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I'm back! My top surgery recovery story

life top surgery May 23, 2023
Renée's Top Surgery Recovery Story

Hey everybody, I'm back! 

I know that for the last 5 weeks, I've been very private about my top surgery journey, but I'm finally ready to open up and share with you how things have been - with pictures!

You can either read the blog below or watch the video above. Enjoy!


I had surgery on April 14th at GRS Montreal with Dr Chen Lee at around 7:45 in the morning. By 9:45, I remember waking up in the recovery room and forgetting where I was. It felt like waking up at home in my bed. It took me a minute to think, "Oh yeah, we're doing this today."

So I spent about 45 minutes in the recovery room with no complications, and then at 10:30, I was wheeled into another room where my mom was waiting for me, and that's where I got my first post-op pictures:

My mom took the first picture, and, of course, I got the obligatory post-op selfie. By about 1:30 pm that afternoon, I was at home, upright, eating, and feeling amazing, cozying up with my ice pack and mastectomy pillow.

I was prepared for the worst. Of course, there was some pain, but it was extremely manageable, and I was lucky to be cared for around the clock by my mom.

Twenty-four hours after surgery, I was already super excited to take mirror selfies, even though, as you can see in this picture, I couldn't stand up straight yet.

There's a lot of tension on the incision right after surgery. So I was in a hunching position for a few weeks post-op. 

Forty-eight hours after surgery, I took my first walk outside. It was just a short one to the end of the block and back. It felt so good to be out in the world. But I will say, this felt a little early to be walking. Every step felt like quite a lot of impact on the incision, so we were only out for maybe 5 minutes.

Four days after surgery, I could take my compression bandage off for the first time and see my new chest.

Now -- content warning -- before I show this picture. In this next photo, you can see my drains, some bruising, and the fresh incision, so if that's not for you, feel free to navigate away now.

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Before surgery, I had this idea that if I saw myself with a new chest, I would feel disoriented, vertigo, that kind of thing. But when I saw my chest for the first time, all I could feel was an overwhelming feeling of "Yes! This is my new body!", "Yes! I'm so excited to look this way!", "Yes, I'm so glad I did this!" It was just an extremely positive and all-around great feeling. And that feeling has not gone away.

The next day my mom took my drains out at home, and while I felt relieved to get them out because they were painful and itchy, part of me was sad that this top surgery rite of passage was over. Has anyone else experienced this? I've never heard of this on any of the forums, so I felt strange being like, "Well, I'm sad my drains are coming out." 

And can I say I was so lucky to have my mom, a nurse, care for me the whole time? I'm 35 years old, so I haven't needed my mom in this way in quite a while. It was really special to receive so much love and care.

Ten days after surgery, Mom left, and I went back to living on my own. But the love and care didn't stop there. I've had friends and neighbours come in and bring me food, do my dishes, water my plants, and help with my chores up until now, five weeks later. I felt really lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful people and so much love and care. I really couldn't ask for more in this world. 

Now it's been just about five weeks since surgery, and while I still need to take it slow and easy, I feel great. Like, I'm almost 100% back to normal. And here's what my scars look like today:

They will continue to change and evolve over the next year or so, but so far, I'm absolutely in love and over the moon with my results. 

This has been a very abridged version of my top surgery recovery story. If you want to know more about the granular details, I have kept a regular vlog of my convalescence journey, which you can access here. All the proceeds from my top surgery feed sales go towards other top surgery fundraisers.

If you want to ask me a question about my convalescence journey, you can either do so within my top surgery feed or leave me a comment on my Instagram or tiktok!

 

Hi, I'm Renée! (they/them)

I'm a queer, nonbinary, and disabled singer, songwriter and gender-affirming voice teacher. 

I've been a voice teacher for over twelve years, I have four full-length albums out, and I have degrees in physics, jazz, and songwriting.

I love creating, I love figuring things out, but most of all, I love helping people.

Learn more about me

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