What Is My Life Like Without Boobs?

Two words: freaking awesome.

It’s been over nine months since I had my double mastectomy and my life has changed in some subtle but also significant ways. My life without boobs is everything I’d dreamed it would be, but there were also some surprises along the way, as I imagined there would be when getting this major surgery.

So what is my life like without boobs? How have things changed? Is anything the same?

I’m More Confident

I actually feel like my body represents me now, at least much more than it did. I’m so much more confident in my appearance. Before, I would wear big flowy tops and dresses to hide my chest because I hated it so much. This summer, I actually bought my first form-fitting clothes in years.

I love wearing tight tops to show off my chest, and it feels so good to just be out there in the world without my boobs. My breasts always felt like a hindrance. There was never a time when they didn’t feel like a hindrance. Without them, I feel sexy, confident, and bold.

I’m still learning to be confident without a shirt on. This summer, I went for a run when it was hot outside, and after three miles into the run, I really just wanted to take my shirt off.

But something stopped me. I was worried about people seeing me and what they would think. Then I thought, “The whole point of you getting this surgery was so that you’d feel more like yourself and more confident—who cares what they see or say or think?”

So the shirt came off. About five minutes later, I ran into one of my aunts, who lives on the road I was running on. She didn’t know about my surgery and I self-consciously threw my tank top over one of my shoulders, which almost covered one of my scars. But the other one was still visible.

We chatted for a couple minutes and she didn’t say anything about the fact that I was topless and no longer had boobs. So it went ok. But, being one of my nicest and kindest aunts, even if she did say something, I doubt it would have been anything that made me feel bad.

Mostly I think it just feels weird to be walking (and running, ha) around completely topless after having breasts for nearly 20 years. I hope by next summer I won’t think twice about taking my shirt off!

I Can Actually Breathe When I Run

Speaking of running.

I’ve been a runner for the last 13 years and wore really tight sports bras to keep my chest from moving when I ran. Like, my breasts were DD’s and I would buy A-cup sports bras and wear them.

Yeah. Don’t ask me how I got those bras on.

It also affected my ability to take a deep breath when running. Over the last decade, I’ve probably run thousands of miles in tight-ass sports bras. I didn’t realize how much I couldn’t breathe until I ran without a bra on. WOW!

It’s incredible to be out there feel unhindered by my body and just moving comfortably and confidently in the world. I feel so much less weighed down by my boobs when exercising, not to mention I love the way my chest looks after doing upper-body workouts 🙂

I’m Insanely More Comfortable

Fuck bras. I can’t believe I lived wearing a bra for so long. I LOVE not having to worry about bras or how my breasts look in clothing. It’s like not having hair and not having to decide what to do with it. Freaking awesome.

It’s so comfortable to just put on whatever I want and leave the house feeling confident because there aren’t any boobs, there’s no bra, and it just my chest meets the world. I knew I’d be more comfortable without my breasts (mentally and physically), I just didn’t know how much more comfortable. The answer is INSANELY. I’m insanely more comfortable!

Sex Is Different

So I expected my sex life to be a little different after getting my breasts removed, and I’m still navigating this department of my post-boob life. Not having anything there to touch is just a little weird after having boobs for the last two decades.

That being said, I 100% feel like my sex life has improved since the boobs are gone. How could it not? I feel more comfortable, more confident, and unhindered. How’s that for sexy?

I occasionally ask my husband if he misses my boobs and he says “a little”, which is weird because sometimes I miss them a little too. For the most part, our sex life has been frickin hot since I got rid of those obscene lumps on my chest.

People Stare at My Chest

So this doesn’t happen all the time, but I have definitely been out several times and have full-on caught people staring at my chest when I’m wearing a tight shirt.

Instead of feeling self-conscious, I think it’s hilarious. In my head, I think, “You can look all you want, there’s nothing there!” and then I prance away giggling to myself. It doesn’t make me self-conscious at all. In fact, I feel like it makes me more confident since it’s a feature about myself that I love now.

I didn’t get nipple grafts with my mastectomy, so my chest is just two lines of scar tissue where my boobs used to be (and some gross spots where I got two moles removed that are still healing!). So I can imagine people staring at my chest in a skin-tight shirt and not seeing any nipples or anything and wondering what is going on. Tee hee.

I Can’t Wear Tube Tops Anymore

This might sound dumb, but I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be able to wear tube tops after my mastectomy. I truly didn’t realize that my breasts were what was holding up tube tops that whole time. Wow.

So when I got my mastectomy and healed up and summer came and I tried to wear some of my favorite dresses and tube tops, I couldn’t. I had to get rid of one of my favorite dresses that I got for free at Charlotte Russe like 15 years ago because it literally fell off of me.

I did buy a tube top that actually stays up on my chest and looks nice, but it’s an extra small and I have trouble (like, lots of trouble) getting it on and off. If anyone has any tips for wearing tube tops and dresses post-mastectomy, I’m all ears!

I’m Happier

I knew getting my breasts removed would make me happier, but I didn’t realize how free and confident I would feel.

Making the decision to get this procedure wasn’t easy, and going through with it wasn’t easy, and healing wasn’t easy.

It wasn’t easy to know I’d never have boobs again, and to not know what that would be like.

It wasn’t easy to know I was unconscious for two and half hours while a stranger sliced off parts of my body in a room full of people I didn’t know.

It wasn’t easy to know that my life would be different, and I didn’t know exactly how.

It wasn’t easy to pay so much money to not know exactly what the outcome would be, or exactly how I would look.

But I will say this: It was ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT. And I’d take that leap again in a heartbeat.

