ABCD…

Breast-Surgery-200x300

Last week, I went to my requested plastic surgery appointment. It was the only time, besides the blood test, when I’d see her before the surgery itself, and I didn’t want to be standing in the hospital right before my surgery asking what size she thought I’d come out as.

I was extremely nervous- I don’t really know why, since the only thing I figured we’d do was chat, no examination or anything. I think it was because I am so scared that the insurance is going to pull their coverage and I’m going to wake up on the other side of surgery with awesome but expensive boobs that I now have to pay for.

But my PS assured me that that’s not usually the case. I had a chat with the insurance company a few weeks ago, too, who also said that the only way that they definitely won’t pay for it is if I get a different procedure entirely or in addition to my reduction.

At my initial consultation with my PS, I felt like she kind of rushed me along, and that bothered me. But she really took her time with me during this last appointment, making sure I got all of my questions answered and bringing things up herself, so that settled my mind. One thing I had been feeling pretty secure about was her skill level- she has excellent patients reviews for not only her breast surgery, but her speciality, which is hand surgery. While in her waiting room, I was looking around at the other people, wondering if they were there for their pre-op visits, only to find out that they were a few months to a year post-op from hand surgery. I never would have guessed.

In the end, she told me that what a lot of doctors and websites and patients (in the world in general) say is wrong: you can’t go to a plastic surgeon and say “Make me a DD.” ¬†Especially with reductions, and especially if you’re like me and want to go on the smaller side, issues of safety come into play. I can request to be a C or a B all I want, but it all comes down to what my PS determines is safe when the procedure is going on. And, as I said, I can’t even request to be a C or a B, because the PS doesn’t bring a bra in and hold it up to your in-progress breast to check the sizing. They’re more concerned with taking out a certain amount and making the two breasts generally the same shape and size. So my PS said I’ll probably end up a C or D when going bra shopping. I so desperately do not want to be a D. I want to get out of D territory forever. But since I’ve been squeezing myself into the wrong bra size until a few months ago, my idea of a D, and what a D actually is is skewed, and anything will be an improvement.

The prospect of the surgery is still really really scary to me, but it has never once crossed my mind as the wrong choice. Almost ever part of my life, from daily activities to passing my reflection in a window, reminds me that what I’m doing is right. People- doctors and non-doctors alike, save for my therapist, seem really concerned that I’m not concerned that I might not be able to breastfeed when/if I have kids.But to be honest, breastfeeding is never something that I’ve felt the need to do. Maybe I will regret it if/when I have kids, but it’s not like there is no other way for me to feed them.

I also know that a lot of women wait until after they’re done having kids to have the surgery, but I can’t wait. Besides the fact that I want to have it now, for all the reasons I’ve already discussed, I can’t imagine the disappointment I would feel if I ended up childless (by choice or not), knowing that I could have had this relief decades earlier. Yes, if I were at a point in my life where I thought I was ready, or almost ready, to start a family, I would probably wait, but I’m not at all. It will definitely be a frustration if I do have kids and I swell back to the size I’m at now, but I’ll cross that bridge if I come to it again.

Aside

I’ve been busty since I was a young teen; hitting puberty at ten will do that to you. It always made me uncomfortable. I never looked the same in the “in” clothes that everyone else wore, I was always cast as moms and old women despite looking facially young for my age, and in seventh grade, boys would sit next to me and hiss “tittiessssss.”

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Me at thirteen, waaaaay beyond a training bra

I only got more buxom as the years went on, and gaining weight in high school didn’t help. Until my senior year of college, I was squeezing into 36Ds, and even when I started buying DDDs, I still spilled out of them. I felt uncomfortable in my clothes and in my body, and I never felt attractive,

I thought things would get better when I decided to lose weight. My mom and I set out to make our lives and ourselves better, and we did it- we both lost a lot of weight and I know I was a lot happier with how I look. But I didn’t lose a single inch on my chest. When I tell people this, they tell me how lucky I am. But I’m still an actor, I still look young but lose roles because of my chest, and I still feel like a slut when I wear a cami.

More than that, my neck and shoulders hurt, I had constant headaches, sometimes I had migraines (which have been helped by Topamax), my shoulders are notched and scarred. I’ve kept the weight off, but I still felt kind of unattractive because of my chest. I don’t feel 24.

And that’s why I’m getting a breast reduction.

I went to see a few plastic surgeons before telling my parents. I didn’t know how they would react, and the only reason I really told them was because I was afraid some insurance papers would show up at their house and they’d call me going “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!” As it happens, my mom was really supportive, and I’ll be staying at their house the first week or so of my recovery, which hopefully means I won’t die from a blood clot and there will be someone to pour milk for me.

I did a lot of research before even seeing doctors, and even though some of the prices without insurance were staggering (anywhere from $3500-$33,000), I decided to see doctors in case my parents’ insurance would cover it. I knew I was a good candidate, and all the plastic surgeons said I was too, but just because all the sane people knew I fit the criteria didn’t mean the insurance company would agree. I figured it would be really hard; a lot of places won’t even give you a consultation until you’ve been approved. Thankfully, I found a plastic surgeon who did the work for me, taking shoulders-down pictures of my breasts, the dents and scars on my shoulders, etc., and writing down information such as my career being affected negatively and having a hard time exercising. Her office sent all this to my insurance company and told me to give it a month. About three weeks later, I got a voicemail saying that my insurance company was covering the procedure. I couldn’t believe it. It makes sense, but insurance companies have made my mental health coverage such a hassle, so I expected the same thing this time around.

Cold feet set in just a few hours after I excitedly told my friend and my mom about the approval. Maybe I really don’t NEED a reduction. Why can’t I just be happy with my body the way it was? Do I really need to go under the knife? Then, on the way home, I stopped at Wawa to grab a drink. Since it was 80 degrees outside, I left my work sweater in the car, wearing just my cami on top. As I walked into the store, like they had choreographed it earlier, every man’s head turned in unison to stare at my boobs. My decision was cemented in that moment.

My surgery is scheduled for July 17th, so long as all my blood tests go well (I don’t know why they wouldn’t.) I am terrified and excited. I might be tempted to cancel the surgery if I didn’t know that I will get it at some point in my life; might as well be now, while I’m young and healthy and really, really want to wear Peter Pan collars before I’m officially too old for them.

Aside