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What made you opt for reconstruction?

26 REPLIES 26
YCM1980
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Just to let you know Ive decided against reconstructive surgery. I just think because of my little A cups I can handle one missing. Lets hope I feel the same after the op. I do feel a lot better having made the decision though and thankyou to everyone who shared both sides of the story with me xx

abismum
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi Narnia,

I agree with palomino98 and some of the others. I was 60 when I had mine done last year, I was so pleased to be able to have it all done at once. I had an extended LD flap recon. and opted for radiotherapy after instead of chemo. It was fine because there is no implant.

It is your body and you must do what you feel comfortable with.

Good luck and best wishes

palomino98
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Narnia, I desperately did not want to wake up lopsided, but my kids desperately wanted me to look as normal as possible (in clothes) too. They're 16, 20 and 22, old enough to be quite involved, and we are all massively relieved that immediate recon was offered at all. I would certainly make the same choice again.

All the best, Lyn

Clarabelle
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi Lisaf,

I too had ovaries removed after mx as my mother had ovarian cancer which is linked to breast cancer.
You will find the strength to carry on with what seems like endless surgeries as like many others, the goal is to get the boobs back to as normal as can be.
It is a long process but you will get there eventually so keep strong and know you are not alone
As for being unsure - speak to people, ask questions, there are lots of us who have been there, done that, got the t-shirt and who will help you deicide which way to go.
Keep strong
Clarabelle

lisaf
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

hiya, I had masectomy in march. my biggest fear was waking up with nothing, in 5 weeks after diagnosis I went from yes have a masectomy and recon, to lumpectomy, back to masectomy and then after I made the final decision to have masectomy with recon they changed their mind and said cos of my sixe bowt 40E that i shouldnt have recon cos of radiotherapy, i was devastated and it took me a while after op to come to terms with it but I must admit the proper prothesis is much better than I thought, never wore low tops but am more limited now as chest wall sank a little. I am hoping to go for op next year and dont know how I will force myself through a nother op after a tough year and another op upgoing to remove ovaries but I want to get both boobs back but liek others totally unsure which way to go as Im such a wuss

Good luck
xxx

Clarabelle
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi YCM1980,

what I didnt mention was that I was originally a B cup and jumped at the chance to go bigger through reconstruction so had an implant put in my 'good' side which resulted in a very good D cup. It was unfortunate that I had two failed tissue expanders but hey ho it happens sometimes and my plastic surgeon is going to put in a third one next week to try to achieve a D cup on the mx side. If I was you with a small A cup I would definately look into having a tissue expander - its an inflatable implant which they put in and inflate with saline until the required size is reached which for you would be very quick as you are small - at least this way you dont need to take skin/muscle/fat from anywhere else to reproduce a new breast and I am sure the result would be just fab - I believe this can be done at the same time as the mx but you would have to check that with your surgeon. Whatever you decide having a mastectomy for me and a lot of girls is not at all as bad as you think it will be and the scar soon fades to just a silver line and almost invisible a year on so dont worry you will be fine. Keep posting no matter how small a question - we are all here to support each other.
Take care
Clarabelle

ForumMember
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi Narnia and welcome to the BCC forums,

I have posted the link to BCC's publication on breast reconstruction for you below. You can either download a copy or order a free copy to be posted out to you, if you wish to discuss any aspect of the surgery and recovery our helpline staff will be only too happy to have a chat with you. The calls are free, lines open Mon - Fri 9am to 5pm and Sat 9am - 2pm on 0808 800 6000 I hope this is of some help to you.

http://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/content.php?page_id=663

Best wishes
Lucy

narnia
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

I am 55 and due to have a right side mastectomy very shortly.I have to meet the reconstruction surgeon first, next week and I'm not dealing well with all this.I guess its natural to feel scared, and I really don't know how I'm going to get through it to be honest.I am not sure if i will have the opportunity to ask for an immediate reconstruction....................right now, if I can have that, I'm pretty sure I'd like it, as i would want to wake up feeling whole again.Just how I am, i don't think either I, or my hubby could bear the scars, but of course, I don't know yet, because it's all in my imagination until it happens.I am a bit concerned though, after reading some of the problems some people have had, but then i read how great some of you feel and it gives me hope again.I am being quite good about things, trying to keep cheerful, mostly for everyone else, and it just doesn't seem like it's really happening to me.....probably all very normal?

YCM1980
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Thanks everyone for sharing their experiencies. At the moment Im leaning toward leaving the reconstruction (and possibly going back to it in the future) but hoping that I could maybe get used to the prosthesis. I speak to my consultant on tues so hey, I may change my mind again.

