Recovery, days 1-5

December 6, 2007

Hmm, I am trying to accurately remember details. All I did with my time was sit on a recliner in my parents house and watch bad TV. Although, bad TV becomes good TV when you’re off work.
The day after the surgery (Day 2) was the worst.
I stayed overnight in the clinic (highly recommended) and before I left they gave me a strong painkiller, along with my supply of prescription painkillers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories (Difene). So although I was stiff and sore, the pain wasn’t that bad. When my parents collected me I was kind of giddy and happy in the land of No Pain. My mother wanted to stop at Dundrum Shopping Centre (as you do, when you’ve collected your daughter from a plastic surgery clinic) and I was like, yeah great let’s go shopping. BAD IDEA. This is why taking strong painkillers ends up hurting you more–because the pain is masked, your body thinks its OK and you act normal, using your arms a lot etc. I suffered for this later on when the drugs wore off. I also got really emotional and started crying. When we got home I just burst out crying, it was weird. I’m blaming the anaesthetic.
Anyway Saturday I just ate and slept. I felt a bit sick and shaky. Sunday I lay around watching TV and trying to remember the times I had to take all the different pills. I couldn’t use my arms much, have a shower, anything. But it’s not really pain, like stomach cramps or period pain. If you’ve ever had a sports injury/muscle injury you might know the pain. The scars don’t hurt or anything, but my whole chest area was really tight and stiff. It’s kind of hard to explain. Also because of the sleeping propped up nightmare, my neck and back were killing me.
On to what I had to wear: they made me put on this boob-tube style tight bandage, that just looked like a top. A top that people in hospital would wear. I looked pretty big in it because it was so tight it kind of squashed them together and held them up. After a week of that thing, my nipples were becoming inverted.
But every surgeon has different advice, which is weird. You’d think there would be a standard set of instructions. Some say massage, some say not to; some say don’t wear underwire for three months, some say six weeks. My instructions were not to shower for a week, don’t get the incisions wet, keep the bandage top on for a week, and try and exercise to get circulation flowing to area. Exercise! Yeah, right.
I felt a bit better on Monday, although it takes a few hours every morning for the ache to go. I got dressed, and got my sister to wash my hair for me over the bath, so I felt semi-human. The next few days are not very interesting. My friends called in, took a look, and said they looked “really fake” (thanks). They do at first but they soften up. I’m just kind of letting them do their thing while I wear a sports bra and nipple padding every day (because nipple visibility is high at the moment). A few days after surgery I started to get twinges inside, especially around my upper ribcage and abdomen, I presume where the muscle was cut into. But this was manageable.
So in summary, fellow breast fans, I would say my recovery period was more boring and mentally problematic (worrying about risks, infection, what would I look like etc) than physically painful. Just give yourself time off work and make yourself comfortable. The pain is bad for about two, three days but just sleep and take your painkillers to get through it.

My advice for anyone recovering from a boob job:

1. Have someone with you- I wouldn’t have been OK on my own the first two days. If you’re worried about telling people, don’t. All my reactions have been positive which really surprised me.

2. Be prepared for some uncomfortable sleeping arrangements. There is, however, a way to arrange your pillows, which took me four days to find. It involves using three pillows and two cushions. Put the first pillow propped up against headboard in the normal way. Don’t use too many pillows because your back and neck will be aching. The second one goes vertically to support your back, then the third on top of that normally. Then put the cushions under your arms. It’s all about elevation. And sleeping pills–if you can get those, even better, because you won’t wake up.

3. Have these things at home for when you come back: bottled water, lots of food, comfy clothes that do not require bending down or stretching over (putting on socks isn’t fun); lots of books, magazines, DVDs etc. I gorged on Buffy boxsets which cheered me up enormously. I may be in pain, (I thought to myself), but at least I haven’t had to sacrfice myself to save the world, only to go through the turmoil of having my friends drag me back from the dead.

4. If you’re not telling people about your op (except your family and close friends, like me) invent some story beforehand. My mother told people I hurt my back when they saw me hobbling around the house in my PJs. Of course, this story was ruined slightly when my aunt came into the room and saw me Googling “breast implant scars”. Try recovering from THAT one.

5. Have clear post-op instructions from surgeon and follow them, even if you disagree, think it’s stupid, or want to wear a nice bra and look all new and sexy. Before my surgery I thought it was a few days of badness and then back to normal–definitely not the case. My body is still healing almost two weeks later, the scar tissue is still forming, the implants are trying to settle in, all that jazz. Wearing wired bras, or having no support at all, and moving your muscles a lot will not be good for them. I may have done too much in the beginning because this week I’m just tired all the time and still sore sometimes.

