I cannot remember life before my breast reduction. I am unsure if it’s because I hated my physique so much that I tried everything to distract people from the curvature that my body held, or because it has been two years now and I’m accustomed to life without an extra seven pounds on my chest. Yes, they removed the weight of a newborn baby from my chest. What I am certain about is that in one way or another, getting that operation saved my life.
I have always been a curvier girl. Ever since I stepped into the gates of hell that was high school, I was made aware of my curves and larger chest. Freshman year, I was categorized as a 36DD and in senior year I was a 36DDD/E. Now, I stand at a comfortable 36C/D. I say comfortable because that is the beauty of our bodies. Everyone’s different and just because I chose to change mine doesn’t mean I’m unsupportive of natural bodies. Rather, I encourage altering something that taunts you every time you look in the mirror. Living in a body that is constantly sexualized is not something I wanted for the rest of my life, not to mention the horrific back pain that accompanied the large weight I carried above my stomach.
Being known as the “friend with the giant boobs” truly haunted my high school experience. I knew boys only wanted me for one thing and girls envied my breasts and called me delusional any time I expressed my discomfort. “You have what every girl wishes for” or “You have what girls pay thousands of dollars for” were common phrases I heard. If people only knew I also had what made me never find the right clothes, what perverted men stared at instead of my eyes and what made me hate my body.
The first time I heard of a breast reduction was probably during my junior year of high school. Some girls in my class were talking about getting one and suddenly, it became my mission. My family was beyond supportive and helped me find the right surgeon. I cannot recall the exact moment I started the process, but it was during early 2020 because the pandemic had set my appointments back. My mom had done some research through our insurance company to see which plastic surgeons accepted it, and we went from there. There was a pediatric plastic surgeon who specialized in breast reductions in younger girls. At first, I was drawn to her until I met Dr. Fine. I call Dr. Fine my hero because he saved me from my physical pain progressing and my mental health from deteriorating. Spoiler alert: my confidence skyrocketed the second I woke up and noticed I longer held those 7 pounds on my chest. I posted my scars proudly.
For my first consultation, I brought my older sister with me because I didn’t want to go alone and felt vulnerable about having my mother come with me at first. As I sat in that freezing office with a hospital paper gown covering my chest, I was shaking just from the thought of being told this couldn’t happen. The doctor explained to me that this consultation would determine if I qualified for the surgery or not. Qualified? Does he not see the enormous breasts I am carrying around? What else does he need? It made sense once he explained it though since after all, he is the one with the medical degree, not me. He told me that breasts can be fat or muscle, meaning I could work out and lose them naturally or they were just not going to budge. There was a strong sense of vulnerability as I stood there with my sister and the doctor’s assistant looking as he examined me topless. The only thing going through my head was “Please tell me they aren’t going to budge unless you cut them off.” My short moment of manifestation worked. He looked at me and said, “you are a perfect candidate for this procedure.” I held back tears.
Fast forward to Oct. 2020, I received a call from my parents letting me know insurance was willing to cover 80% of the $10,000 operation. I didn’t even wait to process this information before calling the doctor’s office and scheduling the surgery. Dec. 15, 2020 was the day my life was going to change forever.
This was my first surgery ever, so the nerves were astronomical. My mother had to beg to be in the room with me because I was over 18 and they were not allowing company due to COVID protocols. Dr. Fine came in and drew on my chest with immense precision. We discussed my ideal size, with the understanding that it could be bigger than that, it all depends on the manipulation of the nerves. The next thing I knew, I was in the O.R. and was being put to sleep.
Once I opened my eyes and felt as if an elephant was sitting on my chest, I knew surgery was over. I had a horrible reaction to the anesthesia which caused me to throw up after every subtle movement I made.
The day after surgery I had an appointment with my surgeon. When he took off the bandages and uncovered my swollen boobs, I wanted to cry because I thought they looked and felt fake. He reassured me that they were just swollen and he was right. As months went by, and they continued to drop and gain a more natural shape. I was obsessed with them. I posted about my experience and the amount of support I received was overwhelming in the best way possible. Three of my friends got the surgery with Dr. Fine per my recommendation, and that made me realize this experience was worth it. Feeling like I inspired other women to go through with this makes me proud of the bravery it takes to not only admit you want to alter something about your appearance but to make it happen.
I wear clothes I used to only dream of wearing and living without constant back pain still seems surreal to me. This is your sign to change whatever is making you uncomfortable.