Tonic Talks is a new blog series we are launching. In this series we sit down and talk to our Tizz gals about a range of topics, primarily focusing on a certain experience they’ve been through. This is our first post in this series where we talk to Jenny - a Tizz chick since 2018 - about her recent breast reduction surgery.
Recently, I had the chance to sit down with Jennifer and chat to her about her breast reduction surgery. You’ve probably seen this fiery femme in on our Instafeed and website - Jenny has been modeling and repping Tizz since way back in the day.
At Tizz & Tonic we are big Jenny fans. There are posters of her up around the studio from our various photoshoots and when she pops by for a visit, it’s always a good time (sometimes she even bakes us cupcakes). As breast reduction surgery has actually been a topic for a handful of our Tizz wearers, we were really happy that Jennifer agreed to give us a little insiders scoop on her experience.
Imke: Let’s get started! So Jenny, in the Fall of 2019 (shortly after we shot our Fall Collection in a taco bar together) you underwent a breast reduction surgery or 'Brustverkleinerung-Operation' in German. Today we’re here to talk about it.
I remember on set of the 'Girls Day Out' video shoot in the Summer of 2019 you were talking about your approval process and waiting on a potential date. And now it’s all done - how did your journey unfold?
Jenny in our 'Girls Day Out' Video Shoot (pre-operation)
Jenny: Before I got the actual appointment for a breast reduction surgery, I thought about it for about a year. I’m 20 years old and from my early teenage years my boobs just kept growing and growing. I was experiencing different issues every day so I started to think about a breast reduction and visited my gynecologist and doctor to talk about my options.
After some consultation they sent me to the hospital to meet the surgeon who would eventually do the whole procedure. She asked lots of questions and of course we talked about the inconveniences I was experiencing because of the size of my breasts. A topic that came up and one that was an important factor for me was that I just couldn’t really work out anymore because of the heavy weight of my boobs. I was always sort of getting pulled forward and I actually felt like I couldn’t breathe properly. Even some basic everyday activities like walking or lying on the bed was a big problem because I was always constantly uncomfortable.
She took some photos and all of my measurements and sent that to my insurance who approved the request for an operation.
After all of the approval stuff was out of the way, the surgeon and I talked about to which size I wanted to go down to. At the time I was about a size 70H and now I'm a size 70C. I think about 500 grams was removed!
Imke: Almost the same weight as a loaf of good German bread! That is quite a difference. Tell me about the recovery time. How long did the whole recovery process take?
Jenny: The recovery time in total was about 8 to 12 weeks, somewhere around that. Post-operation I stayed in the hospital for 3 or 4 days. A friend of mine also had a breast reduction surgery a year prior and she told me that if I walked around a lot certain fluids would move through my body faster and I would be able to go home sooner. So I would walk around hospital constantly which was really exhausting! Just after I was released and getting driven home, I had to put my scarf between me and the seatbelt because the pressure was too much. The home recovery was a bit tough - I laid in bed for about a week, because everything was very tiring - even just getting up to go to the toilet was fatiguing. After about two weeks I was able to walk around ‘normally’ again. Then after 12 weeks I could work out again.
Imke: After the surgery how did you feel? Did you experience any ‘Phantom sensations’ so to speak - like when you feel that something is there but isn’t?
Jenny: I didn’t have those sensations but I did actually freak out a little bit after I had the surgery. The first couple of days when I was home was really weird, especially when I was lying down because I wasn’t used to seeing my own stomach. It was just very different. My body was different.
And of course, I was miserable because of the pain. The painkillers I was prescribed made me feel worse due to nausea and feeling wobbly on my feet. So I didn't take them. But ultimately, and especially after the pain eased up I was - and still am - thankful that I went through the surgery.
I mean the whole experience in a way was strange but it didn’t actually take too long to get used to it. The first time I took pictures in my underwear for the #showusyourtizz campaign was weird because I had only seen pictures of me in Tizz & Tonic pre-operation and not post-operation. That was kind of the first time actually taking pictures and seeing myself like that. It was strange, but also very great.
