They're called drains. Apparently when a large portion of flesh is removed from your body, your body creates a lot of that yellow-clear fluid to aid in the healing process. Now factor in fluid dynamics of breast tissue and huge incisions and the prospect for a rupture runs high. The drains help siphon off the fluid to alleviate internal pressure on the incisions. I appreciate what they're there for, they're just annoying as hell.
The ladies I've talked to who've had implants didn't have drains, but one friend-of-a-friend who also had a lift recalled her having drains. The ladies with the implants get all confused that my procedure ends up being more extensive than theirs, when their bodies "changed" more than mine did.
I was a DD-cup, the same bra size I was in college, except the sagging was made worse by a 100 pound weight gain-then-loss. As I lost the weight, I knew I would never have my 20-year-old body back. I kind of didn't want that. I could do so much more with my 30 year old body. I loved all my curves and even my un-tight skin. These were my battle scars. They show that I have endured something.
I had not just accepted my breasts as they were, but grown accustomed to them hanging there, my nipples pointing slightly into opposing directions. I loved them and I felt the man of my choosing would love them too.
However, I had reached the point of diminishing returns on my running where it was more trouble cramming these mounds of flesh into constricting sports bras for which I paid a premium. I wanted to maintain my active lifestyle and pursue more achievements, which meant more sagging and more "compression" gear.
Then I get breast cancer, for which one of the perks is that I get perks (heh, couldn't resist.). While I get the breasts of my choosing regardless, a lift was also beneficial for the upcoming radiation treatments, as the shape of the breast determines how much tissue is within the range of the ...um..."ray-gun"...I guess. I also chose to have a slight reduction to a single-D cup, making my life a little easier if I'm going under the knife anyway.
In June, I have the consult, where the exceptionally attractive surgeon draws out on paper how the incisions will look and that there will be drains and a basic rundown of what to expect when I see him again for surgery. I was dumbfounded by how much beauty can be in this one human being. Sure, he could have had some work done, but he didn't look like he had. He had a well-built physique but not overly-built. Had the chiseled jaw of a Grecian statue. Of course I told everybody and their insurance agent about the hotness of my boob doctor.
(Who also has credentials coming out his nose, but in the sexiest possible way)
On Friday, I'm prepped with my IV and Dr. Cutie comes in wielding the all important Sharpie we come to expect from those plastic surgery shows. He helps me out of my surgical gown and kneels down, his face about a foot away from my chest. He draws a dotted line starting at the space between my clavicle down to my abdomen. He uses a measuring tape and sizes me up, drawing a couple of vertical lines I find out later will be the new-center of my breasts.
I want to look down to see what he's doing, but I realized I was disturbing the artist's canvas. So I concentrated on looking up or staring straight ahead while keeping good posture. Finally the silence was overbearing, so I struck up a conversation with the nurse.
"You know, I've been examined by so many doctors by this point that this doesn't seem awkward at all." I was only half-lying, it was awkward because we had been sitting there in silence for about five minutes while this very attractive doctor was concentrating on my boobs.
I look down and see the drawing of my new nipple placement. "Wow, they're going to get all centered up."
"Yeah " the nurse says, "it's funny working with plastic surgeons. You hear in the break room 'Ok ladies, your nipples should UP HERE!' and no one's are..."
Dr. Cutie finishes his sharpie work and I never see him again. They get me situated and wheeled into the surgical suite. The last thing I remember is shifting from the bed to the table.
I woke up in recovery in a fog and lots of pain. "On a scale of one to ten..."
"TEN!" I wasn't messing around with this. Give me the drugs, bitch... oh thank you. I love you. No, not you, the drugs.
I could feel the incisions as a sharp cut under my left breast. My brain was interpreting it as a too-tight underwire that I needed to adjust.
"Oh, no!" the nurse laughs at me, "you can't adjust that underwire. We'll have to put mittens on you like a little baby."
The pain factor slowly dropped from ten to eight to six to three. The nurses were concerned about my oxygen levels, that my breathing was shallow. But my breathing was shallow because I fucking HURT to breathe.
On Sunday, I showered for the first time, gingerly removing the front-closure sports-bra that had been holding me together. Everything was swollen and I was taken aback by how strange I looked to myself. My areolas puffed up from the circles of sutures and surgical tape. They were centered and pointed straight ahead. I looked alien. I reminded myself that it won't always look that way. They were just swollen and will look less strange over time.
But they will stay centered. My never-been-taught skin was now snug all around my breasts. I look like I might have implants. Perky. They've never been perky in my life. I remember being 12 and hiding from my own naked reflection because I was so disgusted with myself. I said I looked like a grandmother. 12 year old breasts aren't supposed to look like that, I had apparently been told somehow, via cultural osmosis. Because 20-somethings supposedly didn't look like that.
I didn't love myself and I ate and gained the weight and made the sagging worse. I learned to love myself and lost the weight but the damage was done. So I loved them anyway. Might as well. They had been unloved for so long the was no harm in loving them as they were. Fancy that.
My only fear of plastic surgery was not loving the result. I worried that the act to "improve" what I already loved about myself would cause me to hate them again.
As the incision pain has lessened and I am more comfortable in this bra they put on me, I am all kinds of thrilled with my new breasts. For one thing I actually fit in the bra. Women know there are varying degrees of how well a bra fits. One of which gives concession for a fair amount of fleshy overhang near the armpit. We tend to shove our boobs under our arms if there isn't enough room on our chests. So many of us go through life without knowing the joy of a truly comfortable bra.
Well, there is no under-arm-excess. Everything's on my chest--in the front--where it's supposed to be. Snug. My new status quo.
Then there are these annoying drains. Which are poking out of my skin under my arms. The hoses snake around onto my belly like extra appendages. And while I am glad for the reason that they are there, I will be glad when Dr. Cutie removes them on Thursday.