I’m turning 52 in a few weeks, and I’m going to just come clean here and admit that during my last mid-life crisis, when I turned 39 and saw 40 looming in the distance, I got a boob job. It was one of the those things that I never thought I would do, but once I did it I was like, “Oh wow, this is nice!” For the first time in my life, I didn’t have to get a small top and a large bottom because my body was finally balanced.
Now, let’s fast forward 13 years. My once firm and perky implants are somehow larger than when they started and are just as uneven as they were BEFORE my surgery. They are also heavy as shit and take up way too much space in my shirts. It’s like being pregnant on top of your stomach. There is no such thing as walking around without a bra. Yes, it does feel better than being bound up all day, but it is just as uncomfortable in a different way. At least when I am wearing a bra, I don’t feel the weight and heat of them.
I’m not sure what finally prompted me to consider surgery again, but a few months ago, I started fantasizing about having my implants removed and my breasts lifted. It has been like this constant buzzing in my head and it has only gotten louder. I looked into some of the doctor’s here in Boulder, but initially decided to check in with my original surgeon in Houston first.
Once I scheduled the tele-health session, I got the news that he would need me to take some full body selfies of all the areas that I wanted him to surgically adjust. When I had my original surgery, I opted out of a much needed tummy tuck because I thought I might meet someone and want to have another baby with him. As it turns out, that never happened and I do not plan to make that mistake again! Since the anesthesia part of the surgery typically costs the most, it makes sense to get as much done as possible while I’m under.
I locked the door and took off all my clothes, suddenly aware that the bathroom lights were more unflattering than I had ever previously noticed. I started taking these photos of my body from all the requested angles, showing off all my stretch marks, stretched skin and excess fat pads. That’s when I noticed that my belly button is not even in the center of my body! I was like, What the???? When did that happen?? How in the hell did I never notice this before? The right boob is way smaller than the left and the nipples are um, well, you know what? Never mind them.
As I looked through the photos, which was somehow worse than just looking at my naked body in the mirror, I swear I didn’t even recognize myself. How did this happen? I started to understand immediately why Demi Moore had so much plastic surgery all those years ago. I was already trying to figure out how I can come up with the extra $20-30,000 this will surely cost, when the reality set in that I’m gonna have to take some things off the menu, or sell everything I own.
I feel like I’m in the plastic surgery drive thru placing my order through the window of my car: “Ok, give me an implant removal with a breast lift and a side of liposuction please. No wait, wait. Let’s skip the lipo and make that an implant removal with a tummy tuck. Nope, no, I really need to add that lift back in so how about . . . At any rate, once I uploaded all my naked selfies, I promptly deleted them from my computer, my phone and my email, horrified at the possibility that they might accidentally show up during a zoom call or a screen share with my colleagues.
A few days later, after my much anticipated call with the surgeon, I learned that this whole tummy tuck thing is a bit more extensive then I realized and after careful consideration, I will not be traveling to Houston. I had no idea that I would have to stay in town for 14 days of recovery time. This combined with the fact that I really, really hate Houston has caused me to find a local plastic surgeon instead. I have also decided that I’m going to buckle down and do my part by losing a few pounds first. Now that my knee is almost totally healed up from last year’s unexpected medial meniscus surgery, I can start working out more. Nevermind that real winter is about to hit Colorado like a freight train. It will be fine. I like working out in the snow.
When I decided to go under the knife the first time, I kept it a big secret. In fact, I didn’t even tell my parents. Truth be told, I was a little embarrassed. For the longest time, only one close friend knew I was getting implants and that’s because she was there during my surgery and had to drive me home. A year after my surgery, I moved to Austin, so even fewer people knew. I liked it that way. I liked that I got a chance to be anonymous in a way and start over. It’s not like I was suddenly walking around in low-cut tops with my cleavage on full display. I was just rejoicing that I could finally get rid of all my Wonderbras (what ever happened to that brand?) and wear the types of clothing that only people with breasts larger than a 32A can wear.
One may wonder why I would go from the extreme of total secrecy to total transparency, but the fact is, we live in a society that puts a lot of pressure on women to look perfect and amazing at all times, and I am sharing my experience because I want other women to know that it’s ok to want these things, to think about these things and to do these things. I’m not planning all of this plastic surgery to catch a guy or become a strip club dancer. I just want to feel comfortable in my body. When I gave birth to my son 21 years ago, my body was irrevocably changed, and no amount of weight loss or exercise will ever change that. Stretched skin is stretched skin, period. I am forever grateful that my body was able to create a human being and I wouldn’t change that for anything, but since it is within my power to improve my body after the fact, then why the hell not?!
I love my body for its strength and for its ability to carry me through my life, but I am also curious what it would feel like to slip on a dress without a Spanx holding things in and up. I am curious what it feels like to be in my body and not be so self-conscious. Is that so wrong? I’m not asking for anyone’s permission, just talking out loud.
No matter what, within the next year, I will have my implants removed and my breasts surgically lifted so they are not hanging down to my belly button as I continue to age. It has been 13 years since I had this augmentation, and I do not want to have these saline-filled bags of silicone hanging around (literally!) in my body for the rest of my life. It’s kinda like when you know it’s time to leave a relationship that you’ve outgrown. There’s no denying when it’s time, and the fact is, the time is here. It’s time to say goodbye to a lot of things – fear, doubt, worry, insecurity. While not all of these can be achieved with surgery, some of them can, and I’ll take care of the rest of it.