Immediate reconstruction cancelled due to Covid

My immediate implant reconstruction has been cancelled due to Covid.  Hoping to still have the planned mastectomy in late January but feeling very disappointed.  Can anyone give me any advise on “going flat”, dealing with it psychologically as I am concerned how I will feel when I see myself. 

Also, has anyone had delayed implant reconstruction?  I don’t know if this is possible due to there being a lack of skin after mastectomy?

A warm WELCOME to you, Celiarose,

I’m so sorry Co-vid has stymied your recon surgery and can understand your disappointment. Some women aren’t so bothered about going flat. Like you, I WAS. Wanted immediate implant recon with my 1st mast, 2006, because I knew how it would affect me. It didn’t happen due to a miscommunication with my surgeon who was promoting self tissue recon to me, which I never wanted due to extra scars to boob area and elsewhere, increased healing time, increased risk of infection . . . . 

I’ve posted this a no. of times, ref. my initial reaction to seeing myself without a boob. I made a point of looking at myself as soon as possible after the op, and I used to be a tough cookie in those days, but it literally crippled me. Ended up sobbing on the floor of the hospital ward bathroom.

However, I DID grow used to it. Had a great prosthesis in pocketed bras. Felt great with “it” and a bra on. BUT, I always had it in mind to have recon.

But I then had to have a 2nd mast a year later, 2007. Attitude to that was to just get rid of the blummin demon and thought double delayed recon a bit later. So then had two prostheses, felt great in a bra! Just didn’t look at myself topless in a mirror, or down at myself if bathing.

Took me 7 yrs, 2014, to then embark on implant recon, due to loads of life’s brown stuff, loss of 3 family members, all sorts of other traumas and difficulties. Just got put on hold. I’m still at inflator stage, but this time due personal mental illness. Went through all the inflation appointments to reach an acceptable size ( 3 ) that my tissue/skin could cope with and ‘I’ was MORE than happy with (was a 34B prior to BC). Had an appointment for the op to replace inflators with permanent silicon implants, and the surgeon cancelled it a week before. Given another op date, but ‘I’ couldn’t make it, due to my own mental state. So I haven’t yet had the silicon implants installed, followed by nipple recon and then tattooing.

Another however, Celiarose, just after having the “inflators” installed, waking up to look down and see SOME bumps back (they inflate them slightly after inserting to keep them in place), then look at myself more fully, topless in the ward bathroom, was the complete OPPOSITE of my sobbing after my 1st mast, all those years ago. I did a loud “WHOOHOO!!! Delly’s got some of her old body and shape back!” It made such a massive difference, just at THAT stage. Felt bloomin marvellous.

So YES, darlin, it IS possible SKIN wise. Takes about a year in all, from inflator op to nipple recon, and finally areolar tattooing. You’ve just got to have the patience and stamina to keep on with it, be prepared to put up with some slight discomfort immediately following each inflation (nothing major) and hope nothing else gets in the way, as has happened with me.

Talk to your BCN, ask to see/look at photos if you’re still unsure.

Hope all my above helps put your mind at ease. If you have any further questions/queries following my looong post (sorry ), don’t hesitate to ask. I’m only too happy to oblige. i’m sure you’ll have other replies coming on soon.

Good Luck. Keep us informed with it all for you, will you please.

Lots of love, Delly xxxx     

Hi, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had surgery cancelled due to Covid.

Although my situation is a lot different to yours, I’d love to help if I can. Body image can be difficult for so many of us, even before breast surgery.

7 years ago I had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction with implant as I felt that I was unable to deal with going flat.

This month I had a mastectomy on the other side and my implant removed. Unlike you, I made the choice to go flat on both sides, but like you, I was scared of how I would react to the sight and feel of it.

It is clearly early days for me, but one of the things that I did a fortnight ago was to look at lots of photos of women that were flat on one or both sides both with and without clothes. I used Pinterest to save the images so that I could revisit them alone or with others.  I couldn’t look at some of them at first, but some I liked more and saved in a separate folder.

Many of the images are of women who radiate confidence, happiness or downright defiance. 

When I first looked at them I was shocked and even put off and so was my partner.  I guess that this is a natural reaction and we never see images of woman who’ve had mastectomies in our day to day lives.

But just revisiting them over a few days desensitised me and normalised them. The number and range of photos that I could look at comfortably increased. So that when I looked down and saw my flat chest after surgery I was prepared and actually felt positive.

I’m under no illusions that I will feel great every day, but I take comfort from the fact that I am amongst the company of some remarkable women, who by putting their photos out there have helped me. 

Even if you are only flat for a short while until you undergo more surgery, it might be really helpful to look at some positive ‘flat’ images.

I can try to send you a link to my Pinterest board if you would like and if you think that it would save you some time looking for photos.

I have some other things that might be of help too.

Hello CeliaRose

I am going to have a mastectomy end of Febuary, after I finish chemotherapy. 

I am 43 years old. My first reaction when I was diagnosed late summer was chop it off!!! I want to see my kids grow up. 7 cm tumour, her 2 positive, hormone positive. Massive shock. 

Immediate breast reconstruction isn’t an option for me. Not due to Covid, due to being HER 2 positive and best survival chances. 

I have to admit now the tumour has been reduced and my breast looks normal again I am starting to feel upset at the idea of amputation . I had felt pretty indifferent up until now. I don’t think i’m ready yet to look at photos of breastless ladies.

I don’t know how I will react after surgery, usually I am very strong and positive, I have always been quite attractive (I think anyway ha ha-not that I make a great effort sInce I had my kids). But I think I am going to find it hard. 

I think we need to allow ourselves to feel upset, angry, depressed, whatever emotions come. Its annoying when friends say things like :as long as you get rid of the tumour that is the most important. I know that!!! It was my immediate reaction. But I don’t need to win any prizes for being brave or putting an act on. I’m not sure we can prepare for how we will feel. Just listen to our own feelings and be honest with ourselves. It’s a pretty horrible thing to have to go through, despite everyone coping differently. 

My hospital offers a psychologist to talk about it, I definitely take any offer of support there is.