Shelley, you are an angel... thank you. Now it's my turn to apologize that I am only just now seeing your wonderful reply. THANK YOU so much; everything you said is so helpful.
My crater is still very much there, but I will be meeting with a plastic surgeon in the next few weeks to see what can be done. My breast surgeon told me that it's there because the breast tissue was scraped away there, so I'm hoping he can do some fat grafting or something to fill in the "ditch."
THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!
sounds like you got more than a simple mastectomy, possibly.
Hello there CrunchyPoodleMama (I love your name!), Sorry I've only just seen your post. It's quite a while since any of us have posted on this thread of mine, so I'm glad I've checked it and seen your comments. I'm so sorry you're feeling like you are about your crater, and I wish I'd seen your post a couple of days ago, so that I could have answered you sooner than now.
With my mastectomy, they took all the skin. Mine was Paget's so it affected my nipple in particular, so... I've not had your experience of still having a nipple. However, I can certainly understand how you're feeling about having a bizarre crater. Just to reassure you though, I don't think your muscle would have been severed by mistake, cos they'd have had to tell you that'd happened, whilst you were still in hospital.
I wonder if it's swelling from the operation? I had my op on 15th Oct, but even now I still have some swelling and it's really hard - unbelievably so, cos you always think of swelling as being at least a little bit soft to press, don't you. However, it's not painful at all, and I know it'll go down over time.
Also, I think some of my "swelling" is actually my rib! There's another thread somewhere in one of the forums about this sort of thing - as I remember it, apparently one side of your rib cage, and even one part of the rib cage can be much more prominent than the rest, and of course we wouldn't usually realise this, but then when we have our breast(s) removed, suddenly we notice it. Mine is very prominent in one area where I've had the mx! It looks about the size of two ribs together, but I'm sure they'd have told me if two of my ribs were fused really!!
I'm really sorry that like me, you're experiencing the feelings of your operation site being horrible/ugly and finding it upsetting. I had some lovely support from people on here, and I'm now feeling so much better and happier with my body post-op.
Oh, another thing I've remembered - a little while after the op, I realised that my bruising was actually contributing to how awful my crater looked. I had really dark bruising and lots of it, cos I'd had a complication and had to go back down to theatre to remove a large haematoma. They'd put strapping tape round me afterwards to prevent further haematomas developing, but they warned me I'd be very bruised. Anyway, after this first post here, I realised that the bruising was making things look worse, because it gave a "shadowed" effect to the crater. It took me a while to realise this - I dont know if you have bruising around the inside edges of the crater too that could be making it look bigger, like mine did.
I do still have a high crater, and I know you don't want to hear this particularly, cos you have said that you dont want cover-ups, you just want the crater gone, but in a minute I'm going to tell you about some fab camisoles, if you dont mind, 🙂
But first, two of my friends have had mastectomies in the past, and their craters are less obvious than mine - one of my friends still has a cleavage, and she has gone from a 34a to a 34c in her remaining breast ( her mx was 6yrs ago). I'd be really pleased if that was me, as I'm only tiny in my remaining breast. But, my other friend has stayed the same size of 34c, and I think thats more usual to stay the same size. It's really early days yet for you - your crater may well lessen over the next few weeks as any swelling/bruising goes down.
My breast care nurse fit me with an excellent prosthesis, and I've bought some really pretty camisole tops - Marks & Spencer do a really pretty one, which has a lot of really deep lace on it. Be careful in buying one though - they do it in both a body hugging version with lots of lycra whch would hurt you around your operation area, and then they do the same camisole in normal type fabric. They're so pretty, and are good value at £10 each cos they're a really lovely quality lace. They do them in white and black, and in another colour too, but I cant remember the other colour. I really respect that you want the crater gone, rather than cover-ups, but these camisoles might just give you that little bit of confidence and "prettiness" when you look down, just for now. BHS also do some very pretty camisoles too, and they're a little bit cheaper at an average price of £8 for the prettiest, and £6 each or 2 for £10 on their other lace topped camisoles. (All these are everyday camisoles, not post-surgery ones).
In answering your second question, I don't know a lot about the reconstruction side of things, cos I've opted to live "left breast-free", but I would think that in reconstructing your breast, they'd be able to create as near a copy of your original breast as possible. Your surgeon will be able to tell you more about that.
But, in the meantime, I'd get in contact with your bcn when you can, and have a word with her about how you're feeling about your crater. It's so important to be reassured about these things, and there are some lovely ladies on here. We all share so much in common, but we also have had slightly different ops to each other too, so I hope that some of the others on here might be able to answer you too, so that you feel a lot better about your op and its results.
Please keep posting on these forums - all the best to you, and I hope you're able to have an enjoyable Christmas!
Much love, and a gentle hug, to you! xx
Hi, girls - I just had a skin-saving mastectomy on Wednesday (five days ago) and I, too, have a bizarre crater. Mine is somewhat crescent-shaped and curves around the nipple (I had nipple-sparing).
