How do you come to terms with mastectomy?

Hi all

I have already posted about being booked in for mastectomy on 10th Dec - but how do you come to terms with this? I just cant get my head around it and keep trying to imagine my life with one breast - and I just cant.

How do I get there?


Hi Fiona,

I was exactly like you are feeling now at the beginning of the year. Being only 34 when diagnosed my boobs were very much about me and I loved my cleveage!!
I had my mastectomy on the 8th Feb, followed by chemo and radiotherapy.
I am now on tamoxifen and monthly injections.
I was also distraught at the thought of losing a boob, but it is amazing how you do adapt. It will take time but you will accept your body as it is and now when I look at my scar it reminds me of what I have been through and how I am so proud of myself for getting through these last 6 months.
Give yourself time and you will accept the new you.
I have found some wonderful feminine bras and wonderful swimsuits at amoena, this is a website that specialises in lingerie and swimsuits for those who have had surgery.

Good luck to you and hang on in there.


Hi Fiona

Can’t offer you much advice but just wanted to say I’m in the same boat as you as I’ve got my mastectomy booked for just after you and I’m dreading it, I’m 28 and can’t imagine how I’m going to feel afterwards, not just physically but mentally.

All I keep thinking though is that it’s a step forward to getting better and probably one of the biggest hurdles (I’ve had chemo before my surgery and that was a doddle really!), once it’s done at least the nasty sftuff will be gone!

Let me know how you get on.

Tish xx

Hi Treasure and Tish

Thanks so much for your replies. I am a young 39 and single (only just!) and have already had chemo. I think I am having a tougher time accepting this than the fact I have cancer - or maybe its just all built up - my head is absolute mince at the mo and yes its the physical as well as the mental factor. I am a very fit and active person - or at least was till the chemo and just want to get back to my old life.

I agree Tish - altho chemo was not pleasant - I know it could have been a hell of a lot worse - I pretty much sailed thro it - altho sitting here with a really sore mouth with ulcers - but at least I know its that last time!.

I know I am rambling but just so so muddled at the mo

Everyone keeps saying how strong I am but god i just dont feel it right now - just cant imagine ever going on a beach holiday again etc etc etc - and I know this sounds vain, and I know you get amazing swimwear etc these days - but aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh



Meant to say - good luck to you - will be watching to see how you get on - are you having immediate recon - or do you think you will in future??


Hi Fiona

I honestly feel exactly the same, sometimes I feel a complete mess and desparate!! Before my diagnosis I used to be at the gym at least three times a week and out every weekend somewhere or another and now I feel like a completely diferent person! I just want to be back to my old life too!

And if I hear once more, 'oh you look so well…you’re so strong…blah blah blah…I may scream and lose my temper!! Oh and, look how well Kylie looks!! Yeah, but I’m not Kylie!! Grrrr!!! I know people mean well but sometimes it’s just annoying!

I was speaking to my surgeon and he said I’ll still be able to wear what I want afer the surgery (i’m having the reconstruction after my radiotherapy, are you?) so I felt a bit better hearing that but it’s still soooooooooo rubbish!!

PS: I’m single too, sometimes wonder if I will be forever now after this!!! :frowning:

Tish xx

Hey Tish

I know what you mean about the look so well bit and so strong bit - grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

My surgeon says he wont do recon for about a year if I need radiotherapy - which they wont decide until they analyse the tumour and nodes!!! Bought a bra today for wearing a prosthesis - I know you get nicer ones but this is just one to start with with having scar etc - its nae the bonniest - and its HUGE - when your used to wearing balcony bras etc!!!

I think I need to actually meet people that are going thro this!!!



I just finished a 2 year relationship couple of weeks ago - feel brave doing it as it just wasnt right - so I know I am strong - in that I know he would have stuck by me but yes - wander if any man will look at me again - it doestnt bother me being on my own - I am very independent - but all the same - its nice to have a cuddle!!!

Hi again!

I’m the same, I’ve been told it’ll be about a year to wait for reconstruction…that’s going to be a long wait!

I bought a bra today too!! I was told to get a sports bra so I went to M&S …it’s very feminine…I don’t think!!! I’m used to skimpy nice underwear, like you say, balcony style, not big frumpy bras and pyjamas that fasten at the front! Yuck!

At least we’re both going through the same and can compare notes!!

Are you having the nodes under your arm removed? I am!

Tish xx

Hey Tish

Shame we cant just pm and have a conversation - I too went to M & S - its nae the most attractive thing!! Its not quite a sports bra - but very big! Also bought button up the front pj’s as told they are best (normally dont wear anything so gonna hate them!!)

although I say I am getting mastectomy - my surgeon has given me another option - removing upper outer quarter of breast - where tumour is and covering it with bit of skin from just under arm - have yet to see pictures of it - but out of 70 ops he has done - he has had 3 recurrences - for me - I just cannot take the risk of going thro all this again - I would definately go mental. Also could end up with one boob quite a bit smaller than other - so think it would be more difficult to pad out one side of bra than wear a prosthesis. Also - 10% end up getting mast anyway because they dont get enough clearance. Have almost decided but my brain is definately mince!

