Coping with a bilateral mastectomy


Hi, I’m Mollie, 26 from London. New here and reaching out because I don’t know who else to talk to. Exactly a month ago I had a bilateral mastectomy. Whilst physically I’m recovering from the surgery, I can’t bear to look at myself. I feel like I’m grieving for the body I once had and at times this is overwhelming. At present, I don’t know when or if I’ll be able to have reconstructive surgery. But even when I do, will it even feel like me?

Oh sweetie. I’m so sorry. You’re so young and losing your breasts at your age is so traumatic. I was 48 when I had my double mastectomy and it was only a few months ago. So I know the recovery process well and for me it hasn’t been all that traumatic. But my breasts had seen better years and were not proportionate to my body and when one decided to make cancer I was done with them. At 26 I would have felt just like you though so I get it. But I will say this. Part of the reason, too, that I didn’t think all that much about a double mastectomy is that I had done my research on reconstruction. We have come a long, long way, and what they can give you now can be virtually indistinguishable from what you were born with (or got in puberty :slightly_smiling_face: Even years later they can do great work so don’t let the time passing concern you. Just continue focusing on healing and whatever treatment you have next if any. As far as whether they will feel like you? I think they can. One of my good friends got a DIEP reconstruction a few years ago. She looks amazing. Granted she doesn’t have a lot of feeling and that stinks but her breasts look like breasts and feel like breasts. If you didn’t have her tell you what she went through to get them you’d never know. That’s the reconstruction I will go through next year. The recovery is no joke but I feel pretty confident that when all is said and done, they’ll be prettier than anything I’ve ever had naturally. And I’ll get a slimmer tummy to boot. And no, those results will never make it all worth what I’ve gone through. Cancer will forever suck. But it’s still a nice cherry on my crap sunday and I’m determined to enjoy it. 

But grieve. What is happening to you is life changing and deserves grieving. Not one of us should have to go through this and still too many of us do. If you need psychological assistance ask for it. If you think medication may help you process or feel better, ask for that, too. There is no shame in being sad, overwhelmed, or even occasionally feeling hopeless. But those feelings should pass and if they don’t put your hand out for assistant. I wish you nothing but a continued full healing of both your body and your mind. So many hugs sent your way and you are not alone.

I had a double mastectomy with reconstruction last week. Iv not been able to look at myself either. My implants are still flat as they will increase the size gradually. Iv been very emotional since the op just randomly becoming upset. Your not alone. I think we do grieve what we’ve lost & what we’ve gone through. I just hope with time we heal us emotionally as well as physically.