A Personal Experience - Shellie's Success Story
My name is Shellie, and I am a 40 year old single mother of three children, ages 11, 8 and 5. I have a Master’s in social work and will have completed my M.B.A. in December of this year. I tell you this because I have experienced an unkind stereotype of woman who enlarge their
breasts. Indeed, my friends, all of whom would describe themselves as feminists, and certainly consider themselves intellectuals, were mostly aghast that I would “maim myself” to fit some societal idea of the perfect female body.
The fact is, that women (and men) make decisions to have
plastic surgery for complex and multitudinous reasons. It is a highly personal decision; I would recommend to anyone who has struggled with the pros and cons and made an informed decision to go forward, to do just that, despite the sentiments of friends and family. So enough already. Why did I want to do it so badly?
I was always an ample B, firm and nicely shaped. As a dancer and avid weightlifter I maintained a healthy and fit body at 5’6″ and 123 pounds, even through my three pregnancies and after. What I could not do, however, was maintain my breast volume and tone. Indeed, with each child my breasts grew huge during lactation. I loved breastfeeding, and breastfed all three children — I breastfed the last child for almost three years. Each time I weaned a child, my breasts became more depleted, leaving me unable to fill my usual B cup bras after the third child was weaned. They simply did not seem to belong on my otherwise firm and youthful body, and for me this became an issue.
At the age of 37, newly single, I rediscovered an old friend with whom I began (very cautiously and slowly) a long distance relationship. I was in Maine and he was in Boston. Since we were both single parents, we were not able to carve out much time for each other considering our responsibilities and the distance between us. I ultimately relocated with my children to Boston, where some of
the best plastic surgeons in the country practice. When I first mentioned to my new partner that I was thinking about
breast augmentation, he neither encouraged nor discouraged. He made it clear that he thought I was desirable as I was, but appreciated that I had a need to restore my
breasts to their original state.
After 2 years of research and fence-sitting, I made an appointment with the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Newton-Wellesley Hospital,
Dr. William LoVerme, for a consultation. I stressed that I was an old hippy who didn’t even own a tube of mascara and that for me this was a huge leap…it seemed so politically incorrect, yadayadayada…he let me go on with all of my political arguments (I won’t bore you with them) for not doing it, answered all of my questions, and assured me that I would not be “too big”, and that they would look natural. I had seen many after pics on various web sites where the upper pole fullness and permanent cleavage seemed far too unnatural for my taste. He assured me that what I desired for myself was attainable.
The short version: I scheduled an appointment for September 1999, and cancelled it! It was a long winter where I developed every possible argument against
breast augmentation, and no matter how I tried to convince myself that it was an insane thing to do, the fact is, I really wanted to! In November, I’d made a trip with my partner to Jamaica and watched 100s of young (and not so young) women bounce up and down the beach topless, and watched my partner revel in this paradise of topless beauties. I began staring at women in my healthclub, in the street, in the subway…I was obsessed!! In March, I called and rescheduled. Because I was extremely concerned with the message this surgery would impart to my children, I arranged for the surgery over April break when they would be away for three days. How could I preach to them that their bodies are perfect and go to such extremes to change mine? I HAVE CHOSEN TO KEEP THIS SURGERY MY BUSINESS, AND SO THEY DO NOT KNOW.
The surgery itself was not difficult for me. I went in on April 19th and had 270 cc round smooth mentors placed over the muscles through a small incision just above the breast fold. The anesthesia, my biggest fear, (in fact I asked for local but they don’t do this as a rule), was a breeze. None of my fears regarding anesthesia were founded. I was home three hours after coming out of the OR, alert and oriented in moderate discomfort. I had no shortness of breath, and no crushing sensation on my chest. I did find that I was more comfortable lying down than sitting up, as the weight of the implants pulling against me was painful, similar to the worst engorgement you could imagine!
I was able to work on a paper for school that day, and slept comfortably with the help of pain meds. Day 2 was also fairly uneventful, though sitting up was still problematic for any length of time. Day three I hit bottom a bit…I suspect the local anesthetic was completely worn off in my breasts and I had a rough time. I also began to feel some burning pain around the incision on one side.
I finally unveiled on day three, having resisted the temptation until then. I was not heavily bandaged. I came home with a surgical bra and a few gauze pads under the incisions that were completely dry when I removed them. Here is where I want you all to pay attention! I was absolutely devastated when I first saw them. I sobbed, and thought that I would have to have them removed! I could not believe what I had done to myself and thought that I deserved to be so freakish looking for my vanity. My partner did not know what to do, poor guy. He kept telling me that they were beautiful, but all I could see were two huge orbs attached to my chest. I was certain that the plastic surgeon had made a grave error and given me too much saline!
I cried for hours. Since my children were returning home that day, I had to get myself under control. I then convinced myself that they were swollen, and would relax a great deal over time, and that the upper pole fullness (actually quite mild in retrospect) would diminish. I also showed them to some good friends who assured me that they were not at all “bizzare” or even that huge! I began to feel less panicked, and waited for my check-up to ask all my questions.
My plastic surgeon was extremely pleased with how well I was doing in five days-off the pain meds, had survived a few showers (these were my worst moments, having them unfettered in the shower was extremely painful for the first week or so!) He assured me that they were a C, and not larger than I’d asked for. He gave me a strap that I wore for 10 days almost 24-7 which greatly reduced the upper pole fullness. By two months, I had absolutely none.
Before the first week was out, I was back to work, in a sports bra that felt so wonderful in those first weeks. I then graduated to regular bras, and what a blast I had picking them out! I was back at the gym within three weeks, and enjoying going braless at home. At this writing, they are unbelievably soft, completely natural to the touch, and have a lovely natural sag (can’t pass the pencil test anymore…) I know that not everyone wants that, but as a 40 year old woman who breastfed three children, I did want a gentle slope to my
breasts. They fall naturally from side to side when I am horizontal, and there is no rippling of gurgling!
They are still mildly sensitive to the touch, and I do have numbness underneath and a bit along the sides. My nipples respond to touch, although they are also numb, but less so than they were. It may take several more months for sensation to fully return, or it may not. I am hopeful that it will. And my partner? I asked him when he would be tired of them, and he said in 2013.
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