Health Stories

My Boobs Put Me In A Coma

After years of discomfort, AnnMarie’s decision to go under the knife turned deadly
  • AnnMarie Ferrer, 28, endured years of discomfort due to her cup-size
  • In 2020, she underwent breast reduction surgery
  • Terrifyingly, she flatlined on the operating table

Here AnnMarie tells her story in her own words.

Walking into the classroom, I kept my head down.

While all the girls in my class were still flat chested, at just eight years old my breasts had already begun to develop.

And by the time I was 15, I had double Ds.

‘Oh my God, look at your boobs!’ cruel kids taunted.

Thankfully, my lovely older sister would comfort me during the tough times.

With a petite frame, my heavy boobs hurt my back.

And standard bras and clothing rarely fit me.

Worse, I felt like my breasts were my identifier – rather than my outgoing personality.

Frustratingly, during my teens my bust kept growing, and I got unwanted attention from blokes.

Then, in 2016 when I was 19, I met Zack, then 20. He loved me for me.

We fell for each other and he proposed after 11 months. When we tied the knot in June 2017, I squeezed my F cup-size boobs into my figure-hugging strapless dress.

AnnMarie wedding day
Zack and me on our big day (Credit: Supplied.)

‘By now my boobs were a 34H.’

But at just 160cm tall, I was struggling more and more with my large chest. My back ached every day. Custom-made underwear was too expensive, so I had to squeeze into bras that were way too small.

My cousin in her 40s used to have the same sized bust as me, so she understood my pain.

‘Getting a breast reduction was worth every dollar,’ she told me in 2020, when I was 24. By now my boobs were a 34H.

That was all I needed to make the first step.

‘I support whatever you want to do,’ Zack smiled.

AnnMarie Ferrer
Before my breast reduction (Credit: Supplied.)

‘Please don’t do this. You’re going to die,’ my niece begged.

My cousin recommended her surgeon, and I booked in for that September.

At my consult, I told the surgeon I’d love to drop down five cup sizes to a C.

‘I think we can get you safely down to a small D,’ the surgeon said.

Getting a loan to cover the nearly $19,000 op, I was booked in for surgery just before Christmas.

My friends and family were all so excited for me – except for my niece, who’s in primary school.

‘Please don’t do this, AnnMarie. You’re going to die!’ she begged.

‘It’s okay,’ I reassured her. ‘People have this surgery all the time.’

When my dad Marc, then 59, dropped me off on the day, I gave him a big hug before I went in.

Due to Covid restrictions, I had to go in alone, but I was super excited for my op. Wheeled into theatre, I had butterflies. But I was so excited about my soon-to-be smaller boobs that I smiled as I waited for the anaesthetic to kick in.

Everything went black…

Coming to, I felt excruciating pain in my chest. Terrifyingly, it felt like something was stuck down my throat.

I’m choking! I fretted.

My panic grew as a team of medics suddenly surrounded me.

‘We need to get her heart rate down,’ a doctor shouted.

I was dazed and disoriented, and everything went dark again.

Coming to, I sensed the room was calmer.

I’m in ICU, I realised, looking around me.

‘What’s happened!?’ I asked a nurse.

‘Careful, you don’t want to go into cardiac arrest again,’ she soothed.

‘Again!?’ I asked, dumbfounded.

She explained I’d gone into anaphylactic shock after just one incision in my right breast.

‘You flatlined,’ she said.

I died on the operating table, I realised, stunned.

AnnMarie Ferrer hospital
Me in hospital (Credit: Supplied.)

‘My niece’s premonition had come true!’

My niece’s premonition had come true!

The pain in my chest was from them using a combination of chest compressions and a defibrillator to restart my heart, and what I’d felt in my throat was a ventilator.

‘You’ve been in an induced coma for 24 hours,’ the nurse explained gently.

I couldn’t believe my boobs had put me in a coma… and that they’d killed me for several minutes!

My chest was now stapled up until I’d recovered enough to finish the surgery.

Frightened, I didn’t dare look beneath the bandages.

And thinking about going under the knife again was terrifying. Video calling my family and seeing their faces, I was desperate to be with them.

‘I can’t believe this happened,’ my hubby cried over the phone.

Discharged two days later, on Christmas, with my chest still stapled, I felt weak. But I was so grateful to be with my loved ones.

I couldn’t get out of bed or use the loo on my own, but Zack was there to wash my face, feed me and brush my teeth.

‘It’s a Christmas miracle you’re home with us,’ my relieved family said.

On New Year’s Eve, I went back into hospital for my second surgery.

The medical team had decided to use as few meds as possible in case I was allergic to something, and extra epinephrine – or adrenaline – in case I went into anaphylactic shock.

This time, I was terrified as I went under. But with two surgeons – one operating on each breast – I knew they’d have me out of theatre as quickly as possible.

Thankfully, the op was a success!

AnnMarie Ferrer
Me recently – I’m much happier now (Credit: Supplied.)

‘I wouldn’t wish my ordeal on anyone.’

My breasts were somewhere between a C cup and a D cup, and I was absolutely stoked.

Since the procedure, I’ve had zero back pain and, now that my big boobs are no longer an issue, I even feel comfy doing Pilates, shopping for clothes, and fitting into them!

Even though I’m very happy with my new physique, I wouldn’t wish my scary ordeal on anyone.

Several months after my op, I had allergy testing at the GP.

They confirmed I was allergic to one of the antibiotics used during the first surgery, which they said would have caused the reaction.
I’d had no idea!

Although blood work was a part of the prep before surgery, I think they need to start doing a protocol of allergy testing as well – or at least thoroughly checking a patient’s health history.

Still, with my cup size down, life is looking up!

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