I can see why this surgery has such a high rate of patient satisfaction. I just wish I hadn't waited so long.
Breast Reduction (32DDD to 34C)
One of the best things I've done for myself. I can...
I can see why this surgery has such a high rate of patient satisfaction. I just wish I hadn't waited so long.
Eight Days Later
Like most people, my decision to have a breast reduction took years. I developed early, yada yada, and have always had large breasts on a fairly small frame (I'm 5'3" and currently 142 pounds and have a small frame and narrow shoulders).
As one bra fitter said to me, "Such a little girl for such big boobs!"
Around 4-1/2 years ago, I started having excruciating headaches, like the kind that would keep me off work, the kind that get into your *jaw,* the kind that make you cry and want to throw up. I tried the usual routes: the chiropractor, lidocaine shots, acupuncture, massage therapy, and craniosacral therapy. Even new glasses.
And then the back and shoulder pain started up. So I added roller balls. Yoga straps. Lots and lots of stretching.
And then the dizziness started up (because of an inflamed trapezius). I added on Benadryl to help with nausea. More stretching. An excellent physical therapist who helped with vertigo. Who then found all the other problems I had.
And all of this helped. For a while. And as long as I kept going to my appointments, like, all the time. Which is not exactly realistic, considering, you know, work--which also tried to figure out if my shoulder and neck aches were due to ergonomics.
The other day I added up how much I've spent in the last four years or so, and I think it was around $5,000 out of pocket. SMH.
In other words, like many of you, I had never attributed this to my GIANT BOOBS. I just kept working on whatever other problem each doctor would point out and hope I'd find the magic formula.
Which was also kind of exhausting.
Because I didn't know they were all that large, because, you know, they just were my breasts, and they looked great in tight t shirts (never mind I couldn't wear anything with small straps or anything flowing because I'd look like an overripe pear), and well, they were just mine. And apparently I could fix these *other* problems. So I wrangled them into small bras, paid $100 for my bras and $65 for workout bras, and I did my best to correct my posture.
But then my sister got a reduction. And then my cousin. And then my mom's cousin. And then two friends, and by this time, the pain had gotten worse and worse, and I'd started seeing a physical therapist, who was doing wondrous things...but things that would only help for a couple of days.
In February of this year, after talking to my physical therapist, a man, we both decided it might be my large breasts (my female PT, by the way, kept thinking I didn't have large breasts...ummmm), I decided to contact the person who ended up doing my surgery. She said my breasts were large for my frame, which was a relief to hear, because most people--and I'm not sure why they felt they could comment, and I'm not sure why I was listening--were telling me I didn't look like I needed it. And I keep thinking, now, if someone told me they needed ACL surgery, then would I say, "Oh! Your knee looks great! I don't think you need that. Do you really think you do?"
My sister said, in a gruff voice, "YO BODY! YO CHOICE!" and that pretty much became my mantra.
Because of my frame, the surgeon thought 500 grams from each breast would result in a flat A, so we petitioned for a 300-gram removal from each.
With the very generous help of my surgeon's assistant (I can't emphasize enough how much a helpful and professional staff made me feel much more at ease), we submitted 33 pages to insurance. Included were all my medical records; a pre-auth from my GP; a two-page letter from me, detailing all my problems; pictures of my workout bra, pictures of my back all chafed and with a rash; pictures of my shoulder grooves; and the picture you see in this review, the before picture; and a letter from my physical therapist (turns out his wife works for my surgeon, which was enormously helpful); and a 2007 study showing how 300-gram removals result in the same benefits as 500-gram removals. (By the way? Even Schnur has said he thinks his own scale is faulty.) I was prepared to appeal and appeal again and appeal to the state insurance board, if needed. When you're crying during your pre-op because you're in so much pain, it might be time for surgery.
They approved it in March, on the first try. I'm convinced they did it because they just looked at all the paperwork and said, "No...I just..can't deal...with her...just approve it." And then sighed deeply and sipped their coffee before moving on to the next file. Or looking for another job.
