Despite my Breast Intentions, I'm a Complete Boob at Titles - San Francisco, CA

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My chest seemed to grow overnight sometime at the...

My chest seemed to grow overnight sometime at the beginning of high school and I had no idea how to deal with them. I stuffed them into badly fitting bras which had no support. At one point, I had only one bra that fit - a 36D bra that worked if I wore a sports bra over it, since my boobs would fall out the bottom otherwise. I blamed my body and my boobs for being weird. I thought that I would never be able to fit into bras (or clothes) correctly.

At the beginning of 2013, I finally discovered how to size myself correctly as 30GG. In the search for the perfect bra, I began to realize that it wasn't my boobs that were weird, but the limited size range in US stores that was making me feel like a freak. I lost some weight and went down to a 26GG, but wore 28G bras (sister size) since 26 bands are a custom size. And to think I was wearing a 36D bra - 10 inches larger than my actual underbust measurement!

Finding my correct size invigorated me, though. When I was wearing ill-fitting bras, I believed that it was just something I had to deal with in life. Now, I had taken control over my boobs and found bras that actually fit them. I had a little taste of power and wanted more - what if I could just get rid of my boobs? Take control over my body! Live a life full of big boob problems! I started exploring breast reduction surgery and finally had it done once I got really good health insurance at work.

The main reason I got the reduction is because I was tired of having my boobs rule my life. I had to think about them every day. When I got up in the morning, I had underboob sweat from skin to skin contact with my belly. Just getting dressed in the morning was a hassle. For some reason, clothing manufacturers believe that chest size correlates with torso size, when it's not necessarily the case. I couldn't wear a size S in womens t-shirts because my boobs didn't fit; on the other hand, size L fit my chest, yet made me look like a tent. And even though I knew my correct bra size, it was hard finding a bra that fit for my breast shape. I have a narrow breast root because my torso is small, but bras in large cup sizes often have wider wires, so the underwire would wrap around my side almost to my back. It took time and energy to research which bra models would fit, order them, and re-sell them if they didn't fit. I hated doing this. I didn't want to become a bra fitting expert, but I had to in order to adequately support my chest. I was spending so much time taking care of my boobs, rather than spending time on hobbies and activities that I actually enjoyed.

I also had a rash in my cleavage that had been there as long as I could remember. That area of skin never had a chance to breathe throughout the day, since my boobs were smothering it. I tried diaper cream, an antifungal powder my doctor prescribed me, and putting talc on it every day. The talc helped a little, but it never disappeared completely. I bike for my commute every day, so I would get a bit sweaty along the way and the talc would be “used up” for the day. It was extremely hard to exercise - I finally found a $70 sports bra that contained everything with minimal bounce in order to run and do other sports, but god forbid I forget it at home because that would mean no exercise that day. All in all, I was tired of my chest taking up my time.

I started researching surgeons in my area; I saw three and decided on the third one. The selling point for me was that she was board certified, had performed hundreds of breast reductions (including reductions on patients with the same body type as me), and that she mentioned that there is mental and body image recovery after surgery along with physical recovery. This was very important to me, since I’ve dealt with depression before. I was able to schedule consultations with surgeons on my own since I’m on a PPO (i.e. I didn’t need a referral from my physician). The surgeon sent a letter to my insurance detailing my complaints (skin rash, problems exercising, large chest on small frame, etc.), along with pictures. After three weeks (the wait was excruciating!), the insurance approval letter came in the mail and the surgery date was scheduled for Dec 30. I’ll document the surgery in another post - this is getting long!

Surgery Day

I had the surgery on December 30, which was a Monday, at three in the afternoon. I stopped eating solid food the previous night, and drank some pear juice around six in the morning (it has a lot of fiber, and the nurse said it’s good for constipation, which usually occurs when anesthesia and painkillers mix). I made some crepes for my parents and SO for lunch, and then we headed to the hospital around one.

