Breast Augmentation and Time Off Work For Recovery
Hey guys! I get lots of questions about doing lashes. I post the more personal things in my Instagram stories and I try to keep my feed pretty much just lash related. BUT you guys keep replying to my stories asking what bra I’m wearing! It’s the implants, you guys. That’s how I get the shape. It’s the implants that Dr. Paul Whidden did.
I decided to write a bit more about it here because
- I know I had TONS of my own questions about cosmetic surgery and it was difficult to find answers at the time and
- It’s related to lashes because: How do you plan your time off? How much time did you actually need? Will you be in pain at work? Is it worth the money and taking the time off? How many CCs of a change can justify a revision and the time off work?
- I am in no way encouraging surgery, I am sharing my experience so that if it makes you happy to have surgery, then you can plan your work around it.
Okay lets get right into it.
Growing up, I was excited and looking forward to puberty and blossoming into a woman. My mother had given me educational books about puberty and man, I was READY for the changes they promised were coming. I waited patiently and GUESS WHAT, THE BOOBS NEVER SHOWED UP. Highschool came and went and I accepted that I would be an A cup type of girl. Ok, no biggy, small boobs are classy and easy to dress, right?
Noooope not in my case!! (For me). I found myself wearing padded bras to even out my top half to my bottom half. If you’ve been there, you know it’s beyond annoying when you don’t have anything to push up. Finding flattering tops wasn’t easy and bikini shopping was worse. I felt so much pressure to stay very lean so that my body shape made sense and clothes fit well.
I Went For It
I always liked the idea of breast implants so once I could afford it, I booked a consultation. I scheduled the surgery for December 2011 at the Toronto Cosmetic Clinic with Dr. Bendago. He told me that placing the implant under the muscle was best since the muscle acts as a bra and there’s a lower chance of capsular contracture. It cost $9040 at the time. I chose a set of Mentor 400cc High Profile implants. This was a good size as I was 110 lbs and 5’3”. It brought me up to a 34C, 32D or 32DD. Once healed, I measured about 36 inches around the bust. I had pretty much no tissue to start with so to me, anything was going to be an improvement. Dr. Bendago decided to make the incision along the line of my nipple, sort of like a semi circle on the bottom half, along the line change of color. I was worried that it wouldn’t heal well but it healed so well that it is hard to tell that there is any scar there.
Well. I didn’t do anything to prepare and kept weight training, including exercises like pushups, bench presses, flies, etc. What happened is that I had really strong pec muscles that were tight. I didn’t realize that the implant surgery would require those muscles to stretch to accommodate the implant. I could be wrong, this is just speculation, but I believe this is partly why this first surgery recovery was so difficult. I would have eased off of the chest specific exercises if I had realized that that those muscles have so much trouble stretching out. If anything, I could have at least tried to work on my chest openness and flexibility in my shoulders and chest muscles before going into surgery. Honestly, I can’t say if it would have been easier if I’d had less tight chest muscles but that first recovery was HORRIBLE.
When I came out of surgery I was in a lot of pain and loopy. It’s when the pain medication wore off that night that I began to realize I was in for some real trouble. My chest muscles were spasming, I was in intense pain, and then I was constipated for like 6 days. I felt like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Man I felt ugly. I couldn’t inhale deeply or stand up straight for about 3 weeks. You get stuck in bed because you can’t use your abs to roll yourself up. You’re like a turtle, stranded on your back. I couldn’t open a pill bottle on my own and definitely couldn’t lift anything heavier than a glass of water. On the fifth day I barfed violently and my chest muscles spasming painfully while I retched is something I’ll never forget. I wasn’t allowed to shower for a week so that was interesting as well. I learned about the unique smells a body can make :(. It felt like I couldn’t apply enough pressure brush my own teeth and had to buy an electric tooth brush. I was wondering how these women on the Real Self website were talking about going to the Olive Garden and the mall after waking up from surgery. I was a mess for the first month. Physically and emotionally. There is no way I could have done lashes. If it’s your first time, talk to your surgeon about time off work but I’d suggest you plan for 2 weeks off, minimum, to be safe. I know that I couldn’t lift my arms up to shoulder height for the first week for sure.
So When Do They Start to Look Good?
