20 Year Old with Tuberous Breasts, Long Island, NY

My breasts have looked the same since I was 13...

My breasts have looked the same since I was 13 years old. I always convinced myself that I was just a late bloomer, and that one day I would basically wake up and move beyond the "buds" I had, but at the age of 18 I googled "weird breasts" and saw so many pictures that looked exactly like me. I was not underdeveloped, but had tuberous breasts-- a congenital deformity causing abnormal breast shape. I had basically convinced myself for many years that my appearance was temporary and to realize they weren't changing was devastating. It took me a while to even tell anyone else, and after many years and consultations and roadblocks, I am so ready to get them done and be the person I want to be! I am not interested in size, much more with shape. Looking to fill the tissue underneath and have breasts that look like -imagine this- breasts! I am so excited to have the breasts I was supposed to have and start living my life confidently, not having to worry about wearing a padded bra and avoiding anything that might show my lack of cleavage. I hope reading about my journey can help someone else out there!

2 weeks until pre-op! Nervousness and some concerns

Starting to get a little nervous, but I'm still overwhelmingly happy that I am finally getting to do this. 2 weeks until my pre-op day! Some things that I'm concerned about:
- I told my therapist that I booked my surgery and she was hesitant that it was the right time. I have a history of anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder so it's natural that she is nervous that this is classic me being unhappy about my body. I view it separately, however...the way my breasts formed is a deformity. There is nothing that I did, or can do, to change that. My weight and the rest of my body is in an entirely different category to me. But still, it's concerning that there's someone that already doubts my decision.
-I really don't want to look any different on the outside after my surgery. Almost no one knows that I have this issue or that I am planning on getting surgery, and I would like it to stay that way. I am a college student and my worst nightmare is returning from winter break to have people suspect and question me about getting a "boob job." Right now I wear a size B push-up bra from Victoria's Secret that is padded enough so no one is any the wiser. My goal is to be able to wear an unpadded B bra afterwards --that way no one will know, at least not until I'm ready.
-I'm hearing a lot of different viewpoints about the pain after surgery. I have a month off from school so I could hypothetically just watch netflix in bed that entire time, but that's not ideal. I've already decided against using any painkillers stronger than advil--I just don't think it's a good idea for me. I'm relatively tolerant of pain, but then again, I've never been in what would be considered legitimate pain before either. I guess we'll see.

I asked my best friend to come stay with me the day after my surgery so that I don't freak out too much. I have to remember to remind myself that they won't look pretty until months after surgery and that I can't judge it right away. She's good at keeping me in my place, so I think it's a solid plan to have her around.

I've attached the Crisalix imaging that we did at my consult, because to me it makes it so real and exciting, and really helps to visualize the potential results! Hope all my realself friends are hanging in there, until next time! xo

In 1 month I will have boobs!

So weird to think that something I waited to happen for such a long time is actually going to happen. I used to resent the fact that I had to "ask" for breasts--that everyone else was lucky enough to just go about their daily awkward teenage life and everything proceeded as normal. I felt cheated, like I didn't receive such an important part of being a woman. There is one memory that I have that has stuck with me: When I was probably about 9 or 10, I was volunteering at an senior living facility with my girl scout troop. I don't remember the details, but one of the older women was talking to my friend and said, "You'll have boobs one day too. One day you'll wake up and they'll just be there and you won't even know what happened!" I guess this really shaped my idea of how it was supposed to happen and led to me waiting foolishly to one day wake up with the breasts I wanted. I was originally upset by the idea of surgery; I didn't want to choose what I wanted, how big I wanted, etc....I wanted to just wake up and have the breasts I was "supposed" to have. I've moved past that now, and I am thankful that there are amazing doctors out there like Dr. Pfeifer that can help me achieve what my body didn't. It feels so strange that my body will be so different in just a month's time. Funny that the distorted view I had will become true--in one month I will wake up and they will just be there, and I won't even know what happened!!

On another note, I am now having nightmares about my surgery almost every night. My anxious brain is coming up with everything possible that could go wrong, as well as weird, twisted, and otherwise. From reading many other reviews and blogs I know that this is normal, but it is still quite disturbing (and sometimes comical-- last night I dreamt that I woke up and they had performed a mastectomy by accident, just clear chopped everything off lol. yikes.) I can only imagine this will continue for the next month as well, my subconscious is going to have to get really creative haha.