I checked into the admissions and after some paperwork and billing stuff, the nice admissions lady led me up to a room on the fourth floor, where I changed into a fancy gown and socks. It was a a Bair Paws warming gown - they stick a nozzle into one of the holes in the gown and it blows warm air throughout it. Pretty cool! A nurse came in and verified what procedure they were performing (bilateral reduction mammoplasty), asked about what food and stuff I had eaten, and gave me some compression socks to wear under the socks I had previously gotten. Another nurse came and gave me an IV in my wrist - she numbed it with lidocaine first, so I didn’t feel anything. I put my regular clothes in some patient belongings bags they gave me, which they lock into a closet in the room for safekeeping (and move if you’re moved), and my mom kept my overnight bag with her (that contained my wallet and electronics and stuff).

Another nurse came and wheeled me to the pre-surgical waiting room on A level. My parents were able to walk down with me, but then left for the relative waiting rooms on B level (and took my glasses with them!). My surgeon came in and talked to me - she said that the wish pictures I emailed her were good, and I was the first patient that had ever drawn any pictures before! She’s done hundreds of breast reductions before, so that was pretty cool. (I had traced a picture of me, then altered it to be the shape I desired.) She said she had a good idea of what my desired size and shape was, and marked me up using a Sharpie. I should’ve gotten her to take a picture of it, but I was too excited! She also asked me what music I wanted to listen to while I went to sleep and I was like uhh...and she said to think about it (they use Pandora - the previous patients had listen to Motley Crue and Soundgarden, hehe). She left and the anesthesiologist came and talked to me. He asked me what I had last eaten and when, and explained that since I’m healthy, the risks for serious side effects were low, and some potential side effects I could expect were sore throat and nausea. He would first give me some sedation meds through the IV, then put a mask over my face. He left to get ready, and then a nurse came and wheeled me into the operating room. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it would’ve been, probably because of the warm gown. The nurse was super nice, and went to nursing school in my hometown! So we had a bond going there, lol. They asked me again what I wanted to listen to and I said that the music I like is kind of weird, so the surgeon said that if they didn’t like it, they would just change it after I was asleep, haha. I said Alt-J, they put it in Pandora, and the anesthesiologist must have injected the sedative the moment I moved from the gurney to the operating table because I was outtttt. I think “Something Good” may have been playing? I don’t remember a thing, haha.

I vaguely remember waking up in the recovery room. I think they have a sensor that when you move, it beeps so they know when you’re awake? I kept on falling back asleep, though. The surgeon may have visited me in recovery (she said that she would and that I wouldn’t remember, lol), but it wasn’t until they wheeled me up to the third floor that my parents could visit me. The surgery took two hours and I spent an hour in the recovery room (so my mom tells me). That’s pretty good, considering the estimated surgery time was 2.5 - 3 hours. My mom told me that the surgeon had talked to them afterwards and said that everything went well and they reached my goal!

I was still in and out of sleep when they settled me into the room for the night. I didn’t get a private room, but I got the window side so I could see the city. My dad walked back to the apartment from the hospital (he wanted to see some city views, I guess) and my mom stayed with me for a few hours. I felt bad because I was mostly asleep! Kind of boring. I got her to hug me a bunch of times and pointed to my chest a lot, too, haha. They had given me a PCA pump of hydromorphone, and I just had to click a button to get a dose (0.2 mg). I wasn’t in a lot of pain - it was just mostly soreness - but I hit the max (1 mg) an hour or two after my mom left. The nurse (Robin?) was super nice and talked to me a lot - hopefully I was semi-coherent, heh. He gave me liquid acetaminophen (I think?) and ordered some food. I got nauseous due to the combination of anesthesia and painkillers and could only stomach a few bites of food (fruit and salad), so he gave me some anti-nausea meds and I drifted off to sleep.

When the night nurse came (Laurel?), I had to go to the restroom, so she unhooked my IV and my leg massage thingies. So they wrap these things around your lower legs that periodically fill up with air to massage your legs to prevent blood clots, since you’re laying down and not moving after surgery. They also keep your legs warm! So those were cool. For my chest, they put padded cotton dressings on the incision sites, then a stretchy mesh gauze tube that’s kind of like a bandeau (but goes down to your bellybutton and up to your armpits) to keep everything in place. It looked like the foam mesh they use to cushion asian pears in the supermarket, so I thought that was funny. But anyways, I was still pretty nauseous, especially from sitting up, so the first trip to the bathroom was kind of an uncomfortable blur. I got pretty woozy, and after I got back in bed, immediately feel asleep again, haha.

