Hand me a Volleyball!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 by  

Well known for its particularly high satisfaction rating by patients, I am no exception with my bilateral reduction mammoplasty (photo taken next morning): 

With the initial look at my dressing upon waking in recovery, I was simply delighted with the white bralette, my first ever. I felt like someone should hand me a volleyball so I could head to a California beach straight away!

Over 3 hours & hundreds of internal stitches later, Dr. Chang Soo Kim (GCsurgeryandlasers.com) & his amazing team removed nearly 1,500 grams! Find a 3.3 pound weight and put it on a chain & wear it around your neck over your lungs and tell me if you don’t want to rip it off by the end of the week! Not only did Dr. Kim give me the breasts of a 20-year-old, but I could suddenly breathe effortlessly again!!

 

I don’t blame breastfeeding, I don’t blame aging & I certainly don’t blame weight loss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life started out normal…

        

     

And then, what on Earth happened?? I mean, seriously, look at my little neck…

  

No matter how little I weighed, I was still a DDD+.                 Not pleasant when the rest of my body was wearing a size 4.
 It translates into neck & back pain, underwires digging into soft skin, and bursting
buttons.

I had never experienced a surgery that would alter my appearance. Between fun, function & fashion, the twins had served their time well.

  

But enough was enough. Deemed a medical necessity, I was grateful it was fully covered by our insurance. So grateful!! All $91,234.43! 

Unless you’ve not been able to bounce on a trampoline with your kids or run through Costcos without getting black eyes or lay on your stomach at the Chiropractor’s or zip up your coat without pushing past the bust roadblock or comfortably enjoy a massage or if you’ve rested your twins on your wrists climbing the stairs or slung your mammaries into the massive nylon cups of a minimizer or released them at the end of the night only to swing like tube socks with golf balls or if you sleep on your side with a pillow just for your top boob or find it difficult to buy a pretty little outfit with straps or take a deep breath without holding up your center bra wire or accidentally hit the delete button with your breast when you’re reaching over your keyboard, then you may understand. Millions of women do. This surgery is life-changing!  

 

And those shocked by my decision only proves I was a master of camouflaging my DDD+ girls with the perfected fashionable slouch, wearing baggy blouses, and, as countless women know, subjecting ourselves to breath-defying minimizer bras. 

Dr. Kim & his team were incredibly kind. I even asked to pray before surgery, something I’ve never done before and really didn’t even know what to say, but Dr. Kim held my hand and his team gathered around and I felt safe and cared for and the next thing I knew, after “Amen,” I was waking up in recovery feeling lighter & breathing easily.

The only unusual part of the day was standing with Phillip shortly before surgery in the pre-op room and the doctor used a special surgical Sharpie pen to mark my skin for the incisions. Ewww. I tried not to picture what those lines really meant.

When it was time to go home late that night around 10pm, Phillip helped me change. Gown off, we both looked down for the first time and were excited and pleased. No drains. No ugly bandage wraps. Just a little white satin bralette. I felt so adorable. I felt 20 again. “You look awesome,” Phillip exclaimed. Cool!

I dreamed of finally buying a pretty bra with a lovely pattern or wearing something strapless for the first time. When I got home, I wore a cozy PJ top I have never been able to button before. It was exciting!

Interestingly, if anything could go wrong the weeks leading up to surgery, it did. But it wasn’t going to deter me.

I had partially torn my meniscus and was in physical therapy 3 times a week in February. Phillip just recovered from another intensive cancer treatment surgery (The Journey) through February & I was drained. My Mom tripped 10 days earlier and I was making the 60-mile roundtrip to her house daily to care for her. Then Mom (Tribute to Mom) fell the day of my surgery and injured herself even more. My sister & niece both have bronchitis and my daughter broke her foot in gym this week prompting us to immediately cancel the friends’ homes where she was to stay during my initial recovery. As if that weren’t enough, I haven’t had my period for a year & the night before surgery it came on with full force & was relentless all week. Then a fluke March blizzard delayed my follow-up visit to the surgeon. One thing after another, but you know me. Nothing would stop me & so it is done.

 
I came home that night, got in bed, put my feet up, snuggled our 3 kitty cats & haven’t moved much since. We inflated a triple-decker queen air mattress in our room with pretty aqua sheets & a pastel butterfly comforter for my little Darling, 
and we’ve been cozying up watching The Flash, enjoying tea & scones, and letting our Boys deal with the chaos in the real world while she & I focus on our *Healing Party.*

(And Mom has Visiting
Angels now).

