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Keri’s Story

  • Breast Reduction

 

MY STORY?  ….. OK

It starts back in fifth grade, some 40 years ago, lucky me…. I had the biggest boobs in the class.  Girls weren’t built like they are now back then and I was one of only a handful that wore a “real” bra.  Most girls were still in training bras then.  There wasn’t much teasing in the lower grades but as soon as I got to high school, the nickname “stuffa” was lovingly bestowed upon me by what you’d say were the jealous ones because they thought I stuffed my bra.  Fast forward to 2005, a loving husband and two beautiful girls later, hubby walks in from a hard days work to find me in the kitchen crying.  He asks what’s wrong and I blurt out…. I HATE MY EFFING BOOBS!  Now mind you, this has happened at least two other times over the course of our marriage because they just kept getting bigger and bigger. I would have my cry, wipe my tears and move on - through many more years; until it would happen again and each time my hubby would say, “if they bother you that much, do something about it.” 

 

Of course I would think about it but that’s as far as it would go.  I worked with a woman that had a breast reduction years prior and she described the whole process to me.  She had to have years of documentation from chiropractors, physical therapists, etc., which I had none of because I had never once complained about by boobs to any of my doctors and the thought of having my nipple cut out and moved just didn’t hit any high notes with me so I put aside the notion of starting years of physical therapy and starting a paper trail because that’s what I thought you needed in order to even be considered for a breast reduction and I moved on through life once again.

 

In the meantime, I was reunited with one of my high school friends that I had lost touch with over the years and she was in the process of waiting for insurance coverage at her new job and the first thing she was going to do once she was insured was have a breast reduction.   Her cousin and two sisters had breast reductions over the years by the same doctor and of course, that’s who she was going to go to.  I was in the process of heading to Florida for my niece’s August wedding and of course, I needed to find something to wear - so off I go and I had made up my mind I wanted to wear a pant suit.  Well, we all know how that goes, the pants fit and the jacket doesn’t close. 

 

None of the jackets close nor do the tanks fit that come with the three piece suits because the boobs are just too damn big so I put plan B into action.  I’ll just find another top to wear under the jacket and all will be well.  This was the turning point for me because I tried on 21 tops, yes, you read that right, 21 before something even came close to fitting or looking half way decent.  I bought the 22nd one and after standing in the dressing room with tears rolling down my cheeks, I made up my mind that that was it…. crying in dressing rooms is no way to go through life and I decided that the boobs had to go right then and there. 

 

Back to my high school friend, she had her consult appointment in September of 2006 and the next thing I know, after wanting to wait until after the holidays, she’s got a surgery date of January, 2007 and she was on her way to itty bitty titty land.  She got approved without having any documentation, no doctor reports, no nothing which I thought was mandatory and this is what got my wheels spinning to look into the possibility of having the procedure covered by insurance. 

 

If it turned out that it wasn’t covered, my darling hubby told me we would pay for it but I figured, what do I have to lose and after seeing her results, which were pretty nice, hubby and I decided to go to my girlfriend’s PS for a consult.  I called mid January for an appointment and got in pretty quick as my consult was in early February.

 

As you all know, they know ahead of time what you’re going to see them for and the first thing the plastic surgeon asks me is, “what brings you here today?” I am thinking, you know damn right well why I’m here and you’re asking me that?  I don’t know, maybe they all say that but it just didn’t come across right to me and we go into the whole discussion of “why I’m there” and I ask to see his before and after pictures.

 

Again, knowing ahead of time why I’m there, you’d think he’d have pictures at the consult ready to show us but no, he goes huffing and puffing around his office trying to find them and when he does, he opens a box and all his pictures are on slides!!!  WTF??  And no projector!!!  He starts handing them to me to look at and I’m thinking, ok, this guy must think because my girlfriend just had it done I’m a shoe in and I’ll be another happy customer.  WRONG!!!  We left there and both my hubby and I said NO WAY is he touching me!  I asked my girlfriend if she had looked at his before and after pictures and she said no, she went to him based on her cousin’s and sister’s results and just gave this guy her business, which is fine for her I guess but he wasn’t getting a penny of mine.

 

We go home and I’m fuming, and I’m thinking now what.  A few days pass and it was like I was hit on the head with a 50 ton boulder…. DUH!  A girlfriend of mine which I don’t see very often but am in contact with is an OR nurse at one of the state’s most highly regarded hospitals.  I call and ask her, if you were going to have a breast reduction, who would you recommend and she proceeds to tell me that she has been thinking of having it done too and this is who I would have it done by and she names three doctors in the order of first choice to third.  She proceeds to tell me that she’s assisted many a PS during breast reductions and kept raving about her number one’s choice of PS’s work over and over again. 

 

I called for a consult and I had to wait five months to see Dr. Peggy Howrigan.  I’m thinking that speaks volumes right there seeing as I only had to wait a few weeks to see the other PS.  I called in February and my consult was in mid July, so I had a ways to go with waiting.  Once at the consult with Dr. Howrigan, my husband and I sat down and immediately felt at ease.  She was prepared to show us albums of before and pictures, explained the whole procedure in detail and when I showed her pictures of how small I’d like to be!  The doctor said I’d look like a pear and I told her that I didn’t care, I like pears and that I wanted to be as small as possible.  I also asked what happens if insurance denies me and without hesitation she said “we appeal.”  COOL! 

