Giving Tuesday: Sydney Stewart’s Story

Categories: Giving Tuesday

The summer between my sophomore year and junior year of high school I had a breast reduction. I was a size E, which meant my boobs were about the size of a cantaloupe or small watermelon. My breasts sagged down to my bellybutton, and I would frequently develop infections on the skin underneath my breasts. The infections were itchy and painful. I would use anti-fungal foot spray in an attempt to try to rid myself of the infections, but the infections would always come back no matter what I did. My posture was poor, and it was difficult to exercise. In order to be comfortable, I would have to wear three sports bras to the gym, an it was difficult to run, nevertheless, exercise.

In order to find a bra that fit, I would have to either go to specialty shops or shop at old lady stores. Finding clothing was also a struggle: I had to choose loose fitting clothing to accommodate my chest. The size of my breasts affected my everyday life, my lifestyle. They caused discomfort and health complications. My Mom proposed the idea I should get a breast reduction at the beginning of my sophomore year. We visited a couple of doctors. The appointments required me to take off my shirt, and have doctors, all male, touch and assess my breasts for how much they could remove, and how they would lift my breasts. I was fifteen.

While I was not uncomfortable by the doctors, it was not an optimal situation to be in. After a couple doctors visits we decided on a doctor, Dr. Spiro. The surgery was scheduled for August. However, since I was under the age of 18, my insurance did not cover the surgery. I was very lucky to have a family that was supportive of my very necessary surgery, and able to financially support me.

Having the breast reduction surgery completely changed my life. There was a literal weight off of my chest. The infections I had experienced completely cleared up, and have never come back since. My posture has since improved, and I have an easier time finding bras and clothing. Exercising was much easier, and I lost a lot of weight. I also had more confidence. I think there needs to be more discussion on breast reductions and the effects on young girls lives. No woman should ever have to experience the discomfort and persistent infections that I did.

Insurance should cover breast reductions regardless of age. A change in policy, and more leniency regarding the criteria for breast reductions should be discussed in our government. Breast reductions are not just unnecessary plastic surgeries to look better, they are so much more. Working with Platform can help me share my experiences to help open a conversation about how women are affected by healthcare restrictions. By sharing my story through Platform, I hope to empower young women to seek solutions to health issues that will improve their lives, like my surgery did mine.