In the week before my surgery, I was obsessed even more with this site and with *Botched,* which made me realize this is a pretty straightforward surgery. And, let's face it, that show is weird and awesome and funny as hell. I also sent to a few friends who also love Arrested Development GIFs of Kitty flipping up her shirt and yelling, "Say goodbye to THESE, Michael!" which would make me laugh. And then I'd get back on this site. And then I'd eat candy.
My surgery was last Tuesday, March 19. I was incredibly nervous, like, could barely *walk* nervous. Bonus points to my surgeon who, while marking me up, talked to me about perimenopause and Botched and how she had fixed a bad butt implant from Mexico a few nights ago.
After that, the nurse came to get me, and I thought they'd hit with me the Versed before being wheeled down, but they waited until I got into the OR. And then, unlike the woman on Botched who got a bad butt implant in Mexico, did not wake up until recovery, around 12:30.
Surgery was at 10; I was home by 2:50.
They took out 307 from one and 313 from the other, for a total of 1.3 pounds. The first thing I noticed was how much easier it is to breathe.
This is, honestly, not a difficult surgery. I'd equate it to my surgery ten years ago for my deviated septum: not a lot of pain, not a lot of medication, a lot of rest, and a lot of payoff.
The only things I hate? Sleeping on my back until I heal and having those drains. I think they *are* great for healing, but they are gross, and it's kind of hard to go out to places, you know? It looked like I was packing a very small baby's butt under my jacket. I kept them for a week, and the morning of getting them out, I told the nurse I sympathized with Janice Dickinson ripping hers out.
Current status of all symptoms:
Neck pain and lower-back pain greatly alleviated
Can breathe far more easily
Standing up straight doesn't result in a feeling of tightness all the way down my body and up to the crown of my head
I bought a $16 bra today. And it's soft and comfortable.
My boobs are so hard I feel like if I knocked on them they'd thunk, but thanks to this site, I know that'll change.
I also think they look (in Billy Crystal voice) marvelous and REAL and SPECTACULAR. When I saw my breasts yesterday, after getting the drains out, I kept saying, "They are so pretty!" I think it's always tempting to go with a surgeon who is "nice"--and mine is--but I also appreciate that I got a damn fine surgeon.
Two Weeks Post-op
The good things:
I went to my physical therapist, the one I've been seeing for two years, and she shook her head in amazement at how much looser my back is and how much better aligned my hips are. The middle of my back is the part that's gotten the loosest.
The middle of the road things:
My neck is still pretty tight. I got hit by a headache on Sunday (after, you know, hunching over my phone for about an hour) and got really sad, thinking, what if this didn't work? I contacted a friend who also has a small frame and had a breast reduction, and she said it took her about six months to relearn her posture. I definitely have to do the same, and I have to get my hips and pelvis to loosen up. Once I get the all-clear for exercising, I'm heading back to yoga.
Overall, though? The discomfort feels different than it did before--especially since it went away once I started correcting my posture. I can actually stand up straight. I can breathe (I know I keep saying this, but it really is a miracle). And I know that this is going to *work.*
The things to get used to:
Wearing a flimsy, teenage-style bra from Target.
Fitting easily into a sundress, one that I didn't have to pick for its wide straps.
No more bouncing.
No more having to stick my stomach out to support my breasts.
No more having my arms rub up against my breasts, something I thought everyone had to do.
The scars are worth it. They will probably be fine--I don't really care. It was time for a change, and I'm grateful not to be living in so much pain every single day.
One More Thing
Week Three Post-Surgery
Hmmmm...where to begin? My boobs have definitely fallen a little, so they're no longer like, Knock, knock on wood, and they are still so very, for lack of a better word, pretty. I was at a water park yesterday, with my son, and all these adolescents were there, and I was like, Ummmm...15-year-old girl there? YOU AND I HAVE THE SAME BOOBS.
I saw my surgeon this week, and she said, "Ooooooo, you are scarring so well!" Since she said this all excited-like, I'm going with "scarring well" to mean it looks good. She was really happy with how well I'm healing and recommended I keep taping for a while. I asked her about Mederma, and she said it's good, but she also recommends Kelocote, which I'm using now on an old burn scar. I plan to start using the Kelocote in a couple of weeks on my surgery scars.
