Saturday, September 28, 2019

Breast Reduction Surgery Pt. 1

The big one...Why?

Because I wanted to. No, really! People fill in the blanks "for me" and talk about back pain which yes! I did have pain! But really, I did it because it was something I'd decided on. Long before the pain started, I'd say I was getting  a lift at 40. And then, around age 30, they started growing. And growing. And growing.

Please don't suggest someone who is interested in a reduction "just lose weight". Not everyone drops cup sizes/appreciable volume in the bust when they lose weight.

I didn't immediately connect my neck and shoulder pain to my bust size...but once the connection was made, I began thoroughly researching the topic. In 2017, I learned that having the procedure covered by insurance was a possibility. I went in for a consultation and was denied. Dr. A couldn't believe I'd "want to go so small" and I'm thinking whatever he submitted to insurance wasn't enough for them to consider it medically necessary. Dr. K, who performed my surgery, was on board with me from the beginning and I was approved within a few weeks of my consult.

I don't have the same story that many others seem to have. I wasn't carrying around a large bust in 6th grade, for example. I was a late bloomer and remained fairly small even after delivering both babies and breastfeeding the youngest.

8th grade * Junior prom

At my baby shower with the oldest :) I was at least 8 months pregnant

2002 - Post kids and with a bit of weight gain

Teenaged me, pictured above, was around 125-135. I was probably 165 in the photo above with my dad. By around 2004, I weighed over 200 lbs and was probably a 38C. After losing weight, I was around a 34DD


Around '08, I started having the "what the heck?!? my boobs are so huge!" thoughts and I hated it! I'd never been so full up top. They were heavy, they were hot, they annoyed me.

Aaaand about 2 years ago, I had to buy 36FF bras. I lost about 25 ish pounds in the second half of 2018 and have been in a 34F, dreaming of a B cup.

So, bye-bye boobs!

I had my surgery Tuesday morning. I was nervous as all heck over the weekend (didn’t realize that’s what it was til I was up cleaning and baking!). I could not fall asleep the night before -- went to bed after midnight with a 5:30 am alarm set and I am a 8-9 hour a night person.

We got to the hospital and waited a few minutes before the nurse came. She seemed very spacey and I was a little nervous. She took my vitals and placed the IV. She did a good job with the IV and my apprehension went way down.

When the Doc came in, we had a good laugh over the tiiiiny 34B bra I brought with me and chatted about everything. Once she was done making her markings, the OR nurse stopped in to ask those repetitive questions (this isn’t a complaint, keep me safe!!) - name, dob, allergies, etc.

The anesthesiologist came in and explained what he planned to do. I didn’t realize the breathing tube didn’t go in til you were already out. WHEW! That’s what I was most nervous about! Then the nurse anesthetist came in and started the IV and a Valium-like drug (can’t remember the name). My husband left out and we wheeled into the OR.

I woke up and was running my mouth a mile a minute DOH! My pain level was about a 5-6 and they gave me Percocet which is my at-home med. Then, I spent a long time in the 2nd recovery area. I just couldn’t wake up. I was lucid and coherent...just SO sleepy. She said I couldn't leave until I was more awake.

I remembered my pillow for the ride home (pro tip!). The ride to the car in the wheelchair was tough over bumps. And in the car, hugging my pillow (under the seatbelt) helped so much. 

I have a low pain threshold and will be taking my meds on schedule for at least the first few days regardless of how I think I feel. The past couple of days, my paint went from a 1 to a 3/4 when I got within an hour of my next dose of pain meds. 

She told my husband she removed 2.5 lbs. I wonder if they assume people aren’t comfortable or familiar with metric and so they use imperial. It's a bit over 1100 grams. 

I didn't need to have drains inserted - the other point of fear. The pain hasn't been too bad. I'd definitely call it "discomfort" over pain. There were a couple times when I accidentally twisted tot he side and OW! And showering was extremely exhausting. Whew. 

Day 4 and I'm still pretty tired, there's aching and tingling, but very little pain. My appetite is almost back to normal and I've managed to make it out with no nausea. 

I go for my first follow up next week.
I'm sure people didn't think my bust was disproportionate to my body...
but I feel even more like ~*~ME~*~ now! With the bonus of relieving neck and shoulder pain.

Much as I blog my sewing projects primarily for myself, I will update weekly during this (critical) 4-6 weeks of recovery. They will always be titled as such so feel free to skip these posts if you aren't interested!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Hello Stitch Studio Class Review

I have been looking forward to this class ever since the class was held last year! I believe it was last spring and between the trip for SewCamp and a trip to Puerto Rico, I just couldn’t swing it. The *moment* registration opened this time, I was THERE! :)

Plus, neither my husband nor me had ever been to the Bay Area before so we decided to make a long weekend of it. 