It is downright SCARY-UGLY!! I personally would be livid if someone told me "There are plenty of products on the market that can help cover that up." Um, I want the crater GONE.
My questions are:
1. What is it?? What caused it? Was the muscle severed by mistake?
2. Can plastic surgery fix it? I will be doing reconstruction in the spring. I would rather be perfectly flat than have this ditch running down my chest!!
Good luck to all who are dealing with this!
hi, i had a MAS on tuesday 19th oct..its took me till sunday 24th to look at the out come of the op..think wats been said bout knowing ur having ur breast removed..then seeing the result is somthing u cant prepare for is very true, im having recon surgery at the end of my treatment..but dont ever feel like i could let anyone other than a medical person see me without clothes on, think i realy am gona settle for the singel life lol...
Hi Shelly, have sent you a PM. Glad you are now feeling a bit better in respecct of your breast - I think part of it is that prior to surgery you are actually in denial and it doesn't sink in that you are losing your breast (or part of it) until afterwards. Like everyone said at least you have lost the tumour and that is gone now and its just getting your breast to settle down and see what is availble to make it look ok.
I had a mastectomny so it a way its probably easier as I just have to wear my prothesis which is marvelous and has been fitted for me and looks and feels like a normal breast - I even have a 'sort of' clevage but I do wear bra's that cover up the top of my breast or my prothesis will 'pop out'.
Its funny how quickly you will get skilled making yourself look and feel ok and wear stuff that feels comfortable. Around the house I just wear a camosile and my sofie (from hospital) pinned to it - its comfortable and flexible (I never used to wear a bra around the house before anyhow) - I have two prothesis, one I got from the BCN which as I said is wonderful and feels just like a breast and makes me feel good. I bought another one on line which is a 'sofie' but as a weight in the middle and I use it for swimming and other leisure type activities - its not as good as my proper one but it does its job and makes me feel ok - it cost around £20 I think.
anyhow good luck and have a lovely weekend take care x
Sorry Swallowtail, forgot to say bye-bye to you! xx
Hi Swallowtail, sorry for the delay in replying to you! I mentioned about the stick on prosthesis to my breast care nurse, and she said that they usually like to wait at least six months before trying them, to allow the skin to relly heal properly before sticking the prosthesis onto the area.
However, my friend has a stick on one and loved it at first, but now prefers an ordinary one - but we're all different arent we. Yes, it'd be great to hear from other people what they think about them.
Pleased to hear that you are feeling better about it now, it does take some getting used to I have never considered a reconstruction was just glad to get rid of it, forgot to say that my nurse said when I was fully healed and finished with radiotherapy that it might be a good idea to try the stick on prosethis she thought it would cover that area better,perhaps someone who as one could tell us what they are like,
Really delighted you spoke to your district nurse and BCN and they were supportive to you.
It's just so scary isn't it?
Every stage is difficult!!!
I should say I was very surprised how much my mastectomy site changed in the last 2/3 months...
I was disappointed with such swelling around mine and it stayed the same for the first 5/6 months and that's how I thought it would remain for ever but the swelling has shrunk recently!
So, try and believe that what you see now may not remain....
And it may improve with time.
Mine has, although I still have a strange fold!!?!! It looks as if my cleavage is in the wrong place!Too far to the right for my liking!
Hope you continue to share your fears and concerns with your professionals, and on here too.
I'm so pleased you feel more supported tonight.
Remember we've all been there and are only too willing to help others.
Goodnight, Welsh girl x
Oh thankyou so much to all three of you - your comments have been so helpful. I was awake a couple of times in the night, but things didnt feel quite so bad once I'd written them down here.
I spoke to the district nurse this morning - she was very caring but also very professional, and when I said about the "crater" being bigger than I'd imagined and showed her what I looked like with the mastetomy bra on, she said so calmly "and there are many wonderful things on the market that can be bought to help to correct your problem" and along with what you've written here to me, it just really helped.
I have two Amoena Mona bras for every day and that's the style I've started wearing, then I've bought a really pretty one from M & S and that's got the extra lace insert at the top. The M & S one looks gross on me just now but my breast care nurse phoned me today, and I told her. She reassured me that in a few weeks time, she'll help me choose mastectomy wear that's right for me from the catalogues, and she says that over the months/years my chest wall will change and I may feel a lot differently about it.
Celia, (and also AnnB) your idea of the little cami tops is lovely and reassuring - I think I'm definitely going to need them, but like you say Celia (swallowtail), I'm probably noticing it more than other people might. I dont know if its the same for other people, but I can cope more if I know there are other people like me, so thankyou to all three of you for sharing your experiences with me.
AnnB, I think you're right about missing my breast you know. I think I was thinking that last night, but couldn't admit it to myself let alone anyone else. It's 10yrs since your surgery - it sounds as if you had a horrendous time of it with the MRSA. This cancer is so cruel and horrible isn't it - but like you, I dont think I want reconstruction and it's so lovely to hear that 10yrs on you've never changed your mind about that. I think I'm going to be the same - I think that's why I was so upset last night, because I didnt expect to look down at my chest wall and be so upset.
