I'm 38 and weigh 138lbs. I have an inkling I...

I'm 38 and weigh 138lbs. I have an inkling I would actually be petite if I weren't so top heavy...
In the UK I have had real problems getting my GP to take my requests seriously and have been fobbed off FOUR TIMES (there was the female doctor who told me they couldn't be that bad because I was wearing a normal t-shirt rather than a huge jumper or something....oh and the male doctor who told me there is simply no correlation between back pain and large breasts...and my personal favourite, the doctor who told me "most women would kill to have those!" when I pulled up my top). Finally I saved up the money and decided to go private. The journey so far has been fraught with set backs. Firstly I couldn't get the money together in time, then I couldn't get the time off work and when I actually managed to get it all sorted, and even got so far as putting on the gown and sitting on the hospital bed waiting for my surgeon, they took me temperature, it was 104 F, and sent me straight home. Within hours I had flu and was ill for two weeks.

But that was then and this is now and it's HAPPENING! July 8th.

I know everyone says it but, well, that's because it's true. This website has been a godsend and I just want to say a big thank you to every woman who has taken the time to post their stories and photos. I've found it so inspirational and reassuring to be part of this community and it has definitely given me the strength and resolve to go ahead. I'm looking forward to posting more in a week or so. Here are some 'before' pics.

Some pre-op musings

I've had such an amazing few days out in the sunshine and spending time with friends and family. I feel calm and very positive about tomorrow. My operation is at 8am and I have to get to the hospital for 7am. I'm going to camp out in a hotel tonight (the operation is in central London, I live about 50 miles away) and watch the Wimbledon final this afternoon. I'm determined to just have a normal day.
Just one little thing...it occurred to me a few days ago how much fun it is seeing men look at or talk to my breasts lately...because I know they're going, it's just not annoying me anymore. Now it just seems absurd and hilarious.

My original title was "who will I be after this?" and it really does sit on my mind. I've been defined, or rather, I've come to define myself, by these for soooo many years. It affects everything about the way I see my appearance. My friends tell me I'm pretty but when I look in the mirror I just look straight down to the oafish boobs and I'm always assuming others are too. So it's definitely going to take a while to change the way I see myself. I know it's not going to be like I come out of the anaesthetic and think, "Whoop! I'm gorgeous!" Rather, it'll take a while of recognising that I can't blame or focus anything on my boobs anymore. My friend joked the other day, "after your boobs have gone you'll look in the mirror one day and think, 'God my thighs are fat!' ". I hope with all my heart that I'll have the wisdom to not just transfer all my insecurities onto another part of my body and therefore not actually learn anything and develop as a person. I have to be honest and recognise that much of my reasoning for doing this is psychological. So the mind will need changing as well as the body (but I'm assuming the physical me will have a significant effect on the mental me, as well).

God, does any of this make any sense?

Anyway- thanks again for all the comments and inspiration from you ladies out there. I really do feel part of a community here that understands and is looking out for me in a way my friends and family can't really do because, in the end, they haven't been there.

I'm crying writing this. Oh dear, What's that all about.

Nervous, suddenly

Wow- Murray won Wimbledon, that was awesome! I had a great afternoon with my housemates and got on the train into London and now I'm at the hotel...alone...and I feel sick with nerves.

I think it's because I know this time it's really happening. It's REALLY happening.

An hour pre op!

Been reading in my (really gorgeous) room and just had a chat with the surgeon. He is so nice and polite. He reassured me the link between back pain and large breasts is pretty well supported by research and laughed when I told him of my hideous encounters with the GPs. Anyway. Here are some pictures. I'm going in any minute. The nerves have gone now and I feel ecstatic at these drawings! They're going to be tiny.

Oh no photos after all!

Boo I can't upload the pics from my phone for some reason. Will put them up tomorrow when I get home.

10 hours post op

Hey folks. Thanks for the lovely messages!
It's 11pm and I've been in good spirits all day. I've had hardly any pain (in fact I think I'm in less pain than I would ordinarily be with my bag and strap groves etc) but I've been sick 3 times and haven't been able to eat at all, which is a pain.

When I first looked down at my new breasts I can't say I really felt anything. It was odd. I'd always assumed I would have a 'wow!' moment. I took a photo of them and texted my mum and friend and they instantly commented on how small they are but they didn't seem small particularly. I want to emphasise that the way I felt wasn't disappointment or anything like it, more a kind of cheerful indifference. A few hours later I made my first trip to the bathroom and then WOW!!!!!!! They were the first thing I saw and I was so overwhelmed I burst into tears on the spot. The nurse said I was simply the most cheerful and positive patient she's ever seen but how could I be anything else? That truly was a life changing moment. And you know what? For the first time in my life I thought, "oh, I'm actually quite pretty".

Photographs!

I tried to get as many photos as I could over the last 30 hours so I'm just going to upload the ones that didn't turn out too bad.

A quick update

Hi folks. Thanks again for all the support- it really does make such a difference. As I slipped in and out of sleep and nausea yesterday I was constantly reading the comments you lovely ladies were leaving and it just made me feel amazing to see how much support I have from this virtual community.

Well, it's Day 2 and I'm home and settled. They taped me up pretty tight today so I'm not wearing a compression bra (which is weird, as all the literature said I would start wearing it straight away). My friend came and picked me up from the hospital at around 11am and the drive home took around an hour. I was chatty and in good spirits all the way home and even managed to sit in the lounge and watch TV for a few hours before finally going up to my room for a nap.

The surgeon told me he took out 620g from one breast and 610g from the other and that I should be a C cup, as I wanted. The nipples are perfectly sized. It was like watching a mathematician at work yesterday when he was doing the markings. He had the tape measure out and was matching the nipple position against the location of my crease, seating it slightly higher. Everything was being done so carefully and with such precision. All the time he was chatting and asking me about my job (I'm a teacher) and made me feel perfectly at ease.

