One year, nine days and counting since my breast lift and augmentation. Right about now last year the complications have begun to really set in. Won’t be long until the necrosis really starts to get bad.
I suppose I should back up a bit. Last year on October 2nd I had a boob job that ended up going horribly wrong. The initial surgery went fine as far as anyone could tell. I say “initial” because there was a second one and there will be two more.
There was SO much bruising though. I was black and blue from my waist to the top of my chest. At first we thought that my nipples and areolae (the rosy area around everyone’s nipples) were just bruised. Then the surgeon thought that there might be problems re-establishing circulation where they moved the areolae and nipple.
Watching such an intimate part of my body turn black as though it had been burnt was horrifying. When the surgeon tried sewing on a human skin graft as a bandage and being told not to scream because it was being sewn to my actual skin… I would never wish these horrors on anyone. Seeing my nipple turn literally crunchy and then watching the tissue rot… You’d think it was a Hollywood horror story. It wasn’t. It was real and it was only the beginning.
There was a great deal of pressure in my chest in the early stages. Even before the necrosis I mentioned the pressure. During an early check up one of the nurses in the office even pointed out what looked like a big bubble on the outer side of my left breast.
The evening that I called the doctor because I was having some difficulty breathing, this person had the gall to suggest to my husband that I “take a valium and calm down”. Instead of actually trying to figure out what was happening, this person took the “wait and see” approach.
A couple weeks later when my nipples were rotting off and I asked why this was happening, I was told, “I don’t know. I’ve never seen this before.”. This person had been a plastic surgeon for 15 years and claims never to have seen necrosis before. Uhm BULLSHIT??
Finally, on November 7th I went in to have the implants (the “augmentation” part of the surgery) removed along with the dead, necrotic tissue. The surgeon reported that, upon opening me up, approximately 300 ccs of fluid came splashing out on both sides. The saline implants were both intact with no leaks.
My body had been producing what is known as “serous fluid”. It’s that same clear/yellowish stuff that shows up before a scab forms. It built up in the pocket with the implants causing extra stress on the already stressed tissue. The surgeon didn’t see fit to put in drains after the first surgery. Drains were put in the second time.
Now you might think that this would be the end of my story. And they all lived happily ever after…minus nipples and areolae which I was promised would be reconstructed after I was healed from this surgery.
If I believed in Fate, or even a God, this would be the point that I would lose faith. Fortunately I’m a non-theist.
Two weeks after the second surgery, the sutures started pulling open. First the left side tore open. Then the right. Until I had two tennis ball sized holes in my chest. During this time. the surgeon was ON VACATION!!! No one either could or would tell me why this was happening. Only that they couldn’t sew me back up again because the same thing would happen.
I was told to flush out the open wounds twice daily with warm water for 10 minutes with a hand held shower attachment. Then I packed the open wounds with saline-soaked gauze, covered them up and taped them over.
No one should have to do this. I was determined, however, not to subject my husband to this. He was not to come in the bathroom while I was showering or changing gauze packing. I did this all myself because I didn’t want him to see me as some hideous freakish thing. Of course this is how I saw…and still do see…myself.
Later I went back to the original surgeon who kept promising that I would heal, blah blah blah. If it wasn’t for the nurse doing some research, I might have been packing my chest with gauze for over 6 months.
She found a machine called a Wound V.A.C. You can read for yourself how it works.
For the next 10 weeks I was hooked up to this machine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week except for about 2 hours every three days when my sweet, amazing, spectacular husband cut new pieces of specially engineered foam and fitted them in the various spaces of the open wounds , then re-dressed them.
Eventually the wounds closed right after my 41st birthday. Happy fuckin birthday to me.
I still have no nipples and will have to have reconstructive surgeries. I say surgeries-plural because the mounds of my breasts must be reconstructed and then there will be nipple reconstruction. THEN there will be surgical tattooing so that they are the pretty nipple color you have. Right now I am deformed. The V.A.C. machine healed the wounds but not into a breast shape.
In later entries I’ll talk more about the emotional and physical healing aspects of what I’m going through and have gone through. As well as the subsequent surgeries I’ll be having.
These are complications that can and DO happen to women on a fairly regular basis. Just because your friend had a boob job and nothing bad happened, that doesn’t mean you can’t have complications, yourself.
Make SURE your surgeon is board certified. Do NOT go the cheap route. Go on multiple interviews. Be aware that there is NO totally safe surgery. None. Let what happened to me (and is still happening to me) serve as a cautionary tale.