Help in choosing

Help in choosing

Help in choosing Dear Friends

I have only just been diagnosed and have the mastectomy on 1 May. So far recon seems to be the option. I know I do not want the one where they bring the muscle round from your back. Leaving silicone implant. At first I just thought, well go for it. But now some of me thinks it might be better to leave it and go for a prothesis. I feel a bit squeamish at the very thought of the alternative. Help! Has anyone any experience of this? Silly question - I know you have. I am still so in shock at the diagnosis that making a sensible decision seems a bit beyond me at the moment. I would just really appreciate your experience. I am 55, not vain, and usually a 36C. I know I could just wait and have recon later, but right now don’t want to volunteer for two lots of surgery if I don’t have to.

I would so appreciate your thoughts and experience.

Thank you!

DilysP

Hi DilysP Hi DilysP
I am currently awaiting a date for my mastectomy…I am going for the DIEP recon which uses you tummy skin and fat to recon the breast…I know there are a limited amount of surgeons in this country who perfom this procedure…luckily mine does…do you know the full list of procedures your hospital carries out…you could try looking on www.optionsforbreastreconstruction.com i think that gives you an indication of what each hospital does…i decided on an immediate recon to eliminate 2 lots of surgery…if this type is an option for you then there is another site www.diepflap.com which is quite useful. The silver lining with this option is a tummy tuck…however its the biggest and longest of the ops which is a consideration too.
I would ring your breast reconstruction nurse, if you have one…have you met your plastic surgeon yet as i didnt get to meet recon nurse til i met plastic surgeon…
Hope my ramblings help you a bit.
Love Anna x

Thank you Anna Dear Anna

Thank you - it does help. My surgeon (who seems great) had only the options of recon in various ways - silicone implant or using the back muscle. I am dithering between recon or just leaving it. It is not easy is it, when you still can’t believe it is a choice you would ever have to make! Mind you, a tummy tuck sounds good to me!

Thanks for answering and hope we share other views too.

Wish you well

DilysP

Hi Dilly

I had an immediate recon with the back muscle, I am glad I did, it just means one less operation if you have it all done at the same time and on less anaesetic to worry about, it was a long op 6 hours but worth it ,it isnt easy in the first week or so, im sure all the ladies on here would tell you the same that have had it, I didnt experience to much pain, it is just the getting used to a muscle from your back in your boob…I am 8 weeks down and on chemo now and my nboob although it still has the temp inplant in you would never know I have had a recon I can still wear low cut tops if I want and it still looks like I have my original boob with clothes on…many years ago you wouldnt have been given a choice I am glad that I had the option.,but it is a choice only you can make and what is right for you…

hope this helps
love lucy

Hello Dilys I had mastectomy + immediate tram flap recon nearly 2 years ago in June 2007. (I also had a reduction on the other breast at the same time). I am very pleased with the result and so glad I had this opportunity. I have never felt that i have had a mastectomy. Adjusting to my new image has been greatly helped by having the reconstruction.

It wasn’t an easy decision and I agonised for about a week. I spoke to friends and to the breast care nurse who was able to show me pictures of other reconstructions.

Good luck with your decision

best wishes

k

Thank you all Dear Lucy and K

Thank you for sharing your experience- it really does help. Has anyone had the silicone implant? I know if I have the back muscle treatment it means a delay in treatment and going to a hospital furhter from home, which I would rather avoid. It is odd too that since this diagnosis I hear about breast cancer everywhere I turn! It makes you feel less alone doesn’t it?

Best of best wishes to you all

Dilys

Hi Dilys Just wanted to say that I haven’t had a reconstruction and don’t regret this at all.

I wasn’t offered immediate recosntruction when I was diagnosed in 2003 as my cancer was close to chest wall and I had rads after mastectomy. However, I’ve never wanted a reconstruction any way. I think not having a recon. is sometimes presented as a poorer ‘choice’ than opting to have one which is a pity.

My scar is neat. I have just got used to being flat on one side. I usually wear a prosthesis which I hardly notice. I’m now 58 with a far from ‘perfect’ body and I never in any case thought my breast were one of my best bits. I just see my one breasted body as part of me now, and my partner does too (I think!).

