Joanna, 44, is a doting mum of four. “My eldest is 20 and my youngest is 7 now,” she smiles. “I breast fed each of my children, which I loved – I wanted to give them the best start in life. And I did! But I guess I sacrificed my breasts as a result. I was a B cup before I had my kids, which reduced to an A cup afterwards. My breasts weren’t as full or as firm as before. However, I feel honoured that I got the chance to feed my children naturally. I’d do it again and again, even now, regardless of the cost of losing the part of me I truly liked – my breasts.”
An active person who looks after her body, Joanna goes to the gym regularly, but exercising didn’t help. “The changes that had taken place in my breasts couldn’t be undone through exercise,” she says. “I’ve always considered myself to be quite body confident, but when I looked in the mirror, I wanted to hide my top half rather than showing it off. While I would wear a bikini, I didn’t feel happy about it and would avoid showing my chest if I could.”
Joanna took time to consider her surgery options – four years, to be precise! “I thought about it and thought about it, again and again. Although I’d mentioned the possibility of having breast enlargement to some people I knew, several said that I should just be content with how I looked naturally. But I just wasn’t happy in myself, so I started to do more research and think about it more in depth. I knew it was serious surgery, and I’m quite scared of pain – I don’t have a high pain threshold – but I figured that it couldn’t be worse than giving birth, and I’d managed that four times!”
It was a visit to her hairdresser that finally led Joanna to decide to go ahead with a breast augmentation procedure. She recalls, “I mentioned to her that I was considering breast enlargement and she recommended Transform Hospital Group, because she’d had treatment there herself. I looked at the website, and made my decision in one day – I even chose the surgeon I’d like to perform the operation! The time for thinking was over. It was time to just go for it.”
Having filled out the website’s enquiry form, Joanna received a call the following day from Transform to discuss the treatment in more detail. “I was so excited,” she says. “I asked for my surgery to be scheduled as quickly as possible, and I got a date within 4 weeks.”
The next step was for Joanna to travel to her local Transform clinic in Cardiff for a consultation with her surgeon, Mr Khalil. “He is an amazing man! He listed all the advantages and risks of breast augmentation so that I had the details I needed to make my decision. Most important for me was the size my new breasts would be, and he reassured me that he wouldn’t make me look unnatural. He totally put me at ease. I decided on under the muscle implants and I was aiming to have a nice, natural D plus cup afterwards.”
As Joanna prepared for her operation, she was supported by her partner. “He said it was my body and my decision to make – although he loved how I looked naturally, he knew how much it was affecting my confidence.”
On the day of her surgery, Joanna was chauffeur-driven by a Transform driver from her home in Wales to Burcot Hall Hospital near Birmingham. “The driver was lovely, so that helped me relax a bit as I was still a bit concerned about how much pain I might experience!”
On arrival at Burcot Hall, Joanna’s mind was put at rest further by the staff she met. She says, “The nurses and other staff members were all amazing to me - so lovely and so caring. I had a really nice time in the hospital from start to finish.”
One of the possible complications that had been explained to Joanna at her surgeon consultation was haematoma, where blood collects and pools under the skin. “I listened carefully to what he was saying at the time, because I tend to think that if something has a chance of happening, it’s going to happen to me!” she laughs. “And this time I was right – I was one of the small percentage of people to experience a haematoma after surgery. I noticed that something wasn’t quite right when I was in bed afterwards, and I was quickly whisked back into theatre for an additional procedure.”
After spending the night at Burcot Hall, Joanna was driven back home. “It was great to be able to chill out on the journey,” she says. “So relaxing!”
Joanna followed her aftercare plan to the letter and visited the Cardiff clinic every 3 weeks after her breast augmentation. She remembers, “I received amazing aftercare and the clinic staff looked after me so well post-op. A few months down the line, though, I felt that I might be experiencing more pain than was normal. I’d been Googling, which is the worst thing you can do, because the smallest problem starts to seem like the biggest one! I called the clinic and made an appointment, and they really put my mind at ease.”
Joanna is thrilled at how her recovery has gone. “I had my incisions checked a few days ago, and they’ve healed so well that when I stand in front of the mirror with no bra on, I have no visible scars.
“I feel that there have only been positive changes from my breast augmentation, and I know that I did it for the best reasons. My self esteem is back on track, so I’d say that any woman who felt the way I did should think seriously about treatment. I’m happy within myself now. My 20-year-old son recently said to me that he hadn’t realised how much it meant to me until after the operation – he loves the smile that’s on my face these days.
“Social media is stuffed with young girls or women who have large breasts after their augmentation procedures, unfortunately often for the wrong reasons. And it really can make you feel awful about how you look. But when you consider having surgery for good reasons – like in my case, after years of breast feeding – there’s nothing wrong about it at all. When you do it only for yourself, to get your confidence back on track and to make yourself happy - there’s nothing more important than that.”
Joanna continues, “Before my procedure, the surgeon said to me that he’d make me look natural, and as a mature woman, that was what I wanted. He did deliver on his promise, and I feel like I’ve got the real me back - I’m a D plus cup these days, and I’m delighted with my results! My only regret is that I left it so late - I do wish I’d decided to have breast augmentation earlier.
“But when I did go ahead, I did it for me, and no one else. Now when I look in the mirror, I’m smiling back, rather than being stressed about covering up my top half.”
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