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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Should She Get Surgery?

Hi Bro Jo,

I'm thinking about having surgery for health a problem I have.

The reason I would have the surgery is I can't play sports, exercise etc.

I was wondering If you though I should go ahead and have the surgery or If I should make it through the rest of this life here on earth miserable?

Please reply back as soon as possible.

- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

In general I don't think I'm the person anyone should be asking for surgical advice.

That's between a person, their doctor, and the Lord.

Parents can offer wise and inspired council, of course, too.

But something about what you say, and don't say, made me think that I might have a guess as to what type of surgery you have in mind, and I can see where that might overlap into a "Dear Bro Jo"-type question.

(Related Tangent:  Readers may recall a recently hotly-debated topic both on the Facebook page and in a post here where Bro Jo agreed with a reader that her friend should not choose to have Elective Surgery at a young age, and I can see where my comments on that might seem in contrast to the "I don't think I'm the person anyone should be asking for surgical advice" line above.

Let me explain.

I see elective surgery - specifically non-medically necessary plastic surgery - as an issue of how one sees one's body image, how they assess their self-worth, and the decision to have something done at a very young age - particularly before one's body is fully developed - not as a medical issue, but rather a moral one.

If one wants to alter their body because they think it will make them more attractive, I think that should wait.  If one wants to alter their body because they're in actual pain, I think that's a medical issue.

I hope you can all see and accept the difference.

- Bro Jo)

I shared the contents of your email with Sister Jo (although not your name) and she came up with the same guess I did.

We think you might be talking about "breast reduction surgery". (We both have relatives who have expressed similar feelings and concerns to yours, and that's the surgery they have considered.)

If that's the case, my thinking is that you should be sure that it won't create any breast feeding issues in the future. (Did you know that pregnancy and breast feeding can change - including reduce - the size of your breasts?)

I'd also suggest that you consider an honest assessment of your diet first. Reducing your sugar, fat, and carbohydrate intake could make a significant difference. So could reducing your overall daily calories.

I'm going through a process where I'm trying to re-educate myself about food, and as part of that I've brought my calorie count in line with what it should be. I lead a mostly sedentary life, but over time (and it has taken a LONG time) I've lost 50 pounds.

I don't know your diet or shape, so I don't mean to comment on that, but I am saying that before committing to something as expensive and evasive as surgery I'd explore all of my options first.

Sister Jo says "do it".

She understands how being drastically disproportionate "on top" can make a woman miserable.

She offers the same suggestions I did, and emphasizes that this should be a matter of prayerful consideration, but she also underlines how this situation can create chronic back pain and (as you mention) limit a woman's activity.

She also offers that many women don't wear, or even know how to select, a properly fitted bra.

Sister Jo says a good bra (which she says requires a fitting with a specialist) can make a lot of difference, and says that you may also want to consider that if you haven't already.

If we've guessed wrongly, then I fall back on "listen to your doctor, don't delay any life-saving surgery, and (as in all matters of importance) pray".

I hope that helps,

- Bro Jo

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