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A flat way of life.

21 REPLIES 21
Chaffinch17
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

 
Feenix
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Hi all

Ive just come across this thread. Wondered how you’re all getting on. I recently had mx no recon... just using a comfie at the minute.

I’m starting to think about sports bras but they need to be cotton with adjustable straps.. any recommendations? 

Xx

WhyteFawn
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Hi Annakarenina
Yes I'm from the oct chemo thread. Seems like such a long time ago now already.
I love your post thank you.
I'm not wearing my prosthesis at the moment mainly as I'm letting my skin heal from rads but it really doesn't bother me if people see that I've only got one boob. Couldn't care less. We're on holiday and I'm wearing t shirts and vest tops with no prosthesis. It's just annoying when clothes don't hang right lol
ladybowler
Community Champion

Re: A flat way of life.

AnnaKarenina

 

What a wonderfully honest, reassuring and inspiring post xxx

AnnaKarenina
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Hello Whytefawn (I think you're from the wonderful October chemo starters thread? I am from the November starters thread and your group was inspiring to me when I began treatment),

 

I had a contralateral Mx in April plus node clearance having had 8 cycles of chemo first. I thought I wouldn't want reconstruction when I was diagnosed and by the time I had surgery, I was sure. Everyone kept saying during chemotherapy that I might change my mind and I did a lot of research to 'test' my intuition about reconstruction. I spoke to women who had reconstructions and those who had not. The more I found out, the more my intuition seemed right to me. I joined Flat Friends and found a lot of reassurance that I wasn't 'strange' or unusual in wanting to avoid more surgeries. I have hated being a patient (no one likes it though, I know!) and just felt that I didn't want to undergo any more procedures or 'tweaks' than I needed to. 

 

I was worried about the look of my body without breasts, whether my clothes would look odd, how well I would or wouldn't adapt to prostheses etc. It is early days, but for me, the look of my body is nowhere near the issue I thought it might be. I am amazed really but I have been able to accept that this is me now and I don't feel the need to change it. My clothes look fine and although style may need some rethinking in the summer, I feel I can adapt and it doesn't push me to think about reconstruction one little bit. It is has been quite a lesson how little people seem to notice. I went back to work between chemo and surgery and was my usual buxom self. I returned after surgery in a new physical state and no one batted an eyelid. I have been pretty open about my treatment, but even so, no one seems to be staring because I am flat. 

 

I am limited in what I can say at this stage about prostheses because I haven't yet gone for a proper fitting etc. However, I do have some softies and knitted knockers. I prefer the KK but it has been a surprise to me how rarely I wear them so far, especially as someone who likes to look 'just so'/takes care over my appearance (my family might even say 'vain'!). That may change, but at the moment, I prefer the ease and comfort of getting ready without them. I want the option of prostheses, but I am also reassured that I can and will manage without when I feel like it. I also love being able to dance, walk fast, run up and down stairs etc without the benefit of my previously well-endowed chest! I think when it comes to choose a prostheses, I will go smaller, maybe much smaller, than I was before this all began. 

 

Throughout all my ruminating, researching and talking to others, I have realised more than ever that it is a deeply personal decision and one that only I could make. I might change my mind later and explore reconstruction but I feel pretty certain that I won't. My only 'advice' to anyone would be take your time, think it through and see where you end up. It is great to be able to discuss this - thanks so much for starting the thread. xx

Flint
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

I didn't want recon either and wear a prosthesis. I buy my bras from a couple of specialist on-line (and catalogue) suppliers. I visited a Nicola Jane shop at first and the lady there was fantastic and very encouraging. I can understand both why women choose to have reconstruction, or to to have both breasts removed for symmetry or health reasons.

 

I wish I had never had to make the decision in the first place but, after several years, I am still content with being a uniboob. Thanks for making this thread.

 

DJD
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

O WhyteFawn, I had exactly the same problem - was thoroughly down about the prospect of having to wear such substantial underwear.  Initially, I thought I'd wear my usual ones with my adhesive falsie - complete disaster!  Then I bought a couple of cheapies from Asda - not bad but falsie didnt feel secure.  A friend suggested a visit to Betty and Belle -small lingerie shop near Manchester.  (They have a website too).  I made a round trip of nearly 500 miles and it was so worth it.  I came out wearing a fab bra - pretty straps and pretty lacy cups and a definite spring in my step!  I cannot reccommend them highly enough - the service brilliant - compassionate, considerate and personal.  Tihey will also adapt 'normal' bras too.

