Oh God, where to start?!
The problems started when I was about 22. My family have always been "big" - my Mum had a reduction 12 years ago to get her G cups down to a D-ish. So I was always a large C/D but when I went on the mini-pill at age 22 they went wild! Swelled up to an E/F cup and I was totally miserable - I have always been tiny, barely 100lbs and having these huge balloons in front of me was embarrassing and humiliating.
Even though I stopped the mini-pill pretty damned sharpish, they never really recovered and I always hovered around a DD, and they were extremely sensitive with bad bad bad mastalgia.
The doc told me things might improve after having children. Well - 3 kids later they really haven`t. They atrophied for a while after I finished breastfeeding, but then slowly crept up again. Now I am a D which I KNOW is not huge but I am still small - 24" waist (on a good day!) and 34" hips, 5`4" and 105lbs.
But the worst is the pain and swelling I get every month - for about half to two-thirds of every month to be precise. I totally understand that a reduction won`t stop this problem, but if they are nice and small they will be easier to manage, no?
Also - I live in Asia, a very hot part of Asia, and having to live with big boobs here is very unpleasant. The heat is uncomfortable, big boobs are not exactly a common sight here and the attention I get is annoying and humiliating. I can`t get bras to fit me easily, and swimsuits - forget it. I hunch over a lot to try and hide my size, and I get neck and back pain from that.
My boobs are very dense so even though they are not especially large they feel heavy all the time. I`m pretty miserable.
I am coming home for 2 months on the 30th, and I have an appointment with a breast surgeon on July 6th. I haven`t made a definitely decision yet, but am garnering opinions if that is ok with everyone here?! Any feedback most welcome! Thank you for reading!
Oh God, where to start?! The problems started...
Oh God, where to start?!
Well, here I am back home and I had my...
In a nutshell, he said that based on UK "norms" he would consider me "perfect" just as I am and would not recommend surgery. HOWEVER - I am not what you would call a "norm", given that I live permanently in Asia, and that I have had this mastalgia problem for nearly 20 years and have tried everything to fix it (I wrote it all out for him). Plus he can understand that given the fact that I am so sporty, carrying around a set of D's (I measured myself when I first got back and yep, back up to a D again!) on my frame he can understand that it is uncomfortable for me.
The only avenue I haven't explored on the mastalgia problem is Tamoxifen, which is rarely given as a last resort because the side effects are so risky (uterine cancer and other complications). For breast cancer prevention the risks are worth it, but not for mastalgia. Therefore, he says the only option for me now really is surgery, which while it won't fix the mastalgia issue, will certainly make it easier to manage in terms of them being smaller and lighter, and less breast tissue = less tissue to swell and cause pain.
The other bit of good news is that whilst there have been no clinical studies proving a link to breast cancer risk and mastalgia, there is strong anecdotal evidence based on his and other clinicians experience, that there is no greater incidence in mastalgia patients against the general population. This guy is NOT a plastic surgeon, he is a breast surgeon, so ALL he does is breasts, and he has 30 years experience. He really knows his stuff so I trust him!
He said regrowth can happen, but generally this happens a) with young women not yet fully developed (not me! I am nearly 40!), after pregnancy (thank you everyone, but this baby-making factory is now closed for business!), and with HRT (ok, tricky one this, but that is still light years away (I hope!). And as he pointed out, if I am going to get bigger, I am going to get bigger anyway with or without the surgery. Do I want to grow from a B back to a D in 20 years, or a D to an F??! Ouch! Good point!
So right now I am at crunch time. I have this weekend to decide to do this, and he wants an answer on Monday morning, because if I go ahead with it, he is going to schedule some special theatre time for me because we have this deadline of August 19th for me to fly back to Japan and I need to factor in the recovery time.
