Hey friends! It’s been a little while, hasn’t it?! If you’ve been following my breast lift with augmentation journey, we’re officially on day 34 post-op! Today, just in time for the 5 week mark, I’m sharing all about weeks 1-4 following surgery – better late than never, right?
I’ll go in chronological order, but I need to kick this post off by answering the two questions I’ve been asked the most over the last few weeks; first, I feel amazing! Overall, I’d say I feel like a 9/10 most days (the only reason I’m not giving it a 10 is because I’m not cleared to lift anything heavy yet, and I still have a little tiny bit of discomfort when trying to lift medium-light things – more on that later). Second, YES YES YES, I would have the surgery a million times over and I’m still completely happy with my choice!
The first week following surgery was definitely the hardest, but it certainly wasn’t unmanageable, and it really was much easier than I anticipated. During that time, my pain was around a 3/10, except when I made sudden movements or hit huge potholes in the road (is smh still a thing? I’m using it here), then it became more of a 5.
I spent most of the first few days sleeping a lot. I took pain medication and muscle relaxers around the clock for about 48 hours, then I started taking Ibuprofen for discomfort and the muscle relaxers right before bed.
Every surgeon and procedure is different, but I did have drains following my surgery. They are little tubes that run underneath the incisions and lead out to drains on each side that remained suctioned to continuously pull the extra fluid out. I had quite a bit of drainage: the magic number for my drains was having less than 30 ml in each side over the course of 24 hours. That took 5 days, and as much as I wanted to complain, I know how uncomfortable it would have been to have that fluid built up inside, so I’m thankful that I was able to reduce all that potential swelling and pressure.
I was really uneasy about having the drains removed, and it wasn’t necessarily painful, it just felt super weird. Of course, that was the first time all my bandages and tape were really coming off and things were a little sensitive, so the process wasn’t the most comfortable experience either, but nothing too bad. The strangest thing was feeling the tube being pulled from under my skin, and they were long.
For me, learning to sleep on my back was probably the biggest annoyance. I’m a stomach sleeper, and I wasn’t even allowed to sleep on my side for the first week, so it took me a little while to navigate that. Prior to surgery, I bought this reading pillow on Amazon and it fit perfectly in the corner of our sectional. It was so helpful in finding a comfortable position to sleep in, I’m not sure I would have gotten much sleep without it. It’s pretty big and made with memory foam. We actually still use it now to watch movies and lounge around.
I spent a lot of time resting, using frozen peas as ice bags, and trying to remember to be careful when making any movements like reaching for remotes, pulling toilet paper, or using the railing to climb the stairs. You never realize how often you use your chest muscles until you’re forced to think about it; apparently, it’s a lot.
Real talk; most of this week was spent driving back and forth to Target, trying to figure out what size and type of bra to buy. I was the given the OK to swap my surgical bra, which was getting really loose and was covered in melted popsicles (don’t judge me), for a more comfortable, better-fitting, supportive bra. I was allowed to choose any bra I wanted, as long as it didn’t contain underwire. Sometimes, having more freedom is harder than you think. The possibilities were endless, and I was still so nervous about touching them or changing my clothes; I felt like they were so fragile or something. So, I ended up with a lot of options at home that I only tried on after I tore the tags off…. why, Olivia? Most of them are fine, but I wasn’t comfy AF like I wanted to be (because who doesn’t have that expectation 8 days after surgery??). Also, a lot of them were really large, with wide straps, making it impossible to wear them under any normal shirt.
After spending hundreds of dollars, making a dozen trips, and lots of Amazon orders and returns, I finally found my favorites, and I haven’t taken them off over the last 3 weeks. If your surgeon gives you a specific recommendation, be sure to follow that, but since mine didn’t, these are what worked for me.
My go-to, daily bra has been this Fruit of the Loom Front Closure Sports bra. It sounds funny, but this bra is so comfortable, so easy to get on and off with limited arm movement, and pretty supportive. It holds in any gauze or bandages too; I kept my incisions covered for the first few weeks because they were sensitive and easily irritated by anything touching them. Plus, these are like $8. Call me a granny, but I’m pretty sure I’ll wear these for the rest of forever, by choice… on purpose.
My main go-out bra has been this Madewell Bralette that I found at Nordstrom Rack. I didn’t wear it all the time because I’m not sure how much support it really offers, and it sits right along the bottom of my incisions, so I had to use some extra gauze. But it kept everything in place and I was able to wear it underneath normal shirts for dinner or running errands.
The other bra I’ve been wearing to go out in is an odd one, but when I tried it on and realized it was perfect for my situation, I had to get it. It’s this Cache Coeur Nursing Bra, because it’s easily adjustable, free from underwire, and designed for comfort, it’s pretty perfect. It does look a little odd though if one of the hooks comes undone, because I have a fully exposed nipple that’s not feeding a soul.
