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Happy with no reconstruction?

Stephanie S.
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012

I am 40 years old and am just wanting opinions from anyone that has not had any reconstruction. I have had problems with my expanders, right had surgery 2 weeks after mastectomy in Sept., in April had staph infection after 30 days of meds. Left side was removed in March because the expander was coming out. I am afraid the right side is so thin it could do the same. I am having a hysterectomy this summer first, this is my priority! PS suggested a latissimus dorsi on the left because if the thin skin. I am so tired of surgery. My husband told me to take out the right so we can just enjoy our lives. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life! I know this is nothing compared to the cancer fight that we all have been or are going through but I just need some thoughts from someone who has been through it.

mollyz's picture
Posts: 746
Joined: Sep 2010

I haven't had it yet and today is my 2 year mastectomy anniversary,I've thought about it and i guess i would love to have a new set of girls but i really dont want to go threw all the stuff i read about it some have good experiences and for the most don't so im going to leave well enough alone for now,i get tired of saddling up every day but hey im here and thats all that matters not the girls. ~~MollyZ~~ oh yes my husband said the same thing but at times when where intimate he feels for both and i guess he just forgets oh well!!!!

jamiegww's picture
Posts: 384
Joined: Dec 2009

I had my right breast removed but still have my left one. If I could have it removed I would be happy (I think) but until it gets cancer, I will have to live with being lopsided. I hate it and wish I could go back in time and just get the lumpectomy. I won't try reconstruction because I don't want to risk the problems I keep reading about. I'm not strong enough emotionally to go through that. I think it would be nice to just wear a sports bra and not have to worry about stuffing it with something on one side. I've been dealing with it for two and a half years now so I need to just slap myself a few times and get over it. You need to do whatever you feel is best for you.


Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2012


I don't know if things have changed since your post about not liking to be lopsided. Most insurance companies will pay for contralateral mastectomy (removing the healthy(?) breast) for women who have already had BC and have had one mastectomy. You are definitely higher risk than women who have never had BC at all. I have three sisters who have had BC, and my insurance will pay for me to have bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, which I am doing on Dec 18th. I have Blue Cross Blue Shield. With a high family incidence of breast cancer, most will pay for prophylactic mastectomy. I am not going to get reconstruction as I don't want to go through all the issues other women have dealt with. I feel I can live happily flat, not even using prostheses except on special occasions with certain dresses. Talk to your insurance company and your doctor about it.


Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

I had chemo first, then a bilateral Jan 2011, followed by 44 rounds of rads. At the time of my surgery, I was told no reconstruction for at least a year (pretty standard with IBC). Then Aug of 2011 I had a local recurrence and another surgery to remove that. They also found mets at that time, so I'm now stage IV too.

Because there wasn't much available to remove, and because the skin had been heavily radiated that second surgery didn't heal well. (I had an open wound for about 4 months.) I now have some pretty serious scar tissue surrounding a hole in my chest. Even without consulting a plastic surgeon, I don't think I would get good results with reconstruction. Also, who knows what I am looking at down the road? I might need more surgery for some weird thing and I already feel like I've had enough, thank you.

I wear prosthesis and am reasonably happy with them. Yes, sometimes I get a little bummed when I put them on. But it's not because of the prosthesis themselves, it's because cancer even exists (and specifically that it exists in my body). At those times, I try to remind myself that complaining won't do any good (even when I just complain to myself)...it will only make me and the people around me miserable. When I look in the mirror, I try to think about all that I have accomplished...and yes, I try to take a moment and think about the blessings in my life. I know, it sounds terribly corny...and there are certainly times that I'm not able to get past the bad stuff. (That's where anti-depressants and this board come in handy!)

If you do decide to go with prosthesis, see a certified fitter. They come in many shapes, sizes, weights, etc. You will be much happier if they fit both your body and your lifestyle well.

I hope all my rambling helps.



Posts: 61
Joined: Apr 2012

I had Right side masectomy with the plan of delayed reconstruction. I am now thinking I may just go with the prothstetic. I thought I would want reconstruction but now am thinking maybe not. Am going through chemo now so won't make any decisions until at least may of next year :)

Posts: 1115
Joined: Oct 2011

I had a double mastectomy in March of this year and opted for no reconstruction at this time also. I'm not sure about the future but am happy 95% of the time with my choice. I am small framed and wasn't large breasted so although I am still human, and now missing an important part of what was me, from a comfortable dressing standpoint its been easy. I just wear a lightly padded sports bra and look exactly as I did before. I never even had enough to create cleavage so no issues there. Its also really comfortable at night to wear nothing and cooler when its hot and sticky outside! It is a tough decision tho, and a constant reminder everytime you look in the mirror of that part of this journey. Good luck, your heart will tell your head what to do.

