anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hello

this might sound mad but still - maybe someone else has been through this and can advise me?

I had a expander implant in feb and now am completely fed up with it. The surgeon says I can have a silicone implant which would be softer but I am now seriously considering asking for the implant to go and live without a reconstructed breast. I feel I am being ungrateful but I am conscious a lot of the time of tightness and pain in my chest area. I imagine that not having anything there will be easier - can any of you comment on your experience?

Do people using prothesis in their bras experience problems? is it sore against the skin? IS it hard to get a match with your other breast?
Am I just having a momentary wobble with this or are there other women who have gone through this and decided to ditch their reconstructions?
Any input appreciated!±
Green fingers

I decided not to have any implants i think it was the right decission for me i hav to get rid of problems b4 i create more there isnt any difference in my bust and havnt experienced any problems im glad i choosed not 2 i dont look any different when i look in the mirror hope this helps

Hi greenfingers

I decided not to have implants/reconstruction. I have not had any problems living breast free.

I have a prosthesis. I now buy specialist bra’s from Nicola Jane as I am on the busty side, DD, so I need something that is supportive. My prosthesis was fitted by a BCN and with clothes on it is not noticeable. I am due for another prosthesis and I hope that this time I will be able to have stick on one as this means I will be able to return to buying bra’s from M and S again.

I am small breasted so after a simple mx (nothing very simple about it as far as I am concerned!!!) I did eventually adapt but maybe not until I found the correct bra…
I found Amoena Mona to really suit, and very comfortable too.
With my clothes on I look very normal. All level and symmetrical with a lightweight prosthesis.
However, undressed being one sided it really does look like an amputation!!! I hate it!
It is very much smoother now after 9 months since mx but it still looks horribly ugly! Obviously, I make sure I’m fully dressed at all times and don’t really look at my naked body any more…

Happy to look normal on the outside and because I couldn’t face another operation or stay in hospital or six months recovery with physiotherapy afterwards to bring arm back to function, I will not be having a reconstruction…

Seeing onc tomorrow to check what she says about ‘look’ of scar area.
Last time she recommended plastic surgery to tidy it up…
Not sure if I could undertake this either, well for a couple of years anyhow…

So, for me, I’m ok and as happy as I can be with no reconstruction.

Welsh girl x

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Everytime I remove my shirt whether I am wearing my prostheses or not I have my scars to deal with. At the moment my recent mx scar is agony eventhough it is 9 months since the op and so the discomfort is a constant reminder of this whole wretched cancer thing.
My scars are huge and cover my entire chest. Not pretty. But I like being without breasts - or rather I like being without the breasts I had. I was always very small busted till I had a child and I like the sensation of not having to lug round droopy tits anymore.

On some occasions I go breast free - sometimes I don’t. Depends on my mood, where I am going, what I am wearing, my confidence level that day. Eventhough I am a feminist I don’t regard my breastless state as a political statement.
People (wrongly) assume that by going without prostheses means you just look flat chested. It is more than that - it is a peculiar flatness - men aren’t as flat as that. It is almost concave. It stops being about gender.

When my little boy cuddles up to me on the sofa he can’t snuggle into a soft warm bosom - he gets a lumpy hard scarred ribcage instead. I hate that. If there were a very quick painless fix to give me back some boobs I would have it done - but I have no desire to subject myself to endless reconstruction.
By the way I love the word bosom - that area of the body has been taken over by over-sexualisation but it is such a soft and female and comforting part of the body. I can still remember the total comfort of snuggling up to my big busted grandmother. (That is the other thing about reconstruction - implants will always feel like implants.)

There are no rights or wrongs with this. It may well be the case that in years to come I will have a change of heart about boobs and seek out recon. I don’t know. As I told a friend the other day - I have no idea what I am doing or what will happen - I have never walked this path before.

hi ive had a left mastectomy and have had no reconstruction.I have bought some descent mas bras with internal pockets so the prosthesis stays put.It looks and feels great and im only 39.Ive never had big boobs anyway.I hope this helps xxx

Greenfingers

I haven’t had reconstruction but I still have a feeling of tightness and discomfort 19 months post op. i don’t think that having the implant taken out will necessarily mean that the tightness will go. What does your surgeon say?

