Author Topic: My story - 1 day post-op  (Read 5250 times)

Offline fonzair23

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Hi all!

Here's another what will hopefully be a success story.  Because it's so long I'll break it down into a couple posts.  I just today got back from surgery with Dr. Pensler in Chicago, Illinois.  I've been a long-time "lurker" in these forums but haven't really been active.  It's only fair that I give back to the forum that has given me so much over these past few years.  I first of all wish to thank everyone for their encouragement in these message boards.  Simply knowing that there are numerous other men with this problem who can cope with one another has made my journey much easier.

Background
To begin, let me tell you about myself.  I'm 22 years old, 5 foot 11 inches tall, 175 pounds.  Like many here, I've had gynecomastia for as long as I remember.  I was always big into sports and as you know, that can cause problems.  One instance that sticks out in my memory was from seventh grade.  I remember going to the YMCA with about 10 boys in my class before basketball season started to practice.  We broke up teams and played shirts and skins.  One game I had to be skins, and when I took off my shirt I recall literally everyone laughing, and three or four guys were actually down of the floor because they were laughing so hard.  It is memories like that that will disturb me forever.  Other times throughout my life people would poke fun, and even when I knew it was a good friend just joking around, I don't think they ever knew how much it hurt me.  I purposely would avoid going on trips if I knew there was the possibility of going shirtless.  I missed out on so many things growing up because I was so self-conscious.

Overall, I have coped pretty well with it, and I would say that I learned to live with it well.  My overall self-esteem never really suffered too badly; I am definitely a pretty happy go lucky kind of guy.  The condition didn't make me overly shy or anything like that, but it really prohibited me from doing activities that I would have liked to do, as I'm sure you are all familiar.

Once when I was about 16, I was having a sports physical done and my doctor commented on my breasts.  He asked if I would like to be referred to a plastic surgeon and I said yes.  It was extremely hard for me to break this to my parents that I wanted to go see a plastic surgeon.  I figured they wouldn't understand why I wanted this checked out.  I don't think they really did understand, but they humored me.  At the time, I didn't go for the procedure (the PS had only done a couple of the procedures in his life, the cost was way too high, and I was pretty scared to push the issue with my parents).  I found it difficult to be open with my parents.  My brother was the only person who I ever confided in since he has mind gyne (though not as bad as mine), but it was still hard to tell anyone.  At any rate, I never spoke to my parents about my gyne until over 5 years later, just a couple months ago.  When I broke it to my mom over the phone from college, she was taken aback.  She had completely forgotten about my concern with this, and she didn't realize that I still cared.  She realized, however, that I was very serious, since clearly I was still thinking about having it corrected over 5 years after I initially visited a PS.

I know it's been said a thousand times on these forums, but for those of you who are afraid to tell your parents about the condition, just do it!  Even if they aren't entirely supportive or are leery of what you're taking about, it helps take a load off when you can finally tell someone and not keep it pent up inside of you.

Linkback: https://www.gynecomastia.org/forum/index.php?topic=12631.0

Offline fonzair23

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Surgery Information
After extensive research on these forums and the internet in general, I decided on Dr. Pensler out of Chicago.  I go to college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is only 90 miles away.  Pensler was both close, and highly recommend.  He performs over 100 gynecomastia corrections each year.

His fees are broken down as follows:
$125    Consultation fee
$500    Non-refundable surgery scheduling fee, to be paid before setting up the surgery date
$4425  Remaining balance for bilateral gyne correction (includes anesthesia, lipo, excision)

Neither myself nor my parents had five grand to cough up.  Luckily, I'm a college student.  I've done very well so far paying for school (lots of scholarships had helped with a $30k/year tuition), but now I'm in my last year and I'm out of money for living expenses like rent, food, etc.  There are tons of private student loan companies out there that I recommend looking into.  I was going to need to take out a loan anyway, so why not make it for an extra $5000 and use that money to pay for the surgery?

Here's the deal with private student loans: the interest rate is higher than it would be if you took out a federal loan such as the Stafford or Perkins, but the funds can be sent directly to you, instead of the school.  I have a Stafford loan for school that is 6.8% fixed, whereas my new private loan through Chase is 8.7% variable with the LIBOR rate.  My parents co-signed the loan to help keep the rate lower.  Yes, the rate is slightly high, but I was able to get a loan in my name to cover the surgery, while Chase thinks that all of the  money is being used for education related expenses...  Should be no problem to pay off as I have a great paying job lined up for when I graduate in May.

