Friday, July 22, 2016

A Life Changing Choice

I debated about whether or not to write this post, not because it is particularly controversial or outrageous but because I have found that people have one of two reactions. Either they are shocked and ask why I would, or they have a comment about waiting this long to do it. Sadly, most are not as supportive as I would have hoped. Truthfully though, this journey  has been to be my best self, to love myself and to take care of myself. I do not do the things I choose to please anyone but myself. I do it to improve my life and my happiness, which in turn allows me to give even more time and energy to those who matter, my family and friends. The goal is to be honest with my struggles, not just successes.

After years of dealing with back pain, headaches, shoulder pain and numbness, along with difficulty exercising, driving, standing and walking for long periods, shopping or clothing and even sleeping, I have decided to remedy this situation.

I have decided to get a breast reduction.

I have considered it for about 20 years. Debated back and forth if I should take that step, and each time I got close to a choice, I chickened out. Not because I'm afraid of surgery but because of the reactions I get at the idea of having smaller breasts. Most people think I'm crazy for doing it, either because they don't think I look all that large, or because they think it would be awesome to have such a large bust.

I developed relatively early. I was about 12 when I started needing a bra. Not terribly uncommon, I don't think. However, I differed in that I went from barely needing a bra to a 30 D/DD by the time I was 13. This trend didn't end for me. At the age of 18, I could no longer buy bras in any "regular" shop and took to finding the rare 30 G on a rack at Nordstroms. By the time my children were born, I thought that like most women, when I finished breastfeeding, my size would return to their previous size. They didn't. Each child took to me a larger size. Thank goodness I only had two kids, right? Over the years my weight began to fluctuate. Way up and then way down. And still my breasts only got bigger, never smaller. The band size would change, but weight loss or gain had no bearing on my bra size. Eventually, I grew to a size that was impossible to buy in a shop and I had to start ordering them. (This was around the age of 22.)

As you may know, I had spine surgery in 2013. My pain has continued and I have religiously seen spine specialists and my regular doctor. I've had countless MRIs and CTs, nerve tests and various methods of pain management. I had resolved myself to living with the constant pain and the self consciousness that comes with your breasts walking in the room 20 minutes before the rest of you.

Really, this is what has been the most taxing in my life. I was embarrassed by them at a young age and then I tried to embrace them and be proud of how God made me. But really they brought me the worst kind of attention. It warped my mind and self esteem. I started to see myself as only a pair of breasts. The keeper of the big boobs. I began to believe that my breasts were my only good physical quality, and so my identity began to wrap around this concept. I wanted to be liked for my personality, for my laughter and even for a pretty face (though I was never considered pretty by boys I liked). As my weight increased in my adult years, I could hide how large my breasts are, somewhat anyways.  Everyone just assumes that they are large because I am fatter than I used to be. However the doctors have established (much to my dismay) that weight loss won't change their size.

And so, next week on Wednesday I am taking the leap. With my wonderfully supportive husband by my side, I'm going under the knife and reducing my 32P breasts to a D/DD. Still a large size for my 5'2", small boned frame but with still 50 pounds to lose, my surgeon feels that taking me smaller would leave me with barely any breasts once the weight is off.

I'm nervous. I'd be lying if I claimed otherwise. And yet I'm really excited. Finally I will be able to wear clothes that I only dreamed of being able to wear. Cute bras in normal shops will be an option for me again. I'll be able to exercise without a regular bra secured with 3-4 sports bras. Driving will no longer require my hands to be on the bottom of the steering wheel, or a seat belt that resides across my collar bone and throat instead of extending between my breasts across my body. Finally, a conversation can be had without feeling like the other person can look only at my chest. I will no longer look twice as wide as I am in photos, just because my breasts take up so much of the photo and my frame.

It will be a long recovery. To fully recover and for all swelling to go down, it could take up to a year. I will not be able to buy those cute bras, or even know my true size until around 6-8 weeks out at the earliest. It does mean 2-6 weeks out from work, but the idea of feeling like the world around me finally sees ME and I can look in the mirror and see more than just the keeper of the breasts, on top of all the physical changes and eased pain, seem all worth it.