Pre-operation Tizz Shoot wearing size S:
Post-operation Tizz Shoot also wearing size S but with a better fit!
Imke: How has your confidence level been affected by the change?
Jenny: It’s complicated. I'm thin and I had big boobs. As silly as it sounds, it’s kind of the dream for a lot of young girls. At first I was very happy about my natural structure, because I got a lot of compliments. I felt that I looked good and felt pretty confident, but then as my boobs continued to grow and I just felt like my proportions were kind of off. For me personally, I thought it looked strange. Maybe other people didn't think about it like that, but I did.
I love going out dancing but pre-operation I felt like I couldn’t really wear what I wanted to without getting a lot of attention from men or even friends commenting on my body.
Even though before it didn't necessarily look bad, I always knew that people were kind of looking at my body because my boobs were just so present. Now, post-operation, everything just feels like it fits to my proportions and just walking around either in like crop tops or tighter shirts feels better.
Imke: What about clothing shopping? What’s changed?
Jenny: Oh man, shopping for clothes was always a nightmare. It came to the point that I just couldn’t find any t-shirts or dresses that would fit me. I thought to myself, ‘ What can I even wear?’ Nothing was fitting me properly - finding something to fit around my chest, shoulders and waist was kind of impossible. I’m tall with broad shoulders so it still isn’t easy, but at least now I have a chance!
Imke: Yah tricky stuff, especially if you just need basics. I only shop secondhand and it's really hard to find clothes that fit me because I'm shorter and smaller than the average German woman - sometimes it looks like I'm wearing like grandpa's coat!
Anyways, I know you were/are teaching Zumba. What’s fitness like for you now?
Jenny: There’s a big positive difference now! Before the operation, sports were getting harder to do because of the whole ‘boob situation’. Everything bounced around even though I was wearing really hardcore sports bras. I even wore these sports bras for everyday activities but then those bras eventually stopped holding everything in. And now I can do all of the things I used to love again without thinking about it! It’s really great.
Imke: Were your friends and family supportive of your decision for a breast reduction?
Jenny: I don't think anyone even asked me why I wanted to get the surgery. Well, maybe my grandma, but only because she was worried that the surgery could bring complications. I explained everything to her and then she was totally supportive too. My boyfriend and my mom took care of me during the weeks following the surgery. I had support from my family and friends and that was really helpful.
Imke: What about scarring? What’s that like for you?
Jenny: At first my scars were really red - actually they are still not completely healed but they don’t hurt too much anymore. Sometimes when I put pressure on it, it hurts a little bit since the skin is thinner above my ribs but besides that they are there and they are healing! Around 5 or 6 months after the surgery, I just got impatient and wanted the scarring to be gone. My friend who also had the surgery the year before had very little signs of scarring - I think after 6 or 7 months you could barely see them anymore. And now for me one year later, they are still present and still healing. Of course I wasn’t expecting them to just magically vanish but now I'm actually happy that they are there, because this surgery and body change was just something that I went through and I am proud of it.
Imke: I think scars can be beautiful. A friend of mine had open-heart surgery when she was a baby - she is a tiny woman and has this big scar on her upper chest. When we were teens people would stare at it and I know it bothered her but I love it because that’s how I know her, it’s always been there and it’s a big part of who she is. With the scar comes a story about something that happened in your life, a story that belongs in your life. And I think that's beautiful.
Imke: So now you are on your way to becoming a physiotherapist! What's happening there?
Jenny: I have one year now where I'm just in school learning about everything from theory to practical massage and physiotherapy techniques. I'm very interested in the body and how it works. I’m in class for eight weeks and then I go to a hospital or clinic to work and learn hands on stuff. Right now we're learning how lungs work, how breathing works and the mechanics of all of that. Body stuff - I find it so fascinating!
Imke: And it’s important work too. The other day I realized that I didn’t even know where my liver is located in my very own body- good thing we have women like you coming up on the work force! Thank you so much Jenny for giving us a little insiders view of your breast reduction surgery. Now let’s shoot some Tizz and eat some cupcakes.
Full Girls Day Out Full Video:
Taco Party Full Video: