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.

Kittens!!!

Screw talking about my ACL (I mean ok, I will get back to it at some point) but more importantly let’s talk about something infinitely more serious…

I’m adopting kittens. They are the cutest little things I have ever seen. It’s a brother and sister pair, Monster (black and white) and Sassy (grey and white). I think I may be in love. (Not to mention Sassy looks just like my old cat, Ascot, that lives with my mom who I miss dearly but would kill me if I brought her to freaking cold Chicago.)

ACL Reconstruction Post-Op: Day 28

I’m off the brace. Finally! Though I almost cried yesterday when my PT said that even though she also hates my brace but I have to wear it while it’s snowing outside. (Yes, it was totally snowing in Chicago yesterday. Evil, I swear). BUT, now it’s gone!

Seriously, look at this sucker, it’s the most annoying thing on the planet.

However since it has been gone, I have some observations. Clearly it’s only been one day, I’m sure I’ll have more in the weeks to follow. So far the scar is weird and I have sympathy sensations on the left side… like if I scratch the right side of my scar I feel the nerves twitch on the left side. It’s kinda creepy but kinda awesome. I don’t really understand it but it works.

Beyond that I’ve noticed that I’m extraordinarily tired because I’m using my left a lot more today than I have been when I’m restricted in my brace. And my left glute is killing me. Clearly my quad is not engaging enough and I’m compensating for it in odd ways. I’m totally working on that. However it’s not an instantaneous process. Le sigh. But every day it gets a little better. And every day I see how much closer I am to being whole again. I can’t wait until I can start biking and running again!

ACL Reconstruction Post-Op: Day 20

So I got my stitches out. I am pretty sure no one except for me wants to see this but apparently my blog has now become my “after surgery journal” where I’m documenting everything. Getting the stitches out was *way* less exciting than I thought it would be and everyone whose had it done told me it would feel weird and there’s no better way to describe it. I didn’t believe them… but they’re right. It just feels weird. It doesn’t hurt, it just feels weird – for lack of a better word.

Anyway, before the stitches came out… see the awesome little blue bits. I know so attractive.

And then after.

And now 5 days later when it doesn’t look quite as bad.

What bugs me most about this whole process is that I typically get waxed pretty frequently and I dislike shaving intensely BUT I’m a little nervous about getting my legs waxed at the moment, like I just don’t know if I can do it. And to be perfectly honest, I’m actually a little freaked out about shaving my legs as well because I don’t want to mess with the stupid wound until it’s completely healed. Also I had to buy flats today because I only own one pair and I don’t think I’ll be able to wear heels for a long time. It’s really tragic.

ACL Reconstruction Post-Op: Day 14

So we finally made it to two weeks out. I’m officially relieved of my crutches – even with public transportation. And I’m out of the brace indoors just not outdoors because you never know what might happen. I’ve been told I need to walk “normally” because I’ve gotten used to limping around, so it’s now become a habit.

What is less exciting… the bruising. What they don’t tell you is that after you start walking around you have these ridiculous bruises all over your leg. Most predominantly around my ankles and lower shins. I swear this looks worse than when I came out of surgery. It’s ridiculous.

And I definitely didn’t have any on this side before:

And it’s true they do warn you that you can’t shower completely until your stitches are out but let me tell you, 2 weeks of not being able to wash your leg is like torture. I have to put my leg in a bag and then duck tape it to my leg so my wound doesn’t get wet and infected. It is so frustrating. The stitches come out tomorrow and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to be able to shower in my life.

ACL Reconstruction Post-Op: Day 7

So yesterday I went to my second PT session and I have been relieved of my crutches. Hell yeah b*!$#es! Ok so I normally don’t swear but I think this qualifies for being really happy. I seriously hate those crutches. Now I’m still carrying them around with me because i haven’t quite figured out how to get on/off a curb without them but I don’t need them for normal walking or for stairs. They’re more of a comfort right now in case I get really tired or find something really difficult to do.

So my mom has been taking care of me, which is really really nice of her. Sadly she went home today. Though while she was here she made a lot of fun of me because a few days ago the pain really stopped being all that bad and I started walking around again. But then yesterday I almost started crying because of this bruise that I have.

So mom thinks this is hilarious because I didn’t really complain at all about the pain right after surgery. I muscled through all of that just fine. And I even thought it was cool the progress I was making. Until these bruises showed up. I mean I guess I can admit that it is a little funny that the surface wounds make me cry but, you know, surgery doesn’t. I’m a weirdo, what can I say?

That said I think I’m actually healing up nicely. If you’ll believe it the bruises are way smaller. And I feel good about it.

ACL Reconstruction Post-Op: Day 4

So it’s Saturday morning after having had surgery on Tuesday. Overall I feel pretty good. The worst part I think is not being able to sleep consistently. I stopped taking pain killers yesterday and I don’t feel any worse for it so I think that’s a good decision. I am finally able to go up stairs by myself with just crutches. It’s nice that my roommates will still walk me up and down to make sure I don’t injure myself but I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to know that I can actually do at least part of it by myself.

They say that my knee looks really good for after surgery and that I can take the bandage off myself. Personally I think it looks way better with the bandage on than off.

Though they say the scars are healing well and the bandage still looks good on the wound itself so I guess that’s a good thing. I think it looks all gross and black and blue but it could be worse, I suppose.

The hardest part about surgery is not having your independence. To rely on people for a glass of water or food or pretty much anything is a major bummer. It’s been a real adjustment for me because I will get up fully intending on getting a glass of water just to sit back down again because I realize even though I am perfectly capable of walking to the kitchen and filling up a glass of water once I’m there, I can’t actually carry it back because I’m using crutches.

There is also this thing that I have to wear a billion times a day (no joke) that compresses and pumps ice water around my leg. It’s actually pretty cool (no pun intended). It’s called a “Game Ready” and it’s really useful to have around, I’m sufficiently impressed with how high tech and awesome it is. It’s the red thing in the corner of the picture below.

I’m really lucky that my mom came up to take care of me. Even though she isn’t the strongest person around it really really helps to have someone keep track of how much I have to ice and to make sure I eat food. She also helps keep track of how much pain medication I need and to make sure I do my exercises. I’d probably do them anyway but it’s nice to have someone around so that I don’t forget. And I have the best roommates ever who helped me up and down the stairs when I couldn’t manage on my own. They’re pretty much the best guys ever. I thank my lucky stars every day for letting me find them. To be honest it’s kindof nice to have my mom around and my roommates and all of us being able to eat meals and hang out together.

Distracto-Meme!

So since I keep freaking myself out when left alone with too much time on my hands, I decided to play along with this meme that D has up.

Also, I’ll be honest the whole music in memes is really hard because my musical tastes change… ALL THE TIME. I mean seriously people, how do you pick a favourite song… of ever? I can’t. So you know, you get the song I’m listening to. And the artists I currently listen to most frequently.

And since everyone else seems to be commenting on their own, I guess I’ll comment on mine too. Sometimes I love my handwriting and other days I think it is messy and ridiculous. Today, I think it’s ok, it’s like it’s trying to hold itself together but is wavering a bit… just like me! har har har.
(click to see giant size!)

Seriously, 2011?!

For the first time in my life I can truly say that I am a little bit terrified. And I’m not really sure if there’s anything that’s going to make me feel better. Normally I’m not scared of anything. Pretty much at all. But I am a little scared of having to have surgery and 6 months of rehab. In fact, I’m not really afraid of surgery at all. That part I’m ok with, what I’m scared of is that I won’t be responsible enough to do the rehab part correctly. I’m scared of being alone. I’m scared of trying to push myself too hard too fast because I do that a lot. I’m scared that somehow I will make this worse before I can make it better.

Thankfully as afraid as I am of being alone, I have a posse of truly amazing friends that I know are here for me. I always feel silly whenever I talk to one of them because they remind me that I’m not as alone as I feel. It’s just that I don’t need them right this minute so they’re not right here. But they will be when I do actually need them to help out. It is comforting to know that someone will be there to catch me when I fall.

2011, I have now started a list. I’m pretty sure I hate you. And it’s only the first week of March, which by the way is a few days shy of my birthday. Possibly worst year of all time: 1. MIA laptop. 2. stolen bike. 3. dead car. 4. torn ACL that requires surgery. (I’m not counting the crazy month of work crap because it’s too vague and hard to define). And let’s be honest we haven’t even made it a quarter of the way through the year. Clearly this is awesome. You know, generally I believe that life works out the way it’s supposed to. And sometimes bad things happen to good people so better things can come along. Right now, I’m *really* starting to question that.

I keep flipping from feeling really alone and really scared about having to even have surgery to being really angry at the world for all of this happening at once. Every time I keep thinking that this year is going to get better something happens that just makes it worse. I want to believe that that’s not true and that it will get better but for the first time in a very long time I’m having trouble hanging on to hope. I like to view the world through rose colored glasses. It is so much harsher through the cold clear view of reality.

Six Confessions

Ok so not gonna lie, I have a thing for memes. And I was over at D’s blog when I saw that she had joined the bandwagon. So then I figured, what the hell? I’ll just jump on too.

In fact, in an unusually awesome transition.
1. I secretly *love* memes and quizzes. Honestly, and this is really embarrassing to admit, I joined a free dating website strictly because of all the quizzes and crap they have posted on there.
2. I have recently discovered this buffalo chicken sandwich thing at the local convenient store next to my house that I am slightly addicted to. It’s a little unhealthy how much I love these things. Also slightly concerning since I’m pretty sure nothing about them is even remotely natural. But seriously, so good. Total guilty pleasure.
3. When I was younger I kindof always dreamed that my grown up life would be really gay and really fun but I never actually expected it to happen. Like the fact that I’ve been *in* the pride parade for multiple years still amazes me. I’m pretty sure when I was little I was convinced that I would be married with 2.5 kids and being boring right now. Apparently some things do change.
4. Secretly I think I’m a giant. In real life I’m 5′, in my head I don’t even know what dimensions are but let’s just say most of my friends are male and over 6′ and somehow I believe I fit right in.
5. I have a problem with unread messages in my inbox. Seriously they freak me out, yo. And it scares me to look at inboxes that are “messy”. Also if I don’t respond to an email immediately after getting it, chances are it ain’t gonna happen unless it was really really important. Weird but true.
6. I have a chocolate problem. I’m not sure I really needed to confess this because anyone who knows me probably already knows this but… yeah, I have a chocolate problem.