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A Personal Story: My Breast Reduction Journey

~ HOW IT ALL BEGAIN ~ This is me three months post-op (one of my senior pics) My name is Brooke and I am 18 years old. I have created this page to share my experiance with those looking into having a breast reduction. Sites like this were extremely helpful to me when I was considering this surgery. I hope this site will help anyone who needs more information about breast reduction or those who are interested in other's personal experiance. PLEASE NOTE: Tips, suggestions, and my own plastic surgeons reccomdations are not intended to be medical advice, please talk with your own surgeon if you have questions or need advice. This is how it started: I begain developing in the 3rd grade and can still remember the first day I wore a "training" bra to school. I was teased endlessly. By the time I was in sixth grade I was a 34 C and in eighth grade I was a 34 DD. This photo was taken the summer after 8th grade (I was 14) at the state fair. I was a 34 DD+ and there was NO padding in the dress at all. Girls always used to accuse me of stuffing my bra and the guys only stared at one thing (which obviously wasn't my face!) I just hated it! I went home from middle school every day in tears. So I started wearing a sports bra over my too small minimizer to make my breast appear flatter. My back hurt constantly, so I went to the chiropracter every on and off over three years, but nothing helped. My hands were numb a lot, my neck ached, and I got a ton of headaches. I delt with this for 3 more years until December 2000 when I was trying on a 34 DD bra and it was way to small. I bust into tears and just hated my breasts. When my tears were in check, I called my mom (who lives an hour and a half away from me) and told her how much I hated my large boobs and about the pain they caused me. I told her I wanted to look into Breast Reduction surgery and asked if she would pay for it as my 18th birthday present. At that time, I didn't know it could be covered by insurance. She told me to look into it and come up with some plastic surgeons I would like to consult with. ~ FINDING A SURGEON ~ I had no clue where to begin. I work at a horse barn and am very close to my boss, so before I did anything I wanted to make sure it was okay for me to take 2 months off and still be able to have my job back. Of couse she wanted to know why, so I told her. BIG mistake. All I heard was "you're not that big", "people pay for boobs like yours", and "you'll regret it". The news also spread like wildfire. One of my good friends, Kelly, is a nurse who keeps her horse at the barn, and she was told by my boss what I planned to have done. Her sister had a BR two years ago. Anyway, in the beginning she told me I was too young and that I should wait, but she also told me the name of the surgeon her sister used. I told my mom and she called to schedule an appointment. March 24 - I was so nervous! We met with Dr. Austin and I was comfortable with him right away. He drew pictures, explained the pros and cons (including my age - I was 17 then) and did all his measurements. We discussed various procedure types and he told me that he would be using the keyhole - anchor technique. For other techniques and BR surgery info CLICK HERE. He also talked about insurance and was familiar with the plan we have (BC/BS). The plan usually requires 350 grams to be removed for each breast, but his plan was to remove 500+, so that wasn't a problem. A nurse took pictures to send to the insurance co. and now I just had to wait to be approved. I was approved two weeks later and picked July 30, 2001 for the date of my surgery. I would have done it sooner, but I didn't want it to conflict with school (I have perfect attendance and am an honor student). That was the easy part. Now I had to tell me dad. (who is my custodial parent) My dad knew none of this was going on, and he didn't exactly approve when I told him what I wanted. He set up an appointment with another PS for a second opinion. I was scared that he would say it wasn't necessary (for my dad to say okay it had to be a "medical necessity") but he totally agreed with Dr. Austin. One more mountain conquered... all that was left was the l-o-n-g wait. ~ THE PRE-OP PERIOD ~ My pre-op appointment was July 12th. My PS rechecked all his measurements, went over what would happen the day of surgery, and the meds I could and couldn't take. (I was basically limited to Tylenol) I was then sent to the hospital for pre-admission and my blood test. Yuck! I am deathly afraid of needles and it took the nurse both arms to finally find my vein. It took me three days just to recover from that! I did a lot of talking with both Kelly and my dear friend, LaNaya. Both thought I was making a mistake, but after listening to me tell why I wanted this and the problems I had been having, as well as seeing just how awful I looked crammed into two minimizers, they supported me 100%. By the way, this is my theory on minimizers. (as dumb as it may sound) A 34 DD min. would take you down to a D, so if you then wear a D min. over that you would be a C. It was just wishful thinking. All it did was give me one big uniboob. The week before I was SO stressed out. I couldn't eat or sleep. The worst part was I was in charge of a horse summer camp that week, so I