Clarabelle- like you I am fairly athletic build but with only an A cup- I understand if you had a D cup on one side to opt for the surgery. My breasts are so small that I feel a small prosthesis probably wouldnt bother me. I guess its hard to know for sure.

My mind still bobs up and down as I read through this thread over and over.

Deep down I guess I fear it could come back one day and it would be safer just to be rid once and for all . (doctors told me my first ectopic was rare and rare to happen again on other side, but thats another story....- I think these fears are creeping up now with this breast issue)

Heres me talking about it coming back and Ive not even started getting rid of it, my head really is all over the place!!

Clarabelle
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi, I waited 12 months before starting the reconstruction process so that I could look into all of the options available and decide which was the best for me.
I too wanted a bilateral mx in the beginning so that I was 'even' but my surgeon wouldnt do it - I would have been quite happy to have remained flat chested as I didnt want to be uneven but he did not agree with removing a perfectly good breast.
I am quite athletic so quite firm and was told I didnt have enough spare skin on my stomach to use and I didnt want my back muscle used as I had read so many stories of loss of strength and use with that method so I opted for a tissue expander to stretch my skin enough to put an implant in. Sadly I had two failed expanders
so kind of gave up on the idea and had it removed which left me with a B and a D cup which I was not happy with for obvious reasons. I then looked into having skin used from my buttocks and saw a new plastic surgeon today about the possibility of that kind of recon but again, as I am fit I have a firm bum with no spare skin so its not an option. So its back to H next week to have another expander put in to try and stretch the B cup skin into a D cup to match the other side. If he cant expand it enough then I may have to have the D cup reduded but at least then I will have a matching set!
So, a lot of stuff to think about and I am glad I took time out to research reconstruction in depth and speak to lots of people and look at loads of photos of all types before deciding which type I wanted instead of feeling pressurised to have it done immediately which seems to happen a lot.
Whatever you decide, make sure you have asked all of the pros and cons and research it in case they have 'omitted' to tell you everything.
Good Luck

louise79
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

I'm 28 and had a mastectomy and recon 2 weeks ago. I know you said that you'd prefer the tummy one, but if (god forbid) the cancer appeared in the other one they cant do the same op again, whereas the back one can be done on both sides if neccessary. I had theback one and even though i had complications due to a blood disorder i was up and around within a week. I ache when i've over done it but it has only ever been uncomfrtable not painful. To be honest i still havent come to terms with my new boob as it does not feel t same at all BUT i am sooo glad i didnt have to wake up with nothing there. Also bear in m ind that there is much less scarring if you have the recon done at the same time, rather than later down the line.

Let us know what you choose

palomino98
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

I'm 52 and had mast with immediate DIEP recon in March. I was in hospital 11 days as my surgeon won't send patients home until the wound drains are removed, and mine were quite heavy for a bit. Absolutely the best decision I could have made, and it was made with support from my kids now 16, 20 and 22, and my ex, knowing that I'd never get around to going back in for a delayed recon and wanting more than anything - partly for the kids' sakes too - to look normal in clothes, regardless of how scarred, imperfect or whatever it was underneath them. Very few people in this small village know I've had BC anyway and we all dreaded dealing with lopsidedness and the inevitable stares. I'm too old for the Barbie Boobs and in any case knew I'd need radiotherapy, so implants weren't advised. And I didn't want to sacrifice the muscle that a TRAM or LD flap would require, in order to gain the appearance of a breast I could actually manage without.

In clothes, even quite a low top, nobody would know anything had been done. I got a tummy tuck, though post-chemo weight gain wipes it out until I get the weight off again. At the moment I have a huge tyre round my waist, above the flat section below my navel, and my usual 38B is now a 40C through overweight. Nipple recon planned some time after radiotherapy, hoping it will then look more normal under clothes too.

Have you seen Elaine Sassoon's book, The Boudicca Within? She is a surgeon in Norwich who recommends DIEP where possible as giving the most pleasing cosmetic result on the reconstructed breast - I got a copy from Amazon and it's a real inspiration.

All the best.

dancinggirl
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi Yvonne,
I've posted elsewhere (under Reconstructive surgery) but do look at www.breastreconstructionforlife.org.uk
It's an excerpt from a newly available DVD for BC patients, launched last week. It includes my interviews about reconstruction, and it would have saved me a lot of agonising if I'd seen something like it 3 years ago!
I am very happy with my DIEP.
Good luck, Helen

Tinyperson
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

I had left side mx and an immediate LD reconstruction in October 2006. While the reconstruction looked slightly smaller than the normal one, it wasn't obvious once I was clothed.