Last, I was allowed to start sleeping in a cami with a built in shelf bra and this was a life-saver. I spent all day feeling so bound up in bras, it was nice to just let everything out at night by wearing a cami. The one I’ve been living is something that’s been in my drawer forever, and I have no clue where I found it, but these are very similar.
Other than bra shopping, week 2 was mostly just about getting back to semi-normal. I was able to shower pretty easily and started using doing more range of motion with my arms, without any weight, which means I was able to finally brush my own hair and look somewhat put together again.
Toward the end of week 2, I decided to join the local YMCA and start walking on the treadmill, since it was the only real exercise I could do. I couldn’t believe how easily I got tired, and the first few days were spent at a speed of 2.8, while still trying to catch my breath and wipe the sweat from my face. The trauma of any surgery is a lot on the body, and even though it might not feel like it, my body has been working double time to heal and recover, so I tried to remember that when I got exhausted from just going to the store or walking for 20 minutes. Over the last few weeks, it’s gotten better, but I’m still not totally back to normal, and that’s okay.
At this point, I was feeling pretty good. I had really minimal discomfort with movement, and I was slowly regaining energy. I do remember noticing a lot of sensitivity in my skin right around this time. I’m not sure why it came on at week 3, and it only lasted about a week or so, but during that time, I noticed every little thing touching my skin. I kept saying “it feels like my boobs have the flu.” If you’re one of those people who’s “skin hurts” when you get sick, you know what I’m talking about. Using ice (frozen peas) and keeping gauze between my skin and my bra helped a lot.
The biggest complaint I had during this week (if you’ve been following on my Instagram stories, you heard me babbling about non-stop) was the itchiness of the stitches. They were still in and still covered with paper tape, and they were getting really itchy. The tape was also kind of hard to manage because it started to come up when I showered. Plus, I was actually dreading getting them removed – I was so nervous about what it would feel like.
With 2 days left in week 3, I went in and had the stitches removed and I also had my first laser scar treatment. It wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t fun. There were a lot of stitches in there, or at least it felt like it. And I already had “boob flu” sensitivity. So, it was a long 30ish minutes of stitch removal and lasering. You can hear me describing it on my Instagram Stories under the *Implants* highlight. But I survived, and I was so impressed with the laser treatment that I’m going back for another in about 2 weeks. I’m hoping this one is a little less ouchy.
Once the stitches were out, I felt so much better. I could finally see everything, and the sensitivity started to go away too. I also felt like I could finally really shower. This was when I started to feel like these were mine to keep.
At my post-op appointment, I got the okay to start some exercise – leg work and light cardio. I’m still not cleared to do any lifting or using my arms in a way that engages my chest muscles, but just being able to do any exercise was good enough for me.
I started doing interval training on the Stairmaster, and I never realized how much I relied on my arms anytime I was on one of those. So, I have to be really conscious of not grabbing those handles. I’ve also been doing the elliptical while resting my arms at my sides. Lots of bodyweight lunges and squats have made my way into my routine also. These aren’t my favorite types of exercise, but like I said, it’s better than nothing.
This was the first week I had a few mini meltdowns about nothing fitting me – surprise, surprise. I was so used to the body that I had before, and I had a routine in place. I knew what bra needed to go with what shirt to make things perky, or to keep things covered, or both. Now, everything fits totally different. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great problem to have, and I’m so excited to fill my closet with things I feel amazing in, but in the interim when I can’t wear a normal bra and I’m not totally sure this is going to be my final size, it’s easy to get frustrated.
I also went on a trip with my girlfriends and it was great to get out and finally feel like a normal human again. I flew with no problems, but I did increase my water intake and tried to stretch a lot during the flight. We were in the sun during the day, so I made sure to cover my incisions with sun screen and tried to keep them under my bathing suit. Other than having to ask for help, a lot, with my bags at the airport, it was a pretty normal travel experience.
I just started using silicone tape over my incisions for additional help with the scarring, so I’ll be sure to update on that as things go along. I’ve read about a lot of different options for at-home scar treatment, and decided that the silicone tape was going to be the best option for me. My surgeon’s office recommended the silicone sheets, but I was having a hard time getting them to stay in place. Plus, with the length of my incisions, they weren’t really cost effective. I’ve seen a lot of people who were really happy with their final results after using this tape, so I’m giving it a go. It’s really easy to apply and it sticks really well.
I’m one day away from the 5 week mark! I’ll return to my surgeon in a few weeks for my next check-up and laser treatment. I’m reallllly hoping I get the okay to start my normal workouts. Hopefully he says they’re “falling into place” right on schedule. I’ll share more after that appointment! And as always, if you have any questions about anything – please ask! I’m happy to answer and share my experiences; I know what a big decision this is!