needed to be focused and all there mentally, which I wasn't, so my PS gave me RX of Xanax to help with my anxiety. The day before surgery was just horrible. I was supposed to ride in a horseshow, but I was so stressed and tired I just could not handle it - and broke down in tears. Everything had just built up, especially all the people who said I was doing the wrong thing or that they would take what was removed from me. I may have gotten lucky with the insurance, but I had my share of problems from my friends and family. I somehow managed to make it though and I even managed to get a good night's sleep. *** THE BIG DAY! *** I woke up at 4:30am (to give my self plenty of time to shave my arms, legs, and bikini line and enjoy my last shower for a while) and was abnormally calm. I didn't feel nervous or anxious at all. My dad and I left for the hospitol at 5:40 and he was more nervous than I was! Everything was great until we pulled up to the front of the Center for Outpatient Medicine. I got out of the car and froze, I wasn't sure my legs would hold me up. Somehow I managed to make it up to the 4th floor and get checked in. Both Kelly and LaNaya came to offer their support. When they called me back my hands started shaking and I felt like I was watching everything from outside my body. They measured my height and weight, took my vitals, and gave me my gown, cap, and slippers to put on. I didn't get to leave my underwear on since my PS uses a catheter. After I had changed, a nurse came to start my IV. She spent about 5 minutes just looking at my hand trying to locate the vein, which she couldn't find, so I had to pump a rubber ball for a few minutes. When she inserted the IV I felt a small prick, but it wasn't too awful. Now I was stuck! My dad, Kelly, and LaNaya all came back to talk with me in the prep area, and tried (unsuccessfully) to get me to think about something else. Dr. Austin came to do his markings, so they had to go back to the waiting area. When I saw him in his scrubs with the little cap on his head the reality of me finally having this surgery hit me. He answered all my last minute questions and made sure I still wanted to be a large B/small C. It was hard for me to sit still while he did the markings because his pen tickled! He left and everyone came back to visit. My anesthesiologist came back and he sounded just like the surgeon on the Simposons! I found this very humerous. I made sure to tell him I get nausous easily and he gave me something for that along with the anesthetic. About 5 minutes after he left I was talking and got real woozy. Kelly laughed and asked it the drugs were taking effect. Right after that another nurse came to take me to the OR. I don't think I even said goodbye to my friends because I was already quite out of it. On the way the nurse ran the bed into the wall. Great start huh? I remember laughing about it. In the OR I had to climb on to a cold narrow table and they brought me a ton of blankets. The last thing I remember was my left arm getting straped down. The first thing I thought about in the recovery room was how scratchy my throat was and how thirsty I felt. There were pumps/leg warmers on my legs and they made me very hot. I felt pressure on my chest from the surgical bra and all the guaze, but no real pian, just slight discomfort. I don't know how long I was awake before a nurse came to check on me. It's just happend to be my old 4-H leader. She asked me about my pain level and I think I said 6, so she gave me some painkillers. She also removed most of my blankets since I was so hot and sweaty. I drifted in and out of sleep for a while, the nurse kept asking me questions and my throat hurt when I talked. The finally took me to my room (but I had to wait in the hall because my clothes somehow got misplaced) and I had to try to move my self onto the bed in the room, which was so difficult. I found out then that it was 3pm! I hadn't even thought about my breast yet, I couldn't get past my sore throat. LaNaya and my dad walked with me beside the bed to my room and stayed to chat awhile, and Kelly popped in to make sure I was okay. My dad left, but LaNaya stayed for awhile and got me some ice to suck on. It felt so wonderful in my throat! I was so groggy, so she kissed my forehead and told me she'd be back tomarrow. I dozed on and off, walking only when the nurses came in every half hour for vitals, to check my drains, and give me more pain meds (I was given Morphine). LaNaya had wrote me a cute little note and drew a picture on the dry erase board in my room. She is just too sweet! The highest my pain leval ever got was a 7, but that was right after I had a coughing spell, so I was more sore than normal. I dozed off again and woke up just as Kelly was about to leave. (she had written me a note) So she stayed and talked to me about how I felt and answered some questions I had. My eyelids got very heavy, and she left to let me sleep. Dr. Austin came in at 5:30 to check everything and see how I was doing. He looked at my breasts and told me I had no bruising and minimal swelling. I was scared to look, so I took his word for it. I found out they removed 500 grams from my right breast and 450 from my left. Before he left he explained what would happen that night and put me on a liquid only diet for the night. That was just fine because I had no disire to eat