A little while ago one of our Hills District Mums Amanda posted in the HDM Facebook group. The post was the night before she was having breast reduction surgery and she was both nervous and excited. There was an outpouring of support and well wishes and lots of people keen to hear her story. We were lucky to speak to Amanda about her journey – a journey of self-confidence and happiness and one which is important to share.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m a mummy to two beautiful boys and a wife to a wonderful husband Matt. I’m a primary school teacher currently working part time. I feel very lucky to be able to stay at home with my boys for part of the time and do what I love to do the other half of the time. I’m very lucky to have both my family and my in-laws live close by and all are very active in our boys’ lives. They are so supportive, loving and always giving up their time for them.
I love relaxing in front of the TV (the usual junky shows – particularly reality tv!), spending time with my husband, catching up with friends and SLEEPING (as most mummies love!)
How did your breast reduction journey start out?
Throughout my life, I have always been large breasted. I developed quite early and was quite big by the time I was in about year 8 or 9. Back then, I didn’t mind the size of my breasts. But as I got older I started putting on a bit of weight and it seemed most of my weight went straight to my breasts. And after two pregnancies, my breasts went from an E/F cup to a HH/J cup!
A while back, my younger sister got engaged and we went dress shopping. Every dress I tried on I knew I couldn’t wear as I needed a proper bra underneath – no spaghetti straps, nothing strapless, nothing too low… the list went on. I felt awful having to say no to every dress. It was that very day I started thinking I’d like a breast reduction. Both my mum and my older sister had had a breast reduction and said it was the best thing they’d ever done and how much it changed their lives – both in terms of their self-confidence and their wardrobe!
What was the process and timeframe?
In the months that followed that shopping day, I started doing research – surgeons, health fund and medicare cover, costs, etc. I then heard my mum’s surgeon, Dr Sandercoe, was holding a complimentary breast surgery information night. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to attend, gather some more information and have a mini one-on-one consultation with Dr Sandercoe. This information night was fantastic. After this night, I had no questions left. I was going with Dr Sandercoe.
I went for my full consultation in January. It was a weird experience, standing there with no bra on, Dr Sandicoe feeling my breasts, making and marking measurements and taking my ‘before’ shots. It was definitely something I wasn’t used to… I barely even let my husband see me topless! But I knew this was the beginning of the end of my large breasts! I booked my surgery in for April 20, as I had a goal to lose 10kg before my surgery. If I wanted to have my surgery earlier, I could have booked in for only a few weeks time, so the timeframe was completely up to me.
In the next few months, I was determined to lose the weight. The surgery was my motivation. I’ve dieted and tried exercise before but nothing ever lasted. But this time was different. I was committed to changing my life and my body size! I watched what I was eating, drank 2-3 litres of water a day, ate smaller portions at dinner and started walking a few times a week, which then gradually increased to bursts of running, which then turned into interval training (walking, then running, walking then running, etc). I had never been a runner before but I was surprisingly enjoying it (while wearing 3 bras!)
My surgery day finally arrived. The nurse weighed me just before my surgery and I had lost exactly 10kg! What an achievement! I was so proud of myself. It just proves you can do anything you put your mind to if you’re motivated and determined.
According to my doctor, my surgery went really well. I woke up feeling quite groggy and ill as I don’t handle the anaesthetic well. For me, that was the worst part of it all. I was able to go home the next day, with prescriptions to fill and instructions to rest. I was lucky enough to stay at my parents’ house for a week to recover. During that week, I felt pretty good. I didn’t feel pain, more so discomfort and tenderness.
I was happy I could shower from day two as everything was waterproof and I was amazed to see my breasts so soon. Yes, they were bruised, swollen and sensitive, but that didn’t last. After that first week, I went home and continued to rest, however, I started to do things I usually would, except for lifting anything heavy, including my 2 year old.
At my 4 week post-op check up, all the tape came off, the stitches around my nipples came out and my breasts were finally looking ‘normal’ – and I LOVED them!
What emotions did you feel during the journey?
I felt a whole range of emotions. Once I’d decided to do this surgery, I was so excited. Excited to buy new clothes. Excited to buy new bras. Excited to not have back/shoulder/neck pain. Excited to feel good about my body.
As the surgery drew closer, I started to feel very nervous. I was still excited, but I started worrying about the ‘what ifs’. What if something went wrong in surgery? What if I stopped breathing? What if I was left with uneven breasts? What if my nipple/s died? (A possibility in reductions)… so many worries but the positive outcome far outweighed the negatives. I needed to do this for me and me only.
How are you feeling now?
Today, I’m feeling fantastic! I’m back at work, back to doing everything I used to, which unfortunately includes housework and back to walking on the treadmill. I am 12kg down (approximately 1.5-2kg of breast tissue was taken) and hoping to lose a little bit more. My breasts have dropped approximately 6 cup sizes, from a 14HH to a 14E/12F. I feel amazing!
What would you say to someone contemplating a big surgery like this?
Do it, do it, do it! It’s a surgery that’s completely life changing. Yes, surgery is scary. But the outcome definitely outweighs that. And I know everyone’s recovery is different, but my journey was so positive. And if I can say it, quite easy. So many people have told me I seem so much happier and confident since the surgery. My whole body shape has changed – and for the better. My breasts are now not the focus of my body! It’s definitely the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.
As Amanda mentioned, Dr Gavin Sandicoe holds regular information evenings so you can gather facts and ask questions. Call 1300 112 358 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out when he’s next hosting an evening.