25 Y/O, 111lbs, 5'6", My breast reduction journey- Spain, ES

DISCLAIMER First of all, I beg your pardon about...

First of all, I beg your pardon about my command of English. Although I work as an English teacher, I’m not an English native speaker, so it’s possible that you find that at some points my English is a bit crooked or even poor. I’ll try to be as clear as possible. Apart from that, take into account that I’m Spanish. I’ll try to clarify or explain as much as possible metric, sizes, cultural references, and so on… I am aware that the majority of RealSelf users come from a UK/ US background and sometimes European references can be difficult to grasp. So, here I go…

After loitering and skulking around RealSelf for some months I decided that it would be unfair not to share my (upcoming) breast reduction experience taking into account that many of your experiences have been so useful. Thank you everyone! (:
Hi ladies. I am 25 –I was born in 1990– and I live in Spain. Currently I weigh 50 kgs (111 pounds) and I am 167 cm tall (approximately 5’6”). I’ve always been a girl with a small frame so my boobs look ridiculous. The last time I was offered a professional bra fitting I was a Spanish 75H. I think that this is around a British 30G but I’m not sure. Since a bra that size is unavailable off-the-rack in Spain, where women tend to be petite and with smaller cups comparing with European/American standards –you have to order it and it can cost as much as €80, which is around $87. Outrageous to say the least. There’s always a “cheaper” option: buying a bra with cups that fit me and bands that do not fit me and mend it at home.
If my parents hadn’t taken pictures of me before I was 12 I’d have thought that I had been carrying them all my life. In less than two months I went from a straight AA cup to a D cup. When I was 14 my boobs bloomed until their current size, so I’ve been living with them for ten years. I wasn’t the first girl of my classroom developing breasts, of course, but they were the biggest. I was a target for boys and girls alike –boys would find my boobs fascinating and girls would bully and verbally abuse me because of them. I went to a private Catholic school in which a full uniform was required all times. I couldn’t hide them in baggy sweaters or loose batwing tops due to that strict uniform policy. Changing before or after PE lessons was hell for me. I used to hide in a WC cubicle because I couldn’t stand seeing my other classmates’ small breasts. Not to mention PE lessons themselves, in which I felt I was the jester of the class. Besides, I used to go to ballet and rhythmic gymnastics lessons after school. I had to drop out because of my breasts. I couldn’t keep my balance properly or do some of the required exercises.
I’ll always remember the day my parents were called to a regular meeting with my supervising teacher. She would say that I was a bright and intelligent student, so I wasn’t expecting anything new. After commenting on my progress, the teacher told my parents that I should remove the padding inserts on my boobies because they were not appropriate for school because everyone –even the teaching staff! –used to stare at them. My mother answered that my boobies were naturally big so I didn’t need any padding on them. This was my wake-up call. I was 14 years and a half.
When I was 16 I started to develop back and self-image problems. I refused to leave home. I hid myself in baggy clothes. I started wearing long sleeves during all the year, even in summer. I avoided mirrors. I hated my body and myself. I had back, neck, chest and shoulder pains. I developed bra grooves and scars. I started with migraines and got fungus under my boobs. My mother took me to the doctor and after the examination he diagnosed me with breast hypertrophy. He told my mother –I was underage –that I could be a good candidate for a breast reduction surgery. However, I needed to go through a medical board consisting of a paediatrician, psychologist, an orthopaedic surgeon and a plastic surgeon. If I passed the board, the Spanish National Health System would pay for my surgery. My mother signed the required documents and a painful process started. The waiting list for the board was long, and the waiting list for the surgery itself too, but if I passed it it would mean that in three years time I could have smaller breasts.

Spain’s National Health System (“Sistema Nacional de Salud”) is considered as one of the best health systems in the world. In fact, Spain is well-known for being every year the holiday destination of thousands of people who seek medical treatment. To cut the story short –I don’t want to spend too much space talking about that –the system is funded mainly thanks to all the people who work with an employment contract in Spain. So, this means that depending on your age, job, family situation and other factors the state keeps a part of your salary which is spent on the Sistema Nacional de Salud. This means that you –and your children if this is the case– have got free access in any situation to hospitals, doctors, etc... which is particularly beneficial for people with chronic diseases or in the case of unexpected events such as traffic accidents or pregnancies, for example. Well-off people usually pay for private health services although they are still covered by the Sistema Nacional de Salud. There are no waiting lists in private health companies and the treatments are of the same quality as in the SNS but they are exorbitantly expensive.
I’m not going to tell you how much money my parents have been deprived of since they started working, but I can tell you that it is a quite large amount. In fact, the medical needs of my family –I’m the oldest of three children –would have be perfectly covered by a private health company.

