This post will be slightly different than you’re used to, and it’s because I feel that in this blog I’ve always strived to be completely vulnerable, authentic, and open to sharing my story and experiences. This is one story that may be long winded, but I feel very committed to sharing. I sincerely hope that this story helps just one other person who perhaps has considered getting a breast reduction. I also hope that it helps others understand why women consider it. So stick around, grab a glass of wine, and enjoy. Just FYI, I’m drinking a glass of Chardonnay while writing this. 😉
When I was in seventh grade, I had my first experience that made me realize I may be much more different than I had considered simply because I had bigger breasts than others my age. I was already well aware that I was more well endowed as all of my girlfriends were pulling out their colorful new A or B-cup bras they had while I was already wearing taupe colored D-cup bras, but this one experience made me realize how truly different my experience through school would be. There was a boy in my elective class who randomly asked me one day, he said “do you get goosebumps on your chest because your boobs are big?”. Now when he asked me this I couldn’t even open my mouth. I wondered to myself, “is it abnormal to have goosebumps on my chest?”. That night I went home and asked my mom because I thought something was legitimately wrong. She looked at me with this look in her eyes, like she knew that I’d have one hell of a struggle through my teenage years, and said “no baby, you were just cold. Don’t even talk to that boy”. As that year continued, I was continually sexually harassed by this boy though I never told anyone because it’s normal right? It’s normal to constantly be sexualized because I had big boobs, right? I didn’t know any better.
Throughout the rest of my middle school years, I had three shirts of mine confiscated because I was “distracting others” with my actual uncontrollable cleave (other women with large breasts understand) and was forced to wear my P.E. shirt throughout the whole day and of course this only caused more attention towards my breasts. Throughout those years, I became hard. I got very good at snapping my fingers in front of boys eyes to bring their eyes back to meet mine rather than allow them to drool over my boobs. These years made me realize that the only way I’d survive high school was by being a bitch, and trust me I was remembered this way.
Flash forward to my freshman year of high school, and things were actually different. I was at a new school where I wore my resting bitch face like a shield and boys didn’t bother me as often. Though I was luckier that year, that’s when my back pain started. I distinctly remember one morning when I was laying in bed, too embarrassed to get out of bed to tell my mom I didn’t want to go to school because my back hurt from my boobs. I had no other explanation as I was no longer playing sports, and hadn’t injured myself. That year my mom forced me to start seeing a chiropractor, and that’s when I started my regular adjustments that helped immensely, but only at first. I saw the same chiropractor every four weeks like clock work, and always had my lower back adjusted as well as my neck adjusted. That same year I had my first incident that made me realize I could not live forever like this. I was shopping for my first Homecoming dress, and broke down in the fitting rooms more than once. I remember that the strapless dresses were all the buzz, and that was the only style I could not wear since my breasts seemed to spill out no matter the size of the dress. I even ventured into the adult sections which only made my situation more sobering. I only went to four dances in high school because dress shopping was miserable for me rather than memorable.
High school consisted of continuing experiences of boys brave enough to try to cop a feel, throwing food down my shirt, my friends making jokes that actually hurt me, and twirling in the mirror in the dead of night trying to imagine what I’d look like with smaller breasts. Besides that, I actually consider myself lucky. I was never sexually harassed to the point of feeling unsafe, and it’s especially sad that I consider my situation a lucky one.
The day I realized the gravity of my situation, and how important it was for me to get breast reduction for my own health is when I was visiting my chiropractor when I was 19. He used to have this TV in his office that would play a slideshow of chiropractor philosophies, and I remember reading a quote mentioning that pills were a cover up while chiropractic was a preventive care. When I was finally called to the back we joked our normal bit as we had grown very close, and when I had my face dug in the table I asked “if coming to a chiropractor is preventive care, when does it ever become something I do occasionally rather than regularly” as I was seeing him every 4 weeks, the most my insurance would pay for, and had been seeing him for 5 years. He sighed and said “Gabby I’m sorry but this is something you’ll have to do the rest of your life until you get breast reduction”, and that’s when I had decided. I didn’t need to fathom the risks, or talk to my boyfriend or family, I just said “will you write something for my insurance company, so they can cover it?” and he told me he’d email me that night.
This is when my actual journey begins… or so you’d think. I saw my primary care provider that week, and she told me I needed to lose at least 15 pounds before she could refer me, and insisted that if I lost weight than my boobs would shrink. I was a size 36-F at this point in my life so I knew they weren’t going to shrink but I agreed because I knew I would do anything. I cried that night, blaming myself for eating too much and giving myself these boobs. I cried because I didn’t think I’d ever be able to lose weight because I had tried so many times. I knew I needed inspiration so I talked to my cousin who always understood a deeper part of me and she said the most life changing words. She said, “Gabby you always do whatever you have to do to get what you want. This is just another one of those moments. You just have to decide to do it, and then you can do it.” and she was absolutely right. Instead of losing 15 pounds, I lost 30 to my surprise. I jumped off the scale at the doctors office with tears in my eyes because I knew it was finally happening. My doctor gleefully approved my referral to a plastic surgeon, then told me to await their call.
