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anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

43 REPLIES 43
bubbletrouble
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi Janet, there seems to be a lot of pressure from some quarters re implants, and surely their success or otherwise depends on your own feelings and in how far your expectations have been met or otherwise. You have obviously made a decision that suits you and that you are happy about. Lots of luck with the op, and well done for making a difficult decision. Much love, Lynne xx

Jaloco
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hello again

Saw my surgeon on the 16th and asked to have my implant removed. Despite telling him how uncomfortable it was and how unhappy I was, depressed and unable to sleep properly etc he clearly thought it was a bad decision on my part. However he has agreed to remove it, albeit reluctantly, and that is now booked for the 12th April.

I was then pretty upset when I got a copy of his letter to my GP which said "Although she has had an excellent result from her skin-sparing mastectomy and implant, she now wants the implant removed." How can he describe it as an excellent result when the implant has moved significantly upwards and outwards and the muscles are tethered to the skin making horrible wrinkles when I move my arm. Add to that my feeling that I've got a tennis ball stuffed in my chest and surely the outcome of the operation is far from excellent. I've seen two plastic surgeons and they both thought it was a poor result, but rather lost interest in me because I didn't want one of their complicated reconstructions done instead.

I suppose from the surgeon's point of view the scar has healed well and the implant wasn't rejected so it's a success surgically, but his letter seems to imply that I'm asking him to undo something wonderful.It certainly doesn't feel wonderful and it looks rubbish too- nothing like a real breast. Can't wait to be rid of it - just hoping he'll keep to his word and remove some of the 'spared-skin' so I'm properly flat. Will report back after the operation.

Love to all

Janet x

Savant
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

When I had my mx I had a silicon implant at the same time - advised by the surgeon - but it became infected in the first six weeks and after a week in hospital on antibiotic drips it was removed as the infection couldn't be cleared. I was so relieved as it didn't look like a normal breast anyway, in fact it looked obscene.

However, the surgeon who removed the implant left the skin, and I was really really upset with the result as I seemed to have a concave chest and lots of saggy skin. However, one year on, I am amazed at how the skin seems to have shrunk, so I still have a slightly concave scar but it is much much flatter. The medics seem to be low on communication skills and an ability to explain what to expect - if you understand, then surely that helps patients to cope.

I have no intentions of having any other form of reconstruction as the risks of complication seem massive and the end result won't necessarily look like a normal breast, and the other one would have to be modified to match eventually. So I live with it - for me it is a small price to pay for a life saving operation, although I am self conscious of my lop sided chest as I don't wear a bra often, but I am developing strategies in choice of clothing and thinking of trying an Amoena self sticking prosthesis if necessary.

I never ever wish to be in hospitial again.

bubbletrouble
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi sue, thanks for your post. I'm 2 weeks post bilateral mx today. Sore, but ok! I haven't even tried my softies yet, they're in a bra in the drawer! I occasionally have a shock when I see how flat I am, but don't feel worried about it at all so far. I think its easier having bilateral as you say and its less obvious than having one and not wearing a prosthesis. I'm trying to find clothes to lessen the impact now. It's nice to hear other women's feelings and thoughts. Best wishes, Lynne

SusieV
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi all

I haven't posted on this thread before but I thought you might be interested in my story. I had a mastectomy in September 2007 following adjuvent chemotherapy but developed such awful back shoulder and neck pain from the imbalance of my body that I opted for a further mastectomy operation in Ocrtober 2008. The pain disappeared and I felt so much better. I didn't want reconstruction surgery as I was concerned about the possibility of recurrence that could not be detected until too late.

I quite often don't bother wearing my prosthesis, it all depends on which clothes I am wearing and on the activity. I don't care what anyone else thinks I am at that stage in my life and I now have secondaries that I just want to be comfortable. There are a lot of women with very small breasts so I try and choose clothes that don't require boobs to make them look good.

As many of you have said it is very personal but I am happy with my choice. I would have loved to keep my boobs but it wasn't to be.

