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Erin has many identities. She is a wife, a mother of twin boys, a psychotherapist — and for much of her life, she was, in her own words, “the large-breasted woman.” Since adolescence, she’d felt defined by her breasts. They influenced the clothes she wore, the attention she received, the activities she could comfortably participate in and the pain she felt on an increasingly regular basis. Both physically and emotionally, they were a burden she carried for decades before deciding to have breast reduction surgery.

The Start of the Journey

Erin was a teenager the first time she became conscious of her breast size.

“I was 14 or 15 years old,” she says. “I remember having conflicting feelings about it. On one hand, it brought me attention — but on the other hand, I didn’t always like the attention that it brought me. I was profoundly uncomfortable. Having large breasts very quickly became part of my identity, whether I wanted it to or not.”

Erin wavered between accepting her shape and wanting to hide it. As she navigated her high school years and early adulthood, she grew frustrated with the ways her figure limited her clothing options.

“I had two choices. I could wear something fitted that practically screamed ‘I HAVE BOOBS!’ but then I could have a waist. Or if I wanted to hide my boobs (or at least pretend to myself that I was hiding them), then I could wear something shapeless like a muumuu. Those were my only options. I spent a lot of time crying in dressing rooms.”

Shopping for bras and swimsuits was uniquely challenging. While other women could effortlessly find affordable, well-fitting options at department stores and popular fast fashion retailers, Erin had to look elsewhere.

“I had to shop at high-end bra places in order to get the bra size right. That’s the only way I could find bands that would support my breasts so it didn’t feel like I was carrying around 30-pound weights on my shoulders every day. I had to buy specialty swimsuits just to get them to cover me.” The expenses quickly added up.

The Detour

The physical strain of having large breasts gradually intensified for Erin. As she reached her 20s, her neck and shoulders began to ache. The pain became so severe that even routine tasks — like turning her head to clear her blind spot while driving — were difficult. When she could no longer ignore the constant discomfort, Erin began to seek professional help.

Her first efforts to alleviate the pain focused on noninvasive modalities. She visited massage therapists, physical therapists and chiropractors, but the relief they provided was short-lived.

“None of them really helped. I would have to go back every week to get any release. Between trying to not be in pain all the time and having to buy special clothing, it’s absurd the amount of cash I spent.”

Erin’s mother was the first person to propose a more permanent solution. When Erin was in graduate school in Virginia, her mother suggested seeing a plastic surgeon to discuss the possibility of breast reduction surgery. The idea was intriguing. Erin said yes to a consultation with a surgeon back home in Houston, but after weighing the pros and cons of her situation, she decided the timing wasn’t right.

“I was still young. There was no guarantee that I was going to be able to breastfeed. I knew I wanted kids and I didn’t want to make a decision that could get in the way of my ability to do something that was important to me. And I was still in grad school in another state. I was up to my eyeballs in my thesis. There were a lot of logistics, so I just tabled it. It was convenient to put it off.”

The Breaking Point

Erin went on to graduate, launch her career and have the family she’d always wanted. Beneath the professional success and personal milestones, however, pain had become a daily feature of Erin’s life.

“I was in constant pain. My husband was doing what he could to help me out. I was spending gobs of money on chiropractors and physical therapists and massage therapists. I was grouchy. But at that point it was just my life. It was normal. I’d been in chronic pain for so long that I didn’t recognize the toll it was taking on my demeanor and the kind of mom I was able to be.”

With young twin boys who were being homeschooled, Erin had her hands full. Her life was “all about survival,” with little time or energy left over to consider her own needs. That finally changed in 2019, when the chiropractor she’d been seeing surprised her with a frank pronouncement: “You’re never going to be rid of me unless you consider plastic surgery.”

“I was going to a chiropractor who was helping me and he finally said ‘Look, you’re going to have to be here every week for the rest of your life. I can help, but I’m not going to be able to treat you effectively because what you have is a structural problem. You have gravity working against you and pulling your whole upper body forward and down. You’re never going to be rid of me unless you consider plastic surgery.’”

It was the nudge Erin needed to revisit the idea she’d put off in college. The procedure that once felt wrong for her life suddenly felt like the opportunity for a new life. Erin describes it as a lightbulb moment that reminded her “Oh, that’s right! I wanted that!”

The Beginning of a New Identity

With her chiropractor’s words ringing in her head, she determinedly set herself on a new path.

“I came home that day and very excitedly talked to my husband and he was like ‘YES, let’s make this happen!’”

Erin had waited long enough. It was time to rid herself of pain and shed old definitions that no longer served her. She knew breast reduction surgery had the potential to completely transform her life.

“I have an older cousin who had breast reduction surgery when I was in high school. I remember how happy she was about it — just overjoyed. And I remember around 2005, a colleague of mine had breast reduction surgery and she was over-the-moon happy. She was even willing to show me her scars.”

The time was finally right. With the support of her family and excitement about her future, Erin began the research that would lead her to Dr. Sharma and the new identity that awaited her on the other side of surgery.

Continue Erin’s Journey: Taking Action (Part 2)

“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.

Read More in Part Two

If you’re interested in learning more about breast reduction 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.