Monday 3/23/2015 ~ The Breast Lift

     So my breast lift was scheduled for Friday 9/19/2014, and it was to be a same day surgery arrive in the morning and discharged by the afternoon.  The insurance had approved the procedure very quickly, within a week and I was both excited and anxious.  I guess the insurance approving the procedure so quickly was based on two things, #1. the fact that my surgeon knew how to do the submission and #2.  the literal LENGTH of the excess skin.  Keep in mind that my total weight loss between the original gastric bypass and the illness of the last three years had left my “total weight loss” at about 360 pounds.  The surgeon was an amazing man in my opinion, from his technical skill, to his bedside manor to his smooth handling of everything from A to Z.  He and his staff at both the hospital and his office in my view earn AAA+ ratings on everything.  I was never made to feel uncomfortable, even when taking the humiliating pictures that are required for insurance submission.  The tact, the professionalism, and the kindness shown by each person I dealt with during the process was of superior quality.  This was a nice change of pace for me given the fact that my experience with medical professionals over the last 3-years had certainly not fallen in the “superior” category overall.

I remember on my first consult when discussing my breasts he was trying to ask me if I wanted them bigger/smaller – implants etc., and he specifically asked me what size did I want to be at the conclusion of the surgery.  My answer ~ as honest as it was ~ ended up being a funny story for us all, because when he asked me that I looked at him with genuine confusion and said: “I just want them to be whatever size they are, I don’t care about SIZE I just want them out of my pants.”.  Granted that is embarrassing for me to say out loud NOW that I consider what that sounds like, the only thing I can tell you about my answer is this:360 pounds is a LOT of weight and my obesity was not specific to just one main area of my body.  My weight, as much as it was, was ‘evenly distributed’ as they say and so yes my entire body was basically a deflated balloon, including my breasts.

So he put me down as a “reduction” literally citing the least amount of “tissue” removal possible to qualify the insurance coverage, and off we were to a “breast reduction”.  The scheduling and the pre-op work up were fairly uneventful, obviously he was aware of my medical issues and my feeding tube.  I also had gotten a cardiac clearance after my episode earlier in the year with the Domperidone and the passing out, so all systems were go.  On the morning of the surgery I reported to the hospital, and the check in was also fairly uneventful.  They did have a hard time getting an I.V. in me, standard stuff there ~ I’ve always been a nightmare of an I.V. stick.  After multiple tries they had decided to let the anesthesiologist start the I.V., but second funny part of this story is they actually forgot to mention it to HIM.  So shortly before I was to head to the O.R. he came in and did his talking to me etc., and apparently with the way they had the bags for the I.V. hanging next to me he thought it was in fact in me.  So you can imagine my surprise when he walked over to the bed and said “okay I’m going to give you this to relax you”, and my surprise was only surpassed by HIS surprise when he found there was no line to relax me through.

That required a short delay while he actually got a line started, but he did so fairly quickly and then he said “okay say goodbye to your friend”.  Well I remember sitting up to give my friend a hug, while he started that injection in my I.V.  I also remember them pulling the curtain back to wheel the stretcher out of the room, but the only thing I saw actually LEAVE the room was my feet; I was out like a light before they ever even got me out of my room let alone to the O.R.  My next memory was waking up in recovery, and again the nurse in the recovery room could not have been nicer.  She was very attentive, and quick with the pain medication, and though I don’t know exactly how long I was in there it certainly didn’t feel like a long time.  I know that I was leaving my room to head into surgery a little before nine, and by about 1:30 p.m. I was being taken back to my room.  

    A couple more hours in my room, the usual have a little applesauce and soda, make a trip to the potty, switch to oral pain medication and by 4:30 p.m. we were checking out.  Now I’ve had a “few” surgeries over the years, I’d have to look to be certain of the number 17 or 18 total at this point ~ and I have to say that the level of pain with this one was by far one the less painful ones that I’ve had.  Yes of course it “hurt”, I’m not saying that it feels like “nothing” because of course you feel it; but on the scale of all the surgical hurts (recoveries) that I’ve had this one was by no means in the top ten most painful.  

Due to the fact that I live alone I stayed at my friends house that first night as they do not want you to be alone, so I was staying in her spare room.  This leads me to my 3rd “funny story” of the breast lift procedure; yes this surgery was indeed one the most humorous for me an actual “hoot”. I woke up around 5 a.m. the following morning to use the bathroom, and when I woke up I was actually thinking to myself “wow, this really isn’t that bad”.  My thought process as I was going INTO the bathroom was, well if I didn’t have to go pee I don’t think I would of woken up – i.e. the PAIN did not in fact wake me up.  So I thought well, I’ll just go back and lay down, and if I can in fact go back to sleep for a couple more hours then I’ll WAIT and take a pain pill when I wake up.