I waited for a few days, and then I waited for a few weeks, and then I grew impatient. I called the surgeons office only to hear the receptionist say “the doctor has declined your consultation. I’m happy to have him call you to tell you why” but I declined because I knew if I talked to this man I would say things that I would be ashamed of later. All I could think was “of course it was a man”. I know better now to automatically assume that I was declined this surgery because the surgeon was a man, but I do believe that it was because of my age. I was too young, it was a risky procedure and I still had time to try to fix the problem on my own, even though not a single inch of weight I had lost came from my breasts.
The next year, my mom was gracious enough to move myself and the entire family over to different insurance coverage and changed all of our doctors. That was last year and four months later I was sitting naked on a hospital bed while my surgeon drew purple lines all over my breasts. It was finally time for my breast reduction, and suddenly I was unsure. I looked over at my mom with what looked like spider webs drawn on my breasts, and I said “is this crazy? Do I really need this?” She snapped a photo of me in that moment, and turned the screen back at me. I had never seen myself in this light as I had never taken a photograph of this nature, at least without a bra on, and was disgusted. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. I looked sick. I had an hour glass waist that was hid by these globes of fat that were larger in diameter than my actual body. You could see the skin being stretched on my chest, and my veins were bright purple. I looked back up at her and she said “a lot of people have asked ‘does Gabby really need to do this? Women pay money to have her boobs. Is she just doing this for attention? Does she understand what she’s going through?’ and I told them all to shove it because I know how unhealthy this is for you. You need to do this baby”, and she was absolutely right. Minutes later, I was looking up towards the bright lights and counting backwards from 10 drifting through the anesthesia.
This is where things get a little more interesting because after I woke up, things were NOT easy. Once the anesthesia had diminished enough I kept looking down at my chest constantly thinking “what the fuck did I just do to myself? Look how small they are. I don’t know why I did this. There is literally a hole inside of me so fluids can leak. What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck” but I smiled and acted like everything was fine because I had fought SO many people trying to get support for this surgery. I could not act like I regretted my decision, even if for a second. And then, it happened. I got out of the bed to try to walk around a little bit, and I looked down. I didn’t see my cleavage, or even the large bandage covering my breasts. I saw my toes. I shit you not, I saw my toes and I laughed with the glee of a child. I hadn’t even realized that I couldn’t see my toes when I was standing straight before my surgery! From that moment, I knew I made the right decision.
The few days after that were gruesome. The pain set in, but my cousin came to my rescue. This angel took time off of work, out of her life, and came and took care of me as my mom was out of town. She made me food, and took me out to Target when I just needed to get out of the house though she tried to get me to stay in bed. She took me to buy horrendous looking sports bras, and then she held me when I cried because I couldn’t get comfortable for the life of me.
Then the complications started. My stitches that were supposed to dissolve didn’t, and my wound was re-opened. It’s left me with very noticeable and painful scars that I continue to have issues with, and I am actually having corrective surgery for. As I continued to see my surgeon every few days I said to him “is it normal that I still can’t feel my left nipple” and his gaze dropped a bit. That’s the day I realized that this wasn’t just a breast reduction surgery. It was completely reconstructive, as I no longer had any feeling in my left nipple or breast at all, and even now, 11 months later, still have no feeling. Flash forward 3 months past my surgery and we’ve reached yet another complication. I grew a lump in my left breast (I call it my problem child), and just about lost it when my doctor let me know since my father had just passed away from cancer. Luckily, this lump is noncancerous, though still needs to be surgically removed as it’s just a ball of scar tissue sitting inside of my breast.
So here we are. 11 months post surgery, and it’s still pretty damn great. Yes, I may have pain from my scars daily that prevent me from wearing a normal bra, and I may have a lump in my breast as well as no feeling whatsoever in one of them but here’s what I do have-
I have a regular life. I am now a large C, and can wear whatever kind of bikini or dress I want. Sometimes I walk out of the house braless without fear I’ll be stared at, and sometimes I even twirl in the mirror late at night just admiring the fact that I can see my whole body, even if I have about 17 inches of scarring. Now the most important part; my back pain is completely gone. I haven’t gone to see a chiropractor in over a year, and I haven’t had a single back spasm in 11 months. My shoulders no longer have permanent indents from bras, nor do I ever feel immense pain at the end of the day just because they haven’t been stagnant all day. At the end of the day, I had a very complicated and risky surgery, and a lot of those silent risks happened to me. No matter my circumstances, I still stare at myself in the mirror and smile because I no longer have to think so hard about every action I do. I no longer have to hesitate before I go on a run on the street, and I never have to worry about if a crew neck T-shirt still looks too sexual. I’m just here, in the present, enjoying each moment.
I know this was a very long post, and I do thank you for hearing my story. If you know anyone who has ever considered getting a breast reduction surgery please share this with them and encourage them to reach out to me personally through the “contact me” area of my blog. If you’ve ever wondered about my surgery, well here it is. Have a great night everyone.