Author Topic: "Mein Kampf" - Levick Surgery 18/8/2011 - Diary & Pictures!  (Read 5339 times)

Offline 2B||!2B

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After all the help and support this forum has provided me over the past 3 years, I feel I owe it to anyone considering surgery to make a diary of my experiences!

Sitting here in my bed in the Priory Hospital, Birmingham, just a few hours after the procedure and I'm feeling on top of the world!
Goodbye Gynecomastia...  8)

To give some background information, Gynecomastia is something I've been struggling with for as long as I can remember. Growing up I was a skinny kid up until about 8 years old. My earliest memory of having the condition was at the age of 10, when at the beach with my family. Even at this age, I noticed that something just wasn't right when I compared my chest to those of the other kids and began to grow increasingly self conscious. Over my early teen years I gained a lot of weight, partially due to comfort eating to feed my low self esteem, and another element may have been to make the problem less conspicuous. It was relatively normal for overweight kids to have a large chest, being thin and having the condition, however, would have accentuated the problem.

When I read some of the horror stories on these boards about what some people have gone through in their struggles with gyne, excluding a few isolated incidents and rare nasty comments from other kids, I was fortunate in that I never really had to endure any excessive bullying. I had a great group of close friends in school and I was a pretty big guy who could handle myself so I count myself lucky!

Although I rarely showed it, I was extremely self conscious about the condition. I never spoke of it and like many I wore dark baggy clothing in attempts to conceal it. Naturally as a boy, I encountered many situations where I needed to remove my shirt which I avoided as if my life depended on it! In turn my relationships with girls suffered and I avoided swimming at all costs!

Throughout my time in school my weight steadily increased and in the months leading up to college something needed to be done, my physical appearance had reached breaking point. It was at this point I discovered which honestly changed my life. I discovered I was not alone and with every topic I read I felt less isolated. It was here, I discovered the compression vest.

I made an innocent order with; little did I know the effect it would have. As I opened the box and awkwardly put it on, I closed my eyes, moved to the mirror and when I opened them... I cried... for the first time in my life, my chest looked normal, from this point, my life took a turn for the better. I was a new man; I could finally go out in public proud to wear whatever I wished without having to worry about judgmental eyes. I was normal. After that summer, I started my new life, I started college, I finally had the confidence to get my first job (wearing a t shirt in public!) and my relationships greatly improved. Although uncomfortable at first, I got used to wearing the vests. However, ultimately, as time went on, I knew it was a temporary solution. It was simply a cover up, eventually I had to worry about people asking what the vest was, it was unusual and having someone discover that I was effectively wearing a "bra" would have been humiliating. Surgery was always the long term goal, which I started to save for....
« Last Edit: August 19, 2011, 10:39:52 AM by 2B||!2B »

Offline 2B||!2B

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Fast forward to last summer. A combination of the "college lifestyle" and many other factors meant my weight had been steadily increasing. Again, I found my body was at breaking point. As I stepped on the weighing scales, the number hit like a punch in the face, 18 stone (115KG), I had lost control (see pictures below).

Now, I could sit on my ass for the rest of my life, feel sorry for myself, comfort eat to make it all feel better... NO... I had come too far! The journey had begun and the only one standing in the way was myself! The only person living my life was me, I was the only way out and failure was not an option. "Operation Amelioration" had begun! I quit smoking and limited my alcohol intake. Too embarrassed to join a gym, I bought an exercise bike, some free weights and a bench press. As a gym amateur, being uneducated with regard to workout routines and nutrition, I lacked structure, although I more than made up for that with determination  :P Nevertheless I lost just over a stone during that summer, not as much as I had wished, but It was progress.

After returning to college, with increased confidence after losing weight and feeling healthier, I managed to break some old habits and maintain my weight, although as I approached the following summer and stepped back on the daunting scales I hadn't managed to lose much more weight during the year through dieting.

The summer begins. This is it. Make or break.
Like all things in life, the key to success in weight loss, is education. How can you get to where to you need to be if you don't know where it is you're going? You need a goal and to get there safely and efficiently, you need to know HOW to get there. 80KG was the target; I would get there or die trying! I joined the biggest bodybuilding forum on the internet (also the most detailed nutrition and fitness forum) and soaked up all the info I could. Having heard about the infamous P90X elsewhere, I knew it was my kinda' program, it offered the structure I needed and a great base to build on. With regard to nutrition I cut out all processed foods, wheat, dairy and maintained a 40-40-20 nutrition system. Having educated myself on what I was putting into my body, it no longer took any effort to turn down having fast foods and the majority of processed foods, not only for weight loss, but for my general well being.

