It's Emily here from Breast Cancer Care.
Thanks for sharing, and it sounds like there are a few people on here who have similar experiences. A few of our Breast Cancer Care telephone volunteers have made a similar decision in having a delayed flap reconstruction. They're now a few years past their surgery and are happy to chat over the phone if you want to talk through your thoughts and options.
If you think this would be helpful, feel free to send me a direct message through the forum with your name and number, or you can call us on 0345 077 1893.
Emily at Breast Cancer Care
I had a double mastectomy and immediate DIEP flat reconstruction at the end of April, Hearty. Symmetry, knowing I couldn't live flat or with implants inside me and didn't want to use muscle because of my activities were some of the reason for my decision. I had plenty of tummy fat to use and I am amazed by the results even after only one month. It is the amount of sensation I have in them both and how they feel to the touch which is most amazing considering what has been done. They feel like me still and are warm to the touch. Because I had it done immediately, I only needed skin from my tummy for the areola area. All the other skin is from my original breasts.
My recovery is going really well. I am quite active and do go to the gym and am missing that at the moment, but should be back with a gentle build up in two weeks. I have been told that the gym work (chest, arm and core strengthening) has really helped my recovery. If you're active, this should help you too.
I research this such a lot before I made my decision. There are different flaps they can use, even for people with less fat (I had 38dd to fill). They can also do a sort of stacking procedure if you need bigger boobs but not enough fat in one place. Finding the right surgeon is the most important part. Don't be rushed. Do your research and you'll make the right decision for you.
Good luck X
I had a mastectomy and immediate recon with an implant just over a year ago. I wasn't given the option of a flap recon as I didn't have enough fat - I just wanted to raise this with you as you mentioned how tiny you are. I am also small breasted and so was given the option of a pre-pectoral implant. I think you have ruled out implants but should you want any info on that type of implant please get in touch.
Wishing you all the very best with your decision and strength for dealing with this and the other issues you are also coping with.
Thankyou for these replies -so helpful. What you describe, mysterymouse fells so similar. If it was just me, I would, I think , have a reconstruction. I think I would feel complete and really move on. Since my cancer in 2013/14, I was moving on well, but from 2015 I've had to deal with gaining responsibility for my Mum with Dementia and need to spend a few hours a day with her.I presume I wouldn't be able to drive for quite a while?
My husband is struggling himself with a major issue and I just don't know if he is emotionally able to give me the support I think I'll need. He's not really got involved with all this - he's preoccupied with his issues.
I am concerned about what I would be able to do physically after the surgery. How long before I could hoover, garden, walk the dog? How long were you out of action, mysterymouse, and did you need lots of support.?
I'm so encouraged by your story - it is such a new and big thing for me now that they have said this type of reconstruction could now be suiatble for me after 5 years of thinking it wasn't.
A similar story to me. I'm now 51 and was diagnosed at 47.
Had a one side mastectomy in 2014 and then waited just over 2 years wearing the prosthesis like you in my bra. I understand how you feel totally as everthing was fine when dressed but although it wasn't a huge issue for me it did make me a bit sad when I used to take the bra off and it thudded on the floor.
So I had a reconstruction in 2016 (2 years after my mastectomy). I had a PAP where they take the fat and blood vessels from the inner thigh. I am thrilled. Yes, it was a huge operation and I was probably the most nervous patient they had ever had and it was both physcially and emotionally hard. However, after recovery I hadn't realised how much I had missed having a breast there. For a while it was strange and I took a while to 'bond' with it and was terrfied it may not take but here we are 2 years on and I love it. I now think of it as my natural breast as it is warm and squidqy and it looks pretty good too. I can wear a bikini and strappy summer tops and no longer have to worry about what neckline to wear and whether or not the prosthesis was showing. But most of all even if I am just sitting at home in my old dressing gown I feel 'complete'.
One other thing for me is that I didn't start to move forward from the whole cancer journey until after I had the reconstruction as it really helped me in that process.
I should add that I am fit and like to jog etc and can do all of this again now. The recovery period was long but for me it was worth it.
All the best and if you need any other help just ask.
I have recently had a masectomy and due to needing radiotherapy have delayed having a reconstruction and fortunately have had no problems with intimacy as my partner has been really good about it.
One idea to help you overcome your embarrassment during intimacy is to get a short baby doll type top so you can ‘hide your scar’ but keep your lonesome boob not hidden 😊. I prefer to have my scar out of sight although at times it is forgotten.
A question to seriously consider. would being flat both sides make you feel better?
I will be having a reconstruction hopefully 12 months next June and it will be a DIEP flap method if able to and will look forward to being symmetrical again.
Hope someone else will be able to give you further advice who has been through similar, Good luck with your decision x
I had a mastectomy in 2013 and have been wearing a prosthesis in a pocketed bra quite happily. I've always liked my option when clothed but always feel very sad when I look at my tiny lonesome remaining boob. To be honest, my embarrassment has caused tension in getting intimacy going again with my husband and now that just doesn't really happen. I'm pretty devastated by this.
A couple of months ago I found a lump in my remaining boob and was fast tracked back into the Breast Care Unit. The lump isn't cancer but I did comment that , had it been, I would like another mastectomy so that I was symmetrical.
I am tiny - 7 1/2 stone is my natural weight and my boobs were always 34 AA. When I had my mastectomy in 2013 the option I was given regarding reconstruction was implants both sides. Not for me.
The team really listened to why I wish to be symmetrical again but surprised me by saying that surgical reconstruction has moved on considerably since my first mastectomy and that I could now consider "Flap" reconstruction, which in 2013 wasn't an option for me.
I just don't know whether to opt for a second mastectomy (I'm quite restless and active) or undergo the much longer process of reconstruction but which I know would give me more normality in the long term.
I had my first mastectomy aged 49 and I'm now 54.
Any thoughts / advice / similar experience - I'm in quandry!