Tits Up: Nitty Gritty of the Reduction, Lift & Recovery

While the world at large probably does not need to know the intimate details of my reverse boob job, there have been quite a few ladies out there who have been considering the same surgery, and have asked me to document the process so that they can decide if they’d like to go ahead with asking for a referral from their doctor. Willing guinea pig and attention whore that I am, I’ve promised quite a few of you out there that I wouldn’t pull any punches, and that I would dole out the straight goods on what happened, when, where and how. Here is a breakdown of how everything transpired over the last 32 hours or so.

August 19/2010

6:00 AM – Wake up. Shower and scrub down with several different types of surgical scrub from neck to hips. Wash hair. Dry off. Dress in loose comfy clothing. Pull hair back. No makeup. No contacts. No jewellery.

7:15 AM – The Old Man drives me to Abbotsford Hospital and Cancer Centre, which is about 1/2 hour from our home.

7:45 AM – The Old Man and the kids accompany me to the Day Surgery ward on the 4th floor. I’m trembling and terrified. Old One gets basic instructions as to what to do with me when he picks me up after surgery. They tell him they’ll call him when I’m ready to be retrieved, possibly around 1pm or so, depending on how I respond to anesthesia/surgery schedules being bumped. I tearfully kiss my daughters and tell them I love them. Tell my husband that if I die on the table, the recipe for his favorite borscht is on dinnercraft.com.

8:00 AM – I am given hideous baby blue, open back nightgown festooned with snowflakes, a blue cotton housecoat to go over the exposed rear, the most ill-fitting forest green stockings and paper slippers. I am told to put them on, and lock up the rest of my junk. I meet the intake nurse in one of the interview rooms, and we discuss allergies, medical history, expected outcomes etc.

8:15 AM – The nurse leads me to a navy blue barcalounger, and starts an sodium chloride IV line in my left hand. She advises me that this is my breakfast. I joke that she screwed up, and that I ordered coffee.

8:20 AM – Gab with the other woman sitting in a barcalounger across from me. She is around the same age as me, and is having a radical hysterectomy and bladder repair surgery. She will be in the hospital until Sunday. She asks me if I’m in for a tube tie, as she saw my kids come in with me. I told her that I was not having gyne surgery, but a breast reduction. She was interested in how I managed to fandangle the surgery, so I told her that I’d asked my GP for a referral, and that because I’d met the indicators, it was being covered by insurance. We wished each other luck.

8:30 AM – My surgeon shows up, and takes me into one of the interview rooms to discuss the surgery and outcomes. Asks me what size boobs I want. I tell him I want a small C cup. He proceeds to pull out a marker and draw all over my naked chest like this:

*No, these are not my jugs. They’re ripped off from the internet for the purposes of education.*

8:45 AM – I am told to go to the bathroom, take a pee.  When I am done, I meet with the anesthetist, who discusses my history of anesthetics with me. Then the OR nurse retrieves me, and leads me and my IV pole into the operating room.

8:50 AM – I’m lying on the operating room table, sobbing like a little bitch. They offer me an oxygen mask, explain that the anesthetist is putting drugs in my IV, that I’m about to fall asleep, and that once I’m asleep, I’ll be intubated. They promise that they’ll take good care of me. I sob and snot all over the place, and then…..

10:45 AM – I wake up in the recovery room. The walls are a really hideous shade of green. The nurse leaning over me asks me if I have nausea. I advise her that I was sleeping, so how would I know? She asks me if I’m in pain, and I told her that I was happy going back to sleep and to leave me alone. She takes my blood pressure and O2 sats, proclaims them awesome, and then says something about upping my morphine. I’m all for upping the morphine. Bring that shit on!

11:30 AM – I’m awake, and feel fine. I’m chatting with staff, feeling no pain, wondering what everything looks like under the bulky pads around my chest. Zzzzz….

12:00 PM – They wheel my sleeping carcass back to the Day Surgery unit, where I’m monitored for pain, blood pressure, and drainage output. I drift in and out of sleep. In and out of sleep.

1:00 PM – My husband and kids tumble into the room. Husband is sent on a mission to pick up my medication for home at the pharmacy. He and the kids leave to get my drugs. I go back to sleep.

1:30 PM – Husband and kids return in a noisy rampage. Kids want to see the carnage. I show them my surgical drains. Hubby flinches. Kids are awed.

1:45 PM – Discharge nurse shows me how to care for my surgical drains, talks meds with me, helps me get dressed. Do some basic teaching with The Old Guy about how to help me at home, what I can and can’t do, and what he needs to watch out for with me. I’m not allowed to carry anything heavier than 10 lbs. I can’t drive. I can’t lift my arms over my head for 5 or 6 weeks. No lugging kids around. Kids are instructed not to go leaping/jumping/bumping into me.

2:00 PM – I’m wheeled out to the entrance of the hospital, led to my car, and driven home.

3:00 PM – Home! Time to take photos of what one looks like 5 hours after having about 10 lbs of chest flesh removed, lifted and re-sculpted!

WARNING: I AM 5 HOURS OUT OF THE OPERATING ROOM. I AM NOT WEARING MAKEUP. THIS IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF SPIRIT!



So. What you have here is my very bandaged chest. I have steri-strips covering the incisions, then a layer of gauze padding over that. There is a surgical compression garment/tube holding that over the op site. I have two drainage tubes under each arm, carrying out blood products and god-only-knows what else is weeping from the incision site. I am swollen from the IV drip, and you can see the markings on the top of my chest/neck. You can also see the purplish surgical scrub they washed me down with pre-operatively.

