True Story: I Got Plastic Surgery

This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting/amazing/challenging things. This is the story of Rose and her breast augmentation.Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada. I guess you could say I had a pretty ordinary upbringing. I played sports and took piano lessons and hung out with my friends. I have a brother and a sister and we were all quite thin as kids.Even though we were all healthy my mother seemed very preoccupied with fattening us up. She was teased as a child and I think she wanted to avoid having us go through the same kind of torment. Being skinny became part of who I was. I did get teased but I was able to laugh at the jokes. It didn’t bother me too much.As I got older, I became aware of my body in a different way. My friends were all developing womanly-curves while I remained stick-thin. By the time I was 13, everyone around me seemed concerned with being too fat. What I worried about was never having breasts, thus never attracting boys. My sister and I would complain constantly about being flat. I was so insecure about the way I looked that I stopped playing sports outside of school because I hated the way I looked in the uniforms and I avoided wearing a bathing suit at all costs. But just being flat wasn’t my only problem. I seemed to be developing in a strange way.

When did you start considering plastic surgery? Was there a specific incident that made you consider it?
Plastic surgery didn’t come into play until I was in my mid-to-late teens. If I had simply had small breasts I don’t think I ever would have considered it an option. When I was about 12 I started to notice that my left breast was developing but my right breast wasn’t. I spoke to my mother about it but she said not to worry, that it’s very normal for girls to have uneven breasts.
I wasn’t convinced. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was different. As I got older the problem became worse and worse. My left breast was about a large A to a small B and my right breast was little more that an areola. My self esteem was plummeting. Anyone who says we should learn to be happy with our bodies and love ourselves regardless of our flaws needs to experience this through adolescence. I tried masking my problem with padded bras and slouching, but nothing worked.

I became very depressed. When I was sixteen I started seeing a therapist and was put on anti-depressants. I lost most of my friends and spent a lot of time alone. I thought about my problem constantly. The summer I was 16 I attempted suicide. It was the absolute lowest moment of my life. In my formative years when I was supposed to be beginning to recognize myself as a sexual being, I felt repulsive and deformed. I honestly didn’t see a way out of this.

As you can imagine, my mother was frantic. Up until then our GP had been telling me to give it a few years, that things would right themselves. This obviously wasn’t happening. My mother put her foot down and demanded a referral to a plastic surgeon. I still didn’t think this could help me though.

Can you tell us about the process of selecting a doctor?
As I mentioned above, I got a referral to a plastic surgeon from my GP. I think that is typically how it works if you are not planning to seek out a surgeon privately. Because I was so young, there was a substantial amount of planning that went on without my knowledge. Being from a small town, I had to travel to Nova Scotia’s capital to see a surgeon. There is only one privately owned practice. Apart from that, the option is the resident surgeon at the main hospital. This would not be the case in a bigger province though.

How much did it cost? How did you pay for it?
The first time I visited the surgeon he took pictures of my chest. These were sent to the Medical Services Insurance (MSI). They deemed my case serious enough to financially cover. I was really, really lucky. They typically cost between $6000 and $10,000. As far as I’m aware, there are financing options available.

Can you tell us about the actual surgery and recovery?
The surgery itself went really well. I don’t remember the recovery taking very long at all. That could have been because I was quite young and healthy. The anesthesiologist came and spoke to me before I was taken into the operating room. He explained everything that would happen to put me to sleep. In the operating room the surgeon explained a little of what would go on while I was asleep. We had already discussed the details of the surgery such as what type of implant I would have and also which incision site I would choose.

There are 4 sites to choose from: the armpit, the navel, the areola and the crease under the breast. Mine was the latter. The surgeon explained that this site heals the fastest. We also decided on saline implants. There’s also the option of silicone. They are making new developments all the time though and I think there are a few more advanced options available now.

I don’t remember much about waking up. What I remember the most about the whole recovery experience was how happy and excited my mom was. She came into my room to help me undress and get into bed. When she saw my chest all bandaged up she said, “Wow, Rose, you’re stacked!” I had the surgery done on a Thursday and I was back at school on Monday. I was on a strong painkiller for a couple of weeks so I don’t remember much pain but I do remember being terrified someone would bump into me in the hallway and “burst” my new chest!