During this time, while seeing my body transform before my eyes, I took the plunge, and booked a consultation with the infamous (deservedly) Paul Levick. After researching with the help of this forum, I knew even before the consultation that he was the man for the job!
« Last Edit: August 19, 2011, 10:44:31 AM by 2B||!2B »

Offline 2B||!2B

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Fast forward to D-Day, August 12th, my final weigh in. The scales which once haunted me had grown to be my friend, although the progress in my health was undeniable, inside and out, it offered affirmation that I was moving forward, it showed me that I got out what I put in and that hard work really does pay off. But had I done it? Regardless of the outcome, it was a proud crowning moment, I felt as I never dreamed I could, the hopeless mess I was 1 year previously was gone for good. I stood on left foot first... fingers crossed...the dreaded wait.... 79.8KG!! I had done it! Although tempted to jump off and do a back flip I felt it was best to avoid breaking my neck! (Although I'm pretty sure my heart was doing some back flips inside!). Although I had reached my goal, I will never forget where it all originated and my passion for fitness will continue and the knowledge I gained along the way will live with me forever.

On my 20th Birthday, my rebirth was imminent; the final step in "Operation Amelioration" was in place my consultation with Mr. Levick had been confirmed for the 16th of August. All things going well, I was scheduled to have the procedure on the 18th, just 2 days after (Which turned out to be the best decision I could have made).
« Last Edit: August 19, 2011, 11:41:57 AM by 2B||!2B »

Offline 2B||!2B

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I flew into Birmingham on the morning of the 16th of August with my consultation at 11am. After taking a quick tour around the beautiful Birmingham and having some breakfast, I arrived at Mr. Levicks consultation suite at 10:45, after a quick wait I was taken upstairs to meet the man himself. I was greeted by Mr. Levick, an extremely friendly, jolly man and I felt at ease immediately. After a quick chat I began to fill out some paperwork in the waiting room and was then taken into his office for my consultation. As a man who has battled with the problem himself it would be impossible to find a more passionate, understanding surgeon with regard to Gynecomastia. Although initially nervous, I was made to feel very comfortable and welcomed. He took a look at the problem, confirmed I had the condition and walked me through each step in the procedure. He was very accommodating and answered any questions I had, I knew I had come to the right man  8) I confirmed with the office that I was happy to have the operation on the 18th and decided to stay in Birmingham until then, which I highly recommend.

Fast forward to this morning. Having done all pre-surgery preparation, taking Arnica, fasting as required and avoiding garlic, I hopped in the taxi and closed the door. No turning back! Due to book in at 9:30, we arrived at 9:15 and were greeted by the great staff at the Priory at reception. I was taken into the administration office and filled out the remaining paperwork and made the payment of £3855 via visa card. Having gotten all the bureaucracy out of the way, the main event was set in motion!

I was escorted up to my room, shown around, sat back in my room and relaxed for a few minutes, I was greeted by a very friendly nurse where my stats were taken and my pre-op checklist was filled up. I was given alcohol wipe sponges to wipe down my chest, changed into my hospital gown and was given my menu to pick out my meals for lunch, dinner and breakfast tomorrow morning. The anesthetist then arrived; very nice guy and we had a quick chat. Minutes later the man himself walked in as enthusiastic as ever, having had just completed a successful operation beforehand, he was happy to be warmed up after getting some practice in!  :D He put me at ease and any nerves I had were evaporated. Minutes later, the nurse arrived; I popped on my slippers and began my walk down to the anesthetic room. The excitement began to brew in my stomach as the moment I had been waiting for approached!

I sat in the anesthetic room where I was marked up and had some pictures taken by Levick, then had a final chat with before the anesthesia team took over! The team were very friendly and the whole process was a breeze, I barely felt the needle being inserted and the injection began, It was a strange sensation as the liquid travelled up my arm, I then had a sharp taste in my mouth and when it reached my head I was out like a light!
« Last Edit: August 19, 2011, 11:46:38 AM by 2B||!2B »

Offline 2B||!2B

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I woke up about 2 hours later (although it seemed instantly!) in the recovery room. I felt a little groggy and my mouth was very dry but I was in no pain at all. I hadn't shaved my armpits (I would recommend doing so!) so the bandages on one side were pulling pretty hard! That was quickly sorted and it's a credit to the procedure that the worst pain I remember was only my armpit hair being pulled! I then had a quick chat with the anesthetist who was very happy with everything and was wheeled back up to my room!

