I am 23 years old, 5'4", 144lbs of solid muscle...
I am 23 years old, 5'4", 144lbs of solid muscle (jk) and am a 32I (US equivalent) at the very least. Like many of you, I don't really have a solid bra size because I was born with bowling pins attached to my chest instead of boobs, so whatever size those are. Every day I hoist them into the same mashed potato-colored bra my grandmas wear (probably), do my best to find an outfit that doesn't make me feel like a dump truck is repeatedly running over my confidence, stand sideways in front of the mirror with my arm pushing my boobs down and think how cute my outfit would be if I didn't have two exercise balls under my shirt, take a deep breath to keep from crying, and step out into the world trying to pretend I don't look like a cartoon character. That's a lot to go through everyday and I haven't even mentioned the pain yet. All day, every day, I feel like I'm carrying a child around on my shoulders that I can't put down. A child who is also on fire. That's a pretty big bummer, dudes.
Many of you seem like well-informed, intelligent resources so I would love some feedback. My insurance is with Kaiser and I am hoping to hear from anyone else who has had or has attempted to have a BR through them. I can't find any information about this particular surgery on their website in regards to coverage, and for all I know they are one of those companies run by unsympathetic demons who only cover reconstructive breast surgery. I have an appointment with my GP in about a month to ask her about the possibility of surgery (I gained about 8lbs earlier this year due to a medication and I wanted to give myself a little time to work on getting it back down before I see her, though my boobs are stubborn twerps who don't give a damn how many calories I eat or burn off), so I would love to know before then if it's even worth it or if I'll just have to go at 'em myself with a power saw. Thanks in advance for any helpful information or comments.
Here is a Little More About Me and Some Poor-Quality Bathroom Photos of my Deepest Shame!
My first real bras in middle school were B's. I skipped A's all together. By the time I got to high school I was a full C, if not a D, and then continued to grow a cup size every year until I graduated. I didn't keep track of the growth rate after that because it was just too miserable, but obviously I grew even more to get to where I am now. The saddest thing is that I actually weigh a good chunk less than I did when I graduated high school and a couple years after, yet my boobs are more or less the biggest they've ever been. My current measurements are 37.5-27-37 which makes me an obvious hourglass. That qualification is supposed to make me feel beautiful and fortunate because it is the "ideal" womanly body type, but surprise! It does not. Essentially, I only have two options as to how I present myself to the world in clothing: Either trying to flatter my figure by accentuating my small waist, which only succeeds in further accentuating my gigantic chest and shapely hips which makes me feel vulgar OR trying to down-play my shape by wearing something looser or flowier which makes me look 20lbs heavier than I actually am. Both of these realities have taken me to some very dark emotion places over the years. There are times I have refused to go anywhere in public other than work because I simply could bear to face the world. And even at work where I sit behind a desk and work with only a few people, I have sat there in such shame and embarrassment, quickly wiping away the tears so no one knew I was crying. Of course, no one in my life actually knows when any of this is happening because it is such a deep, shameful emotional experience. During one of these times a couple years ago, I wrote down some of my emotions in an effort to find some relief. The most heartbreaking sentence was "I am terrified people will think I don't know how disgusting I am." Other factors such as my acne and weight issues contributed this thought also, but this is not a feeling I or anyone else should ever experience. Until recently, this emotional pain had been the driving factor in considering breast reduction surgery off and on the past several years, but now my physical pain has become just as unbearable. I have had shoulder and back issues since my early teens, but I am a tough broad and always just put up with it. Now, however, my neck has become the biggest problem. It is in such severe pain 24/7 that I have recently had trouble sleeping because I cannot ever relax. It feels as if my head weighs upwards of 15lbs and my neck is constantly straining to hold it up even when I am laying down. Has this been anyone else's experience? I've always recognized that surgery is a very serious and drastic method of intervention for my issue, especially for someone still quite young, so it is not a decision I have ever taken lightly. I had not seriously inquired about surgery thus far because I wanted to be sure it wasn't simply a reaction to being overly emotional, or something that could be solved by losing weight. I now know neither of these is the case for me personally and I am quite sure this is something I am ready to pursue. Your support and encouragement would mean the world to me as I have enormous fears about being cut open and sewn back together (straight up YUCK), and I would be honored to support you all in return. And as I mentioned in my initial post, I would so appreciate any and all information about BR experiences with Kaiser. Wish me luck!
Step One is Officially Done
I finally have a little bit of an update. I had my initial appointment with my GP two days ago and got a referral to surgery. She basically looked at them for all of 60 seconds and was like, "Yep, they're huge!" She could hardly even believe my bra size. She checked out my strap marks, asked a few questions about the pain and if I ever get rashes and that was pretty much it. She said I still might be told somewhere down the line that I need physical therapy first, but as for her, she was willing to let me bypass that based on her assessment. She said I'm a good candidate, so hopefully my surgeon will think so too. The next step is to take Kaiser's required class for reductions which is scheduled for the 13th. I guess I get to meet with a surgeon sometime after that and then hear about insurance coverage around then as well...? I wasn't given much information, so I'm mostly going off of what I've read on other reviews here. I would seriously know nothing if not for this site!