Sue x

happyshopper
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Dear Janet,
When I read your post you sound very much the way I felt (and still do) about your decision. I have absolutely no regrets about having no more recon and am now just able to get on with my life without the cloud of having to have more recon surgery following me around.
That is the issue with recon - it is very rarely the one-stop op and often continues with further and further surgery to get a result which is acceptable for the patient(and surgeon). There are often long waiting times between surgeries, meaning it is often difficult to get on with your life. And sadly, when recon goes wrong the psychological trauma it can cause is dreadful.
Of course, there are good stories too and the alternative of being breast free is often too much for some to even consider.
I strongly feel that there should be more done to help women come to terms with and accept their new body shape rather than recon as being the only answer.Again, it's a really individual decision. None of us had our breast(s) removed without good reason - it was done to save our lives and/or increase our chances of survival. There is no right or wrong answer regarding what happens afterwards (ie recon or no recon)and only you can make that decision.
From my own perspective, coming off the "recon rollercoaster" was the best thing I did.
I wish you (and all the other ladies here) the very best of luck with your choices. Take care one and all, XXXXX

Jaloco
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hello again HS

Have only just found your pm - many thanks. I don't think the system sent me an alert that it was there this time.

Thanks for all your details - it's so helpful to be prepared for any counter-suggestions the medical team may come up with. I am very sure I won't ever want a reconstruction done in the future, even if I end up having another mastectomy, so am hoping I won't have to fight too hard to get a tidy result. I am also hopeful that a plastic surgeon will do the reconstruction as "my surgeon" doesn't operate in the day surgery theatre apparently.

One of my daughters is going to come with me to back me up if necessary. She's a very assertive young lady so will be excellent support.

I'll let you know how I get on at the appt on 16th. Thanks again.

Janet x

happyshopper
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

hi Janet,

I have Pm'd you with a reply to your pm but being the techo wizard that I am (not!) I am not sure if you received it - apologies if you haven't.
Looking back at when I had my deconstruction surgery - my surgeon (plastic surgeon) also said he wouldn't remove surplus skin for the same reason- if I decieded to pursue further recon later, it would make things very difficult if all the excess skin was removed.As your BCN has said, it is an important thing to consider. I saw the PS for about a year (prob about 4- 5 times) before my surgery, during which time he discussed replacing the implants. I certainly listened to all that he had to say, and because we had built up a good rapport during that time he knew I was certain when I said that I wanted the implants removed and not replaced. I explained to him that i didn't want to be left with saggy, excess areas and he reluctantly agreed to give me a flat appearance by taking as much as he felt was OK to do so.
I have been very pleased with the results following the op and he has given me 2 neat, fine scars which are symetrical - a PS has that extra attention to detail I believe!
I bought some Bio oil for after the surgery and about 4 weeks post op I started massaging this across the whole area and scar lines - not sure if this helped but I'd like to think so!
The decon op was a walk in the park compared with the original recon surgery and my recovery was much quicker. i think I was driving within 2 weeks and I took about 4 weeks off work. Do remeber though that I had both sides done and my scar was one huge line from side to side, with only about 1 inch of whole, uncut skin in the middle
of my chest! i'm sure with one side being done, the recovery time may be quicker?
Again, my advice is to take your time and find a surgeon you feel really comfortable with who listens to what you want - it's your body!
I hope this helps- please let me know how you get on or have any more questions
Take care, XXXX

bubbletrouble
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Thank you Janet, I'll be thinking of you too and waiting to hear how you get on.
I've seen the Scar project photos, and agree that they make some interesting points. I thought of the tattoo initially when reading up on recon and medical tattoos for nipples - I thought I'd have a flower or a dragon or something instead. I then decided against the recon and researched the tattoos more - I've attached a couple of sites which have lovely stories and pics on them just for interest.

http://www.needlesandsins.com/2010/10/mastectomy-scar-tattoo.html

http://www.triangletattoo.com/women.htm

That's for the future anyway, it makes me feel better to look ahead a bit.
Wishing you luck with the surgeon
Lynne x

Jaloco
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi Lynne

Many thanks for your reply and my very best wishes for your operation next week. It sounds as though you have a good medical team and, like me, you've done your research very carefully.

