Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Body Image Battle pt 3

This is part 3 of my Body Image discussion.

You can find part 1 here and part 2 here.

When I started this journey, I didn't realize the impact all of this had on my emotionally. I hadn't really acknowledged my years of hating how I looked. I thought that becoming a mom and embracing the wonderful power my body had to grow a child was enough to overcome all those issues.

It wasn't.

But I didn't understand that until I decided to address the very real physical problems I was experiencing.

 My arms would fall asleep during the night if I slept on my back. The back pain had been getting worse. I developed a curve in my spine.
 
No amount of chiropractic was going to get to the root of my pains.

The day I decided to finally do something, I threw out my back and was in bed for two days. . .  after unloading the dryer and forgetting to put on my bra first. 

My first step was to start losing weight. It wasn't easy. It never is! I love food, so dieting doesn't really work for me. I had to stop snacking. And, I had to watch my portions. This also meant, I needed to address my ADD. One of the symptoms for me, is I don't really notice that I'm eating.

 After consulting with the nurse practitioner about what was happening in my life, she agreed that maybe it was time to treat the ADD. It wasn't just about the eating. I had also decided to go back to work part time as a substitute teacher. I needed help to manage my life. I've worked outside the home with and without being medicated for ADD...and life is just better for everyone when the ADD isn't making me run in 50 different directions.

The nurse practitioner and I also discussed a way to address my physical pain: Bilateral Reduction Mammoplasty aka Breast Reduction.

I went home that day...and did absolutely nothing. It took another two months before I finally called the plastic surgeon. During that time, I managed to lose 15 lbs!

15 lbs down...and the boobs are once again disguised by an interesting neckline



I met with the plastic surgeon in early December. I had dropped from a 36F to a 34G. What that means is that I lost two inches off my band size, but my overall breast volume did NOT change. The doctor took measurements and said I was definitely a candidate for reduction. I met with the insurance specialist and left the office with immediate approval from the insurance company and a surgery date.

The doctor told me, based on my build, I would probably end up a full C, possibly small D.

Like most patients, I told the doctor I planned to lose another 10 lbs before the surgery. I know he didn't believe me. But, by the end of December, I had hit my overall 25 lb weight loss!

And guess what happened to my bra size? I went from a 34G to a 32H. Once again, no change in actual volume.

I didn't have any idea of how much weight I actually lost until the day of the surgery. I just knew my pants were VERY loose and the dress I bought for after my surgery as a reward (it was snug in the top) actually fit....still snug in the bust, but I could get it zipped.

The doctor was surprised I had met my weight loss goal. I told him I hoped to lose another 15 lbs by the end of the year (I want to build muscle and tone up, so the overall number on the scale won't change much if things go right.) With this in mind, the doctor said he would probably adjust me to be a bit smaller.

After the surgery, the doctor said he barely got 560 grams out of each breast. This is the bare minimum for the insurance to cover things. What did that mean?My boobs were basically full of fatty tissue rather than muscle tissue.

Today, I'm almost 2 weeks post op...I'm still very swollen and no idea on how small I'll actually be.  I've been holding bras up trying to guess LOL I think I'm probably going to be an average C cup. I haven't seen that size since fifth grade.



The photo in the green shirt is the day before surgery... Wearing a regular bra, not my favorite compression bras. The after was taken 5 days post op.

The Fancy outfit...The before photo was taken on our cruise back in March when I was about 28 lbs heavier AND wearing a compression bra. The after was taken today (12 days post op.)

In the grey t-shirt, I'm also wearing a compression bra. The photo was taken after I lost about 5 lbs. The after photo is 9 days post op.

These posts I've written over the past week have been part of my healing process. Physically, it's coming along, but the emotional healing will take time. I have to get used to an entirely new body shape! But it's so much more than that. Having the reduction didn't automatically change how I see myself. I still see flaws! I could point out so many in my after photos. But I'm hopeful. Now that I have addressed the physical pain, I can address the emotional pain.

I have had several people ask me about the surgery over the past two weeks. I've been honest with them: Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster. Be prepared to change how you think about yourself. And, physically? Think of the most uncomfortable, tightly fitting underwire bra in the world . . . and you have to wear it 24/7 for several weeks. Except you're not actually wearing an underwire bra...it's just the sutures. No lifting. Even a gallon of milk is too much. No raising your arms to get a cup off the bottom shelf of your cabinets.

The recovery has been very different and similar to my hysterectomy 3.5 years ago. The pain is different, but it's very much the same type of "I feel great and I can do this" only to find out you can't.

I definitely don't regret the decision...even if it brought out so many emotions I didn't know I had squished down inside!

linked up at:Craft O maniac ** Marvelous Mondays ** Busy Mondays ** Inspiration Mondays ** More the Merrier Monday **Mix it Up Mondays **In and Out of the Kitchen ** project inspired ** tuesday confessional **inspiration exchange ** party on the porch ** whimsy wednesday ** wow us wednesday **your whims wednesday **

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing! I too am big busted and overweight. i think you look great.

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  2. I've reached the point where I think I really need to do something about my ADD. What are you doing to treat it right now?

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  3. Hi Micki, thank you so much for sharing your story. I think with any surgery our body and mind goes through a transition and a journey. It's so personal and so wonderful that you are sharing so others can learn and grow too. Have a nice day, Lisa

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  4. What a wonderful thing that you are able to share your story so beautifully!!! Good for you that you made the decision and went through with it!!! You look wonderful and upbeat too, the tone of your writing shows that change also. I feel your pain, being large busted and overweight. I'm too old and don't quality for a reduction but if I did, I would have done it long ago. I'm wondering if some therapy and/or group therapy would help you....I know it would......your surgeon should know of some groups. There are much better days ahead.....you are doing very well indeed!!!! xoxoxo cleo

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  5. Such an interesting story! I've always had a large chest (not nearly what you had to deal with and not enough for surgery) but I can completely empathize. It's pretty amazing to find that, after you lost the weight, your breasts remained the same. By the way, congrats on the weight loss! That's amazing! I know you said you've shared some of this process and I'd love to I cite you to come share it with us at Tips and Tricks Tuesday where we share healthy living advice as well as our personal experiences with weight loss and health - it's a very supportive link up and I'm sure others would love to hear your story. Thanks!

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  6. Thank you for sharing your story. It is very impressive you stuck to your weight loss goal. I hope you keep healing well. Thanks for linking to the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party. Hope to see you next week.

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  7. Thanks so much for sharing your story. It takes a lot of courage to decide to change things, even when we know it is for the best. Good for you for making the decisions and following through! Very impressive that you were able to lose weight -- the cruise dress before and after photos tell the story. May you continue to heal physically and emotionally!

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Thanks and have a great day!