Well, my problem was that my waist and hips were smaller than my chest so anytime I bought clothes they just didn't hang right pr fit well. I also had a heck of a time find a supportive sports bra for my high-impact cardio classes. I felt the sports bras were either too tight and caused my shoulders to roll in, or just not supportive enough. I was going to the chiropractor weekly for years trying to get my spine back in alignment until one day I read an article online by a woman sharing her journey of breast reduction surgery. I seriously had never in my life thought about that, but now the seed was planted in my head. Within days three new articles all showed up on my Facebook feed. I felt it was some sort of a sign.
So, I began to look into this surgery, but wasn't sharing my thoughts with my husband yet as I was afraid he would not approve. I called my insurance company to find out IF they covered breast reduction surgery and where I could go. I found out there is a special formula used to figure out if one qualifies for reduction surgery through insurance. So I plugged in my height, weight and chest size and discovered that if 300 - 350 cc's of tissue was removed from each breast I could get insurance to pay for most of the surgery (minus out-of-pocket expenses).
I proceeded forward with making an appointment with a cosmetic and plastic surgeon. I met with her, got photos taken, and talked about what size I might be following the reduction surgery. After I had all of my information, I proceeded with scheduling my surgery. This part was more of a challenge though. I have a daughter with special needs who is fully dependent on an adult for all daily living activities. She does not walk or talk, and requires nursing throughout the day. The recovery from this surgery is six weeks of not being able to lift anything over 25 pounds. At the time of surgery my daughter weighed about 45 pounds.
I talked all of this over with my husband to make sure he was on board with my plans. He was very supportive and said it was/is my body and if that is what I feel is right for me then he supports my decision. My husband took time off of work to be with me during surgery and went into work late each day to ensure that I was good and our daughter got off safely to school since I could not get her ready myself.
Since I had made all of the arrangements for the surgery more than 6 week before it actually took place, I decided to meet with the plastic surgeon one last time to make sure we were both on the same page. As I was talking to her, the thought of breast cancer popped into my mind. I asked if they send the removed tissue off to pathology after it was removed. I think the doctor thought I was a little crazy asking this as she had never been asked this before. She said one week prior to surgery I would have a required mammogram to ensure that I was healthy and cleared to go for surgery. I asked if once the pathology came back is it possible to be diagnosed with breast cancer. The doctor ensured me that getting a cancer diagnosis from this surgery was very rare, but possible. She also said it had never happened to her and the only person she knew this happened to was in her 60's and a patient of one of her partners.
Well, I had my mammogram less than a week before surgery and within hours I was called to come back in for a more diagnostic mammogram on my right breast only. So the following day I went in and had that done and three different radiologist read the diagnostic mammogram and cleared me for surgery. They found many calcium deposits near the upper right side of my breast, but all agreed they were benign.
On May 5, 2014 I checked in for my bilateral breast reduction surgery. The surgery was about one hour and 45 minutes long. I was back in the PACU recovery unit for almost 3 hours as I was having a very hard time with vomiting and staying awake. They also chipped my front tooth when I was intubated and said I was hard to intubate - which I find puzzling since this is not my first surgery and no one has ever said that before. I'm guessing the new person was up to practice intubating me and they didn't know what they were doing. But of course before surgery you have to sign all the waiver forms that state a chipped tooth is possible.
I elected to stay in the hospital for the overnight. I chose this because I have two young children and I knew that going home wouldn't be peaceful and they wouldn't quite understand why mom was so out of it and not wanting to cuddle. It was a good thing I stayed overnight! I was so sick from all of the anesthesia, pain meds and other stuff they were giving me. Oddly I really do not remember any actually pain. I did have a pain pump that was constantly supplying pain medication to my chest through two catheters that were just under my skin. This thing was awesome with the exception that I had to wear a fanny pack for 5 days with the medication pump in it.
Recovering from the surgery wasn't too bad in the big picture. I was really nauseous from all medications and the trauma to my body. But I was up and walking most of the time. Then on day five I removed my pain pump and got a really good look at myself. It was at this point that I had an emotional breakdown. I was bruised in various colors of of black, purple and orange and still had markings all over my chest from the surgeon and her drawn out plan. I had steri tape on top of where the incisions were and my breast looked very unnatural. I pretty much lost it and broke down and cried. I called my doctor and they got me in right away to see a nurse practitioner and my surgeon. During this whole process no one mentioned the emotional side of this surgery and honestly it never occurred to me either. I was told that it could take upwards of six months or even a year for the tissue to settle down and look like "normal" breasts again.
On May 13, 2013 I got a call from the plastic surgeon's office asking that I come in and see my surgeon the next afternoon. I was confused my this since I had just seen her on Friday, but I complied. When I got there around 1:45 pm on May 14th I got undressed and into a gown thinking I was going to get the super itchy steri strips removed. To my surprise the plastic surgeon came into the room and didn't make eye contact. She proceeded to inform me that they removed a 2 mm and a 5 mm tumor from my right breast. The lab identified it as DCIS and then sent off the tissue for a second opinion to the Mayo Clinic. My initial reaction was "Okay, good. Well at least you removed the cancer. Right?"