Health Stories

Surgery shock – ‘My nipples fell off!’

Brave Teri shares her shocking story

Terri’s makeover took a devastating turn…

Here, Terri Porter, 65, from Queensland, shares the story in her own words.

I groaned, staring at my saggy D-cup boobs in the mirror.  

In just nine months, I’d lost 60 kilos, going from 143 kilos to 83. 

My diabetes had disappeared and I felt healthier than I had in years.  

But I’d been left with lots of ugly loose skin.  

Now, I had to tuck my tummy into my undies each day, and my boobs hung down nearly to my belly button, like deflated balloons.  

I’m going to get chafed underneath them, I worried.  

Summer was fast approaching, and in Queensland, it would get seriously hot, adding to my discomfort. 

A breast reduction and lift would help fix that though.  

I’d never liked having big boobs anyway.  

As a grandmother of five, I didn’t care about wearing low-cut strappy tops or anything like that. But, my back ached, and it was hard to find flattering clothes that fitted me nicely.  

Boobs are a pain in the butt! I’d decided a long time ago.  

Chatting with my daughter, Kylie, 44, she just wanted me to be happy.  

‘It’s up to you, Mum,’ she said.  

Terri Porter after weight loss
After my weight loss, I had lots of excess skin

So, my GP referred me to a general surgeon in Queensland.  

Explaining the procedure, the surgeon was friendly and knowledgeable.  

And as other patients came in and out of the clinic, I thought they were obviously well-respected.   

Booked in for two weeks later, I couldn’t wait to wake up with a smaller, perkier bust. 

Coming to after the op, my chest was bandaged up, and two days later I went home with strong pain medication.  

Over the next few days, I kept catching a whiff of something horrible though.   

It’s like something has died, I thought, sniffing the air about a week after the op.  

And then I realised the stench was coming from me!  

Waking up in the middle of the night, my dressings were stained red with blood.   

Something’s seriously wrong, I thought.   

So, first thing in the morning, my flatmate John took me to Emergency, where a doctor peeled the gauze from my chest.  

It revealed something awful. 

I’d asked for a C-cup, but there was hardly any flesh left to speak of – I was basically flat chested.  

And one nipple sat higher than the other.  

I felt horrified.  

But that wasn’t the worst of it…  

Shockingly, my nipples had turned black!  

‘It looks like gangrene,’ the doctor said.  

It meant that the tissue was dying due to infection, or from a lack of blood flow.  

‘That’s all I need,’ I said, feeling sick to my stomach.  

Terri Porter needed a mastectomy
I needed a full mastectomy

But there was more bad news to come.  

‘Your nipples will have tobe removed as soon as possible,’ the doctor added,gently.  

If left untreated, it could spread to my other organs. I was petrified.  

I spent the night in hospital, before having the op the next morning.  

Coming to, I was given antibiotics and painkillers.  

About 12 months on, late last year, I finally got in to see another surgeon.  

‘The only way I can fix it, is to remove them and start again,’ he said.  

A mastectomy?! I thought, gobsmacked.  

It was heartbreaking. 

But, I felt safe in his hands.  

And soon after, I had the surgery, which he did for free in exchange for using pictures of my breasts for educational purposes, as an example of complications that can result from a breast reduction. 

Terri Porter
I’ve been in so much pain

I don’t want another woman to go through what I have, I thought. But, sadly, it was too late for that.  

Sharing my story on a weight-loss group on Facebook, a young mum who said she had been treated by the same surgeon reached out to me.  

She said her nipples sat too high, and her breasts had been left lumpy and disfigured.  

I’m now trying to focus on my next round of surgery, which I’m hoping will help correct everything that went wrong.  

I’m midway through my breast reconstruction. I’ve had special tissue expanders inserted into my chest to stretch the skin, in preparation for having C-cup breast implants.  

As it works its magic, it’s agonising beyond belief.  

But I will get through this – if only to warn people to do their homework before going under the knife. 

All I wanted was a handful – but what I got has been a world of pain. ● 

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