Mastectomy only

In March I was diagnosed with a high-grade DCIS. Because the area was so large, I had a mastectomy.

I felt very happy with this - once I knew there was a problem I mentally detached myself from the breast and was ready to say goodbye on 20th April.

As well as breast removal, I also had four lymph nodes removed and the test results came back completely clear.

Apart from annual checks on the other breast, I do not need any further treatment.

Every day, I count my blessings. The diagnosis was made whilst I was having something else checked.

I didn’t want a reconstruction and have recently had my silicone prosthesis fitted. So, in theory, that’s it for 12 months.

I’ve been given details of my local breast cancer support group, but I’m a little uncertain of what to do. I was able to return to work very quickly and feel very positive about the future.

I have offered to raise money for the support group, but I sort of feel I don’t belong there. It was made very clear to me before the op that I was ‘pre’ cancerous and the tests confirmed this.

Are there any ‘mastectomy only’ groups? I’m not sure why I want one, but I sort of feel I do!

I had a mastectomy nearly 5 years ago. I must admit i also joke about my man breast (as i call it) but feel that other people get embrassed about it and donnot know how to respond to my comments.
I supose people just donot know how to talk to you. I donot know if there are any groups but maybe someone will be able to tell you on this site. I donot mind chatting if you like or any information about clothing…a big problem depending whats in fashion and the high prices we have to pay for the bras…because we are special!!! not. I must admit i found it quite hard to start with but now i forget i don’t have a left breast any more. Look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for that!

I’ve never had a problem talking about it - my humour has caught a few people off-guard, but they’ve soon got used to me.

I bought some bras before the op and really embraced the idea of it all. I did slip up when I was discharged - lost my softee somewhere between the ward and home.

If anything, I feel more feminine now. I deliberately choose to wear tight fitting tops - something I wasn’t that worried about before.

I just don’t feel comfortable going along to a cancer support group when I never, medically, had it. Someone from another hospital has suggested I talk at a group about my experiences. I went in feeling 100% positive and that’s never changed.

However, I sort of feel that if I walk into a room of women who have experienced ‘cancer’, they’ll punch me.

When I joined this forum, I had to opt for the ‘other’ category - there wasn’t even a home for me here :frowning:

Hello Baggybooks,

I too have had a mastectomy out of choice last October. I did have a good response to chemo but I just wanted rid and as you said, detached myself from it, and the alien living inside! My BC nurse mentioned about support groups too me as well but I kept well away as I needed to try and deal with this horrible situation by myself with the help of family and my friends. I could’nt even go on any forums like this one until towards the end of my treatment, in hindsight though I wished I had sooner rather than later as a lot of the things I was experiencing were happening too a lot of other women too, I could have got some comfort there.

Anyway, I also have a dreadful black sense of humour and make jokes about my one sidedness! Thankfully my friends know me well, I do have a bad habit of flopping the ole chicken fillet out on the arm of my couch at night as it gets a tad heavy!
I am not planning on a reconstruction it just does not figure in my head anyhow I have got used to the ribs now!
I do however find it difficult living with my remaining breast wondering and what if’s crop up still every day.

Best wishes to you all

Gilly x

My story seems to be similar so I thought I would write something. I was diagnosed with D.C.I.S. in May. I was told it was an early breast cancer. It was extensive so I had a mastectomy 3 weeks ago. I was offered the opportunity of reconstruction , but decided against it as I would be longer in hospital and it would take me longer to recover. At the beginning of this week I was told I need no further treatment or medication and my specialist doesn’t want to see me for a year. I feel incredibly lucky. I can cope with loosing one breast - I am grateful that I feel so well so soon after the op. My husband has been very supportive. But it is still nice to talk to people who have had the same or similar experiences.

I didn’t opt for a reconstruction either - it’s such a personal choice, isn’t it?

I suffer from cysts and have/had about 100 in each breast. Getting rid of a problematic breast, in all its form, was best for me.

I also didn’t like the idea of something false being part of me.

Bony ribs was something of a surprise to me too!

Hi Ladies
It is quite funny really as i cannot remember how it felt to have two boobs now. It was a surprise for me about how bony my ribs were on that side. To be honest i know this sounds awful i really wouldn’t mind lossing the other one. Just imagion you could have your small going to work boobs and your large party boobs to go out with. When you did not want to wear a bra and wanted to be boob free you could just put a loose jumper on. Not sure that my husband would be too keen on that.

I wouldn’t miss the other one. I used to always remove my bra as soon as I could (usually at home!) and pop on a top. Now, I’m aware that if I do that and the doorbell rings, I may shock the caller!

