Jody recently had a breast reduction and breast with Dr Patrick Tansley from North East Plastic Surgery. Her surgery was a great success and Jody also has some excellent advice for anyone else looking to have breast surgery. This is her story.
Trish: Oh good morning, it’s Trish here again from Transforming Bodies Plastic Surgery Stories, and today I’m going to be talking to the lovely Jody, who has recently had some plastic surgery, so she’s going to share a bit of her journey with us. I just saw her on one of our posts and she was really happy with her surgery, so I thought I’d reach out and say, hey do you wanna share your story? So she gratefully came back and said yes, so I’m pretty happy that we’re talking to her today after a few little technical glitches.
So welcome Jody.
Jody: Hi Trish. How are you?
Trish: I’m really good, how are you?
Jody: Very well, thanks.
Trish: Awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time today, ’cause I know that you’re really busy and we did have a bit of a hiccup-
Jody: That’s okay.
Trish: It’s all good now, hey?
Jody: It is, all good.
Trish: So Jody, what surgery did you have, how long ago?
Trish: And did I hear you say you’re back at work?
Jody: Yes. Look I have the benefit of running my office from home, and so whilst I was given two weeks off work, I took the rest of the week off but I actually on the lounge did a few bits and pieces, not a lot, but a few bits and pieces that week. Probably two days afterwards, but I was fairly immobile but I just needed my iPad and to be sitting down, and I was able to do a few bits and pieces. So it wasn’t too bad.
Trish: Look, I just can’t believe it, because I’ve had the same surgery as you and it took me forever to recover. I can’t even imagine having been back at work at week 3, so I’m impressed.
Jody: Oh look honestly, it was probably not my best work, and it didn’t require me to have conversations with people. I literally needed to proofread some documents and sent my comments back. So I definitely hear what you’re saying about that recovery period and even in my third week now, I’m still not 100% but I certainly feel a lot more like myself this week.
Trish: Yeah totally, and are you off the pain meds at all?
Trish: Oh that’s good.
Jody: Yes, I had the pain meds for I would say the first week. I may have had one or two in that second week, but I’d pretty much finished them on the Sunday and I had the surgery the Monday before.
Trish: That’s awesome. That is so good, ’cause I believe that once you get off them you can really start to heal.
Jody: Yeah, I mean they’re pretty strong meds. And they need to be, because there’s a fair bit of work that goes on in that area and there’s movement of muscles and there’s stitches, and I definitely needed them in that first week. And I thought it would be perhaps more so in the evening that I would need them, but it was during the day when I would get up from sitting down and a little bit of moving around gingerly, that I was really grateful for them.
Trish: Yep. So tell me what was it that led to you wanting this surgery? If you don’t mind my asking, how old are you?
Jody: So I’m 48 and I’d been thinking about having surgery for probably four years. It kind of went from a wish list, wouldn’t it be great if, to me having it done and turning it into a reality I guess. I’ve got two children, I’ve got a 20 year-old daughter and a 13 year-old son, and I breastfed both of them. I do a lot of competitive sport so I’ve got a reasonable level of fitness but they just, if I can be really crude, they were just really saggy. And I found myself, even when I was going down the stairs at home, I would find myself in the last couple of years cupping them in my hands as I went down the stairs because I felt that the sagginess was just … was really feeling that. And for me to put on an outfit and to feel like my silhouette was okay, my bras were essentially scaffolding to keep them up. And so it was something that I really wanted to address.
I did have a little bit of shoulder pain and some back pain as well, but it wasn’t … I was a D cup, and so there weren’t excessively large, they just lost all-
Jody: …gravity, yeah.
Trish: So had you had big breasts all your life, or it was just purely after breastfeeding? ‘Cause with me, I had big breasts all my life and of course they just got worse with kids, but anyway. My reason was from a really young age, so you only decided four years ago?
Jody: Yeah, well I hadn’t even decided, it was really just kind of a whimsical, gee I’d love to have my boobs lifted. Wouldn’t that-
Trish: That’s how it starts.
Jody: … if I could do that. Yeah, if I ever had plastic surgery, this is what I would do. And it wasn’t until I was at a work conference that I was rooming with another girl from my industry, that we got onto the conversation and she had some augmentation and I thought they looked fantastic, and she had a couple of kids too. And that really sparked my thought process from turning it into just something on my wish list to, maybe I could actually do something about this.
