19 Years Old; First Year in University - Ontario, Canada
Hi Everyone, A little bit about me first: My name...
A little bit about me first: My name is Stephanie and I am (almost, in two weeks!) nineteen years old. I am currently into my first year in a four year Nursing program in University as well as a part time job at a grocery store in my neighbourhood! I live with my family in Ontario, Canada.
I've been looking at this website for a very long time. I'm currently at a size 38DDD/E and have finally been able to book my appointment for surgery! I'm making this little blog not only to document for myself, but also in the hopes of gaining support from people who understand and maybe helping out someone else who ends up reading it. My journey will be a very foreign one for me, but it's one that I just know will end up turning out alright. It's still difficult for me to not curse my thirteen year old self for crying about being flat chested forever... Oh the irony!
So I began my breast reduction journey approximately two years ago. I decided at 17 years old that my breasts (probably a 36DD at the time) were interfering with how I desire to live my life. I went to see my general practitioner at the time and he called in a referral with a local plastic surgeon to discuss an appointment. The PS is very particular about ages that he is willing to perform breast reductions, and told me I would have to wait until I was at least 19 to ensure that my breasts had indeed stopped growing. Although it crushed me, it did end up being a blessing in disguise, as I did have growth and it would have made a difference in my outcome!
I was finally able to book my appointment (the 21st of January) and I will be having my surgery at the beginning of May.
My reasons are pretty common, I have a lot of back and shoulder pain that keeps me from working and exercising comfortably. I also suffer from cysts and a curving posture that makes me really uncomfortable. As well as the general impact my self esteem has taken over the years, being one of the only "busty" girls in my high school, it's a challenge and something I really struggled with. Never being able to wear the "pretty" bras or walk around the change rooms shirtless seems so small but it did affect me. My breasts are very dense and pendulous, something that is not (unfortunately) the sexy way that breasts "should" be in our society.
For myself, I think that the possible risks of surgery don't outweigh the benefit. Breastfeeding is a wonderful and beautiful thing, but I don't think that I will need to be able to do it to be happy. I don't think that my personal happiness and health should be defined by what I may or may not be able to do later on in my life. My doctor told me that approximately 85% of women can still lactate, although many have to supplement with formula, which is okay for me. I am a little curious to see how I'll feel about this in the future, any advice ladies?
For anyone else that's nervous about how their first appointment with a plastic surgeon will go, I can give a little bit of a run-down of how mine went, to help give a better idea! I was really anxious and I really hope that this eases the minds of anyone who feels the same way!
Calling to booking time was about two months, but my first appointment was cancelled for an emergency surgery (it ended up being four months) as my doctor is the chief of plastic surgery at his hospital. I went in, got my card at patient registration and waited to meet with the surgeon. After a few quick paperwork mistakes and another patient before me, I met my surgeon.
We discussed a lot of different things. There were questions about lifestyle (smoking, recreational drugs, drinking), as well as height and weight. Surgeries are covered by provincial health plans (under some restrictions) in Canada if deemed necessary by your physician. In Ontario, BMI must be below 35 in order for one to be considered for a breast reduction. It varies from province to province (some Maritime provinces restrict to below 30, and Newfoundland & Labrador restrict to below 25).
We discussed complications that arise from this type of surgery, as well as how it's done. My surgeon works on an individual basis for each patient, varying from a "lollipop" type incision to the traditional "anchor" style that is very common. He always tries to leave the nipple attached to the inside breast tissue and repositions, if this is possible and a good option for the patient. He told me that on average, he does 2-3 breast reductions per week, which definitely helped me relax and feel less abnormal! He also showed me pictures of the work he's done in the past. Different complications include asymmetry, infection (especially for women that are heavier), as well as numbness (there were a few more, but I can't remember).
Following that, he took me to an exam room where I changed into a gown. After a few minutes, he came in and took measurements from the top of my chest to each nipple, nipple to nipple (forming a triangle), underside to nipple, as well as around my breasts. He was telling me a story about some kind of contraption they used to study breast volume in the past. It was a little weird but it definitely helped put me at ease (it's an awkward position for anyone, but I think especially so for younger women who haven't been married or in a lot of relationships to have this strange guy tugging and lifting your boobs. Just remember that this guy sees a lot of women everyday and that yours probably aren't going to be that remarkable! ;) ) After this, he had me go against the wall and he took a photo of my breasts for reference, as well as to use as a "before" shot for future clients like the one's I had seen earlier in my appointment.
After this, I changed and went back to the office where we sat and discussed my measurements. He told me that my breasts were considered large by the standards used and that I did qualify! Interestingly enough, he also told me that my left breast is 11% (200 grams [I believe this was the unit]) larger than my right, which definitely surprised me. I knew it was fuller but I didn't believe it would be by that much.
My doctor told me about how breast size is measured for this type of procedure. He doesn't aim for a cup size when doing the procedure; as women of many different shapes and sizes can all potentially wear the same bra size, and that most women are incorrectly sized anyways. Essentially, he goes with what looks appropriate and "good" and goes from there. He showed me more women who had breasts similar to my own and discussed how the nipple would be resized to accommodate a much lesser volume. We also discussed how pregnancy, weight loss and weight gain affects unaltered breasts and reduced breasts. He told me about my different options and explained that later on down the line, things might change. This definitely gave me a lot to think about but I think I was still so excited to know I qualified (my "is-this-really-happening moment" I suppose...). However, I decided I still wanted to go through with this operation.
I then booked my appointment for just after my final exams!
As of right now, my surgery really doesn't feel real. I have goals to tone my body and make sure I really maintain myself to make sure that recovery is not only fast but also cosmetically appealing. I want to be in good shape to avoid complications as much as I can.
I'm most looking forward to (finally) buying "pretty" bras and bathing suits, and to being able to buy clothes that fit my whole body, rather than just my chest with bagginess everywhere else! I'm saving up for a "post-op" shopping trip with my best friends and I've got a positive outlook.
I'm expecting that this surgery will relieve my back pain, stop my cysts and help me to fix my posture. But, most importantly, I'm hoping that this surgery will help me to feel better about my body and encourage me to go out for things that I love (sports, sororities in particular! :)
If you're still reading this, and have any similar experiences, please feel free to contact! I'd love any advice, encouragement or guidance. Or, if your journey has been at all like mine, I'd really love to hear about it.
I'm still unsure about providing more specific personal details, but if you're from Ontario and would like more information about my surgeon/surgery, tell me and I'm happy to get in touch!
Thank you in advance! :)
Awesome doctor. Personable, but clearly well informed in his practice. I feel reassured that he will do a good job and work to make sure everything works out to the best possible outcome.