The reduction was a huge decision, no pun intended. No woman goes into such a major surgery without having given it a great deal of thought. 4 girlfriends went through it and offered words of wisdom. Recovery was quick and, thanks to strong meds, relatively comfortable. (Phillip’s med chart >         for me.) No stretching, no pushing, no pulling, no lifting, no standing upright for a long time. No driving for 2 weeks.

For a busy Mom, it’s actually quite nice to stay in bed for a while.

My gals still “under wraps” as I enjoy a lovely salmon dinner in bed. Phillip has brought me every culinary delight this week & is keeping me on track with infection & pain meds around the clock.

My husband & I met with Dr. Kim a week later for the unveiling. Phillip says the Redesigned Twins are “spellbinding!” Ooh! (blushing). We’re happy, I can breathe & long necklace ornaments will never be bobbling off the center wire of my big brassieres again because those parachutes are all in File 13!

UPDATE: DAY 9

We visited Dr. Kim yesterday, the one-week checkup since surgery. To be honest, I was afraid to look down & see stitches when the doctor took my bandages off. That’s when Phillip gave me that beautiful compliment above. But today was Day 9 and I seriously needed to shower so this would be my first meeting with my girls.

Phillip helped me take off the tight bralette and gently peeled off the gauze bandages. I just
stared at myself in the mirror for the longest time. I mean, just really stood there and stared. What looked back at me was the most beautiful set of healthy, perky twins with an upturned point you would only see on a mannequin and think, “Yeah, that’s not for real.”
But it was real… they were staring back at me in all their glory. 100% all-natural me, just less of me!! I simply had to share this beautiful ending to this long-awaited decision in my life. At the risk of my father spinning in his resting site at the idea of my gals going uncovered on screen, I’ve made sure to find pretty little flowers to cover the tips.
 
Since launching this story a few days ago, I have had countless women who have gone through reduction email me and say they wished they had done it earlier. That’s exactly what went through my mind, too. But I’m glad it is done now. 
The Bright Spotbright spot flower – Thank you, Dr. Kim, for your wisdom & your artistry. Your work is outstanding and you and your team are the very best and have made me feel light & amazing. 2 things that make Dr. Kim stand out from the rest – he doesn’t like to use drains which I’ve heard are painful to remove a week or more later. And he uses a special technique to help save sensation after healing. 
 
As my OR nurse who later wrote to me so perfectly said, “Wishing you a “B”eautiful recovery, “B”ring on the new “B”ras and “B”athing suits!”  

Dr. Chang Soo Kim ~ Click: GCSurgeryandLaser 203-920-1444  

UPDATE: DAY 18

As one friend who has been through this aptly put it, “Your lady bits are tender now. Drink tea, binge watch & recover.” Good advice & someday soon I’ll be able to lay on my stomach! Photos below of my loving Support Team!! Daily our furbabies skillfully demonstrate how to just lay around & chill.
I would like to thank everyone who is been so encouraging & wonderful especially in helping to pick up our Darling from school, or bring her home after track, or to and from dances, sleepovers & movies, or brought me to the doctor for stitches cleaning/dressing changes or sent goodies or brought dinner, you know who you are & I’m grateful.

Thank you, in particular, to Nayer, Samara, Maria, Anitta, Emily, Melissa, Aimee, Cheryl, Chloe, Mighty Medina’s, Jane, Stephen B., Rose, Ann, Cathy, Sue, Lorine, Julie, Hannah F., John Z., Billy & Shannon, Luz & Lisa, Suzanne, Barry & Sara, thank you all!! Your actions meant a lot!


Bianca

Caribbean Pleasures

Friday, July 18, 2014 by  
Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (11)

Nothing says Caribbean like the freeing feeling of music & dance in the evening breezes of the islands!                                        From high in the sky…

   Trapeze, flying trapeze, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (36)             Trapeze, flying trapeze, Caribbean, Barcelo (3)

to underwater exploration, our 8-year-old reveled in every adventure at the gorgeous Barcelo, an all-inclusive resort in the beautiful Dominican Republic.
Scubadoo, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana (2)    Scubadoo, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana (3a)

Tropical paradise & pristine waters,

Turquoise water, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (55)

Super resort, all-inclusive, Caribbean, Barcelo, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (6)

Phillip’s favorite place…the swim-up bar,Pool, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (38) Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (18)

where our daughter bounced around in a giant beach ball

Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (24) Beach ball, tumble, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (27) Beach ball, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (40)

                                                                          plus, elegant dining on the beach,

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and, of course, Brenda, the monkey, who wondered why our little one had a tail just like hers 🙂 !Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort, monkey (1)

We booked the getaway the night before & left 26 hours later.

