When “Part 1 of My Story: Gyno Surgery” left off, I was about to get on a plane with my fiancé to New York to finally have my long awaited surgery with Dr. Blau. We arrived in Westchester, New York almost 2 months from when I had first reached out to Dave Palumbo on email seeking advice and help. Once we landed and got settled into to our hotel we tried to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. With this procedure, Dr. Blau insists his out of town patients stay for 4-5 days following surgery in case there are any complications, but also for a follow up visit and to remove bandages. Prior to flying up, he also mailed a booklet with detailed instructions and restrictions of things I couldn’t do prior to surgery and in the days following. He placed a special emphasis on bodybuilders stopping all supplements right down to whey protein drinks and multi-vitamins. And naturally he wanted movement to be limited until the follow-up visit – no training, no sex, and no unnecessary walking around.
In the majority of gyno surgeries performed by Dr. Blau he uses local anesthetic. Unless you need extensive surgery and liposuction he won’t admit you to the hospital for general anesthesia, instead the procedure is performed right in his office in Westchester. My surgery was scheduled for 11:00am and we arrived 15 minutes early. With local anesthesia you can eat food on the day of the surgery, so my fiancé and I stopped at a local deli for a quick bite before walking to Dr. Blau’s office. When I opened the door it was exactly what you might expect from the #1 gyno surgeon in the world. A bodybuilder sitting on one side of the room, a teenager and his mom on another other side, one man from the Caribbean in to have his first consultation, and then us. From there I checked in with Dr. Blau’s assistant, Mary Anne, where she had me fill out a few forms and pay for the surgery. Once everything was ready I sat back down and waited to be brought back. I remember being very calm and ready to go; absent of anxiety and nervousness.
After about 30 minutes of sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to be called, Dr. Blau came from behind the closed door to greet me and my fiancé. I hadn’t seen him since I left his office on my first visit back in January. We then walked back to his pre-op room, I took my shirt off, and he drew a few marks on my chest before taking me back to his operating room. His anesthesiologist was there with us and he began to administer the local anesthetic. The needle that was used to numb me was no joke, probably 4 inches long and my guess it was an 18 gauge. I was warned in advance that the only thing I would feel during the entire experience was the anesthesia needle and they weren’t kidding. Holy crap this thing hurt. He jabbed it in me at least 10 times on each pec. I was really trying to tough it out, but it felt like I was getting stabbed over and over. Once that was over everything was downhill from there. Dr. Blau left the room for about 30 minutes as the anesthesia kicked in. Once he returned he offered me a blind fold so I wouldn’t have to see any blood and guts when the action started, which I kindly accepted.
The next thing I knew I could feel a light touching around my nipple area. The room was very silent. It was clearly apparent how routine surgery was for Dr. Blau. Before long I started to feel tugging and snipping away from my chest. Everything was painless, but I was still awake enough to know surgery was taking place. After about 45 minutes it was complete. The time literally flew by. I sat up; he wrapped me in a bandage, gave me an apple juice, and had me sit in the waiting room for 30 minutes before I could leave.
Once we arrived back at the hotel it was almost as though the experience never happened. I wasn’t on any pain meds, although Dr. Blau did insist I use extra strength Tylenol if need be. The entire process from start to finish was similar to getting a cavity filled at the dentist. Was it fun? No, but certainly nothing to sweat over.
The first night sleeping in the hotel was a little rough. Not from pain, but because I wasn’t sure if I could roll over. After 4 days cooped up in the hotel, my fiancé and I were getting a little stir crazy. Even though Dr. Blau ordered me to stay off my feet we decided to take a day trip into Manhattan. We ventured to the Natural History Museum and then out to dinner at Max Brenner’s Chocolate by the Bald Man restaurant. We aren’t in New York very often so we had to take advantage of the opportunity.
On the final day of the trip I had my checkup with Dr. Blau. He removed my bandages and told me everything looked great. I was obviously very swollen, but the bruising wasn’t too bad. He warned me that it could take up to 12 months for all of the swelling and scar tissue to finally subside. That surprised me considering a normal injury that incurs swelling is usually gone in 2-3 weeks, but this was obviously not like a typical ankle sprain. I couldn’t wait to head back to the hotel so I could finally take a shower after going all week without one.
Once I got home and back on my normal routine from New York I was already itching to get back to training. Dr. Blau told me to wait a few weeks, but like my normal self, patience isn’t exactly a strong suit of mine. I actually took a full week off, but slowly added in calves, hamstrings, arms, and cardio around the 10 day mark. By day 14 I was doing back, shoulders, legs – everything but chest. I was still reluctant to hit a full chest workout. Instead of completely neglecting chest I decided to gradually add it back. I would start with machine flies at the end of some of my upper body workouts. Each day I’d put something else in like hammer strength incline press and within a month of surgery I was back to hitting a normal pre-surgery chest workout.
The stitches I had from surgery were dissolvable and flaked away after about a month. I’m 12 weeks post-op and there is still some swelling and tenderness around my chest. Each day that passes I have seen slight improvements. My self-esteem is better, my clothes fit normal, and my posture has improved. And I didn’t even have bad gyno; it was typical ‘bodybuilder gyno’ that you might see on any number of competitors.
With the help of Dave and Dr. Blau I finally did something I’ve been waiting to have done for most of my life. If you have gyno, do yourself a favor and find a way to save enough money to have the surgery. Dr. Blau is the best in the business and a true artist. He’s the only person I would have ever trusted to operate on me and he did a tremendous job. Don’t live your life feeling embarrassed or ashamed; it’s just not worth it.
In case you missed it, Part 1 of the story: http://www.rxmuscle.com/articles/latest-news/8372-gyno-surgery-my-story.html
You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMeinrod or read his archived articles on www.MattMeinrod.com