Kati started small, and slowly stretched up to 00ga using lubed tapers and slow progression. After that she started stretching by wrapping more and more electrical tape around her jewelry (that’s how I stretched as well), and at six months in she had reached 5/8″. Then she sped things up, adding a bit more tape every day or two.
“It soon became an addiction. After I got to an inch, I would be gauging my ears everyday. This was especially bad because my boyfriend had ripped my gauge several times, and it would fall out during the night or during the day, and even at shows, which was the worst. Even through all the stress I was putting on my ears, I was so excited and desperate to have the biggest ears around that I kept going.”
“My ears started to thin out big time, but my ears were so healed they wouldn’t gauge down and — of course, stupid me — I kept gauging them up because they were so healed that they would fall out if I didn’t, and because it was tape, there wasn’t any flaring to keep them in place. I tried to put vitamin E oil on them, and it worked for a while, but then scabbed up and fell off and they got even smaller. Eventually they were so thin, that I was in class and I just had to go to the bathroom and take it out.”
When she went back to class after taking out the jewelry, she was (predictably) sent home by the school nurse who thought her ear was so revolting she didn’t want the other students to see it. A few days later, Kati’s earlobe tore and separated from her head.
Kati decided that her only option was surgery. She was hoping they’d be able to just stitch the broken section back together, so it would end up being something like the photo on the right below — at least something of all the stretching efforts might be saved.
The procedure ended up costing $2,000 (she went to a cosmetic surgeon, not to a piercer or modification practitioner), and as you can see below, the doctor decided to stitch everything back together into as natural a lobe as possible. These pictures were taken the day after the surgery.
The surgery and healing were completely painless, and Kati’s feeling great. It’s now three weeks after the surgery, and her ears, while a little scarred, are very nicely reconstructed.
And of her lost lobes? It’s not so bad — Kati writes,
“I was actually excited that my gauges were gone the next day after that incident. My ears were so fucked and gross that it was disgusting and nearly unpresentable, and certainly not socially acceptable. Shit happens I guess, and I really wish I would have gone slower. I’m glad they’re gone to be honest. You can’t get a decent job with them and it’s so much less stress. It’s funny because I still have all my gauge stuff in a drawer and I’ll see it and think ‘God, this is so gross I can’t believe I did this shit to myself.’”
Moral of the story? Take it slow, and listen to your body! And of course, as Kati saw at the end of the process, life can be easier without stretched lobes because the general Western public still isn’t ready for them in many job sectors, so be sure you’re willing to accept not just the risks but the sacrifices.
Oh, and Katie — if you change your mind about not having stretched lobes, once the reconstructed lobe is healed, you can start the process over again.