I had a mastectomy in February and for a few reasons, including the fact that I have secondary breast cancer, I decided against having reconstruction. It is kind of hard adjusting to having one breast. My kids seem much more relaxed about it than I am, to the point that I forgot to put it in the other day when off to an after school meeting. We got halfway down the road before I realised and my daughter spent the journey back home to get it trying to convince me that I really didn’t need to bother. Conversation got to me being happier not wearing a wig when I lost my hair to chemo, so I should feel happier not wearing a falsie when I lost my boob. Sometimes I wish I had a child’s power of reasoning.
That rang a bell. I think maybe we have become a bit breast fixated ourselves? I have been worrying enormously about showing a wierd non-cleavage when I bend over in this hot weather but my daughter hasn’t noticed anything and tells me it doesn’t matter anyway. Maybe I am just obsessed & keep thinking about breasts, cancer, etc etc, while the rest of the world doesn’t notice at all. If that’s true then its great!!
Hi, I had a mx Feb 2009 and am still struggling to come to terms with it. I also worry about bending over and someone being able to see. I am constantly checking myself in case something is visible. I have been going shopping recently for summer clothes but end up getting really depressed because I can’t find anything to wear which is still fashionable but covers me up adequately. My husband and children are fine about it and just tell me to stop worrying. I wish it was that easy. I am due to have a reconstruction in the autumn and am desperate to get on with it. I really wish I could just be happy that they got the cancer out and accept that this is how I am now but I can’t!! I really admire women who just get on with it and can be proud of their bodies as they are now!!! How do they do it???
It’s barking for me. I was more than happy to walk around with my number one hair cut which people could see, but worry constantly about people noticing my falsie, which they don’t see. I was talking to a friend today and she had a friend with her and subject got on to my recent surgery. Her friend hadn’t realised I only had one boob, so may be it is more my perception of what other’s think rather than what they are actually thinking!
I’ve had a bi-lateral mastectomy and for various reasons I have problems wearing my falsies and for the past 6 months I’ve not worn them at all. I honestly think that it’s more of a problem for me though, worrying what I look like, than it is for other people. All I can see is my stomach poking out and strangely i worry more when I’m with people that I know rather than strangers. My family tell me to look upon my scars as ‘battle scars’ (they are prety messy,) and to be proud of them and I do find that helps when I’m on a downer.
I have posted this tip a few times so apologies to other forum members who have heard it before! To stop my top falling forward and revealing everything I use some body tape to secure it. I buy Eylure tape and it is available from Amazon (I have also seen it in larger branches of Superdrug). I tried cheaper stuff from the Pound Shop but it didn’t work as well so it is worth spending a little bit more on it.
Hope that helps.
I know what you mean, Meggy. I find myself constantly looking at other women’s breasts!! I didn’t wear very revealing tops before my mx so that helps a bit now. If I look at jealously at a girl in a low top I tell myself off and think “you wouldn’t have worn that anyway!”.
All of your comments are ringing bells with me. Its 12yrs since I had a right mastectomy and now that the kids have left home and are settled on their own I’m begining to think again about reconstruction. I’ll be 53 this year so feel like I now need to make a final decision about this.
Every summer I have had this dilemma about finding summer tops and swimwear that I’m happy with. I am also very conscious of and feel sort of guilty about the fact that I can’t help speaking to other women’s chests. All of this is making me think that reconstruction is probably the right thing for me but having said all of that, when I’m at home with my husband and family, I’m quite happy to be single breasted and I don’t really hate the way i look in the mirror either.
I’m also very nervous about going back under the knife. I think I’m quite frightened of all the possible complications and of ending up looking worse than I do now (which I think is OK except for the inconvenience of having to wear a prosthesis and think about what I wear all the time).
I’d love to hear from anyone else who is wrestling with this decision.
Oh how complicated and confusing this is for us all!
Yes I agree. My kids think I am going for a boob Job…I am having mastectomy myslef I wonder what it would be like with one breast?
I had a mx last September and at my check up with the surgeon last week which was a year on from dx, I asked for a mx the other side too. That is not an issue but my problem now is do I want a mx and stay flat chested or do I have a mx and have immediate recon and recon on the side already removed. I really can’t decide about recon. I keep thinking that if there is nothing there I won’t miss any problems with recurrence but at 52 years old do I want to have no boobs?? After three surgeries before mx I’m not sure if I want to go through another surgery and it will be a bigger one this time and involve the abdomen as well. Oh do I or don’t I? It is obviously easier if they do the recon at the same time as the mx and I really want that done as soon as possible. After having ductal and lobular bc I feel like I have a time bomb waiting to explode the other side and I just want it gone. I had no problems coming to terms with my first mx and wanted them to do a bilateral mx but they said no!!
I’m going to have a chat with my wonderful BCN but anyone else got any suggestions?
Love to you all,
Posted the other day on Living Breast Free. I’m about to go for bi-lat with immediate tissue expansion recon. Did the whole WLE, chemo, rads thing last year, and then got picked up on the other side in Feb - yep, long time ago, and it took them 3 months to tell me it was a tumour - grrr. Any road up, I always said, and I stick by it till I go under in July - if it comes back I’m taking them both off. And it came back in less than 16 months. So bye bye!
I do have reservations. I can do this side just by rads (already had the WLE because the mast and recon date was too far out for comfort), and when they said that I started to cave a bit on doing the bi-lat. But not now. Yes, as you say, it can make recurrence more difficult to detect, but I just have to go with my gut, and it says if I take them off I’ll be fine. I think that’s a huge difficulty when we’re trying to decide on all of this. The med team can only give you so much information. In the end it’s your decision and you just have to go with your instinct. It can be wrong, let’s face it. I mean my oncologist refused to recommend an oopherectomy for me last year. “Tamoxifen is wonderful” he said. Ah erm, “told you soooooo!” - I am resistant to tamoxifen and this new tumour was ER +ve. He couldn’t know, bless him. He went with his experience. We go with gut. I knew I needed the ooph. I know I need the bi-lat. It’s not easy and clear cut though.
On the recon side, I’m also going on instinct. I’m not a boob person, not particularly attached to mine, but I just know I am going to hate being flat chested. So immediate recon works for me. I am currently a DD/E, I am going to go for B. Clearly this needs some downsizing on the tummy front or I am going to feel like a blinking tele tubby, or what where those other things in the 80s - moomin something or others. Anyway, crunch, crunch, leg curl, crunch - well it’s better than lettuce…
Positive vibes to everyone adjusting or taking decisions. We are one tough bunch of cookies, 'cos we do this despite it all.
Good luck Carole - I think instinct is good!! Know what you mean about the tummy thing… I never knew mine stuck out so far, but I’m working on it!
Hope it all goes well
Thanks Maggy - keep up the crunches!
Jane, just realised I didn’t really reply to your suggestions query. I’d go back and tell them you want the bi-lat completed. It’s not their decision, it’s yours. Be strong and determined about what you want. Try going to your GP about your worries as a back up. I was talked out of an mx completely last year, because they said WLE was the way to go. This year when the second one has turned up on the other side, my surgeon is just going with everything I say. It’s luck of the draw a bit I think, whether your med team lean to your or to their own opinion, but I would definitely push it. Contact GP, BCN, Surgeon, Onc, any counsellor or group you might be in touch with.
If you fancy a chat just pm me and we can sort that out.
And love the avatar. You have a look very similar to mine own!
I had mx and recon in March of this year, unfortunately 3 weeks later the implant became infected and had to come out - i was mortified! I am seeing my surgeon on Thurs and im REALLY hoping that he gives me a date for the implant to go back in. I feel like a had a “teaser” of what it would look and feel like and then it was taken away. Since the implant has gone ive really struggled with having one boob so i have no doubts whatsoever that i want my cleavage back!!
I hope you all make the decisions that are right for YOU!
I had a right side mastectomy in January, followed by a course of radiotherapy. I live happily and openly with one breast without wearing a prothesis.
My breasts were large, 28E, and I have had to modify my bras so that my left breast is still supported and the right side of my bra sits flat across my chest.
Hardly anyone notices that I have one breast. Some days I wear tops with cowl necks or ruffles to make the asymmetry less noticeable. But as time goes on I am more and more confident my my new shape and I am happy in vests, strappy tops, or whatever I might have worn before.
The first time I wore my swimming costume on the beach (without a prosthesis) I was very nervous. No one paid any attention, and within five minutes I was splashing about in the sea and had forgotten I had ever been worried.
I still feel attractive. My partner loves the way I look, even with one breast.
Occasionally, if I am wearing something very very revealing or tight, then people do notice (I have to emphasise again, honestly, very few people pay any attention to it generally), but I personally think that it’s important for breast cancer to be made visible, and not just be something we suffer in silence while no one notices what an epidemic illness it is.
Different approaches to mastectomy work for different people and I’m really supportive of people doing what feels right for them, including wearing prostheses or having reconstruction.
I just wanted to post and say life for me living openly with one breast has been fine. I think it could be helpful to share this because I have seen no positive information about women who make this choice. My doctors always anticipated I would go for reconstruction, or want a prosthesis - it didn’t seem to occur to anyone that I might be happy without either. But I am!
x x x
Lovely post Terry. You are absolutely right.
Terry I salute you! I wish I was as brave as you and less self concious at work .Home is fine single breasted but work …
Brilliant comment Terry!! I have worn a prosthesis for 3 years, and wish I could be as bold. With this hot weather, I am beginning to leave it on the shelf, and your post has inspired me, so thanks,
Thanks for that post Terry
Great post Terry, wish I could be that confident. I am getting better though. I had my mx in Jan 09 and I would say my cleavage was my best feature. However, now I have to cover up, I have changed the way I dress and lost quite a bit of weight so actually feel more comfortable with the way I look. I am hoping for a recon at some time in future but thats because I like symmetry. Also, suspect the shoulder pains i have been suffering recently are down to the imbalance.
My OH has never shown any feelings either way about my mx which is the way I would want it to be. I have been out once without the boob and no one did notice (loose top) but I was self conscious.
I had a double mastectomy and have the dilema of i cant wait to have reconstruction but have two young children and dont want to be told i cant pick them up again for 4 weeks and am waiting to plan my wedding, i have to wait 6 months any way for one side as am having radiotherapy.
i did find some wonderful tape on ebay that holds tops etc in place very securely and gives me a bit more confidence wearing things that never would have bothered me before.