The trip started with smoked salmon & the latest edition of Sparkle World magazine…

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and went full swing into shopping when we realized we forgot hats & sunglasses.

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Snorkeling in the Caribbean,

Snokeling, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (54) Snokeling, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (52)

sunsets & full moons made for the perfect setting.

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Barcelo’s food was as beautiful as it was delicious

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and chess was a must.

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If you are looking for a place to flip over on your next vacation, Barcelo is it!

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Trapeze, flying trapeze, Caribbean, Barcelo (2)

From the glass-bottomed boats to pool lounges, there’s something for everyone.

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Pool, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (40)

So come here and make your sand turtles a reality,

Sand turtle, turtle, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (44) Sand turtle, turtle, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (45)

paradise awaits.

Barcelo, all-inclusive resort, Caribbean, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort

Daydreaming, dreaming, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, boating

The Bright SpotTM bright spot flower – The Caribbean. Enough said. 😉


Bianca

Paradise for Families

Sunday, June 2, 2013 by  

Peace, tranquility, a vacation like none other – cliché by no means! Let me explain.Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (33)

We were looking for a family vacation & what we found was something above & beyond in Runaway Bay, Jamaica.

It wasn’t the cozy sleep on the flight American Airlines, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, 1st class sleeper seats, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, family time, vacationor the magnificent sunsets or the spa on the stone jetty in the     <Caribbean Sea. Jamaica, spa on the sea, Caribbean, resort, relaxation, beauty, family time, luxuryIt wasn’t the climb to the awesome 100′ slide Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (52)or the fire-breathing master.

Fire breathing, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation

The FDR resort is an all-inclusive, 78-suite, ultimate family experience consistently rated among the best in the Caribbean. Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (51)It is Jamaican-owned, Jamaican-operated with Jamaican restaurants so you get the true flavors of this beautiful, tropical island and its people. 

Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (14)

It’s not an oversized resort with a Starbucks, Burger King or Payless Shoes. I didn’t leave the States to find a mini-USA. 

What took the experience at the FDR resort to the level of “phenomenal” was an intrinsic feeling of being transported back to the days of summer holiday camps like Kellerman’s in Dirty Dancing. Everyone knew everyone at the resort, and if you didn’t, you were welcomed with warm smiles and a handshake.
Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (19)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (11)

I was stunned to find that families have been going there for 25 years. Folks e-mail each other dates of when they’re returning. Families plan around other families they don’t otherwise see but once a year. We’ve been e-mailed by guests – now friends – about the next holiday. Unless I’m visiting friends, I never go back to the same places on Earth so I can explore new territory. So I was intrigued when the 1st family I met said they had been coming for the past 10 years. “Why??” “You’ll see,” smiled the father. By week’s end, I was looking forward to re-visiting this very special & unique place.

Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (23)

The owner, Franklyn D. Rance, for whom the FDR resort is named, says he has welcomed repeat international families for 25 years, he has watched couples come when young Moms were pregnant, and then watched their children grow up year after year, and then watched those children marry and come back annually with their own kids. I’d never heard of such a thing; it was fascinating to me.

I felt like I was back in the 60s or 70s ~ where parents of other children cared for, bandaged up, and guided with love the children in their midst. If you’re 40 and over, you’ll know that comforting feeling – a mix of common sense, “old school neighborhood,” and family amongst friends. And all the staff members knew everyone’s name, had fun with the parents, and the lifeguard swam with the kids.

     Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (3)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (37)

Frank was one of the original 3 partners to found “all-inclusives” 30 years ago. He and his partners built resorts throughout the Caribbean and, now retired, he enjoys his days at the FDR sitting under a palm tree with his advisors. He envisaged a Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, poolside office, Frank Rance & staff, nanny, all-inclusivesrelaxation haven for parents when he created the Personal Vacation Nanny service.
Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (47)

Each family is matched with a specially-trained, private nanny to follow, entertain, swim with, play with, keep safe and care for every need of your child or children so parents can completely relax – body & mind. Your personal nanny takes care of your suite as well, bedding, towels and even brings up platters of evening treats you request. 

