Reconstruction with diep flap or to stay flat?

Hi everyone,

I’m hoping someone can help and advise me as I am really struggling to come to a decision about my treatment plan. So end of June just after I had covid I noticed a lump in my right breast, thinking nothing of it I went to see the GP who referred me to get it checked. The mammogram didn’t pick anything up but the Dr felt something on examination so sent me for an ultrasound. A lump was picked up, the Dr said I think this is cancer, a biopsy taken from breast and underarm. 2 days later we travelled on a family holiday and had to await the results on my return. The biopsy confirmed a ductule and lobular cancer provisional grade 1 HER 2 negative estrogen positive. I then had to await a MRI scan and results a week later. The MRI picked up another 2 suspect areas so was sent for another ultrasound with biopsy. Only one of the areas was picked up on the scan and a biopsy taken. The results showed cancer on a 4mm nodule. My treatment plan is a mastectomy or mastectomy with reconstruction using implant or own tissue.

When I went to see the consultant about my treatment plan I had my mind up that I would have a reconstruction not knowing the length of time for surgery,recovery,and risks.I am struggling so hard to make a decision and need to decide before next week as will be seeing the consultant again.

My dilemma is do I deal with just the cancer for now and have the mastectomy as that is non negotiable and needs to be done or do I have the diep flap reconstruction at the same time. I want to look normal again but feel I may be putting myself further at risk by having the reconstruction as it’s a long surgery purely for cosmetic reasons. Am I taking an unnecessary risk for the sake of vanity. 

Implant is not something I would consider as the breast would have to be made much smaller and higher and not symmetrical.

I knw its a decision only I can make but I would really appreciate some feedback from women who have gone through this.

Hi Sab

So sorry to hear about your diagnosis. It’s so rubbish isn’t it. I found having a plan for treatment and next steps really helpful and something to focus on. I hope you’re doing ok.

I had a similar experience in that the MRI showed up an additional 7 suspect areas but across both breasts. In the end 5 we’re benign and I had 2 areas in one breast so had to have a mastectomy.

I am 4 and a half weeks post my right sided mastectomy with diep flap reconstruction. I’m 42 and I have an energetic 5 year old, plus a less energetic dog.

it’s such a personal decision but I am really pleased I had this surgery. My surgeon was very pro immediate reconstruction, and at the time all I wanted was for the cancer to be gone, but I found waking up afterwards and still having two boobs really helped me mentally.

The first week after surgery was really tough for me - I don’t want to sugar coat it because it’s a big op and the first time you have to get out of bed and move around is a bit daunting but I did it, and after the first few times it all got easier. I was a little bit sore but that wasn’t too bad, it was dealing with the nausea from the anaesthetic (mine was a 7 hour op because I had tricky blood vessels) and the morphine that really floored me. I was also very emotional (again, probs thanks to all the surgery drugs) and found myself very tearful when I’d felt quite strong up to that point.

After a week I turned a huge corner both physically and mentally. I now feel pretty normal. I’m still taking it easy but my scars are healing well (I’m amazed at how few scars are on my breast, the tummy one is long but I also have a very flat tummy now) and I have pretty much full movement back.

Everyone is different and so recovery will be different but I was so surprised how quickly my body and mind healed. I did all my exercises as recommended and they really did help. I was signed off work for six weeks to recover and it’s probably been good to get a bit of rest (though pretty impossible during school holidays!).

I had to be a bit careful about my daughter jumping on or near me for the first couple of weeks but I can pretty much do most things with her now. And walking is really encouraged so the dog is happy.

If I can help you at all with anything please do shout. You’ll make whatever the right decision is for you and that’s the most important thing in all this. Sending you lots of positive vibes xx