Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Tale of Two Titties

This post is all about breasts...or mamary glands...or whatever you call them...Tits, Tatas, Boobs, Bazongas, Gazongas, Ninnies, Fried Eggs, Bazockies, Hooters, Fun Bags, Muffins,Globes, Bosom, Cha-Chas, Chesticles,  etc.

Specifically, this is all about mine because next week I'm having surgery to remove my implants permanently. The bottom line...or top line.. is that;
A. I am concerned for my health and 2. I don't like the way they look or feel. Frankly, I'd like to be able to take a Zumba class without the fear that I'll end up with two black eyes.

I spent a great deal of my life almost completely flat chested. Unlike my friend and co-star Alison Arngim, who grew enormous boobs when we were teenagers, mine never really came to fruition.

I have to say, when the boob fairy did wave her wand, she granted me great boobs (I'm not going to share any photos here. If you want to research visuals of my boobs over the decades, you're going to have to do that all on your own). They were right for my body-type. Perfect A cups. I was a proud, card-carrying member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee.

I had no desire to have a Jessica Rabbitesque figure.
Not that there's anything wrong with a Jessica Rabbit-esque figure. In fact that image was pounded into my head repeatedly. I found that very confusing. During the last few seasons of little house I was made to wear a padded bra.
When I did the re-make of Splendor in the Grass (one of the worst performances of my career, by the way), those in charge, put me in a girdle, a corset, a padded bra and even painted cleavage on me!
They also shaded the sides of my nose so it wouldn't look so wide.
The message I got at the tender age of 17 was that-it was better for me to look like this;

                                                               Than this;

Which is how I looked two years later in the movie Sylvester. No make-up. no painted on cleavage. Just me. Though by then, the messages had been heard loud and clear and I'd had my nose fixed.

Now, you might think there was undue pressure on me to look a certain way but let's face it ladies, we are pressured and bombarded with messages from the moment we can read for ourselves.
The headlines are everywhere, "Friends worry because ___ is too thin!" "A close friend says they are worried because ____ is too fat!" "Wow!! ___ has lost the baby weight!"
I mean look at some of these titles;

and Don't even get me started about fashion magazines. Am I right ladies? If you really want to feel like a troll living under a bridge, read one of those. Every time I open those pages I'm positive that this;
is what I'm going to see when I look in the mirror!

                                                           Then there's this shit!

What are we telling young women and girls? UGH!

And another thing...what's with all the plastic surgery billboards?

I've done a lot of cross-country driving the last few years and I swear it looks like this all over America;

 How's that for mixed messaging.

This is our culture. It has been for a long, long time and I fell right into it. I believed that, not only would I work more, but people would love me more if I looked a certain way.
Sad but true. My self-image was in the proverbial toilet.
Strangely enough though, it didn't extend to my breasts. I really was happy with them. small (A cups) but low maintenance.

Most importantly, they served their purpose well.
I was 24 when got pregnant with my first son, Dakota.
My boobs grew, and grew, and grew. It was kind of fun to watch. Sort of an interesting experiment in human anatomy. At their peak they filled C cups.
I loved breast-feeding and I was good at it.
I think that breast feeding is one of the greatest gifts a woman can be given by the universe.
For me, breast feeding created a perfect circle of love, nurturing, bonding and connection with another human being.

I nursed Dakota for close to a year. He weaned himself. I'd have nursed him forever but, he was he was much more excited by pasta with pesto sauce;

So, my milk disappeared and so did my boobs. They went back to their original size but...not their original place.
They were lower....much, much lower.
Not Magda in Something About Mary low but low...
I didn't include an image of Magda's boobs. I'm trying to maintain some decorum here but you get the idea....

I was left feeling a bit uncomfortable about my breasts but it was so worth it to have my beautiful, healthy son;

And then my husband at the time, referred to my boobs as......and I quote....
"Socks full of marbles with knots at the top."

I know! I know!!'re thinking, "who says this to the woman they love!?"

What you should really be wondering is why the hell I just accepted his cruel comment as fact!
I didn't cry, yell, admonish or punch him in the badoobies...(I stole that word from the film Tootsie. It's a great word for testicles.)

Anyway, I took his words to heart. After that I rarely went bra-less. That includes while sleeping, making love etc.  I also had to get all new bras. Not any old bras either, my new bra collection was full of heavy duty, padded, under-wired, supernaturally-lifting miracle-bra-like devices.

A few years later we got divorced. Not only because of the sock comment. Although the sock comment was symptomatic of all that was wrong between us.
And there I was, single and feeling enormously insecure about my breasts.
Dating posed the terrifying prospect of the guy I chose to make love with next, undoing my bra and running away in abject terror.

Then and there, without doing any research, I made the decision, to get my breasts augmented.
Not too big, just enough to fill up the "socks".
I also made sure to find a surgeon who would make my breasts look really natural. I absolutely didn't want them looking high or bulbous or porny or just plain scary......

After my consultation with the doctor I decided to go with saline implants under the muscle. At that time, silicone implants had become very controversial. Research was linking them to all sorts of issues. Particularly frightening, was the possibility of a permanent auto-immune disease like Lupus.

