Author Topic: My Son's Story - Advice to other Parents  (Read 25645 times)

Offline IndianaMom

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This is long, but here goes.   . . . .

My son. Luke, was a happy, athletic, 16 year old.  Plenty of friends, girlfriends, decent grades, good soccer player, etc.    BUT. . ..

Starting sometime last summer we started to notice a change.  He was becoming more and more withdrawn from us, didn't seem as happy as he always had.   We just chalked it up to the teen years (he is our 4th and last, so we've had some experience).   We did notice one night though, totally by accident, that he was putting duct tape on his nipples.   We talked to him about it, he said he didn't want to talk about it - and we kind of dropped it.   Probably not the best thing, but again - we've been through the teen years and almost nothing surprises us. 

For the summer he had taken a job at our Club pool, but he had decided against being a lifeguard  - something his 3 other siblings had all done.  He worked in the concession stand and never once attended a pool party all summer.   Our kids have all been huge swimmers - spending all day at the pool for most of their summers.   We again, just thought that maybe he was outgrowing the pool.   We went on our annual vacation to the beach and he kept his T-shirt on the whole time.   

So, at this point we were starting to think something is off.  We discussed it with him and he is so embarrassed, so reluctant to talk about it - that we drop it again.  He goes to the Dr. for his sports physical, but asks to go in alone.  Well, he's 16, so I say OK.   The Dr. signed his physical, I went in alone and asked him about Luke's actions & if there is a problem with his chest.  He tells me that many boys go through some breast growth, but when their hormones get back on track that it goes away.   

We start into the school year & I'm starting to notice that he is wearing 3 shirts a day.   Two undershirts, plus his shirt.   I am still thining that this will just pass.     

Then things start to escalate.   He seems to be getting more and more belligerent.   His grades are dropping a bit, he's struggling in school.   Spring soccer season starts in mid-March.   The first tournament we go to, Luke gets two yellow cards, then a red card and is kicked out of the game.  Totally unlike him.    The next Monday he leaves for school, then about 5 minutes later calls me on his cell phone - tells me that he would like to go back to the Dr. because of "that nipple thing".    At this point we start to realize that this is truly affecting him.   

His Dad went with him to the Dr.   Luke will not turn around and let his Dad see his chest.   But the Dr. again reiterates that it will likely go away.  He does say that Luke is in the last stage of puberty, though.  Luke pushes it with the Dr. and finally he gives him a referral to a plastic surgeon.    Two weeks later I go with him.   He asks to go in alone and I let him, but then the nurse comes out and says that because he is 16 I have to be there.   So, again – Luke refuses to turn around so that I can see his chest.   The Dr. tells him about the hormone stuff that happens during puberty, but tells him that he is likely at the end and that he has actual breast tissue that will not go away.   He tells us about the surgery available to us  - but that nothing else will help.   The surgery will mean 3 weeks out of sports, probably a week out of school, etc.   

We go home and Luke was basically crying.  He said he'll do anything to have this surgery.   We were just so shocked by all this.  Luke has always been a perfectly healthy, happy kid.  We really were thrown by it.   Soccer season had just gotten underway, his ACT test was coming up & we didn’t want him to miss school, we felt like we needed a little more time to think on this, so we told him that we would do it once school got out.   He agreed.   

We did press him a few more times, asking if he really wants to do this - describing surgery to him  - telling him that we had to see it before we would do it- asking him if it really is that bad.  He REFUSES to let us see it.   Absolutely refuses.  He will also barely talk about it.   But his attitude had so drastically changed that we knew we had to do something.   So we scheduled the surgery for the first of June.

We were still holding out hope that he would decide not to do it.  But the day after the Prom we realized he was not going to change his mind.  He had been to the Prom and had a great time.  But the day after the Prom the kids usually do something else and one of the girl’s planned a huge pool party.  It was going to be a really big deal with all his friends there.   Luke told us that he was scheduled to work and wouldn’t be able to attend.   Well, if you have teens, you know that they usually find a way out of work to attend big events like this.  And we also knew that he had not originally been scheduled for work, so we assumed he asked to be added to the work schedule.   At that point we knew that he was not going to change his mind.  He seemed so unhappy.       

He did not want anyone to know what he was doing.  We did tell his siblings, but told them not to tell anyone - that this was Luke's wish.  I really did not want HIM to think that we were embarrassed by it – but HE was, so we had to abide by his wishes.  We had to tell his soccer coach that he was having minor surgery, but we did not go into details.  He told all his friends that he was going to soccer camp.   I felt so sad for him.  I really could not believe this was happening.  And again - without seeing it - I really wasn’t sure it was worth it.   But he was so unhappy, that we had to agree that something had to be done.  .  I should add that we are fortunate, that even though this is not covered by insurance, we could afford to do this.   The insurance coverage problem is a real shame.  Our Dr. said that they were trying to fight it all the time.  It should absolutely be changed.    I feel so badly for others who have to make this decision based on affordability.   

The day of the surgery he seemed so calm.  He really did not care what happened to him -he just wanted his chest to be "normal".   It broke my heart that something had been bothering him this much and I wished that we had done it sooner.   The surgery took about 2 1/2 hours.   The Dr. came out and told us that it all went well - that the right side was larger than the left, but that he thinks he got it all.   Some lipsuction and some excision.    When he was fully awake we took him home.  He took a Vicodin at the surgi-center, (we only live about 5 minutes away) - and by the time we got home he vomited it all up.   30 minutes later he told me he was hungry and asked for a bacon sandwich.  Over the next hour he ate 3 bacon sandwiches and started to feel fine.   He took pain pills over the course of the day, but it was not too bad.   He had two drains, which we did not have to empty.   He was wearing a compression vest and that was very tight under his arms – I think the most pain he had was from the vest. 

