Prosthesis for 1-2 years - can life be normal?

Prosthesis for 1-2 years - can life be normal?

Prosthesis for 1-2 years - can life be normal? Hi Everyone
I am halfway through my neo-adjuvant chemotherapy which is going ok but will still need a mastectmy in August as the tumour is multi-focal. I feel I was reasonably coping with this prospect but yesterday the surgeon told me they wouldnt do a reconstruction for 1 to 2 years after the mastectomy. This has left me feeling very disapointed. He just seemed to think wearing a prosthesis until then would be ok. Can anybody asure me that this will be the case ? With still some chemo to go, the operation and radiotherapy to come the reconstruction was the light at the end of the tunnel. I have a 3 year old boy and 5 month baby girly - will we ever be able to go to centre parcs again ?

Hello Jane
Centre Parcs won’t know what’s hit them!!!

I am post chemo and radio (having had a lumpectomy last June) and I’m 6 days after a mastectomy (of the same breast).

I am quite large breasted and could not imagine what it would all look like but it’s okay really.

The best bit is that there are some superb bras, camisoles and swimsuits on line and I have already had a bit of a play with a pocket bra - you know I am really impressed. I’m 51 so older than you but still ,as with us all, how I present to the outside world is very important…

I probably won’t have reconstruction because my second cancer was in the skin of the breast but I know I’ll feel good about myself in the future.

Chin up - one day at a time remember!!


Hi Jane, I had a mastectomy last year followed by chemo and rads. i finshed rads in Feb this year and was told I’d have to wait a year before reconstruction could be done. I was told this is due to changes that continue to take place after the rads. This is the case as I’ve found the area that was zapped has tightened up quite a bit and is sensitive. Im opting not to have a reconstruction. My BC nurse told me I would be left with limitations following a reconstruction as the muscle is n’t there anymore to do the job it should be doing. I know a couple of ladies who have confirmed this is the case. One was previously a windsurfer and can’t do it anymore following her reconstruction. I’ve always been a very active person, going to the gym, walking riding my motorbike. I feel I’ve lost enough to this disease without losing the things I really enjoy. Nevertheless, I’m going to Spain in July and I will be wearing a bikini. I got a pocketed bikini that looks like a “normal” bikini. I wear strappy tops and pretty much what I used to wear before. Okay so I won’t be going topless on the beach this year but so what?

I can do and wear pretty much what I did before all of this. At the moment, my hair’s a bit of a give away that something was wrong but other than that, people don’t know what has happened unless they know me or I tell them. There is some good mastectomy wear out there that looks like anything else in the shops. It’s worth checking out and I think you’d be surprised by some of it.


Sorry to hear you are facing all this with such little ones to care for too. Pocket bras are really good and the camisole ones are very pretty, hiding the scar if it is high up like mine is. (Ask surgeon where yours will be with regard to your recon later). No one will know you have a prosthesis they look so good.

I didn’t think I wanted a reconstruction, couldn’t think past ‘get this cancer out of me’ stage. Now, 8 mths post mastectomy I have decided I will have one but not yet and haven’t asked the surgeon yet, will do next wk when I see him. I’m not in any great rush to have more surgery just yet.

Just wanted to say it takes time to get over all the other stuff they throw at you and 1 yr will fly by. You need to give yourself time to recover from all treatment and get the crap out of your system.

I have no regrets to having made the choice of a mastectomy and was advised a recon should wait to ensure any poss stray cells are ‘dealt’ with first, I think this is wise.

Don’t worry, you will look fine to outsiders and you too will get used to your new shape quite quickly.

Also, you can get super swimwear with prothethsis pockets, very flattering, high leg and all that. Look at websites for Nicola Jane, Amoena, Woman Zone and there are loads more. Happy swimming!

Good luck


Thanks for the replies Dear All
Many thanks for the replies and kind advice. I feel much better about it all. I am beginning to appreciate why the wait is necessary and from what you have all said feel its all possible.

You get used to it! Dear Jane,

I had a mastectomy ten months ago and it does take a while to adjust. For several months I hated looking at my body but it looks so much better now that the scar has healed and I’ve got used to it. I bought a mastectomy bra before my operation and found it easy to match the ‘softie’ to the size of my other breast. If your bra rides up try longer straps on the operated side. I have a lightweight prosthesis which I find much more comfortable than the original full weight prosthesis. I didn’t like wearing it at first but have got used to it now. It’s also easier when you are less sore. I’ve started swimming on a regular basis and bought a swimming costume from Amoena and weighted foam swimming prosthesis from Nicola Jane. Mail order is a bit frustrating when you have to send things back to try different sizes so allow plenty of time if you are planning ahead for special events such as swimming on holiday. In bra, T shirt or swimming costume I am confident that you cannot tell the difference which feels pretty good to me!
It must be hard having chemo first, knowing that you have an operation to face at the end but you’ll get there and you’ll get through it all. You will still be able to have the reconstruction even if you have to wait and wearing a prosthesis will get easier with time so don’t worry if you hate it initially! Hope all your treatment goes well.

Best wishes
Francine x

Prosthesis - HELP geraldine, your post has made me feel much better if I have to have a prosthesis for a longer period of time (had mastectomy in March and surgeon said she would do recon in Sept - but this has not been confirmed). I am only small - 32b and am currently wearing a soft lightweight comfie.