anything then. I dozed off and woke up when my mom came (she couldn't be there that morning) with flowers and a card the said "Welcome to the IBTC!" (Itty Bitty Titty Committee) I still had not had anything but ice and the nurse finally talked me into a popcicle. It took about 45 minutes for them to bring it to my room and right before it was delivered, I got sick and threw up. It was awful! The nurse gave me something for the nausea and some more pain meds, cleaned me up and then my mom had to go. I refused to eat anything for the rest of the night. At 9pm a nurse made me sit up, scoot to the side of the bed and just dangle my feet above the floor. This was hard with out using my arms to pull me up. I got dizzy, but managed to get it over with so I could lay back down. I was still catherized, so I didn't have to get up to go to the bathroom. I slept on and off that night, and I don't think I really belived the surgery was over and done with. ~ FINALLY OVER THE RAINBOW ~ They woke me up at 5:30 to take out the catheter, which felt very strange but didn't hurt. My nurse also made me eat some crackers and started me on oral pain meds. I kept both down fine. I felt gross; my skin was greasy from the morphine and my hair my plastered to my head. (When I look like crap I feel even worse!) Dr. Austin came in around 6 to look at everything. I still had feeling in both nipples and hardly any drainage (5cc's). I don't remember what time Kelly came - it was early - but I knew she was there because I could here her laughing in the hall. I was glad she came, I had to go to the bathroom soooo bad. She helped me sit up, held on to me because I felt increadibly dizzy and lightheaded, and helped me both walk and pull my IV stand to the little bathroom anjancented to my room. She stayed and talked awhile, and tried to get me to eat breakfast. After arguing about it for a while, I finally agreed to try some friut, which wasn't that bad. She left, my mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, and friend Susan all came and I couldn't wait for them to leave - nothing against them, just that many people in the room was highly irritating to me, and I was tired. Kelly came and brought me a Coke (my favorite! :P) I had slipped down on the bed so Kelly called another nurse in to help pull me back up. The other nurse was so dumb! She told me to just grab the top of the bed railing and pull myself up. Yeah right! So then when they put there hands under me to slid me up, she pulled right on the outside of my left breast. OUCH!! (maybe that's what it's bigger!) Anyway, I was okay. I had to get up and walk and that all went well, so I was discharged at 11:30, but didn't actually leave until 5pm. LaNaya came to see me off and helped me get into the car My mom and I stayed at her friend's house that night since she lives real close to the hospital. When we got there I cried. I think it was because the surgery was finally over and I wanted to be around Kelly. (I love my mom dearly, but I was very paranoid something would go wrong) When my mom emptied the drains that night I got dizzy and very hot, but I didn't have a temp so I just went to bed. I went in the next day to have the drains removed (the maximum output was 5 cc). It didn't hurt, but it felt gross, like a worm or something. PS said everything looked good and gave me the okay to shower. I was not to lift anything over 5 lbs and rest my arms at all times. ~ WEEK TWO TO THREE MONTHS ~ The first two weeks of my recovery were pretty uneventful. I slept in the recliner most of the time with the TV on Discovery Health Channel. I think the best thing I did for myself at this time was drinking a ton of water and eating lots of high protien foods like chicken, kale, and spinach. I went in at two weeks to have the tapes changed and Dr. Austin told me my incisions looked about a month old, not just 2 weeks! YAY, I must have done something right! I was supposed to stand an arms length away from a wall and slowly crawl my fingers up, increasing the height each time, to return ROM to my shoulders. It took 3 weeks before I could get my arms straight up above my head. Around day 11 I hit post-op depression. I cried over anything and everything and had absolutly no appitite. It was during this time that I found Breast Health Online. The wonderful women on that site helped me get through that difficult time and greatly aided my recovery. I am now a BHO addict! I walked every day - I HAD to, my stomach stuck out farther than my boobs! I had a lot less stamina, even shopping at 2.5 weeks made me feel exhausted. My 4 week check-up went well, they removed all the tapes (they had refused to fall off on their own!) and it was the first time I got to see my IBTs in all their glory! Even the incisions weren't as bad as I expected. I was told to start massaging the incisons with whatever I wanted to use. I tried Vite. E, and had a reaction, so I used Aveeno which worked well. Now I use Palmers Cocobutter Formula, but I occasionally have reactions to it since it has vite. E in it. School started when I was 6 weeks PO and I was okay during the day, but very tired at the end of the day. I am very lucky to have been able to take a whole six weeks off, but there is no way I would have been ready to go back at 2 weeks. It was about 7 weeks before I really started feel like myself again. I got the okay