The next morning we went back and the nurse took the drains out.   She then unwrapped the bandages and he looked down and got a little sick.  He had to lie back.   It did not look as bad as I was expecting, though.   Not too much bruising and just two very small incision areas.   The nipples seemed sort of saggy, but his chest was flat.  He didn’t really say much over the next week about how it looked.    He said he wanted to see it in about a week.   At that point I started looking on-line and found this web-site.   I wish I had researched things more thoroughly before, but it was nice to read about some of the exact same things that Luke had gone through.   It also made me realize that we had made the right choice.     

He was feeling better after a few days & really wanted to socialize, so I told him that he should just tell his friends that he cracked a few ribs in soccer camp and he had to wear that vest.  That he couldn’t do sports for 3 weeks, etc.  That seemed to really work for him and from then on he was OK with hanging out with his friends while wearing the vest.  He did ask me to “make sure that none of that surgery stuff was lying around” when his friends came over, but other than that he seemed in better spirits. 

One week post-op we went back and the Dr.’s asst. saw Luke.  She said that he could play sports in two weeks, but he had to wear the vest for 3 more weeks.    He wasn’t too happy about that, but he did seem happy with the way things looked.  Again, he was pretty quiet, though.   

So, he wore the vest the next two weeks, pretty much full time.  At the 3 week mark he went back to the Dr.   He took the vest off and the Dr. said “Wow – this looks great.”  And Luke said, “I KNOW.”   !!!!!    I was so happy I couldn’t believe it.   They told him to go down the hall for his picture and they asked if he wanted to put his shirt back on.   He said, “NO”, and proceeded to walk out into the nurses station with no shirt on.   Again, this was GREAT.  !!!!  He was very happy after this appointment, and all he says now is that it looks great.   He still doesn't want to talk about it, but it's  obvious that he is very happy.     

I thought about asking the nurse to see his “before” picture, but I decided to just let it drop.   It didn’t really matter.   Luke felt better and that was all that counted.   

He went to soccer camp the next day and had a great time.   He really seemed like himself again for the first time in almost a year.    He now is sleeping without a shirt, wearing ONE t-shirt at a time, and last week he went to the pool.   

I would encourage anyone to investigate this further and to take action as soon as possible.    Don’t allow your teenagers to obsess over this.   This is truly different than any other type of “plastic surgery”   This isn’t a teen age girl unhappy with the shape of her nose.  This is a devastating thing for teen boys.   

So, to make a very long post short, I just wanted to share my experiences.    It has been 6 weeks since his surgery and I am convinced every day that we did the right thing.   I feel like I have my happy boy back.   

Luke’s Mom.     


Linkback: https://www.gynecomastia.org/forum/index.php?topic=11080.0

Offline keelo

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great story.....i know exactly how your son was feeling. I havent been on this site in awhile.....i usually go through stages of thinking about my chest......ive felt pretty good until recently with some things happening in my life and now my girlfriend wants me to go to the beach with her tomorrow.....i usually end up back here and just think about it way too much


it really sounds like your son couldnt have got better results. may i ask who is dr was and what kind of surgery he had done? and how long was the recovering process? any scars/bruises?

Offline Grandpa Bambu

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  • 31 Year Gynecomastia Victim...
Mom...

Wow... Great post!

Thanks for sharing your story...

GB
Surgery: February 16, 2005. - Toronto, Ontario Canada.
Surgeon: Dr. John Craig Fielding   M.D.   F.R.C.S. (C) (416.766.8890)
Pre-Op/Post-Op Pics

Offline macho

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as far as i am concerned , i think this is the best story of this forum.i would like to say that being Indian ,i know how tough it is to convince your parents on this issue.

Offline speck3

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I would be very interested in knowing how the results hold up for 6 months to a year after surgery. I am sure you will monitor the progress and let us know.

Offline matthew1

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great story,  GREAT MOM AND DAD!

Offline fed-up

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amazing story..... Cant wait till i get surgery!!!!!!!  ;D
Surgery performed by Alex Karidis - 11/09/08

AntiGyneProANDRoGyNE

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Wow... I wish my mom wasnt such a bigot bitch but more understanding like you!

bob_1962

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Offline tttdone

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Wow... I wish my mom wasnt such a bigot bitch but more understanding like you!
hahahahahhahahaha
Surgery on 8/20/2008

Offline jon4026

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did your son say anything about the pain of the surgery?

Offline King_V

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Luke's Mum...I think you are a wonderful mother...Could almost bring a tear to my eye.  :'(

Offline Hefner33

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i wish i could tell my parents and get it taken care of but nope
"I can Do ALL Things Through him who Strengthens Me"

Offline PhillyPUFF

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As the others said, GREAT POST! I just turned 23 and I have been living with gynecomastia for about 9 years. I know your son's behaviors all to well! T-shirts on the beach, no swimming, LAYERS of shirts, taping the nips, etc etc etc. I just want to say I'm glad you listened to your son, and I'm glad that he's happy now. My surgery is scheduled for July 3rd. My Independence Day!! I Can't wait!! Your right about the insurance companies, the insurance board really needs to reconsider this surgery. The psychological impact this 'condition' has on us on a DAILY BASIS is really indescribable.

Offline Grandpa Bambu

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The psychological impact this 'condition' has on us on a DAILY BASIS is really indescribable.

It's amazing how much grief it can actually cause eh?

GB


 

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