Dani Markerson said her big chest has caused her physical health problems and left her suffering with anxiety and depression.
A young mum who claims her 36k breasts are ruining her life has been left despairing, after being turned down for a breast reduction operation on the NHS.
Just a slim size 12 from the waist down, pretty brunette Dani Markerson, 20, is forced to wear a size 18 on top, as her ample bust is so out of proportion with the rest of her and causes her extreme pain in her back, neck and knees.
She even had to quit her job as a soft play supervisor in October 2017 as she had to move around a lot and the strain put on her back by her breasts was too uncomfortable.
Devastated after being told two years ago, and again in March this year, by two GPs that she would not be referred for an NHS breast reduction because her problems were not serious enough to warrant funding, Dani, mum to Theo, aged eight months, of Caerphilly, South Wales, is now trying to save the £6,000 needed to go private.
Single Dani, who has split up with Theo’s dad but remains friends, said her boobs have been the bane of her life since she was 12 when they ‘grew overnight,’ attracting lurid comments from older men.
The pretty 5ft 7in brunette recalled: “When I was a teenager I’d walk to school in my uniform and men would stop and beep the horn, shouting at me to go home with them. The attention I got was disgusting. I would shout back at them, ‘I’m only 14,’ but they didn’t care.
“My mum actually ended up walking me to school – even when I was in secondary school. I would say to her, ‘Mum I’m a big girl now.’ She would say, ‘Yes, that’s the problem’.
“It’s more of a curse than a gift having boobs this big and I want people to know that I didn’t intentionally make them this size.
“The weight of my breasts is unreal and carrying them around is so painful. I’ve not actually weighed them, but I reckon they could weigh as much as a newborn baby.”
Dani said her breasts were at their most uncomfortable when she was pregnant, when they went up to a 36k and have never got any smaller.
She said: “When I was pregnant they became freakishly big and now they just won’t go down.
“They’ve always been very big for my frame but, over the last eight years, they’ve gradually grown from a 32D to a 36F and are still growing, despite the rest of me staying slim. I was hoping Theo would suck any life left in them out, by breastfeeding, but no, they’re not going anywhere.”
“I used to work as a play supervisor, but I had to give it up because of the strain on my back. I’d sit down and not be able to get back up again,” she continued.
“Doing PE at school was a nightmare – especially things like the long jump, because as soon as I landed they would bang in my face.
“It feels like I’m carrying heavy shopping bags around all the time. And it’s not like I can put them down.”
Dani says her breasts ‘popped up’ out of nowhere and by the age of 12 she was a D cup – leaving her with agonising back ache and making her neck swell up when she walks.
But her knees give her most problems, with the weight of her breasts putting so much strain on her joints that they have started to turn inwards, leaving her looking knock-kneed.
She says the added weight of pregnancy has caused them to start giving way, with a physiotherapist suggesting she may even need a double knee replacement op, despite being so young.
Dani said she explained her physical difficulties, as well as telling doctors she was suffering with anxiety and depression because of her huge breasts, yet she claims her case was not deemed serious enough to warrant NHS funding.
The stay-at-home mum explained: “I’ve spoken to two GPs who told me there would be no help from the NHS because they do not see it as a serious enough thing to spend money on. I explained the problem with my joints and they said joints do pop. I also told them that I have dips in my shoulders where my bra straps dig in. They said the NHS won’t fund a reduction unless you have serious health problems. I felt like they thought I was wasting their time.
“I want to go private but as a single mum it’s just not affordable for me. A reduction would cost about £6,000.”
Health chiefs said they do fund breast reduction operations across Wales, but only when it has been proved there is ‘significant pain or discomfort which affects daily activities and is not amenable to routine treatment,’ according to the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee.
Dani explained: “I’ve suffered from anxiety, stress and depression because of my breasts. My confidence has plummeted because I fear being judged. Whenever I go out I feel I’ve got 10 pairs of eyes on me.
“I try wearing baggier clothes. I’m a size 12 on the bottom and wear a size 18 on top, but there’s nothing hiding them.”
She continued: “Being pregnant meant I was even more off balance. My knees kept giving way and I couldn’t keep myself upright.”
Instead of being a sprightly young mum, Dani says she gets stuck when she bends down like an old woman.
“I bend down sometimes I get stuck and need help getting back up or I lose my balance and fall, as I’m so top heavy,” she said.
“When it comes to bras I have to go to an online retailer and order them specially.
“They cost £30 to £40 but only last five months, because the weight of my breasts breaks the clasps, the wire bends, the material stretches and develops holes.”
The stay-at-home mum also gave up going on holiday abroad when she was 16, because the attention she received was too much – with older men leering at her and spooking her family who were so worried for her, they would not leave her side.
Dani said: “It wasn’t just the men, there was a lot of negativity from women. People judge you thinking you must have had a boob job.
“Women would say, ‘look at the tits on that’ or ‘look at the state of that,’ while their boyfriends would stare. They would look at me like I was a piece of dirt. It was really embarrassing.
“People are quick to assume you will sleep with them because of having big boobs for some reason, too.”
She added: “At school I’d get called jugs, titsmagee, juggernauts, tits, slag and fat. It was horrible.
“And boys see someone with a chest like mine as a status symbol to have on their arm.
“Thankfully, the boyfriends I’ve had have been really understanding. They’ve not cared about them and know it’s a sore point with me.”
Yet Dani says some women still think she is lucky to have such a large bust,
“I tell them, ‘I wish you could have them for a week then tell me how you feel,’” she said.
When breastfeeding her son, Dani claims her nipples would rest on her leg, so she could not see her stomach.
And she was always terrified of falling asleep and suffocating him when he was tiny if she took him into her bed.
Dani said: “I’d panic if Theo wouldn’t sleep in his own bed and wanted to come in with me. If I rolled over I could easily suffocate him, so I’d just lie there in a panic and make sure I had my bra on.
“For girls who have watched Love Island and want boob jobs I would say they don’t realise what a negative impact it can have on your life.
“When they’re this big you can’t do anything with them. They’re not perky, they have stretch marks, the nipples are different sizes because they’re so stretched and they sag. They are practically knee warmers.”
“Getting rid of these boobs is my only chance to live a pain free life. I honestly think it would give me my life back. I’d be able to get back to work and go out feeling confident.
“I’m trying to save but at the moment I’m on universal credit and only get about £70 a week so it’s really hard. It will take me years. I’m reluctant to crowdfund as I’m worried that people will judge be even more so it’s a case of trying to put money away when I can.”
A spokesperson for Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee, which plans specialised services on behalf of local health boards in Wales, said that access to plastic surgery services for breast reduction will be considered where there is ‘”significant pain or discomfort which affects daily activities and is not amenable to routine treatment”.
“NHS Wales will not routinely fund breast procedures unless treatment is deemed medically necessary and conservative treatment options have been exhausted and/or there is evidence of significant impaired ability to perform activities of daily living which has been formally assessed.
“Psychological distress alone will normally not be accepted as a reason to fund surgery.
“Surgical intervention will be considered for patients enduring significant clinical symptoms which include at least two of the following for a year – significant chronic pain in the neck, upper back, shoulders, skin problems including pain, discomfort, ulceration.
“Significant chronic pain symptoms persist as documented by the referring clinician despite a six month trial of therapeutic measures including supportive devices – a bra of the correct size, analgesic (painkillers) interventions and a completed programme of physical therapy, exercises or posturing manoeuvres.”
“These criteria have been in place for a number of years and ensures that patients across Wales have equal access”
A spokesman for the local health board, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases. We would encourage Danielle to contact us so we can look into this and discuss her concerns.”
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