Thanks for posting here.
It sounds like you’ve been having a really difficult time over the past few years. The side effects of surgery can profoundly affect the way a woman views her body. Women do describe a ‘loss of self’ – who they were before cancer - together with a loss of femininity, anxiety and depression and not feeling sexy or sexually attractive.
When the effects of treatment for breast cancer have such an impact on daily life and emotional health, it’s really important to seek some advice on what can be done to improve this.
Techniques in breast reconstruction and the ability to deal with side effects have improved over the years, and it’s likely that your situation can be improved. So as Musicmoll has suggested, it would be a good idea to see your GP to let him/her know how what’s been happening and to ask for a referral to see a specialist breast reconstructive surgeon. You may wish to see the same team, or ask your GP if you can see someone different at another hospital.
It’s also very important to discuss your feelings with your GP as I can hear how much this has affected your body and self-confidence. In combination with seeking some advice from a surgeon, it may also be useful for you to think about accessing some talking therapy to help with your emotional wellbeing.
At times like this it can also be helpful to talk to others who’ve been in a similar situation. You can do this by posting here on the discussion forum or through our Someone Like Me service who can arrange for one of our volunteers to talk to you by email or telephone. Our volunteers have had a personal experience of breast cancer and are trained to provide support. Some have experienced capsular contracture and effects on their body image.
You can ring the Someone Like Me team on 0345 077 1893, or email them email@example.com so they can then match you to your volunteer.
In the meantime, please do call our free, confidential Helpline if you would like to talk this through with one of our Helpline team or have any further questions. The number is 0808 800 6000.
Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am -1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.
Please be aware that we will be closed on Saturday 9 November for training purposes.
Breast Cancer Now Nurse
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I should add the after care was awful too and I couldn't stand the specialist breast cancer nurse assigned to me. She never informed me I had breast cancer. I only discovered it when I met the consultant for the first time and I had to stop him to confirm my diagnosis as he opened the consultation by discussing my surgical options. At my first appointment with her alone she insisted I had a reconstruction because otherwise I would "only feel like half a woman". She's a dreadful nurse.
Hi Clarabow, how worrying for you. Have you been back in touch with your breast care nurse? I’m sure that there is something that can be done to help with these issues. Do you have a supportive G.P, as after such a long period of time since the initial surgery you may need to be re-referred. Let us know how you get on.
I'd like some advice about capsular contracture and what can be done about it. I had a mastectomy and L.D recontruction to my right breast in 2010 and have had problems due to capsular contracture for the majority of that time. It's now reached the point were I'm in extreme discomfort all of the time. I did seek advice several years ago and was told it was grade three, if I remember correctly. My movement is becoming increasingly restricted. My arm is very problematic and painful at present. I experience aches and pains from shoulder to hip on my right side. I'm posting at this hour because the pain is keeping me awake. The implant I received on my left side, to balance the reconstruction, has the opposite problem. The breast tissue has divided and the implant pokes through. It's painful and I can't touch it as the sensation nauseates me. I avoid all physical intimacy as a result of these complications and have been single for many years now. I've gone from being thrilled and confident about my body and the results of my surgery, not to mention survival, to feeling disfigured and reclusive. Will I ever be able to have the physical issues I'm experiencing corrected ?