How do you get away from the ‘gap’ which you always seem to get when you bend over (comfie never stays close to your chest wall). How do you wear clothes that you worn before? I am worrying about having to get high necked tops to wear for when I return to work as I am frightened of bending over.

karen xx

I had my mastectomy in April and felt just like you describe - mine is visible quite high up as well. It is a real challenge to get clothes in the high street, which all seem to be designed to show off as much chest and cleavage as possible! I found that once I got my proper prosthesis and invested in proper well made and well fitted bras, that my confidence improved. As for bending over, I am trying to perfect “the bunny bob” which apart from stopping that gap, is great exercise for the thighs (and you have to look for any upside you can!) Other people in the chat have talked about the camisole bra. I bought one of these and suddenly found I could wear most of my pre-op t-shirts, some work some don’t. The other thing is distraction - great necklaces, scarves, earings - they all draw the eye away from the thing that is most on your mind. And the other thing I learned is don’t fuss - I was always fussing with my neckline and all that does is draw attention. (I’ve now diverted to fussing my wig - another thing I’m going to have to get over…)

Good luck

for Nettie - prosthesis nettie, thanks for advice. where/what prosthesis did you get and where did you get the camisole bra from ? Might try this if I have to wait beyond sept for op.


Hi Karen

I had my prosthesis fitted by my breast care nurse - they were really helpful. And my bras came from Amoena. They have a showroom near Southampton and I went there. If you can manage that, it’s really worth going. I got my self measured before surgery in Marks and Spencer and found when I went to Amoena that I was a different size! Haveing a bra that fits properly is a big plus. They are not badly priced and very good quality. It’s not long till your op, but you need to use all they help you can to make yourself feel better in the meantime. As the ad says - “you’re worth it!”


Mind the gap! Hi Vezza, I have n’t found it too difficult to deal with the gap. I’ve found that pocketed bras, properly adjusted, keep my prosthesis close to my chest so there’s not a problem. The cami bra that I have is great as it covers up my scar and the “gap”. i have a lot of strappy tops with hidden support that I got from Primark (£ 2.50 each) They look like 2 t-shirst layered on top of one another. I wear these a lot either by themselves or under sweaters and other tops that I have. I wear them with a swimform which has the right weight and shape for under a strappy top. These tops sit high enough on my chest to give good cover. The only things I have n’t been able to continue wearing are a couple of halter neck tops that I had before. Everything else has been fine or I’ve been able to adapt somehow. I do the same as someone else who posted on here- wear a lot of necklaces to take attention away from my “cleavage”. I always did like earrings so it’s a perfect excuse for wearing the sort of unusual ones that I like. It really has n’t been a problem. People who know me have commenetd on the fact that I have n’t covered myself from head to foot, but carried on wearing virtually what I wore before.



Long term prosthesis Hi Jane

I’ve read through all your replies so far and these great ladies have given you lots of pratical advice and encouragement.

I would say I feel the same way as you so I’m going to go against the grain a wee bit here.

My surgery was Mar 06 and prior to that my surgeon said moreoreless “we’ll talk about body image issues in a year”. I took him at his word and counted the days down and was at his door between chemo and radio to make sure talks were opened and that I’d be reconstucted within the year. It was only at this point he said he would NEVER do a recon until at least 6 months after radiotherapy had finished. He explained why, so June was settled. It took me a long time to get to grips with the fact that the deadline for my main goal this year wasn’t going to be met but I won’t go against medical advice. If I hadn’t pushed it for June though I’d still be sitting here at the end of the year waiting. None of them seem to be in a hurry in my opinion, unless you get a really sympathetic lady surgeon and they don’t seem to be easy to find, plus they are chocka block.

By the way if you read the recon threads there are plenty of ladies whose surgeons are happy to go ahead with this much earlier than yours and their results seem to be very good, mostly.

If you still feel strongly, as I do, then keep pressing for an earlier op.

Best of luck

Going against the grain Hi Dahlia

The support and advice from the lasies of this website has been great I feel so much better and feel I will have a life after the op. Know where to get things from and more important how I might approach the sittuation in my own time. Have also taken on board the need to take it easy and totally get over the treatmnets and op. Thanks to thme all.

But was also surprised by the lack of image concern - at this stage. Being told that a reconstruction will get in the way is not a good start to a consultation ! However further explanations did comfort me that this is to ensure no recurrences before they go ahead and time to recover etc. atleast I know ths now before the op compared to you finding out afterwards.

Work sent me a few years ago on an assertiveness course to get the most out of meetings etc. Funnily enough they didnt cover this type of thing. When I try to remeber what they did teach me, it fails me.

I am totally happy with my care and trust the consultants to do their job, get rid of it and give the best chance to stop it coming back. But I need to ask a few more whys and wheres (so far have mmm mmmmed and ahaaaaaad alot) instead of speculating late at night. As you I would never go against medical advice.

As I am being looked after by the oncology dep at the moment I havent chatted to a breast care nurse. I hope when this happens things will fall into place a bit more.

I have always set my own goals with tight timelins and worked independently. I still have the goals for beating BC as we all do, but am now taking onboard more advice on the timelines. Largely thanks to the advice from the ladies on the website.

In the meantime I am taking on the great advice to be kind to myslef and am enjoying a day of being looked after by my husband - chemo was yesterday. So far have had breakfast and lunch in bed while catching up on the website which is really cheering me up.

Will your reconstruction still take place in June ?


Sorry, I meant Ladies on the website - not laisies