Everyone has had that one thing or moment that was life-changing. Whether it’s skydiving, meeting a soulmate, or traveling, something is going to creep its way into your life and alter it—and hopefully for the better.
For me, it was a breast reduction.
In high school, I started noticing my breasts growing when I was just 14 years old. From that point on, they wouldn’t stop growing, which caused a roadblock in my life. My breasts must have grown more than five sizes by the time I got to college.
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I remember walking around hunched over, with frequent back pain. When spoken to, all eyes would be on my chest rather than my face. Fitting into clothes, let alone bras, was really difficult. I decided to get a proper bra fitting that would determine the future of my chest. I was a 32G.
“Is that even possible? Is that even a size?” I thought.
The idea of a breast reduction never really dawned on me until a family friend told me about her procedure. She decided to have the surgery done years after she had her third child. Hesitant, yet excited for a large-breasts-free life, she went from a DD to a B cup. She urged me to get it done sooner than later. I’d get the occasional email of her before-and-after images. I wouldn’t reply. Then I got the phone calls—“Why haven’t you called a doctor yet? What’s stopping you?”
What was stopping me?
I met with the top plastic surgeons in New York City over a span of two and a half years. After much hesitation and consideration, I finally decided it was something that had to be done. I had never gone under for surgery before and the thought daunted me. What if I didn’t wake up? What if this is the end for me? Will my breasts look artificial? Then the question of finances came up: Was it worth spending $13,000?” Thousands of questions flew around in my head.
While the biggest decision was to choose to undergo the procedure, the most important part was finding the right doctor. I can’t reiterate enough how important it is to find one you’re comfortable with who can answer all your questions and make sure you’re calm and comfortable throughout the entire process. For me, that was New York plastic surgeon Mark Schwartz, MD.
Luckily, my surgery was an outpatient procedure that was done in his office. His nurses were there with me every step of the way and the anesthesiologist was superb. All of these factors made me feel a lot better.
The surgery took rougly four hours. When I woke up, I felt like myself, but in a different body. I went from a G cup to a C cup. Dr. Schwartz used the traditional anchor method where he cut around the nipple and down and under the breasts. He removed 450 grams of tissue from my left breast and 350 grams from my right—roughly a pound from each. He also made my nipples smaller so they would match my new breasts.
A six-week recovery followed. It started with fluid draining from the tubes that were connected to my breasts for a week. (Note: If you’re planning on getting the surgery, odds are your doctor will be putting in tubes). After those were removed, Dr. Schwartz urged me to start slowly walking around my house to prevent blood clots. My normal, everyday activities, such as running errands or social plans, had to be put on hold for a bit—I wasn’t able to walk for a long period of time, I couldn’t carry anything (it was physically impossible for me to lift a jug of milk), showering without getting my chest wet was almost impossible, and let’s just say there were many restless nights laying on my back.
It was a six-to-eight-week-long healing process. Like most post–breast reduction surgery guidelines, I was supposed to wear a wireless, cotton bra, preferably with a clasp on the front. Dr. Schwartz informed me that the scarring would most likely fade, but not fully disappear. I applied bioCorneum, a silicone gel scar treatment, daily for nine months to help diminish them.
My incisions ended up healing into keloidal scars, so I went in for further laser treatment. During the laser treatment, numbing cream was applied to the scars and two different lasers were used to penetrate them. Even as someone who isn’t very tolerant to pain, the procedure wasn’t that bad—just a few pinches here and there. The scars were scabby and sore for 24 hours, but after just a few sessions, I saw instant results.
Aside from ridding me of my back pain and improving my posture, one of the best parts of the breast reduction was buying a new wardrobe. Everything fits me properly since I’ve had the surgery. I went from wearing large tops to wearing small ones. The first summer post-surgery, I was able to wear a bikini after so many years, and it was the most incredible feeling.
For those of you women out there still contemplating on a breast reduction, I assure you it will change your life.