How did the people in your life feel about you getting the surgery?
I have yet to tell many people about my surgery. My family knows. Also, my ex boyfriend and my current boyfriend. They were all very supportive. I haven’t told anyone else. I’m sure my friends would be supportive of me and my decision and I do plan to tell them one day. The reason I haven’t told people is that I didn’t always want to be associated with the surgery. I didn’t want to be known as “the girl with the boob job.”

There is such a stigma attached to plastic surgery. Women who get breast augmentation surgery are often seen as cheap. For me, it was simply about feeling like a woman. Over the past 10 years I’ve heard many negative opinions on the subject, usually from women with already perfect bodies who would never have any reason to consider plastic surgery. A part of me wants to stick it to them and make them feel awful for the things they say, but my shyness usually wins and I convince myself I’ve made the right decision in keeping quiet about my surgery. I really admire people who can be open about it though, and I often wish I didn’t have this massive secret looming over me.

Are you happy with the results? Given a ‘do over’ would you make the same decision?I am happy with the results; my surgeon did a really great job. I’ve had the breast implants for 10 years. I’m now a modest 34B. I think given the chance at a do over I would definitely make the same decision. These past 10 years have allowed me a freedom I never thought I would have. It may seem small to you, but to wear clothing I wouldn’t otherwise have felt comfortable in is such a big deal.

What advice would you give to someone considering plastic surgery?
Do some serious soul searching. If there is something about your body that you absolutely can’t change by yourself and this thing is affecting your mental health, talk to a professional about your options. Plastic surgery isn’t a quick fix and it won’t solve all your problems. Also, do your research. I remember before I had my surgery I read all the information I could possible find on the topic. When meeting with a surgeon, go in prepared with a list of questions. If he or she doesn’t have time to answer them, look for a new surgeon. Most of all, be 100% sure that this is the right decision for you before going ahead with it and be aware that no plastic surgery is risk-free.

Have any of you had plastic surgery? Would you ever consider it? Any questions for Rose?

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  1. Canadian Twentysomething

    Oh my goodness! I'm from Nova Scotia too! 🙂 The whole time I was reading, I was wondering what town you're from! 😛
    It is such a maritime thing though for our moms to try to fatten us up (even if we're NOT thin!!). But it's so great that she recognized what needed to happen and got you the medical attention you deserved.
    Glad to see you're happy and healthy now! I can only imagine how frustrating it was to get dressed every day.
    Congrats! 🙂

  2. Reflections...

    Wow…i confess i do not have any problem like this but i salute ur courage and determination to go through it seems u have a very supportive family ,it seems,that's a really nice thing.u r really really brave… thanks for sharing ur story.. 🙂

  3. Kate Rowan

    Thanks for writing about this. I would like plastic surgery some day, but for the opposite reasons. I would like to reduce my breast size. I have always felt that my breasts are the first thing people see about me. Others have told me that its not true, but I would rather be smaller and more confident about my self image. Im glad yours went well.

  4. Karin

    I've been thinking about getting my breasts enlarged to. I'm 22 but I've been thinking about it since age 13. A have an AA cup, and do not feel like I'm truely a woman. I can relate to your story; seeing all your friends develop, not daring to go swimming, no attention from boys. It's the same for me. I felt insecure for a long long time. It got less over time but it's still there. I would never wear a dress and haven't seen a swimming pool in over a decade. The thing that is holding me back is the price, and that you never know how it will work out. I have read horror stories of breast enlargemends gone wrong and they linger. But I do think I would be happier and less insecure if I would get it done. To have my own breast instead of wearing padded bra's to cover things up. I don't want a large size, just a small Bcup would be okay. One day maybe..

  5. Jessica

    I've had breast reduction surgery. That you'd want your breast reduced is viewed by some surprise. It had turned out to be painful, both back- and chest pain. They reduced my cup size with 2 sizes and the back pain went away.