I kept waking up in 1-2 hour intervals, and felt better every time. My pain was really manageable, around a 1 or 2. The nurse may have given me some fluids through my IV as well? I started to need to go to the restroom a lot - I think I went 4-5 times throughout my overnight stay! I started moving around more because of it and read stuff on my phone and stuff - all that reaching probably stressed some of the stitches, so I clicked the button some more (needed only 0.4 mg to get me through the morning). I also finished the fruit from last night since I felt bad about wasting the food, and it was good fruit! I got pretty good sleep in the hospital, even though it was in hour spurts. The nurses were all super nice and helpful and I was pretty comfortable. I’m kind of glad my surgeon makes her patients stay overnight; I had planned not to, but being in the hospital and having your pain managed and things done for you is really nice. Plus, my parents didn’t have to deal with that stuff at home. I basically just slept, went on my phone, and periodically patted my chest to marvel at how flat it was (and peek at my incisions - kind of bloody!). I had full range of motion in my arms; the incisions don’t go underneath my arms, so that’s probably why I was fine with moving around so readily.

A respiratory specialist came in around six in the morning and listened to my lungs. They were clear, so I didn’t need any respiratory therapy. The nurse assistant came a little later and got my vital stats. My surgeon visited me around seven and checked my incisions. She said that the surgery had gone really well - they achieved my goal size and shape, which I had made really clear through all the pictures. I asked how much they had taken out, and she said that she would have to check the actual numbers, but it was around 500g on each side. Insurance required 250g to be taken out, so it was more than double that. She said that I had dense breasts that were pretty heavy, and the removed tissue was sent to pathology (results will come in next week). She wished me a happy new year, and that my surgery was her present to me! Lol. A little while later, the day nurse (Reina?) also checked my dressings and said I was free to be discharged. She disconnected my IV and I texted my parents and SO to come pick me up. The nutritionist called me and asked if I had ordered breakfast, but my dad was making breakfast at home so I told her and the nurse I’d just go home and eat there. When my mom came, the nurse removed my IV and gave me the discharge instructions (keep the dressings on until my next appointment with the surgeon in three days, no showering before then, no lifting more than five pounds, etc.). I changed, and we were free to go! My SO drove us home and I ate some good, home cooked food. :)

Update + Pictures

I got the hospital bill a few days ago and dealt with all the insurance stuff. I have a PPO with a max out-of-pocket, so even though the hospital bill was $32,000+, my responsibility was only $2,300. I’m lucky because my work gives me a $3,000 HSA (to cover the max out-of-pocket), so I didn’t need to pay anything.

This past week of recovery (second week) has been going really well. I feel great, but just get tired a little more easily than before. I’ve been going outside and walking around each day, since I didn’t really leave the house or move at all last week. I start work next Monday, but I walked to the office yesterday to hang out with some co-workers and eat dinner. It was a two mile walk and I took it really slow so it took me an hour, haha. I usually bike to work, which the doctor said I’m still not allowed to do, so either I’ll walk to work or catch a taxi or something next week. It kind of sucks, but better than ripped stitches. I think the hardest part of recovering has been limiting myself!

One thing I can’t get over is that I fit into shirts a lot better, too. I had bought this really cute shirt with fast food characters on it in either middle school or high school and couldn’t bear to part with it, even though I didn’t fit into it at all. I figured I could turn it into a pillow or something. I tried it on today and it fit! I had always thought it was too small all over, but I guess it was my boobs in the way. All of my fitted shirts don’t stretch at the bust anymore. The downside is that the shirts I had bought to fit my chest are all too large now. :P

I attached the wish picture I drew for my surgeon, since I had forgotten to do that. You can tell what a great job she did following it - I was really particular on the shape and wanted to go as small as possible. I had also picked out some pictures from the Natural Breasts Gallery online ( to show her what size and shape I wanted.

Approximate Size

I took these pictures 8 days post-op, but I'm still pretty much the same 12 days post-op. My left breast is a little firmer (possibly more swollen?) than the right one. My bust measurement is now 31", so that means I lost 5" in total!

Two pounds of boob later, I'm around a 26DD. I'm hoping when everything settles, I'll get down to a 26D. I've stopped wearing a surgical bra and am wearing wireless ones, since the surgical bra I got was uncomfortable and too big for my ribcage. My wireless bras are from Forever 21 - I have two regular layering bras and one surplice layering bra. The surplice one is so pretty! The regular ones have pads, though, which I like because it keeps my nipples from poking through.

