Where do I begin with this story? Gynecomastia affects more than 50% males world-wide. Odds are that you or somebody you know has it. And to make matters worse, doctors don’t really know what causes it. In bodybuilding, we automatically assume somebody got it from using a steroid that aromatizes like test and dbol, or, if you’re really unlucky, a progesterone induced case from tren or deca. But the truth is, just about anything can cause male breast tissue to grow. I developed my gynecomastia long before I ever took my first shot of test or blew up 30lb with dbol.
Gyno is one of the taboo subjects around most guys. No red-blooded man wants to have a better set of boobs than his girlfriend or wife. I was like many guys out there who had a larger chest than they wanted. At first I had what they call ‘pseudo gynecomastia’ because as a kid I was a little chubby growing up. By high school I had leaned out quite a bit, but puberty caused itchy nipples and a lump under both sides. I didn’t know what exactly caused this problem, but I knew I hated it and had to hide it at all costs. Eventually I would find ads in the back of Flex Magazine from a plastic surgeon named Dr. Nadler. At the time he was the only doctor that I knew of talking about male breast reduction surgery. Unfortunately, at 16 years old, with no money, and too embarrassed to tell my parents or family doctor, getting cosmetic surgery seemed like a lifetime away from becoming a reality.
Ashamed and financially strapped, I thought the best thing to do would be to get as lean as possible and work my butt off in the gym with hopes that my pecs would overpower anything that resembled puffy nipples. That definitely didn’t work. My chest got leaner and I was a powerhouse on the bench press; but the gyno was still there. At that age I had a lack of education behind what was actually going on underneath my skin, and it wasn’t until I was in my mid 20’s that I learned that you can’t diet gyno away. Gynecomastia is actually made up of fibrous glandular tissue that can only be corrected through surgery. All of the dieting, supplements, and internet experts telling me letrozole would reverse the problem were never going to work.
After college I remembered how excited I was to get a job and finally start saving money for a future surgery. Soon I came to realize that most health insurance providers don’t offer coverage on guys needing male breast reduction surgery. Until I could save up enough money for surgery my only choice was to learn to live with the gyno a little longer. But living with gyno was something I had dealt with most of my life. As a kid I avoided the beach, water parks, and those dreadful shirts vs. skins basketball games. Then later on as an adult, although I had much more control over my environment, I still couldn’t stand what I saw in the mirror; especially for a narcissistic hobby-builder like myself.
Fast-forward to January of this year. At this point I had been writing for RxMuscle for almost two months and both Dave and Aaron had always been very helpful and honest with me. I knew if I ever had a question they would be there to give advice or an opinion. On a whim one night, doing research on a column, I decided to write Palumbo an email. Like most guys who have gynecomastia, it is basically something that crosses your mind at least once a day, every day. I remembered that he and John Romano once did a video series for Muscular Development where Romano had his gyno excised by Dr. Mordcai Blau. Up until that video piece, I had never heard of Dr. Blau. As it turns out he’s the go-to-guy in the field of male breast reduction surgery. After a bit of research I learned that Dr. Blau had performed over 300 gynecomastica surgeries in 2012. My wheels began to turn and in my email to Dave I asked him if there was any way he could set me up with a consultation with Dr. Blau. Dave replied right away and had a great idea in mind that I could help out Dr. Blau with a project he was working on to help offset some of the expenses related to have the surgery performed.
Naturally I was very excited and told Dave I would love to help out with anything I could. The following morning he sent me another email telling me that he had spoken to Dr. Blau and wanted me to call his office to discuss what he had in mind. Without hesitation I called Dr. Blau’s office in New York and was greeted by his office assistant, Mary Anne. Any anxiety I had to speak with a doctor about my issue was quickly wiped away with her comforting nature. Within a minute she had me patched into Dr. Blau’s office and the two of us spoke for about 30 minutes going over a few things that I may be able to help him out with. By the end of the conversation I had set up an appointment to meet with him and do my initial consultation on my gyno – all within 3 days of the first email I sent to Dave!
After the call, I had my fiancé book my flight on Saturday morning, January 12th to New York. I was up at 4am to catch a 6:50 plane for my noon appointment. Luckily, traveling went smooth and I headed straight to his office. Dr. Blau doesn’t work on Saturday so this was quite the special arrangement for me to meet with him. We went into his office and he examined my chest. He noticed where my problem areas were and assured me he had dealt with several bodybuilders who had similar issues as mine. After He and I spoke, we walked to a local deli, ate lunch, and I grabbed a cab back to the airport to fly back home.
Once I made it back to Florida I couldn’t wait to schedule my surgery date. There were a few things I had to do to for Dr. Blau, plus get my blood work done, and find an opening in my schedule and his to fit me in for surgery. On March 10th, two months after emailing Dave for advice and help, I was on a plane with my fiancé to head to New York. Finally! I was about to have the surgery I had wanted since I was a teenager. This was the surgery that was almost 20 years in the making. This was the surgery that was going to change my life.
In part 2 of My Story – Gynecomastia Surgery, find out how surgery went, what hurt like hell, and how my chest is feeling 3 months post-op. If you’re thinking about getting this surgery, you won’t want to miss the rest of my experience.
As always you can follow me on Twitter @MattMeinrod or read my archived articles on www.mattmeinrod.com