  6. Heidi Rose

    It's so great to hear stories that go against what I would normally assume (just because it's the same thing other people assume). I never would have thought of plastic surgery like this.

  7. Sydney, The Rabbit-Hearted Girl

    this was a really fascinating post, it made me think of plastic surgery in a completely different way than i usually do. {i am a visitor from kaelah's blog!}

  8. ag.

    thank you so much for posting this. one of my closests friends recently had plastic surgery and i know how much of a rollercoaster it was for her. she is a happier, more confident person now and the furthest thing from being 'cheap'. it's great to hear eye-opening stories about plastic surgery. thanks for sharing your story.

  9. Jasmine

    My mother had a breast reduction – she's five feet tall if she fluffs her hair, but had these huge DD breasts. She was able to prove that it was harmful to her help, so all the costs were covered – she actually stood half an inch taller afterwards and all the back and neck pain she'd had for years disappeared. Plus her self-esteem improved and she no longer had to seek out special boutiques to fit her awkward breast/chest size.

  10. Rose

    Thanks for all the kind words! It's nice to know that I'm able to show people a different side of plastic surgery. It's so easy to forget that someone who has had plastic surgery is still a real person!
    I once had a group of friends talk at length about my breasts behind my back. They "voted" on the right person to come and ask me about whether or not I'd had surgery, this person then went back and reported to the people who were desperate to know and probably had money riding on it.

    Karin, I think if you've been thinking about it for this long, maybe you should just go for it! It is expensive, but there are definitely some very good surgeons out there and I've read about financing options as well.

    Kate Rowan, we can only listen to our friends' reassuring words for so long. Of course they mean the best, but if they're not the ones experiencing it, they really don't know how it feels. The main thing is that you feel good about yourself!

  11. Joelle

    This was a really encouraging post, thank you for sharing.

  12. Anonymous

    My oldest sister went through this very same procedure and story minus the small town. I think it's great that you're talking about what is an unfairly stigmatized and already painful situation. as a developing woman, so much of your esteem is tied into your breasts and this can be pretty traumatic. Anyone who wants can preach about self-acceptance yadayada but the reality is no woman would want to deal with this if she didn't have to. Now that a solution exists why not pursue it if you have the means? I know from my sis's experience that it let her just move on, stop thinking about her chest and feel better all around.
    I think anyone who cares for you as a person would get over their prejudices about what kind of person gets plastic surgery. There will always be people to judge you no matter what so you should just live and decide for yourself, like you've already done 🙂 congrats

  13. screwdestiny

    Thank you so much for covering this topic! I have AA breasts and have always hated them. They make me feel incredibly unwomanly. They are shaped nicely, but I still feel like a boy and am hesitant anytime I'm about to show a new guy my chest. I try not to focus on them, and if I don't, then I'm generally pretty happy with my body. But some days it's hard not to realize that if someone just saw my torso, they would probably think I was about 12 years old. 🙁 So yeah, I definitely want to get breast implants as soon as I can afford it. For so long I said I'd never do that, but I'm sick of feeling like crap about them. I'm sick of never being able to have the body I want because no amount of exercise or eating right or supplements will change their size. I appreciate you sharing your story about how it went for you, and I'm glad that you're happier now.

  14. Anonymous

    Like a few others on here, I also had a breast reduction surgery. Only a few people outside of my immediate family and select close friends know about it, but whenever they first here it is with some surprise as well. Your statement, "There is such a stigma attached to plastic surgery. Women who get breast augmentation surgery are often seen as cheap." has so much truth to it, whether a woman is getting a reduction or enlargement. My case was also severe enough that insurance approved it on the first try. To be able to wear clothes and have that confidence (and comfort! and lack of self consciousness!) is such a huge thing that many people take for granted or don't quite understand. I applaud you in your courage to be vocal about your experience…hopefully it will help others out there to take that step forward if it's the right decision for them.

  15. Han

    I would consider it but I'd have a reduction rather than an enlargement – I'm already an 38E (UK size) and am very uncomfortable a lot of the time.