19 Responses to “Recovery, days 1-5”

  1. Lily said

    Thank you so much for diarising the whole experience. From someone who is in a similar situation to yourself (ie. feel that its about time that I did something about how unhappy I feel about my body, the way it affects relationships and how young I feel when I should be in my prime) your daily accounts have been great – really informative and telling it like it is as opposed to some glossy, heavily marketed cosmetic surgery pack which basically gives you the impression that you ‘pop in and out’ and then look amazing instantly. So much thought has to go into the consequences. Your diary entries have been great (no beating about the bush) and I’m taking them into consideration before making the plunge…

    I really hope it makes you feel amazing in the long run as I want to feel amazing if I go through with it too!!!

    Keep the blog entries coming!

  2. Claudia said

    Thanks for such a great blog!
    I’m getting my boob-job on January 10th.
    I appreciate your honesty and humor.

  3. alex94 said

    Hey girls,
    Thanks for your comments! I’m so glad people are finding something about all this useful 🙂 If there’s anything you want me to say or stuff you want to know…let me know. I remember before my surgery I was terrified. But it’s all good and it is worth it. Best of luck to both of you if you decide to do it and remember…WE own our bodies. xx

  4. Emma said

    Hey thank you so much for putting this all online. I am on day 3 post surgery and was really starting to feel quite sorry for myself and worry about everything. I also started to worry if I had made a huge mistake. I now see that everything I was worrying about is normal e.g. the swelling and tightness, fluid on my ribcage, and the fact that they seem to be quite a bit larger than I had anticipated! I am feeling much better and realise I just have to sit it out and will soon be shoping for some fab new underwear!

    Like you I have always had issues with my size and it has affected my life greatly and probably a lot more than I have ever realised so I am looking forward to feeling normal pretty soon. Thanks again.

  5. Emma said

    Hey thanks for putting his all online. I am currently day 3 post surgery and was starting to feel very sorry for myself. I now realise everything I was worrying about is normal e.g. swelling, tightness, fluid on my ribs and that they look a lot larger than I had anticipated. I also had a bad reaction to the painkillers and was very bloated and sick but since stopping the ibruprofen and sticking to paracetamol I feel much better. I am quite sqeamish and the thought of it all makes me feel a little queasy, especially when I can feel the fluid moving, but I have been told that’s normal and it’s starting to go away now. I am just trying not to think about it and focus on the benefits.

    Like you I have always had issues with my size and it has affected my life greatly and probably more than I realise. So I am now feeling much better and realise I just have to stick it out and will be feeling much better and out shopping for great new underwear in no time! Thanks again.

  6. Robynn said

    ive read your diary and its scared me im going for my boob job in feb please email me i need reassurance, it means alot to me to look like a real woman, i have 2 kids and they havent done my breast any great deal of help

  7. alex94 said

    Emma: Thanks for your feedback, always love hearing from other girls. I know exactly how you feel…I had bad reaction to my Difene but it passed and the point will come when you won’t need painkillers at all…a good time! Do keep positive and put it into perspective…you got it done for a reason, and you’re gonna feel and look amazing. The swelling will gradually go down until one day you look at them and go hey…they’re not so high! Yay! As for the fluid, that was pretty vile, but also normal.
    Anyway best of luck and enjoy your underwear shopping!

  8. alex94 said

    Hi Robynn, don’t be scared…you’ve obviously checked out your surgeon and done your research and you’ve nothing to worry about…remember how rare complications from this surgery are, we hear all about them because we have to be warned, but the liklihood of you getting them are very, very slim. Talk to your clinic/doctor about concerns, remind yourself about why you want this done and stay calm and go for it. I had myself freaked out beforehand (a long wait between booking and the surgery did me NO favours) but it actually is not that bad at all. And it’s worth it. There’s like one/two days that suck and then you’re great. Have someone in your family or a friend to help you out and just relax. Remember hundreds of women get this done every day…and they do it for a reason and they all feel brilliant afterwards. Good luck with your operation and if you think you’re really worried about it try and talk to someone. If there’s any specific questions you have ask away.

  9. Robynn said

    hi. me again what type of breast implants did u have? they do different shapes, which ones do u think are the best

  10. Helen said

    Thanks for this, its abit of a peace of mind for me, as I am having my op in 2 days time, and I am geting a little scared now!!
    I am not looking forward to the pain, the thing that is keeping me going is how the end result will look.

