Breast Reduction Operation

My diary!

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.

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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.

Day Four

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.

 

Operation Day minus one

Yikes. It is nearly here. My breast operation. Bye bye massive mammaries. Hello cute little pert things. Ha! I wish. The truth is at 57 no amount of surgery is going to give me pert breasts. But. They will hopefully be smaller and for that I will be incredibly grateful. I will be able to exercise without getting a black eye! I will be able to turn over in bed at night without having to go back to fetch one of my breasts.

People keep asking me if I’m excited or scared. I am neither I don’t think. A little apprehensive maybe and I’m certainly not looking forward to the aftermath of the anaesthetic (I hate anaesthetics). I guess I’m just philosophical about it. My breasts have not reduced significantly in size despite having lost 3 stones so this is my treat to myself. I will no doubt wish I’d had them done sooner. This is what nearly everyone says.

Today we go up to Plymouth and stay overnight in a hotel near the Nuffield. I have to present myself at the hospital at 7am tomorrow and I am worried in case I sleep through an alarm. Not that I have ever slept through an alarm in my life but still, I’ve convinced myself this time I will. The hospital is 90 minutes’ drive from Falmouth so I want to make sure I’m there. And in any case staying overnight beforehand is a bit of a nice treat as we will be going to a Thai place to eat tonight. Having been on a low carb diet for what seems like forever I’m more excited about eating some noodles then I am having my breasts reduced.

I did some reading last night and apparently I’m not meant to have drunk any alcohol for the past couple of weeks. Oops. We had rather an exuberant barbecue on Sunday which involved vast quantities of gin with lemoncello. Oh. I have ordered a triangular pillow. Essential apparently. And am about to go into town to buy arnica and bio-oil.

It’s all getting a bit real. Gulp.

A 15kg gain

No, not me (thankfully), but my son. 15kg since Christmas. Since he had the tube fitted. I cannot tell you how unbelievably happy this makes me. 5 months ago I thought I would be saying goodbye to him. He had been going downhill for several months, he had become a walking skeleton. No energy, depressed, ill, ill, ill.

But now – my god now everything is so much better. He has gained a huge amount of weight since starting overnight tube feeds, we have been on holiday to Greece (photo above) and he has a tan, he is doing exercise at the gym. I literally cannot believe the transformation and I thank the universe daily. I know, absolutely, that with cystic fibrosis this too can change in an instant, but for now I am happy and utterly, utterly relieved.

As ever while my son is trying to gain weight I am trying to lose it. A month ago I wrote about the dreaded plateau and how I was hoping to shift things by doing a 48 hour fast. Well… roll of drums…. I actually did it. A 48 hour fast!! This to my mind is absolutely amazing. I felt so proud of myself I did another 36 hour one a few days later. But I found that one much harder for some reason. The upshot is I have lost….. nothing. Aargh! Nothing. Yes I did lost weight initially but even though I carried on with low carb food the weight still went back on and it has made no difference long term.

If I view it that it’s a good way of giving my pancreas a rest and therefore might help with insulin resistance then I might try it again. In terms of weight loss it doesn’t seem to work for me. But probably if I did it regularly it would. I’m just not sure I’m ready, yet, to fast regularly. I like my food too much! But… I can absolutely see that it would be a good way of dealing with stress. I get that. Something to do with the discipline of it all maybe.

My new weight loss MO is to have bits cut off me, by stealth. A week ago I had a lipoma removed. This fatty lump had been growing in my knicker line for 2 or 3 years and it was starting to get irritating. So I’ve paid to have it removed. What felt like a relatively small lump was actually huge in terms of the fat that came out of it!

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This be the lump!

Next week I am having my breasts reduced. Yep, that time has come. I’m quite looking forward to it. I think. I am looking forward to not having these pendulous things hanging in front of me. I am very grateful to them for being a positive asset when young but they are no longer fit for purpose. They need to go.

By way of preparation I am back to eating low carb, lots of veg, very little alcohol. Sob.

Yesterday’s menu

Br: fried halloumi and eggs

Lunch: huge salad with chicken, ham, olives and French dressing

Dinner: Pork chop and roast pepper traybake with leek and cabbage carbonara and cheesy aubergine bites. Yum.

Shrinking breasts

One of my motivating factors for wanting to lose weight was my consultation with Mr Breast-Reduction Man a year and a bit ago. He stared at my nakedness and told me I was too fat to have my breasts reduced. He did me the most massive, massive favour. He was right, god damn him, I could no longer pretend that if I had smaller breasts I would look thinner. I would still be fat but with perkier breasts. Perkier breasts deserved a better body to go with them than I was able to offer at that time.

He sent me away and told me to lose a stone. I lost three. Yes! I was really looking forward to presenting my new lighter self in his consulting rooms and being lavished with praise and a date for reducing my (still huge) breasts.