November 20, 2007
Drove to Chicago for a consultation with Dr. Pensler.  He was a very personable guy.  Easy to talk to, got a good vibe from him.  I was nearly certain before I even saw him that he was my guy, and this meeting solidified it (plus his administrative assistant is hot  :o).  I didn't really have any questions for him since I think after years of reading up this condition I have become kind of an expert on my own.  He took some pictures of me with my shirt off and did some quick Photoshop manipulation to show a potential result.  In all, this consultation was really the catalyst that got everything going.  My parents knew for sure I was serious after driving down to Chicago and shelling out the money to get a consultation.  The next week, I went ahead and scheduled an appointment for during my semester break while I did not have classes.

December 26, 2007

I stopped at my local Walgreen's today to pick up a prescription that Dr. Pensler had called in.  One pill was an antibiotic to be taken the night prior to surgery (tonight) to fight off any potential infection that might occur during surgery.  Two other medicines were given to me: a pain killer and something to help with nausea if I got an upset stomach from the pain killers.  Because I live over five hours from Chicago, my dad and I did not want to have to drive all the way there in the morning to make my 8:30 appointment.  Instead, we drove to Milwaukee were I attend university and stayed at my apartment for the night.  Milwaukee is less than a two hour drive from Chicago, a much easier distance to travel early in the morning, especially headed into rush hour.

Offline fonzair23

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December 27, 2007
Today was finally the day.  I woke by 4:30am to hop in the shower and get ready for the drive 90 miles south to Chicago.  My dad and I were on the road by 5:15, stopped along the way to get him some breakfast (I was not allowed to eat anything after midnight the night before), and we arrived in Chicago by 7:30am.  This left us with plenty of time before my 8:30 appointment.

I was definitely very excited as I entered Dr. Pensler's office.  I wasn't nervous at all, just excited to get things underway.  After paying my bill, I was taken into an examination room where the nurse asked me some general health questions and I had to sign a bunch of legal forms and waivers.  My dad came back into the examination room with me and met both the nurse and Dr. Pensler.  I suppose I was okay with this fact, and I understand that my dad would have concern for his son, though I think I would have been more comfortable without him there.  He isn't the easiest person in the world to open up to about things like this, but I figured that because he was so supportive and unquestioning throughout the whole process it was the least I could do.  After some basic surgery prep (putting on little surgery slippers, taking off my shirt and putting on a gown, etc.) my dad was asked to leave and I was escorted into the operating room.

I guess I should mention exactly how Pensler was going to perform the surgery.  He was going to do my glandular excision by cutting a half-moon shape in the bottom of my areolas and cutting out the glandular tissue.  In addition to this, very small incisions were to be made up near my armpits for liposuction to be done.  If I'm not mistaken, this is probably the most common type of gynecomastia corrective procedure.

Anyhow, at this point I didn't have my glasses on, and mind you without them I can't see much of anything except the blurry outline of objects.  I wish I had just left my contact lenses in so I could have watched everything, but they advised against it.  I lied down on the operating table and Dr. Pensler and the nurse began to do some more prep work.  It was just the two of them and myself.  The nurse was very good at keeping my mind relaxed and making small talk.  She explained to me everything that they were doing as it was going on.  After lying on the table for a couple minutes I began to get a little bit nervous.  An IV was placed in my left arm, and a gadget to detect my pulse was placed on my right-hand index finger.  It was evident that my pulse was tad faster than normal; another sign I was somewhat nervous.

It was explained to me the anesthesia was a type called conscious sedation.  I would be asleep and everything, but I would be doing all my own breathing and everything else.  As such, the first drug added to my IV was something that would dry out my mouth, so that I wouldn't need to swallow any saliva while I was under.  Next, the nurse added a drug that she compared to "drinking a beer to relax you a little bit."  At that point I asked if I could just take a shot of whiskey instead, but sadly my request was denied.  Then, Dr. Pensler had finished up doing all the prep work he was doing (I couldn't really tell what exactly he was doing because I didn't have my glasses on, but I think he was just getting all the necessary instruments in order).  When he gave the go ahead, the nurse then gave me the sedative via IV.  I began to get pretty drowsy, and the next thing I knew I was in a dream-like state.  Initially, I knew what was going on: I was conscious enough to know that Pensler had inserted his liposuction tool from near my armpit and was sucking out fat.  However, I couldn't feel a thing other than some pressure on my body.  No pain.  For a couple minutes I remember having somewhat weird dreams, but for the life of me I cannot remember what they were.  For the most part though, I was just out, no dreaming or anything.

