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How do you cope with a single mastectomy

gems
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2013

I am now two weeks post op from my left sided single mastectomy. Today I tried to go out wearing a sports bra and a soft fiberfill form. I was so miserable, that I ended up removing both in the car. It was so uncomfortable and sore having it next to my skin. Will I always go bra-less with a uni-boob? Looks kind of wierd, but that is how I am most comfortable right now.

I called my aunt who also had a single mastectomy 2 years ago. She said that she makes trips to the bathroom to continually adjust her "foob". She said it keeps riding to the middle of her chest. This sounds so depressing to me.

Please tell me how you have adjusted and let me know what I can expect in the future when my incision is fully healed.

(I can't help but wondering if I should have had a double mastectomy, but can't imagine feeling this sore on both sides)

Thank you for insight and thoughts.

mmggio0213
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2013

I had a mastectomy 7 years ago and I always thought I would get reconstruction but I did not. In order to get a proper fit, you need to go a place that has sales people trained in these items.I live in MASS and we have a store called Lady Grace. The women in there know how to fit the bras and the 'boob' s. They re trained in it. They are wonderful

This is probably the issue with your Aunt also

Also, you have not healed yet, that is why the bra is uncomfortable right now.

Website

http://ladygrace.com/store-locations/a/14/

 

Also, my daughter always says to me don't be embarrassed with one boob, that's your battle wounds you should be proud of the battle.

McMarty's picture
McMarty
Posts: 212
Joined: Nov 2012

I was thinking the same thing.  You are just 2 weeks out, it's TOO SOON to have something touching you like that all day!  BUT there are professionals wonderfully trained skilled at fitting breast prothesis and it can even be covered by some insurance.  The one near me is called Houston Wellness Boutique.  http://www.houstonwellnessboutique.com/Home_Page.html  That may be no where near you but you could call them and see if there is one in your area that they know of!

They have some GREAT technology and no you absolutely DO NOT have to be stuck forever with the amazing wandering foob!

Kristin N's picture
Kristin N
Posts: 1969
Joined: Mar 2009

There are stores that specialize in fitting women that have had breast cancer.  I know that they can help you out. Your oncologist may even know of a store. 

Good luck!

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2204
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi,

I had a single mastectomy and didn't wear but a very soft pillow type prosthesis for the first four weeks.  It takes about 4-6 weeks before soft tissue heals.

I was then fitted for the right type of prosthesis for me by a qualified mastectomy fitter.  Please see one, don't just buy a prosthesis online.  A qualified fitter will be able to find the right size for you that fits almost like the real thing.

In due time, one even forgets that they have a prosthesis.  One day, now many years ago, I was in my car, ready to put the key into the ignition and kept thinking I forgot something.  I looked at my bag, and etc.  everything was there and then I looked down and saw the empty side.  I forgot to put my prosthesis on.  I went in, put it on and returned to my car.  So in time you due become use to it.

I have had men friends since the day so long ago now (August 1994) and they never cared that I had a part of me missing.  

In due time, give yourself time to heal.

Best,

Doris

 

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

I just wanted to send you a warm welcome and a big hug!

cinnamonsmile
Posts: 1102
Joined: Dec 2010

I had a double mastectomy, but at first I was going to get a singled until they saw something on a preop MRI on the other breast. Personally, I think it would be much harder to figure out how to live with one breast than none ( I was a DD prior to bc). I think perhaps had I been smaller, it would have been easier to live with one. I think if my partner,Brian, had not been so easy going and accepting of living without reconstruction, it would have been much harder. I know I push thoughts away so I don't bring up a bunch of cancer related emotions and go down that path.

There is a good group of women on the website, breastcancer.org who have had a single mastectomy. You can find them in the forum called Mastectomy Without Reconstruction. I am sure you will find lots of support there. I highly recommend you try it. I use both csn.cancer.org and breastcancer.org.

 

Do you have a Mastecomy Boutique in your area? We have a wonderful one in our area. Make sure there is a certified fitter if you go. There are many different styles of prosthetic breast forms and bras to choose from. Your fitter should let you try as many as you want until you find something that you like. Take a list of your question, concerns, and fears with you and go over them with whoever is helping you.

 

Remember, you are only TWO weeks post op from a mastectomy. You had a major surgery done and are bound to be sore. Perhaps it will be hard emotionally, but if it is giving you pain, it may be better to speak to your surgeon about that. I know for myself, the first time I went out to the grocery store in a tee shirt with no breasts, I thought everyone in the world would be staring at me. Turns out no one even gave me a second glance. It was all in my head.

I wish you the best in your recovery and hope to see you on breastcancer.org as well.

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

I had a bilateral, so I can't speak to the issues of a single.  But I can reiterate how important it is to see a good fitter.  Mine was recommended by the cancer center, and worked directly with my insurance.  But you can google 'mastectomy bras name of city'.  If you have to, it is worth traveling for a good fitter.  I recommend you bring a fairly snug t-shirt style blouse without patterns if you have one.  That way you can clearly see in the mirror how well the prosth and bra work.  You should only have to go once a year or so.  Also, Nordstrom has a good reputation for quality fitters.  In either case, you will want to call and make an appointment so they will have time allocated to focus on you.

I agree with everyone else who said it is too soon for a bra and prosth (even a comfy sports bra and pillow prosth).  Give your body more time to heal before trying again.  In the meantime, many here use ruffles and scarves to hide an imbalance.  I hope this helps you.

Hugs,

Linda

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3888
Joined: Jun 2009

I had a lumpectomy, but, I know at my cancer center they have everything any woman going thru bc might need, for a single mastectony or a bi.  Have you checked yours there?  The one here is in the gift shop right inside the cancer center.

Wishing you good luck,

Diane

New Hope's picture
New Hope
Posts: 18
Joined: Jan 2013

They told me to wait 6 week  before getting fitted .I am very place with the way my breast look in my clothes can't tell which one I lost and they a weighted so they don't ride up.Before I was fitted I used what they called softie the cancer suvivor sent me 2 and a leasure bra that help a lot too.

                                                                                                                                   Hope 

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
Posts: 2738
Joined: Jul 2006

I just had a single. I decided to wait for reconstruction. I have not gone in for reconstruction yet. I was diagnosed in 2003.

partly I didn't have it done was I dislike surgery and partly my surgeon retired. I found that wearing loose clothing hides it. Also most people don't pay any attention. 

But I seem to be the exception. 

 

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

I also had a left-sided single mastectomy in 1987.  As others have said, it is important to find a specialty store.  They have great information!

Who knew, for example, that there is a swimming prosthesis?  The first time I went swimming, my foob sank to my belly button (using silicone prosthesis).  The second time, I used a soft form and it nearly floated up and away!  Lol!  A swimming prosthesis is weighted just enough, so you won't have these problems.

I eventually decided on reconstruction, in part because I was just 33 at the time and love to swim.

You will heal and not have to go braless!!  Give yourself time.  

P.S.  I would think a sports bra would not have enough give to be comfortable right now.  They have stretchier bras such as the Ah Bra that offer a little support without being as constricting.  Good luck!

24242
Posts: 1417
Joined: Mar 2001

I had wanted a double mastectomy from the start but talked out of because of my stage 3 diagnosis and the lymphnode involvment.  I just never thought I would ever go back and have the other removed knowing the pain.  But I did after more lumps occurred in the second breast.  My doctor and mother the nurse advised me to do one at a time since so traumatic and treat the cancer side first.  Then have the second removed if I still felt the same way.

If I had not had more lumps I probably would have refrained from second mastectomy just because I am not comfortable with all the surgery though you wouldn't know it after all the biopsies and tests I have done over the 15 years of survival I have had.  I ended up having second mastectomy one year to the day of the first one and that scared the hell out of me.  I was 37 at the time and I did not include reconstruction in the gig.  I still am a flat liner and am comfortable in my own skin never having that attachment to my breasts.  I just have side affects from everything done and given including the surgery so less is more for me.  You truly have to do what you are comfortable with and will be able to live with the rest of your life.  That is not the same for each one of us...

Good luck, Tara

TeriW
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2013

I had a single last October and was perplexed over the sme issue. I waited almost 12 weeks to go for a fitting but I am so glad I went.  p Although I do still have tenderness in my chest, I wear it constantly.  The key is a good fit.  It does not move around or cause pain.  If it is too tight against my skin I either adjust it or wear a looser mastectomy bra.  I walk for exercise so I wear a looser bra to keep it from rubbing my skin.  I was very frustrated with the foam fillers and very happy that my "gal" works so well!  Ask your dr. when you can go for a fitting.  Many insurance companies cover the bras and the prosthesis so check with yours and find out what they will help with.  Best of luck!  Teri

mom62
Posts: 601
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi,

In 2003 I had a full masectomy on my right.  I have never had reconstuction.  It is really to early for you to probably be wearing anything.  Just wear some loose shirts while you are healing.  What you need to do if you have insurance is get a prescription for bras and a silicone form.  I live on the East coast and I went to Lady Grace.  They helped fit me with the right form and bras.  The form will fit inside the new bras and won't move around on you.  Check with your insurance company but most pay at least 80% if not more.  I wore the bras and forms for years until I had my sternum and 3 ribs removed due to recurrance.  Now forms are too heavy and throw off my balance so I go braless.  I am long past worrying about what people think. I do tend to wear shirts with layers or that drape so you can't tell.  Make sure the choice is what YOU want.  Don't worry about others.

 

Terry

smbrand158's picture
smbrand158
Posts: 19
Joined: Oct 2011

I had a single mastectomy Nov 2011 and though I have a prostesis, and wear is most of the time, there are some days, or some activities, that I prefer to go without it. As a biker chick I already had a number of doo-rags and scarves that I wore through chemo and now I wear them around my neck to camoufalge my flat side. There are many websites and You-tube video's that show how to tie scarves, as well as department store staff for a more hands-on approach.

Good luck!

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