But something happened on the day of the consultation. Roads were blocked, the venue was changed last minute and I was also told that in any case the consultant didn’t do his operations in the Duchy Hospital any more. It was just before Christmas, I was worried sick about my son, irritated with the consultant’s secretary for being so incompetent so I just gave up on it and cancelled. The consultant, mortified at his secretary potentially costing him a lucrative operation, offered to see me in January instead, for free.

I was going to go. But then something happened in my brain. I realised I just wasn’t so bothered about it any more. Yes my breasts are still huge but they’re not quite as huge as they were. I’ve discovered Curvy Kate bras which repackage my breasts very well into something almost verging on perky. In short, I think I have reached peak boob job obsession and come out the other side. And saved myself several thousand pounds and recovery time when I’ve got enough on my plate as it is.

Today’s walk involved my friend Eve which was the best news as, due to illnesses, holidays and generally shit weather I haven’t seen her since before Christmas. We had a lot of catching up to do. A LOT. We covered every topic, as we generally do and she revealed that she’s thinking about moving back to the South-East. No!!!! She lives in Carbis Bay and this is the problem I told her. People move to Carbis Bay to live out their final years before they die. She is far too young for this. I am on a mission to persuade her to move to Falmouth, which, as everyone who lives here knows, is the best place on earth. She is unconvinced.

Yesterday I walked 12,000 steps. For breakfast I had bircher, for lunch I had tuna salad and for supper I had 2 pork steaks, sweet and sour peppers, creamed leeks and cabbage. This morning I weighed 75.1kg. It would seem I simply cannot get down to my previous lowest weight of 74.1kg. And I’m getting bloody fed up of it!

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Gains… and desperately worrying losses

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Life is a bitch and this is why: while I am trying, very hard, and with painfully slow success to lose weight, my son is also losing weight. Except that he’s not trying. He’s trying to do the opposite in fact. His weight is now so low that I wonder if he can come back from this.

I lie awake at night worrying, worrying, worrying. It all started with the hideous bug Mycobacterium Abscessus which he started growing about 4 years ago. At first he kept on top of it – ish. Then, as more and more drugs have been tried to get rid of it my son has become more and more nauseous. The side effects of these very powerful antibiotics are bloody awful. The jury is still out as to which is worse – the symptoms of the illness or the side-effects of the medication. And worse still, there is no guarantee the medication will work and it often doesn’t. In my son’s case it hasn’t.

But still we try. Meanwhile A gets thinner and thinner and now just looks so ill and is a bag of bones. I literally cannot bear to look at him. He is in hospital now. Partly routine, he has to go in for IV antibiotics about every 4 or 5 months, but partly because I actually can’t cope with his being at home. I cannot watch him not eat. He won’t be here in 6 months’ time if he doesn’t put on weight.

There is hope. He has agreed to have a gastrostomy tube fitted so that he can be fed overnight straight into his stomach. But even that’s not straightforward. The operation itself, although a very simple one, could cause an infection which in turn could lead to sepsis because A has exhausted every single antibiotic there is. Once the peg is fitted he could still feel very sick and be unable to tolerate overnight feeds.

If someone had told me when I was younger that of the three children I would give birth to two of them would end up being tube fed for entirely different reasons I would a) never have believed them, and b) made sure contraception going forward was ultra robust. Almost worse than your child dying is watching your child suffer I think. I still have nightmares about the suffering my eldest child endured before his death.

But, this blog is supposed to be about my dietary successes or failures so, moving on: I am doing pretty well! In fact, I think trying to lose weight and doing exercise are a distraction from the pain going on around me in the rest of my life. I dread to think what I would be like now if I was going through this but still very fat and miserable about that too. Hideous.

I have now lost 18 kilos. Yes! 39.6lbs! I am two-thirds of the way there. My breasts are still massive unfortunately. I veer on a daily basis between deciding I definitely am going to have them reduced in size by a kindly surgeon to deciding that they’re not actually that bad (I have now discovered I am a 36GG not a 42DD so yes they are that bad) and it would be a complete waste of ¬£6000 plus the recovery time, the scars etc, etc. Currently I’m thinking not to have it done.

They do really get in the way when I exercise though and being the age I am they are more like large Spaniel’s ears when I’m not wearing a bra rather than buoyant and sexy orbs. It’s not a good look. My breasts alone in a way are what incentivises me to keep going. If you are genetically pre-disposed to store a lot of fat in your breasts, which I clearly am, then the body will hold on to that fat until it has no choice. So in other words if you have large breasts then that area will be the first to get bigger if you gain weight and the last area to get smaller if you lose weight. If you have small breasts then the opposite is true. So… if I lost more weight would my breasts then get smaller? Properly smaller? It would be fantastic if they did so I’m going to give it my best shot. Though as I’m losing about a pound a month by the time I’ve lost the requisite amount of weight to make a difference I will probably be 87 and past caring.