you owe it to yourself not to settle for anything less than what you want. some day you’ll see, it’s all going to work out fine, you just don’t know it yet. life is a journey and you have to let it lead you. follow the turns and the bends. don’t be lazy but don’t fight change. live with all you have. love as much as you can and don’t sweat the small stuff. let your heart be broken because when you find the right person you will cherish it that much more. remember you know nothing. life is all about learning and it’s not about where you went to school or what grades you made, everyone can teach you something. appreciate that for what it’s worth. learn to be kind to yourself. for anyone else to love you, you must first love yourself: body, mind and soul. know that you can never care too much. and just because it might hurt doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a leap of faith every now and again. look for the bright spots when it is darkest because you’ll see there’s always something there if you look hard enough. love yourself enough to know that no matter how hard it is today, tomorrow will be better. and never never lose hope. remember you have always believed that life works the way it was supposed to. and faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. sometimes faith is all you’ve got. but you know it will work out in the end.

Post-Surgery Breast Reduction: Day 56

As promised these new pictures are from today. Sadly they are slightly blurry but it can be kinda awkward to try and take these photos by oneself. However, what you can really see is how quickly they are healing now that the infection is gone. It’s a completely different track. As I mentioned before the nerves that are returning are also good and seem to have calmed down slightly today.


In order to give myself a little more room and actually have the NSFW bit be useful I’m going to chat a little about my life experience going through this. In theory if all goes well in a breast reduction you should be able to return to work after 1 week if you have a desk job (which I did). And then from there it should in theory get better each week. For me what happened was that I contracted an infection somewhere around week 3-4 and I don’t think it got caught until week 5 because the way the follow ups go is that you go weekly for the first 3 weeks and then if things look like they are going well the doctor will give you a week off before your next follow up. So for me in that interim week I ended up getting an infection which blew the healing process out of whack. And because it was a gap week the doctor didn’t catch it until it was actually a pretty full fledged infection where he needed to remove a layer of skin and put in stitches and put me on antibiotics. If I were to do this over again, I think I would’ve been more active about letting the doctor and nurse know about my pain levels even if I thought I was being excessively needy. Because it’s a lot easier to deal with something when you catch it early rather than if you let it fester. If you look at the pictures now this is where I wanted to be like 2 weeks ago and I think that should have been possible if not for the infection. And perhaps had I spoken up about how my pain really wasn’t decreasing and I had these little microtear feelings then maybe that would’ve tipped them off. That’s just a theory, who really knows? It could have turned out the same way but we’ll never really know that. This is just how I feel the process has gone for me. And I think it would have been nice if I had had a resource that actually tells you what the experience feels like. Everyone is going to be slightly different because everyone’s body is different but at least with some knowledge there is at least a baseline.

right almost totally healed


As you can see the right is nearly totally healed, it’s kindof amazing what a week can do for a giant open wound. Especially given how large the right one was initially.

left healing up

The left is healing up  but the bottom part is taking a little longer than I’d like. However the nice part about this one is that the infection has clearly completely cleared up and is now gone and that part is closing up pretty nicely. I’ll be really excited when all of it is done.


Post-Surgery Breast Reduction: Day 55

This recovery is really just kindof a bitch. So the newest thing that’s happening is that my nerves are returning so my breasts are itchy and burning mostly near the areola but basically everywhere. It’s even worse because pain killers and creams don’t work because it’s the nerves rebuilding themselves, except I swear this is happening at the slowest speed known to mankind. It’s ridiculous. However in good news the GIANT holes I had before area disappearing really quickly and I can see fresh new pink skin starting to build up. So that’s fantastic to see. I’ll make sure to take and post pics before I put my bandages on next for those of you who might be interested in getting a breast reduction and want to see what healing looks like. Since I mean I’ve already posted photos of every other step. Might as well do this too.

This is just the frustrating part of recovery where you feel good enough to start doing things and then you do things like go to the grocery store (which is down the street like 10min walk each way) and make homemade yogurt and are like, ok there go all my plans for the rest of the day. I need a nap. Which normally making yogurt is like not even taxing. It’s the easiest thing to do. And walking 10mins each way to the grocery store. Also shouldn’t be that taxing. But le sigh. Just little things are hard. Or you know I went and got more CO2 for our home made carbonator (which I am still more than a little proud of). But the damn tank weighs 33.2lbs… Apparently 6 weeks out of surgery one should *probably* not be lifting 33.2lbs. Ooops.