As for nodes - yes surgeon will remove sentinel node and prob about 10 others - no evidence from ultrasound of spread so fingers crossed.

What date is your op?

For Sparkler,

Hi Sparkler,

I’ve had a look at what events BCC have coming up in your area where you can meet people who are on the same path as yourself. I know it’s not until March, but there’s a Healthy Living Day planned to take place in Aberdeen. If you’re interested in attending this here’s the link:

I’ve also posted the link to all the events taking place in Scotland:

If you are interested in attending any of these just follow the links or alternatively give the helpline a call and the staff there will be able to give you more information. The helpline number is free on 0808 800 6000.

Kind regards,
Jo, Moderator

Thank you Jo - will have a look and consider - altho I am not one to ‘ask for help’ and not a great talker - I know I am def going to need help


Hi Fiona

Ha ha, I’m the same wth the pj’s, I don’t ever wear them, I’m gonna be feeling like an old granny in the hospital!! Hopefully won’t bump into and dishy docs while I’m there!

I’m having my op on 19th December, nice crimbo pressie for me!! Although I’d rather just get it out the way to be honest.

My surgeon seems to think the mastectomy is the safest option and I’m quite hapy to go with his advice. The more I hear about other options, the more I think I’d go for the full job and get it all out than go and risk having a recurrence or more surgery! Even though I don’t really want to be lopsided for a while, lol!

Do you mind me asking where you are beiing treated? Not sure how you do the pm to chat, I’ve never used it before??

What chemo did you have? I’ve been on FEC and it’s worked really really well fortunately!

Tish xx

PS: Just read the other part of your message, I split with my boyf just before diagnosed and in a way i feel better to be single even though it’s sometimes hard and yep it’d be nice to have a cuddle!! But then on the other hand I don’t want someone who’s with me out of pity and my ex was that type! I need to concentrate on ME at the moment!! I’ve not even told him about my diagnosis! x


I too have never pm’d chatted. I am way up north in Aberdeen. I had AC chemo - doxyrubicin and cyclophosphamide. I had a scan 1/2 way thro and the tumour had almost halved in size - but had more scans after last dose (had 6 in total) and surgeon reckoned it had grown slightly! - is thats the case its obviously very agressive (its grade 3), so again - another reasone for having mast!

I work in hospital and believe me - there are nae many dishy docs!!! - lol

Altho my surgery is a bit before christmas than you - I am the same - just want rid of it.

Where abouts r u if you dont mind me asking?

I did ask my surgeon the question - if it was your wife - what would you advise?? - and he said mastectomy - so that is having a big influence too.

Just read the thing about your boyfriend - altho my ex is not a bad person by a long shot - I think I would always been have wandering if he stayed with me out of pity - as he would not have been the type of person to leave someone in this kind of situation. I just did not want to hurt him but am so much happier having done what I have done - definately time to concentrate on me (and my 14 year old daughter)



I’m in Birmingham so a few miles away from Aberdeen!!

The consultant said my tumour wasn’t too agressive which he said is unusual in us younger women so I was fairly pleased (well in a way!!)

I would say defo go for the mastectomy if the surgeon gave you that response about if it was his wife. They don’t lie as my BCN keeps telling me!!! Whatever it takes I think it’s just a case of staying focussed and remembering that whatever they’re doing to us is going to get us through this, that’s how I keep going! It’s soooooo tough though some days!

Oh, how strong we are, lol!!!

Are you still working through your treatment? I am, my onc advised me to…was quite disappointed when he said that, he he!

Tish xx

Thanks Jo, was always wondering how it worked, bit technical for me!!

You deserve to feel sorry for yourself, don’t even worry about that!! After all that’s happened to you in the space of a year, nobody would deny you that I’m sure!!

I too feel so angry and bitter towards people, I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever get back to my old self but I’m sure we both will, once all the treatment is over. I was speaking to my bcn about how mad I get with everyone but she said it’s completely normal and she’d be worried if I wasn’t going through those feelings so that made me feel a little better! I do sometimes feel like shouting at people who are whinging ‘Do you know what i’m going through while you’re moaning about a little cold??’

You definitely deserve something big and extravagant for your birthday, get your thinking cap on!

Anyway I’m off to bed, didn’t sleep too well last night so need an early one tonight!

Speak soon, it’s been good to share our thoughts.

Tish xx

Thank you Tish

I too am off to bed soon - with 3 sleeping tablets and several vodkas - must not get into a habit tho!

Take care