I am feeling pretty "normal" right now, being back home and seeing caucasian women all around me with caucasian boobs! I don't feel quite so massive as when I am surrounded by lovely petite Asian women! But I am pretty certain if I don't go ahead with this, and return back home I will regret it within days of touching back down in Asia again! I don't think I will regret doing it. He said that a "B" cup is absolutely achievable for me (something to do with the "footprint" of the breast on the chest wall which cannot be adjusted and directly affects the end size, but my footprint is quite small to start with). My husband is a little freaked out about the scarring, wimp that he is, but I am not at all. The surgeon said that the underscar will only be a few cms long, and nipple sensation loss is no longer an issue due to the technique now of keeping the nipple on the pedestal connected to blood and nerve supply all through the surgery.
I went to the movies last night, (MIB 3, very good!) and spent most of the movie staring down at the lovely curve I have between my breasts and thinking "do I REALLY want to do this??!" but then I popped to the bathroom afterwards, and looked in the mirror and I just felt like I was "all chest" - I stuck out a mile!
So - this is where I am at right now. Should I do this? Can I justify it, given that I am "not that big" and there are people far worse off than me? Then I calculate it is going to cost me about $1.30 per day for the next 20 years to feel comfortable and that is absolutely worth it to me. I'll just give up my daily bar of chocolate - I shouldn't be eating it anyway!
Would welcome any thoughts on this. It is an extremely difficult decision, but one I know many many people on here have already been through, and I am sitting here waiting and hoping to reap in all your pearls of wisdom!!! Thank you for reading!
I sent a confirmation email to the breast nurse...
She said it is not a problem that I am on the pill and haven't come off it, they will just take countermeasures like support stockings to prevent DVT. She has recommended a post-surgery recovery bra website (www.amoena.co.uk) and sad anything like E45 cream will be good post-surgery to keep the scars hydrated - although if anyone here can recommend some scar-healing creams I would love to hear about them.
It has been a really difficult decision, because now I am back home I feel relatively "normal"! But I keep remembering that just 2 weeks ago I was desperate for this surgery. I know that if I don't do it, I will regret it in the future. The mastalgia has been a huge problem for me for most of my adult life, and I have wanted this reduction for as long as I can remember. The only thing that has held me off until now was the potential that after having children it would rectify itself, but that is clearly not happening, and combined with my size on my frame, I am certain that this surgery will a) make the mastalgia easier to manage and b) make me physically and psychologically more comfortable.
Trying not to think about the cost of it! Can't shake the feeling that Mummy is dipping into the kids college fund to make herself feel better! What kind of terrible mother am I???!!! Then I remind myself I am one that hopefully in the future will be viewed as something more than just a walking set of boobs - maybe this can be considered an investment in my future career and future earning potential??! Oh, the justification! Damn myself for being so flaming analytical about everything! "Make a decision, stick to it, make it work" - THAT is all that I need to do. And the decision to go ahead sits with me much more comfortable than the decision to cancel everything.
I feel sick with nerves and anticipation, but I also feel calmer than I have in days, just knowing that is it, the decision is made and I am doing this! Will update when I have a date and add some more "before" photos!
Getting a bit stressed and depressed right now! I...
The surgeon KNOWS I have a deadline of this Saturday (just two days from now!) and said a week ago in my consult that he was going to try and schedule some theatre time for me this week, to give me 5 clear weeks to recover before flying home alone with 3 children on a 12 hour flight - obviously the max recovery time possible is best! But since then I have heard NOTHING, and I keep emailing his nurse to find out what is going on. She said she had a clinic on Tuesday evening and she would find out what is happening and get back to me. Well, she hasn't, and the email I sent yesterday gently asking what was happening hasn't been answered. I feel like crying! It has taken me years to get to this point, and now I am here, ready to do it, money sitting ready to be transferred to the right person - and it looks like it is not going to happen! Not this week anyway. If it doesn't happen until next week, that only gives me 4 clear weeks to recover. Am I pushing it now, to be well enough to fly after just 4 weeks? At this rate I am going to have to pay for Mum to fly back with me just to help, and I just can't do that - it's not fair on her, and this cost of the surgery alone will have already cleaned me out!