 

With all my research, I was finding that most insurance companies require 500 grams per breast to be removed to be covered and my insurance only requires 375 grams.  I got my approval letter 10 days later on July 31st and I was in shock.  I was totally expecting to be denied and then the fear set in.  Other than having two C-sections that I was awake for, I had never been put under and that scared the crap out of me but I knew the only way to achieve freedom from the boobage was to have surgery and I kept focused on the itty bitty end result.   I called a few days later and I could have had my surgery in mid September, but because of other commitments, I had to put it off a week or two.  My pre-op was September 24 and surgery was scheduled for Tuesday October 2nd

 

We had to be at the hospital at 6:30am and surgery was at 7:40.  My OR friend had set up my surgical team and she was also there to greet me and help get me ready.  Dr. Howrigan came into the prep room to mark me up and I gave her the pictures I had brought to my consult of the size I wanted to be and she took those pictures into the OR with her and she did a phenomenal job.  While I was getting prepped, another nurse who I graduated high school with came in to wish me well.  I told her about the “stuffa” comments and wanted to know if she was one of the meanies in school and I told her no, she wasn’t.  My hand started tingling where the IV was and I said something about it to the nurses and they said “you may want to put your head back and relax”!  Well, that’s the last thing I remember. 

 

I don’t remember leaving the prep room or seeing the OR but according to my hubby, I was carrying on a perfectly normal conversation being rolled down the hall on my way to the OR and I was told I put myself onto the OR table all by myself.  LOL - what OR table?  Gotta love that happy juice!

 

I woke up and the only pain I had was a burning sensation under my left boob.  I was shot up with morphine and when I woke up again, all was well.  I was in a little discomfort but that was all.  I stayed the night and I had drains that were taken out the next morning.  I was wrapped in a mummy wrap and was sent home with a post-op appt. that Friday.  All was well until we got home on Wed. morning. 

 

We got home at 11am and hubby’s Mom called at 11:30 to tell us that his Dad was not doing well and off he went.  We had not told them about my reduction as he had been in failing health for sometime prior to surgery.  He passed away Thursday morning.  We went to my post-op appt. of Friday for the unveiling and it was like a load had been lifted off my shoulders…. Literally!  They were beautiful!  I hugged my PS and thanked her profusely for giving me a new lease on life. 

 

I took three weeks off, one week for surgery and two weeks to sit and do absolutely nothing.  Other than my father-in-law’s wake and funeral, that’s exactly what I did and I think that made all the difference in my healing process.  I slept in the recliner for six weeks as it was more comfy than my bed and as soon as I could sleep on my side, I was back in bed.

 

Long before surgery, I had been lurking behind the scenes for months and months and months on the old BR4Y forum and on Make Me Heal.  At ten weeks I posted pictures on both sites and finally introduced myself.  I was contacted by a member by the name of Arboretum on Make Me Heal - who lives nearby and she was so impressed with my results, she had her BR done by my PS in March of this year.  We’ve had eats and drinks a few times and have kept in touch and she is as thrilled with her results as I am.  I am so thankful for those that post pictures as I found the size and shape I wanted just days before my surgery on MMH posted by their member hoping for “C” and I couldn’t thank her enough for posting them and giving me the chance to further express my wishes.  If my pictures can help or reassure just one person, I’ll gladly flash for years to come. 

 

Other than some scar tissue that has shrunk to the size smaller than a pea above my left nipple and a little pucker of skin on the side of righty that I'm leaving alone, my recovery has been a breeze.  I never had any bleeding, oozing, separations or any complications what so ever.  I wish recovery was like that for everyone!  I used nothing on my scars and my first post-op mammogram was a piece of cake.  It was nice that for the first time in my life, my boobs didn’t take up the whole plate!

 

There you have it, my Breast Reduction story.   When I started this journey, I was a 36DDD/E stuffed into a 36DD.  One, because I could never find a bra bigger than that in the stores that fit right and two, I refused to go to a specialty shop and pay more than $20 for a bra.  I have NEVER paid more than $20 for a bra and I never will.  I’m now wearing bras sized 34B/C and 36B.   I had 392 grams taken off of lefty and 443 grams taken off of righty, which is about one pound each.   In the beginning, I called my Primary Care Provider for the two referrals to the PS’s and I have not seen a single bill for my surgery.  All I have paid out of pocket is about $200 total in co-payments.  I am going to be 50 at the end of the year and all I have to say is …..  LIFE IS GOOD!

 

I honestly didn’t think I’d still be hanging around and posting here one year later but I’m so glad I am and thankful for all the friendships I’ve made along the way.  You ladies are a blast and I hope to someday meet some of you.  You’ve made this remarkable journey so memorable, I’m at a loss for words so I will just say THANK YOU to each and every one of you.  You’re all special and it wouldn’t have been the same without you!   

 

Much love….

Keri58



 



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