I had breast surgery in March not a mastectomy but nipple removal along with a lot of lymph nodes.
My breast will never be the same and I cannot wear a bra owing to the cancerous breast being much larger than the other.
At first, I was horrified no hair and a deformed breast - what a deal.
But over the months I have adjusted I have christened my right breast (the bouncing bomb) as it is flatter on one side.😀 so my bouncing bomb and I are getting used to each other - if I did not poke fun at it I would curl up and hibernate which would kind of make going through all of the treatment a complete waste of time, of course, there are days I catch myself in the mirror and hurry on past it😥
I can totally relate to this. I couldn’t bear looking at my chest following a mastectomy and this wasn’t helped by the fact that a hole appeared in the stitching and I had to wear plasters for weeks. However I got it into my head that I would face it one day and as the the sixth month anniversary of the operation grew near, I knew I was ready. By then the scar had faded somewhat and didn’t look so angry. I’m massaging bio oil onto it twice a day now and am feeling really proud of myself. So, don’t beat yourself up and just know that one day sooner or later you’ll be ready and this time will be different for everyone. Hope this helps as this is my first contribution to this site.
Hi liz, thanks for your reply, I can very much relate to all you have been through. I had an infection too, it was awful. Pleased to hear you are now able to accept it more. It seems time is the answer, I’m able to look in the mirror now but avoid doing so if I can. Best wishes. Emma
Unfortunately it wasn't good news on the lymph nodes. One of the two taken is positive so I'm back in on Aug 10th for lymph node removal.
If anyone else has gone through this could they message me.
I know this feeling so well. It's been 7 months post op for me and after my op I had an infection, it was awful. I found I ignored my mastectomy, gave it no attention at all. Even having a bath was very quick. I can say when it starts to look better, you will feel better about it. I still ignore it, but I hate it less and less. Its becoming me though, not completely as I know that will take time.
Am in hospital post mastectomy this week. I've seen the wound now.. its not pretty but I look on it as removal of the cancer and now have to wait results from the lymph node biopsy.
Fingers crossed and sending hugs to everyone going through this.
Thank you so much for your reply. I have managed to look, albeit briefly, now. But still in general avoid looking straight in the mirror until I have a bra on. I understand what you mean when you say breaking your heart, so encouraging to know that others have been there and got through it. Thanks so much, best wishes.xx
Ahhh Emma, I am so very sorry you have had to go through it as well. I remember having a proper cry with my mum sitting in the bathroom looking at my chest and scar for the first time, breaking my heart. I'm 5 years down the line now following mastectomy and radiotherapy and I promise you that things do get easier, you can hardly see my scar line now as it has faded so much. When you are fully healed and can start to bear touching it, maybe treat yourself to some nice organic creams/oils and gently massage it regularly, it helps with tightness, smells amazing and made me feel a lot better about it as for quite a while I showered in the dark and avoided looking in the mirror. I think it is absolutely normal. It's early days and you are getting used to it. Big hugs xxx
@emma6789 - thank you for your kind reply. You are most definitely not pathetic not wanting to look at the scar. Do it in your time and in your way, baby steps. Even though I had a reconstruction mine don’t now match each other so I use a prosthesis or breast form to even things up. Evie xx
HI KitKat, thank you for your comments, they are kind, it does help hearing how others have coped and got through to the other side. Thank you. x
its really hard at first so you are definately not being pathetic..... I had single mastectomy in April 2018 and remember feeling how you are now.....fast forward 3 years and I can honestly say I hardly ever think of it....it’s just my body as it is now ( although that’s not to say everyone feels the same) ..... you have to look very closely to see I even have a scar and I have no puckering of skin....in fact the scar on my opposite side ( had lumpectomy on other side for a new primary cancer in 2020) actually bothers me more. It’s very early days for you...so just take it at your own pace.... no rights or wrongs.
Hi Evie thanks so much for taking the time to reply, you have helped me. I feel so pathetic not being able to face it. I’ll take your advice and one step at a time. I have got a softie which I can now wear under clothes, it’s amazing how much happier it makes me feel when I look in the mirror with it on, even just in my underwear. It’s the scar I’m afraid of, but it’s nice to know it’s not just me and I’ll get used to it. Many thanks xx
@emma6789 - first of all, welcome to the forum. I hope you find help and support, but do ask any questions any time.
I had a mastectomy and reconstruction but am very squeamish so I too didn’t want to look at my scar and changes to my chest. In the end of course I had to, but it was a gradual thing. Like you I tried to keep dressings in place as long as possible, and after that I would shower without looking at my chest and would make sure I was always dressed in front of any mirrors. But very slowly I started to look and am now used to it. It really is an individual thing, there’s no easy fix unfortunately. All I would say is give yourself time to adjust, don’t beat yourself up about not looking or being upset by it. We have gone through a big change, had a big shock diagnosis, and this new chest is a constant reminder. So getting used to it is all part of dealing with the mental side of the diagnosis.
I’m not sure that helps at all, but I just wanted to reassure you that what you are feeling is very normal. Have you got a prosthesis or some other breast form so that you look more even when dressed? I think there are various support groups for those who don’t have reconstruction that you might want to join. Or try searching on the forum - the search box is just above this message, but make sure you search the whole forum not just “this board”.
I’m happy to chat more about this, or anything else. Sending hugs, Evie xx
I had my mastectomy 5 weeks ago, and have had trouble with healing, and still needing regular dressing changes, but the nurse said part had healed now and she could leave the dressing off today. I asked her to put another dressing on, I can’t stand the thought of looking at my ugly scar and empty chest. How do you cope?