Plastic surgery stories can be some of the craziest gems on the internet. A man goes to extreme lengths to look like a Ken Doll. A woman spends $150,000 to look like her own caricature. Women want bigger breasts, or fuller butts. Men want abs, or stronger pecs. Sometimes, it’s not even about the text book definition of beauty, and people want to look like a cat or a reptile. It all seems ridiculous.
On the other hand, there’s “living your truth.” Those people, as crazy as they seem, have no fear of living their truth, and they confidently scream it from the roof tops. For me, it felt so hypocritical to think they were crazy. I’ve have a truth that has, in many ways, devoured me. It’s defined who I was for far too long.
Some people say I was “blessed,” or “gifted.” Others say they would “pay to have the problem I had.” No matter what their opinion was, they would never understand the physical or mental pain that my “gift” had caused.
Very few people truly saw the toll my right-side size G breast and left side size H breast had on me. From head to toe, inside and out, everything about me felt consumed by boobs six sizes larger than average. What society glorified as ideal, was my nightmare.
According to Time Magazine, the average woman’s cup size is a C. Less than 1 percent of the female population has a breast size larger than a D cup. For once in my life, the last thing I wanted to be was above average. No amount of weight loss, special bras, or physical therapy changed things. It got so noticeably difficult, that my parents suggested we visit a surgeon when I was 19.
A nurse came in the room, and handed me a gown. Out came the camera. Off with the gown. Profile left. Click. Profile right. Click. Stand at a 45-degree angle left, and again right. Click click. Stand straight forward. Click. Lift up your breast to expose the raw, red skin covered in rash. Click. Every click made my stomach ache. Tears streaming down my face, the surgeon completed a physical examination, documenting problems and defects. His medical opinion: plastic surgery was a necessity. An expensive reality for the relief I needed.
Then came defeat. Denial letters from the insurance company. You’re too young. You haven’t had kids yet. Go to a chiropractor. Buy a minimizing bra. Try some muscle relaxers and pain management. Try herbal supplements. Lose some weight even if working out is painful and you must wear 8 sports bras. Tape them down. We don’t care. We aren’t paying. With no help from insurance, I could never afford this surgery.
Five years later, I tried again. Same process, same defeat.
I carried on as best I could, but every day got a little bit worse than the last. I had permanent divots in my shoulders. I had a hunch starting in my neck. Back pain for which there was no relief. No end in sight. I felt hopeless.
I was constantly spinning my wheels trying to ease the pain. I’d do anything to pick up our son or get on the floor to play without wincing in pain. My doctor prescribed some muscle relaxers and pain medicine. I thought maybe, if I could make this medicine work, I would be okay. But when one pill didn’t work, I’d take another. When that didn’t work, I’d take another. I gave up. Overmedicating to make it through the day only made things worse.
A few weeks into 2018, I made a choice not to accept anything less than the happy, healthy, pain free life I deserved. I spent hours researching and calling plastic surgeons and setting up consults. I spent hours calling doctors I had see in Chicago, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and requested copies of my medical records. I read through every page of my insurance policy. I called my primary care doctor and OB, got referrals and asked them to cancel all prescription refills. I wasn’t going to need them.
A week later, I decided on a surgeon, and walked into his office with 100’s of pages of medical documentation. I put on that gown, and smiled big for my pictures. Every click of the camera made me more determined. I answered every question with confidence. There would be no more tears and no more shame. The Surgeon and his staff were amazing. The doctor said that my back was quickly deteriorating, and he would do whatever he could to get the insurance to cover this medically necessary procedure. About three weeks later, I had an approval letter and date of surgery in hand.
March 2nd was the beginning to the end of a life long struggle. It seemed surreal. The people who know me best knew how important this was to my health and were incredibly supportive, but then it began to hit me: people get real judgey about plastic surgery. This was far from cosmetic, but I still felt the need to defend my choice. I decided to tell people I was having a procedure to alleviate my chronic back pain. It wasn’t a lie, it just wasn’t the whole truth.
After surgery, I had immediate relief, physically and mentally. I have not had any back pain to date. I’ve taken back my health and confidence. I have been so excited, that I wanted to tell everyone. But then that fear of judgement creeps back in. When I went back to work, I struggled with a balance between my truth, and the fear of judgement that could come with it. In the end, I owed it to myself to own my decision, and live my whole truth.
Welcome to the roof tops. Here it is, loud and proud: I had a breast reduction, and it’s one of the best thing I have ever done!
I have a whole new respect for being comfortable in your own skin. If you have a medical need, find a doctor who is committed to helping you living your truth. If you have a cosmetic want, live your truth. If you want to permanently look like a lizard, live your truth. Reduction or implants, Botox or Lipo, Lizard or Cat- You owe an explanation to no one but yourself. “Live authentically. Live your truth. And if you love me for anything, love me because I live mine.” -Neale Donald Walsch