Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Story

Happy Thanksgiving!!  I am super thankful for my family and friends.  But there is also something else that I will always be thankful for. Eight years ago I made the decision to do something that would change my life.  Let me first give you a little background info.  I have ALWAYS been an active individual – just not a runner.  I did attempt to run a few times but it just hurt my body so much that I decided to stick with the elliptical, stair climber and also I used to be into Kickboxing (at one time I was an instructor). I wake up everyday excited to get my body moving. I have never been the person who dreads fitting in a workout – I ALWAYS look forward to whatever type of exercise I plan to do that day.  So you are probably wondering why was it that I could not run, or should I say, why I had a hard time with the after effects of running?  I have been trying very hard to come up with a less drastic way to say this but I’m at a loss so I am just going to gun it – I had very large breasts.  There, I said it – sorry if I have any male readers. This post is going to be all about boobs.  I carried around a set of 34 DD girls that were really not proportionate with the rest of my body.

Here are a few photos from when I was in high school.  I know it is a little hard to tell really how well endowed I was but I am pretty sure that I chose bras that would hold them in to try to make them look smaller.




Having all that weight in the front caused me extreme back pain and I was very self conscious of their size.  People would talk to my chest as if my face did not exist.  I knew that they were very noticeable even when I made every attempt to cover them up.

This next picture is so not flattering but I am willing to put it out there to share my story with you guys.  For some reason Charlie really wanted to capture me eating that nectarine. 

This was taken on a trip to Canada when Charlie and I had been dating for a little less than a year.  I went under the knife a few months later. 




I was very fortunate to meet a plastic surgeon that really and truly cared about doing this surgery for me.  I had met with others – yes I tried to get this procedure done many times – and they were not as helpful. I even went through physical therapy with an orthopedist to try and alleviate back pain with taping and massage treatments.  This was not just to address exercise related pain but just the normal pain & stress due to having breasts so disproportionate to the size of my upper body.

I even met one who was surprised that I wanted a reduction when most of his patients were going in for enlargements.  Another one told me to try and lose weight – WHAT!!!  I wasn’t overweight to begin with.  A lot of them do not want to fight the insurance company to get this surgery paid for.  I knew that I had enough to spare in order for my insurance company to pay for it, I just needed to meet the surgeon willing to fight for me.  Well in August of 2001, I met my surgeon and she changed my life.

The surgery was in October 2001, and I was shocked at the instant relief that I felt in my back and shoulders.  It really was an immediate change to my posture and my confidence was lifted too.  I no longer felt like the first thing people would see was my chest.  I was able to buy clothes that I would have never dreamed about wearing before.  My life really did change.  After I healed, I then ventured into the land of running.  Boy, did I get hooked.  I started off really slowly – 3 miles here and there and mostly on the treadmill.  It felt great and I had NO pain in my back or shoulders.

Here is a photo a little less than a year after my surgery.  Even though I had a little over a pound removed from each breast, I was not left without curves. 




Well I went to see my plastic surgeon for a routine checkup and she noticed that I had developed hypertrophic scars.  When she touched my scars I would get a sharp pain in the area where she had made the incisions. Not only were they painful but they were very raised and hard.  She recommended that  I have them removed and hopefully my body would not heal the same way twice.  One year and five months after my first surgery, I had another.  This time it was much shorter – the first one was 5 hours.  I was not required to stay over night at the hospital like I had to when I had gone in for the first one.  It was still surgery though and I needed lots of TLC. Thankfully I had the most amazing care giver – Charlie.  He took care of me after both procedures – changing my bandages and making sure that I was comfortable at all times.  During the 2nd surgery she had to remove skin along with the scars which resulted in smaller breast yet again.  I think that I was a pretty large B/small C after the first one and then the second one left me at a small B large A.  Fortunately, the scars did not return.