As you can imagine, I didn’t pass the medical board. And you wouldn’t image who knocked me down. Yes, it was the plastic surgeon. I’ve just turned 17 when we got the appointment to his office. At that time I was 124 pounds (56 kgs) and 5’4” (165 cm). Yes, I still kept growing up until my late teens)... He measured me, weighed me, measured and checked my breasts and declared tactlessly that I was plainly FAT. He said that even if I lost some weight I would never be able to qualify for a breast reduction surgery. He played down my physical problems and said that I was being such a drama queen hiding in black, baggy tops. Let me insist on the fact that I had very positive reports from the paediatrician, the psychologist, and the orthopaedic surgeon. I left the plastic surgeon’s office in tears, as you can imagine. This was another blow to my battered self-esteem. I had been looking forward to that meeting for almost a year. It was also a blow to my parents, who couldn’t afford to pay for a private health insurance to cover only my breast reduction.
After that day I must confess that I developed eating problems. To be honest, I’ve never starved myself to death, or followed mia or ana patterns of behaviour. I’ve never been diagnosed with a restrictive/purgative eating disorder but I know that it has been lurking me for years. Eight years have passed from that day and I still watch out strictly what shall I eat and what not and I usually feel guilty after eating a slice of pizza or some ice-cream. Even though we’ve always had a healthy and balanced diet at home I managed to shed some weight during the last few years.
I’m pretty much miserable now. Besides all the physical problems I have, I missed many events in my life such as beach parties, pool barbecues and trips to the countryside. I can’t go running. I’m constantly hunching over. Driving with a seatbelt on leaves a red angry mark on my neck. I had a car accident some years ago and since the seatbelt didn’t fit me properly because of my tiny body and huge breasts I broke three ribs and my nose. Raising my arms over my head is painful after 20 seconds, not to mention carrying or lifting weight. Every time I go through my clothes I cry because I don’t like the clothes I own. I am even slightly embarrassed around my long-term boyfriend. Every time we go dinner people stare at me and I’m fed up with getting unwanted attention from men. The worse thing of all is the looks from my students. They keep staring at my breasts constantly and I feel like a tart.

After saving since I was 18 –I had to work really hard for it and even moonlight in three different jobs at the same time because I had to pay for rent, petrol, the car, university taxes, clothes, etc. –I am now in a financial position in which I can afford to pay for private surgery. My parents feel guilty about the fact of not being able to afford for it, but as I said before, they've got three children so it wouldn't be fair for my brother and my sister.
I had the appointment with my surgeon the 29th June. I’ve got my pre-op tests the 31st July and my pre-op appointment the 5th August. The big (or small) day is scheduled for the 7th August.

I’ll keep you informed! (:

First meeting with my surgeon. Q/A time!

My first appointment with my surgeon was the 29th June. My plan was to go alone to the surgeon’s office, and eventually my mother was able to come with me. I was a bit anxious but everything went OK. My surgeon could not have been nicer. The previous night I prepared a list of talking points to make sure that I didn’t forget anything.
-Possible risks.
-Anesthesia. (type, possible allergies)
-Pre-op tests.

-Things I must buy before surgery. (Antibacterial soap, stool softener, silicone strips, scar creams, etc.)
-Final cup size (I want to be proportioned but if I can choose I’d rather be too small than too big)
-Is August a good month for surgery? Do I have to wait until Sept-Oct? (My holidays are in August. I didn’t want to take any days off-work in September. I was concerned about that issue because August is the hottest month here.)
-Prescriptions before/during/after the surgery.
-Time off-work.
-When can I go home? Same day? 24h after?
-Stitches. Internal? External? Removable?
-Keloids. (my mother had a ganglion cyst removed some years ago and developed a really ugly keloid there...)
-Nipple size and placement.
-Bras. Do I need to wear a surgical bra after the surgery? For how long? Bras after the post-op period. When can I wear wire bras again?
-When can I shower?
-Instructions for my caretakers during my recovery time. (That’s why I went with my mother)
-When can I resume to my daily-life activities?
-Final cup size to be seen in how much time?
-Will my breasts grow back after surgery? (pregnancy, etc.)

My surgeon was really kind and reassuring and he made me feel comfortable. He was a bit surprised about my body size after I removed my bra. He says that I am so petite for having such huuuuuge breasts. He complimented my outfit as a concealing device!
He told me that surgery and anesthesia are risky, but taking into account that I’m young and I lead a very healthy lifestyle (I don’t do drugs, I don’t smoke, I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, I drink alcohol sparingly...) the risk is minimal. About the things I must buy he told me that he’ll give the full list the day of my pre-op, but the most important items are: three or four sports bras that can be opened at the front, and a moisturizing cream for the scars. About the cup size he asked me what I wanted, so I said that a B-C cup would be fine. He said that according to my body shape and weight he’ll try to leave me with a B. Since I do not take any supplements, or other medical prescriptions I do not need to worry about that. He told me that I should stop drinking alcohol 2 weeks before the surgery (I’m missing my dinner wine and weekend IPAs and stouts A LOT!). No aspirin or ibuprofen 3 weeks prior surgery. Since I planned to undergo surgery in August and I don’t start teaching until September I could start the academic year without asking for a medical leave. He even told me that generally patients undergo surgery in August to avoid asking for a medical leave + their significant ones/families are on holidays too and can look after them.
If everything runs smoothly in the operating room I’ll be discharged 24 hours after the surgery. I’ll have drains until I am discharged from hospital. There’s always some scarring left and it’s impossible to know whether a patient will develop a keloid or not, though they are more likely in dark-skinned patients (as you can see I am very fair of skin for Spanish standards). About the nipple size he told me that it will be around 4 cm (now it’s 12.5, almost 5 inches!). He doesn’t like recommending surgical bras to BR patients so I’ll be using sports bras that can be opened at the front during the first month post-op. About wire bras he raised his eyebrow and said: “after surgery you won’t need them anymore!” The best thing of all is that I can shower as soon as I get home. Regarding the instructions for my caretakers, he said that nothing special apart from no housework, no physical activity and lots of relax. He said that he’ll be more specific in the pre-op appointment. I can resume “daily” life 10 days after surgery (including driving or going shopping for new clothes, HOOOORAY!). The final cup is to be seen in 6 months after surgery. And unless I put on a lot of weight it is unlikely that my breasts will grow back (or at least come back to a size similar to the current one).

His assistant gave me a complete schedule. As I said in my previous review:
-20th-23rd July -> Pay for the surgery. If you hadn’t read my previous post I am assuming the full cost of it.
-31st July -> blood test. Since I am young and lead a healthy lifestyle I do not need a chest X-ray or an ECG.
-5th August -> pre-op appointment. He’ll draw the lines, will take pictures, and will give me instructions for the big (small) day.
-7th August -> Big (small) day. Most likely to be during the morning. He’ll tell me the exact time the 5th.
-17th August -> first post-op appointment.

I’ll keep you updated! (:

p.s: Sorry for the grammar mistakes and typos.

One step closer

First of all, thank you ladies for all your support! It’s great to have this website in which we can help each other and share our thoughts and experiences. You are amazing!

Today I went to the bank just to order the payment of the surgery. I thought that I would have mixed feelings about paying it and seeing that hole on my bank account –I paid €4,725 for it, which is around 5,200USD. This is a lot of money for me considering my (low) salary as an adjunct professor/researcher at a local university. However, I feel relieved. The big (small) day is drawing near and I’m eager to see the results.

Today I told some of my colleagues about my upcoming surgery. I thought that it would be better if I told them about it rather than to leave them to find out about it when we come back in September. I said that I was going to have my breasts reduced and one of them asked me if I was going to get my implants removed. I was utterly shocked. When I told her that what I’m getting is a breast reduction and not an implant removal she apologized and said that she was positive that my breasts were fake. I can’t believe it. What is the point of having implants –I said –if I always wear button-ups and never show any cleavage? Another colleague admitted that she also thought that my breasts were implants because "you are so skinny that it is impossible that you have naturally big breasts." Thank you, gals?

It’s funny how people react to my news. I mean, breast reduction surgery is something that you can’t hide, and I thought that it would be better to tell the people that I see frequently to avoid problems when I’m done. Maybe everything is in my head. When I told my in-laws they were honestly surprised and thought that I was joking. My mother-in-law commented that she wouldn’t have said that I have such big breasts. I pulled up my blouse and she was amazed to see that I was wearing two bras. Well, I think that I’ve become a master in concealing my “assets”. I should write my PhD on that instead of WWI literature.

Are you in the same position? Has anybody told you that s/he thinks your breasts are implants? Has anybody told you that s/he thinks that your breasts are not as big as they are? Please tell me!

