Thanks so much for the link Louise and your comments Cathy and Anne, its really good to hear from you both. I have been quite reluctant to post on the forums until now, not sure why. I just 'got on' with chemo, and I think it has taken until now for everything to hit me, and to realise I am finding it all tough at times and could do with contact with other women at times!
I saw two sets of surgeons today, am exhausted!, but having been through it all again am opting for expander implant while I go through radiotherapy, like you Anne I can't face the thought of being without anything at all that side, then when skin has settled I still have permanent option of LD flap with implant or DIEP. It is great to hear from someone of a similar age and stage of life Anne who has been through the surgery and is pleased with it. I wish you all the best with chemo-I feel that if you have done the surgery, you can definitely handle the chemo! My experience of the chemo unit was great, very low key, and the nurses were wonderful. I taped lots of escapist TV to watch when I wasn't feeling good!
I can totally understand your confusion as I felt the same way myself - the more information you get the more difficult it becomes! I have always been heathy and even having a blood test makes me queasy so the thought of a huge operation was terrifying! My PS gave me options of expander implant, LD back flap with added implant(not enough fat to make big enough boob) or free tram/DIEP tummy option. Personally I couldnt face the idea of waking up and having nothing there so I opted for immed recon. I had left mx with ax clearance and DIEP recon on 23 Sept and 5 weeks on I feel great and am so glad I went for it. I was 39 at time of op (40th birthday in hospital!) and def feel age and health was on my side. I have 2 young kids and also worried about them, but made the decision that this was about me and my body, and I had to do what was right for ME for a change. I spent a week in hospital and the first week home was quite tough, but since then I have recovered really quickly and have no regrets at all. I start chemo on 5 Nov and am getting quite nervous about it, but you have already done that and been through so much already im sure you can handle surgery.
Hope I have helped you make your decision and not confused you even more!
i can't offer you advice about your specific treatment, but it may be that you are thinking too far ahead for the moment and there is just far too much to take in. You have gone through chemo which must be horrific and probably feel really low,so to have to consider two lots of surgery at the moment is overwhelming. It sounds as though you are decided about the mastectomy so why not just focus on that for the moment. Get over that and your radiotherapy and then see how you feel. It is not the right time to make such big decisions for the future. You need to get the cancer sorted out, then worry about the cosmetic stuff later.
I understand it is difficult to make decisions about reconstruction, but I am sure you will receive lots of information and support from our users which will help you in making an informed choice.
I have also given here a link to one of our factsheets on the subject of reconstruction which you may find helpful.
I do hope you find it useful in informing your decision.
I have been reading quite a few of the posts about reconstruction. I am trying to make a decision about my own, and am like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
I finished chemo a couple of weeks ago- was very ill on it, still very weak, was allergic to everything! But managed to be quite stoical, and very determined. I think now that I am facing surgery everything has hit me, and I feel quite wobbly.
I've been offered a lumpectomy initially, but am opting for mastectomy, with full node clearance, with immediate delayed reconstruction-an expander-so as not to delay 5 weeks radiotherapy.
After that I was quite keen to have implant reconstruction, for various reasons
( terrified of more major surgery, young kids and don't want to be laid up...)but my plastic surgeon has suggested I consider using the stomach fat/muscle option, citing my age (37) build, general health as good reasons. I would have to have a reduction on the other breast ( from 32 DD to B/C cup) the more I read, the more appointments I have with surgeons, the less able I seem to be to make a decision.