After I wrote my review of her office on this site, I sent her main admin an email telling them how much I appreciate all their work and what a great job they all do. I think, a lot of the time, people need to point out how nice their surgeons are, especially women, and mine *is* very nice--and funny--but she's also extremely skilled. She thanked me for it and said they printed out my email and took it all over the office. She said it "made our day."
I'm gonna go with the idea that, judging by what I saw in my surgeon's office, plastic surgeons don't have the easiest of clients. I'm guessing those clients don't say, "Wow! Good job!" all that often. It's probably more like, "I can't believe I'm scarred after the work you did on my face! And my butt! And my ears! And my nose!"
In other good news, I got the All Clear to raise my heart rate. Treadmill, jogging, elliptical, but no arms. So the T Rex arms are around until about July 21, when I see her again. Getting on the treadmill was surreal. I could actually feel my legs under my hips instead of all far behind, like when I was running with my chest practically hitting the bottom of the treadmill. It's definitely easier to run, or, it will be after I get my cardio back up. I was TIRED after doing 30 minutes even though I took it easy. All the women at the gym knew I was getting the surgery, so they were all talking to my chest like pervy guys, which was pretty funny.
I also got cleared to buy a non-underwire bra. Sweetest thing ever: I've been friends with a group of women for the past ten years, and we meet up once a year on trips. They sent me Cupcakes in a Jar two weeks ago, and then last week, a Victoria's Secret gift certificate popped up in my email from them--for $250!!!
So I headed into VS, and I think I'm a bra snob from all those years of having to buy Really Expensive, Super-Engineered Bras, and I was like, Oh...this is what you have, huh? And their measurements were kind of off. They said I was a 34 C, and I was like, Mmmmm, I'm definitely a 32, and that was proven, but the 32D didn't really fit either. But you know what? THAT BRA FEELS AWESOME. I'm looking forward to buying some underwire bras too.
I tried on my old workout bras, and they fit...THE WAY THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO. It's kind of nice not to have my tits spilling out of the top like I was heading out to work the pole as a "workout girl," with "Timber" as my stripper song.
I hesitate to write about this, because I don't ever want to discourage anyone from getting this surgery, but I've read enough about this that I need some encouragement from those of you who have gone through this.
I've hit the Three-Week Depression. Don't get me wrong: I would never decide not to get this surgery. With all the pain I was having, there really wasn't another choice. And I love how my breasts look. But. BUT. It is so hard to get used to having another body. Before, my boobs were so big that my waist looked smaller in comparison. Now, I'm like, Oh, crap, and LOL, I HAVE TO STAND UP STRAIGHT. And I can, which is nice. But. I guess I'm just adjusting? Plus, my body was so tight, for so long (another reason I encourage anyone to get this surgery sooner rather than later), that I have this fear I'll never be completely well.
Maybe I'm just tired. Maybe this is just normal. Anyone else have this?
One Thing to Add
I WORE A HALTER TOP. WITH NO BRA. No bra! NO BRA!!!
So I went to Macy's and bought myself a nice Wacoal, and since those are pretty honest in their sizing, I can now say I'm a 32C.
Last night I wore a strapless dress to meet a friend for drinks, and I was like, I'm 46, I've got a small window to wear strapless dresses, and I am doing it as long as I can!
For those of you who are waiting for your procedures, I am, honestly, so excited for you. Not just being able to wear the types of clothes I haven't been able to wear, like, ever, well, like maybe when I was eight, but for also just feeling better. I was talking about my surgery with a chiropractor who was at the store where I work, and I had to fight tears because I'm so grateful I had this. I went from having almost-constant headaches and shoulders of steel to a relaxed middle back to softer shoulders to having three headaches in the last two months. I know you might be scared heading into your surgery--I definitely was--but, wow, it really is a great surgery. So many benefits even if you don't get the exact results you want (my right breast is a little less perfect than I'd like, but it's just the shape of my breast), and the scars are worth it.
