Author Topic: fielding may 4th (update - 7 months post-op)  (Read 4512 times)

Offline faust

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Hello all, my first post here, but I've been "lurking" for a few months.  Just thought I'd share this since I found every story that I read (even ones that bore little resemblance to my own situation) very informative and helpful, so I'd like to give a little back.  Hopefully some of this will be useful to someone.

I am 19 years old and have a mild/moderate case of primarily glandular, truly unilateral gyne.  The right side of my chest is 100% normal, no extra fat, no gland, no nothing.  The left side has an irregular glandular lump which would probably be about the size of a ping-pong ball if you could wad it all up.  I find it difficult to tell if there is any extra fat in the area, but my PS says that a little bit of liposculpture will be needed, so I'll take his word for it.

I first noticed the lump in my left breast around 6 years ago, and it started it out so small that I never really gave it any thought.  It certainly wasn't visually noticeable at the time, and as such gave me absolutely no grief.  Luckily, it stayed fairly small during my first two years of high school (during which PE was required, including swimming etc.).  In hindsight, I think it was growing slowly throughout my entire puberty, but as I said, I didn't really give it any thought at the time.  After reading other peoples' stories, I realize how lucky I was that it wasn't visible during this stage of my life, as I can see that my self-image, confidence and my memory of high school could have been severely damaged.  I truly sympathize with all of you who had to go through the emotional pain that I narrowly missed.

During my third and fourth years of highschool, I became quite inactive and gained some weight.  I was never significantly overweight (I think I peaked at around 180 lbs., and I am about 5'11"), but there was definitely a bit of a noticable pudge in my face, chest and belly.  The pudge visually disguised its continued growth, and I continued to disregard the lump.  If I had to guess, I would say that it stopped becoming larger sometime during my senior year.  I lost weight again during the summer before my first year of university, returning to around 160 lbs., and it was during this time that I started to become unhappy with how my chest looked.  However, until I finally got it checked by a doctor, my fear of cancer always trumped any aesthetic concerns, but during freshman year I was too embarrassed to confront either.  I should say that it isn't at all noticeable when I wear a large t-shirt, which is a size up from my ideal fit, but looks normal on me nonetheless.  This makes my life 1,000x easier than the daily struggle some of you guys have to go through, and again I am grateful for my relative luck.

I was also "spotted" for the first time at the very beginning of first year, when my entire residence floor went swimming together.  As I got out of the water, I heard one of the guys say "I love bitch t*ts!".  I was confused, and at first I wasn't even sure the remark was directed at me.  I looked around to see who had said it, and sure enough the guy (who had already established himself as a bit of a class clown) was looking at me.  Luckily, nobody else was talking to him or looking at me, so I simply brushed it off and quickly put a shirt on.  I had already gotten over the typical high-school lack of self-confidence, so it didn't really bother me.  The guy was just trying to joke around, and after he saw that I was unamused didn't pursue it or try to point it out to others.  It was awkward, but far from devastating.  It did, however, end my willingness to go shirtless in public, as I did not want to risk triggering a more embarrassing situation.

For the next year nothing much happened with it.  Girls who had occaision to see me shirtless were very understanding (I called it a "benign breast tumor", which always evoked some nice sympathy), and nobody else ever knew.  Last summer I got into very good shape, riding 8-10 hilly miles on a bike or running 2 miles a day, and it was then that it started to really bug me.  I felt (and still feel) cheated that I could put so much work into feeling healthy and looking good, and still not be able to go shirtless on a hot summer day.  Additionally, some online research into male breast cancer spurred me into finally taking the plunge and calling a doctor.  I didn't match most of the symptoms of cancer (pain, redness, discharge), but the fact that it was unilateral while the benign alternative (gyne) was typically bilateral worried me.  