I've attached the "wish boob" pictures I sent my PS. Emphasis on shape-- roundness is my #1! Talk to you all soon! xo

4 days...ahhhh

Sorry for not updating more, I am in total finals mode until Friday, when I get to go home! (and then proceed to panic because..) Surgery is Monday! Feeling anxious that something bad is going to happen between now and then that will make it not go through. I'm super excited though and it's just so so crazy for me to think about!! Kind of happy that I am so distracted by studying and everything going on. Will post more once my GPA isn't at stake. xo

Tomorrow is the day!

I’m feeling super reflective and so I’d like to share much more about my journey up until this point.

Like I’ve mentioned, I had always noticed that my breasts were different, but I attributed it to being a late bloomer. I seemed to be stuck in the “breast bud” stage. One particular thing that really had an effect on me was the American Girl body book that my mom gave me for my 11th birthday—“The Care and Keeping of You.” It had a diagram at one point of normal breast development, and the last picture is a girl “at around ages 16-18” with perfectly round, symmetrical breasts. I saw this as the end goal, what was “normal” and what I would look like when I was (latest) 18 years old. (Which is misleading anyway, and they should definitely mention that that is NOT what is normal, but that’s a conversation for another day). When that didn’t happen, I started to question it. When I was a freshman in college (Fall 2013), I googled “weird breasts” and found a picture that looked exactly like me. Upon reading more about it, I immediately started crying. My bubble of hope was completely popped--that I was just a “late bloomer” and that one day I would look like that end goal in the book with perfect breasts. I read the words “deformity” and “abnormality” and I felt absolutely horrible. I was deformed. Something went wrong, and I was denied the essential feminine quality of having breasts.

I didn’t tell anyone at first, but I went on a quest for information. Being a researcher, I even read journal articles that were meant for plastic surgery med school students; the more I read, the more I was convinced this was what I had, but the more frustrated I felt. I still didn’t know the cause or what the best course of action was. I felt cheated most of all; that some girls just woke up one day and had breasts that they were happy with, breasts that were fully formed and didn’t look weird to other people. I started to obsess about it and it really impacted my relationships—I would have anxiety every time I talked to a boy because I knew that at some point they would want to hook up and I would have to hide my deformity. It fed into all of my other body image problems and depression.

The summer after my freshman year, I told my mom. She was hesitant, as I expected her to be, as I was a self-conscious teenager. Why wouldn’t I feel like there was something wrong with my breasts if they weren’t perfect? Why wouldn’t it be because of the same reason why I feel massively overweight even when I’m not? I knew she was cautious, but we made an appointment to see a breast specialist that fall.

The breast specialist was puzzled—clearly, looking back now, he had no idea what tuberous breasts were and had no idea what was going on. He said that it may be an internal problem that occurred during puberty, and so referred me to a pediatric endocrinologist. He said that he may be able to fix a hormone imbalance or give me some sort of medication to jumpstart my development again. I made that appointment for when I was next home that winter (December 2014), hoping for the next few months that I could be given a pill that would be the answer to all my problems.

Fast forward those few months, and seeing the pediatric endocrinologist was probably the worst doctor’s visit experience I have ever had. After a nurse asked me a bunch of questions about my other pubescent experiences and determined that everything else happened normally, she sent the doctor in who promptly told me there was nothing wrong with me and that everything was all in my head (my worst fear). Also, mind you, at this point not a person in that office had actually seen my breasts, and so he was making a conclusion without even looking at me, and not even taking me seriously. He compared me to someone going to an endocrinologist to be made taller—further insulting my intelligence and my situation. I started to cry in the doctor’s office, which I’m sure didn’t help my case, but I was crushed yet again—I had set my hopes on the fact that I could be “cured” and instead I just felt like a fool. He started telling me stories of how different breast shapes can be seen throughout the centuries in art, and that the only option was “if I really felt that I didn’t like my breasts” I could have surgery. I started to question myself again—was I just self conscious and just didn’t like my breasts? Was I making it up? I cried the entire rest of the appointment.