Mum is working at the hospital today. She saw the surgeon briefly yesterday and said "Hey! Remember my daughter?! Any news?!" He just said "Ah, yes! Must get that sorted!" and darted out the door - not to avoid her, he just always darts, never walks. Poor guy is so busy, which is why I really don't want to hassle him any more than I already have.
I guess I just have to leave this up to fate now - if it is meant to happen, it will. But I am downgrading his email/phone responsiveness on here! Not really his fault though - the system is different here, and they have to do a certain number of NHS hours in addition to their private work. They are usually all rushed off their feet, and I am trying to be understanding of that. But my girls!!! My girls???!!!!!
Hey. Thanks for the support. It is like mental...
RosieRoo - 4 weeks is still plenty of time to recover you think? I don't know why I had the magic "5 weeks" set in my head, but if you think after 4 weeks I will still be ok, that is good to know! People are generally really kind, especially when they see someone flying alone with a clutch of kids in tow, so I know people will help. I'm just worried about if I can't cope - like, if the littlest one (2 1/2) falls asleep before we land, and I can't physically carry him off the plane! I don't want to inconvenience anyone else as far as I can help it.
I called the nurse on her landline and mobile and couldn't get through, so I sent an email. Bless her, she responded saying they are working on obtaining a theatre slot and to bear with them. Mum also saw the surgeon again at work yesterday and he said he is working on a theatre slot at the private hospital and also in the private wing of the NHS hospital, but so far no luck. I'm trying not to be selfish about it - they have real emergencies they are dealing with right now and I totally understand that. I am just starting to feel like another two or three years of this (until I can come home again) is going to put ME in an emergency state!
Meanwhile of course, I am now in the time of the month where the mastalgia is absolutely at it's lowest, I have shrunk right back down from the 91 cms I was just a few days ago (now down to about 88 and those 3cms make all the difference!) and am now looking at myself thinking "Do I really need this?!" I know the answer of course - I have asked myself the same question every month for pretty much the last 18 years barring the times I was pregnant and BF'ing, and 3 weeks later I always get the same answer - HELL YES!
To make it worse I made the stupid mistake of mentioning "Boobageddon" on my facebook page (I just thought it was too funny not to share!) and got a RAFT of responses from all my A and B cup friends saying "DON'T DO IT!!!" I got really irritated in the end to be honest, and then felt mean because they are all lovely people. But I've been a B cup (in the very dim and distant past). I know how it feels. They have never been a D cup. They have no idea how it feels. Interestingly my "C and above" friends are very supportive. Funny isn't it - how the line gets drawn between us women on an issue such as this?! And the line clearly seems to be between the first two letters of the alphabet and all the others!
Last week I had some important meetings I had to attend in London, and so I was all suited and booted, marching around our Parliament building in clicky heels like I owned the place. I had done a ton of legal research, had all the documents I needed in folders under my arm, ready to represent the 500 or so people who were counting on me to put their point across on some legal issues in government. But I SWEAR to you - almost everyone I spoke to that day, no matter how professional I was and how courteous, shook my hand and greeted the girls, just a nanosecond before noticing the sound bit was actually coming from my mouth, not my chest. It's not their fault, I don't think they even do it consciously, but it was enough for me. That helped me make the decision. I am done with being a walking set of knockers. That confirmed that it is not just my imagination. They really are there, they really are noticeable (even in a plain black t-shirt) and they really do need to be taken down a level or two!
Had a phone call from the lovely overworked...
Of course, now that this looks like it IS happening, my boobs have shrunk down to 88cms (from 91 a few days ago), are lovely and soft and all the pain has disappeared! But I know from experience that I could cancel now, and 3 weeks from now they will be puffing up like an inflatable ball again and I will regret it!
So - here's hoping this actually happens now! But it is looking like Monday, which will give me 4 weeks and 6 days recovery time. Good enough, as long as I stop trying to "boost" my immune system with English chocolate & cream teas!
