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?