It shouldn’t matter - and to be honest, it is the only thing which I have found to be a negative. It just irks that I don’t feel I want to change until I know ‘visiting hours’ are over.

Two months after my op and no-one has seen me lopsided!

After a while i had the i really donnot care what people think attuide. To start i went out into my back garden in a normal bikini top. If any one came around i never covered up. After all it is my body and house so why should i care if it upsets someone.
I have even been on hols in uk and worn a normal bikini top on the beach. I donot see why i should be unable to get the sun onto my skin like everyone else. At the end of the day it is a choice thing and i do feel confident enough to do this now.
You are still early days and your confidence will grow with time. Do what you want to do, not what makes others feel comfortable. Wear your boob…don’t wear your boob it is the person inside that matters. I hope this helps you and i wish that i had had someone to talk about it at the time but i got through OK.

Hello me again,

Baggybook, I like the comment on ‘visiting hours’ it does cross my mind when I can remove my boob too!
Lupin your confidence is great, I went swimming for the first time the other day since dx and I kept on checking how I was hanging! Hopefully one day I won’t give a poo and just stick my nose in the air and be thankfull.

Best wishes

Gilly :wink: x

Funnily enough, I changed after lunch and let it hang out!

Someone knocked on the door, it was a friend and I stood there chatting for quite some time. It was only afterwards that I realised I’d been holding up a DVD she’d brought!

I suspect she realised - I’d mentioned to her in the past about ‘changing’.

It’s not so much me not having the confidence, it’s more being considerate about how people feel.

I’m very open about it all and I can sometimes sense folk are shocked by that.

Maybe it’s they who need the confidence to react naturally?

Thanks for these posts - it’s good to share!

I thinking worrying about other peoples feeling is someting i went through for a short period of time but then i started to think about people who have lost limbs etc and decided that it was not me with the problem it was other peoples attiude (opps spelt wrong i know).
I donot have a problem with having only one boob…i would have prefered for it not too have happened but boob or death…not really a hard choice to for me to make. People can take me as they find me or not bother. A little selfish i know but life is too short to get hung up on things that really donot matter in the bigger scheme of things.

That’s not selfish - I’m gradually coming round to that way of thinking myself.

With this warm weather, I don’t want to wear anything unnecessary, and my bra is not essential - so off it comes!

I have found this site really helpful and supportive. I don’t post often, but regularly visit the site. I have friends but they don’t really understand. I was so excited last week when I bought two new bras with pockets (cost a fortune), but they felt comfortable and made me feel more confident. But my friends didn’t share my enthusiasm.
I know it doesn’t matter if we have one breast or two or none at all. It is the people we are that matters.
My best wishes to everyone.

Hi Liz
Don’t they just hang us out to dry with the prices of bras and swim wear. Our hospital does do a service for sewing in pockets but because i am only a small girl the type of bra i need to sew a pocket in is impossible to find. So not only lost my boob…careless i know (ha ha) but i am forced into paying a fortune for bras and swimming costumes. Mind you if you do have a sewing in pocket service sports bras are the only ones that i have found that fit really well. I must admit i am going out to buy a normal bikini top if i can to take on hols. It is great that you can buy them seperate now. Hopefully pick one up cheap in the sales…maybe even two.
I must admit you really do need the pockets. I have had one escape across the room and land on my glass, yes then had a puncher…fix with a plaster until replaced. since then bitten the bullet and paid for bras with pockets.

I bought a couple from an on-line company. They’re really comfortable, so I found a couple more on Ebay for the fraction of the price.

Likewise, my old bras couldn’t be adapted.

Did you say you bought some on ebay…were, who? I am all for saving maoney.

Yep. I searched for mastectomy bras and saw two which I already had in different colours. I knew they’d fit me perfectly and they were a bargain.

They came from a ‘shop’. Still had the labels on.

I need to get a swimming costume with pockets - the ones I have looked at on line cost a fortune. My hospital does a service to sew in pockets - I have given them one of my swimming costumes (the other one wasn’t suitable), but they said it will take about 6 weeks and we are going on hols in 4 weeks. - Typical!
I hadn’t realised when I had a mastectomy I would need to replace ALL my bras and swimming costumes - or how much it would cost!!
I will take a look on e bay - might be lucky.
All the best to you all.

God Liz
6 weeks is a long time i only had to wait a couple of days to a week before. You can buy pockets and sew them in yourself. I think our hosptial do basic bras which are quite a cheap price, it could be worth asking at yours. Have a look on line a lot of the companies have sales this time of year and they can be quite a reduction. I have order a couple of bras, a swimming costume, a couple of bikini tops (just to see what they are like). For £3.95 postage i can send them back for free if i donot like them or they donot fit. I cannot remember what site it was but i will look later and let you know.