Delay mastectomy for immediate reconstruction?

hello everyone

This is my first time on here and I’m hoping for people’s advice.

After finding a lump and numerous tests I was diagnosed with grade 1 tubular cancer in my right breast on Friday. Due to having a second area on the same breast I have been told I need a mastectomy which has been booked for just under 2 weeks time on 4th January. 

After seeing the consultant on Friday a BCN spent time explaining the operation, prostheses, recovery and shielding due to covid.  She also said that the MDT had said that I am a candidate for reconstruction as they haven’t seen any sign of cancer in my lymph nodes (although I will be having a sentinel lymph node biopsy to confirm) so hopefully I will not need radiotherapy. 

She talked about the different types of reconstruction and I think I was a bit naive as I hadn’t realised a delayed reconstruction would be so difficult due to the lack of skin etc, having to go through the expander process as well as the insertion of an implant. I have quite small boobs (A cup) and don’t fancy the tissue being taken from another area of my body so am veering towards the implant option. 

The problem is, if I choose immediate reconstruction my surgery will have to be delayed to the beginning of February as there isn’t time for it in the current theatre slot. 

I am torn as the idea of getting everything sorted at once seems better than having to undergo further surgeries at a later date.  However, I am nervous about delaying, what if covid means surgeries are impacted, will I have to be in hospital longer with immediate reconstruction and will the recovery and risks be greater.  I awaiting a call back from my BCN and obviously I will not consider the delay if it is advised against due to my cancer growing. 

I feel after a slow few weeks getting to diagnosis I am know rushed with little or no time to consider options and make choices. 

I find it hard to imagine what it is going to be like if I go flat and don’t think I have the self confidence to deal with it.

Sorry for including so much and thank you for reading xx

Nettynoo Sorry you find yourself on here but glad you’ve reached out, yes you do find you having to make quick decisions about op, reconstruction etc and your still in ? stage thinking is this really happening. You need to decide yourself what’s going to be right option for you, it’s hard trying to make right decision but you will, take on board what your bcn nurse says and I’m sure others will pop on here to :two_women_holding_hands: you too. I had therapeutic mammoplasty and still yet to be levelled up, my choice I wanted surgeon to concentrate on getting cancer out and nothing else at that point. Do ask about rads too, I think others who have had immediate reconstruction and had to have rads might have had a few peoples after, worth asking about. I stuff cushion stuffing in my bra to level me up, because my boob is smaller than other one and doesn’t need full prosthesis the half things they give you are rubbish so I’ve done it myself with cushion stuffing and no one can tell. I plan to be levelled up once Covid is out the way so probably looking at 5 years before I get levelled up. What I’m trying to say is do what’s right fit you and what you are going to be happy with Do everything for you now because you are what matters Sending big hug :two_hearts: :two_hearts: :sparkles: :sparkles: Shi xx

Dear Nettynoo

I had a similar problem to yours back in December.  I was scheduled to have a lumpectomy and then 3 days prior to the surgery my consultant told me, following the results of an MRI, I had to have a mastectomy.  I could have the mastectomy on the scheduled date in December (in 3 days time) or wait for reconstruction in late January.  It was a very difficult decision to make due to all the reasons you stated, Covid etc but I decided in the end to take my chances and wait!  I felt it gave me the option to look at reconstruction options and in the meantime I am taking Tamoxifen.  My consultant and BCN all said it was safe to wait and a few more weeks wouldn’t make much difference to the cancer.  I, like you, don’t appear to have cancer in the lymph nodes which apparently makes a huge difference and means immediate reconstruction is an option.  Also, my BCN told me cancer does take priority when it comes to hospital beds and surgery times, etc so hopefully Covid shouldn’t impact it too much?  Its more routine surgery and procedures that tend to get delayed due to Covid.

Also I was told the recovery with an immediate reconstruction is no longer than only a mastectomy.  So all being well you wouldn’t be in hospital any longer (normally one night).

I like you felt rushed into making a decision but my advice is listen to your consultant and BCN, they will advise if it’s Ok to wait until February, which is only a few weeks.

Hang in there.  Similar circumstances.  I have a 2cm tumor in my right breast.  I am now on week 8 of waiting for surgery because I’m doing immediate reconstruction.  I’m scheduled for surgery next week.  It’s been hard emotionally to wait but I’m hoping for one and done and hope to be able to skip chemo/radiation.  Best of luck to you.