Contemplating reconstruction

Hello, I’m new to this forum. I had a mastectomy in October 2009 and am awaiting my first appointment with a plastic surgeon to discuss reconstruction. I’m very apprehensive as it’s such a daunting procedure. I chop and change my mind as to whether I should put myself through it but at the end of the day, I hate the way I look and don’t feel like a proper woman anymore. I would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

Hi nerak and welcome to the BCC forums

I am sure your fellow users will be along soon with shared experiences and in addition BCC have written a publication about breast reconstruction which you may find useful, you can read or order a copy via this link:

breastcancercare.org.uk/healthcare-professionals/publications/treatment-and-side-effects/*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/107/

Best wishes
Lucy

Hi Nerak,

I know it’s a very difficult decision. I had a mastectomy in March 2007 and then had an LD flap February 2010. I have a date to get a new nipple next month. Before I had the operation last year I was very scared - it’s not like the mastectomy which is necessary surgery, it’s something that you are choosing to put yourself through without any guarantee that you will be happy with the result. All I can say is that I am glad I did it. Beforehand it was like I was living in limbo, unable to move on, as I hated the way I looked. I felt a permanent cancer patient. Now I feel very differently about myself. Beforehand there was no way I could imagine living like that for the rest of my life, I always felt that it was a temporary abberation.

However, I have friends who have decided not to have a reconstruction, that it is not for them. It is such a personal decision. I think you have to go with your gut feeling.

Don’t forget you don’t have to make a decision yet. You can discuss it with the PS and agree to go away and think about it. You could decide to wait a year or two, or even more. Don’t feel pressured into making a decision if you are not ready for it.

Best wishes with whatever you decide.

Hello ladies
This is going to sound like I am really ungrateful because I am also thinking about bi-lateral breast reduction following WLE and rads. I am 2 years on from DX and on Tamoxifen.
I feel really guilty about not being happy with the results of my surgery & rads because I know that for many it is so much worse. Problem is I do not like my breasts, one is smaller now and a different shape but its not ugly or badly scarred. They just look odd and I have large breasts (32G) that are very visible and when I wear tops and look down I can see the difference, on photo’s I see the scar and wrinkling and my clothes slope to one side. My large breasts are also very uncomfortable.
I saw the plastic surgeon this week and he talked me through the risks, particularly with the irradiated breast. Now I dont know what to do. I do know I am not happy with myself anymore. Sorry for the long post but I really wanted to share how I
Love Cory XXX

Sorry - I meant to say 'Like Road Runner I agree the decision is difficult because it’s not urgent as with the cancer treatment. Hope all goes well for you Nerak . I am sure people on this site will give you some sound advice. xx

Agree totally with Roadrunner on not having to make an immediate decision. I had immediate LD flap reconstruction which was the right decision for me and I have healed wonderfully and am very pleased with the results. Just waiting for surgery later this year on the other side so I don’t look lopsided and to mark the end of my BC ‘experience’!

My aunt had a mastectomy and is currently undergoing reconstruction 5 years later as now she feeling good and ready. She said the surgery hasn’t been difficult or taken up too much recovery time and is so glad she’s done it.

Hope this helps. Obviously, at the end of the day, it really is your own gut feeling.

Rachelx

Hi Nerak

Im in exactly the same place as you at minute. Had MX Jan 10 and one app with a Plastic Surgeon. I want it done but the thought fills me with dread, Its also the time off work again that makes me feel really guilty. Im not even sure how long I would need off work.

Anyone any ideas on that.

Hi Nerak, I had mastectomy in October 2008, and LD reconstruction in July 2010, I spent 5 days in hospital, and recovered fairly well (about 6 weeks). I then went on to have nipple reconstruction in october and tattoo in December.

I always new that I wanted reconstruction, so the decision was fairly easy for me (was very nervous beforehand though),I have had no regrets whatsoever since the operation, and finally feel complete.

Before my recon, I spoke in great detail to my surgeon, breast care nurses and even to a lovely lady that had already had the operation, and this helped me so much.

I hope this helps you, whatever you decide to do.

Hi, everyone, This is my first post.Had L/D mastectomy last July and after much thought and advice from my concultant chose to have a pedicled tram flap on 19th Jan. Now almost six weeks on and I am so happy with the result. It is a major op. and there were a couple of days when I wondered what I had done to myself - movement was very painful to start with but now my tummy just feels very tight. The scar under my new breast took a little while to heal and is still weeping in one place - I am seeing my consultant on 11th March and he has said he would re-stitch if necessary but I am sure it will be healed by then.
My advice is to read everything you can and really talk it over with your consultant. I really didn’t want an inplant and love the way my new breast is all me, and my consultant wasn’t keen on re-opening the scar under my armpit for a LD reconstruction. Believe me it is wonderful to have two breasts again - I have a cleavage and can wear my old bras (as well as the bonus of a flat stomach!).

Hi

I had Mx in Dec 2006, and thought I could manage with a prosthesis. In the winter it wasnt so bad, but the warmer weather was horrendous. I felt hot and sweaty, my bra was always damp. I wss always aware of the dfference and hated my flat side. In Dec 2010 I had right side Tram Flap surgery, it is a big op but for me was worth it. I made a good recovery and my new breast is great. My tummy also looks a lot better than it did, nice and flat. It a big decision and I lost a lot of sleep over it, but I can honestly say, for me. its been worth it. Hope this helps, feel free to ask any questions.

Carolyn x

Hi Carolyn, As you seem to be one month ahead of me with a tram flap I’d love to know if you are back at work, if you work, or how much you can do now? I’m signed off for another week and just can’t imagine going back yet. I work with small children and the very thought of being there (although I love the job) terrifies me at the moment. Did a little ironing this morning and its exhausted me. Everyon is really supportive and I get the usual ‘know your own body, everyone is different etc’ from my bcn I’d love to hear how someone else is getting on.

Hi

I am fortunate in the fact that I dont work. I am back doing most household duties, walking, shopping etc. Just trying to avoid heavy lifting, even my little grandson. I feel very well (apart from having the cold at the moment). My new breast looks great, and I am wearing proper bras for short periods. My scars are looking good.

Hope you are doing well

Carolyn x

Hi Nerak,

I also had a Mx in October 09. I have had two meetings with PS and a scan done of my tummy so I am now just waiting for a date for the surgery. I keep wavering between fear and excitemnet (about looking more normal again).
I have thought long and hard about having the recon done, but the thought of looking like I do now, and wearing the prothesis for the rest of my life is far worse than the thought of going through the op. The worst part is not really knowing how it will look and feel afterwards. I know it won’t look perfect I just hope it will be better than it is at present.
I keep telling myself that I got through the Mx and chemo, so I can get through the recon as well.
Thank you to all the ladies who have posted on here telling us about how positive you feel about your reconstructions, it really helps me feel more encouraged to go ahead.

Et