After I returned to school I finally made the call to student health services and made a doctor's appt.  This was ridiculously hard for me to do...I must have sat with the phone in my hand for a good half hour before getting up the courage.  I learned that telling someone you've grown to trust is one thing, telling a complete stranger receptionist is another game altogether.  Naturally, when I told the receptionist she was totally professional and I was off the phone with an appointment in less than a minute.  I saw the doctor and she told me (after a thorough physical exam including a testicular exam, so prepare to drop your drawers if you take this problem to a GP) that it was almost certainly gynecomastia and she ran some hormone tests, which came back normal.  She then referred me to a general surgeon.

The general surgeon was a really nice guy who specialized in breast cancer/mastectomies.  He was absolutely thrilled to see a male patient; I guess it must have been a nice change for him.  He gave me a little more info on gyne than the doc had, and proceeded to tell me that he could excise the gland if I wanted it gone.  However, he warned me about the risk of nipple inversion, loss of feeling etc. and told me that it could still potentially go away on its own(which I now gather is totally wrong, as I am through puberty and my hormones are normal).  I asked him what he would do in my position, and he said the he would wait it out.  I decided not to do the procedure, but held out hope that it would go away on its own.

Then, this February I was bored and on a whim decided to put "gynecomastia" into google, and stumbled upon this site.  After extensive reading I realized that this will not go away on its own, and that the procedure to rectify it is usually done by plastic, not general surgeons.  Upon further browsing I decided to give Dr. Fielding a call, since he is close to home and is quite affordable since his excisions are put through OHIP.  I called his office (this time it was easy, since I was armed with the g-word and knew that they deal with tons of these) on Feb. 23 and lucked out and got a cancellation on the 25th.  He was very kind and professional, and answered all of my questions.  I booked the surgery for May 4th, and I honestly cannot wait!  His price was Cdn$500 + $35 tax, OHIP covers the rest.  That seems to be exactly half of his regular rate, which makes sense since I'm only getting half the regular surgery!  He told me that he only sees around one truly unilateral patient a year, which works out to around one in a hundred.

I will be turning 20 around 2 months post-op, and I can't think of a better birthday present than a normal-looking chest.  I am eternally grateful that this is something that I will (hopefully) be able to leave in my teenage years.  Anyway, thanks for reading and I apologize for the length.  I will post a more thorough description of my consult. with Fielding in the Canada forum, probably tomorrow since it is getting late.  Pre-op pics will also be forthcoming once I can stealthily nab a friend's digital camera, probably within a few days.

cheers,
-f

Linkback: https://www.gynecomastia.org/forum/index.php?topic=1132.0
« Last Edit: December 20, 2005, 08:49:50 AM by faust »

Offline vaio

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  • Gyne free, is the way to be!
$2,800 = Freedom!

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/vaiomanfree/album?.dir=7e36&.src=ph&am p;store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/vaiomanfree/my_photos

Offline ensiferum

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Great story. Good luck with the surgery and keep us posted.
Surgery on 11th of May. *gulp*

Offline Blarneystoner

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good story and good luck, the surgery's a cinch!
Please, Jesus, make my gyne go away!

Offline faust

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First off, I would like to apologize for not following up on my original post and delivering the pics etc. that I promised.  An extremely tragic event (the death of my best friend) occured in the weeks preceding my surgery, so I had bigger things on my mind.  And I'll get to the reason why I haven't written post-op in a minute...

Also, I apologize in advance for my long-windedness.

The surgery itself was an absolute breeze, honestly it was less painful and debilitating than having my wisdom teeth removed.  I went into surgery at 10am, was awake and 100% alert by 11.  Dr. Fielding came to see me at around 11:30 and said that the surgery had gone very well, but quickly ran off to perform another procedure.  They insisted that I remain for observation until 1pm, whereupon I walked out of St. Joseph's as if nothing had even happened to me.  Needless to say, my spirits were high.