I was a C cup all through my 20s up to my mid 30s and probably after I had my second child I moved to a D cup. But I started to see photos of myself where I’d go out thinking that I looked quite nice and then I’d see photos and all I could see were these big breasts and that they just looked a bit saggy. And that coupled with feeling like I needed scaffolding to hold them up, I thought maybe it was something that I could actually deal with and do something about.
Trish: Yeah, and you know it’s funny, we’re our harshest critics aren’t we?
Jody: Definitely. As I say, I’m probably sitting in size 10 on average, occasionally an 8 but I’m generally a size 10, and I can fit into pretty much anything I want to clothes wise. And some might see that as perhaps overly superficial, but it was something that was bothering me and I don’t know if other women relate to this, but when I get home I really like to take my bra off and goodness if somebody came to the door while I was sitting around in a T-shirt with no bra on, I would have to either cover up or run and put a bra on because I felt really self conscious about it.
Trish: Yes, I hear you, ’cause it’s exactly how I was. As soon as someone walk in, it’d bit like yep straight go and put a bra on, someone’s at the door, shit.
Trish: Alright so you’re three weeks post op. And how was the process for you? How did you know where to go? Where did you start?
Jody: So the girl that I roomed with, who I’ve known for about 12 years and so we had a fairly open conversation about it, she shared her surgeon’s details with me and I contacted that surgeon only to discover that he only did augmentation. He didn’t do breast lift or breast reduction. But his receptionist … and I do think sometimes the receptionists in the plastic surgeons office are the unsung heroes … his receptionist spent a lot of time on the phone with me talking about different options and what to look for. And ultimately I asked her, if you were having this surgery who would you go to? And she gave me the surgeon’s name at NorthEast, and I phoned a couple of other places and it seemed like all roads were leading back to my surgeon who I ultimately went with.
So then I rang that surgery and I think I probably had a 20 minute phone conversation with the receptionist that day, who was just a wealth of willing knowledge and information. And that initial call gave me that degree of comfort to actually make an appointment and that appointment with the surgeon, that first appointment, went for an hour, where we just talked. I think there was an examination of my breasts towards the ends of the hour but at no point did I ever feel like I was rushed or that I’d asked too many questions. It was literally just a conversation where we both asked each other questions and I left that appointment absolutely certain in my mind that I’d come to the right place.
Trish: That’s awesome. So which surgeon did you end up seeing?
Jody: I saw Patrick Tansley.
Trish: Okay, awesome. And who was the surgeon that you spoke to before that just did breast augments?
Jody: Oh gosh, you know what-
Trish: Oh can’t remember, that doesn’t matter.
Jody: I can’t remember his name, I’m sorry.
Trish: That’s fine, doesn’t matter. No worries. Okay awesome. So tell me a little bit about the before care, like obviously your appointment went really well and he listened everything that you said and you listened to everything that he said, and how long after that did you actually book in for surgery?
Jody: So I had a fairly rigorous sporting season so I probably saw him in February of this year and I had a programme of sporting events that concluded on the 19th May, and he knew that really my desire was to plan the surgery around that, and he was fantastic. He actually changed his theatre days so that I had Nationals on the Saturday and he performed the surgery on the Monday the 21st. And I was incredibly grateful, ’cause I’m in an off season now where I’m having a bit of a break anyway and he was so willing to accommodate that.
Trish: Yep. And you know what, maybe because you’re so sporty, maybe that’s why your recovery has been so quick as well?
Jody: Yeah I guess it’s all relative and it’s really interesting to hear you say that it’s quick recovery, because I’m climbing the walls a little bit and I’m feeling like, oh god it’s only week 3. But yeah, I suppose it is … you’re under the knife for two hours, it’s not a minimally invasive 30 minute operation. Perhaps that has contributed to it.
Trish: Yep. And were you in overnight at all? Or just the day?
Jody: Just the day, which did surprise me. I went in probably about 10:30, 11 in the morning and by the time I went through the various processes, I think the surgery would have been about 1:30, 1/1:30, and my husband drove me home probably about 6pm that night.
Trish: Oh my god, that’s insane. I have a girlfriend who did exactly the same thing, and it’s just like oh my god. That’s just crazy. That’s just so-
Jody: Yeah I couldn’t believe it either, that after two hours of surgery that he wouldn’t do an overnighter, but I was happy to be home.
Trish: Totally. Yeah totally. And I suppose it depends on the hospital that you have, ’cause some hospitals don’t even have overnight stays anyway so providing nothing goes wrong they don’t mind sending you home.