I also forgot to post about how I needed a colonoscopy last Thursday because the narcotics I’ve been taking have screwed up my digestive system so badly that my GI doctor who is generally pretty chill and is like “you just have constipation problems which can lead to many other things, you’ll be fine and need to be better about taking your Miralax or prunes just pick one and be consistent” (obvs my edited version of what he says in a much politer way). He was actually concerned even though I had bright red blood, it was enough to fill an entire sheet of paper so more than a teaspoon (which to me is slightly concerning) and had been going on for over 2 weeks, which was really kinda terrifying.

So my feelings on the colonoscopy: It’s kinda uncomfortable but that is partially because my colon is special and I have a really sharp angle which makes it difficult for them to get around but not impossible. Very easy solution, just give me more sedatives and I’m fine. Overall really not an uncomfortable or even notable process — it’s a twilight anesthetic instead of general which is interesting (mostly so you can follow their commands like turn over and stuff but I really don’t remember much other than being sleepy), it just takes a lot of time — mostly to prep you and then wait for you to stop sleeping from the sedatives.

However, the prep work for a colonoscopy is like the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. You are on an all clear liquid diet. Like no coke only sprite, no food only broth kinda thing. It’s horrible. And you’re on this diet the entire day before your colonoscopy. To top off the crappy diet you then have to drink this gallon jug of horrifying laxative mix. So if you have a morning colonoscopy they make you drink the entire gallon the night before. If you are an idiot like me and schedule one for the afternoon you have to split it up. So you drink half the night before and half the morning of. But you have to get up early to drink the rest of it the morning of because you aren’t allowed to eat or drink anything for the 4 hours before your procedure. Now comes the fun part. You have taken so much of this crap that there is nothing left in your colon whatsoever which is actually awful and you are starving and uncomfortable. And then when you get there they ask if you are in pain and I’m like, ok well how do you classify pain? Because no, I physically do not feel afflicted but I’m starving and I think I might chew my arm off. And on top of it you made me take so much laxative I feel like I’ve had diarrhea for the last 12 hours, does that count as pain? No. Ok, then I’m not in pain but yes, in case you were wondering I’m horribly uncomfortable.

So enough whiny panda. The prep is really truly awful but on the whole I was really worried especially since my doctor wasn’t able to see any fissures or anything visible when he checked me out, which he normally can and then I’m pretty satisfied that bright red blood with a normal exam means something superficial but if that isn’t the case then it just seems weird. Hence the colonoscopy. The good news is everything turned out great. Apparently people cheat on the prep stuff (which I didn’t know, otherwise fuck that shit I so would’ve eaten something) so he was like you prepared great which made everything much easier for you and for me. So that was good, I was proud of being strong and you know being able to starve myself for 2 days. And on top of it apparently my colon looks awesome, there’s just a sharp angle that most ppl don’t have. But that angle explains a lot of my problems so his conclusion was that the narcotics were affecting me worse than most people and so I just need to find a balance between taking those and the prunes. But if there’s anything wrong it’s on a superficial level which is good and something I should be able to treat with over the counter meds or just simply diet modifications. All in all I feel it is better to be safe than sorry. Even if it makes you wicked uncomfortable.

One question I do have is that one would think after all these years doctors would have come up with way less painful and uncomfortable methods to do all these things. Breast reductions, colonoscopies. There has to be a way to leverage technology to make this pain not be so bad. Also after all of this I have no idea why anyone would ever have plastic surgery, I think you’d have to lose your damn mind to want to have any sort of surgery. Recovery is a bitch. And that’s my last thought on it.

And I can categorically say that love is someone who comes to pick you up and still loves you when you fall asleep talking to her in the car on your way home and she doesn’t hold it against you. Or when you fall asleep talking to her on the couch as you guys are having dinner. Seriously there was a lot of microsleeping going on that day. I was super tired. But she’s a really good sport about the whole thing.

