A very detailed pre and post-surgery review
Before I start, I want to remind you to love yourself. Additionally, you should always seek medical advice from a medical professional – not Google (although it can be a good starting point).
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had (what I would call) larger than average breasts.
I remember a time when my breasts weren’t droopy; a time when it didn’t even occur to me that it could happen. I also remember wondering why a cousin’s nipples were so low – wondering why they were literally at the bottom of her breasts. Well, now I know.
The saggy struggle is real and let me tell you, it’s also pretty painful.
After having three children, I think it’s safe to say my once plump (for a lack of better terms) breasts are long gone. One time at a bra fitting, the lady assisting me said there wasn’t enough fat or tissue in my upper breasts. Thanks, Einstein. Nothing seemed to fit and I was annoyed with lifting my boob and adjusting it in the bra (there’s got to be others who know what I’m talking about).
After giving birth to my third child, I resorted to living in sports bras, which meant no lift, but enough support to eliminate some discomfort of extreme sagging. For reference, if I sat hunched over on the couch, my nipples touched my belly button. That’s got to be reason enough, in addition to back pain and being super self-conscious about my appearance, to want a breast reduction and/or lift.
A breast lift or reduction has been in the back of my mind for the last few years, but there were always a couple things stopping me from taking the leap. First of all, I wanted more kids. Then, after my third, I got my tubes taken out – problem solved. Second, there was the financial aspect. Initially, I couldn’t commit to spending an arm and a leg for my boobs, especially when I had other priorities and commitments. Eventually, I talked myself into doing what’s best for me – making a long-term investment in myself.
I researched and called a couple clinics. Take some time to understand what different clinics may offer based on what you want. In Ontario, a breast reduction can be covered by OHIP, but goes through an application process submitted by the physician.
In August 2020, I found The Plastic Surgery Clinic’s website and clicked the link to request information about breast reduction. I received a quick response with information including an estimated broken-down cost – with the understanding that I would need to speak to a surgeon for an exact amount.
I called the clinic to book my appointment for a free consultation. I’d like to point out that given the (pandemic) circumstances, it felt extremely nice to get really amazing customer service and genuine help.
The clinic is home to three surgeons (Dr. Lista, Dr. Ahmad and Dr. Austin) and I was given the option of choosing who I’d like to meet with for the consultation. After reading reviews about each exceptional surgeon, it didn’t matter to me which one would have the pleasure of getting to know me, in a very personal way.
I was assigned to Dr. Austin, but before meeting him, I’d already googled him and checked his Instagram (congrats on the new baby!); he’s young, to say the least. However, his accomplishments precede his age. The work and research he’s done is amazing and once you meet him, it’s really hard not to trust his professional opinion.
In September 2020, I went to the clinic (face mask required, duh) and he told me about the procedure and type of incision and then let me ask questions. He actually took the time to listen and explain everything and didn’t make me feel like I was just one of many free consultations booked into his long day. I felt like I mattered, whether I chose to have the surgery done with that clinic or not.
He poked my sides and said he would remove some fat (liposuction) from those areas and I was sold. He gave me another estimate that included the portion that OHIP would (potentially) cover and what I would need to pay out of pocket.
When he left, Danielle came in and said she would be there, through email or phone, to answer any questions. They would send my application to OHIP and get a response within one month. I left the clinic feeling really good about my options.
A few weeks later, Danielle called with amazing news – OHIP accepted my application and we scheduled my appointment for the earliest available date, which was early November. There were endless forms to read and complete, but all for a good reason and I would encourage that you go carefully through it all.
A week later, Danielle called to inform me of a cancellation and of course, I jumped at the chance to get in earlier. However, that would mean putting a rush on everything, including the required Covid swab that’s required before all surgeries.
There were a LOT of details, rules to follow, and general things to know before the actual surgery date. I found it a bit odd because this isn’t my first surgery (gallbladder and fallopian tubes removed) and I’ve never been held accountable for so many pre-surgery requirements. Regardless, it’s always better to be safe than sorry – and so, I followed every one of them.