In tears

Hi ladies,
Yesterday I went with some friends for a drink. We talked about our summer plans and I told them that I was due to BR in August –some of them didn’t know about it. To my surprise, one of them (an educated girl of my age who has a job in social care) made a remark that has upset me quite a lot. “Is your BR worth when you perfectly can die in the operating room? I mean, I think you are putting yourself into unnecessary risk. You are being selfish by undergoing surgery just because. Think about your family and boyfriend!” I managed to pull myself together and answered her politely, but she insisted on the fact that I was being selfish AND vain. Why do people have the urge of commenting on things they aren't supposed to?

I couldn’t avoid going to bed in tears yesterday because of that. I know that general anaesthesia is a safe procedure and I’m not at risk, but I’ve never been put under it. My family and boyfriend have been really supportive and told me that maybe she said that just out of spite and envy but I feel shaken. I’ve got mixed feelings about my BR right now. I know that I need it because all the physical problems I have right now, but I’m so afraid of not being able to recover from anaesthesia. Apart from that it doesn’t help that part of my beloved ones won’t be able to be with me during the surgery and the first days and I’ll have to undergo the process without them. To be honest, I’m crying right now.

I just needed a friendly space to share my thoughts. Thank you for reading me. You are great.

6 days to go!

Hi again, ladies. Just a quick and messy update.

Firstly, you all are AMAZING. I feel so grateful for having found such a welcoming and supportive community. I have no words to describe how thankful I am for your support in the last days. I promise to reply all your messages as soon as possible. I haven’t done that before because I’ve been really busy with the syllabuses and the organization for my next teaching year.
I’ve just started my summer holidays today and I can’t believe that I am less a week away from the big-small day. Besides, yesterday I went for my pre-op tests (only a blood test). I am terrified of needles though I have a high tolerance to pain. I think that this is because every time I need to get some blood extracted they are unable to find my veins and need three or four attempts. I used to be a blood donor but I had to give up because of that. I can’t believe that everything went fine and I even didn’t get a bruise! Wow!

Apart from organizing my workload for September those last days I’ve been reading thoroughly. I found two useful books that everyone undergoing BR surgery should read, and these are the following:
- “When Less is More: The Complete Guide for Women Considering Breast Reduction Surgery” by Dr. Bethanne Snodgrass.
- “Anaesthesia: A Very Short Introduction” by Aidan O’Donnell.

I’m starting with the pre-op preparations (things I must buy, preparing my bedroom, etc.). I’ll update soon!

Quick update pt.2

Hi lovely ladies,
My pre-op appointment went well, so this means that the 7th August will be the big-small day. On Sunday I started feeling anxious because I read a breast reduction review in which the patient said that she had to reschedule the surgery because they found in the blood test that she was anaemic. Fortunately, my blood test was OK. Believe me, my only concern those last days was not being able to get my surgery done!

My BR will be at 16.00 and I should be admitted around 14.00h. This means that I can get up relatively late, however, my last meal should be around 7.30. I’ll get up at 7 and drink something and go to bed for a couple of hours more (it’s been really hot those last days with temperatures reaching the 36ºC before noon, which I think is around 100ºF, and I wouldn’t like to suffer from dehydration before admission...).

I’ve got a list of things that I should pack and tomorrow I’ll do my last-minute shopping. I’m so excited! I can’t believe it!! (:

Surgery day

Hi lovely ladies,
I’VE DONE IT! I’m 4 days post-op! Sorry for not writing before, but those last days I didn’t want to do anything except sleeping, resting, reading and watching tv shows. Let me tell you about the big-small day, which was Friday 7th...

I had to check in at 14.00h because my surgery was at 16.00h. I was shown my room and given a sexy hospital gown and some übersexy granny underwear. My parents had driven me to hospital and I encouraged them to go somewhere and have some lunch –you know that in Spain we have lunch between 14.00 and 15.30… And then it came the long wait…

The nurse assigned to me came in and out a couple of times to do the usual check-ups –BP, temperature, measured me, weighed me, asked me if I had eaten/drunk anything… I wasn’t anxious at all so I spent that time reading a novel I brought to hospital. Then my parents came at about 15.00 and stayed with me. My father displayed a childish behaviour –I’m still upset and disappointed about it–and told me that my breasts weren’t so big. “You should put on more weight, you are skinny. You don’t need any surgery done, you need to fatten up.” My mother was also upset about those unsupportive comments and… they started arguing… When my surgeon came in to draw the lines noticed that I had puffy eyes and asked me what had happened. When I told him he said that this kind of comments are very common among fathers/husbands/male significant others moments before surgery. I couldn’t believe it! He asked me if I was ready to say good-bye to my huge boobs and I said yes!