But, today has been much better, and Welshgirl you really helped with that too because you gave me the confidence to talk to the district nurse today, and also because you were small breasted like me, and I was reassured that you'd felt the same as me about so much tissue loss. It really did me good to air how I felt on here and get your lovely comments back and also Swallowtails and AnnB's too - part of me just hopes that in being so "graphic" about describing how I look, I've not upset new people to the forum or those waiting for mastectomy.
So, if anyone is reading this and is/has been upset, worried etc by my remarks, please please contact me and I'll reply to you I promise, or get support from someone such as Breast Cancer Care staff or your breast care nurse, because I really dont want to have upset anyone.
With lots of love and best wishes to everyone! xx
I had my mx in August and am the same very hollow and must admit it does show at the top even with the proper bra and prosthesis I wear a little cami with lace at the top under things with a bit lower neck and then it doesnt show as much just a little bit at the top but I dont think people notice, it is because I know it is there,,and I dont think you are being silly I felt the same.
Sometimes after the relief of the operation being over its other things that brings to a head how we feel and I have read that some women suffer grief after losing their breast.
In my case I had a lovely little neat scar until 5 days after op and the whole area opened up to a well you could fit a large jaffa orange into with MRSA. This stayed open for a full 6 months and completely wrecked the care my surgeo had taken. Albeit I would still have had a well at the top of my chest as it was necessary to take a higher piece due to cancer cells.
Eventually when you are feeling better and the area has settled down you will have time to look at maestectomy bras that have an higher flap that covers this area, usually with pretty lace, that can be clipped on or off as you want it. Theres some on their websites.
Its over 10 years since I lost my breast, could never have reconstruction because of the mess mrsa made but to be honest I do give a flip, I lost it to get rid of the cancer and I ever miss having a second boob. Its very early days for you yet but time will make you feel better about yourself.
Take care, down rush things take an easy recovery, you will adapt honestly
love Ann B
You're definitely not being silly or babyish!
You're upset and not sure what has actually happened to your breast!
I hope you can talk to your nurse tomorrow and confide in her about all your swollen areas. I'm sure she will help you take the next step.
Your BCN will help answer your questions too and the staff on here are excellent and so very very kind and understanding.
Share your worries.
I had my mx in February and it has now calmed down to it's regular size. I wear a proper prosthesis and mx bra and because they come up higher it does cover my scar, folds and indentations!
I am an A cup but even so the loss of tissue feels enormous.
So, I do understand your grief.
You can contact me any time if it helps but your start here to air and share your worries will hopefully reassure you.
I hope your nurse is supportive tomorrow.
Take a deep breath and tell her everything....
She will understand I'm sure.
Best wishes to you for a calmer night.
I had my mastectomy on Friday - no nodes etc, just simple mastectomy. My breast was 34B but looked a lot smaller than that. Then I developed a haematoma and they took me down and drained off 700mls and gave me 3pts blood. They were lovely on the ward and I've been discharged today. I've only one drain and hardly need any painkillers - and I've worn my mastectomy bra and softie today n am really pleased with what I can see of the scar. It's lovely having the softie and it's nice to look down and see the softie in place - I dont want reconstruction.
The scar under the trellis dressing is really neat as much as I can see, but you should see the deep crater where my breast has been! It's huge, and it's like a square shape because its straight across at the top and down the inside where my cleavage would have been.
There's people on these forums in pain, who can't wear there softies etc & some may not have the support I have around me. But I can't stop crying now it's bedtime. Been a bit weepy on and off, and friends would have stayed but I said no.
I just can't believe it's such a big and very deep area left after removing my boob. It's all bruised and even on the remaining breast too, but I can cope with that - it's just the size and depth of the crater that's really upsetting me.
I'm so sorry to be writing all of this. I asked at the hospital why I'd got a hole at the top of where my bra is, and they said they thought it might be with swelling, but they didnt sound very convincing - I dont mean anything wrong to them - tht was just the impression I got, and they've explained everything really well otherwise. I'm not writing it very well, but I thought the missing boob would be covered by my bra and softie but it's not. Whether I look down at it or in the mirror, when I have my bra on it looks like there's a cave at the top of my bra, and without it it's the huge crater. I know I'm swollen, but dont think its swollen that much.
Has anyone else had this? Also my ankles are a bit swollen too, and my lower pelvis feels bruised and swollen although it doesnt look it. I feel embarrassed about the swelling at the bottom of my tummy because its in a personal area (just above the pubic bone) so didnt tell the hospital as there's nothing to see. If the district nurse is nice tomorrow, I might tell her about it.
I love my softie and the bra, and am still glad I didnt have the reconstruction, but am I being silly or babyish in how I'm feeling about it looking like a crater or a cave. Has anyone else felt or experienced this please?