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

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.

Kids, Don’t Try This At Home

So I’ve decided experiments on your own body are a horrible idea. So if you recall I started the pill about 3 months ago and I thought I was getting better somewhere around the beginning of month 2. I take that all back. I have been horribly depressed and crying pretty much all the time. For no reason whatsoever. Clearly I should be better at observing this but I’m pretty convinced that this is just not working out for me. I’ve given it 4 months and if going through a little stress called moving is enough to have me have an all out nervous breakdown it’s not ok. And I just started crying because I can’t turn off the fan. No, I’m not joking. I really did start crying because I couldn’t turn off the fan and I’m cold. Not that you know, I couldn’t just get a blanket or put on a sweater. But no, crying because I couldn’t turn off the fan. Clearly the world is ending. I really understand what D was talking about now because I feel miserable. And I have felt like this for way too long in a really unhealthy way. There has to be a better solution. I just wish that not every solution takes 3 months to figure out. I mean seriously?

Is This Really Necessary?

So I know my friend, D, just went through this recently where she went on the pill and was horrified by the resulting aftermath. I, too, decided that maybe I would give it a shot. My reasons are different from the majority of women on the pill. I typically don’t sleep with men so I’m not really concerned about getting pregnant. However my cramps can be a nightmare and I am an emotional disaster depending on the state of my hormones. Clearly, knowing that I’m an emotional disaster depending on the state of my hormones means I should try to fuck with them by using some synthetic ones. Clearly, I’m a genius.

Well anyway, the hype is that they help a lot. That said my first week with them was far from pleasant. It involved a lot of crying. Crying of the sobbing uncontrollably variety at work. And let me tell you it’s a little hard to explain why you’re sobbing uncontrollably when there’s really no reason other than my hormones are out of whack and that pen was the wrong color. Seriously, the blue was upsetting (or something equally trivial and stupid). That said things seem to have calmed down, I’m in the middle of week 3 and I’m still a little easier to tip over to the side of crying, which is super awkward cause I’m not really a crier, but it is getting a lot better.

Though I have to think, if this were something that effected men we wouldn’t be doing experiments on our own body right now. They’d have figured something better out instead of – well just wait it out and see what happens. I mean seriously, what kind of an answer is that. I am living in my own personal version of hell and you’re telling me that I just have to wait and see if I adjust. Do I get a refund on those 3 months of my life? Cause that would be stellar too. Anyway, at least I feel vindicated about some of the times when I do know that I’m just super on edge and it’s not *just* me. I suppose in a way that makes it worth it, though I’m not entirely sure just how.

It’s Like Dr. Doolittle

Well perhaps a little different but I was certainly super excited to hear about this study in this morning’s paper. Apparently there are some scientists who have managed to extract the human language gene and insert it into mice. Now tell me, how cool is that? Because I think it’s pretty darn cool. Some days I really wish I went into research, there are just so many mind-boggling things discovered like that all the time. Granted, I’m sure there are a lot of failures that go along with it but just think of how cool it would be to have a talking mouse!

I wonder what this would mean if we actually managed to create other animals that could talk. How would that change the balance of the world? I mean I would imagine that humans have this ability which has given us an edge over the rest of the animal kingdom. I mean we don’t have the sharp teeth or nails or really many other mechanisms of defense. What we do have is our intellect and our ability to communicate in a very robust manner. I mean if other animals could communicate in the same robust manner that we do would that mean that we are leading the way to our demise? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should stop this research because I think it is seriously awesome. But I do wonder what the implications could be.

Actually it sortof draws my mind to Wicked, I don’t recall the play as well but in the book there were animals and Animals. The Animals were conscious and had the ability to speak and understand language whereas the animals were like those in our world. It would be interesting to see if something like that could happen in reality. And also I always wonder why we humans want to dress animals up in clothing. Perhaps if they had the ability to communicate they would tell us that fashion is a ridiculous social construct. And that walking on two legs is for the birds. But who really knows? There are so many possibilities.