Off for dinner now but have more to say so will write more later!

The Day Three Blues

I went back to the hospital to get the remaining drain out and - dear God- the pain was unbelievable. It took three hard tugs and I felt this incredible pain spill across my right breast and over the nipple. The sheer shock of it, hearing myself screaming out like that, brought me to tears and I properly sobbed for half an hour. Suddenly it was all a bit overwhelming, me all taped up and bloody and wearing those stupid stockings, say downstairs in a posh hospital where I felt like a right idiot.

Then, an hour or so later, when the pain had quelled, I was rosy cheeked and laughing again and the euphoria came back. I've been in good spirits ever since.

The nurse told me my mood would roller coaster like this - as did you guys- but I suppose I hadn't expected it to hit so suddenly.

Anyway the shoulder shrug keeps me cheerful. When I feel any pain, nausea, discomfort or anxiety set in I shrug my shoulders. As I lift and drop them I'm reminded that I have no back pain whatsoever anymore. I feel free- liberated. The only time I ever felt this freedom was when I convinced my ex boyfriend to just stand and hold my breasts for a while. He only managed for 25 seconds- I've been holding them for 25 years. I've earned the right to this euphoria, to this wonderful shoulder shrug of freedom.

Some questions...

Can anyone answer these questions for me please? I'd be sooooo grateful, thank you.
1. I have 3 compression bras but the nurse says I shouldn't wear one until I go back a week after surgery. Is this normal? I'm thinking I might just call my PS in the morning to check.
2. How much should I be sleeping vs just resting? Today I got out of bed at ten am and got back into bed at 11pm. During the day my housemate (who, by the way, has been absolutely incredible) drove us all the way into central London and back which ended up being a 4 hour round trip. I've been lying sort of upright on the sofa watching TV the rest of the day. I wondered whether I ought to actually be sleeping more?
3. When I do sleep should I be propped up with cushions? I'm lying pretty low down and wonder if that's bad?
4. Am I mad for being so cheerful?!

Thanks in advance folks xxx

First zinger

I'd read about this phenomenon and it was just as I expected- like a sharp electrical current zinging up into my nipple.

Day four and I'm still cheerful and in very little pain. Been sleeping today and trying to take it easy.

Day 7 and meh

Hi folks. I've hit the wall. My cheerfulness seems inversely proportionate to this ridiculous heat wave. I am the only person in England who's annoyed with the weather but it's too hot to sit outside, too hot to sleep and I'm having anxiety moments where I imagine how much sweating I'm doing under all my bandages. The doctor taped me up so tight that I can't get to my breasts or my cleavage to dry myself and I can feel myself itching and getting increasingly uncomfortable.

Eurgh. Sorry. The blues have hit :(

A better day

Thanks lovely people for your comments yesterday, which really cheered me up.

I've just trailed back into London to have the stitches around my nipples taken off and the relief - my God - when she took off the bandages! She changed all my steri strips and I'm now in a compression bra and feeling a hundred times more comfortable. I even plan to sit out in the sun today and read for a bit.

The nurse said they're healing well and I needn't worry about how my poor boobs have been cooking in there. Everything was fine.

My next appointment is with the PS on 25th July. The rest of the stitches are dissolvable do it'll just be a check up I guess.

In my head I'm over the worst - because the last couple of days of heat and discomfort have been so unbearable - but I'm sure that's not the case. The heat is ...oppressive. However, I'm cheerful again, and in no pain (it's now 48 hrs without any painkillers and even before that I only took 1 or 2 every now and then).

I feel a strong, strong sense of relief that my big boobed days are over. I can't believe I was worried I might change when, actually, the person I see in the mirror now is just the girl I always felt like I was underneath those massive breasts. I feel pretty and feminine. I have no grooves in my shoulders, no pain in my back, no shockingly low self esteem. I just feel AMAZING. If you haven't done this and are wavering- don't think about it, just do it! It will change your life.

Up and about!

What an amazing 48 hours. After I wrote that post saying how meh I was feeling my housemate (my hero in every respect) whisked me up and drove me to Tesco, which was air conditioned. She wheeled me about and did all my shopping for the next week, as she has now gone to the States on holiday. Being in the cool, and the hilarity of people looking at me in the wheelchair wondering what's wrong with me (especially as I was chatting away and laughing) totally cheered me up - not to mention cooled me down. Then yesterday I was out in the garden reading for a couple of hours, and today I feel quite normal again.

Today my friend drove me to the pub a mile or so away and I managed to sit for an hour in the beer garden in a pretty dress (until I started tiring and needed to get home and back in my slouchy clothes). I've put a picture up. This dress always makes my boobs look absolutely massive and today was no exception, which was odd!! I know I'm swollen but they really do look big to me in this photo. I don't mind though, how they look I mean. I know I could have gone smaller but I wanted to just do what the PS suggested so that whatever size they ended up I wouldn't regret not having made a different decision. And the main thing is that I wanted to end the pains and aches, the chafing, the strap grooves in my shoulders, that feeling of always being conspicuous in a crowd etc. All of that has been achieved.

One thing that took me by surprise is how I've packed on the pounds in the last 8 days. I normally keep trim by going on massive powerwalks and I suppose normally I would walk on average 4 miles each day; some days I walk 10 miles (I walk along singing to my music at the top of my voice- it's my favourite activity!). I eat relatively well but I do have treats and I guess my exercise routine does a lot to offset my diet because suddenly I feel big. It's annoying that I've got to start counting my points again (I'm a long term weightwatcher and have been a gold member for a year) because I wanted to relax and not worry about it. The thing is, it does occur to me that I have to make sure I don't put on weight because what if it goes back on my boobs and all of THIS ends up being redundant? There's so much stuff I hadn't thought about. I need to do everything to ensure this operation benefits me for life, not just until I get down next and start comfort eating again. It's like I said way back when. The physical stuff is fixed...a lot of the remaining journey is psychological.

