Author Topic: The beginning of the end.  (Read 1800 times)

Offline ontheway

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I actually laughed a little when I decided on the title for this post, but I found it quite appropriate - although somewhat dramatic. :) I'm 24 and I've suffered with gynecomastia since I was 12 years old.

During puberty, I had moderate tenderness and mild pain directly behind my nipples. It was after watching a documentary on breast cancer (and scaring myself half to death) one evening that I finally worked up the courage to ask my Mom about the pain and lump I could feel behind my nipples. She said that it was completely normal and that as a matter a fact my old brother approached her about the same thing when he went through puberty. I was immediately put at ease and thought that in a few years I'd be completely in the clear, pain-free, and a sporting a nice flat chest without puffy nipples.

A few years passed and like my Mom said the pain and lump completely went away, but the size of my chest and puffy nipples never did. This was around the time that I was entering high school and also about the time that the psychological effects of having gynecomastia really started to set in. I started wearing sweaters during the summer in an attempt to hide my chest, which resulted in a lot of hurtful teasing. I live in Texas, so you can only imagine how hot our summers are and how ridiculous it would be to see someone wearing something other than a thin t-shirt or tank during the summer months. I missed out on learning how to swim, pool parties, dating, water balloon fights, and any activity that might expose my chest because I was so embarrassed by my condition. My family is from Jamaica, and of the countless number of times I've been there, never have I once been able to take my shirt off at the beach. I began to develop a hunch in my posture and the development of low self-esteem quickly followed. I was fortunate to have a close-knit group of great friends (all of whom I'm still friends with today) who stuck by me, but always knew that something bothered me.

I got accepted to an amazing university (UT Austin) after high school and it was at this point in my life where I really started to take charge of things and change for the better. I made leaps and bounds in terms of rebuilding my self-esteem and self-confidence. I took a weight lifting class one semester, learned how to lift weights properly, and started eating somewhat better. I lost quite a bit of weight and not to sound arrogant, but it wasn't until this point in my life that I began to be noticed by people. It was the first time in my life where I had people tell me that I was handsome guy. It was unfortunate, however, because inside I never believed them because I had this huge chest and puffy nipples that made me feel repulsive. College passed. I awkwardly wore t-shirts to pool parties and float the river whenever we'd go to San Marcos (another nearby college town). It was one of the best times of my life, but could have been even better if I hadn't been in a constant psychological battle with gynecomastia.

Somewhere in between the time I left UT and the past two months, I began intensely researching "man boobs" and "how to get rid of chest fat" on Google. It was during this time that I learned about gynecomastia. I wrongfully assumed that this was something that only affected people with strange genetics and that all I had to do was exercise to get rid of my excess chest fat and puffy nipples. So, I got on a strict diet and exercise routine. I lost 14 pounds, 3% body fat, and guess what? My chest and puffy nipples seemed worse than ever. I began to realize that I actually could have gynecomastia and I brought the subject up again with my Mom. I think my voice was literally trembling the evening I told her that I thought I had gynecomastia. I was so embarrassed. She was extremely supportive and asked that I give her some time to research the condition before we made any rash decisions about what to do.

Shortly thereafter, I found this forum, which (again I know this sounds dramatic) was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It is extremely rare for me to get choked up or teary eyed, but reading stories of people who have suffered through this condition really got to me. I could relate to this pain 100%. I learned here that there is a surgical procedure (virtually scarless) that can correct gynecomastia and give men back their lives. After careful research of the removal procedure, its outcomes, and surgeons who specialize in performing it - I decided to have the procedure done myself. I was most impressed with the stories of people who had their surgery with Dr. Jacobs. His reputation, career, expertise, and personable nature (from what I've seen on this forum and in the media) make me very comfortable with him. I consulted with him last week, spoke with my parents (who by the grace of God agreed to pay for the surgery), and I scheduled my surgery yesterday.

I am still kind of in shock that in 5 weeks, I will be completely gynecomastia-free. It hasn't really sunk it yet. No more crazy dieting and people asking me why the heck at 12% body fat I think I would need to diet. No more wearing heavy flannel shirts during Texas summers. No more wearing shirts in the swimming pool. My next trip to visit my family in Jamaica I will be able to take my shirt off at the beach. I can't fathom it. I am so excited and so thankful to my parents who both said that they remember what it's like to be young and that they don't want anything holding me back from having a great life. If any of you are hesitant to talk to your family about your condition don't be. I'm first generation American and for those of you who are too, you know how hard it can be to talk to our immigrant parents about issues like this. You'd be surprised how understanding your family is and how much they really do care for you.

If anyone has had surgery with Dr. Jacobs and has anything to share with me please don't hesitate. Thanks for reading this.

P.S. One of my most embarrassing gyne moments: Went on a ski trip during Spring Break while at UT with a group of friends to stay at one of their parent's log cabin. After a long day of skiing, everyone decides to have a few beers in the hot tub. I've never been in a hot tub while it was snowing and was definitely not going to miss out. I get in, shirt on of course, and I guess the shirt I was wearing never went through a proper rinse cycle in the wash. I basically turned the hot tub into a gigantic detergent bubble bath. Epic fail.  ::)

Linkback: https://www.gynecomastia.org/forum/index.php?topic=23244.0
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 06:18:19 PM by ontheway »

Offline morpheus11

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thanks for sharing your story with us. believe me, we all have had our battles with gynecomastia. I'm also in Texas, so I do KNOW how brutally hot it can get--especially when you're layered up in shirts.

My question to you, have you found a surgeon yet?

Also, thanks for sharing your worst memory of gyne with us.  That story was really funny.


Offline Raider Fan

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Welcome to gyne.org, ontheway. 

Congrats on your scheduled surgery.  I'm sure going to a surgeon like Dr. Jacobs is very comforting to you.  I know it would be to me.  I think going to a doctor you have confidence in is very important.  To go to someone who is one of the best in the world at what they do.....it just doesn't get any better than that! 

Good luck and let us know how things work out for you!

Offline ontheway

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Thanks for the kind words! I decided to go with Dr. Jacobs in NYC and am scheduled to have surgery with him at the end of June. I'm so anxious for these next few weeks to pass.

Offline agarcia3

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hey whats up I was reading ur story and its really similar to what happened to me lol and im actually been waiting a month to get surgery and Im finally having it on friday :) Im from texas too and I understand how hard it is to hide it...i actually have my compression tanks that ive been using for two years already but  its very unconfortable to be all squeezed on those things lol hey but they helped me a lot lol so I will get back from surgery on saturday cause im getting it on mexico amd ill let u know how was it :)

Offline cdblc

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Great story, and good luck with the surgery. I am 39 and finally had it done, Although my condition really didn't start to develop until I hit 30. I just had the surgery about 3 weeks ago and I will tell you, it feels great knowing it's finally gone. I can't stop looking at this new change and think, why didn't I do this sooner. Nevertheless I did and it was worth it. One thing I will tell you is to ask your doctor about drains. I have heard they are a nightmare, and take a while to have removed. I live in NY and went to a gynecomastia pro outside of the city. It was quick and easy and not as expensive as what i have heard NYC charges. Good luck and just think it will be all better soon and you can move on with your life.

Offline ontheway

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agarcia3 - Please keep me posted on how your surgery goes. Good luck!

cdblc - Congrats on your recent surgery! I'm so anxious to have the procedure done and get on with my life. I literally feel like I'm getting a second shot to be the person I want to be. It's hard to fathom really.


 

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