Saturday, March 7, 2009

An Uplifting Experience (pt. 1)

When I was 12 and many of my friends were wearing bras because they needed to, I was still in "training". My mother will tell you I would throw myself across the chenille bedspread crying that I would "never be a woman." My younger sister outed me when she saw me stuffing my bra with tissue. The summer between 8th grade entering 9th, my training paid off. No one needed to ask me what I did that summer - I grew breasts and I was proud. So were my breasts, standing firm and high.

During my teens and 20's they maintained their perkiness. I wore good bras as my mom advised. I did not flaunt, they were just a part of me. Mom told me that gravity would not be my friend and I should do all I could to provide proper support. One size does not fit all and I spent the extra bucks on the good bras.

I never regretted spending the money, but I do resent the fact that I can't go into Victoria Secret unless I want to purchase perfume. I could never understand the water bras. Really? Women want more on top and are willing to use water balloons. Although, they are a lot more natural looking than tissue.

If I thought I was on the large side before I became pregnant, I did not know what I was in for. I remember saying that if I got any bigger I could feed a 3rd world nation. Huge does not begin to describe it. I was so grateful for my breasts when I nursed Alison. They nourished Alison with the nutrients she needed and the closeness we felt together is an experience I will cherish forever.

For at least 10 years I have been suffering from neck, back, shoulder pain. For the most part, I learned to deal with it. This past year, however, the pain was increasing to the point were I was close to tears on a daily basis. Pain was radiating down my right arm, I had difficulty blow drying my hair, reaching for plates out the cupboard, I was tired, miserable, loosing sleep. I don't believe my neck/shoulder pain is due to just to the weight in front. I had trauma to my shoulders in my 20's, I have some arthritis and degenerative disk disease. While I know the cause of the pain is not due to one thing, I also believe the cure is not one method. I had x-rays taken, physical therapy, chiropractor (2-3 times a week every week since November), 2 nerve blocks, and cortisone shots. When you feel this bad, it is very hard to do exercises, because your whole day is consumed with pain. It's depressing. This past week I had my second nerve block and for the first time in years woke to no pain. I had forgotten how that felt. I was elated. I have a little pain now, but am delighted in the amount of relief I have. I can live with this. Now that I know I can have this pain-free or at least minimum pain for the rest of my life I want to make sure I don't get to where I was in 2008.

It takes a lot of work to keep "the girls" at bay and to camouflage the size. You do want people to look towards your eyes now and then. When you're extremely large, it is difficult to maintain proper posture, which severely compromises your spine which affects your entire body. To stand properly with shoulders back, head high, tummy in, you literally throw your breasts forward. Which only causes eyes to focus on what greets them first. I try not to go into the round shoulder slump.

With the extra duty support and the wide straps over the shoulder, the mere weight in front pulls me forward and the straps cross a nerve that triggers the intense pain. This week I will have breast reduction surgery. I'm nervous. Not so much about the technical part. I have spoken to women who have recently had this procedure done by the same surgeon I have. They could not be more pleased. The staff is wonderful. My PCP recommended this surgeon as "the best in the city". The women I've talked with feel better not just because a weight has been lifted from their shoulders (literally), they feel better in their clothes and have more energy. Physically and mentally. I am nervous as to how I will look. Not as others see me, but how I see me. My whole body dimensions are about to change overnight. I don't think I'll look like a freak to the outside world, but I am concerned how I will look in the mirror with no clothes on. I am parting with a big portion of my life.

If this were an enlarged adenoid, swollen tonsils, inflamed gall bladder, an appendicitis, no one would be able to tell you had something removed. Even if it were my ovaries being removed because they were hurting me, no one would look at me and think my appearance had significantly changed. This will be quite obvious.

I am grateful for the progress in the technique of this procedure. Sensitivity is expected to be the same, scaring is very, very minimal, healing is quick. I will look normal, just different.

I won't deny that I am looking forward to a smaller me. I want clothes to fit properly. Perky is good. Good body image is very good, especially when I have to find a job. It is the abnormal size for my frame that is freakish. I don't want to be self conscience or in pain keeping the breasts in place with the support bras (underwire). Ever have one of those wires break through the material and stab you for the rest of the day? The grooves in my shoulders, the redness under the breasts, keeping that area dry during the summer so rashes/infections do not come about is part of the daily routine. Cheap or unsupportive bras will give the girls free range, flip-flopping everywhere and nobody needs to see that. I am looking forward to maintaining the reduced pain in my neck, shoulder, back. I am looking forward to be able to purchase a dress.

I am finding that yoga is a good form of exercise for me. Low impact, breathing, stretching all of me is working in the maintenance of my neck/shoulder health.

Once I have had a few days to recover, I will update where I am mentally, emotionally, physically.


  1. blessings on your surgery! may it bring much relief and may you be pleased with the radical change! and may you be safe!

  2. Good for you Debbie! Just said a prayer for you :)

  3. Oh my Deb. It is so right to do this. I'm praying that you will be pain free and so much more comfortable with your body. The weight that will be lifted from your shoulders and back - wonderful. Wish I could be there with you but I know you will have lots of loving care. Hoping the same for your sister as well. Love you, Sherry

  4. btw... thanks for saying it appeared i had lost all my pregnancy weight! not quite... i'm probably, right now, to the highest my weight may have gotten post w.w. goal and pre-pregnancy, but i was lower at the point i got pregnant, i think i was around 170 or 175 when i got pregnant. so i have at least 20 pounds to go! i have 30 plus to goal! but i'm getting closer! i definitely feel better!

    wish i could make a hospital visit to you!

  5. oma-
    tried calling both phones today but they seemed to ring and ring. wanted to wish you luck tomorrow-i will be with you in spirit! i will check in with dad late morning to see what's happening. we are looking forward to a healthier, pain-free you!
    And thank you for your Monday visits-they have been so great, despite our hectic schedule. i am so grateful for your time, and i know gracie loves her "oma days" too!
    good luck tomorrow! all our love, wpbjandg