Getting Antsy

I had a follow-up appointment yesterday and everything is healing fine so far. The surgeon cut off the ends of the sutures she had left outside. I still have some minimal bruising near my vertical incisions, but she didn't seem too worried about it. I've been walking to work every day (a little less than two miles), so that may be why the bruising hasn't completely gone away. My left breast is still pretty firm, while my right breast is softer and is settling nicer. She said I'm doing well. I'm getting antsy, though! I want to be able to exercise. I feel great, so it's hard to limit myself. She did say I can start biking to work again (as long as I take it slow) of course I biked to work today! I may have gone a bit faster than "taking it slow", but I missed biking so much. I'm an awful patient! I've also been catching up with the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, watching all the programs online, and I can't wait to get back to skating again. Did I mention how hard it is to limit myself?

On the other hand, I've been having so much fun with clothes. I get to try out all of the styles that I couldn't pull off before. I used to look like a weird tent when I wore this sheer, grey collared shirt, but now I look semi-fashionable in it! I also could never figure out how to wear this thin, flowy cardigan - it wrapped around my boobs weird. Now I can't wear it enough. It makes me feel very girly and swishes when I walk. :)

4 Week Update

I can't believe it's almost been a month since my reduction!

4 Week Update, Continued

Woops...I posted the previous thing before I was ready. ^^;

I feel pretty much back to my old self now. In the first couple of weeks, I got tired more easily. This past week (fourth week after the surgery), I’ve been biking to work every day. I bike a bit slower, but I think the reason is because my tire pressure is low, haha. Yesterday, I went skating with some friends! It was awesome. We had also walked to dinner, so it was a pretty active day for me. 5+ miles of biking (my daily commute), 2 miles of walking, and 2 hours of skating. I’m not sure if me being so active is delaying my healing a little, but it’s good for my mental health. :P

I also bought some underwire bras! My measurements have pretty much stayed the same since the surgery - 26” underbust, 31” bust. I estimated in my previous post that I was 26DD, but my leaning bust is 32” so I’m actually around 26E. I ordered a Frey Deco Strapless in 28DD and a Calvin Klein bra in 30D. The Freya fits really well - I’m super excited because it’s been so long since I’ve had a strapless bra. The Calvin Klein one was awful, though - the cups were too far apart. I ordered some other bras on sale from Nordstrom and ASOS, so we’ll see how those fit. :)

I still have a few scabs, as you can see in the pictures. I’m hoping those will heal in the next week so I can wear underwire bras daily. You can see in the picture where I raised my arms that my left breast is a bit more uneven; some of the breast tissue is more toward my armpit. I’m hoping wearing underwire bras will shape it a little better. It’s a bit firmer than my right breast, so it’ll probably just take time to settle a bit more. My left nipple also does a funny thing when it’s cold, as you can see in the front view closeup - it shrinks a little and becomes more oval-ish. It’s kind of funny. I also have a tiny dog ear (little nub of skin) at the end of the incision below my right breast, near my cleavage.

But yeah! I’m pretty pleased with how recovering and healing is going. I still can't get over all the new clothes I can wear. *O*

Time Flies

It's been a while since I posted, mostly because these days I don't think about my surgery or my breasts very much! That was one of my goals, since I thought about and worried about them all the time before I got a reduction. Mission accomplished!

It's been a few months, and you can see in the pictures that my breasts have settled a lot more. The pulling and puckering around the incisions have more or less smoothed over, and my scars are pinker. I've been terrible about scar therapy (massaging the scars and putting cream on them), so they probably don't look as great as they could possibly be, but as long as they keep fading, I'm happy. Sensation-wise, I still don't have much in my left nipple, but I regained sensation in my right and everywhere else. I haven't had any pain in the past few months besides some tingling and shooting sensations around my nipples and where my scars end on my sides.

Life-wise, I've been more active. It's amazing to be able to exercise without needing a sports bra! I can go for a run whenever I want. I can run up and down stairs without having to hold my boobs. And I can jump up and down and skip when I feel like it. I actually like my body now. I don't cry when I look at myself in the mirror anymore. The bad self-image that I had feels like a distant dream...
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