to ride my horse at 6 weeks, but waited until 8. My dad did all the saddling and unsaddling for me because my horse is tall and the saddle's heavy! I wore my surgical bra over a sport bra to keep from bouncing, but I was still sore when I got off. However, my legs hurt my than my chest since it had been two months since I had been on a horse. I started vaccuming and driving againg at week 6 and as long as I took it slow I was fine. I felt larger than I wanted to be and I swear my left breast (the one that had more removed) was larger. Since this wasn't that big of an issue, I decided to wait until my October appt. to talk with my surgeon about it. I obsessed about it though, and drove my mom nuts talking about it constantly. My 3 month check up was last week. Good thing because the day before I was out in the field shutting a gate and slipped and feel in the mud, catching myself with my arms. I think I was ok though. I talked to Dr. Austin about the possible size difference and he measured, and compared, and studied each breast. He told me that they are diffenrt shapes - one is more round and the other is narrow and pointed, which is why one looks bigger looking down. He also explained that the scar tissue still has to break down and it will be another 3 to 5 months before I begin to see the final results. He gave me the ok to wear underwires (Victoria Secret's flex wire is the only wire bra I can wear comfortably) and resume all normal activities. I feel extreamly lucky - I have had no open spots, infections or spitting stiches at all, which is largely due to my surgeon's good work and BHO's healing diet. We finally got all the statements back from the insuance company - the total cost for my surgery was $11,161.69!! And that was after the PPO dicount! It was totally worth it though, even though I would go smaller if I could do it agian, I am still very happy with my breast and am glad that I had the surgery when I did. ~ THREE MONTHS + ~ I think I either need to be banned from Victoria's Secret or get a job there so I can get an employee's discount. There stuff is just too cute and now it actually fits! As I said before I am now free to return to normal activities and cheerleading tryouts are this weekend. I so want to try out, but I can't strech like I used to and I'm so out of shape, pluse I don't know if my new IBTs are ready! Well, the cheerleading thing didn't work out :( Bummer - it's my senior year! I have been obsessing and hating my breasts a lot over the past 3 days and I finally realized that they are swollen due to PMS. Duh! I should have realized that 2 and half months ago, it seems that I spend two and a half weeks of each month loving them and one and half thinking they are big. All I can say (now remember I'm in the middle of PMSing right now) is that if I am a D cup I am running as fast as I can back to Dr. Austin! I have also decided that instead of being an ultrasound tech. now I really wan't to be a mammographer. Breast health is so increadibly important, and that way I can think about boobs all day long and no one will think I'm nuts! TIPS - THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED OR FOUND HELPFUL *Pre-Op* - Preparing Emotionally: It is normal to be nervous, after all this is a life changing event. Instead thinking about all the things you are scared of, focus on all the reasons you wanted this in the first place and all the things you will be able to do (and wear) after your surgery. Relax and breath - you're going to be a member of the IBTC!!! - Visit BHO (link is listed below) and try the healing diet. I followed it as well as I could and I have had no healing problems at all. You should check this site out, it is so awesome! *Post-Op* - Water, water, and guess what? More water! Your body needs it to flush out all the drugs and to aid healing. Aim for 8 to 10 glasses per day. - Rest and don't rush into things. You just had a MAJOR operation and you need to take the time to let yourself heal. You may feel ready to jump up for a night on the town, but your body thinks it was hit by a freight train. Enjoy being able to do nothing, the opprotuinity will soon pass. - Don't be afraid to call your PS with any and all questions and concerns you may have. That is their job. It's better to call with a small issue before it turns into something major. - Be patient with your body. Complete healing can take up to a year after surgery. We all want to rush and return to normal activities, wear normal bras, and see our perfect little bitties, but know that you will see many changes over the first few weeks and months. - More Coming Soon! SOME USEFUL BREAST REDUCTION RELATED LINKS AND A FEW FUN ONES TOO!

*Breast Health Online - The most wonderful and helpful site for those considering any breast surgery or those that have had one.
*Information about breast reduction by New
*American Society of Plastic Surgeons
*View pictures of what happens during an actual BR surgery provided by the Institute for Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery (actual surgery photos - VERY graphic!)
*Visit Discovery Channel (as well as TLC and Discovery Health) for info on upcoming shows featuring BR surgery.
Go to for a list of today's hottest femal celeb's bra sizes. While it may not be totally acurate, it's very entertaining!

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