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mastectomy w/o reconstruction

gayleyr
Posts: 52
Joined: May 2001

Anyone have a bilateral mastectomy but no reconstruction? I'm scheduled for June 1st and would appreciate hearing about others experiences. Thanks.

apryl
Posts: 15
Joined: Apr 2001

last year i had a mastectomy with no reconstruction. all of my medical team felt i should not have reconstruction at the time so that radiation would better penetrate the chest wall. my mastectomy was june 1st, too! i had my port put in on july 5th and started chemo on the 6th of july. i started radiation in february. i am finished now and have gotten great new which i'll share later. it is a battle, but one which is surely worth fighting for and every once of strength you have to put into it! i will have my port out in june and then can have reconstruction anytime thereafter. God Bless You as you travel this journey. Love and Hugs, April

gayleyr
Posts: 52
Joined: May 2001

April - thanks for the news. I had a large tumor which they have shrank with chemo already - I will have the surgery then radiation before reconstruction. I guess I'm interested in how I'll adjust to wearing two prostheses after the radiation. Any experience with that? Thanks. Gayle

cherdaetwyler
Posts: 165
Joined: Dec 2000

Hi,
I had a bilateral on Dec. 8, am finished with my chemo now and had decided shortly after surgery that I was not going to have reconstruction.

I also do not wear prostheses, although if I have an opportunity to wear a great strapless evening dress, I would probably get and wear prosthesees with it just to beat the law of gravity.

I love having a "model chest" and am inthe process of getting the rest of my short chubby body into model shape.

I really do not mind flat chestedness AT ALL. !!! In fact it really has advantages in manueverability. (I had threatened to go to a historical re-enactment of an enormous battle between the militia of Virginia and the Indians which occurred in 1774. my intent in that was to portray a Lenape warrior fighting only in a breech cloth and tattoos (temporary ones of course). But I was comptelled in another directionn this past weekend to have a healing ceremony (a native version of the laying on of hands)
which was absolutely terrific and I am so positive again in outlook.

Let your own mind and heart make the decision. If bustiness is important to you or your significant other, then opt for recon. If he is like my dearest and loves me as I am and hates to see me undergo any pain that isn't absolutely necessary, then let things stand as they are.

Your heart and spirit will give you the right message for you.

For myself I love this new stronger me who is growing and learning from all of these experiences.

I just love you be able to share with all you you here. Don't be scared by the scars after the surgery. In 5 months mine have faded to 2 pale pink lines straight across and much of the time I fortet that I have no breasts. (Ocasionally when I pick up a very fitted dress with waistline and bust line darts (the sort of fifties retro look thing) I am shocked to realize that I can't wear it because I have notihing to fill that area they have created with the darts.

Best of luck in your search for what is right for you.
If you need to talk with someone who has recently had a bilateral and have questions I would be glad to share my experiences with you. The one thing I can tell you is get going on the stretching exercises etc. immediately after surgery, and do them regualrly. This is not something that bilateral patients can procrastinate on. I have done them routinely and had a tiny bout with lymphedema and made my doctor order the compression sleeves and gloves, but as long as I do one seercise session a day on the exercises that increase the flow of lymph, I do fine. I drove for about 13 hours in the past 2 days. no ill effects. and that position of arms on the steering wheel is really tough on the lymphnodes because you are holding the shoulder end of your arms so close to the chest wall and can really stretch them out. I especially could not stretch them out without putting out an eye of my passenger in the tiny car I drive.

best wishes, prayers and hugs for you in your surgery.

cher

shawna
Posts: 29
Joined: May 2001

Hi,
My grandmother had a single mastectomy and did not choose to have reconstructive surgery. This was 15 years ago and her doctor did not recommend it because those were silicone days and it was harder to see through on a mamogram. She has lung cancer right now but we talked about whether she went through any psychological issues related to the mastectomy and she said absolutly not. She uses a prosthesis, because she still has one breast and she doesn't mind at all. My four year old daughter recently noticed that she only had one "boob" as my daughter calls it and my grandmother sat and talked about it and she thought the prosthesis was really cool. She has one for normal wear, one for her swimming suit and we are all really open about the whole thing. You cannot even tell she has had a mastectomy. She looks great in clothes and even at 69, looks ten years younger than she is. My grandfather was very supportive and did not want her to have reconstructive surgery. I think it must be a personal thing. My grandmother jokes and says "they were not made for men to play with, they were made to nurse babies". And she's not having anymore. I really like her attitude and hope that you find your answer. Oh yea, she was completely cancer free for 15 years, so hang in there.

gayleyr
Posts: 52
Joined: May 2001

Thanks for the encouragement! I have decided to postpone any reconstruction at least 6-12 months until I am entirely healed - then decide if it is worth having more surgery. Tell your grandmother that her story inspired me. God bless you.

shawna
Posts: 29
Joined: May 2001

I will be sure to tell her. That will make her feel good. She is a fighter and never gives up. She would tell you that is why she is here today. I think waiting is a great idea. Letting the mind and body heal is so important and being stressed out by another surgery right now might not be best. Who knows how you will feel about it in a few months. You might be raring to go. My grandmother was cleaning floors on her hand and knees a few weeks after a mastectomy and a lung lobe removal. Stay strong and I will be thinking of you.
Shawna

tbolt
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2001

I had only 1 done without reconstruction. I took alot of thing into consideration. I have had many surgeries, not from cancer, and didn't want another one or anothe scar. My job, I do not wear business or fancy clothes. I can handle seeing my scar, my reminder of victory in a battle for life. I went through my treatments in the winter wearing big, loose clothing and did not have a prosthesis yet but as warmer weather approached and the clothes weren't so loose, I called ACS and got "Lefty" and a bra. I feel much better looking "even". Think it all out and do what you are comfortable with. You can always have it done later.

karenr
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2001

good for you i had a right mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, it got infected and theincision got necrotic so had to be removed. have since spoken with a woman who had bilateral mastectomy andbilateral reconstruction at the same time and shesaid it was just awful. she likes the end result but feels her recovery would have been faster without the reconstr. i agree. wish i hadn't tried the reconstruction inthe first place.

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