The left side of my chest was a little sore the next day if I weighted it or moved it the wrong way, but since I still had full use of my right arm I had no problem going about a normal life.  Since I still had a foam pad on, I couldn't take showers so instead I had baths and used a washcloth to clean my upper body.  I saw Fielding again a week after the procedure and he removed the foam pad (violently, I might add), which was an interesting feeling as my nerves were obviously quite messed up.  The whole thing looked like a mess, quite bruised and "boggy" as he put it, but this is normal following procedures including liposuction.  He told me to keep wearing the compression bandage for two weeks and to come see him in a few months.

By the end of the first month of recovery, the bruising had gone away and the skin had tightened up, leaving me with a normally contoured chest.  The nipple was quite discolored (dark brown) compared to the other one (light pink), and there was also some general skin discoloration, but I figured that this would correct itself in the long run.  Needless to say, I was ecstatic.

Then the scar tissue started to dissolve.  What had previously appeared to be a normal-looking contour turned into a large crater defect where the gland had been.  By three months post-op, I was devastated.  The discoloration didn't seem to be getting any better and my chest was quite noticably deformed.  I got so depressed about the whole thing that I basically could not bear to look at myself shirtless in the mirror for the next month, and could not bring myself to come here to share my disappointment (hence my silence until now).  Then one day in the shower I looked down at my chest and thought "hey, the crater doesn't look quite as large as it did before", but the change seemed so minor that I was unsure if it was real or if it was just wishful thinking.  I vaguely remembered Fielding remarking that contour should stop changing after 3 months, but I was unsure.

The next two months (4-6 months post-op) were a brutal mental game of "is it or is it not getting better?".  Some days I would look at it and be absolutely convinced that it was improving, others I would look at it and it would seem WORSE than before.  I became obsessed over it, looking in the mirror up to 20-30 times a day and basically thinking about it all the time.  By the beginning of last month (nov., 6 months post-op) I could not reasonably deny that it was indeed still improving.  In some ways this was comforting, but really the question in my mind simply shifted from "is it or is it not improving?" to "when will it stop doing so?" I decided that I simply could not let it consume me any longer, reminded myself that Fielding had said at the time of surgery, "hopefully A YEAR from now you can forget all about this", and came to an uneasy mental truce with it.  After all, winter is coming and nobody will expect me to be shirtless for awhile.  I booked an appointment to see Fielding over Christmas break and forced myself, mostly successfully, to just stop thinking about it.  

As it stands right now, there is still a small-medium crater defect, my nipple still looks brown compared to the other but the surrounding discoloration has almost completely faded.  Sensation is still messed up in the crater area and the nipple, which for some reason seems reassuring to me.  However, this does cause my left nipple to have somewhat of a mind of its own when it comes to becoming erect in the cold.  Overall, from the front it looks perfectly normal except for the nipple color (as long as the left and right sides are doing the same thing lol), from the side and above its shape is noticably different from the other, but not dramatically so.  The lipo scar is practically invisible and the areola scar is still noticable close up but does not really bother me.  I guess overall I would be marginally happy with my result even if it stopped improving today.  I can wear clothes that truly fit me, and even though I still would feel uncomfortable shirtless in public, that isn't exactly a step down from before.

So, for a brief period all was relatively well.  I had accepted the fact that it was too early to judge my final result and that I had done everything I could to sort out this problem.  Revision, if necessary, isn't really an option until a year post-op, so I told myself that this wasn't a problem I'd have to face for another few months (and if all went well, was one I wouldn't even have to face then) and simply moved on.  But then......I met a girl a few weeks ago and began to really like her.  In the past when this has happened I have gone to great lengths to keep things as "just friends" since the risk of rejection when things progress usually doesn't seem worth taking.  But this time, for some reason, it DID seem worthwhile.  The last time I've had such a puppy-dog, butterflies-in-the-stomach crush on someone was probably when I was 13 and too naive to have any clue what I wanted in a girl anyway.  Now I do know what I'm looking for, and as well as one can tell after knowing somebody for only a couple of weeks, she seems to be it.  So I went for it, we've been seeing each other for a week or so and things are going really well.  Except that now my problem has ceased to be one with which I'll have to deal in a few months and has become one that I'll likely have to face up to in the next few days, certainly no more than a week.