Recent photos

The current look of my boobs in and out of clothes :)

The red dress and other successes

I've had the most amazing 24 hours. I know I seem to begin a lot of my posts that way....but it's the only way I can describe the heightened mood I feel, the euphoria and bliss of constantly being reassured by the universe that I've made the right decision.

Here are the numerous emotional, physical and psychological milestones of the last 24 hours. I am certain that at least one of you reading will be able to relate to these:
1. Yesterday I walked to Tesco ON MY OWN. This is a mile away. I walked slowly but surely, singing along to my music just like before the op. It took me around 50 minutes to make it there and back. It was beautiful being outdoors and alone, feeling the sun and breeze on my skin without the sweat accumulating in my cleavage and in the underwire part of my bra. And when I got home I didn't have red raw dents in my shoulders or under my breasts. Such small things but...incredible!
2. Along the walk many men drove past without doing a double take at my huge knockers. And when I waited at the pedestrian crossing I didn't have to look down or to the side self consciously because NO ONE WAS STARING at me. Really, though. No one was staring. You ladies will know that this is a phenomenon men don't understand (and sometimes are in absolute denial about). But men in stationery anb passing cars DO stare at women with big breasts the same way I would stare at a UFO if it was circling overhead...they stare as if they're being drawn in by some dark magic they can't fight. Sometimes they would beep their horns. Once a man hung out of his window and told me I was a slut and that he would f*** me up the ass. These are brutal things to have in your memory over a 25 year period...yet redeemable from one 50 minute walk of almost no male attention. Oh, to be invisible. What an amazing blessing!
3. On the way home two men walked past. They looked pretty sleazy. They both looked me in the eye. Ha! In the eye.
4. I've been single on and off for 3 years. My low self-esteem has been a major obstacle in my happiness in love. I'm a smart, successful, funny (well...sometimes) and strong woman but I absolutely do "date down". I would never, ever approach or express an interest in a good looking man. What's the point afterall? I might look fine in my industrial strength bra that hoists my 32 GG/H boobs up to my chin but once those boobies are let loose there's no way he'll find my body attractive. That's always been my thought process. And it's bled into everything. I've ended relationships that were promising because I haven't been happy in myself and instead stayed in relationships that were under stimulating, boring even, with men that weren't right for me, because those men seemed safer somehow. Well, a few weeks ago my housemate sat me down and had stern words with me. She told me it's time I dated at my level. As I've said, I don't think it's something I've ever believed, really, that I am pretty or anything like that (and thank you soooo much for all the compliments, you don't know how much you guys are contributing to the new me (let's hope the new me isn't a vanity monster :-) ). But I put myself on match.com and waited to see how I got attention from. I've been e-mailing and on the phone to this one amazingly handsome, funny, smart man who just thinks I'm the most beautiful thing on earth and we're going on our first date tomorrow. It doesn't even matter if it goes terribly. The sheer fact that I replied, accepted the attention, didn't withdraw in the conviction his interest will be short-lived...these are MAJOR breakthroughs in my self-esteem.
5. I'm well enough to go on a date tomorrow! How amazing is that? I went to the pictures tonight as well. Tomorrow will be a short date (maybe a couple of hours) as I don't want to tire myself out but I'm absolutely well enough to hold a decent conversation.
6. I tried on my favourite red dress again (that one that looked wrong last week). This was the only dress I've ever owned that made me feel good. It flattered my bust and pinched in at my waist and sat nicely on my kind of wide hips. Today I took off my compression bra and just put it on braless and it looks great. It's different...but it works. I then felt enthused and tried on other dresses. They all still fit but look miles better. How can I make sense of this? Easy. Turns out I was shopping for this version of me all along. I wasn't just busting out of my clothes. I was buying clothes for the figure I wanted not the figure I had. Well, that kind of ended up working out for me. Now I have a wardrobe of beautiful clothes, rarely worn, like a treasure trove I've just found the key for.
7. Today in the queue for the cinema there was a group of teenage boys. The queue was long. Not a single one of them stared at my boobs in that whole time. I was utterly inconspicuous. It gave me the giggles and a major rush of happiness.

I check this site every day, four or five times. The comments you leave mean so much to me and I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Did I just stagedive and land in the greatest possible crowd on earth?

Another ramble from me, sorry

A 3-part update (and thank you, anyone, for reading this if you do- I'm really just venting to the only group of people I know will understand):

1. THE DATE
The date was a bit rubbish. His photos were at least 5 years old and now he looked old and haggard with teeth missing and tattoos that looked really faded and crappy. He talked incessantly about his dog...and stopped to meet every dog that came past us (we were out walking in the countryside so there were lots). And he kept in launching into what he thought were humourous anecdotes but were actually monologues about nothing in particular. And he ADORED me, which would normally have made me melt in his arms. But this time I just thought, no, I don't have to do this. I'm not interested in this guy. So there was no 2nd date- much to his surprise (wow, some good looking guys are really smug. No wonder I've been slumming it with the uglies).

There was one other weirdness about the date. I'd gone out and bought a little white sports bra to wear on the date because my compression bra looks like a bullet proof vest (and I reckon it could work as one, too). I'm still swollen so it's a 34D. I felt gorgeous in it. I wore a green sparkley top that I bought a year ago and never wore because it was way too tight (but now fits soooo nicely)and a casual cord skirt and went out feeling incredibly feminine. After we'd been together a couple of hours he sort of made a move on me, which I managed to divert into a hug. At that point he said, "I bet you can't wait to get out of this chunky surgical bra!". Oh...my...God. This is probably the tiniest bra I've worn in 10 years. It seemed so pretty to me, and I had felt so pretty wearing it. In that moment a whole backdrop of emotional stuff rushed through my veins and suddenly I was in tears. I really told him off. He knew about the operation and, seeing me in tears, his response was, "Oh, sweetie [eurgh!!] you'll be in pretty little bras soon, you won't have to wear this kind of thing for long". He had no idea. I mean- it wasn't his fault, I suppose. How could he have known, that if THAT bra is chunky then practically every bra I've worn in my adult life must have been at least as unattractive as this...and to think I felt so pretty when I left the house... He defended himself, "well! I had to say something! The size of that bra was the elephant in the room!" Jeez. How can the size of someone's bra be an elephant in the room?

