Monday, October 24, 2016

Breast Reduction Surgery Experience

Hi everyone! I’m done with my surgery and completely recovered at this point, so I thought I’d start posting about my experience. Here’s what my actual surgery was like. 

The day of surgery, I was super nervous. I’d never been under general anesthesia, and my only other surgery, on my hand, was a pretty traumatic experience. However, this whole experience couldn’t have been more different. 

The worst part was waiting for an hour for the surgeon to arrive. Everyone at the surgery center was ridiculously nice. The anesthesiologist, who called me the day before to ask me some questions, made jokes with me and was really reassuring. He gave me some sort of anxiety medication immediately after putting in the IV and the nurse stroked my arm while I fell asleep. 

When I woke up, the first thing I remember is that I was very, very cold, and kept shivering uncontrollably. I vaguely remember some fuss. When I woke up more fully, I was covered in blankets, even my head, with just my face sticking out. They had also given me some medication to warm me up, which made my mouth very very dry. I found out later that I most likely had a little bit of post-surgical hypothermia, which is not uncommon. Honestly, this was the worst part of the whole experience, and it wasn’t too bad, since they did everything right and got me warmed up fast, and I was still groggy enough that I wasn’t super aware of what was going on.

As soon as I was vaguely conscious, they brought my partner in, and gave him directions for taking care of me. The surgeon briefly stopped by to say it went well and how much they’d removed, and then had to run off to his next surgery.

The nurse who was in charge of me after waking me up was British, and she offered me a cup of tea. I turned it down, even though I normally love tea, at which point she said “Oh, you probably don’t want it. It’s that Lipton stuff. It’s made out of the dust they sweep up off the floor!” 

They gave me a pain medication (I was offered two, but turned the second one down because too much tends to make me dizzy and I wasn’t hurting much at all.)

After about half an hour, the nurses helped me use the restroom and get dressed (I had worn yoga pants and a shirt that buttoned in the front, which were good choices,) and then we were able to head home. It took a while to get home through the weekday San Francisco traffic, but eventually we did and I was able to rest. 


Next time I’ll talk about what my recovery was like!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

#teambreastreduction

Hello, everyone! Laura here. (I know, that alone will send a lot of you in the other direction. That's okay.)

I'm so thrilled for Brittany that she's getting a breast reduction. So many women have unavoidable, miserable, life-impairing back & shoulder pain due to large, heavy breasts. A good bra can definitely help, but when good bras are literally near impossible to find due to unusual bra size, it makes things difficult. I've been lucky enough that I don't really suffer any back or shoulder pain due to my bra size, but both my mother and sister do. They've both made the decision not to get a reduction, and that is their decision. I respect it. However, Brittany has decided to go forward with one, and I couldn't be happier for her.

I think Brittany is incredibly brave for sharing her breast reduction surgery with everyone. It's a difficult decision to make, and as I'm sure you can all imagine, she's had some "dissenters."

One of the dark sides of blogging is the comments you receive from anonymous people. I tend to comb through the comments in the pending approval queue every few weeks, since this blog gets a whole lot of them and it's difficult to do it constantly.

I deleted all of these types of comments:

"nooooo don't do it"

"why would you do that to your body, you're so pretty and perfect as you are!"

"can you take before pictures at least?"

Dear Anonymous Men of the Internet,

Brittany's breasts have never existed purely for your happiness. No woman owes you the existence of her breasts. No woman must endure persistent pain just for your viewing pleasure. No woman is going to change her mind about drastically improving her health and quality of life just because you enjoy staring at her body in its current form.

Stop your whining, stop being so selfish, and stop feeling entitled to telling women what they can and can't do with their bodies. This blog was never intended for you. You somehow found it anyway, and decided to make this bra and clothing resource for women all about you.

That doesn't mean we ever agreed with you. That doesn't mean we ever decided to start catering to you.

If you're truly a fan of Brittany, you should be happy for her. Post-surgery, she will still be beautiful. Why? Because she's a beautiful person, inside and out, and her beauty is not dictated by the size of her breasts.

Regards,
Me

P.S. -- lol @ concern trolls. Brittany, and every other woman who goes through breast reduction surgery, knows that surgery comes with risks. Do yourself a favor and give some credit to the fact that Brittany has a brain as well as boobs, weighed the pros and cons, and is making the right choice for herself.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Getting Insurance Approval for Breast Reduction

Hi everyone! Phew. It’s been a long few months since I last posted. It’s been quite the journey to where I am now, but before I share the story, I’ll share the news: I finally got approval for the reduction surgery! The date is set for next week. Eeep!

Getting insurance approval for breast reduction is… quite a process.

If you’re considering a reduction, the first thing you need to do is talk to your primary care doctor about back pain. Get documentation of it being a problem as early as possible. Get whatever tests your doctor thinks are necessary done to rule out any other causes, and start going to physical therapy if at all possible. Chiropractic and massage can also be good options. It’s important to have documentation of all relevant treatment options you’ve tried in order to manage your pain. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for many months, which was important to my getting approved. I was also taking Aleve (naproxen) nearly daily to manage my pain, and made sure to mention that to my doctor. Taking NSAIDS such as Advil or Aleve long term can cause serious side effects, so both my insurance and doctor were concerned about getting me off of them as quickly as possible.

