Facing surgery

Hi everyone - I’ve just finished fec-t chemo and am now booked in for mastectomy on 24 April.  I can’t fault the care I’ve had from the docs and nurses so far, and apart from a few dark days and wobbles, am dealing with this horror quite well I think.  I had a 70mm tumour, which has now reduced to a couple of 7-8mm blips, so am very happy with that.  Here’s the thing.  I understand that I have to have a full mastectomy and node clearance, because “we don’t want to take the chance of missing one cell and it coming back”.  I’m seeing the bc nurse soon to talk it all through, but I feel like I’ve been given no options, and not a lot of support or sympathy from my surgeon, just a very brusque matter-of-fact attitude that leaves me afraid to question her.

She is well-respected, highly qualified and has treated members of my family, so of course i wanted her to look after me.  I am terrified of the surgery and what I will look like afterwards.  She said I can have reconstruction but only after 1 year once it’s all settled down (I’m on Herceptin til next Jan as well) so the whole process seems interminable.  Friends and family all have differing opinions on reconstruction, from “free boob job!” to “just live with it”.  Feeling very lonely and confused. 

sorry to hear you having hard time its horrid!


Im due dmx too wont know until thursday if its chemo and surgery or surgery and radiotherapy…some people seem to cope so well with not having anything there to replace, personally i am petrified of that…maybe im shallow but mentally im struggling…if they can reconstruct it will be good…and yes if one more person says - oh nice new boob job i think i will punch them !!  my surgeon seems a little rushed but im yet to discuss fully with her…

Hi Tor - I think you should ask for a second opinion for your own peace of mind, just to check you have no other options.  What reason have you been given why you can’t have an immediate reconstruction? I am not sure why it needs to “settle down”. If you are having radio, then implants can be problematic but an immediate tummy flap recon may still be possible.  Have you tried discussing the advice with your breast care nurse? Unfortunately in my experience surgeons don’t always have the best interpersonal skills!  You might also want to ask your GP or hospital for a referral for counselling.  Good luck.  (I am having mx and recon on Sunday.)

Hi Tor I can fully understand your fears so hope this post will make you feel a bit better. Everyone worries about being under anaesthetic but you are constantly monitored throughout your op. I had right mastectomy October 2015 for 50mm tumour. I then had fec-t chemo followed by node clearance then 15 rads. I found that having the mastectomy wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined. I felt a bit tight and sore for a couple of days as you would after any op but you shouldn’t feel ill or anything like that. I know the thought of losing a boob is horrible emotionally but you also want those cancer cells gone. You will have a drain put in which you have to empty and once you are down to about 15ml of fluid over 24 hours it can be taken out and that doesn’t hurt at all. To be honest I found the drain annoying and inconvenient.  Mine was removed after 3 days. Oh and for mastectomy you should just be kept in hospital overnight. Of course you will give thought to the way you will look and I think you will deal with it as you seem quite level headed. I personally hate my lopsided appearance when undressed and am looking towards my reconstruction later this year. No one knows your missing a boob unless you tell them as breast forms are quite good nowadays. Invest in some nice mastectomy bras and a post surgery bra. Over the time I’ve bought mine from m&s and a nice site called nicola jane. It can get a bit expensive but these things are necessary to us. I know friends and family mean well but to be honest some of them don’t really have a clue what we are going through and as for just live with it we are doing that every day. You will get normality back in your life it just takes a while. If you have other questions about any aspect of this journey were on someone will always be here to answer and support you as we’re all in the same boat. Xx Anne x


I’ve had Fec-T and am going to have a mastectomy and lymph node removal. I’ve been offered immediate reconstruction using diep flap, I was advised that was the best option as then it is one op.

I would question it as the waiting list for reconstruction is very long and you don’t want to have a second operation in a year or so.

Hi Tor, every sympathy for feeling so sidelined. I’m sure that’s not your consultants intention. In my experience the medical team only want what is best for you, but you’re needs and wishes are paramount. I do hope that you are able to have an open and honest discussion with your BC nurse and find some answers to your questions. On the subject of operation, I had a lumpectomy two weeks ago, and it was much easier than I expected. I’m very affected by anaesthetic, but it was so light touch. I went home that night with a drain which came out 5 days later. A nuisance to carry around, but I out it in a little bag  with my wet wipes , lippy and hairbrush and hauled it around hands free! I have a purple squashed boob, but am SO glad the cancer is gone. I’m not having reconstruction , but that’s a personal choice.

Have you got your worries and concerns written down ready for the meeting with your BCN? Can you take someone with you to be your champion?

Good luck. X