Oh. Sigh. It hit me then, as I stood there crying and telling him off, that I have some serious emotional baggage that will be rearing its head over the next few months. But it still doesn't mean I have to hang around with losers like that.

2. A BILL FOR £900
Argh. At the hospital they sent my breast tissue off for 2 histologies (without my agreement) and have now sent me a bill for £885. When I went for a consultation they told me a histology was elective and I explicitly said I couldn't afford it. The surgery already cost me £5800 by the time I'd paid for travel and meds and whatnot. I don't have this kind of money sitting around. I cried my eyes out when the bill came yesterday. Then I went out for a 6 mile power walk and thrashed it out in my head along the way. By the end I was at a little more at peace with paying the money (i.e. that's going on the credit card) but still fuming that nobody told me they were going to do this. Today I rang mybreast, which are the company I went through and they seemed sympathetic. I'm waiting to hear back but I think there's a chance (a teeny weeny chance) that I won't have to pay it because they did it without my consent. On the other hand, I know on the fine print it says I have to agree to pay for an extras the surgeon feels are necessary so maybe this is one of them. I'm seeing him tomorrow to get the OK on my (gorgeous, wonderful) boobs. I'm going to raise it with him aswell. Eurgh. I hate that. These little things that pop the bubble and let all the magic spill out onto the floor.
3. THE POWER WALK.
Well, I really enjoyed the walk. I've put on maybe 4 or 5 pounds since the op and I'm desperate to shed that (especially as I've become neurotic about it going back on my breasts). I managed to walk at nearly normal speed (4 mph) but the sports bra perhaps wasn't supportive enough because when I got home I was very achey. Because my breasts are swollen they rubbed together in the cleavage and it''s looking a bit raw. I had to put steri-strips on the incisions there last night because it was so tender. So, I suppose, the moral of the story is that yes I can get out and walk again but I do need to make sure I'm wearing something supportive enough- they're a D at the moment and the little TESCO sports bra didn't keep them still while I was out pounding the power walk. Also, I might take a few days off until I've seen my PS and he's checked that they're healing ok.

It's been a strange week, actually. I feel so well in myself and life really is normal in every respect. I started driving again last Saturday and this Friday I'm driving myself back to see my family, which is 3 hours. But I have had a little crash in confidence as sometimes they still seem so large to me. It's an illusion, I know it is, because I have another sports bra, a 34C, which fits; I'm just not wearing it because it sits too close to the incisions, while they're still healing. Also, I can wear these tiny strappy tops without a bra and they look tiny and pert and just pretty wonderful in those. So it shocks me how quickly I have adjusted to my new body, to the extent that I can't always see the difference.

I'm uploading a photo here that was taken the day before surgery. This is the photo I have to keep looking at to really check myself and remember the difference. I'm wearing a small black top that I wouldn't normally have worn but it was a hot, hot day and I had a kind of oh whatever attitude, because the boobs were going the next day. Now when I look at this photo all I can see is a wall of boob with my real body hovering half a foot behind it. Seriously...how did I/any of us cope? How did we carry those things around?

Well, that's me for now. Love you guys xxx

Argh! Bizarreness!

I was feeling really good about my size again, especially after reading moondiemoo's comment (oh that's your second mention in someone's review!) so I thought I'd dig one of my old bras out of the bag and try it on to see the difference. Weirdly, it fitted. I tried another- the same! I put on my old bikini top- it fits! What is this strangeness? The only thing that occurred to me was how phenomenally uncomfortable they were- really tight around the rib cage and straps shortened so that the sides go right into my underarm. But of course they didn't sit like that. So the weight of my breasts must have dragged down the straps and then sat on the band around my ribs. Basically, I really had developed strategies for hoisting them up and strapping them in. But it felt hideous and I felt like a freak, stood there with my little 34C/D that fit ok into my old 32GG.

I don't understand this. It's a weirdness that will never make sense to me. But I must trust this operation worked! I fit far more comfortably into a 34D sports bra and I even have a 34C that fits fine too. I just feel....confused. I feel confused now. Illusions...trickery. It's the mind, I'm sure. Argh!

A quick one

I've done some googling and it turns out that it's quite normal, while a woman is swollen after her BR, for her to still fill her old bras. This was so reassuring! I'm so swollen right now, I really am sore and tender all over.

Today was great though. I drove home to see family and friends and seeing their response made me feel reinvigorated. Sometimes you just need to see yourself through the eyes of others to realise just how radical the change is. I took this photo while in the changing rooms shopping yesterday in Oxford Street. I stood in that outfit for 15 minutes and cried my eyes out because there is no way I would ever have pulled that outfit from the rail before but I really liked the way I looked in it. I bought it :)

22 days and feeling very sore and tender

Hi there. Don't get me wrong, there isn't a day that goes by where I don't count my blessings for what this operation has done for me physically, mentally and emotionally. I hardly recognise myself in all respects. I'm definitely happier and the pain-free life is a good one.

Having said that...As I'm still quite swollen the incisions in my cleavage are not healing too well. In some ways they look quite healthy as the scabs are off and the incisions look closed. But they are extremely sore as my breasts are constantly pressed together. Also, I can see some small white lumps that look like they could be tiny blisters forming on or around the incisions. The only way I can get the soreness to go is to take the compression or sports bra off and lie down so that my breasts fall to the sides and a bit of air gets to the incisions inside the cleavage area. But if I do that for too long I also worry that's going to affect their shape and how they sit.