OK, well it is now Monday at 11am and I have heard...
Monday 1pm - well, we finally got to lunchtime and...
That will leave me just 4 weeks and 1 day of recovery time, before flying back home - 12 hour flight with 3 children, plus then dealing with a week of jetlag - me and the kids. Is that realistic? I have been scouring reviews of people to see where they were "at" at 4 weeks, but it is hard to tell. Can anyone give an opinion of whether this is realistic?
In addition, the suite manager got really arsey with Mum when she was on the phone. Mum said to her "We just haven't heard anything" and instead of saying something like "Sorry, there must be some miscommunication, I'll look into it" or some other such professional response, she instantly got arsey herself, saying "Now wait just a minute! We didn't know xyz and we weren't told xyz..." - basically these are the people who I am guessing are going to be responsible for me while I am in this suite overnight! So now I am even MORE nervous! It took them ages to even answer the phone!
I just don't know what to do now! I KNOW the doctor is excellent - although if I have the surgery Friday, from Saturday he is on holiday for 2 weeks, so I am guessing I will be referred to someone else while he is away. But I am even worrying whether that will happen as it seems the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing down there! What do I do? I am inclined to cancel the whole thing based on this pre-op experience, but that makes me want to cry. But then, the thought of going through this is making me cry too! This is nothing like I imagined it would be, and this is just the pre-op stage! I have been managing to keep my anxiety in check but now it is out of the box, leaping around the room stopping only occasionally to punch me in the stomach, and as I sit here typing this I am actually shaking! I am in tears all the time. This pre-op period has been so incredibly stressful and I have had absolutely zero support (other than from you wonderful girls!). I am freaking out now.
Bad news I'm afraid :( I had an email from the...
I had an email from the surgeon today, who was VERY apologetic, but said he just can't get the operating theatre time at this short notice. He has tried in two different hospitals, but it was just not possible. I thought it would be ok as I had my nose corrected in one of the hospitals, and it was literally 1 week from pre-op consult to surgery day, so I was under the impression it would be the same for the boob department too - but obviously not.
This doesn't mean it is not happening, it just means it is not happening this year. I am sure there is a reason for it, and I just have to accept that this is fate and I can't fight it, just have to go with it, and eventually the reason will become clear. Who knows - maybe they will open up a breast reduction centre down the road from me in Japan, or perhaps I will wake up next week with miraculous shrunken boobs! Maybe they are about to announce a miracle boob-shrinking herb or something?! In my experience to date these things happen for a reason.
On the bright side I can now have that medium-large glass of wine I have been holding off on while I wait to see if I am going into surgery or not! Every cloud has a chablis lining!
BIG thank you to everyone on this site who has helped advised and supported over the last few weeks! I am not leaving, just going back to lurking until I know what will be happening. There is a possibility I could be coming home for a year or so next year, so maybe it will happen then!
Good luck to everyone who is about to do it, doin' it now, or recovering from it! I will be following your storoes and taking courage from all of you! See y'all around! xxx
Funny how everything happens for a reason,...
I was really disappointed about not being able to get my reduction when I was back home in the UK a few months ago, but I figured there is a reason for it - I think I`ve just discovered what it might be!
Since I`ve been back home in Japan I have been chatting with a few friends about it, and one told me she knows of an American lady here who neededa breast reduction, and because there was an absence of skilled surgeons available to perform the surgery here, she went back to the US to have it done, BUT her Japanese health insurance paid for part of it!
I had no idea that would even be a possibility for me! So now I am looking into that for next time I return home.
Just a little update and also to show everyone that although I am not posting much I am still lurking!
Haven't rated aftercare as haven't had it yet, but will if I do! I have known of Mr Galea professionally for 20 years (Mum is "in the business") and she says he is fantastic. He is not a plastic surgeon, but a breast surgeon - breast problems, augmentations, reductions - these are all he does so he really knows boobs! I met a lovely breast care specialist nurse at my consultation too, who was also really supportive.