After years of pain, breast reduction surgery helps Lawrence woman ‘feel like a new person’
photo by: Contributed photos
Nikita Haynie was 12 the first time she was made to feel shame and embarrassment about her atypically large breasts. A teacher said she would need to wear more than a simple T-shirt or she’d have to leave the class.
Boys were being distracted.
It wasn’t just about teachers or boys, though. Haynie felt self-conscious when she would go shopping with friends. Clothes – of any size – didn’t fit well. Bras weren’t easy to find, and those that fit certainly weren’t pretty.
But girls and women frequently are taught, either consciously or unconsciously, to live with these feelings, and that’s what Haynie did.
“I have always been very top-heavy … but what brought me to the point to think about breast reduction surgery was when I started experiencing some very significant back and neck pain,” said Haynie, the assistant director of sorority and fraternity life at the University of Kansas.
In her late 20s and living in Georgia in 2014, Haynie went to see her physician about the possibility of surgery, but the doctor told her she would need to lose weight before breast reduction would be considered.
The theory is that a woman would want to be at her ideal weight before having the surgery so that her breasts would always look proportional to the rest of her body. But in fact, most women who suffer from macromastia, or excessively large breasts, don’t lose or gain weight in their breasts in proportion with overall weight fluctuations.
Haynie put breast reduction on the back burner, but after moving to Lawrence in 2016, with her pain as bad as ever, she went to a chiropractor in search of relief.
Two years of therapy helped the pain, she said, “but it didn’t really alleviate it.” By then, Haynie had even developed migraine headaches because of the stress and strain on her back, shoulder and neck.
That’s when she Googled “breast reduction” and “Lawrence” and came up with Dr. Scarlett Aldrich.
Haynie scheduled a consultation, and within moments after the appointment began, Haynie said, Aldrich told her she should have a breast reduction.
That procedure took place this past November, and Haynie’s insurance covered it completely. She went from a 38DDD/40DD to a 38C, she said.
Despite her desire for relief, Haynie said she was initially terrified about the surgery. Besides the uncertainty about what she would look like, she had never been under general anesthesia before.
After the surgery, “it took maybe a month for me to get used to it,” she said, “but I am very pleased with the results.”
The biggest benefit was evident within hours of the surgery – no more back pain, she said.
“I instantly noticed that,” Haynie said. “The back pain and pressure was gone immediately.”
She did have pain from the surgery, of course, but even that was unexpectedly mild.
“The first week was probably the roughest,” she said, “but I was actually surprised that I wasn’t in more pain that first week. After that, it was more soreness than pain.”
In the three months since her surgery, Haynie has had other welcome surprises, too.
“Something that really surprised me was just how, instantly, how much smaller I looked,” she said. “Having large breasts made me appear bigger than I was.
“Also, being able to wear bras in different colors” is a joy, Haynie said. “When you have really large breasts, they don’t make the cute bras in those sizes.”
Less-tangible changes have also made an enormous difference.
“I feel like I’m the same person, but I feel like a new person, kind of, too,” Haynie said. “This has helped me with my body image. … I was always very self-conscious. (But now) I’m more confident in my body and how I look.”
Surgery might not be for everyone, Haynie said.
“I think if it’s something that you need to do to alleviate pain, then definitely do it,” she said. But “do it for you; don’t do it for anybody else.”
“For any woman considering having the surgery and you’re hesitant,” Haynie said, “just know that you’re beautiful regardless.”