My doctor is a D.O, or Doctor of Osteopathy. Osteopathic doctors can be great for issues like back pain, since they have full credentials as medical doctors, but extra training in, and focus on, structural issues of the body such as skeletal and muscular issues. I feel that her skills in this area gave her a better sense of whether or not a reduction could help me. She asked me specific questions about my pain and felt along my upper back and shoulders, accurately predicting where I hurt most just by touching me and feeling the tension in my muscles. She has been nothing but enthusiastic about the idea of a reduction and believes it will really help me.

My doctor suggested several plastic surgeons in the area who she thought highly of, and I did some research and picked the one who felt best to me, who had good reviews and used the surgical technique that I wanted. Then she sent in the referral.

I needed a lot of documentation in order to get approved. I had to submit letters from my doctor and physical therapist as well as extensive notes and medical records. Different insurance companies have different requirements, and your surgeon can guide you through the process of gathering and submitting everything you need. Ideally, everyone on your medical team will be supportive. If not, you may need to seek out another doctor.

Many insurance plans do not cover breast reduction surgery. Last year, my partner’s company used Aetna, and while they technically do cover breast reduction, they have a requirement for the amount of weight removed from each breast that is unusually high. So basically, they only approve it in extreme cases. Since we were able to switch my insurance over to Anthem Blue Cross at the beginning of the year, which has a more reasonable requirement, I was able to get approved.

We were really conscientious about the process and kept checking in with the insurance company. The surgeon’s office really appreciated that we did this and said that it helped things move faster and more smoothly. The patient is often in the best position to contact everyone and make sure communication happens. It’s especially useful that we were able to get direct contact information for someone helpful at the insurance company.The first time my surgeon submitted my application, the insurance company claimed they didn’t have it after all (they “lost” it, I guess?) and we had to re-submit. Then they wanted more information and to haggle with my surgeon over the removal amount.

It has taken a long time to get approved, but once things were through, scheduling the surgery has happened rather quickly. I’m excited about the possibility of getting rid of my shoulder pain for good, but also I’m understandably nervous. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Update from Brittany

Hi everyone!

I’m really sorry I ended up disappearing for so long. I’ve been dealing with an incredibly sucky, stressful series of events, including my partner being laid off and unemployed for a period of time, my grandfather’s death, depression, a dying computer, severe hair loss (caused by anemia and fixed now, fortunately) and more.

Several of you have reached out to me personally to ask if I’m ok and tell me you would love it if I started up blogging again. I was really touched by that, and if it weren’t for you guys sticking with me and reminding me that you really liked my blog and that I’d helped many people, I might not have come back.

Thankfully, things have improved for me a great deal, and I want to start writing again. However, things are going to be changing a bit around here.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had mysterious health issues for a long time. Since I now have better insurance than I’ve ever had, and live in a much larger city than I used to, I’ve been putting more effort into figuring them out. I found out that I’m allergic to dust mites and cats, among other things, and I am going to be having allergy shots to treat that. I also found out that my hypermobile joints have probably been the source of many problems. I don’t have as much stability built in as somebody with normal joints. So I’ve been doing physical therapy with a specialist in hypermobility syndrome.

Physical therapy has done great things for me. My posture is better, I’m stronger, my endurance has improved, I feel lighter on my feet. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in my whole life. However…

I still have shoulder and upper back pain.

So, after quite a bit of research, thought, and consulting with my doctor and physical therapist, I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion- that the size of my chest is a big contributor to my upper back problems, and that a breast reduction might help me a great deal.

I know that this might be very surprising to many of you. I did not come to this decision lightly. I’ve tried so many different things over many years to fix my problems. I haven’t ever had general anesthesia before, and I’m terrified of surgery. But at this point, realizing that it’s likely that one simple surgery and a few weeks’ rest will permanently fix my problems is a huge relief.

I will still be an unusual bra size- no surgery I know of could substantially change my ribcage size, (and most people who are what is considered a “healthy” BMI have correctly fitting band sizes under 32, anyway) so you needn’t fear that I won’t be able to discuss bras and clothing as I always have. If anything, my ability to do so will have improved- I’ve outgrown most clothing companies at this point, even large-bust-friendly ones.

I’m hoping that in writing about this process from the perspective of somebody who understands proper bra fitting, I will be able to provide useful information to others who might be considering this choice.

I’ll be writing quite a bit more about the factors that led me to decide this was the right choice for me, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hello again!

It's me, Laura. I know. Not Brittany. I promise, she's alive and well! She's usually the one who posts the interesting articles & such through our Facebook page. I still have not locked her in a closet, promise. It's hard to imprison someone when you literally live on the other side of a giant country from them, strangely enough.

