We sat down with Equal Time editor Sophie Schlosser and asked her everything. Some of the questions have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Equal Time: What did your parents say when you brought up that you wanted a breast reduction?
Sophie Schlosser: So I was in Hawaii with my family for spring break and I was bikini shopping with my friend. I remember looking at myself in the mirror after trying on every bikini that fit her and just crying because nothing fit me. My mom knew that it had been an ongoing struggle with my body image, because my breasts made me look like such a bigger person. So I remember when I brought it up to her, there wasn’t even a moment where she was unsure about it, just because she knew it was really diminishing my confidence in my self-worth. And so I told her in Hawaii and she was really on board with it, really supportive. My dad was a little on the fence, just because he’s more about like, ‘This is a body God gave you. You doing something to it is kind of vain.’ But he knew that whatever would make me happy he would be okay with. But yeah, my mom was really on board and so the minute we got back we started asking people about surgeons and looking for it. And that’s really when we got the process rolling.
ET: How’d you find your doctor?
SS: So my doctor was a plastic surgeon who has her own practice in Denver. My mom has some friends who would go to her for other plastic surgery reasons, and she was really well known for breast reductions. So I went on her website and I was looking at before and after pictures and it was exactly what I wanted. All the before pictures were girls that were just like me in terms of their breast size and clearly had the same mental state as I did. Like me, they just didn’t want big boobs. So that’s how we found her.
ET: How did you end up affording it?
SS: It’s a very pricey surgery. If there were any doubts about it, it was the price of it. Because not only is the procedure itself so expensive, there’s also a million other things you have to do. For me, there wasn’t a plastic surgeon place in Aspen, so we had to drive four and a half hours to Denver to have my surgery and then back the next day. So that’s also more expensive, to get the hotel room and everything. You also have to buy all these specialized bras that you have to wear throughout the surgery. There’s these expensive two tubings that you have to pay someone to come empty for you.
But basically, we knew we could afford it. It was just the decision of wanting to put all that money towards this. I think it all just came down to the fact that I couldn’t even lead a normal life living in the way I was in my own skin. And so I think for my parents that became more important to them than the money.
ET: What size are you now?
SS: So I was a triple E and now I’m a 34C. What they do when you first go into your consultation, they make you go into a Victoria’s Secret and pick your “dream bra” that you want to fit into. I think that was one of my favorite days, going in and picking out a bra that I loved the most. I think I picked out a B, a 36B. And they try to make your breast size according to that bra. After I healed a little and I put on that bra, it was the best moment in my life. I cried. But they tell you before surgery you’re going to grow, like, a size after because of weight gain and your body evening itself out. So now I’m a 34C.
ET: What did that dream bra look like?
SS: It was tan and had white lace embroidered onto it with little sparkles on the end of the laces. I remember seeing that bra weeks before at Victoria’s Secret and wanting it but knowing they didn’t make it in my size.
ET: The procedure itself, did it hurt? Was it painful afterwards?
SS: For me, I had enormous boobs. They said that for a lot of people with this surgery, they only have to make the scar around your nipple and a straight line down. But because my boobs were so big, they had to do that and go all the way under. So they told us that it was going to be a much longer surgery, which scared everyone a little bit. I was going to be under for four, four and a half hours. And yes, it hurt.
The recovery process was really, really terrible. There’s a really large risk of complications after surgery, so I was really lucky I didn’t have that. But with the stitching, you have to go back every week for a checkup to make sure the scarring is going the way it should be. For a while, you have to wear surgical tape on your scars. You can’t lift your arms above a 45 degree angle or else it hurts really bad and you have a risk of ripping your scars. I was mostly on bedrest, but for me the recovery process wasn’t as bad as it is for a lot of people. Some people can’t even move or pick things up, but thankfully I was up and walking up and down my driveway two days later, trying to get back up on my feet. Otherwise, the tubing was terrible. There are these tubes they put in your sides that drain fluids from your boobs and those have to stay in for like two weeks. That’s really difficult because you have to sleep with them in and you have to empty them, and I’m really squeamish so that was not my territory. But after a few weeks, you get the hang of it and recovery isn’t that bad.
ET: What were some of your friends initial reactions after the procedure?
SS: Everybody was shocked beyond belief because it was like a whole new me. And not just my breast size but more like the way I was acting. Everybody just said that I was meant to have small boobs and that was very clear after the procedure. It just seemed like something that was way more me.
ET: Would you recommend the procedure to others who are wanting to have smaller boobs?
SS: I absolutely would recommend it. I was kind of a special case because I never had surgery before this procedure and I scarred terribly. When I went in for a checkup six months after, they told me they’d never seen someone scar as bad as I did. And it wasn’t because I wasn’t doing my scar care or anything, it was just my body physiology. So that’s hard for me because sometimes I can’t wear certain shirts I want to and sometimes I do feel insecure being naked because I do have these awful scars. So if you’re considering it, I really would consider that aspect of it too, because I never thought it was a possibility but it is. So it’s hard, but at the end of the day, I am so much happier with the boobs I have now. I used to have to wear three to four bras a day. Now I never wear a bra and I just feel like I fit in in a different way. So in terms of health and quality of life and my confidence, I absolutely recommend the surgery.
This was originally printed in Equal Time Magazine’s Fall 2019 print issue. Read it here.