They are VERY high and tight when you first get them. They were these weird torpedo shaped things that seemed to start right below my collar bones. I got them 2 weeks before Christmas, thinking that I would be recovered enough to hide it from my family when I visited them at Christmas. I was so so wrong LOL. I wasn’t able to walk upright for about 3 weeks and they were so swollen that no sweater was going to hide it. The Percocets I was given for pain made me mean and irritable so I stopped taking them the day after surgery. Once I was off the Percs I called my mom to let her know what I had done and she was SOOO upset. She cried. She couldn’t understand why I would modify my body but I had not been blessed with her ample bosom! Looking back, I wish I had told her before I had the surgery and asked her to take care of me. The boyfriend I was dating at the time was not the best at being gentle and caring for someone in pain. You’re pretty much helpless, you can’t move your arms very much for a few days (and you’re not supposed to). It was a stressful and painful recovery that seemed to last forever.
Anyhow, at the time I didn’t realize that your chest band width plays a big role in your cleavage. I could have chosen an implant shape like the Moderate profile one in order to have a wider base and less space between them in the cleavage area. Instead, I went with what the doctor suggested (high profile - smaller base and projects forward more) and they ended up having a larger space between them than I had wanted.
I was happy enough with the implants but I struggled with keeping my chest muscles stretched out and if I wasn’t careful my posture would hunch forward and my shoulders would roll forward too. When I cut out exercises like pushups and other chest specific work outs my posture got better. I really had to work on keeping my chest muscles loose and if I didn’t stretch often, my posture changed quickly.
A few months passed and I realized I was a victim of Boob Greed. Many women fall prey to this after breast implant surgery and I was no different. The swelling had gone down between 3-6 months and I had gotten so used to the swollen size that I was disappointed with the real size. I was also regretting that I had chosen an implant with a base width that wasn’t wide enough to give me cleavage. The implants were farther apart than I had hoped but once I was healed I said WELL that was HELL, let me just get back to my life and enjoy being normal. It took about 3 months for them to look good and 6 months for them to fully drop into place.
Overall though, I was happy. I finally felt like my body was proportionate, I didn’t have to plan out what day I wore that “one bra” that made my breasts look okay. It was finally easy to find bras, sets didn’t have to be purchased in separate sizes for top and bottoms and clothes fit so much better.
Fast forward to summer of 2019 and I was burnt out at work. I was lashing too much and running my online shop and I was way overdue for a vacation. I thought to myself, why not have a staycation and finally redo my boobs?? I was still unhappy with the space between my breasts and I wanted to go bigger. I wanted to adjust the pockets because they didn’t feel even to me and I also realized that I wanted more upper pole fullness. The way my breasts looked when I was wearing a bra was the shape I wanted. I wanted them rounder and I liked the fake look. I was now 130 lbs and I felt like I could go a little bigger with the implants if I were going to have work done on the pockets.
I booked two consultations, one with Dr. Jeffrey Dawes and one with Dr. Paul Whidden. I had considered traveling to Miami or Toronto to have surgery because I had seen patients recover so easily. However, I knew at least 5 patients of Dr. Whidden and could see that the results were incredible. They also seemed more mobile than I had been the days after surgery.
Dr. Jeffrey Dawes
My consultation with Dr. Dawes went alright but he was of the opinion that bigger breasts were just the current trend and that I was already pushing the limit of how big I should go. He told me that models usually have smaller breasts and are at the most a C cup. This was not what I wanted to hear lol. I am not a model or a long lean body type. He told me that bigger breast implants do not age well. Also what I did not want to here. I’m here for a good time not a long time, yoooo! Just kidding but low key not lol. The consultation was over pretty quickly but I respect his beliefs and his opinion.
Dr. Paul Whidden
My next consultation was with Dr. Paul Whidden. Their standalone clinic gave me a good feeling as soon as I parked. The front desk staff had the best energy and the interior was beautiful. I was shown into a consultation room and given a gown to change into. Dr. Whidden came in and listened to my concerns about my current breast implants and what I would like to achieve from a revision.
I didn’t know how to explain that I wanted wider implants but also the shape it was when I wore a tight exercise bra. Dr. Whidden knew exactly what I meant and suggested that I might mean that I want the Extra High Profile Implants. It’s a rounder implant and if we used a bigger implant than I currently had, it would also be wider at the base and there would be less room between them at the cleavage. I thought I didn’t want them to project more in the forward direction so I argued with him about this LOL. He explained that if I went flatter and wider (a moderate or moderate plus profile) I would feel wide and matronly and that I was describing a rounder implant with more projection forward. The Extra High Profile shape has more upper pole fullness and this is the look that I was trying to achieve. I asked to go as big as possible for my body and he explained the limiting factors. He didn’t want to go too wide and risk symmastia (or uniboobs).
