This is second in a trio of articles I am writing about the surgeries I have had over the past seven years. For my earlier post about cosmetic vaginal surgery, please click here.
If you glance at my breasts, they really aren’t all that remarkable. I mean, they’re inherently awesome because they are what they are, and that’s fantastic, but there’s nothing truly out of the ordinary. If you start to take a much closer look, though, you might notice light scars on both, running below each breast and up to the nipple- the telltale signs of a breast reduction surgery.
My decision to get a breast reduction was one of the easiest choices I have ever made, and it is one that I have never once regretted.
I stumbled into a set of 34Gs when I was 20. I have no idea where they came from, or why they showed up when they did. My first semester of college I had initially lost weight and gone up to a D cup- an occurrence I chose not complain about. Now I was two years older. I had gained some weight, so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, but typically a 15 pound weight gain won’t result in ballooning from a D to a G.
I spent a lot of time staring in mirrors after I had my formal fitting and learned my new size. Did my boobs really look that BIG? Was I fat? If I was fat, how fat was I? How much of this ‘fat’ was actually just “boobage?” Did I slouch more from my boobs? Were they sexy? Was I sexy? If they were already gargantuan at 20, so how much bigger would they get when I was 30?
I didn’t hate them, truly, but I certainly didn’t love them either. I had a complicated relationship with my body already, and this added another layer of difficulty. I think many women can attest to having a complex relationship with their breasts- at their best, breasts can serve as a way to nourish a baby or boost your confidence. At their worst, breasts can be sources of insecurity, and they can be downright painful.
I had suffered from recurring tension headaches for two years, due in part to an old shoulder injury, stress, and, as I came to realize- my bigger than average bosom. The headaches had become increasingly frequent, occurring as often as two to three times a week. For the second time in my life, I called my mom and we discussed reducing yet another body part.
But now, at this juncture, at least I was taking charge of the decision.
January 20th, 2009. The day Obama gave his first inauguration speech, OR – the day I had a good portion of my breasts removed. At least, that’s how I remember the date. My mom travelled to be with me for the surgery. As we approached the medical center that morning, the depth of my choice really hit me. Instead of feeling nervous, though, I was ready. They wheeled me in, hooked me up to an IV, and then used black sharpies to mark my right and left breasts (a surprisingly painful process). After that, everything faded to black.
The next thing I remember is waking up with bandages crisscrossing my chest, two thin drainage tubes running out of my sides, and a feeling of being wonderfully, wonderfully high. For once, I wasn’t vomiting post-surgery, a welcome turn of events. Instead, I was ravenously hungry. My recovery time was spent eating pizza and watching Frisky Dingo through a haze of painkillers. The most disgusting part of the ordeal was using the draining tubes (which ran down into my sides) to suction out lymph and blood. My mother, the saint she is, did the majority of the dirty work. I was mostly too stoned to function.
A month later and I was back at work and school and feeling great. My headaches were greatly reduced, running or hiking was no longer a sweaty, heavy ordeal, and I generally felt more free. For me, a breast reduction was an obvious solution to a painful problem. I am thankful I had the insurance and the resources to access a good doctor, because now, five years later, I can certainly say I am not in the same position.
Breast reduction is not something to be taken lightly- it’s a very personal choice, a serious surgery, and one that I would never attempt to force on another person. In the end, my body insecurities ran much deeper, and were certainly not taken away by the surgery. But I can say, even with body shame lurking in the background, that when I don my 36B, I feel like myself. And that’s a beautiful thing to be.