I and Gynecomastia, 20 years
Note: This article contains mentions of body, sexual harassment and mental health. I tried to narrate, not portray them, however, some might still be difficult to read.
Until the day when the physician told me that I got gynecomastia, I never heard this term in my whole life. Gynecomastia was a totally stranger to me, though I had lived with it for almost 20 years.
I had never been aware of my enlarged breasts until I was 11. And the tragedy began on one normal school day, with folks gathered in the changing room, when I put off my shirt, a boy suddenly shouted out, “Look! He has the female breasts.” Everybody was stunned, and they stared at me as if I was some kind of freak. All boys were in their puberty, and were curious about anything related to sexuality. They intended to approach, to touch my breasts. I was scared; I hastily dressed up and ran away from them. This is the first time in my life I realise my body is different from other boys.
Now, I would tease myself as if Adam ate the apple in the Eden, and then he was shame on his nude. Before classmates found my breasts were abnormal, I hadn’t spent a second to think about them. I didn’t know what was gynecomastia. Just one thought was echoing in my mind, “you have female breasts!”. It sounds absurd! But the fact was I labelled myself as an abnormal person, not a person who gets the abnormal disease.
To make it simple, it causes man with enlarged breasts plus large nipples and areolae. Sometimes, gynecomastia is a symptom of several chronic diseases, such as kidney failure, liver cirrhosis. Nevertheless, most of the time, Gynecomastia is triggered by a decrease in the amount of the hormone testosterone compared with estrogen.
From that “awakening” day, I was suffering from numerous discriminations and humiliations that had lasted for 20 years, and it stemmed from my desire of being normal people. Nevertheless, I forget I am an individual who has his own characteristics, and “normal” is just collective consciousness.
When you have troubles, you go to family first. I am the youngest one in my family, and have one brother, two sisters. We were not close, but I thought I could still get some advices. They came up a conclusion that it was just a minor issue of puberty. Undeniably, they were correct. The level of hormone in our body would fluctuate during the puberty. Once the hormone testosterone back to the normal, the breasts will back to former size. I felt release for a while, and expected it would disappear later.
Boys often made fun of me. They mocked that my breasts were bigger than those porn stars. And for the girls, they were curious about them, but rarely discussed with me. They understood the enlarged breasts were my taboo. I had tried all my efforts to make them invisible to other people, also to myself.
My enlarged breasts are obstacles to my social activities. I seldom practiced sports; My swaying breasts attracted complicated attentions, including consternation, embarrassment, abomination and obscenity. Also, after I was humiliated in the public swimming pool, I had given up swimming and sunbathing on the beach. I became introverted, and didn’t want to join the others.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you shrink away from evil, it still can find the way invading to your life.
The first incident is I was bullied by a group of male classmates. Some boys in the school knew my “famous” abnormal breasts, and they sought the chance to take a peek. One day, after the PE lesson, in the changing room, they grabbed me and forced me naked, so they could check, examine my breasts one by one. I was overwhelming angry and humiliated, however, I didn’t report to the authority because I hated rumours. It is a chronic disease which constantly hurting you. I chose silent for hoping it would not happen again.
The second incident is a sexual harassment. I remembered I was alone in the playground, sitting on the swing. A stranger suddenly grabbed my breasts from the back. I was shocked, and cried for help. He didn’t release me at once, and kept saying dirty things. I realised that even I am a boy, my enlarged breasts could still be a lewd object to someone. Eventually, I escaped, but I blamed myself having such abnormal breasts, which seduced the offenders. My mind was totally twisted. I thought my bad fortune was provoked by my body.
Gynecomastia hadn’t disappeared along the ending of puberty. At around 24, I proactively consulted physicians for seeking a solution. In the early 90s, without world wide web, the medical information is terribly insufficient. I didn’t know if I could overcome this embarrassing disease. What I got from the physicians was the imbalance level of hormone testosterone. Therefore, I had started my hormone treatment until the side effects forced me to stop. Endless dizziness, nausea came with vomiting. My physician instructed me to pause the treatment. He stated that my gynecomastia only caused indecent appearance, and was harmless to my health. But continuous hormone treatment could lead to further unknown physical hazards. I had no choice but to accept his advices, and looked for the possibility of surgery.
At that period, I was frustrated of couldn’t get rid of gynecomastia, and fell into severe depression. I am an adult who graduated from college. I have a job, and I am financial independence. But gynecomastia is still hurting me. Even though I am physically healthy, my mentality is a mess that no one can detect from my look.
My confusion came to the end after I met a very respectful plastic surgeon. Besides physical health, he very concerned about my mental health, and he did quite a lot counselling with me. Almost 20 years passed, I finally met someone treated my gynecomastia seriously. He knew that the disease had brought so much inconvenience and pain to me. Counselling might be a protocol in advance of any plastic surgery, however, his patience and cares really help me confront my illness, not only gynecomastia, but also my rotten mentality.
Looking back these 20 years, I would say it is painful but also useful. I think we all build ourselves by every piece of our past. Now, when I share with the juvenile, I tell them to love everything about themselves, despite people treat you as a freak. Also, they should never ignore a tiny dust; it will contaminate your whole mind if you don’t seek help.
I and Gynecomastia, 20 years
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