Lunch was then served to tame my growling stomach! The food was amazing and I had no problems eating at all. I got a little more sleep and did a little body check. Even so soon after the op, I was feeling on top of the world! (May also be attributed to the meds!) There has been very little liquid in my drains which is a great sign. After dinner (which again, was amazing, compliments to the chef!) the man of the hour arrived. He was fully satisfied with the operation and confirmed my feelings that everything had gone perfectly! He mentioned there was very little fat to remove, but the culprits; two golf ball sized glands were gone for good! Amen to that!

So the rest of the day has flown by, sitting back with the TV and relaxing, never felt better  8) I recommend taking it easy when going to the toilet with your drains. After standing for a little bit too long (I was a little too ambitious when I got out of bed first, was tempted to go for a jog!) I felt very lightheaded, broke into a sweat and needed to lay down, felt fine 1 minute later though! My blood pressure is naturally quite low so that doesn't help.

Upon reflection, having the surgery so soon after the consultation proved to be a wise move. In my mind, I was having the surgery regardless of any possible risks or implications. It was the only solution and it was always the plan. Over the years I had done plenty of research and had I taken a few weeks to deliberate, I would surely have gone through every possible scenario continuously, over-analysing and growing unnecessarily nervous as the surgery date approached. Also, In my particular case, I would be returning to college earlier than I anticipated when I initially booked the consultation, therefore having surgery any later wouldn't have allowed for much recovery time. Having said that, I couldn't be happier with how things worked out in the end. I went into the procedure completely relaxed and worry-free which will prove invaluable during the recovery process.

To anyone considering going through the procedure alone as I had initially intended, I strongly advise you to reconsider. I had worried about the reaction when asking a family member, this proved to be unjustified though as when I spoke to my sister about it she couldn't have been more supportive, moving heaven and earth to help in any way she could, for which I will be forever grateful! Having swallowed my pride to tell someone about it has shown me how not simply asking for some help would have made things so much more difficult than they needed to be. For this reason, to anyone reading this that is planning to go through it alone, don't make the process hard on yourself, I urge you to consider telling just one person, It has proven to be invaluable.

I'm now lying back in the Priory Hospital, Birmingham, just took some meds and a hot chocolate, about to call it a night after my first gyne free day! I would like to thank everyone on the forum for their support and advice, without which I would not be here right now. I will post regular updates and if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask!

Operation Amelioration has been completed... My new life begins.

Offline 2B||!2B

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Woke up this morning feeling great! The nurse arrived in at about 7:45 to check my stats and was given some meds, still not in any pain although a little stiff and rickety! I managed to avoid using the “pee bottles” overnight but that did entail some military-operation-like trips to the toilet! The staff at the priory were extremely helpful though.

The anesthetist swung by for a quick chat and was satisfied with how everything went, couldn't have gone smoother on his part! The nurse then removed my cannula which was a welcome relief! Breakfast arrived shortly after along with Mr. Levick for the last time, a sight for sore eyes! He was very pleased with how I was progressing and how the whole process went, he answered any remaining questions and had no quibbles in releasing me today, smiles all round!

The final step in the process was the dreaded drain removal! After hearing peoples experiences on these boards it was something I was not looking forward to. I declined the offer of some painkillers before the removal as it would require a 20 minute wait, once I knew what was on the cards I didn't fancy having it on my mind for 20 minutes! Best to get it over with! The bandages holding the drains in place were removed (along with a patch of hair!, ouch!) I was asked to inhale and exhale repeatedly, sitting there, anxiously awaiting the surge of pain, I did as asked, after about 4 breaths, growing uneasy, I was about to ask what the hold up was! That was, until I opened my eyes to find they were out already :P The nurse was very reassuring and gentle. I was left a little underwhelmed by the whole removal process, definitely nothing for anyone considering surgery to worry about  ;)

Being free of the drains I was free to move about, I jumped in for a welcome shower while avoiding wetting the bandages and got back into some normal clothes. My final lunch was then served, almost makes me feel sorry to leave! Gonna miss that honey and cinnamon ice cream!

I then pressed the nurse contact button for a final time, and just as fast as I arrived, I was filling out my discharge forms. I got all my belongings together and took my first steps out the door in 24 hours. I managed to get someone to bring in a card and some chocolates for the nursing staff, they really couldn't have been more helpful.

I walked out of the hospital to a welcome breath of fresh air which gave more relief than the meds ever could!, then jumped into a taxi and away as a free man. I'll be staying overnight in Birmingham as recommended by Mr. Levick, before an early flight home tomorrow morning. The only thing left to do is sit back, relax, and wait to remove the bandages  8)
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 04:08:41 PM by 2B||!2B »


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Hi 2Bl l!2B, jus read your whole post mate, really inspiring. I am so happy for you that the nightmare is finally over.