Next thing I knew, I was slowly waking up and it was over.   No one was in the room at that point.  I lifted my head to see my right breast exposed, while my left one had some gauze on it.  I really couldn't tell what the result was.  It was blurry without glasses, but it looked much flatter than it previously was.  Then the nurse came back in and saw that I was awake.  Once I came to enough, she approached me and asked how I was doing.  I felt fine; no pain.  She cleaned me up and put on my compression vest.  She added a bunch of extra gauze to my armpit region because they were draining quite a bit.  Before finishing up the procedure, Pensler had injected a bunch of fluid into my breasts that had antibiotic and pain killer in it, and that was what was draining from my armpits.

From there on out, nothing too exciting happened.  My dad was called back to the office (he wasn't allowed to wait during the procedure), and after I used the bathroom, the nurse took me in a wheel chair all the way to my car in the parking garage.  Great service.  She really made things easy and comfortable for me.  She gave me some ice packs to keep on my chest for the car ride home, and we were on our way.  The actual procedure took 90 minutes.  I entered Dr. Pensler's office at 8:20am and left by 11:30am.

Now, what about pain?  I was given Tylenol with codeine (Tylenol 3) for pain.  After first right after the operation, no pain.  A couple of hours into the car ride home I was aching pretty good, and I popped a couple more pills.  That relaxed me quite a bit and I relaxed very well.  On the just over five hour drive back to my home, I slept for about four hours; the pills really made me drowsy.  I was extremely appreciative that my dad was able take a day off of work and drive down with me.  At home now, I've taken some more pills, and pain is very minimal.  It is somewhat difficult to move around as I don't want to do anything stupid and aggravate the stitches/swelling.  My compression vest is pretty comfortable.  I'm not supposed to take it off for another couple of days when I finally get to shower and put on the other vest (I was given to of the same vests so I could wear one while I washed the other).

I tried to be as detailed as possible in my description of the events because I know that when I was reading these forums I liked to hear detailed explanations of everything.  But please, if you have any questions you want me to clear up, please let me know.  Sorry if I was too long-winded, but it really felt good to just write everything down and get this off my chest...heh...I've always wanted to say that  :)  I just feel really good about everything.  I'm super excited to have gone through with everything.  I cannot wait to take off the vest and see the results.  I am nervous to take off the vest, but I am pretty confident in my doctor that he did a good job.  Let's hope so!

I do have pre-op pics but will wait to post them until I get to take off my vest and also take some post-op pics.  I'm going in for my post-op follow-up one week from today, and I can report back on those findings as well.

Offline Wwashamedtotakeshirtoff

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nice write up, similar situation I'm saving for the op.

keep us posted.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! :D

Offline emjay

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I had surgery on the 27th also.  I am feeling pretty comfortable...somewhat numb, but also sore at the same time.

I am not sure how I feel about how my chest looks right now.  Definitely much much smaller, but still more there than I thought there would be...hoping it is just swelling.  I am going back to my PS for a follow up on Wednesday, so I am interested to hear what he has to say.

Hope you are doing well.

Offline RyanMace

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Great story bro. Thanks for sharing.

Offline fonzair23

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Well, here's a progress report of my progress thus far.  I'm now 9 day post-op.  Included are some photos so you can get an idea of where I'm coming from:

Pre-op.
Dr. Pensler had told me that I was about two-thirds glandular tissue and one-third fat.  Clearly there is quite a bit of ballooning of the nipple area that made the areolae quite large:












2 days post-op.
When I took the vest off for the first time 48 hours in I was really shocked.  My gyne was just gone.  I couldn't even fathom that I didn't have breasts anymore.  My chest was completely flat.  I was very pleasantly surprised, but at the same time I was kind of shocked.  I was bruised up quite a bit (which I expected) and the stitches grossed me out.  At that point I didn't care too much to sit there and stare at my chest.  I just wanted to quickly shower and get the vest back on.  I did notice that the skin was adhering back to my chest quite well.  I was initially concerned that the skin wouldn't shrink up since there was so much excess, but it was doing well.

One thing I was concerned about was the creasing in my nipples/areolae.  If you notice in my pre-op pics, my areolae were pretty big compared to post-op, so some of the skin ended up folding over and forming a crease (I suppose because it had nowhere else to go).  Anyone else experience this?  Do you think this will do away eventually?










