Bras in bed

February 25, 2008

Hey guys! 

Just a quick post to say, I’ve been wearing bras to bed on and off ever since I’ve been allowed wear underwire and ‘normal’ bras (a.k.a not the pointy cone sports bras) and it’s not something I would recommend, at least this soon post-op (three months for me). I’m not wearing them on purpose– you know sometimes you just fall into bed in a t-shirt and forget to take your bra off. I always wore bras to bed pre-op, don’t  know why, habit I guess. But lately I have to remind myself to take it off at night because, unless it’s a soft bra, I get little twinges underneath my boobs, where the underwire is pressing in. It’s probably not a good idea to wear underwire too much even months after the op– it does push against the healing implant.So, from now on, it’s soft bras or nothing for me at night.Fascinating, I know…but just wanted to spare some of you the slight pain! 

Post-op swelling is NORMAL!

February 12, 2008

In the past few weeks, I’ve gotten loads of nice emails and comments asking me questions about my surgery and my recovery, and I want to answer them because I remember how panicked and worried I was at times before my surgery. And after.
So, one that comes up a lot is worry about size and swelling. Before my surgery I was pretty clear to my surgeon that I did not want to be that big, so when I woke up and groggily looked down I was actually surprised by how kind of high and perky they were. As day 1 and 2 went on they continued to swell. I was then perscribed an anti-inflammatory drug called Difene by my surgeon to reduce pain and swelling. I had 260cc implants put in behind the muscle, remember, so right after surgery I was a D cup. There is more pain and swelling from behind the muscle jobs.
But swelling is completely normal, and actually, one of the nurses told me that it’s more weird if there is NO swelling. (I really need to look up ‘swelling’ in a thesaurus and come up with an alternative…)
If anyone is in their first week of recovery and is sore and swollen, honestly, stop worrying. Talk to your doctor about taking an anti- inflammatory, or maybe take an over the counter one like ibuprofen. But obviously check with a doctor/pharmacist about safety, etc. Use ice-packs to decrease swelling and bruising, or bags of frozen fruit or veg if you like. Sleep upright and keep your arms elevated on pillows or cushions, this will also help reduce swelling.
It won’t last– it can take a month to pass, and even up to 3 months, according to my PS. He told me I wouldn’t see my actual final result until SIX months after my surgery. But I’m over two months now and I’m actually happy with them already. I don’t want them to de-swell more!
Just relax and wait it out, that’s all we can do. We were cut open, had something shoved into our chest, then sewed back up– of course we will be swollen! It’s the body’s natural healing process, and when it’s over, man is it worth it…

Cut them again, Sam

January 18, 2008

Breast Redo Surgery– a scary term for those of us happy with our new boobs and thanking Jesus the surgery part is over, and the looking great part has begun.
But lets be realistic– chances are most of us who get a boob job will need to have them replaced at some point in the future, whether because the implant itself has lost quality in appearance, or because we want to go bigger (or smaller).

It’s a bit early for me to be thinking about it– I plan to wait the recommended five years (after this year’s final check ups) and then go back to a surgeon and just get them done again, regardless of how they look. Actually, the WEEK after my surgery I was like, hey, this wasn’t so bad! I’ll get it done again! I’ll go bigger! My friends were like, um, calm down, you complete plastic surgery addict.

But will we all need a redo? How much will it be? Will the implants start visibly looking bad? It’s all slightly depressing thinking of this but here is what I’ve found out, anyway. Yes, I did me some research. Ahem. *shuffles papers*

Basically, the three most common reasons for breast implant revisions are a desire to change implant size; a need to improve the natural feel and appearance of the breasts; and correcting capsular contracture. I’ll leave capsular contracture out of this, since I don’t have it, you probably don’t have it, and lets all pray we never get it.
So I’ll focus on the need to improve the natural feel and appearance of the breasts, because after up to ten years this all can change, and a redo is recommended. Especially for all us young girls getting it done– I’ll be 30 when I think about going back under the knife.
(OK, that sentence actually scared me a bit. I sound like…I don’t know).

The good news is: not everyone needs a redo. You just wait and see what happens, basically. Go back to a surgeon in five years and get them checked. Also get them checked when pregnant, after pregnancy, and when getting a mammogram.
The other good news is, because the muscle has been stretched and your body has been through it before, it will be much less painful, with a shorter recovery time. Original problems like high boobs and lots of pain won’t be as big a deal.
It doesn’t cost less for a redo–unless you are having it done in the same place because of a problem with your original surgery. I think most places, fearing litigation, will do a redo (?) for free in these cases.

