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My BA with Dr James Chen, Ashbury in Brisbane

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One of the reasons I chose Dr Chen was because he does his surgery under IV 'twilight' surgery using local anesthetic. I do not handle general well. I have had general anesthetic several times as an adult and I know that I react badly. I take forever to 'come to', I vomit and feel nauseous for days and generally get really ratty and depressed for up to a week. I just hate it. I have two friends who had outstanding results and recoveries with Dr Chen and after 2 other less than satisfying meetings with 2 other Brisbane BA surgeon, I went with Chen. I asked to view his entire day surgery and was very happy with what I saw. It was very clean and orderly (I used to be head midwife in a major private hospital). We had two pre op appointments that went well. I asked too many questions for his liking but oh well...tough. 


I had my BA with Dr Chen on Thursday last week. Last Monday I was almost vomiting with nerves but on surgery day I was fine because the wonderful staff put me at ease. I got there at 8.20am and Dr Chen came out to the waiting room and gave me a big warm smile and asked how I was feeling and rubbed my arm because I said I was a bit anxious. Then the lovely head nurse sat me down in a consultation room and we went thru the paperwork, the operation, recovery and consent forms. She took my BP and gave me two Valium. She put me at ease but was also really honest, which I respect. She is also an ER nurse so that really helped me get over my fear of 'what if something goes wrong??"  

Then Dr Chen came in and marked me up. Initially we had discussed either 330cc or 365cc as I wanted a really natural result and only my husband and two friends were going to know about my BA. I decided upon 365cc (over the muscle) and he agreed it was a great choice that I wouldn't regret. I reiterated my fears and he said that I must trust him that I will be totally okay and went back over how they monitor me to make sure I am comfy and also safe during the operation. The nurse came back in to take my belongings while I popped into the loo for one last wee. I was quite happy and relaxed from the Valium by this point. 


I entered the OT and they had a nice comfy OT bed for me and gave me a gorgeous, warm fluffy blanket. There another nurse introduced herself. She was so sweet too. They then popped my IV in, which was the only painful bit. My arms had to be gently fixed to my sides in case I bumped my surgeon. They talked me thru each step before they did it, which was very respectful and made the whole process a lot easier. IRT the IV, first they put in a painkiller, then the sleepy stuff, then some more Valium. I felt the local going in as the surgeon blocked the nerves at each point but he told he before he was about to do each next one. The local anesthetic really wasn't painful - just like a tiny prick in several places around the outside of the breast and in two spots on the inside of each breast. I can only remember two of the pricks. 


By the time he had finished giving me the local I only woke twice but felt no pain as I could just feel sensations. It was not scary or creepy. I was on cloud 9. I had never felt so damn relaxed or happy in all my life. I was a rare client who woke up twice during the operation. I kept talking quite a bit  I talked so much the nurse had to tell me to just go back to sleep so the surgeon could concentrate on the operation. It was so easy just to fall back asleep when I wanted to. I felt quite in control of the experience, it ended up being perfect to be honest. Waking up during the OP was my pre-surgery fear but it ended up being super cool. Afterwards they told me that they were amazed at my tolerance to the drugs in the IV. I already knew this and did warn them! Only about 15% of patients wake up (usually toward the end of the surgery). It is not distressing at all. 


Once the surgery was finished, I woke up so easily and in no pain and the nurse helped me to dress. I then walked with ease to a big comfy chair for cheese, crackers and a glass of water and a cuppa. The nurses came in and out checking on me continuously and so did the surgeon. I went to the toilet unprompted and then I asked if I could ring my husband - which is what they usually do for you. He was shocked at my clarity. I left the OT at 12:10, I texted my husband to pick me up at 12.20pm, and my husband, baby and I were walking out their front door at 1:00pm. I will reiterate that the nurse usually rings your carer to pick you up but I was so clear and fine that I texted him myself. :p


By 2.30pm I started getting some pain at the top corners of my chest near my shoulders so I took my first pain meds in order to get ahead of the pain. It just felt like I had done too many push ups but I wanted to keep ahead of it. It was sore to reach, push, pull down undies to go to the loo or pull them up. The hardest challenge was to keep my kids off me for 3 to 5 days as they are very loving with me physically but hubby is home from work for a week so he's my loving carer. Thanks for reading. Love to you all about to get new boobies or who are also recovering with me.

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They are absolutely lovely, Honey Bunch. Very discreet but also very nurturing and caring. A lovely bunch of women, including the reception staff. I didn't find Dr Chen to have the greatest warmth, but surgeons are like that from my 20 years experience as a midwife. He's probably as warm and humorous as they come. 

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It's been 2 weeks and 2 days now and all is going really well. I stopped taking pain killers on day two. I am now in no pain except when I wake up in the morning, my right nipple has a burning sensation for about 3 seconds when I first stand up out of bed. My left boob is doing so well. It's almost as if I never had the surgery. The skin feels a little sensitive but each day it's getting better. Driving is no problem. The seatbelt is a bit sensitive against my skin but turning the steering wheel is fine. 

There has still been absolutely no bruising and the scars look so insignificant that I think in 6 months you'd have to look hard to see them. I am using a scar remedy that my mum (a naturopath) gave to me when my middle child cut her forehead open (BADLY!) a year ago. Poor wee love, although her scar is almost invisible now. 

I am sleeping on my sides again and it is very comfortable. Phew, I hated sleeping on my back. I only slept reclined on my back for 3 nights then went to sleeping flat on my back until day 10 when I starting sleeping on my side again. 

This morning I started back powerwalking. I did a 40 min powerwalk on the treadmill. I am sure I have put on weight and cellulite sitting on my butt for 2 weeks!!!!  I can not wait to start lifting weights again, it's almost making me depressed. 

I am still amazed at how easy and painless this whole process has been - even with 3 young children. I would love to post some before and after pictures but I am ashamed of how ugly my pre-surgery boobs looked. The droopy nipples were NOT COOL! I'll work up the courage to at least post some bikini top shots. 

Love and healing vibes to all of you who are healing from your recent surgeries. xxx

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