Does anyone know - can I do anything to help this healing process until the swelling goes down and is there anything I can do to lessen the soreness? It really is uncomfortable and I'm starting to worry the incisions are going to become infected.

I know I need to be patient about the swelling and I'm taking all your advice on board I promise! No high level exercise, plenty of water and just taking it easy generally. But until the swelling goes these particular incisions are proving to be a pain, I have to say.

I'm happy to report that in every other respect the healing is going very very well. Hope everyone is good too :)

*sigh* Midnight ramblings....sorry

Firstly, thank you to all the lovely people who posted advice after I last added to my review. The surgeon got back to me and had no further wisdom than any of you- which just shows what a bunch of experts we all become thanks to this site and our wealth of communal experience. I've been giving the cleavage a lot more air, sometimes even sleeping at night without a bra, but propped up at the sides with pillows etc. I also used a bit of antibacterial cream - Savlon - which calmed down the sores a great deal and put my mind at rest. I'm still swollen, more so in my right breast, which I have a feeling is already a bit bigger anyhow (not so that you'd really notice, though) but not at all uncomfortable anymore, which is welcome respite. Still a bit tender, but not that bad at all.

Emotionally, I'm in a good place right now on the whole also. Today I went shopping and bought some really stunning outfits that I would never normally have fitted into with my old boobs. I also bought a couple of really nice but wireless bras, at a 34D, which I'm pleased with. Because they have no underwire I don't have to worry about this width of my pocket business; my boobs just fit nicely and they give them a really nice shape, without having to worry about digging into scars etc. That was a pack of 2 for £19 in Debenhams. Just generally, I cannot say how happy I am with their shape and how they sit naturally. They are things of beauty! I think my surgeon did an amazing job. I feel feminine and pretty these days. And the male attention...oh my. It's ridiculous. Things couldn't be more different. I'm being pursued by about half a dozen men, all of whom are good looking and successful and....not at all my types!! It's an adventure. I tell you what, though. Good looking guys, having had it easy all their lives, just don't have the little quirks I love in others. These are the quirks we all develop in the face of insecurity, introspection; they are the product and souvenirs of all our suffering and amazing coping mechanisms. I'm proud of all the quirks I've developed over the years and I find them endearing and welcome them in others. Sometimes I think...wow, if people don't have their little quirks, it must just be that life has been so straightforward for them, or maybe it hasn't, but they haven't had the self awareness to really grow and be enriched by the tough times.

I got set up by a friend - my hairdresser- with this amazing man who lives near me and is pretty successful. He's a millionaire, crazy, I've only ever seen those on TV! He's taken me on two dates and seems really keen. He is very attentive and good company. But he is so NORMAL. Argh. So, so normal that I find it almost impossible to relate to him. Also, his frankness, not necessarily a flaw, threw me. For example, when I told him about my operation his response- though well intentioned I'm sure - was "Oh, good, because I've just never found women with big breasts attractive!". WHAT???!!! What kind of an idiot says that to a woman who's had big breasts until 4 weeks ago? Another guy who's been paying me a lot of attention is an old friend from school who came back into my life at Christmas. When we met up last week he couldn't stop looking at my breasts and complimenting them- which obviously felt great. But then, as we walked past a couple of girls, one of whom had noticeably large breasts, he made this weird comment, "wow- she's got a big personality!" - and he said it within earshot of her. I actually let out a humph sound. I was almost going to let it go. But then I felt so frustrated, and defensive of her, knowing how recently that kind of comment was being made about me, and how totally unnecessary it is to do that, I made a point of taking it up with him. He was bewildered. He had no idea what he'd done wrong. Anyway, I don't mean to link this sort of behaviour to good looking guys. But in all the years I was "dating down" as my friends would say, I never heard any of them make comments/blunders like that. I suppose it made me realise, you can take the big breasts OFF the girl, but you can't take the big breasts OUT of the girl. That was my community. That was my identity. I don't wish to be that woman that then allows other big breasted women to become the butt of jokes that she doesn't have to worry about herself anymore. I want to be a better person than that. It frustrates me terribly that we still live in a society where women's breasts can be groped, commented on, jeered at, gawped at, as if they are the property of the general populace whilst the poor woman who has to hoist them up and drag them about and cope with the back pain is considered petty, vain and superficial for despising or wanting to reduce them. Sorry, I know I'm ranting. But I have been fondled and gawped at, insulted, praised, ridiculed and defined because of my large breasts - or dismissed purely for having them, as this nice millionaire would have done to me 4 weeks ago - and it has changed me. It's left me with certain quirks. And, low and behold, it transpires that one of those quirks is to make me a bit of a feminist. And now I don't think I can fall in love with the sorts of guys who think I'm being a drama queen about it.

I mean...what it boils down to is that the pain of carrying very large breasts around, as well we know, is not just a physical pain. Just because I don't have the grooves in my shoulders anymore, or the aches in my back, or the red raw marks on my skin, or the constant discomfort, doesn't mean I can just forget who I was. So, I've realised...and it's a bit of an epiphany really...that my big breasts DO still define me. They define me historically and in retrospect, when I think of what they and I went through together. In many ways, though not all of course, I'm the person I am because of them and all the insecurities and tough times they gave me and got me into over the years.

And when I think of if it that way, maybe I couldn't have had this operation a single day sooner or it could have changed so much of who I've become. Its legacy will impact on and inform who I become now in this new era.

See...I bloody knew this operation wasn't going to be straightforward.

6 weeks post op - a mixed bag of good and bad

Thanks for the prompt Tamjoy! Here are some photos taken yesterday.