But, yes, many of should expect to need more surgery to replace or remove them in the future.
The exact life span of the implants varies widely from woman to woman…but they are expected to deflate eventually (gulp) and may have a life span of only five to ten years or less.

I wouldn’t let the idea of a redo stop you from surgery– it’s like getting a great bikini wax– it hurts and isn’t pleasant, but it’s worth it, even though you know you’ll just have to go back and do it again…eventually.

Breaking rule number one

December 18, 2007

Tonight is my work Christmas party…and believe me, it is HARD to find a nice top/dress to wear that looks good with the unpadded, nipple revealing, comfy bras. So just for today and tonight, I’m wearing my lovely H&M underwired, push up black bra because really, I have to look good tonight. The temptation was too much for me. This is possibly bad because the pressure from the bra might affect my implants or scars. I know this and yet here I am, still wearing the bra…does this mean I am really vain? I think so.
It doesn’t hurt or anything…and it’s four weeks since the surgery this Friday. So I’m hoping this doesn’t harm me. If it does, let this blog post be a testament to my possible stupidity…

EDIT: Almost a month since I wrote this post, and I’ve been wearing underwire on and off since then. So basically, I was wearing underwired bras from one month after surgery on– and there has been no damage that I can see. Or feel. They’re completely fine, and also some surgeons tell their patients they can wear underwire after a week– I really must find out why plastic surgeons have such different advice for the same procedure…

Recovery, day 5 on

December 10, 2007

This is where it eased up for me. I could use my arms again (slowly) and I could put stuff over my head. I also tried on a sports bra for the first time. THAT moment made it all worth it for me. At that exact moment, as I looked in the mirror and saw something I have wanted since I was 16, I finally realised that I DID IT! Focus on this moment, ladies.
It’s not all plain sailing from here–but it’s easier. The mornings are still pretty bad. But I kept taking the painkillers as timed until they ran out, then I bought more because I still needed them in the mornings.
I was still wearing the boob tube bandage at this point too, which annoyed me because my nipples started to hurt (they still look kinda squashed!)
I still took things slowly though. Get a lot of rest and don’t over-exert yourself.
After day 7 I could put on a sports bra, THANKS BE TO JESUS because (and this is pretty gross) my boobs had this weird, greasy look and feel because they were cooped up in the tight bandage. I started panicking thinking I had this weird secretion. But apparently it’s normal, just vile. I could also shower after day 7 too, as long as I changed my incision plasters and kept them dry.
At this point I was still kind of worried about complications, I guess I can’t help being a worrier. But it’s pretty normal to have moments of panic I think…So I’m taking it a day at a time. Tomorrow is my last day of covering my scars, and in one month I can wear underwire…YAY. At the moment I’m massaging and waiting for them to soften. One is actually harder than the other (my right) this could be ‘cos I’m right handed…
Also in week 2 I was still stiff in the mornings and couldn’t completely lie on my tummy or side in bed, but that passes.
I’m trying to think of more details, I guess me saying “It hurts a bit” and stuff isn’t much help. I was pretty much back to normal life, which for me is pretty unstrenuous anyway. I wasn’t having sex which you have to wait a while to do and I don’t lift heavy stuff, or exercise, or dance around…wow I’m a poster girl for the good life, aren’t I??
You have to wait about a few weeks to do all this stuff anyway.

Things that are normal, but that you may worry about:

1. Pain in ribs and upper abdomen–I was like “Gah! My muscle has split open!” and stuff. But of course this area will hurt as your muscle heals.
2. Itchy, tingly scars
3. Sudden sharp pain inside boobs (I don’t know what causes this but I asked and it’s normal! And doesn’t last. It’s more like a small, fleeting stitch than a pain.)
4. One breast softening first
5. Uneven scars–I freaked about this–but my left scar is slightly longer, not much. A nurse said to me, think of each breast as a different entity–the surgeon does each separately and manipulates them differently–he must have had to make a bigger hole in my smaller boob.

Someone asked me this in another comment. First of all, I’m not an expert in cosmetic surgery. Or in anything. Well, maybe I’m an expert in buying clothes and shoes I don’t need, but that’s it.
But still, I’ll answer the question, it’s actually a good one. EDIT: Since I’ve actually had the surgery now, I’ve changed this slightly to reflect my experience.

