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.
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.
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. ●