It's difficult to blog when you don't have a whole lot to say. I wear Kris Line bras pretty much exclusively these days, find them to be incredibly consistent in sizing and quality, and haven't kept up with what other brands are doing. I felt like I covered that in the last update, so for the sake of not being repetitive, I didn't feel the need to review each bra in detail.

The one exception to my Kris Line collection is a Curvy Kate Luxe strapless in 34H, which predictably is too small in the cups but is the most comfortable strapless bra I've had in a long time. I needed to buy it for its convertible straps, since my bridesmaid dress didn't cover as much of my shoulders as I thought it would. While the quad boob is definitely real, it's not noticeable at all under the dresses I've worn it for and it gives a lovely round shape. It gets uncomfortable after several hours, but what strapless bra doesn't?

If you want really cute swimwear that can technically fit your big boobs but doesn't provide underwire support (i.e., if you want to go lay out and/or simply be fashionable, as opposed to swimming laps and playing volleyball), check out Rue 107. They have some really adorable designs. Even if their tops don't fit or you don't want to take the chance, you can buy a pair of bottoms! They make sizes 2-24, so they're inclusive of a lot of customers.

That's about it from me, for now. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season and is excited about the year to come!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Update!

Hey everyone! Sorry for the radio silence. It's Laura, here, and I figured I'd give you a brief rundown on my life in lingerie/fashion for the past several months:


  • Zulily has changed my life. For those who aren't familiar, Zulily is a site that sells brand names for deeply discounted prices for products that are out of season and such. I finally was able to get my hands on some Kris Line bras through them at prices I could afford, and... wow. Kris Line, by far, makes my favorite bras. They normally retail for roughly $100, and I believe there is only one store in the U.S. that carries them. I'm regularly able to snag them on Zulily for roughly $50, and they fit better than anything else I've had in a long time. If Panache and Freya wires are too wide for you, yet Ewa Michalak wires are too narrow (their wires are just a touch narrow for me), Kris Line may be your solution. I recommend ordering a cup or two sizes higher than your standard/typical cup size. In Panache, I wear a 34HH. In Kris Line, I wear a 34JJ. I could probably go down to a 34J for my right boob, but lefty is obnoxious. Bottom line, they're comfortable, beautiful, and fit really well once you know how to order. 
  • I'm a bridesmaid for the first time, and being a bridesmaid has changed my perspective on weddings completely. I've been mentally preparing myself for the chance that I'll have to end up finding a strapless bra that fits, because that's just the way life goes. I'm going to have a wedding post sometime soon, mainly because it's going to be fun! I did have the hilarious experience of trying on sample-size bridesmaid dresses and seeing how differently they fit on me than they were designed to fit! You gotta be able to laugh at yourself, I say.
  • I just ordered a dress from Lady Voluptuous, the dress line designed by Georgina of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust fame. I'll let you know what I think once my dress gets here! 
I wish I could say my last several months have been more exciting in a lingerie/fashion sense, but I've just been plugging away at work. Hopefully, I'll be making more time to blog in the near future! 

-Laura

P.S. -- Yes, I'm still aware that I'm not thin. :) And guess what? It's okay that I'm not thin! Woo! Go team! Party! Body positivity all the way! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review of the SugarShape Ahoi Bikini!

This post was written by Laura, a contributing blogger for Thin and Curvy. If you missed her intro post, look no further!

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Hello, lovely readers! It's been awhile, hasn't it? My bad. Work, still, has been driving me pretty nuts. However, one of the things I do best when I'm stressed is shop online. That's how I ended up caving to temptation and grabbing myself the SugarShape Ahoi Bikini Top and Ahoi High-Waisted Bottom I mentioned in my Summer Wishlist!

Ahoi, matey! ... get it? I am so funny. I am the funniest. 
This will have to be a mini-review of sorts, since I didn't want to nag my roommate into taking a billion pictures for me.

The top: I ordered the top in 85/110, which tends to be my normal SugarShape size (I regularly wear a 34HH in UK sizing). It fits really well! My left boob tries to sneak out a bit, but my left boob has always been a rebel. The straps are very thin, yet still extremely comfortable. It is a relief to find a cute bikini for full busts that isn't a halter-top! I hate halter-tops because I think they're exceptionally painful. I personally don't understand how someone thinks it's a good idea to make someone's neck support really big boobs... but I digress. This top is adorable and I love it.

The bottoms: These may be the best-fitting, most comfortable swim bottoms I've ever owned. They don't give me wedgies, I can adjust where I want them to sit, and the ties on the side are simply adorable. I wear a size 12/14 bottoms in U.S. sizing, and I ordered a size 115 in these bottoms.

If you don't mind taking the price plunge (shipping to the U.S. can get pricey), I highly recommend giving SugarShape's swim line a try. Their customer service is totally on point and I love working with them!

If you want to order something from SugarShape and you live in the U.S., email Laura@SugarShape.de. She'll take good care of you. :)