I read so many blogs written by women who had had breast reductions in the lead up to the operation that I thought you never know, one day someone might be helped by mine. So here goes.
My partner and I drove up to Plymouth the night before the op and we stayed in Future Inns by the hospital. The beds were comfortable and the food was ok. They were also incredibly helpful when I left my phone charger in my bedroom the next morning (my partner was already half way back home to Falmouth when I realised).
I checked into the Nuffield at 7am. All was good (apart from panic about phone charger). Nurses were lovely, catering staff were lovely, surgeon and anaesthetist also very lovely. I was slated to go under the knife around 12 noon but it ended up being about 2pm so I did get a bit bored and hungry. However I was thoroughly looking forward to enjoying the snacks I’d bought on the way up once I came round. This was something someone suggested in another blog. Whoever that person was, thank you! The ready cut up mango at midnight was beyond delicious and I would have been bloody starving without it!
I was wheeled down to the operating theatre and the anaesthetist made some jokes which were actually quite funny so I wasn’t at all nervous. I was looking forward to a good sleep quite frankly. I came round several hours later with drains either side of me and, lo and behold, a small yet perky chest!
As my operation was later than expected I missed supper but I was brought an excellent tuna sandwich. Just as I was finishing it and just as the surgeon popped his head round the door to make sure I was ok everything started bleeping and I felt extremely weird. My BP had dropped, oxygen sats dropped, BPM had slowed right down. Suddenly I had 3 or 4 medics in the room attaching me to a drip, dropping the back of my bed etc. I was on 5 minute Obs and it was slightly surreal at the time, but only last about half an hour. It was a reaction to the anaesthetic I was told.
I ate my mango (thank you Sainsbury’s!) and had a bit of a fitful night because it feels all wrong lying upright on your back. At about 5am I needed the loo. I couldn’t put it off any longer. They were still doing half hour Obs so I asked a nurse how this could be achieved, as I had 2 drains and a drip attached to me. They brought in a commode and helped me onto it like I was 108 (I felt 108) and oh, the relief of relieving myself of urine! It’s always the small things!
I got back into bed and then ate more snacks. This time cheese and grapes. Food of the gods. I then properly slept for a couple of hours. Oh and a lovely nurse made me a cup of tea cos I was desperate. At 5am. What a wonderful woman.
At 8am I was woken up for the full English breakfast I had ordered. My God it was so delicious I am now trying to think what else I can have cut off me so I can spend a couple of days in the Nuffield. I sent my family a photo of the menu (and of the food) and they were gobsmacked. The nurse call button also had a photo of a teapot on it so that one could summon a pot of tea! How bloody civilised!
My poor son, he spends weeks in hospital and the food is dire. I think he was actually in shock that some hospitals believe in good nutrition being the starting point for recovery.
I spent the day dozing and reading and rather enjoying the things on the end of my legs that were giving me a foot massage every 30 seconds. I had suddenly decided (again) that my life wouldn’t be complete without a camper van so I whiled away the hours very happily researching campers for sale.
I needed the loo again at one point but this time the nurse helped me carry the drains to the bathroom. I was also able to have a bit of a half shower which was wonderful. I put on my own nightdress and just generally felt so much better for it. I was in minimal pain. In the afternoon the drains were taken out. I was independent again! I could go to the loo in peace and quiet!
I had a gorgeous supper of chicken korma, rice, mango chutney and nan bread. Sticky toffee pudding and custard for afters!
I was able to sleep slightly on my side and slept like a log, waking up at about 6am. I had another full English breakfast and then Ian arrived to take me home. I’d been in just over 48 hours. Can’t fault the Nuffield, they were superb. Actually I can fault them – the wifi was a bit rubbish but that was all. We drove home and I went to straight to bed. I was still feeling very, very tired after the anaesthetic.
I slept really well and then actually managed to wash my hair which was amazing as from what I’d read I was expecting not to be able to do so for at least a week. I was able to put a bra on (36D!) and I could put a T-shirt on over my head. I got up and pootled around a bit. I put a wash on and generally did a few chores, very gently.
Days 5 and 6 I spent more time just pottering around in the morning and sleeping in the afternoons. Still very tired, but not in much pain.
Day 7 I met a friend for coffee and Day 8 I was so bored I caught the train to Truro and walked round the shops and had a coffee for a couple of hours. Sat with a friend on the beach in the afternoon for a couple of hours then really felt like I’d overdone it a bit so I told myself off.
Day 8 Ian and I went looking for a camper van! And had lunch out. Interestingly the pain was starting to get slightly worse, I think as the swelling got worse. So I was still taking paracetamol and ibuprofen every 4 hours. Then the itchiness started, aaargh!
We had a weekend of barbecues with friends and lots of other social stuff and the afternoon naps became a thing of the past. Breasts still very swollen and sore though, especially towards the end of the day. I had been wearing very soft bras, but even they were starting to feel uncomfortable with the swelling so overnight I’ve been wearing those pull on, stretchy things and god, the relief.
Yesterday (Day 10) I had the stitches out. Mr McDiarmid (the surgeon who did the operation) is my new hero and has said I’m healing nicely. Weirdly my right breast has started to ooze a bit, but apparently this is all normal. Ok……
Woke up this morning and the itchiness is driving me mad! I had my first proper shower and took off the remaining steri-strips. Bliss. Had my first proper look at my breasts. Amazing. I am almost too perky for a 57 year old but I was assured by Mr McD that they would settle back down as gravity (and old age) takes its toll again. Apparently 580 mls of breast tissue was taken from one side and 470 mls from the other. I had no idea I was so lop sided. I also had a bit of liposuction at the sides, so back fat is reduced too. Perfect.
Why the hell did I not do this years ago?! Now I just want to swim and get back to the gym. But… one day at a time. Things are good and I’m immensely grateful to all concerned that so far all is well.