Monday, July 27, 2015

Three Years Post-Op | My Breast Reduction Journey

It's been a little over three years since my breast reduction and I couldn't be happier with my decision to go under the knife.



For as long as I can remember girls would come up to me and say, "You're so lucky! Can you give me some of yours?"  I would always laugh and say, "You're welcome to have some! I don't want them." They didn't realize that I was completely serious...


By the time I was in 7th grade I was under 100 pounds and sporting a full C cup. I had little knowledge of the right outfits to wear for my new full figure, let alone the right bra size. On top of that, everyone else in my 60 person, private school started to notice the change in my body.

The rumors began and by the end of the school day, everyone was asking me if I stuffed my bra. Kids suck and they were relentless, making me extremely self conscious of my new physique. Not only did they notice I had changed, but they thought I was lying about it and actually doing it on purpose. Eventually they found someone new to harass, but that insecurity was already planted and watered.

By the time I was in high school I was wearing a double D bra. At this point, I learned little tricks to hide them, but they were a constant nuisance. I learned that if I wore a sports bra instead of a normal bra, for instance, it would make me look skinnier and feel more comfortable, so I started wearing them with as many outfits as I could.

I've always been very athletic, starting gymnastics from a young age, and loved tumbling at the games and in routines. I needed much more support to keep "the girls" in as I tumbled across the court, which led me to double up on my bras.

When I was a sophomore I decided to switch to public school and was happy to be in a much more relaxed environment, in terms of what we were allowed to wear. At my previous school we had a very strict dress code and I was sent to the office nearly every day, because my breasts were "too distracting."

By the time I went to college, I was having horrible back pain and asking for massages far too often. I was uncomfortable, in pain and self conscious about how much bigger I looked because of the size of my breasts.

My mom and I talked to my primary doctor and we came to the conclusion that a reduction surgery was the best decision for me. My doctor spoke with the insurance company that decided whether or not I would be covered and I gave them a list of things I couldn't do/the pain I was in.

After my surgery was approved for coverage, I met with the doctor who would perform the surgery. She took all my measurements and went over a list of things to be aware of before surgery:

1. When the surgery is covered by insurance, they only take out an amount proportionate to your weight. So I definitely wasn't small enough to go down to an A cup, for example, but I was fine with that because I've had large breasts for as long as I can remember and I was actually starting to worry that they were going to take too much out. They also don't measure this by cup size, because that varies everywhere you go.

2. There is a chance your nipple(s) can die during surgery. Sounds scary, right? The doctor explained that this is always a risk, as well as sensitivity, but there was a small chance this would happen. Of course the statistics on this vary depending on your overall health and weight. Mine did not die, but I did have sensitivity for a period of time afterwards.

3. You may not be able to breastfeed later in life. My doctor told me that if I were to have a child a couple years from my surgery this would probably be something I couldn't do, but after 10 or 15 years I might be able to. I'd like to breastfeed in the future if possible, but if I can't I won't be too disappointed. It's all about what's right for you.

4. For a month after the operation you can't lift anything over 10 lbs, so it's good to do this at a time when someone else can take care of you. I went home for a month over my summer break, so my mom and dad took care of me. For exercise, I took long walks each day and monitored my calorie intake.

After all was said and done, I went from a DD (I was probably an E cup) that I was spilling out of to a C, which was perfect. I was given pain medication, but I tend to feel nauseous when I'm on medication like that, so I switched to tylenol as soon as I could. The recovery was so easy for me; It seemed like I just went to sleep and woke up with smaller breasts, because I had no pain throughout the entire recovery experience.

For scaring, I put Mederma PM on each night, but I've also heard great things about using Vitamin E oil. This diagram outlines what the scarring looks like for this surgery, but it never bothered me because I was the only one that could see it. After the first year, my scars were still somewhat pink in color, but by year two they had completely healed.

This operation definitely changed my life. I can workout without wearing two sports bras, I went down a size in everything and I no longer have terrible back pain. So many of my friends asked me if I'd lost weight and I will admit I loved hearing that, because I always felt uncomfortable in my skin and bigger than I actually was.

If you're thinking about a reduction surgery, talk to your doctor and go over all of the pros and cons. It's a very personal, individual experience and there are always risks involved when you go under the knife.




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