So Long and Thanks for the Mammaries


20140419-071550.jpgI’m writing this sitting in my hospital bed, the night after my breast reduction surgery. I’m still mentally coming to terms with what I’ve done, after a lifetime of overly large breasts and in many ways my breasts have defined part of who I am (just as I was a brunette and am now a blonde). I have only experienced adult life as a large busted woman. This journey of changing my image has been quite quick in some respects. When I joined the waiting list for a reduction I was told to expect to wait 3 years and it’s been only 1 1/2 years, so, I’m not mentally prepared as I only got a weeks notice.

Day One:
So far I’m not experiencing much pain, I’m sure due to the excellent pain management available here in hospital. I gave some swelling beside my breasts, under my arms where the drains come out. I’m having difficulty sleeping as I have some anti-deep vein thrombosis contraptions strapped to my legs which constantly inflate and deflate to massage my legs and keeps the blood flowing, but they sure are noisy. Plus I spent the first 7 hours post-surgery asleep as the remaining anaesthetic left my system.

My breasts feel very tight and a bit swollen. If you’ve had kids, it feels a bit like when your milk comes in for the first time. I have a drain tube coming from each breast under my arm to drain any excess fluid and blood which keeps the swelling down.

I’m wearing a elasticised bandage around my torso called a tubi-grip, which will be my bra for the next week til the swelling goes down and the scars can heal a little. It will be soft cup brad only for the next 6 weeks or so.

Day two: and I’m still in hospital, starting to get bored. Fortunately I’ve had visits from my kids and family and partner to keep me a little amused. Managed to get more sleep overnight, but awake at 4am. Hospitals are noisy places and they do come and check your vitals frequently, not conducive to sleep really. The nurse said they’d been really busy, and I do vaguely remember hearing what sounded like a cocktail party of people talking outside my room, fortunately I always bring an eye mask and ear plugs to help dull my senses so that I can actually get some sleep.

I’ve been told I should be getting out today provided I’m not still draining too much fluid.


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    • I was on the public health system waiting list and the government doesn’t include breast reduction on waiting list times for some strange and I’m sure patriarchal reason.

  • Is that really a photo of you today? You look fabulous. Please take it easy when you get home.
    Would love to hear the gory details eg how many kg each side lighter!!

  • Congratulations, Imogen. Judging from friends who’ve had the same surgery, I’d say you’ll never regret your decision and you’ll be thrilled with the results. Have a speedy recovery.

    As an aside, while I’m familiar with the National Health and wait times in England (and therefore wasn’t surprised by your wait), as an American I find it officially horrifying. 🙂 If you wait three years (or even 1 1/2) for a surgery here, it’s because you’re waiting for an organ or tissue match. I’m not sure if that makes us spoiled or simply fortunate, but I am so sorry you’ve had to wait.

    • If you want to pay for the surgery with private health insurance there is no waiting list. We are lucky we have the option here of going both public and private

  • Imogen,
    I have been enjoying your website for a while now, all the way from New York, NY.
    The web is a wonderful way to connect information and people, and I am emailing to wish you a very healthy and speedy recovery. Thank you for sharing all your thoughts and ideas with so many, as I am sure so many are wishing the best for you today.

  • Thinking of you and happy you’re recovering well. I look forward to hearing about your first jog or jumping jacks! 🙂

  • Glad everything went well with the surgery and I know that recovery from any surgery is difficult. Wishing you all the best – thanks for keeping your blog friends in the loop during this period.

  • Re coming to terms: having made this change, you may discover that being large-busted was a bigger part of your identity than you realised. (When I cut my hair short for the first time, I discovered that I had thought of myself as a person with long hair; took me rather a while to get my head around it, and hair grows back!) Whatever you feel is the right way for you to feel. The healing ahead is not exclusively physical. Best of luck with your recovery 🙂

  • Wow Imogen you look great for someone who is recovering from surgery. Thank you for all the update reports I am finding it all rather facinating.

  • As a big busted woman, I totally understand why you had the surgery. You are very brave to have the surgery. The tubes are a pain but when I had my mastectomy my tubes came out too early and I ended up with a seroma, and another tube! My body seems to create an overabundance of liguid so it’s unlikely to happen to you. I just want to emphasize the importance of putting up with the drains.

    If I have reconstruction, one of the pluses, in my opinion, is that they will do a reduction on my remaining breast and “perk it up” to match the new one. Apparently they don’t reconstruct to any bigger than a B cup, which after being a 30 G would be strange. I ended up getting the 2nd to the largest prothesis (and I probably should have gotten the bigger one, but I am hoping to lose weight and go down a size).

    When I am shopping, I look at tops that have frills and think, “I could wear that if I had a reduction”. So I totally understand why you did it and I applaud you going through with it.

    • I was happy to stay in hospital with the drains in for an extra day. Rather that than go home and have problems. Not sure what my new size is, so much swelling still. I suspect D cup but they do look tiny compared to what I had.

  • Wonderful to see a picture of you after your operation, I am amazed as I thought you would be unable to do much for a while. You look wonderful, and so thin!! Looking forward to updates as to how you feel and a pictures of the new you when you feel up to it. Rest up now and grow strong, am thinking of you very much.

    Margaret Elizabeth

  • It’s fascinating to hear about your surgery Imogen. Here in the US, I paid for the cost of my reduction as insurance wouldn’t cover it. It took 3.5 hours in the surgeon’s office suite, another hour for recovery from anesthesia, and then home. My sister took me and stayed for several days afterward at my home to take care of me. You’re absolutely right that you can’t sleep in the hospital! As a former hospital nurse I know we are in patient rooms every 2 hours, at least, 24/7, to check on the patient. You look fabulous in your hospital selfie!!! Take care.

    • Wow they sent you home fast. I. So glad I got to stay in hospital a few days under medical supervision. Then you know everything is all right and what is happening is normal. Happy to have my drains taken out yesterday before I came home

  • Sooo wonderful hearing from you, seeing your beautiful smiling face and knowing your recovering so well.
    Your fans have been worried about you and saying lots of prayers for a quick recovery.
    Thanks for thinking of us.
    A faithful fan,

  • You look so great for someone just post-surgery! Glad to hear you got along well. I’ve been thinking about your comment about adjusting to your new body. Would it help to focus on the medical reasons you decided to have the reduction done? (similar to a situation where someone might need an obvious mole removed for medical reasons yet it is also a significant change in their appearance) Good luck recovering, Imogen. Take care of yourself.

    • Oh dear, that sounded like busybody advice – didn’t mean it that way! Please disregard if it strikes you like that 🙂

    • Jenny – thanks for your comment. I am aware of the medical reason – and I feel so much lighter, it will just take some time for my brain to adjust every time I see myself in the mirror!

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