Title 9 Got Schooled
They had a description of the Last Resort bra, and it was apparently written by someone who doesn't Get It, because she wrote, "If you are considering breast reduction surgery, consider this bra first."
I wondered if I was being oversensitive, and then I thought, No, wait--that is RUDE. So I wrote then and said that if their bra could have removed my symptoms, I would have done it (and I've always worn their bras because they're high quality AND in funky sizes like, say, 32DDD). I also told them to "stop sounding like a dumb guy" (like one of those trolls on RealSelf, maybe?). They wrote back in 24 hours and said they'd pass along my comments to their copy writer and apologized profusely, which I thought was really nice. And I'll still buy their bras--which, now that I've had the surgery actually really fit, which was a super nice surprise.
But I can't believe the things people say. I just can't let go of that. I wish I could. But people's weird ideas about breasts and how the bigger the better syndrome has taken over our rightful minds (I often wonder why the numerous chiropractors, doctors, physical therapists, massage therapists, etc. never said, "Hey, your boobs? Big. That might be the issue."), and all you have to do is visit the explant reviews to see the effect this weird thinking has had on so many of us.
Before I got my BR, I worried that I'd feel less feminine, and initially, I did, but now, I feel so much more feminine. When I look down and see these proportioned, smaller breasts, I feel so much lighter and so much more feminine. The first time the nurse took off all the gauze and bandages, I blurted out, "They're so pretty!" And that's how I feel now. I felt pretty before. I felt feminine before--but now, it's a different version of femininity.
Four Months Post
It's going to take a while until my body stops bunching up my shoulders and hunching my back. I'm not sure when that'll stop, if ever. All I know is, it's a lot easier to stretch. I can feel my muscles release now. Instead of three or four headaches a week, I've had maybe five or six total since the surgery.
I had my last check-in with my doctor yesterday. The end of an era, LOL. I also know, too, that every time I see Alex on Modern Family, I'll know she's in my tribe. YOU GO, GIRL.
So here's the summary: these smaller boobs are awesome.
And the Final Bra Size Is...
It's been eight months since my surgery. I'm so happy I did it. I don't regret it for a minute, and I wish I'd done it a lot more soon. I thought I'd put this update out there in case anyone was seeing whether she wanted to do the surgery or was wondering, as I was before mine, what cup size I might possibly be. So here's my stats:
5'3-1/2". 142 pounds. Petite (can wrap my fingers around my wrist). A 30DDD/G before. 308 removed from one breast, 313 from the other. The new bra size is a 32C, so about three cup sizes.
Sometimes I wear a push-up bra for kicks, but it's nice to have that be an option and not the rule. I love being able to buy cheap sports bras, and I had to get rid of some of my tops. I also realized I wore t-shirts all the time because that's all that would work for my frame and my ginormous boobs. It's so nice to have some other options.
My back and neck can still get tight sometimes, or, a lot of the time, so I'm training myself to stand up straight, which is sooooo much easier now, and I stretch out my hip flexors a lot because I was carrying my chest forward for a long time, about, you know, thirty years. Instead of going to my PT once a week or sometimes even twice, now I go every other week, and sometimes even every 2-1/2 weeks.
It's a great surgery. It's been amazing. I feel so lucky to have had this done, and I'm grateful to this site for being here.
Quick Update on Scars
One of my friends is a dermatologist and said my scars looked really good but noticed a couple were still raised, so he injected them with cortisone. I can't say it was pleasant, but it didn't take long, and I can already feel a difference (he said it'll take two weeks) in that my bra doesn't feel like it's irritating my scars like it was. They feel a bit flatter, and I'm looking forward to seeing if it helps.
I thought I'd throw this out there in case any of you were going through the same thing.
Dr. McCormack is professional, smart, and skilled, and she's a chosen a staff that reflects those same values. I have felt completely comfortable and that I was a valuable patient throughout this entire process. More than that, my breast reduction was beautifully done. I can't recommend this doctor and her very kind and professional staff enough.