Side view. Isn’t that hot? Yeah. I’m a real smokin’ tamale fo’ sho’.

Why yes, I do keep cacti in my bathroom. Thanks for asking!

Yummy! Drainage from my operative site! I get to empty these puppies out and measure the contents several times a day! For fun, I record the volumes and present them to the home care nurse who will be looking at my wounds the next day.

Drugs: Tylenol 3, to take every 5 hours as needed, and Ciflex, the antibiotic, which I need to take 4 times a day to fight off infection. The other two containers are to drain the fluid from my drain-sites, and measure/log volume.

Drainage recordings, drug takings. All recorded to share with the nurses at the clinic the next day.

5:00 PM – Decide to get brave and peek down the bandages. Dude! Where’s my boobs? Run to show Old Guy. He admires the surgeon’s handy work, and proclaims it miraculous. I have the perky little rack of a teenager! No more saggy milk bags! Perky! Perky!

5:30 – 11:00 PM – Sleep, watch TV, sleep, watch TV. Read. Take drugs. Have a some water and some crackers. Go back to sleep.

20 August 2010

9 AM – Wake up. Feel fairly refreshed. Slight bruised feeling along ribs. Meh.

10 AM – Take drugs, drain drains, record.

10:30 AM – Get dressed, dress kids. Get Old One to drive me to the Chilliwack Hospital outpatient clinic.

11:15 AM – Get to clinic. Meet nurse. Discuss surgery. Discuss drainage. Show and tell with my charts/recordings. Discuss. Strip down. Have photos taken of the surgical sites. Have sites irrigated and cleaned. Get rebandaged.

11:40 AM – Drains did not come out at clinic, despite doctors orders. Still too much drainage coming out, and nurses feel that it was still too soon (barely 24 hours later) to remove them. Nurse makes appointment for home care to come to my house on Sunday (clinic is closed) and take drains out/redress the sites as needed. Tells me everything looks fabulous, that my surgeon did an amazing job, and that I’m going to be really happy with it. Muse about how much breast tissue is now gone, since I’ve gone from a GG cup to a C cup less than 24 hours ago.

12:00 PM – Go home, take photos to document for the blog:

I’ve worn smaller bikinis than this, and after having two kids, I have no sense of modesty left. Who am I kidding? I’ve never been modest. But I digress…here is the bandaging after leaving the community care clinic. You can still see some of the surgical markings on my clavicles, and that the new dressings are much smaller than they were before. I have the compression garment pulled down for the purposes of demonstration. You can see that I’m NOT swollen, and NOT bruised! Not bad for being hacked to bits a mere day earlier. Kudos to my talented surgeon!

Side view. Here you can see the tube from the drain on the left side of my chest. Part of the surgical markings on my rib cage is obvious. For those who know what my chest usually looks like, you can really see just how much boobage was removed. Wow!  My neck is slightly swollen from the intubation, and I’m prohibited from showering for 10 days. This depresses me mightily. Sponge baths it is!

The rest of the day was spent napping, coercing my children to vacuum the kitchen floor/load dishwasher, surfing the internet, taking medications, walking to the mail box, and wondering why Kevin Newman is leaving Global National. Over all, I feel pretty darn good. I certainly didn’t expect to be so…functional. I anticipated much more pain, gore, weeping and gnashing of teeth. Truly, this is about 100 times less miserable than having wisdom teeth pulled, slightly less horrible than a cesarian section, and about par with having a Brazillian Bikini Wax. I think the Brazillian was probably worse than having wisdom teeth removed, really. Certainly worse than an unmedicated vaginal birth, in my experience. *shudders, thinking of wax and nether bits*

I will continue to update as I am able/as things progress, as the story is still unfolding. Thank you to everyone who has been supportive of my decision, and to all the wonderful women who reached out to me to share their personal experiences with the same surgery: Barb, Randi, Scottie, lady at the playground, receptionist at the ARHCC lab, lady escorting her mother to surgery yesterday morning, nurse in recovery room – thank you!

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7 thoughts on “Tits Up: Nitty Gritty of the Reduction, Lift & Recovery

  1. Ouch! Glad it went ok for you. The only advice I can give is to baby your incisions for as long as possible. I had multiple surgeries on my face, and I doubt anyone would ever notice a scar, mainly because I took really good care of it post operatively. I would swear by the transparent polysporin (not the white stuff), so grab some of that and keep everything moist while it heals!

    But, sounds like you’re going to be pretty happy!

    • Thanks for the tips. I’ll see what I’m allowed to do w/ the scar tissue – I have a feeling it’s going to be covered with flattening tape (not quite a steristrip) for over a month or so so that it doesn’t develop ridges. Will find more out when I see the Dr. on the 30th. I still wince and flinch when I think about how much surgery you had on your face, boy. Yikes! Not noticeable to me though.

    • I’m having a sleep and lie in bed day today. I am exhausted, and the prospect of doing anything more strenuous than mouth breathing is daunting. So, there we have it – day three knocking the wind out of my sails. I still feel alright – I’m just tired.

  2. Wow Tia, I had none of the drain equipment, doc said I didn’t need it. You will begin to notice way less back pain soon.

    • Wow! I’m still draining a lot of fluid. It’s changing from blood to straw colored plasma, but it’s still gross, and I suspect it’s better to be draining into a container than weeping all over my clothing.

  3. I am getting ready to request my surgery soon. I found your entries on your experience. They have really helped me. I too am horribly afraid of going under the knife, so I appreciate your humor. 🙂

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