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Seeking Flat Symmetry After Single Mastectomy

KAWE
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2018

In my pre-surgical consultation with my surgeon I strongly requested that I did not want to be left with one breast and that I had no interest in reconstruction. She said she would only be willing to perform what was needed on the right breast, a total mastectomy for stage 2b, hormone positive (est & pro), invasive ductal carcinoma.  She said she wouldn't take a healthy breast, there were surgeons who would, but she's not that surgeon.  I live only 2 miles from the breast cancer center and knew that she performed surgeries with minimal scarring so I elected go with what she was willing to do.  Fast forward to 5 months later, I'm MISERABLE with one breast!  I feel unbalanced, I don't like the look of my chest, my remaining breast gets sweaty while my flat side feels great without large sweat marks while working out at the gym, my remaining breast also tries to fall out of whatever top or bra I wear for working out.  If I could I'd schedule the mastectomy on the other side tomorrow- that's my way of reconstruction- flat.  I'd like to hear from others who initially had one mastectomy and who, post surgery, returned to a surgeon to have the other breast removed solely for reasons of quality of life and psychosocial- not for preventive reasons.  How did you talk about it to your surgeon and what was needed for insurance to accept the procedure as medically necessary?  Thank you in advance!

 

Beepositive
Posts: 259
Joined: Mar 2017

Hello Kawe , I had only left breast surgery this past March and had a brest expander insert to keep the skin loose until 6 or so month later to have implant....but 6 months later when we checked  expander and was discussing the removal and implant the area did not appear large enough to fix implant and would require some skin from stomach or back skin, this was due to the Radiation (sometime it shrinks the area) so I was not interested in anymore recovery and skin removal so opted out of the implant altogether ..so now I have left breast some fluid build up that wil slowly work its way to where it should be over time (dr keeping check on it and I am still working with my Lymphedema clinic who helps me with movement of my arm and range of motion exercises to help with the fluid to flow (I have been working with them from the the beginning) But I wear a bra and an insert that i got from the speciality breast cancer shop and everything is even out.. I never wanted anything done to my other breast ..I am happy with my decision  I wear the bra and the insert most of the time even a loose one at night sometimes so i feel balanced.  "My New normal Im working it out...things could be a LOT worse....  Good Luck with Everything   Hugs and Prayers to you and your Family

BEEPOSITIVE  Smile

Raysbabe's picture
Raysbabe
Posts: 17
Joined: Mar 2018

Hello there Kawe! I completely understand how you feel. I too only had 1 breast removed. I had tnbc and had a mass in my left breast. When I consulted my surgeon I was thinking and feeling the same as you. Who wants to be hump breast? Needless to say, my surgeon explained to me that leaving the one is more beneficial than not. He stated that in the event the cancer did return, better to have another breast for it to run to so to speak. I am so annoyed with wearing clothes and having one on and one off. I was orginally a DD cup, so it is extremely obvious that one is missing in action. Another complication I have ran into after decided about reconstruction...I was adamant against it to begin with...I had 33 radiation treatments on lumpy with no expanders and now I'm running into a whole new set of problems. I've been told by surgeons that if I decide to do the back flap around, I'll have to do a reduction on the good one! The only option I have includes either a reduction, or a tram flap with my own abdominal fat. I'm scheduled for a 3rd opinion, but after being this way since February 2017, thinking about that tummy tuck long and hard. Might as well have a benefit to the dirty ol' "C" word right? No matter what you decide, It's your body and should be solely your choice! Good luck, and know you're not the only one walking around with one "woman down" lol.

Tam

bookmom6
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2018

Hello Kawe, i too went in to my single mastectomy thinking I wanted both breasts removed and was disuaded by my surgeon. She wanted me to explore all options and think about it for 3 years. I had Stage III inflammatory bc and needed radiation after the surgery. I went ahead with my radiation without opting for stretchers since they had no medical/curative value. I immediately rejected the tram-flap option as too horrendous. For the three years I either wore a foob or went without. Finding clothing and bras was difficult. I developed lymphedema pretty much right away and found that wearing a bra seemed to make it worse - the weight of the foob on the strap and the tightness around my chest to keep everything in place caused more swelling. After three years I finally went ahead with the second mastectomy. The interesting thing is that my female surgeon seemed to want me to have a medical and not just "emotional" reason. I found myself emphasizing fears for reoccurence rather than my physical discomfort, trouble finding clothing, and total lack of any emotional attachment to my remaining breast. Whatever. The surgery was done and I have never regretted it for a second. I'm not really sorry I waited the few years; it was a big decision that meritted some distance and detachment from my original diagnosis and treatment, but I was ready. I'm comfortable with how I look. No one ever gives me or my chest a second glance. Insurance-wise it should be covered no matter what decision you make because of the Women's Health Act. insurance is required to treat you with either reconstruction, prosthetics , or a prophylactic mastectomy. Good luck with whatever you decide! 

Apaugh's picture
Apaugh
Posts: 856
Joined: Aug 2016

I chose to go flat and dont regret it..

The choice is yours.

Hugs,

Annie

bonbondidit's picture
bonbondidit
Posts: 117
Joined: Jul 2014

I 100% insisted on the second one to be removed when my doc was hesitating to make the call.  I just could not deal with the what if's.  My left side had the tumors but the right side had tons of cycsts in them so I saw potential danger on the horizon and said I am DEMANDING it be taken off due to the potential risk.  He warranted it and did it and I have never looked back but boy did I have to get pretty stern.  Here's what made me do it aside from the cysts.  One day I heard my oncologist who I love tell me when I requested a PET scan (I'm stage 3A IDC and DCIS E+P+H-) respond with oh no you don't really need that because it just shows everything and anything and could cause you to be rewrapped up in 6 months of evaluations.  My eyes about came out of my face with an "am I not worth it" expression.  See I was told about the wait and see  how it's developed when my tumor was biopsied and told benign the two years priorck then and now- here I sit with stage 3A IDC- I was very upset to not have the support from my surgeon to remove them back then.  I was talked out of it like I was niave and jumping the gun.. I mentally felt myself flipping him the bird with nthe PET scan response.  I still love my doctor but that day was when I realized your best interest is truly decided by the best advocate in the world - YOU the patient.  Go with your gut and your intincts :)

LoisJ
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2018

I had bi -lateral mastectomy as choice I did not want to have to do this again. I made a good choice as a metaplastic spindle cell carcinoma was found in breast after surgery (did not show on mammogram or ultrasound) I could tell breast was swollen painful but no one could feel it. I told her to make me flat she had no problem with my choice. If I was younger I may have considered reconstruction maybe this is why you were advised against it.

LouisaP's picture
LouisaP
Posts: 62
Joined: Feb 2015

I wanted both off & implants in both. I let my surgeon talk me out of it. Up to the last minute she still talked me out of it. I got reduction on good side & expander then radiation & implant. The stupid plastic surgeon put in a smaller implant than we discussed so it's a lot smaller than the reduction he did on other side. I'm a cup size difference. I'm not happy. Unfortuntly I have other health problems I have to take care of before I can fix my breasts. And with the radiation the Dr I talked to didn't want to reopen a radiated side so I need more opinions. I hate how I look. One reduced nice one & a small, high one. 

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