Physical stuff:
Healing-wise I am doing well, I think. The scars need massaging really but there are still a few (very small) scabs here and there so holding off. The swelling is gone completely and no more bruising. The shape is settling I think. Sleeping is comfortable but still can't lie on my side as the stitches really do start to hurt. I have one very tiny spot that I'm worried about- it's on the incision inside my cleavage, which has really been my problem area since the get-go. It's tiny but gets gunky and can squeeze it, just like a whitehead. Nothing too disastrous though. I just try and give it air. Righty is now definitely bigger than lefty, and also they are different shapes. I can see it in photos but in real life I have to say it's not very noticeable. I can see that my right 'pocket' actually sits lower (now that I can see them, which wasn't the case before!) so it makes sense one should be bigger. Luckily the nipples sit at the same level- carefully engineered my by amazing surgeon. I'm out exercising again and it's great to wear a sports bra without another bra underneath and still be supported. Normally after 5 or 6 miles of power walking I get this terrible pain in my left shoulder towards my neck. I notice that has totally gone now, incredible. It makes the whole walk a million times more enjoyable. Also- I'm definitely walking faster. In fact, I feel so excited about being healthy again that I decided to sign up for a sprint triathlon next June! To clarify, I am a terrible swimmer, a pretty average cyclist and I run like Phoebe, but I feel that without my massive old boobs anything is possible.

Emotional stuff:
Ok, I know they're tiny compared to before but, as far as I'm concerned, they're still too big. I'm wearing a 34D and sometimes they just look enormous to me. In clothes I feel like a lot of the time I can't see the difference- they seem to stick out as far as they always used to. I noticed yesterday that I'm walking and sitting a little hunched again. I'm clearly self-conscious about them (just at the moment at least). Yesterday at a BBQ my friend said that yes they are a little bigger than she expected but perfectly in proportion with my frame, which I know is true. However, they look great and sit beautifully and I love that I can go bra-less (which I did under a lovely red dress on my birthday last thursday- I just turned 38!). When I look at myself naked I feel very confident and happy.

One of my students was telling me just before my op that her mum had a breast reduction a year ago and her advice- having followed her mum's journey- was to GO SMALL. Funny, I listened to that and thought, yes, a C is small. It didn't occur to me that I would end up a D, it really didn't.

So, emotionally got a bit of a dark cloud over me right now, sorry :/ I know I was super positive for ages. Genuinely, in most ways I still am. I'm on school holidays until end of August and I think I've had too much time to sit and fixate on them. Once there is other stuff to fill my world I'm sure I will be able to put things back in perspective.

Ooh a PS

I just ran to catch a train and didn't have to hold my boobs down :) Small victories x

Happy happy happy!

(oh my God my review is wayyyyyy too long- I'll wrap it up soon I think)

Thanks to everyone who posted yesterday/today and totally made me feel better. I really did feel down and couldn't get my head around what was happening. But just a day later I've started my period and lost a couple of pounds and, lo and behold, I'm wearing a 34C. I'm mesmerised suddenly by my tiny breasts.

This is the THIRD menstruation I've had since my op 6 weeks ago, and each time I swell up in my boobs, get miserable, then go down again and cheer up. Clearly my hormones are all over the place. I might do some research on whether this is common after trauma to the body but my instinct tells me of course it is.

I'm seeing my PS on Thursday morning for a final check up. Although I like him a lot he seemed to do only a very cursory glance at my incisions last time so this time I'm going to ask him to really look closely at the scars, especially this little spot-type thing inside my cleavage. Today I used silicone gel on them for the first time and, man, does it sting. I can feel the skin tightening. It'll be interesting to see what difference the gel makes.

I spent a lot of today reading through post-op reviews and this issue of still feeling big is sooooo commonplace. It's like Boopy says below, it's like we're conditioned by our big boobed years to now hate boobs on ourselves. I have to relearn the ways and contours of my new body and start loving it properly. Anyway, this moment is one I'd like to just capture and keep in my mind forever because I feel utterly contented and like I've got to the bottom of the emotional highs and lows of this past few weeks. And in this moment of clarity I'm actually really proud of myself. Rather than just live with my pain and insecurities I, like all of you ladies, stepped up and took the chance on making a difference. Nothing in life is perfect and we must accept and be at peace with the fact there is a high probability we are swapping one set of imperfect boobs for another set of imperfect boobs. I've let myself fall foul of that perfectionism that can ruin the enjoyment of the amazing results of what this operation HAS done for me. It's time to stop fixating on my breasts. They're sorted now, it's done. Time to get used to the new ones, cut them some slack (so to speak) and start getting on with a new, noticeably more comfortable life.

I realise this is a total U turn. It wouldn't be an understatement to say you ladies keep me sane and helped me put things in perspective. Thank you thank you thank you. XXX

Three and a half months on

I've been meaning to update for a while but been putting it off as I'm a little overweight (7lbs/2.5kg) and feel like the photos aren't doing me justice. But I'll post anyway and hopefully you'll get the gist of how they're looking.

Ok, so, the physical stuff first I reckon:

-Swelling has totally gone so now they look very natural and the downside to that is they look not droopy, but not as pert let's just say :(
-they're pretty even in shape and size and have settled at a 34 C/D (though they do go up and down depending on how I'm taking care of myself- right now they're definitely bigger as I'm carrying a bit of weight, though still not really big)
-I'm ashamed to say I've done very little to look after the scars and they still look pretty raw and dark pink in places. However the T junction is flat and very pale and the scars around the nipples look healthy.
-I've had no infections or any worries of that sort for a very long time now- the healing has been straightforward

Psychological/emotional stuff:

It took me a long, long time to get my head around the fact that I still have proper breasts. I realise now that what I really wanted and hoped for was to wake up post-op and just be flat chested and, though I've never got as far as tears shed over this, there have certainly been lows because I'm still wearing a D cup. It probably sounds silly but I so wanted to not physically be able to shop in Bravissimo and special bras-for-big-busted-ladies shops anymore. As an aside, I did go in there shortly after the op - not to get measured but just out of curiosity to see how big I was - and the woman who helped me seemed slightly perturbed that I had chosen to opt out of the big-breasted community, which then created a real uncomfortable atmosphere which was compounded by her telling me I was still a 32E or F(I was swollen and emotional and that send me over the edge that day). The other thing she tried to do was separate my boobs into the cups but they wouldn't do her bidding because the surgeon designed them to have a permanent cleavage so they are very, um, frontal (real phrase?!).