Many women are deliighted with their breast recons and i have seen photos of dazzling results. But I know too of other women who have been very disappointed with results and in a few cases left with horrid complications.

Its a very individual decision but if you are not sure I’d say leave it a while.

very best wishes

Jane

Hallo Jane Dear Jane

Part of me feels just like you. It is so very hard to know. Others have pointed me at Anita and she has some very valid points too. In the end I think you just shut your eyes and pray. I feel much better prepared to talk to my lovely BC nurse on Tuesday. I feel so much less alone. My husband is great but I cannot inflict these discussions on him in detail. I know full well it is up to me and value your experience so much. In the few days since diagnosis this forum has become a lifeline. I just hope I can help others in due course as you have helped me.

Very best wishes

Dilys

It has to be your choice Hi Dilly
I know it sound like a cliche but it’s so true. If you haven’t made up your mind yet, wait. It took me 5 years to make a decision and in that time I was quite happy to wear a prothesis. I only had my recon four weeks ago and there have been times when I have wondered if I did the right thing. In some ways I have found the recovery more difficult than the original mastectomy and it isn’t finished yet. I still have to have a nipple recon and the other breast has to be lifted to match. I’ll probably end up with at least one implant which I didn’t really want but I can’t leave it as it is, with one of my breasts pointing North and the other going South. In the end I went ahead with the recon not because of how I looked but because I wanted to wear nice tops and go swimming without fear of my ‘chicken fillet’ popping out.

Good luck with whatever you decide and don’t rush into anything.
Sharon

For Sharon Dear Sharon

Thank you for answering and sorry your recon is troublesome. I am seeing the bc nurse this afternoon and will talk it all through with her, and try to make a decision. I am usually pretty decisive - aren’t we all? - so havering about like this is uncomfortable. I do think you hav a point though. But then getting it all over in one go also has its attractions. Ho hum.

Thanks again and 'll let you all know what I decide (if I ever do!)

All best wishes

Dilys

Help in choosing Hello DilysP,
17 months ago I was given the choice of mastectomy with immediate recon, or lumpectomy with radiotherapy and took the former. As my breasts were 38E and not attractive, and no reconstruction would ever have looked like the “other one”, the breast surgeon asked if I would consider a bilateral mastectomy. He and the plastic surgeon were great in advising, discussing and so on. The recon option of taking skin from the stomach was not recommended (I might add I am in Switzerland, but also I had been advised against from the USA), and I did not fancy the back muscle one, so went for silicone implants (with the final size being implanted immediately after the mastectomy, under the muscle). I chose a 36B. I was more than happy to get both things done at the same time (one anaesthetic, one hospital stay, one lot of recovery). I am more than satisfied with the results - and with all the accompanying advice and care I had. The only discomfort was because I had four drains (two each side) for three days, but once they were removed, it was fine. The scarring was minimal and has almost completely faded. The op was done in December 2005 (days before Christmas!), and in Sept 2006 I had nipple recon which, again, was uncomplicated and looks great. I am now getting ready for tattooing. I find it “interesting” that relatively few people in the forum seem to go for the implant option - does it have a bad press in the UK? My plastic surgeon here (an international specialist) said they have had no problems at all with them. On the “psychological side” I am amazed what a change has been wrought in me! I wear all sorts of clothes and colours I wouldn’t have dreamt of wearing before, people compliment me on how I look years younger now (I am coming up to 65!!!), and I feel really confident.
I hope this might be able to help you come to a decision: and if you have any questions where you think I might be able to help, do contact me. Very best wishes,
Petitepart

For Petitepart Thank you so much for posting. I have come back more confused than ever I must say. Having gone thinking about silicone implants I am back thinking just have the mastectomy and be done with it. I now have yet another appointment with someone who wll measure me for an implant on Monday. But no one seems to want to know about the prosthesis option. I am tired and will sleep (or not) on it. Pre-op appointment tomorrow. It does give you somehting of a full diary, does it not? You are all such brave people compared to me!

