Misogyny in Health Care

zoe

Recently I met with the best breast reconstruction plastic surgeon in Salt Lake City, Utah to discuss a breast reduction. She specializes in breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, so it’s pretty safe to say she knows boobs.

I have been contemplating a breast reduction for at least 10 years. I’ve always been well-endowed in the chestal region, and everyone assured me that after I stopped nursing babies, they would deflate like a balloon and I would be left with two wrinkled raisins on my chest. Only that didn’t happen. Like about a 1/3rd of all mothers, my breasts have only gotten larger as I’ve had more children. What started out as a 34 D in my first pregnancy has become a 34 FF. Yep, I just dropped my numbers on y’all.

My sister had a breast reduction the summer before her senior year in High School (sorely needed) and wasn’t able to exclusively nurse her babies because of it. Because of her experience I wanted to wait until I was completely done having children and done nursing them before I pursued this option. Since the hubs had a vasectomy and we have 4 little offspring ruling our lives, it’s safe to say this womb is now closed. The milk factories have shut  down. It’s time to reduce the number.

The reasons why I would like a breast reduction are:

  1. None of your business but I will tell you anyway.
  2. Even though my breasts are NOT grossly large and disproportionate to my frame (and I’ve been told I carry them well many times – thank you, I spend a lot of money on good bras) I have severe neck and shoulder pain. I see a chiropractor twice a month to alleviate this and have seen one for 10 years now. I see a massage therapist twice a month, to deal with constant knots in my shoulders. Last Saturday when I saw him he said, “Marisa, what on earth did you do to your shoulders?” Nothing. I did nothing. They are always like this.
  3. I do the stretches, massages, stem treatments, adjustments, icing, and Ibuprofen that my chiropractor and massage therapist recommend to me every day. There is not a day where I’m not hunched over my computer where I don’t stop every 2 hours to stretch out my shoulders. And I’m in still near constant pain. I keep a tennis ball at my desk that I use to rub out the knots in my shoulders so that I can keep typing without crying. I have a high tolerance for pain, and I’m at the point where my tolerance is low.
  4. Like I said in #2, I buy really expensive bras. I can’t go in to Target or even Kohl’s and buy a bra off the rack. Nope, mostly I shop online from specialty stores. And the bras I buy are the exact opposite of cute. Function over form. It would be really nice to not have to spend $80+ on a bra that was comfortable and didn’t further worsen my back pain. AND don’t you even dare get me started on swimming suit tops.
  5. My posture is atrocious. Big chested women are not keen on keeping their shoulders back when their breasts already draw a lot of unwanted attention and comments. Also, it really hurts to keep my shoulders back and my spine straight when I got these big bags of flesh/fat/milk ducts/sin tissue weighing me down.
  6. I would like to wear a button up shirt for once in my life without it gaping. So sue me.

However, when my surgeon submitted the pre-authorization to my insurance it took them 3 weeks to get around to telling me that their doctor , who has no specialty in this area, and who is also a man who doesn’t have to deal with breasts, decided my surgery wasn’t medically necessary.

Good for you. I’m so glad a man with no expertise who gets paid a lot of money to deny claims has decided whether my quality of life is worth paying for. I’m glad he decided that the immense back/shoulder/neck pain I feel every day isn’t worth solving.

In 2011 the hubs had a bone impingement in his right hip. He wasn’t in excruciating pain all the time, but it was uncomfortable. The square joint was causing tears in his labrum and severely lessening his flexibility in his joint. The insurance didn’t even think twice about covering that surgery or his 6 weeks of physical therapy. It would have worsened and he would have had to have it addressed sooner or later, but it wasn’t a surgery he had been contemplating for over 10 years. No one ever stopped in the street to catcall him over his square hip joints. He didn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on comfortable pants. No one assumed he was a slut because of his square joints.

BUT I guess when it comes to a man’s comfort, well the insurance will just bend over backwards to make sure that’s taken care of. We can’t have a man suffer, while women are just expected to suffer. I mean, we push babies out of us sometimes with little to no medication, so what’s constant neck and shoulder pain for a woman? Nothing.

However, I’m not going down without a fight. I’ve already contacted the necessary doctors who are going to do their part in appealing this decision. I’ve already called my insurance and wrung ever little bit of information out of them that I can. I know my rights and they are hoping that I don’t and that I won’t raise a fuss. They don’t know me at all. They will rue the day a man with no expertise decided my breasts weren’t uncomfortable enough for me to live with a little less of.

Thing is, I pay over $500 a month for the privilege of having this insurance. Shouldn’t I get something out of it? Shouldn’t I say if this is bothering me my word should be good enough? Especially when uneducated people are making medical decisions for someone like me who deals with this every day.

I will have this surgery. I will get out of pain. And no one is going to stop me.

They will rue the day.

They don’t know ’bout me.

I will not go gentle into this good night.

Eff the Patriachy that has men making medical decisions for women. Eff it.

If a man’s testicles hung down to his knees, the insurance would approve in a heartbeat to get that taken care of. Why is it any different  for a woman?

Because misogyny in the Health Care System.

Boom.