May 29th, 2020 marked the one year mark of a surgery that changed my life: a bilateral reduction mammoplasty, better known as a breast reduction. There is no doubt in my mind that this was the best decision I have ever made, and here's why.
Growing up, I was a normal teenage girl. At age thirteen I was a 32B, enjoying the life of buying cute bras and swimsuits from PINK, Target, and American Eagle with my friends. Slowly though, I lost the motivation to shop and go out because things stopped fitting. I was being resized for bras what felt like every month. Soon, Victoria's Secret didn't fit, and I had to start shopping elsewhere. By the time I was seventeen, I was a whopping 32H.
Now, as a seventeen-year-old girl, having to shop for bras in that size was not only humiliating, but it really took a toll on my self-image. There were no cute bras, there were only, what I called, "grandma bras." Additionally, I had two options for tops and shirts: tight-fitting, which made it look like I was trying to show off, or baggy, which made me look a lot heavier than I was due to my boobs sticking out so far and pushing the shirt out. My body was so disproportionate that I didn't fit into anything correctly. I was constantly attracting unwanted attention and comments from men.
There was one time I remember specifically that was so humiliating I didn't know what to do, and my friends had to take care of it for me. I was a part of our annual high school "Nerf War" in my senior year. When you get "shot" by someone else, they have to tweet it to the nerf war twitter page in order for it to count. After getting taken out by a well-known guy from my school, I was humiliated to pull up the tweet and find it hashtagged with "#nicejugs." I was wearing a loose-fitting top from American Eagle, and definitely not trying to draw attention to my chest, yet that's exactly where the attention was directed. Combined with countless other humiliating interactions and unwanted attention, I was afraid to wear anything except for two sizes-too-big tops, or multiple bras in an attempt to flatten my chest. I had to tape my chest for dance competitions so I wouldn't experience any… um… wardrobe malfunctions, which still proved to be painful and embarrassing.
Not only was this detrimental to my self-image, but to my health. From the weight of my chest alone, I experienced terrible migraines, back pain, permanent shoulder indents, and even respiratory issues for which I was prescribed an inhaler to combat. I tried everything possible to fix the issue. Due to my active lifestyle of being a competitive Pom dancer and working out regularly, we knew weight and lack of activity was not the issue. To deal with the issues that arose from an irregularly large chest, I tried massage therapy, visiting a chiropractor, and physical therapy… and nothing worked. After reading tons of articles, doing lots of research, and convincing my Mom, I ultimately decided to explore surgery. It's a very long process, but like I said in the beginning, SO worth it.
I started meeting with plastic surgeons in January of 2019 when I was 18-years-old. I asked all my questions and ultimately decided on a renowned plastic surgeon in Edina, MN. (I'll link her info at the bottom of the post if you're interested… she is amazing. I ultimately chose this surgeon because I felt like she listened to me.
Since I'm so young, I wanted to make sure I was being heard that I would like to breastfeed my future children, so I would like the surgeon to prioritize that. She ensured me she would do her best to keep important ducts and nerves intact, but as she said, she couldn't guarantee I could breastfeed my kids even without the surgery. At my first appointment, I was examined to make sure I was a good candidate for the surgery, especially at such a young age. She also let me know I may experience some depression after the surgery, similar to post-partum depression. Since this would create such a significant change in my body type, she wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing and wouldn't regret it when it was done.
When my surgeon agreed I would be a good candidate, I was taken to a room where they took pictures and measurements to submit to my insurance company. My insurance had a list of eight criteria, and in order to get coverage for the surgery, I had to meet one of the criteria… and I met seven. Once the insurance company agreed to cover the surgery, I had to do a few things. I had to have a physical examination done to ensure I was in good health and could be put under anesthesia. I had a couple of appointments with my surgeon prior to the surgery to walk through the procedure and to understand what is expected of me pre-op and post-op, and to double-check my overall health. I had a countdown going until my surgery, and finally, the day came.
I had to do all the normal surgery stuff the night before including stop eating 12 hours before, no medications, and showering with an antibacterial soap. On the morning of, my mom and I woke up at 5:00 AM and drove to Edina, MN. I had to be at the surgery center at 6:00 AM for my surgery scheduled at 7:00 AM. I had an IV put in, and around 6:45, my surgeon came in to go over the procedure again and use a marker to outline incisions. Due to the amount of tissue being taken out from each breast, my surgeon and I agreed on the anchor incision.
The nurse anesthetist came in and gave me a Scopolamine Patch to help with nausea from the surgery. She warned me that breast surgeries generally are associated with nausea and vomiting due to the removal of hormone receptors in breast tissue. When it was finally time, a couple of nurses came back to walk me to the OR. Before I knew it, I was waking up in the Post-Anesthetic Unit, extremely nauseous, and constantly throwing up.
Once I was coherent, my surgeon let me know the surgery had gone extremely well, and they had removed five total pounds of pure tissue. I was ace wrapped and bandaged and was instructed to keep the bandages on for three days. I slept the whole rest of the day following the surgery and was given anti-nausea meds to stop the vomiting. The first time I stood up after surgery, not still coming off the anesthesia, was insanely different. I felt like a new person. For the first week, I walked with a slouch due to weight change. I was up and moving the next day; running out to target and hanging out with friends. On the Friday after my surgery, I took the ace wrap off. It was terrifying, and I cried… a lot. They looked like Frankenstein's boobs with stitches, leftover iodine and marker, and lots of bruising. It felt like someone had repeatedly kicked me in the ribs. After about a week and a half, the pain went away, as did the bruising. The stitches were dissolvable, so I didn't have to worry about going in to get them taken out. After about three weeks, they started to look normal again.
A year later, and I have absolutely no regrets. My scars are almost non-existent, and they will only continue to heal. I have been able to run and work out, wear normal tops, and feel good again. One year later, and I am a comfortable and optimal 32D. I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to be able to be a normal, young woman. This surgery changed my life for the better, and I would never change a thing. If you have been thinking about getting a breast reduction, do it if it feels right for you. I promise you won't regret it.