4 days post-op.
Bruising is starting to diminish.  I'm not looking quite as battered.  The vest still helps considerably and I actually enjoy wearing it at this point.  For example, walking briskly down steps caused quite a bit of jiggling, if you will, and it still kind of hurt.  Even heavy bumps and pot holes while driving my car still hurt.  But overall, by day four I was quite pleased.  It was much easier to get clothes on.  At day one, I could barely get anything over my head, and trying to get my arms through shirt sleeves was quite the feat.  Now I could do it pretty easily, yet I was still careful so as not to pull any stitches.










9 days post-op:
I just took these pics now.  The bruising is really coming along nicely.  The swelling is down quite a bit (though, I'm not sure how much you can see swelling progress in the pics).  Most of the swelling came not right on my chest by on the sides and right near my armpits.  Those regions are still swollen.  Actually, right near the incisions by my armpits, some hard lumps have formed under the skin.  Perhaps scar tissue?  Anyone know?  It is somewhat bothersome actually, with my compression vest pressing against it and irritating the skin.  Manageable, however.













At day 7, I drove back to Chicago to see Pensler for a one-week follow-up.  It was a rather bittersweet trip; I drove five hours each way to see this guy, and ultimately I only meet with him for about 10 minutes.  He was very pleased with the results so far, but said it was too soon to tell about any potential permanent results.  Overall, he was impressed with the skin contraction at only one week out, but said that much it was to do with the fact that I was healthy and still young (I'm 22).  I asked about the crease in the nipples, and he said it was too soon to tell for sure if they would come out...there was just so much excess skin there that now needed to contract.  Again, anyone have this experience and care to share?

Yesterday (day 8), I went out with some friends for the evening.  I opted to wear a tight Under Armour top with a tighter Henley style shirt on.  I figured I could take a break from the compression vest for a couple hours.  (Side note: the vest Pensler gave me is somewhat of a pain to conceal.  It has adjustable Velcro shoulder straps that stick up, and the zipper on front sticks through shirts.  I've been wearing hoodies and thick sweaters and hiding it is no problem).  So anyway, I was out in just tight long sleeve shirt for a while, and boy, did it feel nice.  I purposely puffed out my chest and was so proud to be no longer have gyne.  Who knows if anyone else took note of my flat chest, but I didn't have to be constantly on guard of hiding my chest.  For now, though, back to the vest 24/7 for the next three weeks.

I'm going back to see Pensler in 3 weeks for a one-month follow-up.  I'll keep everyone posted as I go.  Please, if you have a chance, comment on my pictures.  I'll gladly take constructive criticism.  Just please let me know if what you think.

Offline reymysterio

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You look good now, but you still have a lot of healing in front of you so your chest appearence certainly will improve.
You can find the success before sweating only on your dictionary.

Offline Punta

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Looks great dude, well done. My chest is still improving 7 months post op and just keeps getting better. I too was concerned about some scar tissue behind each nipple, but about 5 months post started to get smaller, now is all gone.

Probobly be 12 months before you get the final result, but you look great!!

Punta..

Offline emjay

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Hey...as I mentioned above, we had surgery the same day.  From your pics, our cases were very similar, and our post surgery progress has been pretty similar as well.  My bruising is almost entirely gone, but I still have some swelling.  Hoping it will continue to go down as the doc said it would...with the swelling I am not as flat as I would like, but it seems to be getting there.

I feel pretty good...no pain at all, and just a little lingering soreness every once in a while.

Good luck with your healing process...looks like it is going well for you!

Offline ajax6

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Hey there!

My surgery was on December 14th, so I'm about a week and a half ahead of you...  You look great, by the way!  It's really hard to guage results at this point, especially with the swelling/hardness.  Most of mine was on the sides as well, which really freaked me out, but it has really started to diminish.

It seems we both had pretty drastic results.  How is your body image now?  Before the surgery when I looked in the mirror all I could see was the gyne; now all I can see is a big stomach (not that big, I'm a 36w)!! 

Offline fonzair23

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Hey everyone, thanks so much for all the comments and support.  Keep it coming!

Ajax, I can relate to what you are saying.  The results keep getting better every day, and the only remaining swelling is still on the sides and near the armpit, with some scar tissue lumps near the incisions.  Regarding body image, I feel as you do.  I've really enjoyed wearing tighter clothes and haven't had to constantly monitor how my shirt is laying on my chest.  That fact alone has made this surgery worthwhile.

I, too, now notice my gut when I look in the mirror.  Before surgery I didn't have too much incentive to lose much weight because every time I did, my gyne was more pronounced, and I would again just pack on a few more pounds.  Now I look forward to slimming down and toning up a bit more.  A couple more weeks and I should be back to exercise as normal.  Keep me posted on how your healing is going!


 

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