Yup, I did it. Now I am one of ‘those’ people. At 51 years of age, I finally surrendered to cosmetic surgery. It might not be what you are thinking. I did not have a tummy tuck or a facelift. I had my 32EE breasts reduced. Many call a breast reduction the ‘happy’ surgery because most patients are so happy with the results. I call it the most awesome cosmetic surgery EVER!
I only told a few close friends just before the surgery date. Several knew I had dreamed of this surgery for over 25 years. Others were just finding out for the first time. Most everyone greeted the news with well wishes and congratulations. Of course, I heard the ‘can you give me some of yours’ or ‘I would love to have my breasts enlarged.’ Many just wanted ‘to have breast lift’ after kids or from years of carrying around boobs their entire lives. Some, I could tell, judged me negatively for having plastic surgery. There is this beautiful thing that happens in your fifties. You just do not give a shit anymore, and you do/say what you want. And, I wanted a breast reduction.
Why I Chose to Have Breast Reduction Surgery
Some friends did not think I was even large enough for a breast reduction. They had never noticed my larger than life breasts before bringing up the topic. I covered them well from an early age. When I was about thirteen, I was already a C-cup and weighed about 90 pounds. By the age of seventeen, I had blossomed into a D and still hovered under 100. Since my name is Holly, sometimes other teenagers called me “Dolly” for the obvious Dolly Parton reference. Behind my back, I learned my nickname was “Tits on a Stick.” My older sister was bestowed with the same breast size even though her frame carried it better. My sister flaunted hers with much fanfare, enthusiasm, and spotlights. Bless her confident heart. I, on the other hand, chose concealment and secrecy. I wore very supportive minimizer bras and selected my necklines, clothing styles, athleticwear, and bathing suits judiciously. Mostly, I was a young prude. Yet, I did not want to be known for my boobs, I wanted to be known for me—Holly, not Dolly.
Over each decade of my life, my breasts continued to grow as my smaller frame remained about the same. I became more and more frustrated that I could not wear the most normal clothes. In my late 30’s I ripped off the bandaid and started to wear halter tops, thin-strapped tops, more revealing necklines, and body-loving outfits with less restrictive bras. I was wearing ordinary clothes. However, when I saw myself in photos with friends or family, I was unnerved at how large my breasts were compared to everyone else’s. All those years of being a boob recluse had me self-shaming my choices. Was this just a mid-life crisis, was this really me or was I trying just to relive the twenties I never had as a woman with natural boobs? None of it was true. I just wanted to have an average body like everyone else.
I had three different consultations for surgery over the years. But it was a combination of it was not the right time in my life to take a break for surgery, and I was not totally comfortable with the doctor or their staff. Both of these issues keep life speeding by and other things taking precedence over surgery. Unbeknownst to my husband, I had decided that I was going to have my surgery the year I turned fifty. Yet, 2019 became a celebration year with many events, trips, and the creation of my blog. The timing (as usual) for surgery was not going to happen.
When Covid-19 hit, everything came to a halt. Everything. I thought I had waited this long, another year or two was not going to matter. But then businesses, including medical facilities, slowly started to open back up. Life was not back to normal by any means. Yet, maybe this was my window to slow down and finally take the time to have surgery. Especially since everyone else’s life was somewhat on pause too.
Time for Surgery
I found Ditesheim Cosmetic Surgery through a referral of a friend. Even with Covid-19 protocols, I felt comfortable with Dr. Ditesheim and his staff from the first phone contact. I went alone to my one-on-one consultation. The doctor explained everything thoroughly, thoughtfully, and with confidence. The other surgeons had too. Yet, there was something in his demeanor and intense focus, which made me feel like he was really interested in my concerns and questions. I felt recognized as an individual patient and, more importantly, as a person. Because of Covid-19, they had a few openings throughout the month. I scheduled my surgery for the following Tuesday. To say the least, my husband was surprised that things were moving so quickly. But for me, it felt like arriving at the end of a very long tunnel. I had been waiting since my early twenties for this surgery. This was finally my time.
The day of surgery was pretty smooth. Albeit for not being able to eat or drink after midnight the night before. Why is it when you are told not to eat or drink (even water), you crave those things even more? I recommend purchasing funny socks for surgery prep and during your surgery as the waiting room and surgical suites are always very cold. I bought several and wore the, ‘I Got This” pair and saved the others for post-surgery days.
