"it's ok"

I found a lump the week before xmas. Saw GP and had to wait over xmas for a hospital app. Got app Dec 30th, had an exam with someone who said that she thought it was just a cyst, but to go and have the mammogram. Had that and then a scan. Was then told that there was definitely ‘something’ not right and to have a biopsy the next day (New Years Eve!!). Came back the next week and was diagnosed on 5th Jan 2010 with BC. The doctor told me there was also another ‘area’ that was inconclusive so I had to have another biopsy to try to confirm a diagnosis. He said it was a straight choice…have a full mastectomy or check the 2nd area because if it was ok I could have just the lump removed.
Had 2nd biopsy and returned on 19th Jan to find out that the 2nd area is also BC.
So…25th Jan I have a mastectomy with reconstruction using a strattice mesh (pig skin) with the implant, which I understand is a fairly new technique.
Followed by Chemo etc…
does anyone have any experience with this method of reconstruction? I asked the doctor what he reccommended and he said if it was someone in his family he would want them to have it…so…
World turned upside down doesn’t begin to describe this!!
I’m so sick of telling people and then telling THEM ‘it’s ok’ to make THEM feel better!!
I want one person to say “actually it’s NOT ok” and “it’s ok for it to not be ok!!”
Rant over.

Sorry you have to join this forum. You are at a horrible waiting stage with plenty of time for wondering about your treatments etc. I’m not having the same as you, but there will be others who are and can offer advice re the strattice mesh.

Plenty of us at various stages through chemo though to help you through or answer questions.
When you have your dates for chemo it’s good to journey along with others at a similar stage.

Best wishes. Stella xx

Hi Teatime.

It’s NOT ok, and it completely SUCKS. But I know what you mean about having to reassure everyone else. This disease doesn’t just affect the person WITH the cancer, it blows the minds of everyone around you so when you want someone to be there so you can just blub and sob and fall apart on their shoulder, instead you’re the one doing the hugging and reassuring. It’s so upside-down, isn’t it.

There are quite a few people who are booked to have surgery on 25th so I’m sure there will be someone along soon. Perhaps you can get some strength from each other and go through your journeys together.

You might also find others who are in a similar life situation as you - age, family make-up, disease, treatment regime - so stay a while and browse. The publications on here are also really good, and you might find the Helpline (number at the top of the page) to be very useful. I have found this site to be a complete lifeline as everyone on here UNDERSTANDS because we’ve all shared the same bomb going off in our lives. So use the site to rant and rave, share good stuff and bad, welcome but I’m sorry we have to welcome you.


You are allowed to scream, cry and shout, however many times you need to. We have the comfort of knowing this is not the automatic death sentence it once was, but it’s still rotten and the treatment is not fun. There is still a shocking amount of ignorance on the whole subject of cancer, and BC in particular. Being ‘brave’ for yourself is one thing, having to be BRAVE for others can be too much.

I think if you hunt around a bit you can find at least one thread on this reconstruction method. The name is unusual enought that it has stuck in my memory.

Best wishes for successful treatment,



it’s not ok, it’s not At all ok, it’s not even remotely ok and it is alright for it to not be ok, in fact it wouldbe freaky wierd for anyone to think it’s ok. Sod the brave face and let people see how horrific this is for you. But take heart, you will come through this overwhelming terror, anxiety filled post diagnosis period and start adjusting to face what is before you. It just takes a while for your brain and body to adjust to the shock, figure it out a bit and start moving forwards again. When you have information and a treatment plan you feel like you regain a bit more control and structure and can get on with it.

I’d start a new thread about the reconstruction of I was you with the pig skin thing in the title as it will grab peoples attention for this specific topic and people who may not read this thread would probably read anew one.

Good luck, keep posting, let off steam and try not to be too brave.



Hi again,

Thanks for the support. That was my first post after hanging around on here for a few days reading everyone else’s.

The funny thing is that I’m not ‘scared’ as such, just blank. Everything’s carrying on…even me.

It’s the kids (20, 10 and 7). Working out who will have them while I’m in surgery, trying to stop the eldest coming back from uni, making lists of what they have in their packed lunches, what clothes they should wear, what they like to do at bed time…
I DO ALL THAT! No one does it as well as me and I’m not in control! ARRRGGH.

Anyway…I’ll have to start a thread on the Strattice Mesh reconstruction I think. Is it not done much??

Feel better already :slight_smile:


Hi TeatimeIthink,
Know exactly what you mean by ‘world being turned upside down’. I am a bit further on than you but am still trying to come to terms with the horrid thing. As others have said, you will feel much better once something has been done and you have a treatment plan and you WILl get through it.

I had a MX and immediate reconstruction with an implant and a strattice mesh. The reason my consultant used this was because it was likely that I would need radiotherapy (as well as chemo)and she said the mesh would help to protect the implant (I don’t think they like to put an implant in before radiotherapy normally). I have to admit, I just went along with what she said at the time as I was in a bit of shock/ a daze still about the diagnosis. Having said that, have had no problems, although have yet to start radiotherapy. I would make sure you ask any questions you have before the 25th and it may be an idea to start another thread as I know there are other people on here who have also had this done.

Hi Lou1,

Thanks for letting me know your’s went ok. Obviously we’re all different but I think I’ve chosen the right reconstruction.

How much further through this are you?

I’m not having radiotherapy as far as I know. Straight to chemo. It will be good to get a treatment plan.

Let me know how you progress and we can compare notes further on :slight_smile:


Hi teatime,
I’m just over half way through my chemo now. Not always been easy, but manageable. The MX I found fine adn quick recovery. Just make sure you do all the arm exercises they give you to do afterwards. My children are 11 and 9 and like you I do all the practical bits so when I went into hospital I’d organised everything with lists everywhere as to what happens after school, what was for tea, etc! I’m sure my mum/sister/OH would have managed but they did find it helpful! You just have to be a bit laid back about some things not being done as perhaps you would have done them!

Anyway, lots of luck for the 25th - you will be fine I’m sure.