So what do you need?

1. Money

Pretty obvious. Mine is costing just over €6,000, so roughly around that amount. Some places have loan companies willing to give surgery wannabes money that they pay pack every month. I decided against this because the interest is very high. I got a loan from my credit union, which has low interest rates and a good payback agreement.

You’ll also need money to buy the following: Some good sports bras, some comfy, button down tops (if you don’t have any), Vitamin C and other immune boosters (check with surgeon before taking), some boredom killers (if you want to). Drugs are usually covered in the total cost of your surgery but if not, you’ll need money for antibiotics and painkillers.

2. Time

Time for research into the procedure, time to go for at least two or three consultations, time to research your chosen clinic and surgeon, time to actually have the procedure and then time to recover. I had very few holidays left in work so I had to plan it all carefully. I took 6 days off for the actual surgery, and had to take two half days for the consultations. I also spent months reading about the risks, and choosing a clinic. If you can, have your surgery on a Friday–it gives you two weekends for recovery instead of one.
Things to focus on:
–The reputation and specialist accreditation of your surgeon
–The risks (and benefits!)
–How you want to look afterwards
–Follow up care and what medication you will be taking, etc. They’ll tell you this in your consultation.

You’ll only need about a week off work, the other stuff can be done around work (or, if you’re me, in work)

3. A good knowledge of what size and shape you want

This is obviously very important. Some surgeons might look at you and decide what will look good. The surgeon I saw was telling me I should go for a 260cc silicone implant, because it would suit my frame, but I said no because I don’t want to be that big. Get pictures, look at people, think about it and tell him or her exactly what you want. Rememer they don’t measure it in cup size, but in volumes. So saying “I want a C cup” won’t actually be much good. Also try stuffing your bra with whatever you have and walk around for awhile with it. Preferably when your housemate and her boyfriend aren’t in the house to stare at you, which is what happened to me when my bra stuffing (those giant silicone chicken fillets you get in Debenhams) fell out and landed at their feet…the mortification.
I eventually DID go for 260cc–because I thought about how little difference there is between 240 and 260 and I decided to go with the slightly bigger size. I would strongly recommend doing this. I am a tiny bit disappointed I didn’t go bigger, up to 280ccs. Because they do soften and decrease in size a tiny bit as they ‘sink in’. But mine are completely unnoticable in clothes– which is what I wanted so I’m happy for that.

4. Good general health
Take vitamin B complex and C running up to the surgery, and also any immune system boost, like Echinacea. Some people say not to do this, but the week before my surgery I started getting a bad cold. I took dissolvable Vit C, drank soup, stayed in bed and religiously used antibacterial handwash to prevent infection. My cold vanished.

5. Determination
OK, it does hurt. But the important thing is, it’s manageable pain, and it doesn’t last long. Imagine you break your ankle–it’s going to be sore for awhile until it heals, and it will take you a while to use both feet again–but soon you’ve forgotten you broke it, until you step a certain way and feel a twinge. It’s not actually pain, like period or childbirth pain, just discomfort and stiffness.
It’s like that, well, except boobs instead of ankles obviously 🙂
It’s worth it, trust me. Every time I look in the mirror and see them I get this happy surprise, because at only two weeks I’m so used to them sometimes I forget they are there.

Also there may be people trying to convince you not to have the surgery. This annoys me because I don’t think it’s a big deal. Once you’re safe and prepared it’s fine. Sure, it’s uncomfortable for a while, but think about it: it’s now as common as getting a hip replacement, or hell even getting a haircut. My main problem pre-op was freaking about complications and the anaesthesia–I think this is normal but stay calm and remind yourself why you are doing this, how much you want it etc. I even had moments where I was going to cancel. Think that’s also normal.

6. A bit of Help

Whether it’s family, boyfriend, husband, best friend, whatever. My mother and sister helped me out. I didn’t want to tell them but they were so cool about it and I felt so much better when they knew. You might be surprised at people’s reactions–if they love you, they will support you, it’s as simple as that. My two best friends were also great. I only really needed help days 1-3, and even on day 3 I could have managed. Help for little things like washing hair, changing bandages/dressings, getting things off shelves…And maybe moral support when you feel down or second guess yourself. I think the whole experience made me weepy and weird. But my mother was there to hug me 🙂