Dear Nicole, here is my recovery story: I had surgery on a Monday afternoon with Dr. James Vogel in Maryland was not given any narcotics during the surgery, because I told them I did not want to become nauseated. I was given an anti-nausea drug intravenously. They used a local on my breasts to do the surgery. I woke up from twilight sleep in no pain. I had 420 cc, smooth round implants, areola incision. I was very dry when I awoke and asked for a piece of gum (that I promised I wouldn't choke on). I was so dry the gum dissolved, so I asked for water. At home, I started with the anti nausea medication "Phenegran," waited 1 hour and then took my antibiotics (Keflex, to be taken for 48 hours) and Tylenol.
I was so afraid of getting nauseated that I didn't take the Darvocet, but elected instead to take the Tylenol. The "pain" was just a tightness, and discomfort when shifting my position, or when laying flat. The first three nights I would alternate from propped up in bed on 3 pillows, a U-shaped pillow and a recliner. I always felt in control of the pain, and never felt nausea. Goal met, if not exceeded! I had been prepared for a bad experience. This has been anything but bad. I always took anti-nausea mediation until I was off of the antibiotics (after three days). I only took the Tylenol according to my needs, skipping a few doses.
I never looked at my breasts and said, "wow...huge." I have been happy with their looks from the start. I went from a small A to hopefully a full C. I am only 10 days post op now, and it is fresh in my mind. I did try to drive on day four, and that was too early. I was all right on day nine. It is easy to over do it if you feel good. I should have left the driving, and cleaning on the first four days up to someone else.
I saw Dr. Vogel on day eight and everything is healing well. I have learned how to massage my new implants so they stay soft. The only problems I have encountered are one incision was moist and staining my jogging bras for the first nine days, and Dr. Vogel said I was healing. He saw me at day four just to make sure. The other problem is that I notice the shape of my areolas more, and have discovered that they were not perfectly round prior to surgery! It is important if you have questions to get answers from your plastic surgeon and also to seek support from where you can find it (Nicole's Web Site is a great support system but always check with your own plastic surgeon too - just in case!!)
My major concern at this early stage was the return of sensation to my breasts and nipples. At two weeks my left breast was still totally numb. My right breast was spotty above the areola incision, and numb below. Dr. Vogel reassured me that he was confident that feeling would return. I was less so. I am able to sleep on either side, for small amounts of time, and on my back. Some nights I take Advil, to help those moments when I want to sleep on my side.
My breasts still look full above the areola - a look I can live with. My left breast was bigger prior to my surgery and looks bigger now. I received 420ccs in each breast. Dr. Vogel said on the table they looked even, so he did them 420 each based on looks. I am hoping the left breast is still slightly swollen. I went to try on stretchy wireless bras, and the cups fit each breast differently. My incisions are still red and raised in some areas and invisible in others. One corner of the outer right breast incision didn't quite meet. For the first nine days, the area was like a sore without a scab, and would ooze liquids. Dr. Vogel said it was healing fine. He was right. It never did get infected. That area is still there, and just looks like a small gouge in the corner. It has been dry and healing. I am still using Bacitracin to help this process along nicely.
At two weeks my only regret would be if I don't get my sensations back. It doesn't only effect my breasts but my overall sexual experiences. It affects how I feel during sex since orgasms without total body sensations feel oddly numb.
One Month -
I just passed my one-month mark on 11/26/98. I feel like I am whole. I forget that I even had the surgery and it is not consuming me anymore. I feel natural and like a woman. My breasts start about four or five fingers from my collarbone. I don't know if this is high, but I like the way they look and if they don't drop anymore, I would be satisfied. In a jogging bra they look great. Naked, they look great head on, but from the side they still are bulging at the top without the aid of a push up bra.
My whole attitude has changed for the better. I used to be embarrassed to be seen anywhere near bras or other lingerie because I didn't feel feminine enough to even want them. Now I can enter the store and browse at my leisure. I always felt like I was entitled to feel happy about my body and now I do. If I lost my implants tomorrow, I still feel that I would be more accepting of my body, and allow myself to feel feminine. This has spread to my dealings with my daughter who is almost 12. She has not developed yet. We went shopping and she was near Jogging bras for young ladies. I asked her if she wanted one, and she smiled and said yes. She may not need it for support, but in school she changes clothes with other girls, and she is entitled to feel feminine, and to have privacy.
I have the whitest skin I know of, and light areolas, so my incision is still noticeable. I know they will continue to fade. My sensitivity has returned a very small bit to my right breast. The nipple (not areola) is sensitive almost entirely around it and the areola is about 1/3 and the breast 1/3. The left breast is touch sensitive around the base, and numb towards the nipple. Little by little, more feeling is returning.