Unfortunately my cancer came back in October 2007 and I had to have the reconstruction removed. Oh how I miss it! I miss it at the end of a long day when I'm really tired and I still have to wash my prosthesis. I miss it when I shop for bras and I can only get huge chunky things. I miss it when I shop for clothes and have to try on every top or dress to see if they will sit with these enormous bras. I miss it when I can't buy strappy tops or pretty dresses with inbuilt camisoles.

So from my point of view, if you are offered reconstruction, grab it with both hands.

Good luck with your decision.

Hazel

lmlauder
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

I had recon last week, I wasnt offered it immidiately in Jan 2006, It has meant I could get all the ther stuff out of the way. It looks and feels good, the PS is very pleased. The 1st 2 days post op were pretty bad but now I feel fine, bit of back ache but thats all. and feeling tight round the tummy. ( I had a tram flap)

doreenw
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

I wasnt sure either and not keen on implants at time of diagnosis but PS said I was probably a little on the heavy side to have DIEP so opted for LD recon with implnt .Also he would do a reduction on other side as 42DD pre op and not able to recon to that cup size.So far have had first op and waiting to have expander filled etc .I am 46 with kids 15 and 9 and felt I was too young to not have recon. the important thing was for me to have the DCIS removed and didnt need any rads, so went for the only realistic option.now 10 weeks post op and new boobis settlin down.Be prepared to be patient with your recovery but most of all do what feels right for you and ask as many questions beforehand about what to expect post op and all your options for surgery, dont assume that the hospital will give you all the info.Take care and good luck
Doreen

Marilynleah
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi

I was 55 when I had an immediate TRAM recon in Aug 06. I didn't have any problems and I think it looks great. Hubby said he wasn't bothered but I was and had it for me.

I didn't want to have to look in a mirror and look at me being disfigured, deformed, mutilated - call it what you will. I was not prepared to accept a delayed recon. I know I sound awful. My point is - think hard because it affects how you look forever. There is definitely more scarring with a delayed recon, plus an extra operation and recovery time. If you have the choice, just do it the once.

Marilyn x

Good luck

ForumMember
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi all

I couldn't have immediate recon as I needed radiotherapy but I know that you have minimal scarring with immediate recon than with delayed. So I wish that I could have had immediate recon because you almost wouldn't know that any surgery had taken place whereas I will have a big scar right across my recon- something to think about.

ForumMember
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi,
I was also advised against the immediate reconstruction that I desperately wanted. I had my mastectomy in June 07, aged 37. Looking back this was the right decision as it enabled me to concentrate on the chemo and just getting well! It also meant I could start the chemo earlier without a long post op recovery period.
I'm finally having a diep recon in 3 weeks time now (along with another mastectomy, but that's another story!), and I must say I'll be glad to get rid of the prosthesis! It's been really hard to choose clothes - no low necklines, difficult swimwear etc especially as we're too young to descend into frumpiness!
Everyone is different, but a falsie just hasn't been for me. Also, I have 2 young girls and I think it would have been easier on them if I'd had a recon straight away - we have always been comfortable naked at home but since my op they don't want to look at me - that hurts!

Jo - I'm glad you're pleased with your new boob - you seem to have been given similar advice to me.

Yvonne - good luck with whatever you choose, I have a strong family history which is why I'm getting the other one removed, so try not to worry too much about the other breast. If you are worried just talk to your onc - they will give you some idea of risk. Hope it goes well on the 13th - my op is on the 15th at the Marsden.

Em

jojo22
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi there,

I was 37 (3.5 years ago) when had to have mast, was offered immed. recon. but after seeing my plastic surgeon and already knowing I had to have chemo and radio, he advised me to get on and have my treatment first and then have a recon, if you need chemo and have problems with infections from a recon, it can delay the start of your chemo, he also said that radio could also damage a recon breast even on a diep, and with diep you only get one chance at this op. About 6 months after finishing my chemo and radio, I had my diep op and am very pleased with the results.

Hope that helps

Jo

YCM1980
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Thankyou all so much for your positive comments on reconstruction. I think I will need to talk to my consultant to see what kind of reconstruction he would suggest. I think I prefer the sound of the tummy one rather than an implant, but Im not sure how much say I get in that. Part of me feels like getting them both taken away as well, but maybe this is just crazy thinking. I think deep down I do want to be even. I worry that it could come back in the other breast but maybe Im just thinking too much about it all.