Posts: 80
Joined: Nov 2011

seriously - that is the name of a web site you may want to investigate.... www.breastfree.org

I had bi-lat 2/16/11 with the thought that I would do reconstruction. I was large and have discovered I have NO idea how I functioned with THOSE THINGS in my way!!!! I am for prosthetics when I want to wear them!! I find I don't generally want to wear them!

You may not know, you can change your mind years down the road and have implants. Most insurance will cover delayed reconstruction....

good luck on your decision ;p

linpsu's picture
Posts: 747
Joined: Mar 2010

I had reconstruction after my left mastectomy with an expander put it at the time of the mastectomy, followed by fills and finally the exchange surgery. However, the cancer came back two years later (at the site of the mastectomy scar) so the implant had to come out. I decided I had been through enough surgeries and opted to just remain boob-free on one side. I wear a prosthesis and I have no problems with it. I might have felt differently if I were younger, but I am 60 now and don't really care how it looks as long as I look normal in clothes.

Stephanie S.
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012

I really appreciate all your opinions and experiences. Thank you for the website, it was very helpful. It is really hard to live in a small town and not having any friends go through everything. They don't understand but are a blessing to have in my life and are very thoughtful. I just wanted to get through chemo and reconstruction and forget about it all. Not so easy with all the problems I have had. I guess that is God's way of telling me that is not possible. I go to the gynecological oncologist tomorrow and see what my next surgery will consist of. My aunts both passed from ovarian cancer, on my dad's side. I am BRAC 1 positive and will not take any chances. CSN has been a very informative site and I am glad to have information from others that have been down the same road. Good luck to all you ladies. I will be praying for you all.

sweetvickid's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: Nov 2009

I am now 56 and in2010 had a double mastectomy (my choice). At first I thought I would get fakes put in. Read up on that flap surgery and just way to many complications. The expanders you have to do before the implants just sounded painful.

Decided it ain't worth it. What you end up with really doesn't look like boobs to me and actually the pictures kind of freak me out. The plastic surgeon was quite proud of his work and I think he was kind of insulted by my reaction to the pictures!

Anyway as a general rule I don't miss them. The majority of the time I go flat chested. Every once in awhile I get a ewild hair and wear my foobs. Nobody notices until I mention it.

mamolady's picture
Posts: 796
Joined: May 2011

I am with Sweetvickid. I had bilateral mastectomy in march 2011. I planned on just using the prosthetics. I do mammos for a living so I see all levels of recon and varying qualities of plastic surgeons. I have my ups and downs with whether or not to go for recon. Mostly, I am fine boobless. I rarely wear the prosthetic. I have very small ones, not even an A cup. I wanted some thing that would not be noticeable. I work in scrubs so it really isn't noticeable and when I am at home I want to be comfortable. Once I loose the weight I want to loose, I doubt it will even matter anymore.
My husband doesn't want me to go through recon either. I never had much before so he must not have been a boob man anyway!


I was 47 when I was diagnosed in 2010. Another thing to consider, my step mom spent a lot of energy and time on having reconstruction. She had a fabulous PS. She died with stunning breasts.

Frankie Shannon
Posts: 457
Joined: Oct 2011

I had a bil mastectomy 2 years ago with no reconstruction my choice,i never had expanders i don't even know what they are,i have fake ones and have never wore them it's just been great never having to wear a bra any more and have never regretted my decision.I was also in my 60 and am a widow so didn't have to worry how it would have affected my husband,your husband sounds like a charm it's important that you have good support from him and sounds like you do.Your husband is right when he said just enjoy your lives, you been through enough,i have herd some story's about reconstruction and they where not good,the decision is your all the best to you.
Hugs Frankie

Posts: 6342
Joined: Oct 2010

i had lumpectomy so no reconstruction. Iknow I only have surgeries I NEED...I have had my share and will not do any more NOT manditory. I am very bad with stitches, thought of surgery etc..I have had about 12 from shoulder, breast, hysterctomy *due to tomoxifen etc..

so personally I WOULD not...but each of us have such different thoughts and experience..


Posts: 6342
Joined: Oct 2010

i had lumpectomy so no reconstruction. Iknow I only have surgeries I NEED...I have had my share and will not do any more NOT manditory. I am very bad with stitches, thought of surgery etc..I have had about 12 from shoulder, breast, hysterctomy *due to tomoxifen etc..

so personally I WOULD not...but each of us have such different thoughts and experience..


Posts: 601
Joined: Mar 2004


I have never had reconstruction, never wanted too. I'm glad I didn't. I was 41 when I had my masectomy. I was done having kids and my husband didn't care if I did or not. He was a great caregiver. I have had infections from mesh they put in my chest, had to have it taken out. My body rejects any foreign object, so it ended up being the correct decision for me. Quite frankly, I was tired of carrying that darn thing around. I don't even wear a prostetic most of the time, only if going to a wedding etc. Good luck to you and make the choice that is right for you. Everyone is different. My breasts did not define me as a woman.

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