The surgery went perfectly. I was sore for a while after but nothing too awful and my boobs looked really natural.
Most importantly,...and most pathetically self-esteem went back up.

A few more years went by and my boobs and I remained great friends.

Then I got pregnant again and the whole human anatomy experiment began again. This time things were different. My boobs started out bigger so, naturally, they grew bigger.

Then our son, Michael was born 12 weeks early.
I knew that my milk needed to be extra nutritious and plentiful.

So I pumped and pumped and pumped. I pumped day and night. Every four hours around the clock.
I pumped at home and at the hospital and I froze the milk until it was safe for Michael to begin eating. I pumped so much That I filled the entire freezer side of our side-by-side refrigerator/freezer. with breast milk.
(I have to give credit for this photo to Lindsay Woolf. I borrowed it from her blog as I never took a picture of our freezer but this is exactly what it looked like.)

Michael got frozen milk and pumped milk until he was big enough to breast feed. Then he came home and we locked ourselves in the house for months while I fed him every two hours.I actually gained weight after he was born but it was so worth it. Michael went from this;

                                                                        To this;

and my boobs?...well...they were enormous. At their peak, they were a double E!
specifically 34EE!!

Michael nursed for a little over a year. Eventually, he too preferred pasta with pesto sauce;

My well-used boobs went back to their previous B cup. A tad lower but still a bit perky-ish because the implants were there holding them up.

In 2004 I started seeing a lot of articles about breast implants and how they have a "shelf-life". The researches were recommending that they be replaced every 10-15 years. Mine were already about 12 and they had stared to look at bit odd......
 So I made the decision  to replace the implants and do a breast lift.

This time my doctor talked me into using silicone implants. Studies had shown that there was less possibility of leakage and contracture and they stayed softer and more natural and blah, blah, blah..
Besides, the saline ones were in a silicone shell so I convinced myself it was okay since I already had silicone in my body and I was fine. Oy!

After surgery I was left with lovely, perky full B/C cups,which I showed off proudly in a very low-cut gown at the SAG awards that year. The irony of the fact that I was president of SAG when my breasts were doing the opposite of sagging is not lost on me.

Once again my breasts and I were friends.

But, something was nagging at me. I couldn't shake the idea that my implants had a shelf life.
They would have to have them replaced every 10-15 years for the rest of my life.
It was possible that at 80 years old I might have to get new implants! Huh??
I also began thinking a lot about the silicone in my body and what might go wrong.

So I did some research and found a surgeon in Santa Monica who specialized in this surgery. I even saw this physician's work first hand. Her work was just beautiful so I met with her. She walked me through the procedure and recovery. I was then given a print out of all the details;
9-12 hours of surgery!!!
$38,000.00 in costs that my insurance would absolutely not cover!!! And that cost was not including my stay at the recovery place with the nurses etc for $900.00 per night!
What the fucking fuck!

There as no way! There was no way I was going under anesthesia for 9-12 hours for elective surgery. No fucking way. And if I'm being totally honest, there was no way I could afford it.
You know all of those "How much Celebrities are Worth" websites?
like this one...
It's a bunch of bullshit!

I had spent most of my life pressured to look a certain way and I believed the hype. The height of this obsession with my outward appearance culminated with my appearance on the dancing show.

It was all about spray tan and glitter and glamor and what other people think and being skinny, way too skinny!! Yuck!!

I stayed in that head space for several months after that. Then I had a rude awakening.  A 300 pound patio cover collapsed on my head. It was like the universe smacking me in the head and screaming,"WAKE UP MELISSA!!!!"

Wake up I did. It was like a light switch going on. The shallowness of my existence at that point brought me to my knees. I had to change. I had to look inward and address my issues (this looking inward is a constant process by the way).
It was time for me to change. I had to focus on what was real and true. I'd lost myself somehow. It might even have been this;

Three years later, here I am...still changing....still growing. I am in a place where I am truly happy with myself. Sometimes I feel bad about my falling face and disappearing neck and I think I look like this;

but most of the time, I'm really happy with the way I look. I'm enjoying aging. It's not going badly either. This is me just a few days ago;

Now back to the boobieness of it all....after a great deal of thought and research I have found a surgeon here in Michigan who is going remove my implants forever!
As it turns out, the surgery should take no more than 2-4 hours not 9-12, and will cost considerably less than $38,000.00. In fact, the implant removal will probably be covered by my insurance. Our out of pocket fee is for the lift only.
I had a breast MRI a few days ago followed by my pre-op appointment with my surgeon. My sweet husband went with me. He is perfectly supportive of my decision to do this. He only wants me to be healthy.
My surgery is next week. As soon as I feel well enough post-op, I am going to attempt to blog my way through this process.

In the meantime, if you are thinking about any sort of elective plastic surgery please don't just go with the first physician you find. Do the research. Talk to people who have been through it. Read blogs written by people who've been through it....kind of like this one. And most importantly be healthy and take care of yourself but don't overdo it.
Aging is a gift not a curse. 
Love yourself.
You are perfectly beautiful.
You are enough.

Wishing you the happiest of New Years,
Tits McGee