In the world of a developing teen girl, growing rather large breasts at an early and fast rate was a perfect storm for creating a multitude of feelings/emotions, awkward moments, body judgement and shaming, and much more. I started to noticeably develop when I was probably about 13 years old. I had fully developed by the time I was in early high school and it was not a joke. I went from a typical teen to a 32/34 DD within a matter of a few years.
I didn’t ask for these THINGS that I had been genetically “gifted” with – and certainly didn’t deserve a lot of the hurtful actions and words that were sent toward me for something I couldn’t control. From the ages of 13 until 18, my chest brought with it interactions that I was not ready for. I wasn’t ready to be sexualized at school, college, work and everywhere else. I wasn’t emotionally prepared for the attention/affection that “boys” and men now seemed to give – even if it was unwanted. I was not ready to be called a “slut” or told I looked “easy” just because the clothes I wore showed my shape. I wasn’t strong enough yet to take on the opinions of others and not feel judged, shamed, and belittled by their frequent commentary around my chest. I didn’t dress any more or less provocatively than any of my other female friends or classmates, but I was the one who “looked slutty” in the same clothes. As an active child, the activities like swim team and golf suddenly changed. I was no longer able to swing a golf club the same because I had to hold my arms differently to accommodate a large chest. I now had to be even more careful to cover up in between races at swim meets, lest people should notice my large chest in my team swim suit. Looking back – I understand that most of the name calling and such is just typical teen behavior, but it doesn’t make it right. I feel every person should have the right to live in the body that they are given without judgement for it.
After I joined the military I endured much of the same treatment by the people I now worked, and by default lived with. I was a smaller, Asian woman (I am 5’2″ and at that time weighed about 120lbs), so unless I wanted to be the most covered up I could be, in large loose clothing – it was pretty obvious that I had a fairly large bust and got compared to things like anime women. I couldn’t run well during PT. I could never take part in the physical activities without pain. My bras were leaving me indentations on my shoulders. I had terrible posture toward the top of my back/shoulders because of it and I had the start of scoliosis. I felt like a freak (and not in a good, rap song type of way). I felt ugly. I felt like I couldn’t trust if men were interested in ME or my boobs. I didn’t feel confident and I didn’t look confident. Most importantly (to me) I had been dealing with various forms and levels of sexual harassment far longer than I should have.
I decided to get a breast reduction when I was 19 years old, and it was one of the best decisions of my life, one of which I do not regret in the slightest. I was fortunate to be in the military, where I could get this done at their cost. It wasn’t a fast process though, or one done without significant probing. I had to attend psychiatric evaluation to ensure I was 1. impacted negatively by my large breasts and 2. really able to accept the after affects of this surgery. It was cautioned to me that it was a dangerous and lengthy procedure where I could face complications. I was also warned that it was reconstructive, so I might not look the same, I might have scarring, and I might not be able to breast feed a child. I was completely ok with all of the warnings and proceeded.
My surgery lasted around 4 hours and I was in the hospital for 2 days following. My surgery style was more “old school” than what is typically done now (modernly it’s more laparoscopic), so I have scarring in the shape of an anchor. Think if there were a circular pie, then you cut out a triangle slice, removed that, then pushed the edges of the piece that was removed together and made a new, smaller circle. That’s essentially what they did – which is why I have that “anchor” shape scar under both my breasts, coming down from my (new) areola and extending outward to just under my arms. Since I had such large breasts they had to 1. Remove the excess breast tissue, 2. lift the new breast “up” on my chest cavity so it would sit at a more appropriate place on my frame, and 3. remove my whole areola/nipple, resize them, and reattach them to the newly formed, smaller breast. They removed the equivalent to the weight/size of an average soda can worth of tissue from each of my breasts, though they wouldn’t let me see the tissue.
Post surgery was very painful and for the first day I had a lot of bleeding/drainage and bandage changing. I don’t recall a majority of that, as I was heavily sedated due to the pain (thankfully!). After two days – I was released from the hospital (bandaged and very bruised), to the care of a friend and her mother. They took care of me for another 5-7 days until I was deemed well enough to recover at home, and travel. I flew home and spent some time with my parents during my recovery as well, since I needed assistance with basic things like dressing, changing my bandages, showering/bathing and such, as I couldn’t raise my arms over the height of my shoulders.
I had some minor issues with my recovery – as I was allergic to the “dissolvable” stitches – so my body kept attacking them, they would scab, then they would rupture, then they would do the cycle over again. Finally everything healed and I was more or less whole again. I was on light duty at work for the next six months, wasn’t allowed to run/jump excessively, no compression (i.e. like life jackets since I was in the Navy still at the time), and things like that.
After about 9 months to a year I was completely fine again. As warned, my breasts took some time to “settle” and take their “normal” shape again – as they were much firmer and higher up on my chest cavity post surgery than they are now. I ended up with more of a “full” C cup and over time it has remained a large C/small D – which was also expected, since I was relatively young when I had the surgery and they warned that my body might not be completely done growing just yet. To this day, I have faint scarring – but nothing that’s any more or less noticeable than any other scar would be, likely even less. I can FEEL the scars, but they are less visible than I thought they would be, honestly.
Do I regret it? No.
I am SO much happier having a chest that is proportionate to my body! I would even go so far as to say I’m still slightly larger than not – but I am comfortable. I can be ACTIVE. I have better posture! I feel like the person I was meant to be. I chose a reduction, some choose implants. Either way, it’s a permanent, personal decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Whatever you choose – do it professionally and be safe. I can’t speak to the cost aspect since it was covered by the military for me, but no “discount” is worth an infection or death.
I believe in everyone’s right to do what makes them feel like the most authentic, honest version of themselves. I don’t think my breasts defined me, or do now, but I DO know that I did not want to continue my life feeling the way I did or dealing with the commentary surrounding my physical features. I am much more confident in myself now, in all areas of my life, but I am glad that I took the steps to go for what I knew would make me feel better in so many ways when I was young. I truly believe my health (mentally, emotionally and physically) is better for it.