Once I stopped crying, my mom and I stopped at a Starbucks to talk. I expressed my fears and how unhappy I was with how he treated me, and I think this was the first time she really understood how much this affected me. We discussed the potential of surgery, but many years into the future—which almost made me cry again. The thought that I would have to deal with this for many more years was incredibly disappointing. I didn’t want to have to think about it anymore. I didn’t want to have to feel incredibly self conscious when wearing a bathing suit. I wanted to wear low cut shirts without padded bras like all my friends. I wanted this to stop ruining my self-esteem.

In the pursuit of all the information, my parents suggested I make a plastic surgery consultation. I didn’t know the first thing about plastic surgery and so this would at least give me their opinion on what they could do to help me, what the cost was like, and what the procedure involved. I went to my first consultation a few weeks later.

I went in very hesitantly; I knew that plastic surgery is a business and that they stand to make money off telling me they could fix all of my insecurities. At the same time, I knew that this was my best shot at normal breasts and so I was over the moon when they told me that it was a relatively normal procedure. I left feeling like it was a solid option for me, but one I knew I definitely had to think a lot about.

My tuberous breast issue was put on hold shortly after that, as my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and I fell into my worst bout of depression and EDNOS. I continued to do research but everyone, myself included, was distracted by more pressing problems.

When my mom completed her radiation and was cancer free (yay!!) and I was more mentally stable, I brought it up again. The hesitance was back, not surprisingly because I had spent the last six months in intensive care therapy and was now being medicated for anxiety and depression. My parents wanted to push it off, and so I went the summer without really mentioning it. But come fall, I knew it was something that I still really wanted to get help for, and sooner rather than later. I viewed it as a weight on my shoulders that would help me move on in a lot of other areas of my life. Upon discussing it again, my parents gave me their blessing to start looking for a surgeon. I made four more consultations that I would then come home for during the Fall 2015 semester.

My consultation with Dr. Pfeifer was in October, and as soon as I talked to her I knew she was the only one I would ever trust to operate on me. She took me seriously from the beginning. We talked at length about every detail of my journey, and once she realized I had a lot of knowledge on the subject (from nearly 2 years of researching), she even talked with me about the more scientific details so that I understood. We discussed what I was looking for, and I truly felt that she understood my final goal more than anyone else I had seen. I told the receptionist that I wanted to do it over my winter break, and she told me that she was booked out for the next few months, but just maybe something would be open. Turns out that things that are meant to be are meant to be, because she had a cancellation on December 14th –right after I got home from school.

It is now December 13th, and officially the night before my surgery. I am so grateful that I am being afforded this experience and that this time tomorrow I will be on my way to finally being happy with my breasts. I am so confident in Dr. Pfeifer’s ability to give me the result I am looking for and I am so grateful to have the support of my family and friends. I could not be happier. Wishing you guys the best in your journeys and I hope you find your peace as well. Thanks for reading. Will be back later with more technical details of immediately pre-op. xoxo

On my way!

Driving to the office with my mom and best friend. Just took the nausea pill and the muscle relaxer. Feeling the nerves but still really excited. Showering this morning and thinking that this was the last shower I had to look at myself and not be happy was amazing! See you all on the other side! xo

Hello from the other side

Heh heh get it? I'm Adele... ;)

Anyway, surgery went well!!! I've been resting all day and the pain hasn't been too bad, I would describe it more as intense discomfort. I was super all over the place emotionally when the anesthesia was wearing off...I went from laughing to outright sobbing and back all in 10 minutes. But overall the doctor was super happy with the result--we went with 270cc in the left and 310cc in the right and she also wound up doing a lift on my nipple to get the result I wanted. I've been on Tylenol all day (since no narcotics) and the muscle relaxers too. I'm almost positive I will not get much sleep tonight...I tried to nap before but the feeling is actually just very uncomfortable. I also feel so many air bubbles in my chest all the way up through my neck which is so odd! But thanks for all the well wishes! I'm so blessed to have so many people rooting for me in this journey (both online and in real life!!) will keep you updated. xo
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

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