When I Grow Up

August 24, 2016

I was always flat chested.  It was an agony that consumed me as a young girl.   Gym class was especially excruciating.  My girlfriends’ nickname  for me was “Gongaboobs”  as a joke.  In junior high school  I did exercises  before bedtime which included pressing my hands together in front of my chest and squeezing while chanting, “I must, I must, I must develop a bust.” I sent away for an ointment advertised in the back of a  magazine that was guaranteed to produce breasts.  I swear it was vaseline. My best friend was wearing  an underwire 34D bra in 6th grade. I was in training bras until I was thirty three years old.

Trying to fill out the bodice of my wedding dress was pretty doleful.   I wore a 32AA bra.  I longed for lace and  yearned for cleavage.  I pined for something my tiny push up bra could push up.  No strapless gown for this bride.   I might have passed for the flower girl without my veil and train.

My best friend was wearing an underwire 34D bra in 6th grade. I was in training bras until I was thirty three years old.

When I became pregnant, I blossomed to a 32C. To celebrate I bought some sexy lingerie.  A few months later, when my daughter  was born, I woke up from anesthesia after the C-section with a couple of 34EE mountains sitting on my chest!

After nursing for two and a half years, emptied of the happy milk factories on my chest,  my husband described my breasts as two fried eggs on fish hooks. Not only were my breasts deflated, they looked sullenly at the floor,  my left breast  an inch and a half longer than the other.

I can still say that having breast implants is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.

I was horrified. Showering and dressing became a nightmare.  I avoided looking at my naked body and I agonized over feeling so shallow that it mattered to me what I looked like.  I had recently lost my girlfriend to breast cancer at the age of twenty four and was paralyzed with despair and with the gripping fear that the same fate would soon find  me.  It took me a year to heal from my grief and disengage from my depression. Feeling as if femininity had deserted me, for the first time in my life I considered plastic surgery. Despite my  bra burning heritage in the early 1970’s, I decided the irreproachable answer to my sagging self-esteem was breast implants.

I  researched the pros and cons of saline verses silicone implants and under rather than over the muscle.  I talked candidly with  friends who already had  implants.  After several interviews with plastic surgeons, I decided on the highly respected Lawrence Shaw, MD, a phenomenally intuitive physician.   I can still say that having breast implants is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  I could often be found shopping  in the lingerie department of  stores,  showing off my décolletage to the ladies who helped with fittings.

Once more I labored over my vanity.

 Twenty one years have passed since then.   My implants are well over  their 8 to 10 year warranty and a bit waffly looking.  Once more I labored over my vanity when over the years more than a few of my clients and friends became breast cancer survivors.   I returned to Larry Shaw, MD for a consultation and he listened patiently to my concerns. He requested  an MRI to allay my fears while assuring me I was not vain, that indeed I was making a healthy choice for myself.

My breast radiologist seconded his direction, saying she recommended women with  dense breast tissue and/or implants to have MRI’s every few years to more thoroughly check for breast cancer. The MRI showed normal breast tissue with ruptured implants, basically my implants were just plain old worn out.

I learned that it’s self-empowering to know what you want.

Dr. Shaw fluffed me up once again with some new, state of the art ultra-natural implants. It is amazing what is available now to support a woman’s desire to feel at home in her body. As I write this,  I am so grateful for his attentive care, emotional support and surgical excellence.

What I want to express is what I learned:  That as much as I knew  I would look better, I greatly underestimated  how elated  I would feel: womanly and curvaceous and whole.  I came to realize how often my inner dialogue wants to make me feel badly about myself.  I learned  that it’s self-empowering to know what you want.  And finally, that  femininity is not about what I look like, but how I feel.

The Shaw Center
Plastic Surgery ・ Skin  ・ Laser
8913 E. Bell Road, Suite 201
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

 (First published 07/24/15)