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*BOOM!* No more chemo, straight to mastectomy!

awsmGirl's picture
Posts: 38
Joined: May 2016

Reeling a bit from this news -- after 2 rounds of chemo (which were pretty darn tough, several on my Team of Onc, surgeon, intern, chemo nurses, etc mentioned that i got hit harder than most they'd seen), i was re-imaged with mammogram and ultrasound, to see how well the chemo was taking effect.

Based on effectively Zero reduction in the mass, plus my difficulty with chemo, and the fact that my "flavor" of ER+ (estrogen receptor positive) apparently has a history of not always responding so well to chemo, my Team decided no more chemo, and a full mastectomy (left only, at least so far as anyone has mentioned so far), in the next couple of weeks, probably first week of August. They're giving me a bit of time to bounce back before surgery, as i have prettymuch been sick on my back for several weeks now.

Had a good bout of crying with this: i love my beautiful breasts, they are part of my self-identification, and of course all the awful Gremlins of "being ugly," "looking like a monster," "who am i now??"

I'm getting my head around it tho, because after all, it's not like this is a *choice -- it's my life!!!  And i certainly was vain as h3ll about my hair and havent i gotten a kick discovering that being bald is all right!  My partner is a friggin' PRINCE, he is totally cool, and my circle of family and friends are being super-supportive -- oh man, am i blessed.  So i can do this.  Not happy, but i can do this.

They've said likely some radiation after surgery, then in 6months +/-, we can look to Reconstruction.  So i can layer-up to camouflage my damage over the winter, and have shiny new boobies for next summer.  I can live with that: literally.

I have my Consult with my surgeon this Wed at 1:30 -- what should i ask, discuss?  Any and all ideas are appreciated!


Thanks, yall!



Posts: 308
Joined: May 2016

Glad to hear you're off the chemo 'cause it was taking you through some serious changes. You should be feeling better soon.  I didn't have a mastectomy, so I can't speak on that, but best wishes for you. 

twnkltoz's picture
Posts: 169
Joined: Aug 2015

Ugh. I'm sorry. But I'm happy for you that you have a supportive partner. That is so helpful!

LisR's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: May 2016

I did go through a mastectomy on my right side in June, so I'm 5 weeks out.  Questions I would ask of the surgeon...

1) Exactly what kind of mastectomy will you be doing?  Can you describe exactly what you will be doing?  How long a surgery is it typically?  Do you anticipate that I will need to spend the night in the hospital?  (my surgeon said there is no reason medically to stay the night, but if the patient wants to then he would order it.  I did not and went home without a problem the same day).

2) What are my reconstruction options?  Can I have reconstruction simultaneously with the mastectomy?  (that would require a visit to a plastic surgeon prior to surgery and a coordination of both mastectomy surgeon and plastic surgeon to be there on 'the day'.   I did not do reconstruction and at this point don't plan to.  It is such a personal choice, but if you are moderately interested, check out breastfree.org... that helped me sort through the emotions and questions of whether I felt reconstruction was right for me.  I always have the option to change my mind later, but for right now I am not the least bit self-conscious about being flat on one side.  I doubt I'll even wear a prosthesis!)

3)  Are you going to need sentinel lymph node dissection?  (I did have to have that.  Today, my main scar area does not bother me at all, but the area for the lymph node removal is still very tender and somewhat painful... not requiring any kind of medication, just an irritating pulsing and 'burning' sensation)

4)  Ask whatever else is concerning you... get armed with the answers to those questions!

5)  Something else you may want to address with the surgeon if a plastic surgeon is not also going to be present at the time of mastectomy... the location of the scar.  Some surgeons leave the scar higher on the body and that makes it more visible with some lower cut attire.  My surgeon says he keeps the scar lower so that it remains more hidden.  That discussion would also benefit greatly if you have already come to terms with your ideas for reconstruction.  Speaking of which.. there is an excellent hour and a half long video of a lecture by Dr. Gordon Lee of Stanford called "What every woman should know about reconstruction".   You can Google it easily.   It is very graphic but extremely helpful and talks about the many choices you have.  It asnwered many questions for me!

Teach76's picture
Posts: 351
Joined: Jul 2015

I believe we are dealing with the same Cancer Center - Einstein is a great facility.  I had all of my treatments and surgery there.  If you have some of the same team you are in good hands.  I am glad to hear that your progress was checked and you are getting an update in treatment right away.



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