Talk about one extreme to the next, right?  I am totally ok with that.  I would never go back and not have the surgery.  Did I want to be this small? No, but I would much rather lay down at night and not have muscle spasms in my back and deep indentations in my shoulders from carrying around all that weight in the front.

On the running front, I really started adding more and more miles to my runs the year that I had my second surgery.  I was not out to drop weight but yes, I did lose weight.  I ran for the first 5 months of my pregnancy and then after I had Declan I went right back to it.  Running became my outlet, my way to let off any stress that I was feeling.  When I run I feel so strong and healthy.  I do not run because I HAVE to – I run because I WANT to.  And now I CAN without any problem.  After I had Declan my cup size has gone down a little due to the fact that breast tissue is less dense after having a child.  It is all fine and dandy – I WILL never complain that my chest is too small. 

So that is my story.  If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

I hope that you all have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.  Now I must go bake some treats for my family. 


hjlongmo said...

Sammie! Thank you so much for sharing! I have the same drive and love for working out that you do and its wonderful to hear that your body is no longer holding you back from doing something you enjoy!

A close friend of mine had breast reduction surgery two years ago - went through the same ordeal with the doctors, too - but is so much happier now, her life has really changed, and so has yours clearly!

Happy Thanksgiving to you as well! Hopefully you got a run in this morning to celebrate your hardworking body!

VeggieGirl said...

Thank you so much for your candidness and for sharing the story. You're incredible, Sammie!


Mama Pea said...

Wow, Sammie. You are full of so much courage and strength for sharing this with us! I am so thankful this year for our friendship. Keep smiling, my mama friend!!!

Molly said...

what a great story - thanks so much for opening up! i have a whole new respect for your blog!

Laura said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Sammie! :) It's actually one that I can relate to a great deal. I was always very well endowed as well; I was an E cup by the time I was sixteen. It's almost difficult to remember now how much loathed my breasts. I *do* remember physically wishing that I could just rip them off my chest. It was physically uncomfortable and restricting and psychologically very difficult. It's a terrible thing to resent a part of your own body that much. I had my breast reduction two years ago, when I was 22, and like you had to have a follow-up corrective surgery, but my surgeon was amazing, all in all it went very well and although I've ended up much smaller than I expected as well, it's something I haven't regretted for a moment. VERY happy to be in the small boob club! :D

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in New Zealand, obviously, but I hope you and your lovely family are having a wonderful day. Your blog is always a pleasure to read.

polly said...

Wow, sweet friend. I had no idea. You enjoy those runs. Enjoy a healthy back. Love you, honey. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your boys. Hope you got my recent email, sister. XOXO Pol

lisampls said...

Hi Sammie, thank you for sharing. I had the same surgery right after i graduated high school--and just like you, had trouble getting others to understand why i wanted a smaller chest, including the insurance company (guess they didn't notice the documented back pain i started to experience at age THIRTEEN!). i did lose some sensitivity in the tissue of both breasts due to improperly healed nerves, but it's a risk of the surgery, and even knowing that now i would do it all over again gladly. it truly changed my life. i do have a (very) personal question for you, my husband and i are ready to start a family soon, and i know that having the reduction can put at risk the ability to be able to breastfeed. did you breastfeed D? if you did, did you have any difficulty? sorry to get so personal, but i don't personally know anyone else that has had the surgery...i don't know what to expect.

thank you again sharing such intimate life details. happy thanksgiving to you and the family!!!

babycakes said...

I am so grateful for your willingness to share this personal story with us. Thank you for your honesty. It's great to hear how much happier you are after all you've been through. Happy Thanksgiving! :)

abi said...

Thanks for sharing your story Sammy. I'm so amazed at your courage and I'm so glad that you are happier now! Happy Thanksgiving!

Kath said...

Thanks for sharing Sammie. I've thought about reduction too, but I don't have any physical complications like back pain, so I don't know if it's really necessary. But I would certainly like to have less chest! Glad you are glad you had it done :)

Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing Sammie. You are brave and inspiring. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving :)