Reconstructive surgery vs masectomy

I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in Feb 2016. I'm 52. I had a mastectomy, 6 chemo treatments followed by 16 radiation treatments. I finished everything Sept 16th. I'm recovering a little every day but my stamina is just not there and doesn't seem to be getting any better. I walk for 75 minutes every morning. I am 135pounds and 5'8". I do not want to have a trams flap surgery followed by a lift and reduction to match. Having one breast is STUPID! I'm seriously considering another masectomy. I just want to be balanced and comfortable in a nighty or a dress. I feel like I could wear a padded bra when I want. Has anyone out there go this course?

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  • Hi there. I was diagnosed on 2 Oct 2015. I had chemo first then double mastectomy this Jan. Followed by 6.5 months of more chemo then 25 radiotherapy sessions. I have opted for a flat life and am happy with that decision. I read a lot about reconstruction causing pain for some time. I feel I have been through enough now. So a flat life it is. I still get very tired and often nap during the day. I am 50 years of age and fingers crossed its all gone now. Good luck. Lainey66 xx

  • Thanks. Some people look at me like I'm from another planet when I say I might have a second masectomy. An hour surgery vs an 8 hour surgery followed by a second surgery. Seems like a no brainer to me.

  • My sentiments exactly. My surgeon even wanted me to take councelling regarding living with one breast. I flatly refused and said "My body, My cancer both go or none go, If you wont do this operation I will find someone who will". You see, he refused to remove "healthy" tissue. I won, and five weeks later was told by the oncologist that the decision was correct as I had residual cancer and they would have had to re operate already to remove second breast. There are two ladies living near me who had reconstruction. Both bitterly disappointed and strugging daily. I dont envy them at all. xx

  • I completely agree with you. Marina xx

  • Same journey had stage 3 reduced to stage 2 at surgery , had chemo them mastectomy and bide clearance and starting radiotherapy today .was having reconstruction next year I did have a temporary implant feels ok. But odd when lie on it but in a bra and swim suit you wouldn't know I have one boob smaller . It's a tough decision but if bilateral then it's even but I am happy with what I have as the cancer is gone and I am just 50 and want to enjoy life not worry about what to do with reconstruction will wait and see I feel . Let's get radiotherapy over I do Pilates 4 times a week definently helps strengthen you and positivity is the way forward take care and hope your stamina improves . I take turmeric and high dose of vit D and eat very well

  • Good luck with your rafiotherapy. I recommend E45 perfume free (has a red lid) after each session and begore you go to bed. It will aid in reducing skin dryness and lessen the burn. All the best and keep an eye on fatigue. Rest when tired. You are nearly there Maggie 18 All the best Maggie xx

  • Nthabks SI much yes all good will reat when I can but 4 kids on my own but have amazing family and friends

  • Hi Patrenee. I went flat in March. I am physically comfortable with my flatness, and I expect it would give me better chances to detect any local recurrence, besides.

    When I want to make sure my flatness will not be noticed (as most persons in my life do not know about my cancer), I wear a big scarf over my chest. I usually do not even do that much camouflaging, and nobody seems to notice anyway.

  • This is a difficult choice and a really personal one - i had a mastectomy and reconstruction in 2012 because I had been very large chested and wanted to be 'normal' after the trauma of my cancer. I I told myself and everyone else that I was having a breast reduction on the NHS and that something positive had come from my cancer but I'm not sure I had all the information I needed to make that decision as the reconstruction has always been painful and I think always will be. I am 58 and now contemplating having the implant removed just to get some pain free years if possible... so your thinking about a flat life makes lots of sense to me!

  • I have an implant as I am not very big, and didn't have much fat, plus didn't want such a big op as the flap one, I am really pleased with the implant I really forget about it, it doesn't stop me doing anything. Good luck xx

  • I had a mastectomy and reconstruction on one side and hated the fact that I had one real one and one fake (they were totally mismatched too as fake boobs look fake). So I decided to go the full hog and had a 2nd mastectomy + reconstruction. No cancer in the other side but they were never going to match them anyway. Now I have the peace of knowing I'm never going to have another primary breast cancer plus my 'boobs' look acceptable in a bikini/low cut top. Recon is a big decision and it can take 1-2 years for the discomfort to settle.

  • I had a Mastectomy followed by Chemo & was unable to have reconstruction at the time due to the Meds l was already on, as my Consultant was concerned about healing & rejection. However, I had no issues following the surgery but I'm glad I went that route now.

    I have an autoimmune disease that affects the muscles, that's why they didn't want to do any kind of reconstruction.

    I'm a 40D & l bought some bras before I had my surgery, when I went for my prosthetic fitting I wore a striped (hooped) top & the fitter threw her hands up in horror! I told her I wasn't leaving until they 'matched' & they did!

    I'm coping with being one sided, l certainly don't want any more surgery at this point.

    Your stamina will improve gradually & you sound as if your doing well with your daily walking. The Chemo carries on working for some time, as we used to say "The 'Gift' that keeps on Giving" you will still be tired and you've had radiotherapy too! Don't be too hard on yourself & you can always talk to your breast nurse about the options ahead of you.

    If being 'one sided' bothers you at night, wear a more relaxed bra & a 'softy' like we had after the surgery to make you balanced.

    Good Luck with your decision & take it easy, be kind to yourself & rest when you need too.

    Take Care 💐

  • Not yet Patrenee, only given news last week. Coming to terms with M and R...hated being lopsided before it also gave me times of trapped nerve pain. Opted for reduction and it was great and time went on.

    Seems I might be going flat this time, cut down on risks now 63. If the mind doesnt cause to much problem afterwards ajusting. Diabetic now healing might be slower, to much risk for R. I have one task to be a botanical artist and so angry this has stopped my assignments. Need to get on with my choosen future. I think cutting risk down for future shocks would be best for me. Diagnosed at 38...clear for 25 years. The emotions were raw but stablizing. Do what will be best for your peace of mind, the macmillian nurses will help. Though I googled Mastectomy humor and its a funny weird group to belong to.

  • I was diagnosed at 49 and had chemo, herceptin and mastectomy on my left side. I absolutely hated having only one and asked if I could have the good breast removed but was refused! I am very lucky as I was 100% responsive to the chemo so no cancer (long may it last). I lived with a prosthesis for 1 year and it was fine in the winter but not the summer as I couldn't wear standard swimwear or anything low cut or backless (clothing involving a prosthesis is very expensive). Anyhow I decided to have reconstruction (DIEP flap) and if I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have done it - I would have insisted on removal of my right breast and gone flat! But hindsight's a great thing isn't it.

    I'm now 18 months after the original operation and it's still ongoing (nearly there). The breast is fab though and I love that it jiggles about like my own one but there is scarring which can't be seen unless I'm naked. It took me a while to get used to it and accept that it will never be a perfect match to my own breast.

    Hope this helps and good luck with your decision...

  • Thank you so much for your openness and honesty. This is an amazing site.

  • I had a mastectomy a year ago and have an appointment soon with the surgeon to (I think) discuss reconstruction. I have already decided not to have reconstruction as anaesthetic makes me really sick and I hate the drains they put in after the operation. I have a good mastectomy bra and a prosthesis and nobody can tell it's a falsie. My bikini wearing days are long gone but I bought a swimsuit online, and even in that you can't tell I have a prosthesis. Best wishes with whatever you decide xx

  • I had a latismus Dorsi recon on my left side in March, after mastectomy that I had Dec 14.

    Had final implant and good boob augmented with nipple removal ( didn't need it anymore ) in sept.

    Final results are amazing, with bra / bikini you just can't tell.

    Going to have scars tattoo in Feb on left side

    Yes it was a had time, but the results have been worth it for my self esteem .

    Everyone makes their own choices, bit I though short term pain, long term gain x

  • I'm 57 in January and I had both boobs off in June although only one needed to go. No reconstruction. Best decision for me. Absolutely no regrets. I really had to fight for having both off though as the hospital was really anti. I had my chemo first so had five months to think about it. Also I had said right at the beginning that if I had to have one off, I wanted both gone! I didn't want to be lopsided and have always been anti the idea of implants. I think it was because I never changed my mind throughout my treatment and I had that length of time to think about it that they agreed. All my lymph nodes were removed from my left axilla at the same time. Anyway that was back in June and I am back at work part time, looking after my horse, almost through treatment and got everything crossed that I'm cured. I didn't have to have radiotherapy but am still having Herceptin and Pertuzumab every three weeks. The last doses will be in January. Everything looks good so far. There is quite a lot online about 'going flat'. I don't have close family or a partner but my friends all supported my decision. I didn't have big boobs anyway and I don't think that people even notice. I live in jeans/trousers and sweatshirts or jumpers at this time of year. I fully admit that I am not bothered about fashion which undoubtedly helps. In the summer I wore some loose fitting tops with patterns. Going bra-less is soo comfortable! Think carefully what you think will make you feel the most comfortable Patrenee, then go for it and I wish you the very best!

  • Thanks for your reply. I've decided this is the way for me. As I have already had one masectomy and all my chemo and radiation is done. Now it's time to get on with it and get balanced.

  • Well done and all the very best.

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