I am encouraged by the comments of your BCN which I can add to several stories of reconstructions going awry either told to me or read on here. I also found a site called "The Scar Project" which is highlighting the prevalence of breast cancer in younger women in the US by a series of artistic photographs post-mastectomy. While there are some acceptable recons, there are other awful ones and, to me, they all look so fake. I think the most beautiful ones are the flat ones (with the exception of one with wrinkly skin!). i like the sound of your tattoo.

I'll be looking out for news of how you are and will be thinking of you next week.

Janet x

bubbletrouble
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

One thing I forgot Janet, my bcn was really against me having an immediate recon which was my initial instant reaction to being told I needed a mx, and told me that many women who do it regret it. She says that many of her women who think they'll have a later recon change their minds and are fine with the flat chest. She also said later that if you decide to have a recon you need to be 'committed' and to be prepared for it to go wrong - when it is often even more difficult to deal with than the mx itself. She's very sensible, very experienced and very lovely, and it's interesting that she's got a completely different take on this than yours! x

bubbletrouble
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi Janet,
well done for making a difficult decision. I'm in on tues for my bilateral mx. I can't comment directly, but I spoke to my surgeon about the skin-sparing mx as I'm 99.9% I won't want recon at all. He agreed that he would not leave me any 'flappy bits' but would leave some give in the skin. He says this way it will be neat but leaves room for an implant if I change my mind. I'm going to remind him to leave it all as flat as poss when I see him before the op, because I think I'm going for an exciting tattoo over the scar once it's all healed!
When you see the surgeon he might well agree to do as you ask provided he's aware that you've thought carefully and aren't in a state of emotional upset, you sound very level-headed to me. You've tried the recon and decided not to continue based on careful thought and research. It's your body, and it's your decision as to how you want it to look in these circumstances. My surgeon has a reputation for not doing prophylactic mx, but he agreed to do the bilateral because I'd thought about it and researched it (much to the surprise of my bcn!)
I hope yours is receptive, lots of luck with it - by the way I was advised to write down my reasoning and Qs which was very good advice - easy to forget what you were going to say...
best wishes, Lynne x

Jaloco
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi all

I have seen my BCN to discuss having my implant removed as it's so uncomfortable. Now have appointment with surgeon in 10 days time. BCN said she was sure he wouldn't mind the removal of the implant but would need a lot of persuading to remove the skin too and leave me flat (my wish)in case I change my mind later and want a different kind of operation. Apparently a lot of ladies are so shocked by what they look like flat that they ask for recon as a result. I can't imagine that I ever will having rejecting the alternatives on offer after careful consideration and hating the implant feeling.

However, I had a skin-sparing mastectomy and don't fancy having a lot of loose skin "hanging around" after the implant has been removed.

Has anyone else had a similar experience, either with the implant removal or the skin issue?

I'm so pleased to read that so many of you are comfortable with going breast-free. It seems to me the most honest and simple of all the alternatives. If I can't have my real breast back (which I obviously can't) then I don't want a pretend one - well not inside, anyway!

Janet x

bubbletrouble
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Thanks Dawnflower xx

dawnflower
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi ladies

Although I didn't have recon after a bilateral mx I largely go breast free and love the freedom of it.

As a pear shape with narrow shoulders this does mean that I am not in proportion but hey, i'm alive.

The decision you make is a very personal one and you have to follow your instinct.

Dawn flower

bubbletrouble
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Thank you Linn, I'm just home after seeing my surgeon who has agreed to do bilateral mx for me (one will be prophylactic as I have some risk factors for recurrence). I'm now having my final think before deciding what to do and your post really helped. I'm intending to go 'breast-free' some of the time at least, but I'm afraid about how I'll feel once the surgery's done. Anyway you've made me feel good and made me laugh - I'm definitely going to knit a titty! x