The staff was terrific. I felt like I was being prepped for a spa treatment versus going into surgery. Once the IV was in, and I was escorted into the surgical suite, the entire team was there to greet me. Everyone liked my socks, LOL. The most memorable moment of the whole experience was when Dr. Ditesheim rested his hand on my wrist, looked at me, and gave me reassuring encouragement and smiles. At the same time, his staff moved around me like ninjas working in unison. I knew with even more certainty, I was in good hands. He gave subtle and calming instructions to the medical staff, and the anesthesia started to take effect…
If anyone knows me, they know I’m meticulous. If someone gives me instructions. I read the entire thing and do what it tells me to do. My mother can attest that I have been like this since a small child. I am an unabashed rule follower. So when I received both the pre/post-surgery paperwork, like a good girl, I did everything that was recommended. It was smooth sailing from when I arrived home. I was already prepared and bought some necessities in advance. Obviously, there was discomfort after having major surgery. But to be honest, my daily chronic shoulder pain hurt more than any pain I experienced after surgery. Dr. Ditesheim even texted me later that evening just to check on me.
I strapped ice packs on top of my shirt with an ace bandage pretty continually for the first several days—ten minutes on, twenty minutes off. I had several in the freezer that I would rotate. I found that two worked better than one large one so I could custom adjust per side. It really helped with the swelling, and the coldness feels good against your inflamed surgical areas.
Petroleum jelly and non-stick pads are your BFF for at least one month to enable your scars to heal more smoothly. Seriously. I learned this from all of my melanoma biopsies. Keep the area moist –all the time. I applied vaseline (100%, no other additives) to the incisions 4x a day within the first two weeks. Then 2-3x a day for the following four weeks. Purchase another petroleum jelly in a dispensing tube and throw it in your purse so you can reapply easily throughout the day. I also applied a high percentage of topical arnica for swelling and bruising several times a day.
The owner of a local lingerie boutique, I.C. London, helped me to pick out very supportive and yet comfortable bras. Since I was required to wear them 24/7 for several weeks, comfort was a necessity. Who knew my ‘surgery’ bra would be my new favorite bra. I have even recommended them to my mom and girlfriends. I loved them so much, I bought five more. Recently I purchased the matching one-size-fits-all thongs. If a thong is not you ‘thang, they have bottom options for all styles. Both tops and bottoms are the most seamless, non-showing, and comfortable underpinnings I have ever owned. They look and feel invisible. I am a fan!
Pros of Breast Reduction Surgery
- I love my new shape. I am genuinely so happy even at this early stage. I should not have waited for the surgery.
- The recovery was easier than I thought it would be. With frequent rests, I was working the following day.
- I lost inches and pounds off my frame. I fit into shirts and dresses more effortlessly.
- For the first time in my life, I can wear a button-down shirt without it gapping open or having to use several pieces of fashion tape.
- I am not slouching as much.
- After weeks of being forced to sleep on my back. I am now a back sleeper.
Cons of a Breast Reduction
- I now see stretch marks on the outer sides of my breast. I never knew they were there before because my breasts were fuller in size.
- It will take up to a year to gain back the full feeling in my nipples.
Helpful Tips For Any Surgery
- Rest. Even if you feel fine after a day or two. Continue to rest. I did not follow this one piece of advice, and it set me back a little bit in week two.
- Go through the pre and post-surgery procedures and do what they recommend. It really does make a difference in how quickly you heal.
- Viewing post-surgery areas is not for the faint of heart. You need to be prepared for the bruising and visual appearance of the incisions. I recommend a high percentage of topical arnica (non-menthol) and oral arnica tablets to reduce swelling and bruising more quickly.
- Keep the incision moist –all the time. I applied petroleum jelly to the incisions 4x a day within the first two weeks and then 2x a day for the following four weeks.
- Purchase these funny socks for surgery. Trust me, the entire staff will appreciate your humor and personality.
- Wear cozy and comfortable loungewear for the first few days post-surgery.
Six Weeks After Surgery
Honestly, they have not been this small, perky and lifted since Ronald Reagan was in office. It is weird to look down and see them so close to my chin. At first, I was like, ‘is this normal?” Sometimes I feel their previous resting place was somewhere around my waistline. It is also odd to walk and not feel side boobs brushing against my arms. It is the little things (or I guess in my case, big things) that, over time, just became so typical for me.
Friends of mine who previously had a breast reduction said not to wait. I wish I had heeded their advice. I could have saved a fortune just in alterations during the decades I postponed the surgery. I can say with full honesty and enthusiasm that a breast reduction is the most awesome cosmetic surgery!
I would highly recommend Ditesheim Cosmetic Surgery for men or women. This is not a sponsored ad. I was not compensated nor did I receive a discounted fee for writing this article (He is not even aware that I am doing so). I am just trying to share a little insight into the process of cosmetic surgery. If you are on the fence, go have a consultation. Do not kick yourself as I have for waiting so long.