Norbette

i’ve been going breast free (bi-lateral) and prosthesis free for about a year now and it’s the right decision for me. I can’t say that I’m never self conscious about how I look but it gets easier all the time.

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Hi greenfingers

I’m only 5 months post-mx, but am not planning on having reconstruction. I can’t say I go breast-free as I’m wearing a softie in my bra, but at home I don’t bother. This is a surprise to me - I thought I’d be so self-conscious and never let my OH see me with one breast, but actually I feel quite bolshy about it - take it or leave it, this is the sorry state that is now me!

I hate the way I look, especially naked. Maybe it would be better if it were symmetrical? But what I do know is that the surgery was hell to get over and the idea of having MORE surgery makes me feel sick to the pit of my stomach.

If it were easy and painless, I’d have reconstruction. Or even have the other breast off. I’ve cleared out all low-cut tops and it really is my intention to stay wonky!

Jane

There are a lot of interesting threads about recon gone wrong and the issues surrounding recon currently on this forum. It really is fascinating and has made me look at how I really feel about recon, as initially it was something I guessed I would have had in the next few years - but now I am 99% sure I will never have recon.

The more I read and the more I see ( particularly the SCARS project) recon looks barbaric and so unnecessary. Green fingers, there is a lot of women, young women too, living very happily one or no-breasted. The NHS puts across a very strong assumption that women would always have recon almost to the point of putting pressure on women.

Now that I am one breasted I almost never wear a bra and when I do it feel restrictive and unnatural, I dread to think how expander implants must constantly feel.

I opted not to have a recon. then thought I changed my mind 2 years on, then changed it back again!

I encouraged my bigger busted friend to have an immiediate recon, which she did. But after several operations (and one more to yet to come) due to complications, she says her advice would be not to have one if you could manage without.

I never did have a cleavage but still miss the boob. However I managed to go out at the weekend in quite a low cut dress which looked fine. Everyone has to make their own decision.

Wizz

Hi I had a double mx 3.5 years ago, was fitted with prostheses and promptly put them in the top of the wardrobe and forgot about them. My (lady) oncologist said I might wear them when I wanted to feel a bit more feminine! I find I have to be careful not to buy tops with too deep a v or round neck - otherwise its fine. I decided I did not want to wear a bra and fill it with things just so other people felt comfortable, so opted for a cami from M&S and normal clothes. I feel great and have other friends who are also prosthesis free. I can understand that if I had had a single mastectomy I would need to be “balanced” and would have opted for a reconstruction I think, but now I just cannot see the point. Hope this has helped!

Hi all

I have really enjoyed reading this thread. I had a double MX and construction at the same time in April last year. In July last year I ended up in hospital with an infection on my right arm and mostly in the right implant. (Due to lowered immunity in Chemo) After a week in hospital, potential organ failure, and a blood transfusion - I had the right implant removed. So I am now lop sided, with a implant on the left and flat chested on the right. It really does not worry me much - I go to gym and sit in the sauna and I feel surprisingly ok. I view my scars as a reminder of my courage to overcome all this - to meet life on life’s terms. In May this year I will be having my left implant removed and will be flat chested. What I have learned is that I dont have breasts, they were removed because I had cancer - nothing to be ashamed of, if anything I feel proud at my journey. I think I had immediate reconstruction done, as I did not want to deal with the fact that I had lost my breasts. Now I feel ok and ready to deal with this. My last stint in hospital, helped me put all of this into perspective - it is not about having hair or breasts that makes me a woman - life is the most important thing here. I choose to focus on what I have gained from camp cancer rather than what I have lost.
I am aware that this is my story and that we are all unique in the way we reconcile and make sense of what has happened.

Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my story.
Virtual hugs all round
Kate
(Cape Town)

Hi all,
I’m about to have a mx for a large area of high-grade DCIS which was mostly invisible and only discovered during the WLE. I initially thought I’d have a reconstruction, but after looking at lots of photos on line am coming round to the idea of asking for a bilateral mx and not having reconstruction. Part of my reason is that no-one can tell me for sure whether I have invisible DCIS in the other breast (and I have family history), and part is because I think being lop-sided will be more difficult to deal with for me than the mx itself (I’m 38C). I’d feel worried about having one breast and no prothesis, but less so about not having any breasts at all - I’m not a great bra wearer in any case(bit of a hippy!) I like that there is the option to wear a bra and prostheses if you want to. I do worry that I might feel very differently when I see the reality after the surgery, and I’m really sad that some of you have found it so awful, because it is so much about how you feel about yourself. I’m not hugely confident about how I look in any case. Also, I don’t have a partner and finding one when I have one or no breasts seems an impossible thing to do (but then I couldn’t find anyone when I had breasts either!) It’s been really helpful reading your thoughts, thank you all. I also found an interesting website that you might find useful if you haven’t already seen it: breastfree.org

Thanks for the link to breastfree.org - very interesting site - and this thread. I had double mastectomy last September for cancer in both breasts and can honestly say being breast-free is not a huge issue - just so glad the cancers are gone. However, was never one for low cut tops anyway, so haven’t had to change my wardrobe too much. I have two neat symmetrical 8" long horizontal scars extending under arms and very obvious ribcage. At the moment I do plan to have a DIEP recon in the future, although wouldn’t be surprised if I changed my mind. Not overly keen on the breast forms, but do wear them when I go out and to work, but discard them as soon as I get home. BB

You lovely ladies say so many things that feel like you’ve read my mind. I wear my prothesis to work(I work with kids) but discard when i’m home and out and about. Just wear a sports bra that keeps remaining boob comfortable and in place.

If I was braver I would discard prothesis altogether. I’ve found that other people either don’t notice or don’t react if they do. I feel more “honest” not using my prothesis, like not wearing a wig during chemo. I feel irritated that I feel obliged to pretend I still have 2 breasts. Part of this is to avoid having to answer questions not because having cancer is a secret but because I don’t weant to have to deal with THEIR reaction. Don’t make a drama out of MY cancer! Already have to deal with this with lympho sleeve. Now just say “I’ve hurt my arm” to the Nosy Noras.

Didn’t mean to start ranting. haven’t been on here for a while so maybe have been bottling it up!

littlemrs, I like your rant, I rant often! You sound pretty brave to me, and although I haven’t yet had the mx I share your feelings about ‘pretending’ - it’s so difficult though because all of us are subject to ‘norms’ in terms of how we look and behave, especially as women. I was watching the horribly-named ‘Beauty and the Beast’ on C4 the other night (worth seeing) and one of the people they interviewed was the children’s tv presenter who got hundreds of complaints from parents because she has one arm and didn’t try to cover it up. Apparently it ‘scared the children’. Upset the sensibilities of the adults more like. I think it’s pretty odd that it’s now considered almost ‘normal’ to have enormous cartoon implants (having been made to feel inadequate with your natural breasts). The surgery and risks taken to obtain those breasts are usually justified as some kind of feminist option, ‘I did it for myself’. Hmmm. The situation we’re in puts a new spin on things to say the least. I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I’ve had my mx, but I hope I can be as brave as you!

thesongbirdbranch.blogspot.com/
Another great link re clothes for one-breasted or no-breasted women.

Hi
just want to say how useful this thread has been for me. I had a mastectomy and temporary implant (fixed volume, not an expander) last September and I have found it very uncomfortable. Feels like I’ve got an orange stuffed in my chest and I am awaare of it all the time, day and night. Also the muscle over it contracts whenever I use my arm or hand and that feels horrid too. So instead of arranging to have a permanent implant put in I am seriously contemplating asking to have the temporary one removed and go flat-chested.
Have been reading everyone’s comments as am concerned that I may regret it afterwards but even the bare-chested photos haven’t put me off. I just want to not feel anything there and be able to get on with my life. It’s been getting me down for the last 6 months and I was thinking of asking my gp for some prozac and/or sleeping pills when I suddenly realised the simplest solution was just to get rid of the darned thing and be done with it.
Thanks again
Janet