linn
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

I know that I am entering this conversation late, but I have a lot of experience with this issue. I had 13 reconstructions -- none of which -- worked! So, I tried many prosthetics, including the stick to your chest type. There were not many options in 1987, when I had stage 4 ductal invasive BC Left B. And after 10 years of pain and 13 surgeries, I decided to finally get them out! Took a while to get anyone to remove them! But then I tried Amoena trias, but eventually just began to go boobless! For years and years -- I felt funny sometime and a little jealous, but I used camis and shirts with pockets and other forms of concealing or at least minimizing the look. And I was even married in a backless gown with only one boob! So, yes I have tried it. Now, however, I have been advised that I need the balance of a prosthetic. Here where I live, there are so many options to choose from. I have a very nice silicone gel [my best], an Amoena Swimform triangle [multi use!] and a Calypso Swim form in heart shape [a sample and I have found that these swim forms, though hollow, can be worn everywhere usually -- a soft piece of cotton keeps the sweating down -- and a wonderful new type which is just a tiny soft bag of microbeads. I have found several companies -- Silique, TLC Microbead Breast Forms, Bosum Buddy Forms, Jillianna Breast forms. There is a blog called breastfree.com which even shows how to make one. The same site has a pattern for a KNITTED TITTY! or you can find it at Knit Tit. I just wanted you to know that there are optons for filling out that are many and varied. I am kind of a bully and I did bully one manufacturer into sending me one to try. I did not like it because it did not meet my expectations. But if you people over the pond can google "microbead breast forms" you will find them. The same for knitted breast forms or for OF ALL THINGS! breast forms made of Memory Foam [yes! as in BEDS]. So go for broke and be comfy and maybe show someone else that they will survive too because you will be noticed. That is okay! Really. But if you want to try something soft and simple and can be used for swimming too, try the bean bag ones. I do like the new pretty nightgowns and such, but really would not use them. I just like pretty things and don't think that it would be necessary, right? I mean, if you are wearing pretties, for your guy pretties, then he knows anyway! lol. JUST REMEMBER, WE ARE LUCKY AND WE HAVE TO KEEP EVERYBODY GOING AND EVERYTHING WE SAY CAN HELP. SO ANY IDEAS CAN BE THROWN AROUND! I have a friend in the UK who only uses USA products because she says that you are limited. I would not know, but she does purchase our LAND'S END line of swim suits by catalog and online which come in regular and pocketed types. And they are very reasonable and often on sale. So, bye for now -- just be you! You are fine!

Jaloco
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Thanks happyshopper for all your advice. I've sent you a long PM - first time I've done this so just hoping it'll arrive ok. Really helpful to be in touch with someone who has already had implants removed and is satisfied with result. Janet x

happyshopper
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi Janet,

I absolutely understand your concerns about what things will look like if you decide to have the implant removed - I was exactly the same. I had a plastic surgeon who did mine - you may want to get a second opinion from one to see what they say- I think a good, tidy appearance postop can help you deal with the process. I certainly noticed the difference- a general surgeon did my 1st mx and the scar was fine and ok, but it wasn't until the PS did the bilateral recon, so redid my recon scar, that I noticed the difference. The scar was really neat.
When I had made the decision to have the implants removed I voiced my concerns as to what the finish would be and like you, I was concerned with having "baggy" bits left. I had one side where the mx was done for ca(thus removing as much skin as poss), and one side (prophylactic) which was skin sparing. The PS promised me he would give me the best result he could, and he certainly did. I have 2 very neat,fine symetrical scars with no bagginess at all, despite having had the expanders in for over 2 years. The muscle underneath seems ok, but the tone is not as it was before. The appearance is absolutely flat and neat, so I have been very lucky and had a great PS.
This is a big decision- don't be rushed into anything. Seeing the BCN is an excellent idea, and by seeing prostheses before will help.
Maybe something I could advise you with - I believe alot of centres (plastic surgery) now offer women due to undergo "deconstruction" (and before recon) an appt with a psychologist, to help you explore what option is best for you and provide any psychological support you may need to support you in the decision making process.
This was offered to me only on the evening of the surgery(a bit late, and had I known about it before I think that I would have made use of it for alonger period before!). I found it very useful, and because the contact had been made, I knew that the proper support was in place for me afterwards should i have needed it (I didn't).

Good luck and if you want to PM me , please do.
XXX

nessie379
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi Janet

The whole point is that you want your reconstruction to be as good as it can possibly be, not to be as "tidy" as possible. It sounds like you need to have a heart-to-heart with your surgeon, and he should understand your anxiety.

Maybe your general surgeon has had lots of experience in this area? Have you asked if the are any photographs of previous reconstructions he has done?

