I believe MX scars vary considerably depending on the surgeon. I had only a two and a half inch scar from surgery which removed a kilo of tissue, I had been 34F, and full axillary node clearance.
My surgeon had a reputation for keeping scarring to a minimum and seemed to have excelled himself in my case.
Best wishes to all facing surgery
KittieKat, those pictures are lovely, I will be happy if mine is as neat. I had my mx on last Monday and will see my scar for the first time on Friday. I haven't looked at other photos but my Mum had two mastectomies so I have a good idea what to expect.
Oh Thimble, I remember only too well what you describe.
Do you have a date yet for your mastectomy? As others have said, the waiting is the worst.
I had real trouble sleeping after I was diagnosed, due to a ferociously strong (and in my mind, irregular) heartbeat. It beat so hard that I couldn't sleep on my "bad" side. So of course I googled it, and utterly convinced myself that my whole body had already been ravaged by cancer. It hadn't.
I think we all imagine the worse when we are first diagnosed, I remember taking down the Christmas decorations in tears, convinced that I wouldn't see another Christmas.
My mastectomy scar, 3 months down the line, is smooth, not visible under skimpy vests and summer tops, and just under 5 inches long (and that includes removal of 25 lymph nodes). It actually looks a lot better than a lot of the photos I saw before my mastectomy.
Before my surgery I found pictures, that I printed and kept, of a woman that had had a double mastectomy, and the neatest scars I have ever seen. It might help you to have a look, to see that the results need not be too horrifying. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post a link, but perhaps the moderators can remove it if it is against forum policy...
You're not alone, talk to the helpline, and keep posting here. We know how you're feeling, we've been there too.
L Cathy x
Thimble, have you called the bcc help line sweetie? Please do, it's fantastic and they'll help you. Re the scar, it's not nice to see it for the first time, but you've done that bit now. I looked lots before mine (bilateral, 5 weeks ago today) and I think I was less shocked to see my own because I'd been so shocked before by the photos. I feel ok about it now. Before the op, I was terrified and very jumpy. Once it was done, I became pretty laid back about the whole thing. I was lucky enough to have good results, but whatever they find just remember it's being dealt with now. You're probably right about the pains. The stress is constant, and it has a physical effect on your body with all kinds of hormones rushing around telling your heart and breathing to speed up, and your brain to be ready for fight or flight, so you feel horrible. Lots of love, you'll get through it. Lynne xx
I had my mx for cancer 3 years ago and hated being lopsided so much I had a prophylactic mx a year ago. I am very happy being boob free and I rarely wear prostheses now.
There is an excellent website called breastfree.org which gives a very positive view of life post mastectomy which I recommend to anyone going through this kind of surgery.
Thimble I've just had my last lot of chemo and am waiting for mx in 4-6 weeks. I'm really scared too. Made myself look at pictures of scars. It's really hard to imagine what it will be like.
Don't know what else to say to you really but I know how you are feeling.
Can I tell you about my fears, since I was dx I have been breathless and have had an ache in my back, deep down I know that this is because i am in shock and i am very tense and emotional, but i cannot get the fear out of my mind that this thing has spread and it is everywhere. I am crying every day and not eating or sleeping.
I need someone to talk to, my oh is very much of the you just have to get on with it approach.
Sorry for moaning.
The first time I saw a Mx scar was when I was sent to see my PS as at the time it was thought i could have my bilateral mastectomies and primary reconstruction. I had really only just had my diagnosis a few weeks earlier so not in the best frame of mind!! I burst out crying when he showed the photos, stupid as it may seem I really hadnot registered nipple, whole lot gone!! So I am pleased you have seen it in the privacy of your home. But having said this my scars are well healed and very faint now. I had my surgery on 3rd June 2010 and on 21st June I was on a flight to Mallorca, where I had a fantastic week recovering, I swam - which was fab for my arms, I drank wine which was great for the pain and had quality time with my OH digesting all that we had been through.Thinking of you, its not an easy time.x
It is a real shock isn't it?
Not sure I would have wanted to view that site before my mx!!
I had three operations and the lumpectomy scars were virtually as long as the final mx scar. I had my mx last February 2010 so I've had my first annual check up. Everything good!
This is going to be a big trauma to your body so take it easy...
Eat well, take lots of rest and accept every offer of help that comes your way and try to do the exercises that the physio shows you before your op or on the ward.
It is major surgery so just put yourself as the main focus.
Recovery after the mx takes time so take all the time you need and don't compare yourself with anyone else. Every person has a different rate of recovery.....
Hoping your waiting time slips past very quickly.
But please don't hesitate to phone the helpline here if you start to panic. They are so understanding and will help you feel less alone.
I was very very scared before my mx and became quite hysterical but after surgery I became very calm. Very calm indeed!
I think the waiting for your operation is an awfully horrid time and my mind went wild....
So don't feel you're alone!
If you can talk to an understanding person about your fears that would be really helpful.
Don't keep your feelings all bottled up.
Why not post here if you don't have the right person to listen to you. So many of us will understand your fears.
Best wishes from Welsh girl x
Hi, you can look at website called "the scar project" Which has loads of photos of womens mastectomy scars and Im sure would really help you> I had never seen one before so know how you feel, Ive had 2 now so am well used to looking at them!! Mine run from middle of breast bone where, say something hanging off a necklace would lie, to right under the arm, I would say about 7 inches but I had big boobs. Both the same though taken at different times by different surgeons. Hope this helps and good luck!! Rachelx