It is not an easy decision for me to opt for surgery. I had serious complications after my bypass when one of my wounds became infected. The surgery saved my life, though, and so in many ways it's a bit ironic that the surgery that could have killed me also saved me. Any surgery is serious and deserves adequate consideration, and this one is no different.
I had a consultation with a surgeon late last summer. He thought I was an excellent candidate for a breast reduction surgery, and so we sent for insurance pre-authorization, which was denied. Over a couple of months I collected documentation from two of my primary healthcare providers showing medical necessity. I also received physical therapy to help with the pain. All of the documentation helped me get an approval around the first of the year. So then began the deliberation of whether I really wanted to go through this.
I will spare you the gruesome details, but this will be a serious surgery. Unlike the bypass, which was done laparoscopically, I'll have major incisions and significant bruising, pain and drain tubes to deal with. All of this makes this decision the difficult one.
But the end results are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Less pain. Better fitting clothing. Undergarments that fit and that do what they are supposed to do. Finding said undergarments in ordinary stores. Better posture, better ability to exercise and participate in sports, and hopefully, a better self-image or sense of security.
It's complicated when I've been faced with two surgeries that I've opted for. Most people are told they need surgery or have to have surgery. They don't get to decide (unless they don't want to live). I, however, have now consented to two surgeries deemed "elective". These two surgeries get a lot of criticism, as do the people who opt to have them. I feel like I have to defend my choices and lay it all out there (which I guess I'm continuing to do via this blog). But the truth is, the bypass surgery wasn't an option anymore. It was the only way I was going to live a longer healthier life. And while this breast reduction will be aesthetically pleasing when I'm healed in a few months, it also comes with many significant reasons for why it is the right decision for me.
I've been doing a lot of research on the topic of breast reduction surgery, because I like to know every last detail of what they will be doing to my body. (Note to others: Don't google the "after" pictures when you're preparing for the surgery - you really have no need to freak yourself out with what things are going to look like immediately after you're under the knife.) And in reading the blogs of other women and surgeons, I've found that a common thread is that women who opt for breast reduction are sell-outs. We're succumbing to the pressure to look "normal" or "thinner" or "smaller". There's animosity out there towards women like me for going through this surgery. That surprises me a great deal since there doesn't seem to be the same level of vehemence towards women who opt for breast augmentation. Love double standards!
I've got mixed feelings. I'm scared - of complications, of the pain, of the incisions, and of the amount of time it will take to heal. I'm elated - that pain will be gone, I can wear cute shirts and swimsuits, and bras. I'm nervous - that people will criticize me and misunderstand me. I'm irritated - that I still can't get away from that belief that everyone has to love me and my decisions. It's a totally mixed bag.
My preop appointment is today, and then surgery is next week. I plan to blog some about the experience, so feel free to ignore those posts if you don't want to hear about my breasts. I totally get it. I'll go ahead and justify why I am blogging about it - because it is real, it is what I'm experiencing, and it is life - my life. And that's why I keep this blog - to document my real life.