Post-Surgery Breast Reduction: Day 46

I bought my first bra since surgery. In fact, I bought two. It cost me $60. As an adult, I have never ever ever purchased a bra in my correct size for anything less than $70 for a single product. To be able to buy 2! bras for $60 is like a small miracle. Also, I am now a 38D. I haven’t been a D since I was… 13? 14? I’m not sure… I think I was past a D at 14.

At any rate that’s not the point. I’m not at my ideal size because I would like to lose some weight which would help me lose a band size (and maybe another cup size). The point is that I have 10lbs off my chest. Literally. It feels amazing to be able to go into any store and find a bra. In my size. To not have to specialty order or custom size. To be able to wear a bra without an underwire and feel secure. These are all small miracles for me for which I am forever grateful.

My doctor’s visit today was good, he thinks that things look good and that things are progressing well. He apologized it was taking so long. Apparently when things go smoothly it’s not quite as bumpy a road as it has been for me. But that is ok. I am willing to travel this road and thankfully I have a buddy. My partner is my medical advocate because apparently she thinks I am too stoic for my own good (ok, those are my words, hers are, “well I’m here because you’re apparently incapable of advocating for yourself”). I just figure if I can suck up the pain it must not be worth mentioning… this is clearly incorrect because my care is infinitely better when the doctors have more to go on. So maybe she is right. I know, you never thought I’d say that. (Neither did I).

Anyway, I’m thrilled. I have bras. They are super comfortable. Now if only I can get through these last stages of healing I’ll be on my way. And very excited to boot!

Post-Surgery Breast Reduction: Day 42

So these new pictures are from today. The prior post was showing what it looks like (albeit kinda blurry) when the wound is mildly infected but today I’m going to talk about what happens after that.


You know, if I didn’t know that people had this surgery all the time and that wounds like this do actually heal, I would think my doctor is a complete lunatic. That said, I have implicit faith in my doctor, he’s the best in Chicago for this type of surgery. I know he has a close relationship with the best breast cancer surgeons as well so I’m pretty confident of the care that I’m getting and boy am I thankful I am because this has been an interesting and more difficult road than I saw coming.

Upon reflection that was silly of me because I have a very good friend from college who did not mince words and told me about her experience, yet somehow I thought that in the last 10 years science and technology would have magically made the experience like I don’t know a 10th of what she experienced. Not true. I think the scars and the heal time have reduced but like by a week maybe 2. Not quite what I had expected. Perhaps because I am an optimist and I just assume that everything will always go along the happy path… which is sortof ironic considering nothing in my life has gone that way. I digress. What I was going to say is that when recovery from surgery gets difficult and you are very stressed out I think what really makes the biggest difference is love. I had been on/off considering getting this surgery for the last 10 years, to the point where I was still on the fence about going through with it until a week before. So the only people that knew about the surgery before I had it were: my partner, my mother, my partner’s mother and 2 friends. Typically that’s not what I would do because that is a lot of pressure on not very many people. Particularly because both of those friends not only do not live in the same city as I do but they don’t even live in the same state! Oh and I told my best friend who lives in the Netherlands after I had it done… because I just forgot to call her — time zones make it challenging to coordinate, you know? Yet for some reason I just didn’t consider needing a support group.

Part of me wonders if this is because I have a very independent personality. Ever since I was small I’ve always wanted to do things on my own and to be responsible for myself and to be completely and entirely self-reliant. I don’t think that’s a bad thing but I think it undervalues the importance of love. So recently I posted on facebook to let the rest of my friends and family know what is going on in my life. The outpouring of love that I have received has been a very happy and helpful surprise. My partner, thank whatever you pray to in the universe for her, has been a rock for me to stand on and yell at and generally be quite unpleasant to and still loves me and puts up with me and is kind to me. These are the things that I think people forget to plan on. And it’s so easy to forget that people love you when you have bigger things on your mind, like having silver dollar size open wounds on your body and small infections that have shooting pains that go from inside your breast all the way to your nipple. But what I think you can forget is that even if it’s just a skype date once a week with a different friend, knowing that someone cares and loves you is a powerful healing tool. My partner is amazing and I know she loves me dearly but it’s a lot of pressure to have her be captain step and fetch it and also provider of all the love in the universe. It’s also a little unfair. So I’m thankful for little things. Like my friends that have started to reach out… now that my genius self let them know I underwent this procedure.

On to picture time!

left breast after removal of skin with infection and addition of sutures

If you’ll notice in this picture you’ll see that from the last post the skin was red and somewhat yellow and angry. So what the doctor actually did is literally cut away the infection (which does cause some bleeding). And then after injecting me with some lidocaine he put some sutures in to ensure that the wound will close instead of continuing to spread apart. Part of the issue with the skin spreading apart is that sometimes with women who have particularly dense breast tissue it can make the skin want to spread apart (gravity) instead of close together. I’m hoping these precautions can help. And now that I’m on the antibiotics the pain is far far less severe. There’s definitely a base level of pain that I’ve simply gotten used to by having this procedure done but it no longer *hurts* all day, which I think is great progress.

right breast awesome healing!

Now on the right side you’ll notice that from that huge scary as fuck (pardon my language) hole that was there it’s closing up beautifully. The scars are already starting to fade and everything is going really well. So I did want to make sure to show what it looks like when things go well because this side has really been doing a good job. And I have no pain on this side, I just have to make sure to put the cream on it every day after I shower so that it continues to heal up nicely but overall there are no problems.

Post-Surgery Breast Reduction: Day 36

More backdating to explain what’s going on and some more pictures so you can try to discern for yourself if you are going through something like this if you have reasons to be concerned or not.


So now we are at about week 4-5, I don’t know I’m losing track here because it’s been a while that I’ve been dealing with this. And I’m starting to get concerned. My right breast is healing like a champ — yes I know, ironically the one that I was like WTF you are going to leave a silver dollar size hole in my body and call it good, have you lost your mind people. Yes that one is fine. The one that is not fine is the other side. It feels like it is widening and the top and bottom holes are starting to move together. This is terrifying. Well not only terrifying it is also excruciatingly painful. So the pain had gotten to a steady point where I could manage it previously but then in the last week or so it was starting to increase. And then I started being able to feel my skin actually start to separate from the top down. Granted I started to notice that it was getting bigger on Wednesday and thankfully my partner is very on top of things so she sent an email the very next day to the nurse who is very responsive and actually didn’t get the comparison pictures so I had to send the second picture (she only got the old one from the previous post if you are following this). So I sent her an updated picture and she said yes, she thinks it might be widening but to continue using the cream they had given me to help the healing process and she thinks it still looks ok but is going to run it by the doctor. So at this point it is Friday afternoon and I already have an appointment scheduled for Monday so I don’t think it makes any sense to do anything drastic because I already have an appointment.

left breast widening

As you can see below there was widening and subsequently there were a few things that happened that I think will be more appropriate for the next post. All I can say is that I’m thankful that my partner cares enough to be concerned and to share her concern with my doctors when she doesn’t think I’m speaking up enough because quite frankly in this case she was right. (And probably in others I’m not willing to admit that I’m wrong on quite yet).

Post-Surgery Breast Reduction: Day 24

Ok we are going to get up close and personal because I have been bad about updating so I’m backdating my entries and am going to describe what is happening.


 The recovery so far has been good. I’m exhausted all the time but I don’t have to take vicodin during the day which is great. So basically at 3 weeks out you don’t need heavy painkillers however the breasts are still pretty swollen and movement is very limited. I can take showers by myself, completely. Arm range of movement has gotten a thousand times better. This is when the doctor cut the sutures btw which is why I now have pictures. Also just as a note, when the sutures come out it’s like instant relief. At this point the sutures are really doing more harm than good because they are preventing your skin from healing. That said, it kinda sucks to have a doctor digging around in your scars with tweezers and tiny scissors to cut them out. So just be prepared for that. I typically don’t take vicodin during the day anymore but in preparation for the sutures being cut, I took one 30mins before I left to go to the doctor. You have to figure out what timing works best for you to know when it’s going to kick in at the right time but that is a good guideline to go by. For me, I hate taking vicodin if I’m not in severe pain. Lots of people say that it’s addictive but personally, if I’m not in a position where I think I may want to kill myself if I don’t get some painkillers I don’t take vicodin because my response to vicodin without the pain is severe nausea and dizziness which are known side effects. So beware of being too liberal with your pain killers. Sometimes that leads to very interesting and not so fun results. Thankfully I’ve had a very understanding partner who helps me figure these things out and has really helped me through this whole process.

right breast 24 days post-op
right breast 24 days post-op

So in this picture above you can see the right breast is actually rather intimidating with the giant silver dollar size hole (that I really was concerned was never going to heal). But the good news with this side is that the entire line coming down was healing up quite well except for where they all meet at the center right there. Personally I find it fascinating that doctors seem to think it’s totally cool to leave a giant hole in your body and say, “yeah that’s totally normal, it’s a little scary and you’ve made a bit of a mess but you’ll be fine” the mess part referring to bleeding all over yourself because they took the sutures out of your now open wounds. But you know sometimes you just gotta have some faith, right?

left breast 24 days post-op

So the left side, I thought was looking quite a lot better, especially because the giant hole was less silver dollar size and more quarter size. So the up and down bit wasn’t quite as clean and there was a bit of a hole there but overall it seemed like the side to bet on if you were going to be placing bets on this kind of a thing. There’s quite a lot of red and green and yellow in there too which is gross and sometimes a bit scary to see but I was explained that this is normal and since it didn’t look inflamed this was ok. So here I am trying to move on with my life.

The current state at just past week 3 is that things are getting better. I can wear a loose-ish sports bra and going about with my daily life and I’m not too hindered. I still get tired pretty easily and I definitely need valium and vicodin to be able to sleep. However beyond that things seem to be on schedule.

Post-Surgery Breast Reduction: Day 18

Ok, I am officially changing my stance. So having your ACL reconstructed blows big monkey chunks, yes. And the pain is wildly excruciating the first I dunno 3-4 days. But after that things settle down and you get back to life as normal and take some prescription ibuprofen and you’re fine. I mean ok, you are not *fine* but you’re mobile, things kinda hurt but you are in rehab and you can do most things. For example going to work is awkward because you know you have a giant brace, but not because it is hard to sit up or you are in crazy amounts of pain.

Breast Reduction, not so much. Like for real not so much. I have not had this much consistent pain… well, ever, in my life. I mean I’m on day 18 and I really honestly need to take vicodin to be able to sleep. I’m also taking valium but I feel like that’s more for comfort than the fact that it works on me. Because really if I take the valium nothing happens… maybe I’m just too relaxed a person but I’m kinda ticked off because I would like it to do something. At least vicodin is pretty good at knocking me out. Going to work is exhausting. Sitting up can be exhausting. I don’t have much of an appetite which could be partially due to the cocktail of drugs I’m taking, though it is getting better every day.

One of the things I didn’t think about when I got this surgery is how limiting it is. I mean it’s difficult to move your arms. Today is the first day I could shower and actually lift my arms enough to reach the back of my head so I could shampoo my hair normally without twisting in weird positions. And I can finally put my arms down at my sides. I just got my sutures out, which was definitely painful when my doctor was digging around in my wounds, however since my boss was nice enough to let me work from home lying down has helped a lot. (I thank whatever powers that be every day that I have a job where I can lie down and use a computer to do because if I didn’t get breaks like this every few weeks with this kinda surgery, I don’t know how I would be able to keep my job.)

Also one of the more horrifying things about this recovery is that I’ve been oozing into my bandages which I have wear in lieu of a bra for the past 2 or so weeks, which is gross. Then again my doctor was also you know digging around in my wounds to get to the sutures so that was also not a very fun experience. And while getting the sutures out I was basically gushing blood, which my doctor called oozing. I kinda want to be like, actually you just went through 8 pads being soaked in blood. I’m not sure I would call that oozing, I would call that bleeding, thank you. Granted my boobs, reduced as they may be, are still large so I can’t actually see where or why I’m bleeding unless I have a mirror and I’m still too much of a chicken to look at that. Though I’m very surprised that the nipples are healing quite well, they don’t even look like anything happened. The downside to the nipples though is that they feel everything, particularly the left. I get shooting pains periodically through the day. It is validating however that the nurse said that either you feel nothing (which can be permanent) or they are overly sensitive and feel everything but that will tamp down in time.

All that said, I would do it again in a heartbeat. The recovery is seriously one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced in my life. But I can straighten my shoulders back consistently, which I haven’t been able to do since I was 16 years old. My knees don’t hurt because of the extra weight on the front end of my body. I feel lighter. I don’t have back pain. And clothes actually fit me. I need to lose some weight but I also feel much more prepared to do so without massive boobs that make me tired all the time. So overall, while I am in a pretty bad mood almost all the time because this recovery is no joke, I am eternally grateful that I had this surgery.