That was a weird day. That was the day it truly occurred to me that I was still a lady with breasts. I won't lie, it was devastating. It knocked me for a long, long time, and I'm only just realising now that a 34D is actually still quite small, especially as they are not sagging and swinging at the bottom of loads of loose skin, as they used to when I was an H. Having said that, I am so happy with their shape and it's wonderful that I can now pick up a 34D from most places and fit them. I wear pretty bras with slender straps that no longer dig into my shoulders. So as it happens I don't go into Bravissimo anymore.

Other news is I have met a man- a handsome, clever, kind, funny man- who loves me in my naked form and loves the fact that I love my body and am so confident naked. He is reeling because it's so rare - he says - to find a woman nearly forty who is so comfortable in her own skin. Seeing myself through his eyes this last two months has been an incredible experience and helps me to manage insecurities that are sadly still left over from the olden days. It is true that I walk around naked, am happy to have the lights on, and feel absolutely no shame over being bare in front of him. This is a wonderful, wonderful thing: a life-changing thing I would say. I used to be painfully aware of my breasts before and almost apologetic! Something else that's funny is when peeling off my bra sometimes I expect and am truly surprised not to feel the CLUNK of the big boobs suddenly collapsing down! Instead they just stay where they are. Yep. I'm thinking the novelty's never going to wear off on that one.

After three and a half months I feel like I've had these boobs forever. That has its pros and cons, naturally. On the one hand it means I've adjusted quickly to the feel and shape of them, that they definitely feel like they're mine and a true extension of me. On the other hand, it's tempting to be critical of them as the old boobs fade from my memory. I've posted a before and after with this update if only to remind myself of the difference.

Thanks to anyone reading this, especially any of the original crew (Tamjoy, I'm aware yours is coming up and am super excited for you!). I want to emphasise to anyone new, ladies who are thinking about it or waiting for it to happen, how happy I still am that I went ahead with this operation. I have reached a stage where I am at peace with all aspects of the outcome - the scars, the size, the shape. Even though they are slightly larger than I imagined, the physical benefits are numerous and the psychological benefits are still taking me by surprise, as every day they settle, I feel myself growing even more in confidence and contentedness.

I'll update at six months :) Much love to everyone. Thanks for reading and sorry it's so long!

5 months post op

Got the blues. As they fall into shape they're beginning to 'bottom out' again. I feel the stretch on the skin on my chest again as the breasts pull down.

I'm realising the impact of the 8lbs weight gain. Amazing. I wish someone had warned me how much damage half a stone could do. Now I'm walking and eating better and have lost a few pounds I feel better but know that losing weight means saggy breasts- be ause the skin won't tighten back up (anyone know otherwise? Would be very reassuring to hear that).

Obviously it's still a million miles better than pre-op but, meh.

23 weeks (five and a half months in)

I'm 5'3" and weigh 145 pounds. I've gone from a 32GG/H down to a 34D. And now I love my boobs. It's official.

After my last post I felt emotionally revived as I was so down in the dumps. The comments people made about my skin being young and not stretching reminded me to moisturise and I've seen a massive difference since then. I've also started exercising and lost a bit of weight.

Every day's an adventure in the world of my new boobs but I can honestly say that I am now 100% at home with them. The ups and downs have passed- ha ha, at least for now - I've realised that they just are lovely, I need to take care of them but I really don't need to worry. I think I've just let myself become such a drama queen over these boobs...all my life. It feels alien to say the words 'I love them' but I just do now.

If you're new to this- maybe you're having your op any time now, or still just thinking about it - I wish there was a way I could just open up my head and my heart and let you know all the things you're about to experience if/when you go ahead and do this. And the funny thing is, you might not end up feeling any of the things I have. It's amazing to think that despite us all having the same operation we all go on such an individual journey, but I suppose with crossovers that keep us sane because we can read someone else's profile and think "thank God....they feel that way too..."

Whenever I update my profile I always end up crying. Just for 10 minutes or so I feel like I'm throwing my hands out into the universe and drawing anything I can grab back in. These are the times when I feel most connected with my body, my breasts, my mind and my soul. It's just the thought of there being a whole community of kindred spirits out there, listening and understanding.

It's funny, when you think about it. The surgeon draws along the dotted lines and says words and passes instruments back and forth, and at some point the nurses chuck a hunk of tissue and cells into a bin and it gets wheeled out and then they shift that patient over to a bed and send them back to their room. Then someone comes in and cleans up and they all go about their business and go and have coffee and chat about this and that. And a few hours later, somewhere else in the hospital, you wake up and your whole life has just been altered, literally beyond recognition, and is about to begin again; your world's going to spin on a whole new axis.

It's startling, wonderful, mind-boggling. What magic.

*oops, crying*
I took some photos tonight and have posted. Love to all, hope you're all doing well and MERRY CHRISTMAS! I'm on my way to the States in 11 hours' time- very excited xxxx

PS scarring

I keep forgetting to mention this....

I have keloid scarring. Apparently it runs in my family. My sister and mum tried to warn me when I said I was going ahead with the surgery but I don't think I really understood what it meant. In practical terms it means the scar tissue has grown into some of the healthy tissue around the incisions, so the scars are 2-3 times wider than normal scarring. They are also raised and bumpy. It is particularly noticeable in the cleavage which, thanks to the heatwave this summer, was the last place to heal. I have used bio oil and silicone gel but the impact of these on my scars has been minimal. Now I'm just using moisturiser and lotions, which keep the scar tissue healthy.