If you are not happy with his answers, then definately push to have a plastic surgeon for your operation. You have been through a lot already, and you deserve the best result possible.

It is natural to feel anxious, I am part-way through the reconstruction process and empathsize completely with you. I have found that getting answers to my questions from the specialists really helps.

Good luck.

Dennise xx

Jaloco
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hello again

I have now made an appointment to see my BCN to discuss having my implant out and she has promised to show me some prostheses so I can see how heavy they are etc.

A new worry is whether I will be left with baggy skin after the implant is removed. I had a skin-sparing mastectomy so have most of my skin but no nipple. Also will the muscle that has had the implant stuffed under it go back flat again? If I go ahead with this operation it will be done by the same surgeon who did the mastectomy and put the implant in (he's a general surgeon) rather than a plastic surgeon, but I guess I can ask him to leave me as "tidy" as possible.

Any advice welcome.

Janet

happyshopper
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi all,
Yes, I abandoned my implants and went breast -free!
Had mx 2004 (aged 39),didn't want recon and managed very well with prosthesis. In 2005/6 had prophylactic mx but was "advised" to have bilateral recon at the same time,in hindsight against my better judgement!
So, I had bilateral implants (expanders) , and never felt well since they were done. It was very painful, tight, and to top it all, I had a pulmonary embolism 10 days post surgery. I had gone into hospital really fit and well, and came out a wreck, basically.
I was also quite shocked at the number of women in there who were on their 4th/5th op to "correct" or "repair" their recon- something i hadn't really considered, having supposedly taken the "easiest" option of expanders.
I spent the next 3 months undergoing expansion - this left me tight, uncomfortable and what resembled very firm rock-like mounds stuck on my chest. This was then followed by one of the implants migrating under my armpit,shrunk, followed by capsular contracture.
I made the decision to have them removed in 2008, despite the PS saying he would replace them with silicone implants.This would have involved further surgery to "fix2 the pocket where the migrating implant was, so it would hopefully not do it again. also ,there was no gaurantee that i wouldn't develop contracture again, which would then enevitably lead to more surgery.
Although it was daunting going breast free, it was distressing at the time initially post op because it was like having a bilateral mx, all over again. But, for me, it was absolutely the right decision and I don't regret it at all. The worry of having to have more surgery has gone, no more visits,complications, ops, dressings etc.
Since then, i got fitted up with my prostheses, which look great under clothing - no one would ever know! I even have 2 sizes(a slightly bigger evening pair! The bras from Amoena are great- really comfy (couldn't wear a bra with the recon-only crop tops).
I can only say that I would NEVER consider recon again and am more than happy the way I am. Of course, I wouldn't have chosen to have both breasts removed- I had to so that i could save my life! But I'm Ok without them.
Good luck with whatever you decide.There is no right or wrong answer!
XX

nessie379
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi greenfingers

This is such a difficult one, and I guess that everybody has to go with what feels best for them.

I just wanted to add a thought. Having gone this far through the reconstruction process, why not give the silicone implant a go? I know that sounds simpler than it is, but I wonder whether - having got this far - you might in the future regret at least giving it a go. After all, you will still have to have an operation to remove the expander implant.

I had my reconstruction 3 weeks ago, and I have got an expander implant in at the moment. Mine isn't too bad at the moment, but I have only had 2 inflations so far. I understand your discomfort though, no immitation is ever going to feel like the real thing. But all the posts that I have read on this forum say that the silicone implants are so much more comfortable.

Maybe you could talk to your consultant about bringing forward your surgery?

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Dennise x

pattymi
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Had my mastectomy in november, am bigish breasted 34F/FF fitted with Anita posthesis in Jan, am wearing a Panache bra(no pockets just straight) got fitted at Bravissimo. I am delighted that top on and off, can't tell I've had breast surgery.
I must say that I have had to rethink some of my clothes as cleavage is no longer an option, and some necklines show the hickman insertion site, I am really pleased to look myself when dressed,it feels like I've lost less somehow.
I can't see me wanting reconstruction, surgery fills me with fears for problems, would avoid unless life compromised severely by the problem that surgery would fix. As said on another thread we each make up our own mind if psychological issues are with the risks.
Pat

