self-image after mastectomy

my beautiful 34 year old daughter had to have a mastectomy 3  and a half weeks ago, and today she went to see her consultant who injected  some saline into the space where breast was removed in order to give her shape.  She was absolutely in floods of tears on the phone to me at lunchtime saying that she really hates herself.  I tried to reassure her that this is a normal feeling following this surgery and that she would need a period of time adjusting to her new appearance - she said between sobs that she just can’t look at herself now.  I feel for her so much and wonder if there is any word of comfort that could maybe help my daughter to come to terms with this huge change in her body.



Hi janny1945

I’m sorry to read about your daughter, it must be really difficult for you.  Whilst you are waiting for the other users to repsond you might find it helpful to talk things through with a member of staff on the helpline.  Here you can share your thoughts and concerns about your daughter with someone who will offer you a listening ear as well as emotional support and practical information.  The number to call is 0808 800 6000 and lines are open weekdays 9 to 5pm and Saturday 10to 2pm.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Just to say at 41 with 1 large breast, it is very hard for me too. I cant bear looking at myself in the shower. Hopefully time will help, altho im 8 months down the line…x

I totally understand. I was 39 at the time of mastectomy. I tried to be so brave and face looking at my scar, showing it to my partner etc but after a few months I felt I was just pretending. I hated how I looked, my partner admitted he was struggling to get used to it and I started to hide myself away. I can’t have reconstruction so have no choice but to get used to how I look - this is me forever. 

My solution: I am getting a tattoo to cover my scar. I have no current tattoos, in fact, I hate tattoos! It just means, that when I look down on my chest, instead of seeing a slash across my chest, I will see a design incorporating beautiful irises. My Grandma was called Iris and she had BC at the same age as me (lived to a ripe old age of 80-odd). 

I have shed more tears than I care to think about. I am now 18 months along the line and only now is it less of a shock every time I catch sight of myself in the mirror (I try not to look in mirrors). I also do alot of running/mountain biking/outdoors activities. I try to think that this is still a body that can do all the things I need it to do. This is still a body that can run. This is still a body that can be out on the mountain bike with my friends and laugh and feel happy.

Yes, she can feel happy again BUT it will take time, tears and patience. 

I wish you every bit of luck and patience. Just take time to listen.