It was the morning of December 27th, 2016 and I was officially 4 days post-op from my breast implant removal surgery. I was anxiously awaiting for Dr. Feng’s nurse to call me. We emptied all 4 drains and I was at exactly 30ml for the 24 hours. Dr. Feng requires you to have 30ml or less in order to pull the drains. Because I was right on the edge I was concerned I was not going to get them pulled. The drains were annoying and I wanted to get home. I was unable to fly home until the drains were removed.
It was around 9am and Bryn (the nurse) called. She needed to discuss the amounts with Dr. Feng and then call me back. A couple of hours later I got the call to come in at 12:30pm for my post-op and drain removal appointment. Yippee!!!! I was so excited! I was ready to ditch that hotel and fly home! And of course I was ready for those annoying drains to be pulled!! We eagerly began packing our belongings. My mother, who can be a bit much at times was trying to pack up the entire hotel room. My plan was to leave the Hibiclens in the room as I should not have needed it any longer and she wanted me to pack it. I had to use the Hibiclens the morning of surgery to help cleanse the surgical area. Why would I need this again?… apparently mothers are always right… stay tuned….
We shuttled over to the clinic for a quick lunch. We opted for the tofu protein smoothie because we were pressed for time. YUM! So delicious! If you are ever in Ohio you need to try this!
It was 12:30pm and I was called back to see the RN. She discussed everything that was going to happen at my appointment before she did anything. I sat in a chair and she reclined it back to where I was almost lying flat. She began unwrapping my ace wrap and then took my surgical bra off. I had imagined that this moment would have been glorious–like being free!…. but it was the opposite. I felt like I needed my breasts to be supported. It was just a foreign feeling to me and I did not like it. I did not look down. I was not sure I was quite ready to see what they looked like. The nurse then injected some lidocaine with sodium bicarbonate around the drains to numb the area. It stung just slightly. She proceeded to cut the sutures that were holding the tubing in place. Here are a few things I can tell you about my drain removal:
- It was best to take a deep breath in and then exhale. Exhale as the drain is being pulled.
- It was completely painless.
- It was an odd sensation. It felt like something slithering inside of me.
- It was definitely a weird feeling, but nothing someone should get too worked up about. The thought is worse than the actual removing of the drains.
The nurse then continued to pull the remainder of the drains. The last drain, which was the most bothersome during my recovery had a couple of popping sensations as she pulled it. This drain was on my left side and I could feel the drain up by my collar bone. My left breast was the one I had intermittent pain in for the past 10 months or so. The left breast was also the one that the radiologist saw some “possible suspicious masses” per mammogram (later a MRI cleared any suspicious lesions). The left breast also had delayed healing after my silicone implant surgery. And of course, the left breast was the one that was found to have silicone fragments in it during my explant surgery per pathology. Left breast… AKA my problem breast.
After all drains were removed Dr. Feng came in to examine me. I was still lying down in the exam chair. She looked at my incisions briefly then we walked to her office together. I stood in front of those bright lights again and it was photo shoot time. This go around I was not quite feeling the need to strike a pose. She took several pictures then examined me once again. Overall she was very pleased with my healing and my outcome. My problem breast (left side) was more swollen than the right. She gave me a strap to begin wearing when I was 7 days post-op. The strap was to be placed underneath both breasts to help with the swelling and to keep the skin below the breasts lying flat. The strap was to be worn at all times and I was to communicate with the nurses on my swelling to determine when I could stop wearing it. I still would not allow myself to look down.
I went back to the nurses room where I then stood in front of a mirror topless for the first time since surgery. “Being squashed like pancakes is normal as you have been tightly compressed for 4 days now“. Omg she read my mind. I was wondering what the heck was going on! I am not going to lie… it was a bit scary looking! I took a few deep breaths and reminded myself that this was not my final outcome, and even if it was I was going to have to be okay with it because my health was more important. Pancakes. That is all I could think of. Squashed, squishy, thin pancakes and NOT the fluffy ones you see advertised on the IHOP commercials. “Fluffing” of the breasts occur after explant surgery. Everybody is different. Mine began fluffing around 3-4 weeks post-op.
The nurse then placed steri-strips on each incision, put my bra back on, and wrapped me back up in that awesome ace wrap (insert eye roll). She gave me my discharge instructions for restrictions and cleaning of the incisions. I was told no lifting, pulling, or pushing, and to keep my elbows by my sides for 2 weeks. I was to clean my incisions after they were scabbed with Hibiclens for 2 weeks. Of course my mother was right!!! Mothers are always right! So, when we got back to the hotel to get our luggage I grabbed that Hibiclens from the shower with an eye roll and a laugh.
My poor mother had to take care of all of the luggage as I could not lift anything for 2 weeks. It was already packed but needed to be loaded on a cart and transported downstairs. She gave me an incredible laugh as she was trying to maneuver the heavily loaded cart through the hotel out to the Uber.
We headed to the airport, got on the plane, and immediately headed home. The flight was fairly speedy and I was pretty comfortable. I attempted to sleep but was unable to. We had to stop in Springfield, Missouri to fill up with gas, so overall was about a 4 hour flight if I remeber correctly. We landed in Wichita around 8pm and had a welcome crew meet us at the airport. My husband, my daughters, my father, my brother, and my best friend and her family came out to welcome me home. They are the best.
HOME. Boy I was happy to be back home.
That was my surgical experience. Minimal pain and really one of the longest yet easiest surgeries I have ever had. I will continue to write about my recovery period more in the future.
On a side note…. this was taken exactly 10 years ago today…. why did none of my family or friends think this required an intervention?! Clearly some dresses are not meant to be worn with a certain chest size. There are no words for this other than I am loving my smaller boobs! Clothes fit better. I feel better. It is a win-win!