I now feel so much better about how I look that I'm not considering any reconstruction.

Jay68
Community Champion

Re: A flat way of life.

WhyteFawn - have you viewed Nicola Jane website? The bra which was provided by the hospital together with prosthetic came from here. The fit is really good and very comfortable. They are a little on the expensive side though.
WhyteFawn
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Ok I'm fed up of bras designed for women who have had mastectomies looking really old fashioned and let's face it, not in the least bit sexy. I'm 34 and not ready to resign myself to that just yet. Currently experimenting with ways I can turn my normal bras into mastectomy bras so I can still keep the stuff I like.
WhyteFawn
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Yes it was my last rads today Michelle so I'm now all done for active treatment.
I have a knitted knocker and also an aqua knocker. Once my skin isn't so sore I'll go and get my prosthesis from my BCN. Though I've got use to not wearing a bra it'll be strange to start again!
Michelle627
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Thank you whytefawn, I’m just a bit pink and peely....and ever ever so tired! From the dates you must finish this week too? I chose not to have a prosthesis as my uniboob is so small lol but I’m not sure when the summer really gets going if I’ll use my knitted knocker! Xxx
WhyteFawn
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Hi Michelle. Yes I too have joined the Flat Friends Facebook group. I finished rads today and just have no intention of going back into hospital for recon. Or anything ever if I can help it! I know it's a very individual decision and no one is right or wrong you chose what's right for you.
I hope you're recovering from rads well Michelle x
Michelle627
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Hello whytefawn, I’ve decided to go flat after I was misdiagnosed three times and the cancer was found to worse than they thought. It seems much cleaner and less complicated this way. I’ve asked to have my “healthy” boob removed too as I don’t want to go through this again. I finished rads last week, after chemo last year and mx in Jan. I have my appointment in two weeks to discuss the second mx. I’ve had loads of support from the FlatFriends charity which is also a Facebook group of like minded ladies FFUK. Maybe we can keep this thread going! Xxx ps I think you were in the chemo group I joined at the beginning of treatment ☺️ Xx
WhyteFawn
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Thanks for the tip Jay I wasn't aware this could be a side effect. My skin is pink and a little sore like sunburn and I'm 12 out of 15 done. I was told that the skin effects peak at 7-14 days after rads finish so that's something to look forward to.
Must admit though I'm definitely cooler not having to wear a bra!
NorthernGal
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Hi Jay68

Thank you for the advice. The rads nurse mentioned this to me. I'm keeping an eye on my skin and trying to remember to do the daily exercises. With the busy pace of life and the tiredness that kicks in, making time for exercise can be difficult but then I remind myself it's all worthwhile Smiley Happy

 

Best wishes xx

Jay68
Community Champion

Re: A flat way of life.

Ladies on rads - a little bit of advice from someone who's 4 months post end of active treatment (well apart from Herceptin injections) - keep up with the breast/chest exercises. 

 

Approx 10/14 days after rads my skin went deep red and peeled a little - looked mighty sore but really it wasn't as that area was, and still is, quite numb!  So keep up with lots of moisturiser as well as the water intake too - it appears the "cooking" inside goes on and on and on....!  

 

However, I wish I'd concentrated more on the daily exercises - as now I get quite a bit of discomfort - tightness in the areas where rads were aimed and a burning sensation on the ribs (especially at night when lying on the affected side) - I have researched and spoken with breast consultant - these symptoms are unfortunately very common after mx combined with rads.  Discomfort can be "helped" by regular stretching exercises.

 

 

NorthernGal
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Hi Whytefawn

Thank you for creating this thread.

I had a full right side MX in Dec 2017. I knew from the point of diagnosis that I didn't want reconstruction and the thought of the 7-8 hrs surgery did not appeal to me.  I'm 52 and knew that not having 2 boobs would not make any difference to my quality of life and I'm comfortable with my body. I've been married for over 20 yrs and hubby accepts me as I am. I finished rads last week and so far I haven't had any problems with my skin but it has darkened and I was told to expect this.

 

Several family members expected me to have reconstruct especially my mum who still doesn't understand why  I decided against it! For now I'm quite happy as I am. I'm seeing my BCN next wk to sort out the prosthetic and  I'm enjoying the freedom of not having to wear a bra all the time. The way I dress disguises the fact that I have one boob. I also wear vest tops with the secret support  and the softie when I feel like it but most of the time I go without the softie. 