  11. alex94 said

    Hi Helen, you have the right attitude! I remember two days before my surgery I was really nervous and excited.But it’s worth it! The pain isn’t as bad as you probably think. This time next month you’ll be feeling and looking great, actually before that. Best of luck!

  12. Kelly said

    Hello there,
    I am scheduled to get my breast aug on feb 15th and am so excited. Although I am not too excited about my recovery arrangements, (my hubby is taking care of me and our two boys (1 & 2 years old) all at once). I hope he can handle it. One concern I do have that another women might relate to is my frame ad size. I am 6ft tall and athletic but weigh 200 pounds (size 12), my fear is that my new boobs will make me look fat instead of sexy…so I have been dieting like crazy. Did anyone else feel fat after getting them and now regrets it? Just curious. thanks and take care!

  13. Myra said

    Thanks for your blog it answered alot of questions i had but one i wanted to ask you is you stated you had to stop smoking how hard was that for you and would it hurt you if you did not completely quit but just took a couple of drags once in awhile

  14. tilly said

    Just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU.
    You have no idea how much our blog has helped so many people, it is realy selfless and kind of you to share this info.
    I woud love to keep heaing how your going!

  15. alex94 said

    About smoking: yeah that sucked majorly. I didn’t end up completely stopping, but I was just freaked out enough about complications to cut down a lot. The last week before my surgery I only smoked about two a day, then the day before I had none at all so there would be no chemicals in my system during the op. Smoking does affect how you heal after surgery (it prevents the blood clotting properly) BUT we’re young, and generally healthy, so it’s not too bad. Just try and cut down as part of your pre- surgery preparations….good luck! Every time I wanted a smoke I closed my eyes and pictured me wearing a bikini on some beach, drinking cocktails and sun-bathing topless….sorry, too much information there 🙂

  16. alex94 said

    Hi, Kelly: good luck with your surgery! You’re right to be excited because it’s so worth it. I wouldn’t worry about your husband, I’d say you’ve looked after him and the kids on your own often enough 🙂 Plus by day 3 or 4 you’ll be able to do simple stuff and probably help out…but don’t use your arms too much!
    Anyway, I don’t think you should worry about looking fat. I’m a size 12 and I’m 5 ft 7, but instead of looking fat, they have made me look completely in proportion– adding curves will make you look amazing, not fat! Especially if you’re tall and athletic.

  17. kate said

    im getting really worried because my boobs are still way to big, i just think this is how they are going to be and i dont think i can live with them.
    I am really really depressed.
    they are to big!! they are 245cc…i hate them so much 😦
    Alex if at all possible would you be able to email me a picture or post a picture of how your boobs look now, and what size did you get again?
    thank you!

  18. fifi said

    thankyou so much! i’m having my op tomorrow and have been physically sick with nerves today but you have made me feel so much better.
    adored your blog, thanks sooo much hon!
    i’ll let u know how it goes xxxx

  19. Minx said

    Hi, I had a breast enlargement and tummy tuck at the same time and and this is day 5 of my recovery. Doctor’s recommended a 2 night stay but I only stayed overnight as I preferred to recover in my own home. Hardly got any sleep at the hospital, don’t know why as hospital and staff were all great.

    I must admit, I was very nervous having the 2 prcoedures together but I have had anasthetic before with no adverse reaction so that was one less worry. Also, I have a six month baby and know I will not have any more children, so another deciding factor in having both surgeries together.

    I think day 3 was the worse for discomfort as car as swelling was concerned on the breasts but having breast fed in the past, I feel the pain is less than that of dis comfort felt when your breasts fill wtith milk and baby is not ready to feed.

    As far as tummy pain goes, I think day 4 was the worst as all the effects of the anasthetic have totally worn off now. I am taking pain killers twice a day because I don’t want to mask the pain and overdo things. The hardest thing for me is jog being able to pick up my baby. I can hold her on my lap when she is passed to me.

    I have had a lot of help and support from my partner and now feel I can potter around the house doing small things like loafing the washing machine and dishwasher but that all I do other than feed and change the baby.

    The sickness and weakness feeling following surgery an anastheticis gone now and I never cease to be amazed at the healing capacity of the human body. I still get twinges in my tummy even though I am wearing a support girdle and I can occassionally feel the stitches of my wound but I listen to my body and rest up when I get these pains.

    It’s the same as feeling the wounds of my breast surgery, again I rest when this happens. The best advice I can give is rest for the first week but potter around a little to keep the circulation going and listen to your body.

    I love my new boobs and am amazed at the results if my tummy tuck, to see clear skin where stretch marks used to be is fantastic.

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