All very best wishes

Dilys

Help in choosing Dilys, there is no comparison in this club! Don’t think we are all brave all of the time! That’s why this forum is so marvellous: somewhere to talk about things which worry us which to the professionals might seem silly, obvious or just frivolous. Between diagnosis and my op (three months from the first “your mammo showed some irregularities” to the op) I lived from appointment to appointment and it took all my concentration and strength. We don’t have breast cancer nurses here but my breast surgeon and plastic surgeon were fantastic and took a line of communication which suited me perfectly. That is such a help. To be honest I didn’t give the prosthesis option much thought - I felt that once the implants were in I would not have to bother about them: couldn’t face the idea of having to put them into whatever I was wearing if you see what I mean. Tell you something else: the implants give you a superb décolleté, and if you don’t feel like wearing a bra, it’s fine (unless you go horse-riding!) and still looks great!
I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow…
Petitepart

For Petitepart Dear Petitepart

Thank you again. I now have a video from the bc nurse about Becker implants, which is what they will do if I go that route. My husband and I are going to pluck up the courage to look at it tomorrow. You are right though. It seems not at all the route to go here. My back muscle (tummy and bum as well) are staying firmly where they are now!

Thank you again for your support - so very much appreciated. Have a look too at the correspodence with Pauline under the immediate reconstruction (or is it help in choosing) string.

Love

Dilys

Hi Dilys I had my Mastectomy 2 years ago. We did consider immediate reconstruction but weren’t sure what follow up treatment I’d need. I decided that I would rather deal with the cancer and the treatment, make sure everything is ok, and then at a later date think about reconstruction. I’m glad I made that decision and now I’m seeing a plastic surgeon to talk about diep flap reconstruction (tummy tuck). I don’t like the idea of an implant but it’s a personal thing.
Good luck with what you decide
fantan

Thank you fantan Dear Fantan

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I learn from you that it can wait if so be. It seems so different for all of us, yet we struggle with the same thing. Thank you so much for answering. You are an inspiration to me.

Love and good wishes

Dilys

So pleased with my ‘Becker’ implant Just thought I would post a note to let you know that I, for one, am very pleased that I went ahead with my becker implant. I was very much in two minds about this for several reasons and waited 2 years before going ahead. I would not have ever had any other kind of reconstruction - as could not stand the thought of another operation site on my body.

I am 57 years old and didn’t think it would look very good and didn’t fancy another general anaesthetic. I also thought that an implant would push my scar out and make it even more noticeable. However, none of these things were a problem – I felt no pain at all and right away there was a little mound where previously there had been a concave area showing my ribs! I have now had three ‘fillings’ which are completely painless and I am nearing the end of the treatment. Not sure if I will bother replacing the saline with silicone, or even bothering with a nipple, but I will consider this at the time.

It feels wonderful to have something in my bra again, to look ok in swimwear – without constantly worrying about whether the prosthesis has slipped or is noticeable. Right from the start I needed no other padding at all. If any of you are hesitating – I would say give it a go - I am so glad I did.

Best of luck

Linda x

Hi Linda Dear Linda

Thank you so much for that. Really helpful. I m so glad it has gone well for you. It is still what I want to do. But this morning at the hospital, which I thought was a routine thing to be measured for the implant, the surgeon decided the cancer may have spread to the skin. So he did another test there and then and I might get the result on Wednesday if I am lucky. If it is ok then I go ahead with the Becker. If not then I very much fear it wlll be chemo. So other things would be on hold for a while.

But the Becker decision stands if I get the chance. This is all such an all consuming rollercoaster isn’t it? I cannot believe it was diagnosed only just under two weeks ago. Oddly I had a routine call for a routine mammogram for today!

Wishing you all the best and thanks again for answering.

Dilys

In a quandary… I am 36 and have been advised due to genetic problems and family history to have a bilateral mastectomy and ovary removal… I have been given two options for reconstruction - either the back flap or tram. There seem to be pros and cons with both options. The back flap means not having abdominal surgery and arteries remain in tact but you have implants. The tram option is a longer operation with the risk of complications from lack of blood flow, but the new breasts will be made from my own muscle and fat. I keep arriving at a decision and then changing my mind. I would really appreciate any advice from people who have had either of these operations.

Thankyou, best wishes and good luck to all of you,

Miki