Jaloco
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi
just want to say how useful this thread has been for me. I had a mastectomy and temporary implant (fixed volume, not an expander) last September and I have found it very uncomfortable. Feels like I've got an orange stuffed in my chest and I am awaare of it all the time, day and night. Also the muscle over it contracts whenever I use my arm or hand and that feels horrid too. So instead of arranging to have a permanent implant put in I am seriously contemplating asking to have the temporary one removed and go flat-chested.
Have been reading everyone's comments as am concerned that I may regret it afterwards but even the bare-chested photos haven't put me off. I just want to not feel anything there and be able to get on with my life. It's been getting me down for the last 6 months and I was thinking of asking my gp for some prozac and/or sleeping pills when I suddenly realised the simplest solution was just to get rid of the darned thing and be done with it.
Thanks again
Janet

bubbletrouble
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

http://thesongbirdbranch.blogspot.com/
Another great link re clothes for one-breasted or no-breasted women.

bubbletrouble
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

littlemrs, I like your rant, I rant often! You sound pretty brave to me, and although I haven't yet had the mx I share your feelings about 'pretending' - it's so difficult though because all of us are subject to 'norms' in terms of how we look and behave, especially as women. I was watching the horribly-named 'Beauty and the Beast' on C4 the other night (worth seeing) and one of the people they interviewed was the children's tv presenter who got hundreds of complaints from parents because she has one arm and didn't try to cover it up. Apparently it 'scared the children'. Upset the sensibilities of the adults more like. I think it's pretty odd that it's now considered almost 'normal' to have enormous cartoon implants (having been made to feel inadequate with your natural breasts). The surgery and risks taken to obtain those breasts are usually justified as some kind of feminist option, 'I did it for myself'. Hmmm. The situation we're in puts a new spin on things to say the least. I don't know how I'm going to feel when I've had my mx, but I hope I can be as brave as you!

littlemrs
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

You lovely ladies say so many things that feel like you've read my mind. I wear my prothesis to work(I work with kids) but discard when i'm home and out and about. Just wear a sports bra that keeps remaining boob comfortable and in place.

If I was braver I would discard prothesis altogether. I've found that other people either don't notice or don't react if they do. I feel more "honest" not using my prothesis, like not wearing a wig during chemo. I feel irritated that I feel obliged to pretend I still have 2 breasts. Part of this is to avoid having to answer questions not because having cancer is a secret but because I don't weant to have to deal with THEIR reaction. Don't make a drama out of MY cancer! Already have to deal with this with lympho sleeve. Now just say "I've hurt my arm" to the Nosy Noras.

Didn't mean to start ranting. haven't been on here for a while so maybe have been bottling it up!

busybee2161
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Thanks for the link to breastfree.org - very interesting site - and this thread. I had double mastectomy last September for cancer in both breasts and can honestly say being breast-free is not a huge issue - just so glad the cancers are gone. However, was never one for low cut tops anyway, so haven't had to change my wardrobe too much. I have two neat symmetrical 8" long horizontal scars extending under arms and very obvious ribcage. At the moment I do plan to have a DIEP recon in the future, although wouldn't be surprised if I changed my mind. Not overly keen on the breast forms, but do wear them when I go out and to work, but discard them as soon as I get home. BB

bubbletrouble
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi all,
I'm about to have a mx for a large area of high-grade DCIS which was mostly invisible and only discovered during the WLE. I initially thought I'd have a reconstruction, but after looking at lots of photos on line am coming round to the idea of asking for a bilateral mx and not having reconstruction. Part of my reason is that no-one can tell me for sure whether I have invisible DCIS in the other breast (and I have family history), and part is because I think being lop-sided will be more difficult to deal with for me than the mx itself (I'm 38C). I'd feel worried about having one breast and no prothesis, but less so about not having any breasts at all - I'm not a great bra wearer in any case(bit of a hippy!) I like that there is the option to wear a bra and prostheses if you want to. I do worry that I might feel very differently when I see the reality after the surgery, and I'm really sad that some of you have found it so awful, because it is so much about how you feel about yourself. I'm not hugely confident about how I look in any case. Also, I don't have a partner and finding one when I have one or no breasts seems an impossible thing to do (but then I couldn't find anyone when I had breasts either!) It's been really helpful reading your thoughts, thank you all. I also found an interesting website that you might find useful if you haven't already seen it: http://www.breastfree.org