Jody: Yes. I had to have an adult with me for the first 24 hours and I did have to go back in and see Patrick the following late morning. For the first week I slept with a little bit of an elevation, obviously on my back. It’s probably only in the last three to four days that I’ve started to venture onto my side a little bit in my sleep, with a few supportive pillows. But yeah, I too was surprised that it wasn’t an overnighter but that went well, there were no complications and I still felt like the post op care was really thorough.
Trish: Yep. That’s what I was gonna ask you about next. So tell me about the process for the post op. What did they do? What was so great about it?
Jody: Well I was seeing him regularly, I’m actually seeing him again tomorrow. But again I was afforded enough time to ask as many questions as I wanted to. I not only saw him but I saw a nurse, and I’ve actually been the last three weeks undergoing what’s called a Healite therapy. Now I don’t know a lot about the science and the mechanics of it, and you may have heard of it, but that involves once a week sitting under an infrared light, 15 minutes. It’s quite warm and relaxing actually and the type of light that’s radiated, the idea is that that speeds up the recovery and the healing of bruises and so forth.
Trish: I love the Healite. I totally get it. It’s LED light.
Jody: Yeah, okay. Yeah. So I’ve had that, I’ve seen Patrick a couple of times. In fact he was so great, there was one appointment where I wasn’t even meant to see him, I was just having the Healite and I had left probably 20, 30 minutes before and he phoned my mobile and said, I’m so sorry that I wasn’t there to pop my head in and see how you’re doing. So I appreciated that. But again, every time I’ve seen him there’s been a, ‘do you have any other questions’? I’ve never felt rushed and again even Amanda on reception, I can’t not acknowledge how helpful she has been in answering questions, whether it’s been over the phone or via emails. It’s been a really good end to end process so far.
Trish: Yep, Amanda’s great. If I ever had a question, I know that I can always call on her too, so I know exactly what you mean.
Well that’s awesome, so it sounds like you’ve had a really good experience and it sounds like there’s also heaps more to go, like you’re still having your Healite done and you’re still seeing the doctor three weeks post op, which is a really good thing so if anything does come up you’re not left in the lurch and you can ask anything. You can either ring the office or speak to the doctor yourself, so you’re not left wondering how things are going.
Trish: Oh that’s awesome.
Jody: Yeah. I have the dressings off tomorrow, which I’m really looking forward to.
Trish: What do you mean the dressings? What have you still got on?
Jody: So the type of incisions that Patrick does, to maximise the longevity of the lift, is what’s called a lollipop scar or incision. So there’s one around the nipple and then there’s a straight vertical incision down the bottom of it so it kind of resembles a lollipop. And there are different ways that you can do it. I believe there’s also one which is described as an anchor, but this is described as a lollipop. And so there’s tape on that in the shape of a lollipop at the moment, that’s protecting the scars. So that’s meant that in these three weeks I haven’t been able to do any sort of exercise that would bring about sweating, because obviously it would be trapped under the tape. So that’s been … I’ve probably driven Patrick mad with questions around, can I do this, can I do that, when can I run, when can I do this? So those dressings come off tomorrow so I think I can start to, rather than just a 30 minute stroll around the block, I can start to increase things a little bit after that tomorrow.
Trish: So have you had the same tape on for three weeks?
Trish: Wow. I’d go itchy crazy after that. So I wonder what the tape was.
Jody: Well yeah, it actually hasn’t been itchy, surprisingly enough. I mean there’s been a couple of times where the bottom of it has puckered a bit, just from my own movement and sometimes I’ve had to pull my bra out to separate it from that puckering. And there’s been a little bit of discomfort around that and I certainly don’t want to give any impression that I’ve not had any discomfort over the last three weeks because I have. But I probably in the last week and a half call it discomfort rather than pain.
But yeah, I’ve got a feeling that there may be another tape that’s replacing the one that I’ve got, going on tomorrow. But I’ll found out tomorrow.
Trish: And he hasn’t suggested anything for the scarring yet? Or do they use anything like Strataderm or anything? Do they get you to use any creams or silicone after the surgery, or you don’t know that yet?
Jody: Look there’s been mention from the girl that I’ve been seeing for the Healite about that, but I think I’ll find out more about that tomorrow. And to be honest whatever they’re offering I’ll be happy to use.
Trish: Yeah, give it to me, give it to me.
Trish: Oh that’s been awesome, Jody. I’m so happy, it sounds like you’ve had a great experience. My experience wasn’t so great, so it’s always really good to hear that. And it’s funny how we all heal differently, ’cause I remember about six months before I had my breast reduction and lift, a girl that I worked with had the same thing and she had it on the Thursday and she was back at work on the Monday. So I just had this preconceived idea that it was gonna be no big deal. So when you think it’s gonna be one way and then it ends up being another one, it kind of takes you for a six. So I’m rapt for you that you’ve had such a, what I think is a great experience.
Jody: Look it has been. I too thought that it would be no big deal and that, yes I know the doctor said you can’t do this for a week, but I’ll be doing it after three days, and thinking that I’d be back doing normal activities faster than the recommended date, that they were just a little bit conservative. But no they were spot on, and driving was the perfect example. I hadn’t factored in driving and that I wouldn’t be able to drive for at least a week. And my husband travels a lot interstate for work and I’ve got a son that I need to ferry around to different sports, and I couldn’t have imagined driving in that first week to be honest.
Trish: Yeah and apparently it’s worth checking with your insurance, because some insurances won’t cover you for a certain time after major surgery as well. So it’s just those little things that you don’t think about, or they might have told you but you don’t even remember, you just presume and then you’re like, oh my god hang on I can’t, there’s no way I’d be able to drive.
Jody: Yeah, and someone did actually mention that about insurance and if something had have happened, that perhaps I wouldn’t be covered. But notwithstanding that, I just felt really gingerly in that first week and the idea of turning a steering wheel, I didn’t wanna go there.
Trish: Yep. No I totally get it. And I’m just gonna ask you, if there was one take away that you could give to other ladies who are out there who are thinking of having this surgery done or if there’s something that you wish you’d known before, or just one little tidbit of information you would give to someone else on the same journey. Is there anything you can think of that you’d like to share, or that you’d wish you’d known before, or that they should be prepared for?
Jody: I think definitely I would recommend doing your research in terms of a surgeon. I understand that one of Patrick’s specialties is … and this is my terminology, not his … is clean up jobs, where people have not had a great experience elsewhere and Patrick does a lot of fix up surgery. I would have hated to be in that situation where I needed to have this surgery repaired. So I would definitely say do your homework around the surgeon that you select. And write down questions that you have before you go into the appointment, because it’s very easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by the information that you’re getting and having to remember that a week later when you’re tracing your steps back of what’s going to happen.
I would take a notepad in or your iPad and I would have a list of questions and note down the answers. And other than that, I would be prepared for a level of inactivity and a slow return to activity after the surgery. And that it’s quite different, from what I understand, to just augmentation. The recovery process is different because there’s a bit more to the surgery in terms of muscle, you know, it’s being removed … that’s probably layman’s terminology but also-
Trish: The tissue.
Jody: Yeah tissue being removed and also the muscles that are affected after that surgery. But if it’s definitely on your mind and it’s something that you really want to do and you have the funds to be able to do it, I, even three weeks on I snuck a little singlet on the other day, those little stretchy singlets that you can wear them to bed. I’ve always had to wear a bra under them, and I snuck one on the other day without any bra at all and I realised that I could have actually gone out, my breasts were as lifted as I wanted them to be, they were a bit smaller, and I got what I paid for. So yeah I was really pleased.
Trish: And I like what you said, because we do sometimes go there with our questions, but then we forget to write down the answers and then it’s like, oh I can’t remember what they said. Or record the conversation if they let you, just so that you do remember when you come out. Such good advice that one.
Jody: Yeah, well I found that out the hard way and by the second appointment I did start taking notes, because I couldn’t remember, and a lot of my questions were about returning to physical activity and this was two weeks, this was four weeks, this was six weeks.
The other thing that I hadn’t factored in was how long I would need to wear the sport hospital bra for, which is six weeks. But I had a luncheon on last Friday, which was a fairly dressy occasion, and I was able to wear a black dress over it and no one would have ever known I was wearing it. But I’m looking forward to buying some new bras, I can tell you that at the six week mark.
Trish: I’ll bet, I’ll bet. Oh no that’s wonderful. Well thank you so much for sharing that today. It’s been really insightful and really interesting talking to you because it’s always to get a different perspective from a patient whom I haven’t spoken to one of their patients before. So that’s been really, really great. So I really appreciate your time today Jody.
Jody: Pleasure, pleasure Trish.
Trish: It was lovely. So listeners if you’re out there and you’d like to get in touch with NorthEast Plastic Surgery, you can actually Google them for a start or otherwise you can send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So thanks a lot Jody, have a great day.
Jody: Thanks Trish, you too.
Trish: No worries. Bye.
If you’d like more information on Dr Patrick Tansley or NorthEast Plastic Surgery visit their website or phone them on (03) 9088 5000 for their Melbourne Clinic or (07) 3180 3400 for their Brisbane Clinic.