I wasn’t into it at first. I watch my kids. I play with my kids. This is family time.

Jamaica, Caribbean, Daddy Daughter smiles, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (16)Well…guess what…there’s plenty of family time and one can always play and swim with the kids, Nanny is there to assist from 9-4. She will run back to the room if you forget your sunscreen or hat, she’ll get a drink for you at the bar and, once I was completely comfortable and knew how happy my little one was with all her new friends and their nannies, I could actually take a romantic morning walk on the beach with my husband… or a little afternoon siesta…imagine that…on a family vacation!

Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, nanny,  vacation nanny, no stress Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, nanny,  (8) Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, nanny,  (4)We loved our nanny so much that we asked she bring her child to work so we could spend time with her 2 year old.  Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (57)Jamaica, Caribbean, peace, love, hand in hand, child and adult hands, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, nanny,  (10)We gave her a little dollie and hope she remembers us till we return. We love FDR. It’s not a mega-huge resort. It’s kid-friendly and families are welcomed back year after year with handmade signs on their door.

Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, Family welcome sign

Another delightful and unusual thing about this trip was that each night dinner was served in a different restaurant, or on the beach or on one of the piers throughout the resort. Location & time were listed on the chalkboard by the pool. We didn’t get that at first and went downstairs when we felt like it for dinner. Everyone was finished and going to the dance floor area for entertainment. Whoa, what happened? Families came up and said, “Hi, we missed you at dinner.”

You did??

The next night we came down between the 6:30-9:00 time for cocktails on the pier and dinner. Everyone was there.

Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (39)Children ran around & played and parents talked about their great day. Amazing! It was so delightful. So friendly. So engaging. So comforting. So not the era we’re all living in now where everyone’s consumed by their handhelds, Facebooking, texting, tweeting, blah, blah, blah. Here everyone was unplugged and relaxed – Eating together. Dancing together. Singing together. And, in Phillip’s case, entertaining us with some funky stick dance on his butt~! LOL! Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (41)

Dolphin soars in the sky, dolphin jumping, leaping, dolphin breaching, Jamaica, Caribbean, swimming,family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (20)

The trip was simply wonderful, rejuvenating & exciting. We enjoyed the resort’s glass-bottom boat, spa, our private wedding anniversary dinner with our 7 year old on the pier, Jamaica, wedding anniversary, happy anniversary, private dinner on the pier, joy, balloons, lovely evening in the Caribbean, Caribbean Seathe children’s talent show, the daily activities, the Rum treasure hunt at the bottom of the pool, board games, water trampoline, swimming with the dolphins & stingrays, snorkeling, diving and all the exciting adventures the Caribbean has to offer. 

 Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (28)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, sea urchin

 

 

Sea star, snorkeling, giant sea star, seastar, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacationJamaica, Caribbean, parrots, macaw, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (24)Jamaica, Caribbean, like young Elizabeth Taylor, sea urchins, friends, swimming, headband, family time, vacation, sunkissed cheeksJamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (63)
Jamaica, water trampoline, fun in the sunJamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (56)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (58)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (38)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (30)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (13)
Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (61)Jamaica, Caribbean, Relax, waiting for tour bus, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (17)Nanny, Jamaica, vacation nanny following children, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacationWalking by the shore, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacationJamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, nanny,  (12)Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, camera buff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, nanny,  (3)

Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, handmade bracelets

Saying goodbye, hug goodbye, lifeguard & friend, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind folks, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacationJamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (6)

The Bright SpotTM bright spot flowerIt was hard to leave Jamaica but e-mails from other families we met there have been flying in: “When are you going again?” I can tell you it will be very soon. A real pleasure and, indeed, the ultimate family experience!

Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (54)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (53)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (4)aJamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (34)Dancing, free dancing, dancing at the resort, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends (2)Dancing, free dancing, dancing at the resort, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends (1)Daddy & Daughter watch sunset, sunset, Jamaican sunset, Caribbean, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation 

Jamaica, Caribbean, Dolphin kisses, dolphin love, fun, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (26)


Bianca