We decided on 545CC XP Inspira Cohesive Gel Allergan implants staying under the muscle. They seemed quite big and heavy when I held the demo implant in my hands but I knew from my first surgery that once inside my body and under the muscle they would seem smaller.
I was in work mode and was kind of in a rush to get back to work but Dr. Whidden was so thorough and unrushed. I was impressed with his ability to explain everything in such a patient and succinct way. I was so happy. I knew my search was over! I’d found my surgeon!
Next was a short conversation with Jenna-May, the patient coordinator. We looked at potential dates and she provided me with pre surgery and post surgery instructions as well as the payment information. I was 90% sure that I wanted to go ahead with it but decided to sleep on it. I was worried that increasing the implant size by just 145CCs each was maybe not enough to justify a $9,965 surgery and time off work. My current implants were 400CCs and I’d be adding the equivalent to half a cup, a tablespoon and a teaspoon of volume to make it 545CCs. Would the pockets be adjusted and would my chest muscles feel looser? Would the implants be noticeably closer together? I had to think it over.
A few days later I went in to pay for the surgery and the front desk girls could see that I was still a little unsure. I wanted to see the demo implant of what I currently had and compare it to the demo versions of the ones I was switching them out for. These girls were so helpful! Trista took me to the consultation room and found the implant demos I was asking about and that is what helped me feel at peace with moving forward and paying for the surgery that day. When I held the two in my hands and could see the difference in the shape I knew that it was what I wanted to do. I explained to Trista that I did lashes for a living and couldn’t figure out how much time off I needed to book. She told me that it was possible to make it a “long weekend surgery” and go back to work on Monday. I was shocked! I now knew that I could book a week off and have enough time to recover. I left feeling confident about my chosen surgery clinic and my decision to move forward with the surgery. I was so impressed with the administrative staff. They knew exactly what I needed and were so willing to help.
Before I knew it, it was time! August 7th rolled around and I followed the directions in the pre surgery information packet I was given. I fasted from the night before and I woke up excited like it was Christmas morning. I had a friend drive me to the clinic and the staff took her number to call her once I was done. I was taken into a new room I hadn’t been in before and was seated in a big comfy chair. I was wearing comfortable clothes as I was instructed to do - sweatpants and my Lash Bae hoodie with the zipper up the front. You won’t be able to put your arms above your head for a few days so front closing tops are what you’re supposed to wear.
A nurse came in and took my weight and blood pressure and asked me a few questions. I can’t remember her name because by that point I was NERVOUS!!! When she realized it was a revision she was like OHHH don't even worry! It’s a breeze, you wont even feel anything. That was music to my ears. I had gotten nervous over the days leading up to the surgery because all the memories of the first experience had come flooding back!!!
Doctor Whidden came in to see me and he took some time to mark me up with that surgery pen. I asked him if I could keep the implants he removed. He said no (lol dammit) because it’s a biohazard but he promised to show me them after the surgery. Next, an anesthesiologist comes in and introduces himself as Dr. Patel. He explained that anesthetic would be injected into the breast pockets and all over to help with pain. He explained the whole process of how I’d be put to sleep and how I’d be woken up. I really appreciated this part because I had not had this explained to me before!!! What a useful thing to add to the experience. Going under is a strange experience and even though I’d done it before, hearing what was going to happen was reassuring.
Next thing I knew, I had a chance to use the bathroom and then I was led into the operating room. Two nurses introduced themselves and I laid down on a table. I think an IV was put into the top of my left hand and then they put a mask over my face and told me to count backwards from 10. I got sleepy quickly and I was out! I think this is what happened.. I was so nervous that I am not 100% sure!
It was as if I blinked and then I was awake in a recovery area. The nurse from the beginning of the appointment was there with me and asked how I was. I was sleepy and just wanted to go back to that sweet sweet sleep. I told her I was in pain and probably moaned in an annoying way that I do when I’m sad or in pain. She explained that it’s probably mostly from the incisions and that I had lots of anesthetic in the breast area and it shouldn’t hurt. This time, the incisions were below the breast, in the breast fold. I was cold and I was in a little pain but nothing like the first time. The nurse was right, I was feeling some pain in the area beneath my breasts, not the actual breasts. I was wearing my new surgical bra that they provided (it’s soft and made of fabric) and my zip up hoodie.
I don't know why I'm making that face. I was actually very happy LOL!
