Saturday, October 30, 2010

Surgery Scheduled

After almost 10 years of wanting to do this, I am finally going through with it. I am getting a breast reduction!

Some say to "just lose weight." I am 5'10" and have been as heavy as 195 lbs and as light as 137 lbs. My breast size has never changed.

Some say to "build stronger back/neck/shoulder muscles" to alleviate the pain. I'm not body builder and I do admit that my upper body strength isn't anything to brag about, but I am healthy. I run, I lift weights, I stretch and the pain is ever-present.

I've gone to the chiropractor for 14 years and my "problem areas" are consistently the same year after year.

I know that they have recently made some changes to bra sizing, probably to make smaller breasted women feel better. In fact, I have a friend I've known since high school who has always been a solid B. She has not changed in appearance, weight or anything else, but now she buys a D cup. I have always fit into the DD - F range and now my bras are GG cup. I still have some older bras DDD that fit just fine, but even the "expert" who did my sizing in March and my surgeon both confirmed that bra sizing has changed.

At any rate, they are big. And although I am a curvy girl and tall and I've always been told I am well-proportioned, I want smaller breasts. I have to wear two bras when I run because I can't find a reasonably priced specialty sports bra in my size. I have grooves in the shoulders and chronic back and neck pain. Because of these health related issues, my insurance has approved the surgery.

That being said, I'm very anxious. I've never had major surgery and the only time I've been under general anesthesia was when I had my wisdom teeth removed. I had my pre-op appointments and hospital registration this past Tuesday. They asked if I had a last will and testament or a power of attorney. They asked if I want to be resuscitated and what next of kin would be authorized to make decisions about my life, death or health in the event I am not able to do so. I know these are standard questions, but it just hit me how real and how serious this is. I'm a little scared.

I'm also nervous for more emotional reasons. I feel as if I'll be having an amputation. These girls have been part of me for so long and although they've been a burden, they are still part of me. I asked my boyfriend the other day if he thinks I'll be disproportionate and he said yes!!! I know he's just being honest, but it really concerned me that maybe he wont think I'm sexy or that maybe I'll look really funny. Currently I am an hourglass and I'm afraid I'm going to be a pear. My butt is another thing that doesn't change no matter how much I exercise. Baby got back! They don't do "butt reductions" and liposuction is not an option. I'm also worried that they'll heal funny or be uneven or that the headlights will point in opposite directions (which is better than pointing down, I suppose). I'm worried that they'll take too much and leave me completely flat or take too little and it wont make a difference in the pain and will have been a waste of time and money.

I know the anxiety is normal. I just keep reminding myself that everyone I know who has had this surgery over the past 20 years has said their only regret is that they didn't get it done sooner. These are women of all different height/weight/proportions and body types. One gal who had hers done about 12 years ago said they turned out mangled. The surgeon did a horrible job and she didn't heal right. Even she said she'd do it all over again! When I think rationally, I know I wont regret it. The downside is that the surgery is painful and recovery will be kind of hard. I'll have drainage tubes in for 4 or 5 days and wont be able to sleep on my side for 2+ weeks or my stomach for 6 weeks. I wont be able to do any exercise for 6 weeks. On the bright side, a breast lift is part of the procedure so my ever-increasingly saggy girls will be perky once again! I get two weeks off work and I'm not allowed to do so much as lift a gallon of milk. They said no cooking, house cleaning, driving (sad), work of ANY sort for two weeks. I'll be forced to relax. Finally.

I just have to keep my eyes on the goal and all the reasons I really want to have the surgery. Back and neck pain will decrease considerably. Exercising will be easier. My golf swing will improve. Men (and some women) will realize that I actually have eyes and a face when they are talking to me. No more black eyes from running or horseback riding. No more downward facing dog boobs. No more $80 bras. I'll be able to shop at Victoria's Secret. I'll be able to find sports bras at every day locations and prices. I'll be able to wear those camisoles with build in bras without feeling like my boobs are being cut in half or spilling out the top. I'll be able to wear button-up shirts. I wont look pregnant in sweatshirts or have to buy larger sizes to fit over the boobs. And did I mention that my back and neck pain will decrease considerably?

My girlfriends are ALL very supportive. My guy friends think it's like slapping God in the face. Ken has known from day one that I planned to get a reduction. He is supportive, but I can see his anxiety and concerns every time we talk about it. I let my ex-husband talk me out of getting the surgery when I was married and vowed to never do that again. The surgery is set for Thursday, November 11th at 7:30 am. I'll be under for approximately 4 hours. So - wish me luck and pray for me, if you will.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happily Ever After?

I don't believe in happily ever after, but I sure would love to be proven wrong.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pride in Accomplishments

I woke up this morning with a question on my mind. That is unusual for me. The past week or two I've had a song stuck in my head when I first wake up, but normally by first thoughts in the morning are remnants of dreams or thoughts of the coming day. As soon as I woke up this morning though, I heard, "What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?"

I was slightly annoyed at not being able to immediately answer the question and put it out of my mind. During my shower and get-ready ritual, that annoyance escalated to frustration. I posed the question on Facebook and immediately got a number of responses from mothers listing their children or motherhood as the accomplishment they are most proud of. While motherhood is an amazing thing, it is not what I was looking for. Almost anyone can become a parent. Much fewer should be allowed to raise children, but those who do it well and lovingly are certainly to be commended. Other answers included surviving cancer, buying a home, getting and keeping a good job which allowed them to provide good lives for their children, finishing school, passing exams, following Christ, etc. All accomplishments to be proud of indeed! A few of them turned the question back to me. I finally settled on the most obvious answer for the time. I chose the 50-state trip that I took right after my divorce, stating that I gained courage, confidence and faith and completely transformed myself during that journey of healing. I am a very different person because of that experience. I further responded that I'm not happy with that answer and am still pondering the question.

Later that morning, my boyfriend sent me an email in response to that facebook post. He brought up a couple of good points. He indicated that he felt I should be proud of the 50-state trip and I am. It did take dedication and perseverance. Many days I doubted the wisdom of the trip and I often felt like giving up, but my desire to achieve my goal kept me going even though it wasn't the wisest choice I've made from a financial or career standpoint. I'm glad I did it. The other point he made was the influence we have on others or the input we've had on their lives. He said, "Maybe our greatest accomplishments are not ones we are even aware of."

We all come into contact with many people on a daily basis. Some of those people are impacted by our words, our actions and even our non-verbal communications (body language, facial expressions, etc.). It doesn't matter if you are a politician, a pastor, a teacher, a supervisor, a parent, a doctor, a mechanic or a transient. YOU have an impact on someone else. Is that impact something to be proud of?

While, he is right, I'm still feeling unsettled about the question and my inability to feel comfortable with an answer...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Love Languages

Sometimes I just need to remember that we speak different love languages and express our feelings in different ways. Just because he doesn't show it the same way I do, doesn't mean he doesn't love me. In fact, he may not even be aware that the reason I do certain things is to show my love for him. Maybe it's all lost in translation.