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Holly’s Story

  • Breast Reduction Surgery

 

I had my breast reduction on May 15, 2008, at the age of 21. I had a huge support group but some would ask if I was sure if I was doing the right thing.  I wanted to get it done now being that I am young and haven’t had any children yet, while knowing that I will have children some day might compromise the results, but I was ready.  Everyone is different and I’m sure many women have/had waited until they were done with children. But this was the best decision for me. I am 5’0” and was wearing a 34I bra, I was averaging about three hours of sleep a night because I couldn’t get comfortable and when I did get content it was shortly followed by pain. Pain in my neck, shoulders, back and the headaches were unbearable. I was living off all pain relievers under the sun, none of them helped but it was wishful thinking on my part. I also found myself gaining weight due to fact I didn’t want to do anything, I couldn’t be too active for the simple fact that I hurt and I didn’t want to feel worse that I already when I did nothing.

 

I was an early developer, I knew early on that I would get a breast reduction; it was just a matter of time. Knowing that every time I would go see my Doctor I would have her make note of all my symptoms. She would also send me to different places to see if we could help the pain, I tried physical therapy, massage therapy, migraine prescriptions, pain killers even posture support bras. Those things are just really nasty; I quickly threw those out as soon as possible. I resorted to wearing two bras on a daily basis with a tight undershirt underneath all my clothes.

 

When I turned 21 I couldn’t take it anymore, the only reason I waited until I was 21 is because my Doctor suggested it.

 

October 03, 2007 I found Dr. Paul Dillon, my savior. He was absolutely wonderful. He was the second Plastic Surgeon I had consult with and I knew instantly right away he was the one. I had my two page list of questions with me and he answered them all, most of them I didn’t even have to ask. And my Mom loved him, now that’s not an easy task, for anyone, let alone someone whose going to cut up her daughter and put her back together again. So I scheduled my surgery; May 15, 2008.  Dr. Dillon had a very long waiting list for surgery, unfortunately. But it did give me the time to deal with my Insurance Company, and boy did I need it.

 

I spent all my waking moments studying; what I needed to know, what I needed to do, how I needed to do it. Big number 1 on my list: QUIT SMOKING. I knew I need to quit before I met Doctor Dillon, but after I talked to him and explained smoking blocks my blood flow and can very well cause me to lose a nipple. I WAS NOT going to lose my nipple!! So every day I counted my cigarettes and day by day weaned myself off. Not as easy as it sounds, believe me, I had my boyfriend hide them so I wouldn’t cheat, and I gave him a key to car so he could randomly check it to make sure I didn’t go out and buy more without him knowing. Crazy? Yes! Efficient? YES! A little more than three months prior to my surgery was my last cigarette.

 

For my Pre-Op I was told I needed a complete physical and a mammogram; so I went to my Doctor to get my physical.  Found out I had no problems, I’m as healthy as a horse. I did have to go to a woman’s center to get my mammogram though, my first ever, I was a little scared! Let me just tell you OUCH!! Those people have no remorse either!! I knew they squished the top to bottom, but I didn’t know they did the side and diagonally...WOW!!! OUCH!! But I got it done and over with, although my boobs were sore for 3 days after that! A week later I get a letter in the mail saying I need to come back ASAP because the results showed shadows and they need to do spot checks and possibly an ultrasound. I’m a little freaked now because they won’t tell me anything over the phone. I asked if this was common because I have large breasts, you know too much mass to try and see through. They wouldn’t even answer that!! So after A LOT of begging, pleading and crying I got an early appointment. Turns out, I was alright. After the ultrasound, they told me everything was A-OK, and that I just had really dense breasts making results hard to see.

 

May 15, 2008 there was no sleeping at all, I was too excited.  Everything went perfectly, the surgery was about three hours long and according to my Mom when I woke up the first thing I did was look down and say “OH MY GOD!! I can see my belly” The bad part I was so completely nauseous, I figured that would happen since I have a very sensitive stomach. I can’t even take cold medicine, it just comes back up. The surgery was outpatient because of my insurance…go figure. So when it was time to leave I was still seeing double, my Mom was helping get dressed while I was trying to hold my pain pump. I was this big tube filled with morphine that was attached to my boobs with a long strap like a purse that I had to hold. I was to keep it through the weekend until my post-op appointment. Well, that didn’t happen. As I was trying to get dressed I kind of stumbled and dropped the pump, it hit the ground and broke. The next thing I know the pump is spinning on ground spewing out morphine. So there went that. It’s really funny actually now that I look back because the nurses were just frantic; they were running around like chicken with head cut off!! They didn’t know what to do. At that time Dr. Dillon had already left the hospital. After about an hour they decided to detach the tube and sent me home.