I’m currently pursuing a hysterectomy, which I hope to have by the end of this year, to complete my journey of removing body parts that I have always hated and wanted gone. I will definitely give an update about my process for pursuing this procedure as a gender-neutral person as well as my healing process when the time comes!

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me on my journey of making my body a more comfortable place for me to live!

The Five Stages of Grief and Plastic Surgery

I got plastic surgery five weeks ago. I was so excited about the surgery (I got an elective double mastectomy without nipple grafts—you can read the story here) that it didn’t seem to me that I could feel anything other than wildly excited about having my dream of not having breasts come true.

However, I had enough sense to know that I would likely experience many different emotions after the surgery—and not all of them would be positive.

As the surgery got closer, I became less excited and more anxious, despite knowing that I had made the right decision. Of course, I couldn’t anticipate the exact emotions that I would feel after the surgery. I was surprised by some of them. In the months before my surgery, I wondered: would I miss my breasts? Would I think I had made a huge mistake? What I went through was a little like the five stages of grief after my plastic surgery procedure.

Denial

It didn’t feel like my breasts were gone for a while after the procedure. It’s hard to explain this to people. I had two wounds on my chest after my surgery, two long incisions starting in the middle of my chest and extending to the end of each armpit. I had stitches. I didn’t feel “free” or unburdened by not having breasts anymore. Instead, I couldn’t lift my arms over my head and I had a bandage on that was wrapped so tight that I couldn’t take a deep breath.

For the first week, before the bandage came off and I got to see my new chest for the first time, I literally felt like I was wearing a corset and that my breasts were simply smushed underneath that white binder (it didn’t help that my chest was numb, so I couldn’t really feel anything).

In a way, it felt like I was in denial that I had just had major surgery and that both my breasts were gone. When the surgeon removed my bandages at my post-op appointment and I saw my new chest for the very first time, I finally realized that they weren’t there. They were gone forever.

Anger

Why did I do this to myself?

It was hard not to wonder this in the first week, where for two days, I was so nauseous from the anesthesia that I couldn’t walk to the bathroom by myself. Where I couldn’t even lift a glass to my mouth and had to drink from a straw. Where I cried and thought that it was stupid of me to have maxed out two new credit cards to pay for this elective procedure.

I felt mad simply at the fact that I wanted so badly to have my breasts removed that I had actually gone through with this expensive and life-changing procedure. It was hard not to feel like the whole thing had been a giant mistake. My husband was very reassuring and told me my feelings were normal. After all, I couldn’t take a deep breath, bathe, or take care of my beautiful bunnies. It was natural that I’d be pissed, but at the time, it was hard to not be hard on myself.

Bargaining

What if I had gotten a different procedure done? The surgeon had asked me if I considered a breast reduction or another surgery such as a breast lift to “correct” my breasts. But my desire to get my breasts removed wasn’t about the way they looked; it was about the way I felt, and I just wanted them completely gone.

Should I have gotten a double mastectomy? Maybe removing my breasts wasn’t the right decision. Maybe I would miss them one day. Maybe I would find that, years from now, I would want to live my life as a woman with boobs.

I know this isn’t quite like the traditional bargaining stage of grief, but it’s difficult not to wrestle with yourself and consider if you might have taken another path. What I was facing in that moment—a lifetime with a new body that I was still getting used to—felt unbearable in a weird way, and thinking about alternatives to my decision was a result of that.

Depression

This is the part where I cried and told Ian (my husband) that I was afraid he wouldn’t love me anymore. Ian has always been amazing and so reassuring. We had so many conversations about my decision to remove my breasts, and have talked a lot about my feelings about my breasts over our 10 years of knowing each other and our two years of marriage.

I think what got to me was that almost every single person I told about the surgery asked about Ian first.

“What does Ian think?”

“Is Ian ok with this?”

“Did Ian know you were thinking about doing this before you got married?”

“I feel bad for Ian.”

After the surgery, I was feeling very emotional and experiencing a lot of feelings and I think I didn’t allow myself the space to acknowledge how much it had affected me that so many people had asked about Ian’s feelings about my body. News flash: Ian didn’t marry me for my breasts, and it’s my body, not his.

But lying in bed on the third day after surgery, Ian held my hand while I cried and I told him that I was afraid he wouldn’t love me anymore or find me attractive. I finally gave myself space to process these feelings. He was reassuring and we talked about our feelings, but I still felt depressed that not only was I recovering from major surgery, but that I had made a decision that I couldn’t take back (not that I wanted to take it back, but there’s something very sobering about making a decision that you can’t change).

Acceptance

I saw my new chest for the first time a week after the surgery. I was lying back on the chair in the exam room at my plastic surgeon’s office while the surgeon and an assistant unwrapped my bandages. There was a part of me that felt like my breasts were going to pop out after they unwrapped the bandages. I watched, looking down as the last bandage was removed and my new chest felt the cold air for the first time. “Welcome to your new chest,” the surgeon said.

It was strange looking down and seeing how small my chest looked. My breasts were a DD cup, and I had some fat around them, so I had also had liposuction during the procedure to prevent “dog ears”—pockets of fat left in the armpit area after a double mastectomy, as they’re known in the transgender community.

When I saw my new chest, I was amazed at how good it looked. Like I’d been dreaming for the past 15 years. Yes, I had stitches and purple marker and some blood around the wounds, but this was how I had wanted to look for so long. When I saw my new chest, I felt acceptance blooming in my heart, a love for something I could have only imagined in my other life.

It’s only been a little over a month, but I love my new chest. I’m still processing all the feelings that I’m experiencing as a result of choosing to get my breasts removed at age 30. But as I navigate my new body and my new life, I’m grateful to be able to say that my surgeon did an excellent job, the people in my life have been mostly encouraging and supportive, and I’m very happy with my new body.