Two days late, but here's my newest update. My BR class was scheduled for Tuesday at 1:30 at Kaiser's Irvine facility, but I got a call from their office that morning while I was getting ready for work. I thought they were calling just to check that I'd be there, but instead I was offered a consultation for that very morning! I've been eager to get the ball rolling, so I jumped at the chance and made an appointment for 10:30. Luckily, I work for my dad who is understanding and supportive, which is why I was able to take an appointment on such short notice. I was asked to come in at 10 so that I could watch a short video beforehand, in lieu of the class. The video was 10-15 minutes long and was just some information on the issues breast reductions are designed to help, what happens during the procedure, and a few of the risks. Then I met with Dr. Gail Mattson-Gates for my consultation. The first thing she asked was if the video scared me, but I told her it was all stuff I already knew, as I've been doing lots of research. There was a little bit of chit-chat and then she began to assess me and take measurements. While doing so, she informed me that I am on the small side for women approved for this surgery, and that according to Kaiser's requirements, the minimum tissue removed should be 1lb per breast, and she'd be surprised if she'd be able to get that out of me. That was totally baffling to hear and I got scared that my case was being dismissed then and there. But Dr. Mattson-Gates didn't seem too concerned about that aspect and basically said "Eh, but I usually just eyeball it anyway." During the exam she found a small lump in my left breast, but said I shouldn't worry as she was almost positive it was just a type of cyst that is common in girls of my age and should go away on it's own. She's a breast cancer and reconstruction specialist, so I trust her judgement and I'm not really concerned about it. Though I will have to be checked to make sure it's gone before I can have the surgery. The only other main thing we talked about was which type of incision I'd prefer. She uses the anchor, but said if I preferred the vertical she could refer me to another surgeon, though it would have to be at another facility as the other surgeons at Irvine also use anchors. I gathered that the reason for vertical as opposed to anchor is mostly just for less scarring. Does anyone have any advice on that or personal experience that makes one method stand out over the other? I'm really not concerned with scarring, so if anyone knows if one is beneficial over the other in any other aspect, I'd be eager to hear it.
But guys, I really need some support here. I'm not feeling good about my chances of being approved by insurance. If the PS thought I might be too small, then who knows what insurance will be willing to do. And since my consultation was so last minute, I was entirely unprepared. I'm really disappointed in myself that I didn't ask more questions, that I wasn't nearly assertive enough about how much of a physical burden my breasts really are. I'm worried I didn't make enough of an impression on the surgeon for whatever she wrote in her report to sway insurance. If I get denied based on my size and measurements alone, I will surely be disappointed, but at least I could accept that as being out of my control. But I can't help but think that if I get denied, it will be because of something I did or didn't do, something I said or didn't say. I'm terrified it's going to be my fault. So please, if you are the praying kind, I could so use them now. And if you're not, whatever positive thoughts, vibes, well-wishes or whatever it is you do and are willing to spare for me, I would be so grateful.
Medically Necessary, Dudes!
I emailed my surgeon today and her office just replied and said that according to her consultation notes my surgery is medically necessary! Which according to my insurance plan, I should only be paying $250 for outpatient care. Ah! I'm thinking maybe she implied I'd been approved during our consultation, and I just misinterpreted the situation as she had to file her report and then I'd be waiting to hear back. I wish she'd been more direct since I've been worrying for a week, but it could also be that I was nervous and my brain was all over the place so I just didn't catch that bit. But either way, who cares! I know most women with other insurance carriers have to wait much, much longer, so my one week of misplaced anxiety doesn't even compare. At least now I know just how disappointed I'd have been if I got denied, which reassures me that this reduction is what I really want and need. So now I'll contact my PS's office to try and schedule a surgery date. She said it might have to be 4-6 months away depending how backed up she is, but I've also heard that Kaiser is good about notifying you of other cancelled surgery dates if you're available. I guess the only other possible roadblock is that I must be cleared for surgery by my psychiatrist since I'm on Zoloft for anxiety, but I've been doing great so I can't imagine she'd say no. Also, still checking that cyst. Hopefully my next update will be a surgery date!
Well, surprise again! I went from not even being able to schedule a surgery date for several months to getting a date and SOON. Like, December 14th soon! I'll be filling in for a cancellation next Monday morning. I got the call last Thursday, December 3rd, so I've known for a few days now but I kept putting off updating here because I just didn't know how to feel about it. I had been so excited and eager to have this surgery when it was just a hypothetical, but from the second I was offered the date and it became real I've been nothing but terrified. I even hesitated to accept the appointment and only said yes because I know if I didn't do it now it would be at least several months into next year before I got another chance. But I figure this way I'll have less time to worry about all the things I'm afraid of, instead of counting down for months and giving myself time to back out, because given the chance to back out of just about anything at all, I will take it. I'm just not a risk-taker and never have been. Rather than being a jump in the deep-end type, I'm a wade into the shallow-end so slowly that my toes are pruned before my belly button is even wet type. So this is a pretty big deal for me. Doing it at all is kind of monumental, much less on short notice, which has me feeling ill-prepared and all around panicky. I've never had any sort of surgery before so that in and of itself is scary, along with all kinds of worries I have about complications with recovery and not getting the results I'm hoping for. Not to mention, I thought I had months to prepare myself physically and emotionally, and instead I have a week. Not to sound ungrateful about all of this, because I really am so much, I'm just scared and trying to be honest. Really working on letting things sink in and trying to be excited. Though, as I've mentioned before, I deal with anxiety a whole lot so this fear-space is kind of just where I live! Haha. Whatever, scared or not, I'm doing this! My pre-op is tomorrow morning so I'll find out how to prepare and what all I'll need to pick up beforehand. I'll put a couple photos back up later today too for comparison (I had a bunch up there initially but got shy and took them down).
