Post Op Limbo

Hi. I am 48 and was diagnosed on 5th April with IDC Grade 1 after finding a lump. Even though my mum had BC 25 years ago I was still in denial and when I got the news that I had cancer I went into ignore it mode and everything they told me went zooming into cyber space!! Have since read every single thing about BC which is in itself, VERY SCARY I am still not really sure what happens next!!!
I had my lumpectomy and sentinal node biopsy last Wednesday and fingers crossed the cancer will not be in my modes and I will “get away with” radiotherapy and tamoxifin for five years. The thing that puzzles me is that when the nurses changed my dressing I saw the “dint” in my boob which is VERY noticable but at no time has anyone offered me reconstruction. Do you only get this with Mastectomies? I am a larger boobed lady (sounds like a breed of bird) and also single so am thinking longer term and not too happy with a cavity boob. Still all things considered I shouldn’t be moaning about this stuff, at least I caught my cancer early.
Has anyone had a similar experience. Can you have recon on NHS after radiotherapy?

Hi AnnaMae,
I’m glad your surgery is over and done with - another battle over in the war! I don’t know what options there are regarding post-op reconstruction, but I would say (now I’m almost 2 weeks post lumpectomy) that the shape of my breast and the wound/scar has altered a great deal since the surgery so it may be that you just need to wait and see what it is like when all the swelling etc goes down. I know that my surgeon said he did what he called ‘a bit of reconstruction’ whilst in there- though quite what this consisted of I’m not sure- my tumour was relatively small so I don’t think there was a large gap to be filled. I do think that they usually do what they can to make the appearance as good as it can be, on the NHS. I also know that when they took my dressing off 10 days post op, I thought it looked awful but the BCN and surgeon both said, oh that’s great. And I am getting used to it.

I quite agree with jackie just wait a while and let the swelling settle down and then decide after my Mx there was quite a bit of swelling and now its going and my chest looks flat so just leave it a few weeks then ask your consultant what he/she thinks

Thanks Ladies. I will give it some time. Daft for me thinking about cosmetics at this stage but common sense tends to disappear once diagnosed!!!

Not daft AT ALL! Cosmetic appearance can be very important, especially with regard to moving on in longer term. I completely understand how you feel.

Hi Annamae

I just had my WLE & SNB on Friday - I am a D cup and had a 3cm lump at the top left of my breast. I have a 1.5/2 inch wound on my breast and the same just under my armpit. I did tell my surgeon that I really wasn’t bothered about it being deformed, just as long as he got it out.

My BCN wanted to see me today to change my dressing however, when I arrived I was told that because the wound was dressed with paper stiches, it was ok to leave them. She also said that I didn’t have much swellings (which I thought was quite strange).

My surgeon did tell me that he would shuffle the remaining breast tissue around so that it wouldn’t look like there was anything missing and I must say, apart from the fact that it has lifted slightly and I have a large wound, I would even know that I had anything removed.

I’m sure that if you speak with your onc, he may be able to offer some type of recon.

Good luck
Martha x

Hi Annamae, I was left with a very obvious dent. I was likened to someone taking a slice out of a Terry’s Chocolate orange. It bothered me from the start and I always wanted it gone. I asked about reconstruction at about the stage you are at. The BS said that a WLE probably doesn’t merit reconstruction using back muscle / stomach etc which they do for mastectomies - though I know one friend who did end up having a full reconstruction later. In my case they advised lipofill ( fat transfer where they take it out of my thighs with liposuction and fix the dent with it).

They have to do this gradually. Mine has taken three goes, third tomorrow. It can’t be done immediately after radiotherapy, as they need to allow time for the tissue damage from radiotherapy to heal so that it takes properly, but it has made a massive difference to how I feel about myself. It only involves a day surgery - and tiny little incisions to take fat out and put it back in. Bruising for a few days, but otherwise no problems. Some people just want to move on with life with no more surgery. I wanted it cosmetically fixed. After all, people have cosmetic surgery just because, and we just want to look as near as possible to how we did before xx

Ps, I was 47 and also single and it was largely about confidence In myself. It we done on the NHS, although my hospital was just doing trials in the technique. Lot of places do it so if you say that you want some form of reconstruction they should talk to you about the possibilities x

Thanks for the replies. I think once the radiotherapy is over and done with I might push for a bit of liposuction to even things up…could do with them taking it from my tummy ha ha.
Thanks for the advice. Much appreciated xxxx

Tummy, thighs. I may have wonky boobs, but I have the skinniest thighs n flattest stomach :slight_smile: Oh and two and a half years on, I still have no evidence of disease and feel fine. Hang on in xx