KT0
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi all

I have really enjoyed reading this thread. I had a double MX and construction at the same time in April last year. In July last year I ended up in hospital with an infection on my right arm and mostly in the right implant. (Due to lowered immunity in Chemo) After a week in hospital, potential organ failure, and a blood transfusion - I had the right implant removed. So I am now lop sided, with a implant on the left and flat chested on the right. It really does not worry me much - I go to gym and sit in the sauna and I feel surprisingly ok. I view my scars as a reminder of my courage to overcome all this - to meet life on life's terms. In May this year I will be having my left implant removed and will be flat chested. What I have learned is that I dont have breasts, they were removed because I had cancer - nothing to be ashamed of, if anything I feel proud at my journey. I think I had immediate reconstruction done, as I did not want to deal with the fact that I had lost my breasts. Now I feel ok and ready to deal with this. My last stint in hospital, helped me put all of this into perspective - it is not about having hair or breasts that makes me a woman - life is the most important thing here. I choose to focus on what I have gained from camp cancer rather than what I have lost.
I am aware that this is my story and that we are all unique in the way we reconcile and make sense of what has happened.

Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my story.
Virtual hugs all round
Kate
(Cape Town)

shaz590
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi I had a double mx 3.5 years ago, was fitted with prostheses and promptly put them in the top of the wardrobe and forgot about them. My (lady) oncologist said I might wear them when I wanted to feel a bit more feminine! I find I have to be careful not to buy tops with too deep a v or round neck - otherwise its fine. I decided I did not want to wear a bra and fill it with things just so other people felt comfortable, so opted for a cami from M&S and normal clothes. I feel great and have other friends who are also prosthesis free. I can understand that if I had had a single mastectomy I would need to be "balanced" and would have opted for a reconstruction I think, but now I just cannot see the point. Hope this has helped!

Wizzbaby
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

I opted not to have a recon. then thought I changed my mind 2 years on, then changed it back again!

I encouraged my bigger busted friend to have an immiediate recon, which she did. But after several operations (and one more to yet to come) due to complications, she says her advice would be not to have one if you could manage without.

I never did have a cleavage but still miss the boob. However I managed to go out at the weekend in quite a low cut dress which looked fine. Everyone has to make their own decision.

Wizz

Gretchen
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

There are a lot of interesting threads about recon gone wrong and the issues surrounding recon currently on this forum. It really is fascinating and has made me look at how I really feel about recon, as initially it was something I guessed I would have had in the next few years - but now I am 99% sure I will never have recon.

The more I read and the more I see ( particularly the SCARS project) recon looks barbaric and so unnecessary. Green fingers, there is a lot of women, young women too, living very happily one or no-breasted. The NHS puts across a very strong assumption that women would always have recon almost to the point of putting pressure on women.

Now that I am one breasted I almost never wear a bra and when I do it feel restrictive and unnatural, I dread to think how expander implants must constantly feel.

jane72
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi greenfingers

I'm only 5 months post-mx, but am not planning on having reconstruction. I can't say I go breast-free as I'm wearing a softie in my bra, but at home I don't bother. This is a surprise to me - I thought I'd be so self-conscious and never let my OH see me with one breast, but actually I feel quite bolshy about it - take it or leave it, this is the sorry state that is now me!

I hate the way I look, especially naked. Maybe it would be better if it were symmetrical? But what I do know is that the surgery was hell to get over and the idea of having MORE surgery makes me feel sick to the pit of my stomach.

If it were easy and painless, I'd have reconstruction. Or even have the other breast off. I've cleared out all low-cut tops and it really is my intention to stay wonky!

Jane

norberte_1
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

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janail
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Greenfingers

I haven't had reconstruction but I still have a feeling of tightness and discomfort 19 months post op. i don't think that having the implant taken out will necessarily mean that the tightness will go. What does your surgeon say?