9 Hours to Go
Just wanted to update once more before the time comes. I have to be at the hospital at 5:45am for my 7:30 surgery. I've had quite a ride of emotions in the 10 days since I found out I'd be having surgery. Right now everything just seems surreal. Mostly, I really just can't accurately convey how surprised by myself I am that I'm doing this. Amidst the fear I talked about before, some excitement has managed to seep in here and there. I can't wait to re-explore my wardrobe with the smaller chest I have always dreamed of. And shopping for front-closure sports bras and support bras was legitimately thrilling. I bought normal sizes! And didn't pay a million dollars! Anyhow, going to attempt to sleep now. Wish me luck. Your support means everything.
14 Dec 2015
Day of treatment
Greetings, bros! I'm alive! I've been home since noonish but I'm still too loopy and tired to talk. Just wanted to let you all know I made it through. I'll update again as soon as I'm up to it.
Here I Am!
Hi everyone! I'm so sorry if anyone's been waiting to hear an update from me. I'm a terrible procrastinator if you couldn't already tell, but I also have a pretty good excuse -- I am currently living under the same roof as my insanely precious new nephew who was born two days after my surgery! So excuse me for spending all my free time cuddling him and smothering him in kisses instead of sitting down with my computer. Anyhow, I'm more or less a week and a half post-op and things are going well. Surgery went off without a hitch and I've just been resting and enjoying the holidays. The couple times I saw my surgeon before my surgery, I felt like things were very vague about what size I would end up with after surgery. Prior to the day of, I felt like she had sort of danced around the size issue, saying that she didn't believe in bra sizes and that my expectations had to be realistic. I tried to broach the subject the best I could in my pre-op but I'm not terribly assertive and basically resigned myself to the fact that she would do what she could and whatever happens happens. I was pretty ok with that, but I'm very glad to say that the morning of surgery after she drew on me and before I was wheeled into the OR, she said "So, a C is where you want to be?" I responded "Full C/small D and my fear is being too big. I do NOT want to be a DD." I really felt heard by her and she said "Ok, not too big. You won't be." And I'm not! I seriously feel so little. Every single time I pass a mirror or check on my wounds I just laugh. It's so funny! I have little boobs! I know a lot of you have a very emotional experience seeing your new body, but for me I'm just like LOLOLOLOLOLOL all the time. I feel fantastic! I've struggled with body image my whole life, and I really thought that having smaller boobs would make me focus even more on all my other insecurities. But honestly, having my chest finally look in clothes the way I've always wanted to, my brain just skims over my bulky thighs or my flabby stomach and goes "Eh, whatever!" The rest just really doesn't seem to matter much anymore and I'm so glad I'm finally able to give myself a little bit of a break. As for the healing process, things have been going just fine. Almost all of the surgical tape fell off after a shower yesterday. I did notice a tiny bit of blood coming from a small gap in the stitches on the vertical incision on my right boob, but I butterfly-ed it together with steri strips to keep it from developing into a hole like I've seen many times on this site. Fingers crossed I don't join that club! Yuck. Other than that, I'm just still quite bruised. They're tender and my nipples are hypersensitive, but no real pain anymore. Not like I had much to begin with. I was prescribed Norcos which I took steadily every four hours the first few days just because and then just took one each night to sleep until I ran out yesterday. I finished my run of antibiotics yesterday as well. I was also prescribed something for nausea but never needed it, as I did not experience nausea of any kind. (Though I was given a patch behind my ear for it and wore it for the first three days, just in case.) I didn't have an appetite at all for the first three or four days but my mom made sure I ate a couple times a day anyway. How long were the rest of you told to sleep on your back for? The first several days of sleeping on my back I was surprised to find I had no problem with it, as I'm a stomach/side sleeper. But after that I had a few really rough nights of trying to find even a remotely comfortable position because my tailbone and hips were excruciatingly achy. I've had an easier go of it since then, but I'm finding myself really tempted to roll over a little. I'm still sleeping with pillows on each side of me to make sure I resist or don't do it in my sleep. I have my two week post-op appointment on Monday where I'll get my sutures removed and the all clear to start driving. Oh! I forgot to mention I did not have drains. I was told I may or may not, just depending on how my body reacted during surgery, but they weren't needed. If anyone has any questions or wants more details just let me know. I'm going to post some pictures and then get back to my Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!