 

The weekend went by okay. I was so small, my boobs were frickin’ tiny!! I loved it! The worst part was the nausea, no matter what I did I felt sick all the time. The anesthesia didn’t agree with my system and neither did my pain pills. So I mentioned this at my post-op appointment, so I was given anti-nausea pills that I was to take every 4 hours as long as I was taking my pain pills. After that I was great!! But that only lasted about two days.

 

I started to get muscle spasms, really bad. My neck and back would spasm so badly that they would actually contort my body and block my breathing. So my boyfriend took me to the walk-in clinic. That was an adventure. The Doctor there actually told me to relax! She said “You know if you would lie down and relax it wouldn’t be that bad.” I couldn’t believe that, I was having a lot of trouble just breathing and this lady is telling me to relax!! So I’ve been dealing with this for about five hours by this time and I pretty much told her where to go and that if I could relax I’d be able to breathe just fine, my body would be contorting out of control and I wouldn’t be here right now!! Turns out I had Distoxic Syndrome. It was a reaction to the anti-nausea pills I was taking. The only thing that could be done was just to wait for the pills to get out of my system. So the nice lady set me up with some muscle relaxants and Volume. They knocked me out cold, and the next two days were a blur. After that I stopped all pills, thanks, but no thanks. I’ll deal with the pain. Which wasn’t bad at all, if I would’ve known that I would have never started them in the first place, but you live and learn right?

 

After that was smooth sailing, until about 1-2 weeks. I get out of the shower and while drying off I notice my right breast has a blister, I figured that it was from the steri-strips rubbing my skin. So I decided just to cover it with extra gauze. As I was applying the gauze I was getting drainage fluid coming out. Now I don’t usually freak right away because Dr. Dillon told me this was very common. Because of the size of the reduction I had (900gms off each breast) I was told that this would most likely happen to me. He said the body can only absorb so much and better out than in. But about 5 minutes and a half of box of Kleenex later I start to worry, the fluid was just flowing down my body so I decided to call him. All was normal my plastic surgeon says, just throw in pieces of a wash cloth and change during the as day as necessary and take warm showers at night and massage/gently squeeze around the area and let the fluid drain.  I felt this was easiest enough to handle.

 

The next morning I get out of the shower again and I’m feeling better because my breast isn’t draining much anymore. As I’m drying off I notice some of my steri-strips are lose, per Dr.’s orders I snip them as they come lose. After I snip them I now see where the drainage fluid was coming from...A big separation! I call Dr. Dillon again and tell him the news, so he tells me to come in to his office right away.  After I get there my doctor took off all my steri-strips because he sees it’s irritating my skin. After they’re all off he sees another separation!! Turns out my right breast decided to reject the suture material, because of that it caused the incisions to open where to most pressure was; under my areola and at the curve of my breast.

 

Dr. Dillon assured me that it wasn’t my fault that I couldn’t control what my body accepts or rejects. There was nothing I could have done to prevent or provoke this from happening. He did make me feel a lot better about it, I was so upset. We then started to treat it right away, he told me he couldn’t just re-stitch it because that would just irritate my skin and possibly make it worse.

 

For the next five days I used Zioxx, a green gel that ate away all the excess protein, dead skin and foreign materials that needed to be gone in order to heal. The Zioxx made the separations bigger, but it did its job.  After that I used a clear gel called Allanderm-T ointment that helped my body produce skin. This stuff was AMAZING.

 

It took about 3 months, A LOT of gauze, and quite a few sports bras for these separations to close, which was a long time but so worth it.  I am the patience queen these days. Patience, patience, patience, Dr. Dillon kept telling me. Even though my separations are closed, I am still healing. I find that now that I can exercise and sleep it makes healing easier for me. I have more energy now then I have ever had. And I may have not had the easiest healing process; but I would do it again in a second, no questions asked. My breast reduction was the best thing I have ever done for myself.





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