Hopefully we get to see your results once you've taken off those bandages.

Just wanted to know as I might be considering Levick for my surgery, was the consulation included in the full surgery price of £3855? And have you bought any compression vests to wear after you remove the bandages?

Offline namsoni

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Brilliant post, very inspirational. I am starting a new job next month which will hopefully allow me to afford surgery sometime early next year. I'm 6ft 2, and weight 100kg, so similarly need to lose some weight, about 20kg. Food is a hobby for me, so it will be a struggle, but you have definitely given me a much needed boost! I will check out that body building website.

Good luck


Offline Raboze

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Awesome post man! Please post pictures as soon as you can!

Offline 2B||!2B

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Thanks for the replies guys!

Just spent my first night back at home. The journey really made me fully appreciate having someone with me! It would have been very difficult to get home alone while lugging a suitcase around!

As a side note for those going through airport security after the op, it's a good idea to get a letter from your surgeon explaining that you've just had surgery before traveling home. It wasn't necessary, but in the event that you are patted down, it would avoid any confusion :P

No pain to report, just a little discomfort from the tight bandages. Only a few more days before they're removed though! Will post pics as soon as they are!
« Last Edit: August 21, 2011, 03:05:52 PM by 2B||!2B »

Offline improving

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Great post. I only live locally to Levick but im trying to build myself up for a consulatation. 

The drain removal has slightly concerned me after people reporting it to be painful. But maybe it isn't so bad after all.

:) please do keep us updated on your healing.

Offline somedude999

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Congrats mate can't wait to hear what you think of your results.

I'm nearly 4 months post op with the legend Dr Levick and am
Over the moon with my results. My surgery experience was very similar to yours, found Dr LEvick and all his staff very friendly and professional and actually enjoyed being in the hospital which is a first for me
As i usually hate hospitals !!

Drain removal wasn't bad for me, they are out in like a second.

Offline 2B||!2B

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It's been a while since my last update!

I'm now 8 days post op and have been taking it very easy!

Since my last post:

I've been back in the gym since day 5 taking light walks on the treadmill. Nothing too strenuous but a little exercise has worked wonders both physically and mentally.
I'll be keeping physical activity to a minimum until about week 3 at the earliest I think. Best to avoid overdoing it!

Nutrition-wise I've been keeping my protein intake as high as possible, getting some extra vitamin c and taking Arnica.
I've noticed significant improvements every day so it's been pretty easy to keep positive!

I did suffer a minor set back as I had an allergic reaction to one of the meds. My mid section broke out in a light rash and there was some swelling.
After a quick call to Mr. Levick I was just told to cease taking them immediately and the problems had all but left overnight!

Yesterday, after an itchy, sleepless night on day 6, I got the all clear for bandage removal!

After reading some peoples previous experiences on the forum I combined all the best tips I could find!
Here is the easiest, pain-free method:

- Run a nice hot bath and soak there for about 25 minutes.
- Soak some cotton buds in baby oil and gently dab along the edge of the plaster
- The edge of the plaster should come off with little-to-no resistance at this stage, but apply more baby lotion between the skin and the bandage as needed!
- Once you can run you finger along inside the front of the bandage and have started to lift the edges off the support bandages at the back,
  grab a scissors and cut vertically straight through the center of the padding, splitting the bandage in half
- Fold open both sides and take a look at your new chest for the first time!
- Gently peel off the remaining bandages on each side using baby oil as needed
- use ZOFF bandage adhesive removal wipes to remove any adhesive residue (available on eBay, possibly in boots)

Using this method, I had no problem at all taking the bandages off. They basically just fell off and didn't take any hair/skin with them!

Before I even began removing the dressings, I knew I wasn't going to see the final result. I would need to take what I saw with a pinch of salt as it would be changing drastically over the coming months.
When I saw my chest for the first time, I was in shock. There was a time when not a day went by that I didn't look in the mirror and wish things could have been different.
I would have given anything to look in the mirror and not have what I saw staring right back at me. That day had finally come.

They say money cant buy happiness.. Those people clearly never needed gynecomastia surgery! :P
The result is amazing. Although it's early days, and there is alot of healing and building to be done over the coming months, the improvement even at this stage is phenomenal.

I've included a pic below taken 7 days post op just after removing the bandages, I'll post more over the weekend! (note: you need to log in to see it)
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 04:14:33 PM by 2B||!2B »


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