The reason why I keep forgetting to mention it is that it just doesn't bother me. I have various scars all over my knees and legs from the hundred or so times I tried, and failed, to ride a bike. I'm also clumsy so am constantly bruised and bumpy from walking into or falling over things. I knew when I went into this that I would end up with scars and it just didn't/still doesn't bother me at all. But it's funny because the woman who was waxing my legs the other day said, "oh is your scarring ok then?...I hear some people get this terrible bumpy scarring..." and she said it like that would be the worst thing in the world.

I read someone on here saying to someone else, "if you're worried about the scarring, then you're not ready for the operation" and I have to say I think I kind of agree (notwithstanding the need to take good care of the scars, of course). There's a point that you get to...where you weigh up the pros and cons and the scars go in the cons but the pros still win out. Keloid scarring for some is a terrible nuisance and very painful. For me it is a minor irritant that constitutes about 0.0001% of the whole experience.

Nearly 9 months on, and still loving it :)

Hi. Wow, it's been SUCH a long time since I last posted. But I've been avidly following others so thanks everyone for your updates.

Well, these photos are a month or so old now but I haven't got around to taking any tonight as it's 11.30 pm and I just feel it's time to update and I want to do this before bedtime.

Nearly 9 months on and things are still good. The scars have actually gone down massively. They are now very pale and are finally beginning to flatten- in fact they are already quite different from these photos, so, progress in a month...that's good.

As for the boobs....I still love them, you know. In fact I love my new body so much that I have developed a bizarre kind of body dysmorphia. I have put on 12 lbs since the op but when I look in the mirror all I can see is this beautiful body! Seriously, I can still spend 10 or 15 minutes just gazing at my smaller, perfect breasts. And so I don't see my chubby thighs or the weight that has gone on around my hips.

Why the weight? I got a promotion at work in September and I work stupid hours. My exercise regime has gone out of the window and I eat crap a lot of the time. I hate it but it's been my coping mechanism (all my life, not just now). Miraculously, the weight doesn't seem to have gone onto my breasts. Tonight I rejoined weightwatchers and I think updating my profile is another way of drawing a line under this lazy phase. Whilst I'm happy to finally be happy with my body....after all of these years of self-loathing...it's not fun to be out of breath when I walk up the stairs (although, to be fair to me, it is two flights of stairs to get up to my bedroom, and, um, they're pretty steep; even the cat starts wheezing half way up).

I'm laughing while I'm writing this because I used to really worry that, when I got rid of the boob problem, some new bodily feature would become the target of my negative attention. But actually it turned out to be the total opposite. I'm so busy loving the new boobs the rest of me could be covered in warts and fur* and I wouldn't notice! Come on, that IS funny. Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

I'll update in 6 weeks and hopefully I will have lost a bit of weight and be feeling healthier. The weather should get better soon, work will ease up (once the students I teach have finished their exams it all gets easier at school), and I will return to long walks in the sunshine and, who knows, maybe even some runs.

Basically, it's ALL good. I'm super happy in love, I have these beautiful breasts, next to no body consciousness, and - tonight at least - I'm feeling fully confident that I will trim down, although getting healthier is the aim, seeing as I can't really see the weight and so don't feel particularly unhappy about it.

Love to you all xx

*I have just checked, by the way: no warts, and just a normal amount of fur.

Update: 14 (and a bit) months later

Wow, 8th July 2013 seems like a loooooong time ago and what's amazing is that I don't really have to think about my breasts anymore. In the beginning, after the operation, I obsessed over them quite a lot and there was a lot of mirror gazing, I can't deny it. Nowadays it seems much more normal to have a smaller bust and I am used to my reflection.

So, when they had fallen a little and settled I realised I was a full 34D. That means that occasionally I need a DD (like this bikini) but most of the time I can just a pick a D off the shelf and I'm good to go. They're a beautiful shape and I'm really, really happy. I think I must be the opus of my surgeon's career; I thank my lucky stars that some intuition told me to go with him and not with the cheaper surgeons who were 30 miles nearer. It's funny: when I think of how I felt stood in his office during that first consultation, so vulnerable and awkward with my breasts free and drooping down to nearly my belly button, I couldn't have conceived of how I would look and feel about myself just 2 years later. Really - it amazes me.

I'm proud of myself for saving up (it's near impossible to get this on insurance/the NHS in the UK) for so long, for persevering when there were numerous hiccups and for defending myself against all the busy bodies telling me I probably just needed to improve my posture/lose some weight/get fitter/have therapy (!!). No, no, no, no. I just needed to get rid of those pendulous sacks of agony that seemingly had the power to cloud my emotions and dominate my thoughts. It really was as simple as I believed it to be when I defended my decision before the op. People...they just don't know. And it's not their fault, I suppose. They can't be in our heads, or under our skins, or buried under our bosom. But I'm grateful for the people who at least sympathised where they were unable to empathise.

I have to say, though, and this is probably/most definitely unrelated, but I have really struggled with my weight since the operation. I don't know why this is but suspect that when my breasts were much larger it didn't take much weight gain to really feel it on my back and then get the drive to slim down again. Now I have put on 14-16 lbs and feel none of it in my back, so it keeps taking me unawares. I'm feeling kind of low about it and frustrated with myself. It was always my expectation that I would reduce my breast size and finally have a bust that matched my figure instead of being super top-heavy. Now I'm pear shaped- hilarious! Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Anyway- I can't and don't want to complain. These breasts make me happy and I feel great. The operation went without any problems and the healing has been incredibly smooth and easy with no setbacks at all. I was off painkillers completely within 3 days. The scarring has faded a lot and even though it is keloid scarring I wouldn't say it's particularly unsightly.

I wish everyone who is getting this procedure the kind of contentment and relief I've found. It really has been life changing stuff.
Mr Paul Tulley

Amazing, can't compliment him enough. Polite and professional with a nice bedside manner. And best of all- great surgeon! I'm thrilled with the results already.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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