I’m sitting here, at the Problogger Conference on the Gold Coast, Queensland, by the pool, sipping a cocktail (I know, you think that this is my everyday “bloggerati” life, sadly not so) and thinking about just how much having had my breast reduction 2 1/2 years ago has changed my life.
Why think about it now? Well it’s the fact I’m sitting by the pool, out in public. That was something I rarely did pre-breast reduction as I was too conscious of constantly falling out my swimmers (if I could find swimwear to fit) and so I avoided pool-type situations in public and would only go away to places that didn’t require swimwear (Paris, London, New York, Prague …. all fine places, no swimmers required).
I get emails from women asking me about my experience, as they consider having the same operation, and so I wanted to share just what a positive impact it has had on my life.
My health has improved
I’m now the fittest I’ve ever been since I was a kid! I know, hard to believe that nearing 50 I’m probably fitter and healthier than I was in my 20s and 30s. Those big old boobs made doing strenuous exercise uncomfortable (and also often very self-conscious). Two serious sports bras was not enough to hold them down, and to make anything high impact appealing in the slightest.
Now I regularly run (and if you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d be running regularly, I’d have laughed til I snorted). This has improved my cardio fitness as well as my cholesterol levels. Both super important for my ongoing health.
Plus back pain has improved and headaches are far fewer as there is not such a strain on shoulders (bra straps) and my posture has improved (though there is still a way to go there!
My self-esteem has improved
You’re thinking “Seriously Imogen? You had poor self-confidence?” and the answer is yes.
For most of my adult life I feel that I’ve been kind of “defined” by my large breasts. It was my ‘defining feature” what people noticed (and often commented on. They attracted lots of attention (and not always positive).
Having a breast reduction has meant that I no longer feel self-conscious thus actually going to places where I may sit by a pool in swimwear, and just in daily life, not feeling that I’m being judged in any way around my figure.
My wardrobe choices have improved
I can shop, and fit into clothes. For the 30 years prior to the “anti-boob-job” it was rare that I could actually find something to wear, that fitted me properly. My choices were so limited.
I love the freedom of actually being able to go shopping in a way I’ve never experienced for me. Sure everything doesn’t fit, and I don’t expect it to, that would be crazy (and I’ve written about that very topic here already) but at least I have so much more choice now in both shapes and styles available to me that I can on and I’m not busting out of.
I don’t regret for one second having my breast reduction. It wasn’t nearly as painful as I’d expected and the recovery wasn’t so bad either. Finding a good surgeon is an important part of the decision to take such radical surgery, but I’d do it again in a flash.
My overall wellbeing has improved
Feeling fitter, being more active, not feeling like something holds me back means that I am more able to take advantage of situations. To try physical things I might have avoided in the past. I am happier within myself.
I’d spent so many years defined by being a woman with very large breasts, and it took years of thinking and pondering before I did take the plunge to have the reduction as it meant a change to my identity (and it’s not a small operation so requires careful consideration). I know, for me, it was absolutely the right decision to make.
Read up on my breast reduction journey:
Why having big breasts is not fun
Breast Reduction update – 1 week post operative
Breast Reduction Surgery recovery guide
Breast Reduction – 4 weeks post operative
Breast Reduction – 6 weeks post operative
Breast Reduction – 3 months post operative
I would love to have this surgery. But here in the US, it is not covered by our insurance. The cost is prohibitive.
Bteast reduction is covered by insurance in the US, but you do have to go through a series of your regular doctor appointments and establish that your breasts are the cause of neck, shoulder, back pain first. It also has to do with your insurance policy too. Another option for the price factor is to find a licensed plastic surgeon in the U.S. who also has a practice in the islands outside of the U.S. Many of them have their own clinics and therefore halve the price.
I’ve just had a reduction only 2.5 weeks ago, and although I’m still in pain at time, I’m glad I did it. At 153cm and a 10G (32G), my breasts seemed to define me. My breasts exploded on my cheats at the age to ten (I was fitted a 14DD, weighing only 45kg) and have left me with some minor spinal malformation (my neck is too straight). Now in my 30s and a mother of four, I felt it was time to cut my chest down in size. I was glad to find your blog with all your progression reports to really see how it has changed your life. So thank you.
Great that you’re feeling good. The pain doesn’t last and will diminish over time.
I only started following you recently and didn’t know about the breast reduction – you go, girl! One of my best friends started harassing her parents at 16 for one. Poor thing was tiny, around 5 foot, and felt like a crab. She was over the moon when she hit 21 and got her best present ever. My eldest sis is super big – about like you were – and I see the permanent grooves on her shoulders and wonder why she doesn’t. I think you were super brave (as it us major surgery ) and super intelligent to take this step to free yourself of this permanent baggage and hope you inspire loads of women who are suffering to do it.
I am following your blog for almost three years. I always thought that style is about loving ourselves and making us looking better . For my surprise, I ve learned some time ago that you had a breast reduction. For me, it was like this whole style story , was a lie. What ‘s the point of talking about style and what suits us better, if at the end we are going to cut a part of our body, in order to look good. It sounds like a huge lie to try to find what matches to our body, if the solution you recommend is plastic surgery. I am just wondering though, why didn’t you just find a good tailor who would sew your clothes on your body ? Why we have to adjust the body to the clothes and not the clothes to the body? Sorry if I sound too strict but this story was a huge disappointment for me.
My breast reduction was for health reasons, not fashion. I have had back problems for 20 years, migraine headaches and couldn’t do high impact exercise. I don’t see having surgery to reduce the size of my breasts to reduce pain and improve my health is something I should hide or lie about. I prefer to be transparent about these things.
Hello Imogen. I hope you are still checking comments for this post. I just cannot thank you enough for the series of posts on your breast reduction. Finally, at the age of 53, I have decided to get one. I’m scheduled for surgery on May 25th. Having 36/38JJ breasts on a 5’0″ frame has been no fun. I’ve had disproportionate boobs since the age of 12 and have been wanting to do this for a long, long, long time.
Reading your posts has made the process not as scary as I believed it to be. I know complications are always possible but the information you provided from week 1 to 1 year has given me the courage to finally do something to make myself feel better, both physically and mentally. I am scared and excited at the same time.
Your comments in this post ring very true for me. I’m looking forward to no longer being described as “the short one with the huge boobs.” Not to mention feeling lighter and breathing better. Thank you once again for this series.
Good luck with your surgery Karen – I hope it’s as uncomplicated as mine was! Even those I’ve met how had complications told me that they’d do it again in a heartbeat which made me decide to definitely do it – and I am so glad that I did (and like many, wished I’d done it earlier…).
Thank you for your kind wishes Imogen. I have a suspicion that I too will be one of the should-have-had-it-done-sooner women, but I tell myself at least I’m doing it now and not waiting another 5 or so years.
My reduction surgery is also scheduled for May 25th! I go the 18th for a pre-op appointment, and then just one more week! I’m nervous and excited!
Good luck – hope it goes well.
Dear Imogen, Your comments definitely helped with my decision. I had been contemplating having breast reduction surgery for years. 18F was not very flattering for 157cm (5ft 2in). Thank you for all the positive comments. My surgery was simply brilliant I should have done it years ago. At 61 after two shoulder operations I felt it was time, and so it was. I feel great and now have a new attitude to my wardrobe. With the help of my old faithful companion sewing machine I have revamped my clothes and updated my style. Thanks for all that you are.