My visit started with a trip to Stonemountain & Daughter. It's an adorable shop with a pretty impressive collection of fabrics for its size.

Knit binding in ALLLLL the colors!!! 

JOY! :-P

I lucked up on a 20% off rayon sale and the class included a 20% off coupon (didn't apply to the sale items). I picked up 3 cuts of fabric.

An Atelier Brunette viscose for an Ogden cami (at $25/yd full price I only picked up 1 yard!). 

A rayon challis in a black/grey leopard print. 

A rib knit in this mushroom color. I've wanted a bodycon midi dress with a snap placket for awhile. The weight and color of this fabric should work for fall and spring!

I also picked up a few yards of weft fusible interfacing, lightweight knit fusible interfacing, a grab bag of notions and a "Thanks, I made it!" pin :-D

The class was scheduled for 18 hours total: 4 hours Friday, 7 hours Saturday and Sunday. If you’ve made a tailored jacket or coat before, you know that it is not an <18 hour project! So I didn’t expect to complete the jacket in class and really looked forward to learning new things. 

Hello Stitch also offers longarm quilting services and we all had these adorable handmade nametags.

Now, y’all know how much I like to go fast. I intended to take full advantage of Beth’s jacket making skills and soak up all I could. But...

I am a migraine sufferer. I’ve traveled 3 weekends in a row - 8/30-9/2, 9/7-9/9 and now 9/12-9/16. I’ve had a pretty low-grade headache this entire time and missed most of work on 9/9 due to migraine. When we arrived in San Francisco on Thursday, I was SO OUT OF IT. I was in pain and nauseous but tried to power through. I woke up on Friday feeling horrible and was near tears because I wasn't sure I'd make it to class. Well, I did but boy was it rough going. It did not help that it was near 100 degrees in the Bay area! At one point, I was sure I was going to pass out! When I showed up Saturday feeling mildly better, I was shocked by how little I’d gotten done the day before. 

Day 1 we talked about the patterns - most of the class used the Closet Case Jasika blazer. If you read here regularly, you know I’ve sworn off sewing anything for my upper body from this pattern company. I used V9099, and 2 other sewers used patterns other than the Jasika. We did tissue fitting (some people had made muslins ahead of class) and went off to cut. Also, Beth gifted us all with silk organza press cloths. YAY!

Day 1 I finished with:
Fitted pattern (I cut my pattern pieces out at home)
Completely cut out fashion fabric

Day 2 I arrived with a mild headache but felt much less woozy and nauseous. Yay! This day was all about the welts for me. I got most of my pattern pieces interfaced and got my welt pockets inserted.


The studio has one of those boiler steam irons (there was one at Sew Camp too) and I just have to have one. HAVE TO!!! Fusing everything was a long, hot job, but it makes all the difference in the finished product. 

We had a break for lunch, chatted and got to know each other better, and got some handy demonstrations on marking fabric and getting perfect lapels.

Day 2 I finished with:
Everything but the sleeves interfaced 
Front sewn to side panel
Completed exterior pockets (pocket bags weren’t sewn)
Sewn center back seam
Sewn shoulder seams

This was taken first thing Sunday morning. Everyone's fabric was SO, SO gorgeous.

Day 3 I felt so much better!! I was so ready to go. I knew I needed to fuse interfacing to my sleeves and prep the facing. We'd be sewing the collars/lapels this day.

And then it happened...I accidentally interfaced the right side of one of my sleeves. I ALMOST STARTED CRYING. I was fairly certain I didn't have enough fabric to recut but I just eeked it out. And I triple checked before interfacing :-p

Once I got past that hurdle, I was on my way. The tips and tricks we learned made the class worth it! Everyone's collar and lapels went in and turned out perfectly. Absolutely perfect!

Day 3, we discussed lining insertion and I have become a convert to hand sewing the lining in. I HAVE bagged a lining successfully, but I would prefer the control of hand sewing.  I left with a completed body and sleeves that were ready to sew.

The state of my jacket after the class (once I was back home).
There is a shoulder pad in there and I have the seam allowance tucked under. 
Isn't it awesome?!?! 

We'd made some adjustments to my sleeves -- the finished bicep on the size 14 was 14 3/4" and that is my exact bicep measurement so we added quite a bit.

I basted the seams on my sleeve and tweaked the fit, then basted it into the armhole to ensure I didn't overdo it. I will tell ya, I probably would have never done all this before. I totally will baste a side seam to check fit...but all this tweaking on the sleeve? I'd never have done it. It fits SO WELL! Woot woot!!

