Great site. Great to read all your comments on feelings I can certainly relate to. Had first mastectomy March 07, second in Feb 08.
I was lead to believe(BCN/Onc.) we BC ladies had to wear a prothsesis for our own confidence and the look 'normal' to other people. I too have found it easier to stay flat chested. Never offered reconstruction but would have refused anyway. Heard too many stories of people in so much pain afterwards. This may not happen to everyone, but I sure as hell have had enough pain without giving myself any more grief.
Currently have local recurrence in first site (second time in 14 months) Into third day of Capecitibine so even if I wanted, I could not bare wearing bra or prothsisis next to skin. When at home I always went flat, but found I was self consious outdoors.
After reading your stories, I feel more at ease in being flat chested, although I am still lopsided after 2nd surgery still shrinking after rads.
What do we care what other people think. Be proud that we are all still here to show off what we have all gone thru.
I've been thinking about Janes question re whether it's seen as a positive option ever and so far I can't think of a case which is sad. I'm in the process of buying myself a wedding dress and have decided that I am NOT going to where the prosthetics. I think I've found the perfect thing it's pure silk and a fllttering cut but hangs where it falls with a low slinky back. In all honest I never loved my boobs like some people do but I have always liked my shoulders (weird I know but so does my fiance so who cares 😉
Its not even just the whole recon or prosthetics thing that bothers me. Why do I have to do either, why can't I be flat chested. We all were until our breasts developed, why does my femininity have to be defined by the size of shape of my breasts at all, real, reconstructed or prosthetic.
I'm going to try this out for size seriously, breast free completely for a while. I only ever wear the prosthetics if I'm wearing something that I love that doesn't hang right without them so I guess I have already adjusted to being flat chested and am in the process of clearing out my wardrobe.
Anyone else feeling so called brave check out the 20's and 30s fashions, there's a lot of clothes in that era that just hang nicely on the waist and shoulders (think garbo, dietrich and jazz flapper girls) rather than modern fashion which seems to be saying nip, tuck, shove things upwards. Where is it going to go? Did anyone see that channel 4 doco on vaginal cosmetic surgery. I won't digress but it disturbed the hell out of me.
We've got a long way to go I think.
There was a very interesting letter in the Sunday Times a few weeks ago (did anyone else see it?) about immediate construction from a woman who had turned one down for herself. The reason she gave was that she felt the money it cost would be better spent on drugs for treating the disease, especially with NHS budgets
I doubt the money saved by not doing the reconstruction was channelled in this direction (that would be too simple, wouldn't it?), but it's an interesting thought. I know that if I'd been offered an immediate reconstruction way back in '93, when I had my first bc, I'd have bitten the guy's hand off and selfishly not given a thought as to whether the money might be better used for the common good. Mind you, there wasn't much on offer then except Tamoxifen....
Have any of you found that not doing reconstruction is presented as a positive option rather than a 'second best'? It concerns me that in the talk of 'offering everyone suitable immediate reconstruction' that the benefits of not going for recon can be missed out of the equation by over zealous surgeons.
Flat chest good...lop sided breast better...two boobs...so what?
Ooops. I did jsut wash the sofite in the machine, left it into the compression top and washed the lot. It came out fine 😉
Didn't know you could get the been a boob over here. I might check them out but having said that my new backpack fits better without the things getting in the way so I'm thinking I might just get myself brainwashed to think boobs aren't pretty and then I can live in comfortable bliss 🙂
Only joking about the brainwashing... not the bliss though.
I've had a mastectomy and no reconstruction. Sometimes I want a reconstruction, mainly because I can't wear a lot of clothes that I would otherwise wear. But I would never risk an op now because of my lymphoedema, surgery could make it a lot worse.
It's funny, I don't actually mind my boyish flat chest- but when I go to the gym I have to hide in a cubicle because I don't like the idea of phaffing about with my prosthesis in front of everyone, trying to get the 'stick on' prosthesis in the right place or peeling the 'stick on' off my skin. It seems so undignified!
Vertangie, just wondered whether you had heard of the 'been-a-boob'? From your post sounds like you might like it. It is basically a soft bean bag in skin coloured material. It was invented by a woman in Canada who found normal prostheses were no good for sport. (She was a dragonboat rower). I have a been-a-boob and wear it for al sport, in a crop top or sports bra with a pocket. It is really comfy and nice to wear. The other great thing is you can just wash it in the machine - unlike your softie. You can get them from Nicola Jane bra company.
I'm really glad others are finding this site a breath of fresh air.
Just to add another great find... I hate bras always have, always will. I was a nice pert 34C before and just wore sporty crop tops etc which are a bit tight fitting. I'm not quite ready to go showing everyone my flatness in skin tight detail yet but miss my comfy lycraesque tops but wait what did I find on ebay.
A wonderful soft compression top with pockets for only Â£15, arrived today. I just stuffed the little softies (just a little shape) into the pockets and proudly went out wearing comfy fitted top again. Nothing over the top to hide anything, just not needed. So I;m sitting here in complete comfort looking just fine thanks but not sticky and sweaty from the prosthetics. I'll still go bear and flat most days but for those clothes that just don't hang right I now have an answer... woo hoo
I checked with the seller, she has enough for me to tell you about them but still buy more myself. I may yet burn my mastectomy bra 🙂
If you google for Rubenesque_Slimming_Shapewear you'll find her shop but to get to the tip directly try googling for:
Black FIRM Control Compression vest
If the top links ebay uk that's the one.
Sooooo comfy 🙂
Thanks for this vertangie excellent site as others have said.
My BCN made me feel I was quite weird to a) not want a reconstruction and b) want the other breast removed as well. She even insisted on showing me loads of pictures of reconstructions before my surgery and told me it was too late to schedule me in for a double mastectomy (which is what I really wanted). Since it would also have been too late to schedule the surgery for a reconstruction I saw no point in showing me the pictures.
Had a further mastectomy almost a year later.....so now nice and flat and can choose my own size (was too big and droopy before bc kindly gave me the excuse to change that). Actually now find it quite funny when some men eyes seem to admire my nice pert boobs!
Brilliant site and very positive stories.
Doesn't bother me as much now about having no breast. I have looked into having a further mastectomy and Inplants even had a date for op but i cancelled. My BC nurse was very honest with me and said if i was reasonably happy and accepted myself the way i am then don't bother.
The only thing i may pursue is having this other breast off as it does concern me having had lobular and it not being detected on mammograms and the hosp refusing me a MRI.
Had a laugh the other day sayin to my friend i could be completely flat chested or opt for different sized prosthesis to suit how i felt.
I must admit i miss the sensitivety of nipples but a reconstruction wouldnt bring that back. I have no ducts in remaining breast so not much feeling there either.
Great site tho saved it on my favourites.
Good site - it's fortunate we don't have quite the same pressure to reconstruction as they do in the States.
I haven't had a reconstruction - I had bc back in 1991 on the same side, and had lumpectomy and radiotherapy, so my skin isn't really in a good enough state for implants, which I didn't fancy anyway, and I felt slicing one bit off my back to sort out a bit sliced off my front wasn't for me.
Because I mostly work at home now, I don't even usually put a prosthesis in. Of course that means that sometimes I've ended up nipping out to the postbox or to the shops with no tit in - the first time, I was very conscious of it, after that I decided tough on anyone who was staring at me enough to notice.
I had a Canadian friend who simply refused ever to wear a prosthesis (I think Audre Lord did too) on the basis that the rest of the world needs to get used to what bc pemanently means for women. I haven't quite got the face to go that far yet, but like Emily, I do find myself wondering about options for a mastectomy on the other side and get rid of all the hassle with bras and plastic.
I am now 23 mths into BC and so my 2nd anivarsary coming up. I am only just coming to terms with my naked body shape (1 boob). Went out for a meal last night, it was my birthday. Wore a dress that I usually wear with a cami bra but it was in the wash. I caught a glimsp of my scar when I looked down so used some tit tape for the first time to stop dress falling open. Told OH to tell me if he ever saw my scar out in public and he was really nice about it. When we were back home and had taken off the tit tape the dress was gapping so I tucked it in to hide the scar. He said why are you bothered about that here when it's just me and you? And thats when I realised he has absolutly no hang ups about it so why should I?
Not saying I love my new body, but hope to be much more relaxed at home from now on.
Great site...so good to have a positive view for the women we are now...without the pressure of attempting to recreate ourselves.
Thank you for sharing this with us...keep us informed of other site you might find.
As it turns out, I had a mod rad mastectomy that involved one breast; but I would have preferred both breasts be gone so I could just go back to being 10 yrs old again and flat. I don't think reconstruction is for me for many reasons. So this site was very welcome indeed.
What a great site vertangie. I never wanted reconstruction and feel perfectly OK about being one breasted. Sometimes I find the talk about reconstruction quite depressing so its good to read positive accounts from other women.
I do wear a prosthesis for balance but don't really care whether people notice this or not.
I also have bad lymphoedema caused by regional tumours so wear a lymphoedema sleeve..but feel OK cosmetically about this too. I have enough to worry about without worrying about being one breasted.
I was lucky as I only had WLE, but I'm not sure I would have wanted reconstruction had I lost my breast. A lady I know is currently in hospital having both breasts reconstructed using the muscles from her stomach, followed by liposuction. With me, if it were ever to happen, I figure I would be thinking about the pain factor of surgery. When I had my nodes taken out, I was in hospital with a lady who had mastectomy, clearance and reconstruction at the same time and she was in an awful lot of pain afterwards. She also ended up with a huge cyst on her back which had to be drained every couple of days and she told me she spent weeks trying to sleep in an armchair with a memory foam pillow as she was so uncomfortable. Not sure I would have wanted to go through all that and other half always says it would not have bothered him if I had lost my breast as he would have just been glad I was still here.
I found a lovely site last night while pondering what to do about my totally flat chest.. if anything at all. It's really made me re-evaluate a few things, like maybe not needing to wear a prosthetic, do recon or anything at all for that matter.
If you're interested google for
(clue breastfree dot org)
As it says:
Information, Advice, and Support
For women considering whether or not to have reconstruction
For women who have already decided against reconstruction
Just thought I'd share as I know I'm not the only person here who doesn't want to do recon etc.