Norbette

i've been going breast free (bi-lateral) and prosthesis free for about a year now and it's the right decision for me. I can't say that I'm never self conscious about how I look but it gets easier all the time.

okeydokey71
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

hi ive had a left mastectomy and have had no reconstruction.I have bought some descent mas bras with internal pockets so the prosthesis stays put.It looks and feels great and im only 39.Ive never had big boobs anyway.I hope this helps xxx

msmolly
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Everytime I remove my shirt whether I am wearing my prostheses or not I have my scars to deal with. At the moment my recent mx scar is agony eventhough it is 9 months since the op and so the discomfort is a constant reminder of this whole wretched cancer thing.
My scars are huge and cover my entire chest. Not pretty. But I like being without breasts - or rather I like being without the breasts I had. I was always very small busted till I had a child and I like the sensation of not having to lug round droopy tits anymore.

On some occasions I go breast free - sometimes I don't. Depends on my mood, where I am going, what I am wearing, my confidence level that day. Eventhough I am a feminist I don't regard my breastless state as a political statement.
People (wrongly) assume that by going without prostheses means you just look flat chested. It is more than that - it is a peculiar flatness - men aren't as flat as that. It is almost concave. It stops being about gender.

When my little boy cuddles up to me on the sofa he can't snuggle into a soft warm bosom - he gets a lumpy hard scarred ribcage instead. I hate that. If there were a very quick painless fix to give me back some boobs I would have it done - but I have no desire to subject myself to endless reconstruction.
By the way I love the word bosom - that area of the body has been taken over by over-sexualisation but it is such a soft and female and comforting part of the body. I can still remember the total comfort of snuggling up to my big busted grandmother. (That is the other thing about reconstruction - implants will always feel like implants.)

There are no rights or wrongs with this. It may well be the case that in years to come I will have a change of heart about boobs and seek out recon. I don't know. As I told a friend the other day - I have no idea what I am doing or what will happen - I have never walked this path before.

norberte_1
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

post deleted

Welsh_girl
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

I am small breasted so after a simple mx (nothing very simple about it as far as I am concerned!!!) I did eventually adapt but maybe not until I found the correct bra...
I found Amoena Mona to really suit, and very comfortable too.
With my clothes on I look very normal. All level and symmetrical with a lightweight prosthesis.
However, undressed being one sided it really does look like an amputation!!! I hate it!
It is very much smoother now after 9 months since mx but it still looks horribly ugly! Obviously, I make sure I'm fully dressed at all times and don't really look at my naked body any more.....

Happy to look normal on the outside and because I couldn't face another operation or stay in hospital or six months recovery with physiotherapy afterwards to bring arm back to function, I will not be having a reconstruction....

Seeing onc tomorrow to check what she says about 'look' of scar area.
Last time she recommended plastic surgery to tidy it up....
Not sure if I could undertake this either, well for a couple of years anyhow....

So, for me, I'm ok and as happy as I can be with no reconstruction.

Welsh girl x

AlexD
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hi greenfingers

I decided not to have implants/reconstruction. I have not had any problems living breast free.

I have a prosthesis. I now buy specialist bra's from Nicola Jane as I am on the busty side, DD, so I need something that is supportive. My prosthesis was fitted by a BCN and with clothes on it is not noticeable. I am due for another prosthesis and I hope that this time I will be able to have stick on one as this means I will be able to return to buying bra's from M and S again.

elaine_r
Member

Re: anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

I decided not to have any implants i think it was the right decission for me i hav to get rid of problems b4 i create more there isnt any difference in my bust and havnt experienced any problems im glad i choosed not 2 i dont look any different when i look in the mirror hope this helps

green_fingers
Member

anyone abandoned their implants and gone breast free?

Hello

this might sound mad but still - maybe someone else has been through this and can advise me?

I had a expander implant in feb and now am completely fed up with it. The surgeon says I can have a silicone implant which would be softer but I am now seriously considering asking for the implant to go and live without a reconstructed breast. I feel I am being ungrateful but I am conscious a lot of the time of tightness and pain in my chest area. I imagine that not having anything there will be easier - can any of you comment on your experience?

Do people using prothesis in their bras experience problems? is it sore against the skin? IS it hard to get a match with your other breast?
Am I just having a momentary wobble with this or are there other women who have gone through this and decided to ditch their reconstructions?
Any input appreciated!±
Green fingers