A few moments after he left, my assigned nurse brought me the tiniest glass of water ever + 3 pills. One of them was an anti-emetic, the other one a lorazepam and the last one a stomach protector. I swallowed them up and sat, waiting to be taken to the operating room. At 15.45h, one of the surgery nurses came to wheel my bed off to the operating room. I wanted to walk there, but I started feeling sleepy… I kissed my parents good-bye, told them to behave while I was away and jumped in! The surgery nurse was quite young and great fun. He asked me about my job at university, asked me several questions about my phd and helped me feeling comfortable and relaxed. He even joked about my weight because he said that I looked like a scared child with the face of an attractive young lady! As soon as we hit the operating room area I complained bitterly about the cold there and he wrapped me in a blanket. He wheeled me to a very small room and wished me luck before leaving me there. A few moments after, the nurse anaesthetist came in and reviewed with me my clinical history. She inserted the IV in my hand –I didn’t feel anything, really –and put something. I was feeling really sleepy at that time. Then, the doctor anaesthesiologist came in. He introduced himself and I remember telling him that he was cute. I apologized immediately (I felt like I was being brutally honest, just like when you are drunk or something) and he said that with all the drugs I’ve been given –I realized at that point that something freezing was dripping into my IV –it was very common to say nonsense. However, I remember him saying that I was a polite patient and complimenting my fishtail braid. Then, I remember being wheeled off again to a well-lit area, then somebody putting TED socks on my feet. I had my eyes closed, and I felt like I had drunk four full pints of beer but without the nausea feeling. And… nothing.

I woke up all bandaged in a dark room and I saw that it was almost 20.15. My surgery was almost 4 hours long. I don’t remember much from the recovery room, except 1) my surgeon coming and saying that I had been a good girl, 2) a kind nurse who gave me an extra blanket and put a kind of hairdryer machine under my bedsheets and made me feel warm. I was taken to my room afterwards. My mother was next to the bed and asked me how I was feeling and I said that I felt light and could breathe effortlessly! One of the nurses said that I kept repeating from the recovery room that I was feeling hungover lol. Drugs made me the meanest person in the world because I only remember telling my father to fuck off (really!) because I wanted to sleep and he kept answering calls from work –which is not the most intelligent thing to do when your daughter has just woken up from major surgery. Really, I only remember being rude to my father. Next time I woke up was 23.30 and I was very thirsty. My assigned nurse gave me some peach juice and I went back to sleep.

Next morning I was woken up by my nurse at around 8. She brought me some light breakfast (toast, apple juice, 4 or 5 biscuits and a decaf espresso) and just after that my surgeon came in to check my drains. He cut my bandages and told me that I had a blood clot on my left breast and had to drain me manually. It was really painful! When he finished he told the nurse to put some pain drugs on my IV. I put on one of the sports bras I bought and went back to sleep.
A couple of hours later I was heading home with my parents. I don’t remember much of it either. Everything is blurry. I woke up at 15.00 feeling swollen and tired. My mother made some chicken soup and I was so nauseated at the sight of food that I had to run to the toilet to throw up. Fortunately I didn’t. I drank a bowl of the soup and went to bed immediately. My mother checked my breasts a couple of times, but I don’t remember. I woke up at dinnertime, drank a bit more of chicken soup, took some pics and went to sleep. I remember that my sports bra was too tight on my nipples (I had and still have some gauze stitched onto them). On Sunday I only dared to leave the bed for toilet trips. I had some drinks, snacks, books, smartphone and my meds next to it. My father kept coming into my bedroom and stared at me in silence for minutes, and I asked him grumpily why he found my bedridden behaviour so interesting. In fact I felt tired as if I had the flu. My surgeon prescribed me only paracetamol if I had pain, but I didn’t feel any of it! (: Apart from that, I had my first shower on Sunday. I managed to wash my hair alone (it is hip-length and thick) but I needed some help with the legs.

Yesterday (Monday, 10th) I went to my first post-op appointment. My surgeon checked my stitches and said that everything was going fine, so next appointment will be the 17th. He prescribed me a heparin cream. Today I feel less tired though I spent all day doing nothing. I can’t believe how smoothly things are going on!
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