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“You’re never going to be rid of me unless you consider plastic surgery.”

With those blunt words of warning from her chiropractor, Erin was finally ready to make the decision she’d been putting off for 20 years. She was tired of the limited clothing options, the chronic neck and shoulder pain, and the struggle to be physically active with her young twin boys. She was done being defined by her breasts.

The Road to Dr. Sharma

Erin calls this conversation with her chiropractor her “come-to-Jesus moment.” She’d considered breast reduction surgery in her 20s, when she was in graduate school, but ultimately decided that the timing wasn’t right. She had a thesis to finish, then a career as a psychotherapist to build and a family to start. Surgery would have to wait.

Two decades later, her chiropractor’s bleak prediction was the nudge Erin needed to put breast reduction back on her priority list. Her pain would continue unless she took action. Feeling excited and energized, she dove headlong into the process of researching plastic surgeons in Austin.

“I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, finding answers to all of my questions, and only stopped if I hit a roadblock that I couldn’t figure out a way around. I was done being in pain.”

Erin quickly found three candidates who accepted her insurance. She struck one off her list immediately after reading unfavorable reviews. As a psychotherapist, she understood the importance of collaboration and trust in the doctor-patient relationship. She wouldn’t settle for a surgeon who wasn’t knowledgable, professional, compassionate and honest. She moved to the next name on her list and picked up her phone.

The Wrong Fit

Erin felt something was off as soon as she made contact with her second candidate’s office. The person who answered the call sounded like they worked in sales or PR, not a medical practice. She didn’t need a pitch. She needed an appointment. Still, Erin was intrigued by the doctor, and the consultation was free, so she decided to proceed.

The consultation arrived and Erin’s instincts proved correct. She disliked the atmosphere of the practice, which she says felt like “a medspa with surgeons” rather than a reputable plastic surgery practice, and she found herself hit with yet another pushy sales pitch.

“They gave me a quote at the end that was like ‘If you sign up in the next ten days, we’ll give it to you at this price!’ I’m not looking to buy a used car! It totally turned me off. Even though I was on board with the surgeon, the practice she was with gave me the creeps.”

One name remained on Erin’s list. She grabbed her phone and booked a consultation with Dr. Sharma.

The Third Time’s a Charm

From the start, things were different at Plastic Surgery Austin.

“I was pleased with the front office staff. I got the answers I needed. I felt like I was actually going into the office of a surgeon. There was some cosmetic stuff as well, but I didn’t feel like I was in a medspa.”

Erin met with Dr. Sharma and his nurse, Sarah, and knew she’d found the right place for her surgery. They had the expertise, empathy and professional demeanor she’d felt was lacking in her previous consultation. They readily answered her questions and didn’t hesitate to discuss concerns or set reasonable expectations.

“They both were good at putting me at ease while being very informative and answering my questions. Dr. Sharma was very straight with me about his concerns about the extra skin I had and what the downsides of the surgery were. He volunteered that information without me having to fight for it. I was confident with their abilities and professionalism and knowledge.”

Erin mulled over her options and made a decision.

“I knew that it felt good and that it was what I wanted.”

The Anticipation

With her surgery scheduled, Erin felt a mix of emotions. She was excited at the thought of a new body and all that came with it — the flattering clothing she could wear, the money she’d save on chiropractors and massage therapists, the freedom she’d have to play with her sons, the literal weight that would be gone from her shoulders.

But parts of her felt reserved. Her life as a mother of young twins had been about survival so far. It had been a long time since she’d been able to consider her own needs, and doing so now felt bittersweet.

“I was excited, but I was also trying to temper my excitement because I was aware that this would take away resources from my family — financial resources as well as time and energy. I was trying to remain practical and make a rational decision. I wanted to make sure that I was moving forward thoughtfully and not rashly.“

And then there was the matter of identity. As the day of her surgery approached, Erin found herself wondering not just what she would look like after breast reduction, but also who she would be.

“Leading up to the surgery, a week or two ahead of time, I remember thinking, ‘Wow, these breasts have been my life for so long. How am I going to feel when they’re gone? I want them gone, but they’re also part of who I am… that’s going to be weird.”

Although she couldn’t know exactly what the future would hold, or how she’d feel without a feature that had defined her since she was 15, Erin knew she’d made the right choice.

“I wanted to be out of pain. I was a little nervous, but I never thought about canceling.”

The Day Arrives

Erin had her surgery earlier this year. She set two goals for the procedure. One, she wanted to be free of pain. She wanted to be able to drive, exercise, sleep and play with her children without restrictions. Two, she wanted to be proportional. She wanted to wear anything she liked, without feeling self-conscious or spending a fortune to find things that fit. She wanted a body that was healthy and functional, not a body that she worried screamed “I HAVE BOOBS!” at every encounter.

Dr. Sharma was confident he could help Erin achieve her goals, and in turn, she was confident she’d chosen the right surgeon for her procedure. She felt cheerful and calm as the Plastic Surgery Austin team prepared her for surgery. Several hours and several pounds of tissue later, Erin was ready to begin the final leg of her journey: recovery.

Continue Erin’s Journey: Taking Action (Part 3)

Lighter. Comfortable. Proportional. A brand new person. Overwhelmingly grateful

That’s how Erin describes herself now, six months after her breast reduction surgery with Dr. Sharma.

Read More in Part Three


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