A few weeks ago I underwent breast reduction surgery. It’s been a long time coming…like since I hit puberty. Here’s my story.
[Above is me cradling a friend’s baby in “The Bosom of Happiness”. Below is the banner of bras I strung across my living room in celebration of my upcoming liberation. A few close friends enjoyed their first and last look at the miracles of modern engineering that upheld my monumental breasts for far too many years.]
The day I realized that I was doomed to life of large-chestedness is etched into my memory like an epitaph on a gravestone. I was but a mere fifteen years old when my friend Melanie and I went for a professional bra fitting at the department store. At fifteen, our bodies were just blossoming and we were excited to finally have grown beyond combed-cotton training bras and ready to indulge in the luxurious frilly undergarments that made us feel like grown women.
The lady that worked in the Intimate Apparel department led us back into fitting rooms. As modest young ladies, Melanie and I giggled awkwardly when the woman wrapped her measuring tape first around the top of our ribcages then across the fullest area of our teenage breasts. “You’re a 32B,” she told Melanie. “And you, young lady,” she said, motioning to my burgeoning bosom, “are a 34DD.”
The rest of that experience is somewhat of a blur. What I remember most was that I failed miserably at holding back my tears when the lady returned to the fitting room with dozens of flirtatious bras of every color and design imaginable for Melanie while I was given the choice between a no-frills quadruple-hooked monstrosity that all-too-closely resembled the eye-sore that dangled from my grandma’s shower curtain rod in both plain white or the more playful beige. I imagined the horror on my future boyfriend’s faces as they went to feel me up and found my chest locked down tighter than a prison yard…and encircled by more wire. I bawled the whole way home.
Of course, it turned out that the boys didn’t seem to care in the slightest what hideous contraption encased my chest as long as they were allowed to get their sweaty hands on it. During my dating years, my ample bosom was one of my greatest assets, as it helped to balance out my equally ample thighs. As it was, I offered little in the way of enticing a “leg man” but for the “breast man” I was a virtual treasure trove.
[The collage below shows my high school sweetheart and I at my senior prom. As you can see by the photo on the right, I DID wear a dress to the event. Yet the school yearbook editor approved the photo cropping on the left so that I might become the unwitting subject of many a teenage boy’s “special alone time.”]
Like every one of us, God designed me perfectly unique. I was born with a congenital heart defect, a deformity of my tricuspid valve. While I wasn’t a candidate for surgery, neither was I a candidate for baby birthing, as a pregnancy would likely have ended with the fetus and I in the morgue. I never begrudged this fate, partially because I couldn’t imagine my already-monstrous utters swollen larger still and engorged with milk. The mere thought made my neck and back throb. And so it was that I had my tubes tied off and my husband and I headed to the adoption agency. We were blessed with the gift of a beautiful baby boy, and three years later, we were thrilled to add another sweet boy into our fold. As a mother, my overabundance of supple flesh made for an ideal cradle to rock my babies to sleep. All babies, for that matter. As an homage to my God-given gift, my circle of friends began referring to my mountainous mammaries as “the bosom of happiness,” where all creatures great and small find comfort.
[My youngest son, Aaron, a born cuddler, nuzzling into the bosom of happiness. When I informed him a few weeks prior to my surgery that my breasts would be getting smaller, with a look of grave mourning, he said to me; “But Mom, that’s my favorite part of you!”
As my womanhood advanced and my weight increased, so did my boobs. This is expected, of course. However, what was not expected was that when I lost the weight, my breasts didn’t deflate. Years of weight fluctuation saw my DDs gradually advance through the alphabet until last fall I had no choice but to upgrade to an H cup. While the bosom of happiness may have provided comfort to countless others, it was becoming increasingly uncomfortable for its bearer. Deep grooves formed in my shoulders, my posture was compromised, and I was limited in the activities I could partake in. It was one thing to avoid high-impact aerobics for fear of knocking myself unconscious, it was entirely another not be able to do something as simple as swing a golf club because the massive obstacles in my way made it impossible to assume the correct grip.
[My besties Michele (left) and Kim (right) bet me that each of my breasts was equivalent to the size of a human head. Doubtful, I took them up on that bet. They proved me wrong. Look at them happily residing inside my G cup with room to spare.]
[The selfie below was taken just a few months prior to my surgery. Typically, I take my selfies from an elevated point of view to minimize my double chin. Perspective changes everything…as is apparent by the photo below. Yikes!]
After years of counting down the minutes until I could remove my bra at the end of the day – yet feeling little relief once it was off because the pendulous swinging of my breasts while walking around the house sans scaffolding was equally uncomfortable – I set up a consultation with a plastic surgeon. My biggest concern with going through with the surgery was that I would no longer look proportional. I’m a big girl, and as I mentioned before, I have meaty thighs. My giant breasts balanced me out. I was afraid that pairing them down would cause me to appear bottom-heavy. Ultimately, my suffering trumped my fear of malformation and six weeks later I went under the knife. A few hours after that I was down 4 lbs and 5 cup sizes – reverted to the DD I was nearly 30 years prior.
[Without my pre-surgery breasts to give me that hourglass look, I was fearful I might end up resembling Grimace.]
A perk of breast reduction surgery is that a breast lift is part of the package. So, not only are my chestibules now fun-size, but they stand at full attention all on their own. The best part, of course, is that my shoulders haven’t hurt for a second since the day of my surgery – a massive weight has truly been lifted from them. I still have several more weeks of healing before I’ll be cleared to resume strenuous activity, but in the meanwhile I am already enjoying the benefits of my more aerodynamic form. My t-shirts fit without straining the seams. I can sleep on my stomach without my esophagus being crushed. I can sleep on my back without my breasts spilling into my armpits. I can see my own feet. I can hug my friends and family without the gesture feeling pornographic. And, I can soak in the bathtub without my boob-buoys rising to the surface to freeze in the chilly air. Better yet, to the best of my knowledge I don’t appear Grimace-like and my son Aaron still loves to cuddle with me. I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Like every woman I’ve talked to who’s had breast reduction surgery, my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. And while I am thankful to God that I am created in His image, fearfully and wonderfully made, I am also thankful to Blue Cross Blue Shield for approving my surgery as medically necessary and to Dr. Stacy Peterson for chopping those suckers off.
So bye-bye, Boobies, we had a good run (or rather, a good brisk walk, as running was never an option with you), but it was time we parted ways. I can’t say you’ll be missed. In fact, in a few more weeks when the doc clears me to resume normal activity, I plan to jump for joy…because I finally can!
[My pup Lucy playing nursemaid while my newly-carved chest heals. Yes, they still look big…because they are, by normal human standards. But they fit me nicely.]