I’m a Chicago native who has called Seattle home since 2013. I recently got married and my husband and I are pet parents to an 8-year-old German Shepherd named Khaleesi (obviously named before the tragic Game of Thrones finale). I enjoy combining my love of storytelling and digital media to engage online communities in thoughtful conversations. I’m a self-described extrovert and can be found on social media sharing my love of nail art, hair, and reality tv. I’m also passionate about creating community for women of color, advocating for mental health awareness, and therapy.
How did you find your surgeon? What were the specific reasons you chose him or her over other providers?
My Primary Care Physician is a Polyclinic provider and during a routine exam, I expressed my desire to get a referral for a breast reduction. I was really fortunate that my PCP is also a woman of color, so she understood how important it was for me to be referred to a surgeon who was familiar with melanated skin, and to someone who was respected by their colleagues. She told me that she would ask around and soon got back to me with a referral to Dr. Kyllo.
Now, everyone has one or two things they care most about when looking at a surgeon’s work, and for me it was nipples. Despite Dr. Kyllo not having any pictures on the Polyclinic website of his breast reduction work on patients with melanated skin, I was actually most impressed by the work he did on the nipples. They looked really natural, and exactly like what I wanted. Choosing a surgeon is a deeply personal decision. I really liked Dr. Kyllo’s work, and that coupled with a strong referral from my PCP led me to book my initial consultation with him.
What type of procedure did you have and why did you decide to have this procedure?
My mom got a breast reduction when I was a kid, and I never forgot the joy on her face when she realized how her life was then forever changed for the better. I’ve had large breasts my entire life, and while, for most of it, I’ve wanted a breast reduction, I was always encouraged to “wait until I had kids.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, I realized that life is short, and knowing that I didn’t want to have kids, I decided I absolutely wanted to have a breast reduction and experience all the benefits. I was already a B-cup when by the time I was 10 years old, and I ended up a 34GG before surgery. A strong motivation for having the reduction done was the desire to finally get rid of the persistent neck, back, and shoulder pain I had been experiencing for years. I wanted to enjoy more movement and physical activity and to feel more proportional. As a petite woman, I had always felt my breasts were too big for my frame.
Describe your surgical experience and recovery.
I met the anesthesiologist the morning of my surgery, and after walking through things with her, Dr. Kyllo came in and marked me up. I was actually surprised at how quickly things went from there. I went to the bathroom and then was walked to the OR.
I think the most uncomfortable part of my surgical experience was getting the epidural. Although I was thrilled to not need a tube down my throat, it took a few tries to get the epidural placed and that was quite the experience. It wasn’t painful but felt more like an intense uncomfortable pressure. After the anesthesiologist got the epidural in (as the nurse helped soothed me), my last words to them were that I absolutely didn’t want to have kids. We all laughed, and then I was out.
I woke from surgery a little groggy and feeling like I’d been sleeping for hours. Once I was more alert I was wheeled out to my husband, and given the instructions we needed to head home.
I had a positive surgical experience, but the first few days of recovery were challenging to say the least. I’d never had surgery before and was not prepared for some of the intense moments of pain that I experienced when my pain meds wore off in the middle of the night. After the first week, things drastically improved, and once the pain subsided, my recovery was more mental than just physical.
What were your fears about having this procedure and how did your surgeon help you overcome them?
My greatest about having this procedure done was the possibility of having a medical complication. My second fear was that I wouldn’t like the results.
I had my consultation in June and scheduled my surgery for September, which allowed me a few months to prepare. I’d never had surgery before, so I didn’t have any firsthand experience of what anesthesia felt like, or what it was like to recover from surgery. To mentally prepare, I did a lot of research, talked to folks who’d had the surgery, made a list of products I should buy, and read tips for recovery. I seriously felt I’d done everything I could to prepare myself, but I still had some nerves.
During my consultation, pre-op appt, and day-of surgery, Dr. Kyllo and his staff answered all my questions, walked me through what to expect, and overall made me feel at ease about the entire journey.
Describe why you are happy you chose this procedure. How has it positively impacted your life? Your self-esteem?
When people say breast reductions are life-changing, they’re not exaggerating. I’m happy I had this done because it positively changed so many aspects of my life. Immediately after surgery, the pain in my neck, shoulders, and back was gone. My posture improved. My clothes fit a million times better. On the flip side, I’ve had large breasts for 37 years of my life, and it has definitely taken time to get comfortable in my new body. It’s been about 3 months since my surgery and while I don’t regret it at all, I have to remind myself that it’s a process to get used to my new body.
Prior to surgery I was confident in my skin and felt fine with my larger breasts. It wasn’t until I started experiencing more physical symptoms of discomfort that I knew it was time to get a breast reduction. Since having the reduction done, I’ve been feeling pain-free and at ease in my body. I feel more proportionate and happier with the appearance of my breast size. I like wearing tops without having to think twice about the amount of cleavage showing.
Tell us specifically about why you are happy you chose the surgeon you did? Describe his/her most outstanding qualities.
Dr. Kyllo came highly recommended by my primary care physician. He was described to me as a very experienced and talented surgeon who was highly regarded and respected by his colleagues. During our consultation, Dr. Kyllo was warm and immediately made me feel comfortable. I instantly liked him and felt like he understood what I wanted and communicated clearly with me about what results could be expected. He seemed excited to do the surgery since he knew how much happier I’d be with the extra breast weight removed. Throughout the entire process, Dr. Kyllo had a wonderful bedside manner and always made me feel comfortable. He answered every single question and had really great energy.
How did our staff support you in your surgical experience?
I cannot rave enough about the entire Polyclinic Plastic Surgery staff! Every single person treated me with care, and their pre-and post-op attentiveness and responsiveness were excellent. My husband is a Registered Nurse, and even he was impressed with how great the service was post-op. Every question we had was answered and we were always made to feel comfortable as this was a new experience for both of us. I also really liked the Polyclinic app (My Health Chart) which made communicating with staff super easy. My entire experience from consultation to surgery to 3-month post-op has been truly amazing. I’d highly recommend booking a consultation with Dr. Kyllo.
Do you have any advice for others who may be considering this procedure?
My biggest piece of advice to others who are considering this surgery is to do your research. This is a wonderful surgery to have, but your surgeon matters. Be sure to read reviews, ask people in your life for referrals, ask your primary care doctor for referrals, book consultations, ask questions, and more than anything, trust your gut. There are many great surgeons you might not vibe with, and that’s okay. Find someone whose work you consistently like, make sure you’re on the same page about your unique health and background, and then decide if this is right for you. I think this surgery is life-changing and if your surgeon clears you to get it done, go for it!
My other piece of advice is to have grace with your recovery. Your body will take time to heal, and after the pain subsides, you’ll still have a long journey ahead of getting used to your new body. Most people love the results and don’t regret the surgery, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be without a rollercoaster of emotions. I was surprised at how much of a mental process my recovery was. Lean on your family and friends for support, and definitely plan ahead to help make your recovery easier.