CAPE CORAL — Teens’ lives are often a hotbed of angst and drama, but the problem currently vexing 19-year-old Jeremiah Mastrogiacomo is more-than-a-little outside the norm.
Mastrogiacomo, from Cape Coral, is an aspiring mixed martial arts fighter whose first amateur bout is scheduled for July.
He dreads exposing his “man boobs.”
Mastrogiacomo suffers from a condition called gynecomastia — or male breast enlargement — and has lived with the unusual malady since a hormonal imbalance he experienced at age 13.
“I can feel them swaying around,” Mastrogiacomo recently explained to Caters News Agency. “It feels like an alien on my body.”
The 5’11” teen is fit and strong now, but was once overweight and shed 80 lbs., largely in the interest of fostering eligibility to have his breasts removed via laser liposuction surgery.
But he is constantly plagued with insecurities stemming from the excess breast tissue.
“I used to tell myself I wasn’t good enough. I’ve never had serious relationships. I never thought someone would want me long-term, as a teen it was tough,” he said. “There were limitations like not going to the beach or taking my shirt off.”
To this day, the hard-training teen acknowledges that he looks great in a T-shirt, but still fears showing his chest.
“I do still feel insecure even when people tell me I look great,” Mastrogiacomo continued. “I’ve grown a body dysmorphia in a way.”
Mastrogiacomo launched a GoFundMe page to raise the $9,000 he needs for his corrective surgery in the hopes of having it done in time for his big fight in July, giving new meaning to the term “getting something off your chest.”