I got to relax and wake up slowly in that room and they sent in my friend who was going to drive me home and watch over me for the next 24 hours. The best part was when Dr. Whidden came by and checked on me and showed me the old implants!!!! I wish I took a picture. For some reason I am sentimental about them!? I can’t remember if they made me eat something but I definitely got to drink and then it was time to go! I was still kind of loopy and they wheeled me out in a wheelchair to the car (I think??) and off we went!
Now when I say that it was a walk in a park this time, I really mean it!! I know that there was less trauma to the body because some of the pocket needed was already created HOWEVER, Dr. Whidden did have quite a bit of work to do on my breast pockets. He also uses the Keller Funnel Technique which I truly believe helps with recovery. Google the Keller Funnel Technique but it pretty much is a technique where they use a funnel to put the implant in then squish it into the breast pocket that they have already carefully dissected. This helps to decrease chances of capsular contracture since there is less contact with the implant and causes less trauma because the tissue isn’t manipulated as much.
I was so happy. Literally in the best mood ever! I was elated. I had been worrying over nothing! I felt GREAT! We went to Smashburger and I thoroughly enjoyed my first meal. Last time I was all messed up. I couldn’t eat properly for a few days.
The evening progressed and I realized that I was in a better mood than ever and that maybe it was also the pain killers elevating my mood LOL. I was so high!! It turns out that in addition to giving me lots of energy, Tramadol makes me very happy. Because of this I decided I had better get off of it as soon as I could because this was was too much fun and I have an addictive personality D:. The last time I took the Tramadol was the day after surgery.
Dr. Whidden had provided everything that I could need when it came to post op care. I had pain killers, antibiotics, Gravol for nausea, stool softeners for constipation related to anesthesia, and sleeping pills so that I could rest. I felt so supported! The post op instructions I was given was so thorough that I had no questions.
When I did have a look at the results I couldn’t believe it! They looked great from day 1!! Dr. Whidden said that he didn’t think they would get much smaller than they were and that they were pretty much in the spot that they would stay. And he was right! They were a little swollen for about a month but from a few days after surgery I could have worn a tank top and no one would have been the wiser. The scars were angry and red but they healed quickly and are hidden in the fold beneath the breasts. The follow up visits were easy and quick.
The next 3 days I tried to rest and stay still. I experienced a bit of pain but it was manageable without the pain killers. Just as Trista had said, I did feel like I could have gone back to work on day 4. I couldn’t believe how easy surgery was this time. I waited the full 7 days I had taken off and was glad I did because my energy levels were lower until then.
Going Back To Work
I did find myself a little more easily tired once I went back to work. I just made sure I listened to my body, didn’t exercise and didn’t lift anything heavy. For the next 8 weeks I did very easy cardio like walking and did my best to eat healthy.
Long Term Results
My chest muscles are so much looser now! Whatever Dr. Whidden did to my breast pockets was perfect! I feel like my posture is better than before and the implants are the perfect size. My cleavage is exactly what I wanted with a little side boob and upper pole fullness. I have gone back to including chest workouts in my routine and I have to say, I no longer feel my chest muscles getting so tight that it pulls my posture forward and rounds my shoulders. The surgery was a highlight of my 2019 instead of a drawn out, inconvenient recovery that defined my year. I couldn’t be happier. As for size, am happy that I didn’t go any larger because when I sit to apply lashes to a client, my breasts sit just behind their head. If I had gone larger I would be running into problems trying to keep the breasts from touching or resting on a client’s head (omg). I wear a either those triangle inserts from Amazon or a light bralette to work and an exercise bra for working out but never a wired bra. I’m measuring about a 34D or 34DD and a 37 inches around the bust. It’s great because for most brands i’m still a Small and my bust isn’t so big that the waist area is loose and chest is tight. For me, it’s amazing to work with no bra on because I am just so comfortable that I can let my creative juices flow without any distractions.
Almost a year later I am so happy that I chose Macleod Trail Plastic Surgery and Dr. Paul Whidden in Calgary for my revision. Dr. Whidden is incredibly talented. I feel so lucky that he did my revision. He listened to what I asked for and made it come true. I wish I had gone to him for my first breast augmentation! Everything from start to finish was incredibly efficient and easy. The staff at Macleod Trail Plastic Surgery know how to make you feel cared for. There was not one moment where I felt any stress or regret.
Here's a link to the clinic website:
I hope that helps if you're curious about breast augmentation surgery and that you enjoyed this more personal blog post! Thanks for reading and subscribe below if you want to be updated on when the next blog post comes out!
Your Lash Bae,