I am physically able to do anything now that I did before. I am still careful not to lift and carry heavy loads, not for another week or so. Now I am in the phase of worrying about money and a second surgery, should something go wrong in the next five years. I am hoping for at least five good years before a second surgery. I would not go larger if I had to replace my implants. I think my size is just about perfect, I can dress them up or play them down.
It is amazing to me that saline-filled bags can make me feel like a real woman. I am not embarrassed in bed with my husband, and I feel like a grown up now, not a little girl. I think that alone is worth $5000!
12/9/98 - Six Weeks
The only changes I see are that I can feel pressure sensation in both breasts. I am hoping for my skin to resume full sensation but this is a step forward. I can go with or with out a bra now. My breasts are at the point where I can go almost an entire day with out them getting sore without a bra. They seem to get sore after a certain point, I think, from their weight.
I fill a 34D nicely, even though it is a Victoria's secret (cut small I have heard). I still am bulging up top, which I happen to like in a bra and don't like as much without a bra. I am assuming I will drop into a more natural shape but would be totally satisfied if I stayed like this.
My scars are still red/pink, and darker than my areola. When I push my breasts up, they cave in on the scar line, I will find out in two weeks if this is a permanent or temporary condition.
Feeling good mentally! Thanks CC
I can't believe it has been 8 weeks and 1 day since surgery. It feels like I have always been this way. I am glad I wrote to you as it happened because I am finding my memory is starting to fade a little.
I went for a check up today with Dr. Vogel. He said I was doing fine and answered some questions for me. I asked what changes I would expect to see in the future. I have fullness in the upper breast, that I like, and was questioning to see if it is mine, or will drop. He said I will basically look the same with some minor changes. I have a small breast pocket below my nipple, and his assistant said since it is small there isn't anywhere for the implant to drop. The scars around my areola will continue to fade during the year. I have tough scar tissue directly under my incision and this too will soften and go away in the upcoming year. He also gave me Dimethicone to use twice per day on the incision, to help with fading of the scar. I will continue to soften in the year.
I asked about squeaking in my right breast and this is normal. It may be there forever. He said it is the implant rubbing against the capsule. I don't have to worry or try to massage the noise away. It just happens. Also, concerning the implants, I do not feel any ripples at this point. I still do not have feeling in my left nipple, and have partial feeling in my right. Time once again may be on my side. I will wait my year out with as much patience as I can muster. I also asked a question concerning exercising. I heard on the Internet that certain exercises can eventually cause under the muscle implants to push apart, causing permanent gradual separation of the implants. He said I can do any exercises I want, and the effects are cosmetic, that is, while I am exercising, the chest muscles, the implants will move apart temporarily. He is not concerned with permanent changes in implant location. He said I am just massaging the pockets, and implants when I exercise. I feel good about this. I am 20 pounds overweight and my arms are flabby. I want to tone them up!! I am inspired to lose 10 pounds this year.
On a social note, no one has made a comment to me about larger breasts. I went from 6" to 9" across, or about an AA to a C. I worried about nothing. I am meeting my in-laws this week for the first time since my operation. Their daughter and her husband know. If they don't "let the air out of the implant," I will find out if they even notice. I also went clothes shopping for dresses. I don't own a nice one, and figured it was about time. I was pleasantly surprised when they looked good on - no more saggy chest! However, but now I want to work on those arms! I go back to Dr Vogel to take some before and after pictures on January 7, 1999. I worried that I would look like a freak coming out of surgery and it would have been nice to see how one looks immediately after surgery. I will be providing photos to Nicole shortly. Dr Vogel made a point of thanking me for getting him onto your site. He agrees that it is a great way to educate women so they can make informed decisions and be both happy and realistic about results. I think a plastic surgeon's input is very important in the decisions you make.
I want everyone to know that I try to remain realistic and supportive in my involvement in this website. I had a truly pleasant experience I want to share it! Sometimes it sounds like a sales pitch but it's not. I am a satisfied customer sharing by word of mouth my happy experience. Thanks to Nicole for the arena! If you have anymore questions please feel free to contact me. - Claudia
Six Month Update 4-7-99
I just had my 6 month check-up and things are going well. Best of all, the sensation in my left breast is starting to come back as of a few weeks ago. It is very gradual. I can feel the water in the shower hitting my nipples. At first, I was kind of shocked, I was so used to total numbness. Now I can feel some of the touch sensations. I can feel deep pressure also. I still have the majority of my breasts in a numb state, but my nipples are regaining sensation. That is a ray of hope. I saw Dr. Vogel today and he said it could take up to a year. I still think the ba was definitely worth the money and effort. I am no longer obsessed with being less than a woman. I feel great about myself. Thanks for the support. Claudia