I tweaked the vertical sleeve seams a lot so I plan to mark the new seam line, mark the new seam allowance, and trim off any excess...then cut the other sleeve and lining from these "new" pattern pieces.

My plan is to get it finished and ready to sew the lining in and I can work on that once I'm feeling up to it after surgery.

We also had a ton of fun exploring San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkley. 

Visiting my husband's cousin at work

More luck! Skies were nice and clear and we were able to visit The Golden Gate bridge 

I can hold that bridge in my tiny hands! :-D

Sunset at the Golden Gate strait

Visit to Fisherman's Wharf

And then a serious delay out of SFO. I've been up for about 30 hours with a ~2 hour nap on the plane. Eesh!

It was a whirlwind weekend full of fun and sewing and food and I can't wait to do it again! :) 

Monday, September 2, 2019

August Round-up and September Plans

I sewed 6.25 yards this month. Womp womp.

  • McCall's 7726 pants - 2.5 yards
    • printed stretch cotton twill (new)
    • zipper
  • Vogue 9190 - 1.25 yards
    • olive textured double knit (stash)
  • Burda 08/2019 - 2.5 yards
    • print rayon challis (new)
    • elastic, button (new)
Favorite: I am really digging the Vogue cardigan! It just works!

FAIL: Those pants. Gahhhhhhhh.

Accomplishment: Nothing that was a stretch this month...but that's okay.

Wearing V9190

I'm not so sure yet about the dress from the August Burda. I was really drawn to the fabric in the magazine and chose a fabric with a vertical print.

blue, black and white rayon challis from SR Harris

The bust area is a bit "giant box". And I accidentally cut my elastic too small in the waist (more on that later). The elastic is distributed and then scrunched up over the front ~6" (in my size) and same in back, and then stitched in place. So once I realized I'd cut it too small, I knew I wasn't going to unpick the zig-zag stitching that I secured the elastic with. Sighhhh.

I'm up abut 8 lbs from being busy and also lazy (LOL!) so maybe it'll fit a little better later.

I visited my parents this weekend and with so many airlines now gouging customers on thing! I decided I was going to pack light so we could take one suitcase. And then I saw a post by the Itinerant Seamstress

Including the outfit I wore to fly there, I took:

a jean jacket
a black tank, blue tee, my White Sox tee (we went to the entire series this weekend), a floral Ogden cami
denim shorts, black jeggings, floral pants, floral skirt, grey knit skirt
striped t-shirt maxi dress
gold flat sandals, sporty sandals and sneakers
nightgown, tee, pajama shorts

I would have normally packed twice as much stuff! And I wore everything at least once, but did not wear anywhere near all of the combinations I accounted for.

Knit dress
Sox tee + denim shorts
Sox tee + grey skirt
Navy tee + denim shorts
Ogden cami + floral pants
Ogden cami + floral pants (everyone thought it was a jumpsuit!)
Black tank + floral skirt
Black tank + black jeggings
Black tank + denim shorts

Denim jacket wasn't needed outside of travel time.

I feel so confident now for my plan to pack super light for the sewing class!

I am not a dog person but fell in love with my parent's new puppy this weekend!
He is SO cute and so, so fun!

September Plans:
This is a crazy busy month. I will be out of town 9 days (including weekends) in the first half of the month! Exciting stuff but WHEW!!!

I have stuff with family and friends and my jacket making class with Beth (SunnyGal Sewing) at Hello Stitch.

But then...

Later this month I am having a long-championed-for, coveredy-by-insurance, breast reduction! I am excited and nervous and I have second thoughts then I'm in pain and I'm excited then I'm so nervous and then I see all of my shoulder/torso bruising and then I am excited and then I am terrified and I see my 34F's in something fitted and I'm excited again! LOL!

Recovery can be long, it can be tough. I am hoping for the best!

I've done so much research and read so many stories about people's experience with the surgery. It seems as if it can really take awhile for all of the swelling to subside and even longer to 'settle' into your final size. So, sewing should be interesting once I'm back at it.

I plan to use my newfound jacket-making skills to make my husband a corduroy blazer. I also plan to give a go at the Thread Theory Fulford jeans for him.

I will likely sneak in some sewing for myself - for the lower half and maybe some knit toppers...but no worries, I have a few reviews to post still! :-p

Vogue 9190 cardigan
Burda 8/2019 dress
New Look 6459 pants
Simplicity 1430 shorts
McCall's 7246 dress
Burda 4/2019 skirt and dress
New Look 6326 skirt
Butterick 6378 top
Butterick 6621 dress

Lastly, I've partnered with Minerva Crafts and I've got a few meters of this ponte. It's a poly/rayon/lycra blend and it's BEAUTIFUL!!

Watch for this project too!