    That is more for comfort then it is for the looks – I mainly sleep on my front and often struggle with them getting in the way lol.

  16. Amy

    I don't get why this is still stigmatized. Obviously, some people are doing it simply to improve their quality of life. And even if they're not, who cares? We have a right to look and feel how we want.

    x Amy

  17. Gooseberried

    I am another one of those that has stereotyped women who get "boob jobs" in the past and honestly, sometimes I still do. My best friend in high school, one of the most beautiful women I know who always had the greatest luck with boys and a gorgeous body, got breast implants when we graduated high school. Granted, she didn't have large breasts. They were probably a small B.

    I wanted to be supportive of her, but it was hard for me because I felt as though she was being greedy. When I look back on it, I don't know if she was going through self-esteem issues when we were teens, but it was hard for me to tap into that when I thought she was, in my mind, already perfect.

    I'll probably never know the real reasons for her wanting larger breasts. Either way, I've tried to shut my mind off about it.

  18. Zavi

    I had cosmetic eye surgery when I was 13 to adjust intermittent strabismus (eyes wondering sometimes).I never really talked about it, my family made me feel ungrateful,& said things like be glad you're not blind, you have two legs etc. It was hard though, I felt like people looked at me as less than once they noticed it, so I wore shades 24/7(still hide behind them sometimes). Immediately after the surgery I felt freer, then I noticed that my eyes still wonder occasionally. I don't think I will have the surgery again though. Most of the time it doesn't bother me,& I try not to stress out about it because it is largely beyond my control. It has been a hindrance to dating/socializing,it's hard for me to relax when meeting people because I don't know if I am fully making eye contact. Thanks for the post, this is the first time I've admitted that it still bothers me/effects my life, for fear of sounding ungrateful.

  19. Katie, Interrobangs Anonymous

    I had most of my face reconstructed when I was 18. Like Rose, parts of me just didn't develop the way they were supposed to and I ended up with severely uneven jaws. I've always been very open about the procedures and how I used to look. I feel that I haven't received the negative attention that other plastic surgery patients do because most people view my surgeries as medically necessary. However, I could have lived without them. What the procedures did was improve my quality of life dramatically by changing how I felt about myself and how the world saw me. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

  20. Anonymous

    I'm flaunting AAs and a rib deformity.

    The size of my boobs was the least of my problems in high school…lol

    I know a lot of women with boob jobs, but most of them got them done later in life. I always am kind of shocked, to be honest, when a parent pays for a boob job on their kid.

  21. Rose

    To Anonymous (above),

    Until you know the reason a parent is paying for a boob job, it might be a good idea to try to stay open-minded. There's a lot padded bras and baggy clothes can hide….you never know.

    btw, you are very lucky that your deformity and AA's didn't affect your self-esteem in high school!

    To Gooseberried,

    Did you ever consider that your best friend envied you? She may have seen you as perfect just as you saw her as perfect. Instead of shutting your mind off about it, maybe you might consider that greed had nothing to do with your friend's boob job. And if she's happier now, that's all that matters. If you don't have anything on your body that you would do anything to change, count yourself lucky!

  22. Niamh

    It was nice reading your story, it is true that breast augmentation is very stigmatised. If you just have smallish or average boobs rather than nothing, going through surgery to get a giant pair seems really silly. I have uneven breasts too, although not as bad as you had it, and it does bother me a lot sometimes, especially when bra-buying. But no guy ever really noticed much, and although small they're still there, so I'm trying to accept small is ok too. I thought about later in life surgery, but it scares me. For now I'm ok with what I have. Only if a possible pregnancy later in life makes them even smaller (as tends to happen) then I might just get too unhappy about them to feel good about my body. But it's great to hear things worked out for you! I can imagine how much you were hurting about not developing the same as others, being a teenager is tough enough.

  23. Jazzie Casas

    The decision to have a cosmetic plastic surgery is extremely personal and you'll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Your plastic surgeon and his/ or her staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.

  24. Greg

    I had most of my face reconstructed when I was 21.

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