 

I know we are all different, different stages in life, emotionally different and each individual will make a decision according to their situation. I totally respect  that.

xxx

 

WhyteFawn
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Hi everyone thank you for your comments. It's great to hear people embracing the flatness. I finish rads next week so skin is a bit sore and pink atm. Will book in with my BCN for proper prosthesis when it's all recovered. Tbh I'm not that bothered and don't know how much of wear it. I've been to work the last two days with just 1 boob no one seems to notice.

I know some ladies find they can't cope with one or no boobs. I didn't think I could. I thought it would stress me out looking down and not seeing it. But I'm actually finding it quite liberating to go out without a bra and not care lol
Nuthatch
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Hello

My tuppence-worth ... my diagnosis meant I needed a single mastectomy plus a large area lumpectomy. That seemed bonkers to me so I asked for a double mastectomy. At no point did I want reconstruction, however much BCN and surgeon offered it. I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, and not invite any further operations. I do not wear any prosthesis. I don’t feel any need to, and it’s just one more thing to worry about. I’m for the simple life! I don’t think anyone has even noticed, and I go swimming weekly. Maybe in the summer when I have fewer layers of clothing, I’ll be more conscious of my flatness. But I am happy with my choices so far. Hope this helps anyone else who doesn’t want recon, nor having to deal with prostheses. x
Jay68
Community Champion

Re: A flat way of life.

Hi WhyteFawn - I just love the name of this thread!

First of all it may help to know that I've just turned 50 - happily married for the past 28 years and not a person bothered, too much, by body image.

At the time of diagnosis, March 2017, there was some hope my surgery would be a lumpectomy as my "lump" was fairly small, however, after more testing I was found to have quite an area of DCIS in the breast as well as 1 lymph node affected, so the treatment plan for me was to have chemo together with herceptin and pertuzmab (as I'm HER2+) followed by a full MX (right side) and total lymph clearance followed by 15 rads. All this finished in December 2017.

Once the final diagnosis had been made and treatment plan organised, I was informed I would be unable to have any recon until a year after rads finished.

Personally, my initial feelings were - I don't want any recon. I have an amazing prosthetic breast and a bra which was fitted and supplied by the hospital) As time has gone on - I'm still of the same mind, although I'd be lying if sometimes I don't think to myself - oh it would be nice not to have to put this on everyday (cos my goodness it's quite heavy!) - saying that, I do also have a couple of "knitted knockers" which are much lighter.

I also enjoy the freedom sometimes of not wearing anything and it really doesn't bother me to see myself in the mirror.

Again, I'm like you never say never - my surgeon says he will discuss with me at my next meeting with him in March 2019 - it would mean involving a plastic surgery consultant - which if I'm honest just makes me want to shudder!

I too am interested to hear what others have to say on the subject so thank you for creating this thread.

Thank you x
Kitkat23
Member

Re: A flat way of life.

Hi Whytefawn

 

i knew from the second I was told I would need a mastectomy that I would not be opting for recon.  The bcn said well read all the info so as to make an informed decision, the surgeon even booked in extra theatre space  in case I changed my mind but I knew I wouldn’t .  The thought of any treatment, any ops more than I needed I just couldn’t cope with.

 

i had x 2 WLEs in 2012 and probably lost about a quarter of my breast ( middle outer area) , I just wore padded bras and swimwear and will likely do the same this time round, whether I will be more self conscious, I don't know, time will tell.

 

im only 9 days post op so still in sports bra, my remaining boob is an A cup so have not even used the softie as it’s bigger than my other side! 

 

Everyone is different, different shapes and sizes, different emotional responses,  i know that,  and they need to do what’s right for them and I totally respect that. 

 

But fOr me, getting through this second time is all I am concentrating on. 

 

x x

WhyteFawn
Member

A flat way of life.

Hi all. I decided to start this thread for any ladies who have undergone a single or double mx without recon. Either because they chose not to or weren't able to have it.
When I started my journey last year I knew from the start I would need a single right mx but it was always assumed I'd go straight for recon it never even entered my head to go without. It was to be delayed recon for me as I was going through radiotherapy. But the more I live as I am the less I want recon and now I'm sure I don't want it. Never say never but I have no plans to contact my surgeon for a recon discussion.
Would love to head from anyone whether you have just had surgery or had it years ago and how living flat had an impact on you.

Thank you x