I want to postpone my DIEP surgery!

Hi everyone!
I haven’t been around for a while! I’ve been back at work and trying to get on with life! Haha!

So here is the thing! I am due to have DIEP recon in November. I currently have had a double mx last August, with temporary implants, but one had to be removed due to severe infection. So at the moment I have one flat side and one implant!

The thing is, I need to lose 4 stone for the recon surgery and I just can’t get my head around it at all. I have lost a stone since the new year but I am just feeling under so much pressure and I am getting very very stressed about it! I am going to see my consultant on the 11th March and my plan is to ask her to take the temporary implant out and see if I can live breast free for a year or so. I am just not ready to have such a big operation! My kids are doing their GCSE’s mext year and my Dad was such a nightmare when I was diagnosed and had my surgeries last year. I’m just not strong enough yet to do it and all that it entails, I need to be completely selfish and my boys will be a little older and more able to look after themselves (and me!!!). As I say, I’m just not ready.

Has anyone else felt like this and how have people felt living breast free?

Thanks for listening and any advice or experiences would be appreciated!

Viv xxx

Hi Viv, I think the fact you are asking the question means you pretty much have made up your mind…I’m in a different situation to you, I had mx in dec and through fear of cancer didn’t have recon… Found out this week it will be a year before PS would look at me because of rads… I’m upset but also feel the operation is too big and I just want normal life back… If I have one breast done, then the other will need looking at, and then the recon side will need nipple/tattoo…
I don’t know what to do feel lost, so understand your predicament totally… Just wish Ididn’t have to make any choice at all…
I think as parents we put our kids first, so you may be deciding your path based on the support your kids need from you… You didn’t mention partner, so maybe that also makes your choice harder…
You will make the right decision I’m sure.
Keep us updated of your plans
Maggie x

Yeh - sometimes is very hard to cope with reconstruction if something goes wrong. I know some ladies who was not happy with recon and afterwards took out implants. They prefered to live breast free. Motto was - no breasts no problems. Of course, not everyone has the same point of view.

Thanks so much for your comments.

My implants were only meant to be temporary as I didn’t want to be flat chested. I would have been okay I think, had I not been in a position where one had to be removed! I’m now lopsided and because the implants were temporary, they are in front of the muscle and feel horrible!

Maggie, I am a single Mum and although the boys’ dad is around he works shifts and silly hours so he’s not around to help really! My Dad is older and has Parkinsons and isn’t much good at the emotional support (my diagnosis became all about him!!!). I have the most amazing brother and sister in law too but the burden is so great, I’m not ready to relinquish control.

My Dad is coming for a cuppa in a minute and I’m going to talk to him about it too!

The BCN will be getting a call tomorrow too!!!

I hope my surgeon will understand and agree to do the removal. I’m a bit worried what she’s going to say to be honest! The temporising implants isn’t an operation she has done many times before and I was her first bilateral!!! So she was so gutted when I went back into hospital with the infection.

I’ll keep you posted! Thanks so much!

Maggie, I hope you can find your way through months ahead! What type of recon are you going to have?

Viv x

Hi Viv. I do sympathise even though my situation is different. I had my left breast removed November 2011 and the other one November 2012. I thought I’d be quite happy to be be breast free but I’m not! The surgeon told me we can discuss reconstruction when I see him in June but I’m in a quandary about what to do. I’m 61 but I have a son aged 14. He has autism and I know some autistic children have problems with physical contact but my son is just the opposite. I think it’s his way of showing he’s stronger than me but he’s always hugging me and putting his arm around my shoulders. When I had my mastectomies I had to stay with my daughter for a few days as I couldn’t cope with him so I don’t know how I’d manage after a recon. My husband is around but, well, ‘chocolate fireguard’ comes to mind, bless him. The other problem is I’ve returned to work after being away for a year and I’m really enjoying it. I don’t fancy being off work again for any length of time. Hopefully there’ll be such a long waiting list for a recon that I’ll have retired from work and my son will have gone to college somewhere miles away! The surgeon did tell me one of his ladies made a decision to wait until she had retired and then have it done. I feel if I don’t have it done, even at my age, I’ll end up feeling resentful because I couldn’t do what was right for me.

Hello Viv - I just wanted to say that I don’t consider you’re being selfish at all. It’s you has to live with all the difficulties you’ve already been through and and future decisions you make. It’s horrible being uncomfortable all the time. I think if you’re feeling stressed that’s not going to benefit you or your boys. Also, you’re obviously under a lot of pressure about losing the weight in time and the difficulties of coping following surgery. Perhaps if you take the pressure off, give yourself some time to help your boys through their exams and for you to lose the weight gradually, you’ll probably feel more able to cope with the surgery.

Many women wait for a few years before deciding the time is right for having a recon. I’m sure you’re surgeon will understand and will want to do whatever is best for you.

I hope you feel happier once you’ve decided.
Best wishes.