What I wish I knew before… Top Surgery!
A surgery can be an overwhelming experience for many – as much as we know that specific procedure will help alleviate our dysphoria, it can be challenging to prepare for an extensive surgery and make sure we do the right thing once we are recovering at home.
Our Brand Ambassador Taylor asked his followers what they wish they knew before their Top Surgery, things that caught them by surprise and anything they wish they had prepared themselves better for. This is what they came up with!
- I struggled to eat big portions but always felt hungry, so lots of snacks!!
- It’s almost impossible to get from laying down unless you’re already upright
- Make sure you have someone that supports you, emotionally and physically, you will need help with almost everything at the start- food/drink/ getting out of bed/ help cleaning yourself and most importantly your medication
- How hard recovery can be.
- How much help you will really need.
- Be prepared to be bloated and med you have will make you constipated.
- How to deal with anxiety before
- How uncomfortable drains are
- That the pain of nerves connecting, and weird feelings lasts for months after surgery
- Sleeping on your side takes a while after
- You will feel like a burden on people for a while but that’s okay you need to rest
- DON’T over stretch
- Listen to your body
- That getting your drains out hurt, be prepared to be in pain- It might not be as bad
- How bad urine retention was going to be
- Taking the dressing off can hurt/ feel weird
- Feelings of doubt and dread in the time leading up to surgery are normal
- Don’t panic if you feel sick/are sick after surgery
- Don’t strain too hard when going to the toilet
- You will need laxatives
- Infections can be normal, try not to worry. It is important to keep it clean and speak to your surgical team
- Do the stretches they tell you during recovery- but listen to your body
- That first breath after taking your binder off is AMAZING
- It is mentally and physically exhausting and that’s okay
- Do what YOUR surgeon recommends, not someone else’s
- Drinking fluid is the most important part of recovery
- If your nipples leak fluid or blood it can be normal
- Make a timetable for your meds- the person staying with you will need to keep an eye on this
- Itchiness is real
- The post op binder feels so tight, it might make you feel panicky
- The little sparks you get in your nips are just your nerves reconnecting
- How long it took before I could sleep on my front again
- Constipation- get meds!!!
- You may not feel amazing after surgery- mentally
- Scabs on nipples can last weeks, don’t worry
- There’s a lot of emotional stuff to deal with
- Difficulty pulling trousers up and down
- How long it would take to get feeling back in my chest and nipples
- That nipples would feel like they’re vibrating and hurt when I walked down the stairs
- What are aftercare products you would recommend
These tips come from Taylor’s mum to those who will be in charge of taking care of someone after Top Surgery.
- Take time off work; don’t work a full-time job because the nights are sleepless.
- Sleep deprivation
- Surprised by how much help was needed, how much I had to do and for how long I had to do it.
- Sort out transport beforehand, don’t rely on public transport after surgery like trains- Uber is a life saver
- Get a pill box/be organised with the tablets because there are so many.
Have a discharge sheet with meds on with the frequency/doses. You can colour coordinate the boxes with stickers and a medication form. For example, green sticker every 4 hours stuck on the meds box, and then a green sticker on the med form with what it is, red every 6 hours ) etc.