My Life With Pc... Thoughts/comments/suggestions Appreciated

I'm not sure where to begin... I remember when I was about 14, brushing my teeth in the bathroom shirtless, I realized my chest wasn't the same as everyone elses.  This is where my downward spiral (in a sense) began.

I am now 21 - and since that day, I've probably only been swimming 2 or 3 times.  Prior to discovering my chest being abnormal, I was a fish... and I mean it.  I lived on the lake and I would swim every day.  Now, if I even hear the word swimming I automatically decline and make up some excuse as to why I can't.  

Not to be conceited or anything of that sense, I would generally describe myself as an attractive person (with the exception of my PC).  I've had lots of girlfriends and girl friends.  I never really got sexual with any of them mainly for the fear of them discovering my PC.  I remember one experience that really turned me away from any kind of sexual experiences.  I was dating a girl for about a year and she randomly came up behind me and gave me a hug.  She instantly felt my PC and had a shocked/disgusted look on her face.  I remember she just kept questioning me... "what is that bump???".  I kind of just blew it off and said I don't know.  

About 2 months down the road, I had a terrible experience with the same girlfriend.  I was in my room changing and she walked in.  She seen my chest for the first time and I remember the look on her face, she looked horrified.  She made comments like "it looks like an alien is coming out of your chest" and the usual questioning.  I wanted to die at that moment.  I felt really akward and disgusting and I didn't know what to do so I just blew it off again while I hurredly put my shirt on.

My PC is pretty bad, I do have pictures for anyone that wants to see them.  It's really limited my abilities... not only physically but psychologically as well.  I tried playing basketball in High School and I remember being the only one that couldn't finish the mile run.  I was in great shape, but I just blamed it on my asthma.  I think PC has restricted my breathing because I still can't run an entire mile without the feeling of passing out (I don't smoke, either).

About a year ago, I thought maybe I could start working out and that would help hide my PC.  Sure, it made my pecs a little bigger which helped mask it while wearing a shirt, but you could still clearly tell my PC was there.  The only thing that helped somewhat was getting abs.  If I flex my abs as hard as I can and hunch over a bit it makes my chest flush, but you can still see my pectus.  If I flex like that and hunch over though, it makes these huge dents under my pecs which I think is from rib flaring.

I never "knew" what PC was until about 2 years ago when I starting doing research trying to figure out what was wrong with me.  I found a pectus board and that helped answer a lot of questions that I had.  Even though I've been looking at these boards and forums for quite some time, I've never really had the courage to share my story.  I've been doing avid research on PC for the last 2 years and I really want to get the surgical correction.  I have insurance and I've been reading that Blue Cross will pay for 90% of the surgery if you get your doctor to send them a note stating that it's absolutely necessary.  I'm afraid of going to my GP because I don't think he will help me.  He's been my doctor since I was 12 years old and he's felt my chest before while listening for bronchitis.  He never said anything about it he just gave me a confused look.

I want to get advice from people that have/had suffered from PC.  I live in central United States and I want to find a good surgeon, too.  Location isn't a MUST however it'd be nice to be able to stay close to home.  I'm not really sure what steps to take to get this whole process started, either.  If anyone has any thoughts or comments I'd greatly appreciate them.  Thanks for reading my bit about PC...
user217 user217
18-21, M
4 Responses Feb 12, 2011

Thanks for sharing your story! The brace is worth a shot if your cartilage is still flexible. Does your sternum respond easily to pressure from your hand? I tried it when I was24, but it was so painful I could not wear it for more than 2 hours at a time. From what I have heard and experienced, it is very difficult to get insurance to cover surgical repair for pc. Most primary care physicians don't know anything about it. My suggestion would be to ask for a referral to a thoracic surgeon or someone with experience treating abnormal chest walls. You will probably need an xray and pulmonary function testing. Best of luck to you!

Pectus Services-<br />
I considered bracing but I've heard it isn't as effective on people over the age of 18. Being 21 now I think it's too late for it. What do you think?<br />
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jellibeanz-<br />
Thank you for your kind words. It has been pretty rough but I've always stayed pretty positive about it. Pretty much the only thing that keeps me positive is the thought of getting it fixed and how much better off I would be.<br />
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As far as the relationships go, my current GF is OK with my chest. She says it doesn't bother her which is really a relief. I still want to get it fixed for not only health reasons but also it would be a self-esteem booster as well.

Wow, sounds like this has been really rough for you and Im sorry you have been going through this alone. <br />
I don't know much about your condition but I do know something about relationships - any girl put off by a physical issue such as you have is not worth getting close to. Its just the same as a guy rejecting a girl because she's over weight. Its mean and shallow.<br />
Maybe some warning though to prepare her for something would help - you know, talking about it, letting her touch your chest and feel what it feels like over a t-shirt - letting her know you are sensitive about it so she is more aware of her reaction to you.<br />
Also talk to a doctor - maybe not your GP if you feel nervous but a doctor - I know its hard but doctor see ALL kinds of messed up, gross, weird, smelly, unusual stuff - it is their job. You don't know how they can help until you ask.<br />
Good luck and stay strong xx

Have you considered bracing. Because of newer padding technology we can not brace young adults.<br />
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Call or email anytime if you like. Send a few photos as well.<br />
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Pectus Services