Also as much as I am complaining about this recovery I have to say, I am so so so grateful for my partner. I could not do this without her. And she puts up with a lot of crap from me right now. Because I am somewhat permanently in a bad mood and shouty which I think is somewhat understandable because of the pain. But also really really not fun to be around. And she’s been pretty great. She’s even done things that normally make her pass out like hold my hand while I got my sutures out. So I am grateful for many things. Smaller boobs and a wonderful person to help me through a tough time.

As a side note though, you’d think they’d have come up with some sort of technology to make this easier. Sigh. Maybe some day.

Happy New Year (and New Boobs)!

And here’s to posting more… or at least attempting to. It seems that this blog is starting to become my post-surgery blog. This isn’t intentional but I do feel like it’s a good place for me to talk about it.

So the end of last year was a little rough on me it went something: migraine, 1 day break, food-poisoning, 2 day break, breast reduction surgery, 4 day break, happy new year! I’m a relatively ambitious person so my partner and I made reservations at our favorite restaurant for a lovely but quiet new year’s eve celebration. Thankfully, the love of my life very sensibly made me stay in bed to celebrate the new year by cursing the people who were screaming, “woo!” as we were trying to sleep and hadn’t noticed that it had struck 12 while we were chatting with each other. Alas, the joys of being in a committed relationship where having surgery 5 days before the new year is ok because no one is upset you missed the big NYE celebration. In fact, not only is no one upset it’s actually a relief because you forgot to plan something until our server had mentioned they were doing a special menu. So the fact that we had to cancel was really not the end of the world. As a person who loves food, I was a little bummed we were missing an awesome menu but I’ll even publicly admit, she was right, I should have stayed in bed inside and I was much happier for it.

Anyway so I think I owe the people of the internets the courtesy to understand my rationale behind getting a breast reduction. I say this because I only wish I had found something like this for myself years ago. I was a horribly early bloomer in the physical sense, I got boobs at 10 and started my period somewhere between 11-12. Emotionally, I was a wreck. I had no idea how to put those two things together. I was a pretty shy and innocent tom-boy that just wanted to play with the boys or by myself.

Unfortunately for me, my first bra was a 32D and my guess is it should’ve been more appropriately a 28F but they don’t really make those sizes and trying to get me into any bra was a challenge so the thought of going to a specialty store might have made me want to crawl into a hole and die. Actually it would have made me want to crawl into a hole and die. By the time I exited high school I was wearing a DD probably more like an I/G if I had gone to a specialty store. And by the time I was old enough to actually go to a store that could size me properly I was a 32H.

I’ve hated my breasts my whole entire life. Not because they look bad, I’ve gotten plenty of comments. But because they’ve brought attention I don’t want and quite frankly big boobs get in the way of a lot of shit! My shirt eats with me all the time, am I a messy person? Not really but I also have a shelf in front of me! Which can sometimes make it difficult for food to find my mouth without also finding something else to land on or brush against. I hated trying to find sports bras, they never fit right. In fact, they fit so poorly that I just sucked it up and they have left a scar under my breasts that all my doctors ask me about.

Needless to say I have been contemplating a breast reduction for YEARS! But having major surgery, especially elective surgery, is a big deal. That said I still found having a breast reduction to be an intimidating prospect. I have to thank one of my closest college friends, who told me that it was super sucky and really painful and has a long recover but if I asked her if she would do it all again, she would. That really helped me think of just how much this surgery can change your life. Having torn my ACL and needed to have that reconstructed, I can say without a doubt that surgery is not something to be taken lightly. I did a lot of research and I found a surgeon that I could trust, he’s one of the best plastic surgeons in Chicago with a focus in breast reductions and I would recommend him to anyone who is thinking about having this surgery, Dr. Robert Galliano. He’s extremely helpful and he doesn’t seem overconfident but does explain all the details about your surgery to you, which I found to be extremely comforting and helpful.

I would also say any surgery where they cut through bone, tendon and muscle is way more painful than a breast reduction. However a breast reduction is not a cake walk. Like at all. Ever. Don’t read my saying that it is less painful as “you’ll be fine in a week” because that’s totally not true. What I am saying is that when I was out of surgery from having my ACL reconstructed I felt like I was going to go blind with pain until they gave me morphine and if I didn’t take my vicodin I felt like I was going to die. So that is blindingly bad pain. With the breast reduction, I could handle being off vicodin, it was not fun and I would not recommend missing your doses your first two days but it’s not blinding pain. I mean even my vicodin doses this time are half the dose that I got for my ACL so clearly it’s just a different level.

What is really different though is your mobility. Knee surgery is annoying because you know it’s hard to walk around and move. But you can use crutches, eventually you learn to put weight on your knee and you’re still mobile. You can shower. Keeping a leg out of the shower is annoying and challenging but not rocket science. The good news with a breast reduction is that they encourage you to shower. The bad news is that you can’t lift your hands. So it’s like ok… I can shower… But HOW?!?!!??!?! Yeah, I totally asked myself that the first 4 days.

I thank my lucky stars every day for my partner because without her I have no idea how I would have made it through my first week. She helped me eat, sleep, take pills on time, take showers, everything. She helped me with literally everything. Oh and the other thing to note is that if you’re lucky you don’t have drains (most doctors try really hard not to have to give you drains). But if you’re unlucky (like me, though my doc had said that I was so big that there was a high chance that I might need them) and you have to have drains it’s awful. They look like weird alien pipes coming out of your skin (they are not as big as this is making them sound). It’s pretty gross: it’s blood and fluid that are draining from the side of your breasts where they perform the liposuction. Until your drains collect less than 30cc of fluid for 2 consecutive 24 hour periods, you have to keep them in. Mine didn’t last terribly long, I got them out on day 4 but still it was a rough weekend to have them in. Showering is terrible, it makes it difficult for your arms to go down to your sides. Fun fact about drains if you get a tummy tuck you also get drains except they are placed just above your pubic hair. Gross! (At least now I know why I never want to have liposuction done anywhere else ever again)

Anyway I am currently on day 9 out of surgery and I feel pretty good. I need painkillers to make it through the night but otherwise Advil does just fine. I can lift my arms mostly over my head. I can’t really carry any weight on them if they’re that high up and even when they aren’t lifted that high I can’t put too much weight on them or try to pull too forcefully. But I can do most things I need to do by myself. So that’s nice. I’ve been showering without help for the past 5 days… there are a few places that I need help drying off, like my feet because they are too far (and my arms are not very long they are well proportioned to my body but if they were only a half inch longer I could reach… and some people have longer arms than legs so who knows maybe you’ll be lucky).

So all that said and done, my surgery took 10!!!!! lbs of tissue off my breasts and who knows how much fat. My breasts are still very large, I’m not sure what size yet it’ll still be a while before I know that — probably 4 or so months. But I feel a thousand times better. I can stand up straight, my back no longer hurts. It looks like I lost 40lbs but I didn’t. My knees don’t hurt anymore. There are just so many benefits to this that I am kicking myself a little bit for not having done it sooner. And here’s the thing, you don’t know until you do it how you’re going to feel about it.

So I’m not at my ideal weight. I want to lose a lot more but having done the surgery I feel better equipped to try and tackle that than I did before. I feel like I’m ready to take on my fitness challenges and not have this weight hanging over me (literally!!) anymore. I am very lucky. I have a partner who supports me and is actively helping me get through this and it makes it infinitely easier. I have a job where I can take the time I needed off and now that I’m ready I can go back. It’s definitely not the thing to do for everyone. But for me, I think this was the right choice and I really wish I had better information before. Even if I still only came around to it now. So I’m going to continue blogging about this so there’s at least a good amount of information about one person’s experience.

One of the ways that I think this surgery helps greatly is not only with just physically being able to do things but also with body image. The size of my boobs have always made me feel fat. And I think perhaps that was wrong. I’m not thin by any means, not even close. But I am also not obese and having boobs that were that big made it seem like my entire upper body was taken up by them and so it made me feel fatter than I was. Working on my body image has been a life long challenge for me but I’m hoping that I can continue to work on it and that this will help me reconcile my body with my own self image and hopefully something beautiful can come from there.