I do appreciate hearing other experiencies and its good to hear many with positive outcomes.

floss
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi Yvonne

I was offered immediate reconstruction at time of dx. I just wanted the boob off as soon as possible but said I would look into reconstruction. When I saw the plastic surgeon they offered me a DIEP using the tummy (you get a tummy tuck thrown in!) and because it is a long operation (10 hours) I was very concerned but I knew if I didn't have it done at the same time I wouldn't put myself through another operation later on - so it was now or never. The PS also said the type I was having was the best if I needed radiotherapy as it was my own tissue. When they came back after discussing it they said I could have the mx plus recon. on the 16th July or just the mx on the 17th July - they have to go by the PS waiting list and I was the only one operated that day - so I took that as a sign to have the recon. It is the best decision I have made so far. I hate having to make decisions - I just want them to tell me what is best for me! I healed very quickly and was driving again 5 weeks later. The boob is great and gives me such a boost as it makes me feel "normal" whatever that is! When I saw the PS they showed me pictures of ladies who had already had the op which also helped me make the decision. Perhaps you could ask to see some pictures and ask your BCN if there are any ladies who have had it done you could talk to. Good luck with your decision.

ForumMember
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi Yvonne
I had reconstruction when I had mastectomy using the back muscle.
I said yes originally as my surgeon wanted me to feel as "normal" as possible so thought it would be a good idea.

On the day I went in I was padding round for a few hours, then the surgeon came and started to draw on me.
It was then I started having second thoughts, and really didn't know if I could go through with it.

My OH said he would understand and stand by my decision.
Before I knew it I was being whisked into theatre.

When I woke up I felt really proud of myself that I went through with it.
I still think it was the best decision I made!!!

At first it felt really heavy and not natural, but as time has gone on it feels "part of me".

There is only you that can decide, but from experience I would say go for it.

I was 35 when I had it done and a 38c.
I'm not sure if I could have coped without feeling even.

Good luck with your decision and for the 13th.
Take care

Angie
xxxxxxxxxxxxx

suejs
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

I had a mastectomy & LD recon on August 20th & it looks great! My OH was not in the least bit bothered about the reconstruction - much more concerned about getting rid of the tumour!! But even he has to admit that it looks good. Even this early on I look "normal" in clothes.My kids are older - 13 & 14 -but they also thinks it looks OK ( pretty good feedback from teenagers!) Recovery from the op is slower, so I have been told, but at 5 weeks I feel good & I am able to do most things ( heavy lifting is out!) around the house. I feel like I have done it all at once & got it out of the way! Just the next phase of treatment to get through,now!

Again - if it isn't for you don't go there - my OH thought i was mad to go through such a long procedure.But friends who know other friends,etc, all recommended it & so far so good.

Best of luck with the decision

xx

billiejeanking
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

Hi Yvonne

I am 57 and had a mastectomy last November. I wasn't given the choice of immediate reconstruction. When I was diagnosed I didn't know what reconstruction was, and certainly was not told or knew about immediate reconstruction. Reconstruction was mentioned very casually and something that could be thought about in 6 months time.

I now know different. I have had to fight to get an appointment to discuss reconstruction and to get a Consultant to see me. I am booked in for a reduction on my other breast on 4th December with reconstruction planned for next year.

I can't say what I would have done if I'd known about immediate reconstruction, because it wasn't offered. But I do know that when I heard the word reconstruction I knew immediately that it was me.

Please think carefully about it. If it isn't for you - fair enough. I hate my prosthesis (Charlie!) and can't wait to be rid of him.

I am much older than you but know I do not want to go through the rest of my life looking like this.

This is an opportunity you have been given - I wish I'd had it.

Good luck with the mastectomy.

Love

Lynda xx

GemmaJ
Member

Re: What made you opt for reconstruction?

hi,

i'm 23 and have had a matectomy last tuedsay and immediate reconstruction using the tram flap method (from my tummy). i have a 14 month old daughter too.

i'm so pleased i had the recon done, it looks fantastic and no-one would know it wasn't my natural boob. i was worried how i'd be able to cope with my daughter but i am vertually pain free already. i can move around quite easily - i just start getting a bad back when i've been doing too much and need a rest.

i went back to clinic today to get the results of my mas. and to check the healing and my consultant and the BCN's were all amazed at how well i've recovered and how soon all my wounds are healing.

i don't know wat options you've been given for recon. but i am so pleased i went ahead with it.

xxx

YCM1980
Member

What made you opt for reconstruction?

On the 13th of October I am due to have a masectomy and I was told by my bc nurse and consultant to think over the next week or so if I wanted reconstructive surgery carried out at the same time.

I have read the booklet they gave me and some experiencies on here, but I find my thoughts swinging heavily from yes I do want it to no I could cope with a prosthesis.

There seem to be so many pros and cons.

I would really appreciate any advice or experiencies on this one- how you made your decision, was it the right one?

(Also I am 28 with a toddler to look after, my partner says to do whats best for me and he'll support- but I think he d rather I didnt bother as he feels there could just be more to go wrong?)

Yvonne x