Tips for preparing emotionally for going flat

Dear All,

Thank you to all those to replied to my former post deciding between recon or going flat. It turns out I have to go flat, in three weeks time (for two years anyway). Can any of you, who both wanted to go flat to put the body under less strain, which I feel too, but who were also terrified of the change to body image, give me some tips about the emotional transition and things that helped you adapt psychologically and share about the states of transition too. Insights that came or whatever helped you make peace with and accept your body’s changes. Made it easier for you to attend to your wound etc. 

Many thanks! Kali 

Hi Kali

Today I sat in front of a mirror in Oncology Rehabilitation (physio) and burst out laughing at the realisation that, had I had a reconstruction, how ridiculous my dilemma would be 2 years on. When I had my mastectomy, I weighed my usual 7 stone 8lb. With the hormone therapy and the pregabalin required for neuropathic pain, I weigh in at 10 stone (almost 2 stone heavier than I’ve ever been). Had I had a reconstruction at 34B, I’d now have it paired against a 36D.

Obviously I can only offer my perspective. I wanted that breast gone. With it went the cancer so I regard my flat, scarred chest as my lifesaver and, to be honest, I don’t think about my missing breast. There are frustrations and discomforts but it’s a small price to pay. I also think, if I’d had a reconstruction, I’d be obsessing over recurrence because I’d have a breast still there. I know recurrence is still a real issue but, again, it’s not something I think about. However, I do appreciate other people can’t be so pragmatic so I hope you get a good range of replies.

Attending the wound is a good introduction to the essential self-care and maintenance that is required. If you have axillary clearance, you learn which lymph systems to sweep towards. Gradually, it becomes part of the routine and daily life - massage the scar with cream, circular movements skin to skin to keep the scar flexible and ease the traumatised breast muscle that’s left. Your breast care nurse will give you instructions on these routines. Just go with the flow. You are more than a pair of boobs!

All the best for the surgery. I hope the results are reassuring xx