Some people get nervous when it comes to surgery. I’m not one of those people.You’re out like a lightbulb while they’re performing the surgery and if you ask me, that sounds like a really awesome and forced nap; I don’t get many of those.
When I arrived at the clinic, someone checked my temperature and I was escorted to the waiting room. I assumed I would be waiting for awhile, as you generally do in doctor’s offices – not to mention, surgeons are sometimes on call, which can delay the surgery time.
9 a.m. – I changed into a gown; not a ball gown, just a regular hospital one that opens at the back. A couple minutes later, Dr. Austin came in with a student and did all the weird drawings and markups around my breasts. He left and the anaesthetist came in to ask some questions. Then, a nurse came in to help me put compression stockings on; I can’t remember why, but I assume it has something to do with blood flow. She sent me to do a urine pregnancy test, despite telling her that my tubes had been taken out and it’s literally impossible for me to be pregnant; it’s fine – I had to pee anyway.
A couple minutes after that, I was laying on a bed, getting an IV poked into my arm. And, similarly to other surgeries I’ve had, I knocked out and the next thing I knew…
I woke up with heavy eyes and an achy body. The nurse gave me Tylenol and my dad was called to pick me up.
He was brought into the office, where a nurse explained the medications being sent home with me, as well as informed us about the follow-up appointments. I was sent home in my comfy (cotton) pyjamas and a new bra that I was instructed to wear for the first month post-surgery.
There were a bunch of medications to take, including extra strength Tylenol, which I could have bought over the counter. There was something for nausea and another to help reduce swelling and inflammation, as well as some kind of homeopathic pill. Overall, I was in some pain, but it was tolerable. The surgery had nothing to do with my lower half, I still had the ability to move around – with minor restrictions as too much exertion made me tired. I guess that’s all a part of the post-surgery struggle.
The next day, I returned to the clinic (my dad drove), put on my mask and let Lori assist me to get out of the car. If you ever need a motivational boost or want to feel good about yourself, Lori is your girl! Her cheery and positive attitude is sure to rub off and make you feel like a superstar, despite actually feeling (and looking) like a train knocked you down. She checked my incision sites and explained that a bit of bleeding was totally normal. She also made sure that I knew I could contact her by email anytime, even on weekends (which I did).
Before my one-week follow-up appointment, some drops of blood came out and I got nervous, but as promised, Lori was there to help. I took a really weird picture (since deleted) of my breasts that I can only describe as freakishly Halloween-looking. You know those awesome makeup artists that make it look like their mouths are stapled shut? That’s exactly how my breasts looked – stapled shut at the bottom. There was also a TON of bruising on my sides, which I assume is mostly from the liposuction.
At my second follow-up appointment, Lori removed the staples. She also told me to make sure I massage the areas on the side, despite the pain of the bruised areas.
Finally, at six weeks post-op, I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Austin. We discussed options regarding scarring and next steps to continue the healing process. I didn’t opt to buy the strips he recommended to supposedly lighten the scars. In the grand scheme of costs, it’s probably worth a try, but quite frankly, I don’t care about the scar. My boobs are smaller and lifted. They aren’t annoyingly in my way and they definitely aren’t sagging down to my belly button anymore. I don’t even have to wear a bra! I’m a satisfied patient, scars and all.
If you’ve read this far then I assume you’re considering breast reduction or lift or maybe you’re just curious about my experience. You may also be wondering why I’ve decided to label this post “New Year, New Me,” despite getting the surgery done last year. Well, I’m currently at three months post-surgery, but still getting to know the new me and getting comfortable in my skin. It’s a process. Additionally, I still have no feeling or sensation in my nipples. However, on a recent IG Live with Dr. Lista, he said that’s totally normal and the feeling may not come back for another few months.
At the end of the day, do what makes you feel like your best, happiest self.