I'll spare you all the gory details of what's been going through my mind, but suffice to say that basically I'm scared sh*tless.  She seems to be a really sweet, sensitive girl, and our relationship has been based more upon our ability to have 4 hour+ conversations without a lull than upon an unbridled carnal lust for one another.  That said, she's quite beautiful and I'm certain she finds me very attractive as well.  So while I have a good amount of hope that she'll accept me for what I am, realistically I don't know her well enough yet to have a grasp upon how important looks are to her.  Time will tell, I suppose.  I believe that I have a solid, realistic philosophy on life, and if it doesn't work out I think that I will be capable of getting over this without losing all my confidence.  It'll suck hard, but I recognize that life simply isn't fair and that true happiness comes from accepting this fact and rolling with it, not from engaging in hopeless mindgames about what the universe supposedly owes you.  I myself have turned down incredibly cool girls in the past simply because I wasn't attracted to them physically, so I certainly have no moral high ground to ride upon if she loses interest.

Anyway, that is where I stand today.  Thanks for reading if you got this far; I needed an outlet and I apologize if some of the post was more self-serving than informative.  However, I know there is some stuff in there that I would've been quite interested in reading when I was at 2 months post-op, so I hope somebody else can find some use in it.  Peace out and I'll try to be better about keeping you updated this time around.

-f
« Last Edit: December 01, 2005, 08:09:20 AM by faust »

Offline faust

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Thanks for the advice guys -- I think that it is noticable enough to deserve a mention beforehand, but you're right about not making an issue of it.  I'm thinking just a few short, non-technical, and most importantly non-apologetic and non-ashamed words about having surgery a few months back.  The word "gynecomastia" most certainly will not enter the picture.

Anyway, as it turns out this won't come up for another month -- she came down with a cold last week and then I caught something similar a couple of days ago (go figure  :P ), and she'll be done with finals and leaving town for xmas break before I'll be better.  All the better, I say, the month should make a visible difference and for now I can relax and focus on school.  

Offline tonysoprano

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Keep us informed with what happens when you see here next....
... and the saga continues

Offline faust

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Will do, tonysoprano.

I saw Fielding yesterday for the first time since 1 wk. post op, and as always he was very friendly and personable.  His answer to all of my concerns was that I need to wait until May to really judge my results.  He said that by then the colour difference should be half as noticable as it is now (which by the looks of it would mean not really noticable at all, probably about 90% similar), the scars should fade entirely, and the depression should continue to smooth out.  He said that the colour of the nipples could take as long as 5 years (!!!) to totally equalize, which surprised me as I've never heard anyone (not even Fielding during consultation) mention a figure even approaching that for any aspect of the healing process.  He told me that he removed 42g of gland and a "substantial" amount of fat, and that my nipple was almost a centimeter larger pre-op than it is now, so it will take awhile for my skin to adjust to such a dramatic decrease in the tissue that it must cover.

I'm still not entirely sure if he really is just that confident in his work or if he was being a little bit dismissive of my concerns (he had other, pre-op patients waiting to see him, after all), but since I'm still noticing changes I'll take his word for it for the time being.  He told me I could come back in May if I still have any complaints.  So I guess for now it's back to playing the waiting game...

Offline brownman

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Quote

Upon further browsing I decided to give Dr. Fielding a call, since he is close to home and is quite affordable since his excisions are put through OHIP.  I called his office (this time it was easy, since I was armed with the g-word and knew that they deal with tons of these) on Feb. 23 and lucked out and got a cancellation on the 25th.  


haha i cancelled due, enjoy :D

i am going with Warren law in February (1/2 price of fielding) so even if i do a touch up with fieldin itll be less. also i didnt know if i 'd have the coin but i did this month so i re booked with fieldin gthen went with warren since he had openings.


 

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