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“I tried Jenny Craig. I tried Weight Watchers. I tried Noom. I saw results with Jenny Craig because the food was so awful. I lost weight because I wouldn’t eat it.”

Claire recounts her dieting journey with a chuckle. The road was long and winding, and frequently disappointing, but she can find humor in it. This isn’t the first time she’s made herself see the silver lining.

Claire reached her heaviest weight seven years ago, shortly before becoming pregnant with her first child. Today she has two daughters, and considers herself lucky to have been able to nurse both children for a year each. But even with her deep gratitude for that experience, Claire admits it took a toll on the body she already struggled to feel comfortable in.

“My girls were only 20 months apart, so for three and a half years straight, I was either pregnant or breastfeeding,” she says. “With that came increased volume in my breasts and extra weight that didn’t go away, even after I stopped nursing. I just couldn’t get rid of it.”


Claire hadn’t always been bothered by her breasts. They were big, but not heavy, and they didn’t cause discomfort or disrupt her lifestyle.

Things changed dramatically after her pregnancies. “I couldn’t find any bras that could hold the weight,” she says. “I would sometimes hold them up myself or lean on furniture to relieve the pressure. I had constant tension in my shoulders and neck. I started getting headaches.”

The weight she carried wasn’t just physical. With the changes in her breasts and abdomen, Claire found herself in a body she no longer recognized. The mental and emotional burden gradually worsened.

“I was very self-conscious. I wouldn’t wear certain colors or styles. I felt like I had to wear dark clothes all the time, because my boobs were the main thing in every picture,” she explains. “I didn’t want to draw attention — even more attention — to them.”

The effects of Claire’s self-consciousness seeped beyond the closet. She was reserved in social situations and reluctant to participate in certain activities, like swimming, that made her feel exposed. At times she made excuses to avoid going out altogether.

“I was too shy to go to an actual store to get measured for a new bra,” Claire recalls. “I work in an elementary school, so I borrowed a measuring thing from a science teacher and measured myself.” She compared the measurement to a sizing guide she found on Amazon. It claimed she was a cup size C, but she knew her breasts were bigger, and that she had bigger problems.

“I wasn’t comfortable in my own body,” she says. “When I saw myself, it just didn’t look like me.”


Claire initially tried to address her discomfort by losing weight but was unsuccessful. “I’m not very good at that!” she jokes.

When diet and exercise couldn’t meet her needs, she started visiting a physical therapist. She hoped to find relief for the chronic headaches and the pain in her neck and shoulders, but again was disappointed.

“They were very nice, and they helped as best they could, but there was nothing they could do to compensate for the weight,” she says. She stopped attending sessions.

With a string of failed efforts to manage the pain behind her, Claire says she “stumbled upon” the idea of breast reduction surgery. It was an intimidating prospect at first. “Surgery to remove parts of you seems very extreme, but I knew there was nothing else that was going to help,” she says. “I was like, ‘I can’t do it anymore. I can’t.’ It was too much pain.”

Claire wasted no more time debating the benefits of surgery. She looked up her local hospital group’s website and chose a name from a list of plastic surgeons. His profile mentioned breast reduction, so she assumed the procedure must be one of his specialties.

When she called to set up an appointment, the scheduler had a different idea. “They said, ‘For that type of surgery, you really want to talk to Dr. Sharma,’” Claire recalls. She said yes to the recommendation immediately.

“Some people say I’m impulsive, but I think it’s decisive.”


Claire felt nervous before her first consultation. “I was a little uncomfortable at first, just because talking about your boobs is kind of weird,” she says. “But I was putting that on myself. Dr. Sharma and his nurse were great. They made me feel comfortable.”

During the appointment, Claire discussed the symptoms she was experiencing and the impact they were having on her life. Dr. Sharma said that she would be a good candidate for breast reduction surgery, and that because of the physical discomfort the weight of her breasts caused, the procedure should be eligible for insurance coverage.

The next challenge was getting her insurer to agree.

“There were a lot of steps you had to take,” Claire explains. “You had to have had the symptoms for more than a certain amount of time. You had to have gone to your primary care physician, a physical therapist or a chiropractor for a certain amount of time and shown that it was not beneficial. You had to prove surgery was a last resort.”

The insurance company said that a certain amount of tissue had to be removed based on her height and weight for the procedure to qualify as medically necessary. Weeks of back and forth over the subject left Claire feeling disconcerted.

“It was like, you don’t even know me. You don’t know anything about me or what I’m going through. You’re just saying this random number is what I need to get to for it to be covered,” she says. “It felt very invasive and impersonal.”

Claire did not let the experience deter her. She was too determined — or, as she might say, decisive — to give up her chance at breast reduction surgery.

“I just knew it was the thing I needed to do.”

Claire’s Journey to Mommy Makeover (Part 2) coming soon

“I felt a whole lot lighter. My headaches decreased. I felt better about myself, body image-wise.”

Claire’s breast reduction didn’t just deliver gratifying results — it also delivered an opportunity to address some of her other pains and insecurities. Following the success of the surgery, she returned to Dr. Sharma for a second procedure six months later.

Read Part 2

If you’re interested in learning more about mommy makeovers or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sharma at Plastic Surgery Austin, please give us a call at (512) 324-2765 today!


Contact our office to schedule a private consultation with Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Sanjay K. Sharma, M.D., F.A.C.S.