are the first thing you notice when you wake up after a breast
No. Wait. That's not true.
notice when you wake up is the fact that you're strapped to a rolling
bed, with a bazillion tubes running in and out of various parts of your
anatomy and a platoon of surgical nurses milling around your
bedside, encouraging you to "take deeper breaths, Sweetie."
But the second
thing you notice are your shoulders.
I had roughly
3.82 pounds removed during the breast reduction: 700 grams on the
right, a whopping 1,035 on the left. (I was almost comically lopsided
before the surgery: a fact I was only vaguely aware of, mainly because
I've avoided looking at myself topless as much as humanly
possible for the past three and a half decades.) On paper
that probably doesn't sound like much,
but try typing "3.82 pounds" into a Web browser and see what you come
with. Basically I had
the equivalent of an Epson Powerlite 755C Wireless Projector
removed from my chest. (Or the equivalent of one Calloway
Ultra-Light Golf Bag ... or the equivalent of an HP Omnibook
600 ... or the equivalent of $161.35 worth of Bitto della
Valtellina.) As soon as I could sit up -- which, in my case, was roughly 45 minutes after swimming
to consciousness, following three and a half hours of surgery -- I could feel the difference.
shoulders feel so light!" I remember marvelling to the head surgical
nurse. She smiled
(They all say that) and
patted my hand. Then
she plugged another dose of Dilaudid into my IV and went off to find me
Six weeks later, I am still marvelling over how unencumbered my
The funny thing is that I never had much in the way of shoulder pain
before the surgery ... at least, none that I ever
noticed. Once in a while I would experience a *twinge* in the area
between my shoulder blades, especially if I'd been schlepping the
laptop bag around. And occasionally I would develop a bit of
redness where my bra stap rubbed against my skin: "shoulder grooves"
they call it, in breast reduction lingo. But shoulder pain,
on the whole, was never my problem. Neither was back pain, or neck
pain, or nerve damage, or posture irregularities, or any of the
43,897,621 mostly legitimate physical conditions women cite when
My *pain* was almost entirely psychological.
Still, now that those 3.82 pounds are history,
their absence more than I ever noticed their presence. (Sort of like
"Star Trek: Enterprise.") There is a new spring in my step ... an
ease of movement that I can't recall feeling
was a kid. I walk down the street these days, shoulders back, chest
out, head held high, and I feel like I could simply lift myself off
the ground and fly away.
Free of the burden of those 3.82 pounds, I can turn my
thoughts now to the things that really matter -- my
marriage, my family, resurrecting my creative ambition, finally
figuring out what I want to be when I grow up -- instead of
constantly obsessing over my stoopid excessive lopsided boobage.
And that is
load off my shoulders.
to throw a rock?