One thing I’ve never had the heartache of enduring is addiction; well food and cigarettes yes; but when it comes to alcohol and/or drugs prescription or otherwise I’ve never had the misfortune of having to struggle with that.  So I’m not sure WHY it’s so important (in my own mind) to be cautious with “pain meds”, I guess possibly just because I’ve witnessed the addiction of so many others and the devastation that it’s brought to their lives.  I figure that I have enough “issues” I don’t care to even give the chance for that to become an issue, so I tend to lean towards caution and in my mind if I was able to sleep then I really didn’t NEED a pain pill right then.  That theory ended up being short lived on THAT morning though.

I am notorious for my low blood pressure and for passing out on a dime.  Independent of the troubles I had with the Domperidone specifically in the previous months passing out for me is NOT a new thing.  My “normal” blood pressure is about 90/60 and it was not uncommon in the hospital for it to be so low in the mornings (80/40) that they would freak out and make me get up and walk around to try to raise it.   Beyond that, mentally I don’t know what my issue is but as an example one time I heard a doctor say the words “It will be bloody”, and POOF down I went.  Literally just heard those words, it wasn’t even MY blood he was talking about and I didn’t SEE or even SMELL anything.  He said “it will be bloody” and the next thing I knew he was standing over me passed out on the floor saying “hellloooooo”.  So passing out is most certainly not outside of my wheelhouse, it’s a situation I’m very familiar with.  That morning however I was not expecting to hit the floor which is exactly what happened.

Twenty hours after my breast lift on my way back from the bathroom to get into bed I felt it coming and I thought, two more steps and I can make it to the bed.  Well hindsight says I should have just SAT DOWN but nooooo I had to try it and I only made ONE step before I went down.  I missed the bed by about 2 inches, but I at least had the sense on my way down to try to position myself so that I would not land on my newly created breasts and break my wounds open.  I went down on my left hip, and I went down hard.  I also woke up very quickly, and crawled up onto the bed; quickly checking my surgical incisions to ensure that I was not in fact bleeding all over.  I wasn’t but my body had taken QUITE the jarring because I had in fact blacked all the way out and hit the floor hard.  At that juncture I thought that it was in my best interest to go ahead and take the pain pill, because the hurt began immediately from the fall ~ so much for my plan to “wait”.

By the time I woke up a few hours later my upper left hip was already turning black and the swelling was unreal.  Honestly my hip and the bruising and tenderness from my fall hurt far worse than my breasts did.  It was hysterical when I went for my follow up the following week at the surgeons office, the nurse walked in and saw the mess I was and said and I quote “My GOD what did he do to you?!?!?!?!”, her face was priceless.  I explained that this was my handiwork not his and we all got a good laugh from it.  I did call him before that visit to let him know I passed out, but as there was no damage to the incisions and it was literally just my normal blood pressure b-s combined with the anesthesia and the pain meds it was really not a concern.

    I was surprised to find that though the breasts THEMSELVES had just steri-strips on them, no staples or stitches there was staples going under each arm in half moon shape from my arm pits around to my back.  The “lift” as it were entailed removal of a great deal of skin from that area, which I’m grateful he did but I guess I just wasn’t expecting it.  That area hurt more than my actual breasts did, but really overall none of it was very painful.  The surgeon was funny when we were talking about the removal of that part on my sides under my underarm area he said, “Yeah I was pulling and pulling and pulling and you just kept GIVING me skin, I couldn’t believe it”.  Bottom line is I was his “that case”; though he’s a well qualified and years in practice plastic surgeon he in fact had never done someone who has lost as much weight as I had and so I was a bit of a novelty to him.  I don’t say that in a bad way though, it was funny to see him “so excited” but he treated with me with SO MUCH care, concern, decency and respect I couldn’t help but love him!

     So the breast lift was done on 9/19/2014 and the healing went very well.  I was quite pleased with his work, the shaped of the breasts the nipples everything was perfect to me.  I did have a little hypersensitivity on one nipple, but he gave me some exercises to do to desensitize the nipple and they worked beautifully.  There was no drains, the staples came out in a couple weeks and I was 110% thrilled with the results and his work.  The belly work was then scheduled for 10/31/2014, and I was now even more excited to be having that done!  Tune in tomorrow to hear how the belly went, and as always thanks for tagging along!

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