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Topic: Recon and mast of good breast?

Forum: Breast Reconstruction — Is it right for you? Discuss timing and various procedures and techniques.

Posted on: Jul 18, 2007 01:12AM

Liezel wrote:

I am scheduled for reconstruction surgery nearly 2 yrs after my right mast. I have chosen to have a skin sparing mast of my left breast with immediate recon at the same time. With surgery 2 weeks away, I am starting to doubt my decision.

While I am removing my unaffected breast, hoping to not have a recurrence there later, I am afraid that the cancer will just look for somewhere else to settle then. And tx then would just be so much more difficult.

Am I being stupid? I also dream of waking up after surgery and not having new breasts because they found new bc during surgery. I really do not know if I'll be able to handle all of this again.

Everybody thinks recon is the final step of this battle, but it is never going to end, is it? Log in to post a reply

Posts 1 - 11 (11 total)

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Jul 18, 2007 07:09AM tam1953 wrote:

You're not being stupid. All of these things go through our heads pre operatively. It's just part of the process. My understanding is that the cancer will not come back if the second breast is gone. It's not like it will go to the liver instead. It doesn't work like that. My aunt had a similar misunderstanding and clarified it with her Dr.

I had my second breast removed prophylactically and am so releved not to have to worry about this anymore.

As far as finding more cancer in the good breast, it is always a possibility. Have you had a mammogram to that breast? I was told if the mammogram is clear, then any cancer found will have been detencted very early and probably won't require additional treatment beyond the mastectomy.

Cancer is a scary thing. Have a heart to heart with one of your Drs. to get some of your questions answered.
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Jul 18, 2007 07:22AM rubytuesday wrote:

I have the same feeling as you. Part of my reasoning for having a lumpectomy the first time around was to give it a 'friendly' place to come back as opposed to chest wall or worse. The bottom line is cancer and cancer treatments are gray areas and I think you have to do your own research, talk to your Drs. and then go with your gut. You have to do what feels right for you. As far as cancer in your other breast, if you haven't had a MRI, I'd see if they could get you in for one prior to your surgery. That was a requirement before my mast. Best wishes!

Proud member of the TaTa Sisterhood! :)

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Jul 18, 2007 10:25AM Kitty_Cat wrote:

The only way you get mets is if a cancer cell escaped from the primary tumor. And that's what chemo, rads, tamox, etc is for - catch any stray cancer cells - if there are any.

I too plan to do skin saving mast and DIEP. For same reason - want to get rid of the breeding ground for breast cancer cells. I started a thread asking for info on this and am still trying to find that thread!
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Jul 18, 2007 11:01AM rubytuesday wrote:

Here is your thread:

http://community.breastcancer.org/ubbthr...true#Post649590

I'll bump it up for you.

Proud member of the TaTa Sisterhood! :)

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Jul 18, 2007 03:09PM cheekymonkey wrote:

Liezel,

I just had a prophylactic mastectomy on my right side with an immediate lat flap, and after you hear my story, hopefully you will go into your surgery with no fear.

The reason I had a prophylactic mast is because every time I went in for a mammo (I'm two years out from BC on my left side and had a mastectomy, chemo and rads), there was always some weird thing that they had to look into, meaning ultrasounds, MRI's, and biopsies. My onc kept saying, "You don't need to get the other breast removed. Only 10-20% of women get breast cancer in the other breast."
I highly respect my oncologist, but I also love my surgeon, who kept insisting that I get my right breast removed. I was so caught in between them and didn't know what to do for the last two years. Finally I decided to just go ahead with it and start my reconstruction. I had the same fears as you, "What if they find cancer in that breast?". But I figured if they did, at least we would know, rather than have it metastasize like my my sister's just did.

After my surgery, my surgeon came to the hospital and said she removed my setinal node and it was clear (YAY!) and that the breast was clear of any tumors! I was so happy! But 10 days later, at my follow up, both my onc and surgeon came in and let me know that that breast was sent to pathology and came back "FILLED with pre-cancerous cells", meaning I would have ended up with breast cancer in my right breast in the next couple of years. They were jumping for joy, saying "We got it! You never have to worry about the right breast again!" My onc said we still have to keep an eye on the left breast, since I did have a couple of lymph nodes involved when they first found my cancer. But I thank God every day that I went ahead and did the prophylactic mastectomy.

I hope that helps you feel better about going in. Fear is the one thing that is more crippling and dangerous than anything when it comes to cancer. I find it's best to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can to make the best decisions possible. The more knowledge you own, the less fear you seem to have.

Good luck on whatever you decide!

mitzi

Cancer, like any other illness, is a bore...... Alan Bennett, Dramatist

Dx 2/28/2005, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIb, Grade 3, 2/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 18, 2007 11:32PM Liezel wrote:

Thank you for all the responses, you are right tam, I'll have a chat to my onc. before. This is so confusing. Some say cancer can be spread through blood, others say it can't, has to go through Lymph Nodes, others say not.

Mitzi, did you go for mamm before your surgery? My ps has not said anything about it. I have very dense, lumpy breasts (had), so it is difficult for me to feel anything through SE.

Your story really has made up my mind for me. I am HER2+++, and I really think this would be for the best.

Thank you all so much for putting my mind at ease.

Liezel
Dx 8/16/2005, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 19, 2007 02:52AM barbara913 wrote:

this is a huge and very difficult decision. i was in your shoes a couple of years ago. i chose to do a bilateral, even tho' my right breast was always clear. my onc wanted them both off too... my breast surgeon was very diplolmatic, gave me all options, even tho' i know he was leaning toward just a lumpectomy. but in the end, the decision is yours... and in my end, when the path report came back saying my rt breast, "the good one", had lcis, my breast surgeon said i was right to go w/ my gut.. and i haven't looked back since.
you will know in your heart, what is right for you, once you get all your information.
good luck.
barbara

nothing makes people more beautiful, than when they are laughing.

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Jul 19, 2007 05:45AM GoodMommy wrote:

Liezel,

When I found out that the lumpectomy and re-excision didn't work for me because they didn't get clear margins and that I would have to lose the breast; I immediately said "take them both". As it turned out, the right one had no cancer; but the cancer in my left breast could not be felt; it was very small (1.5cm) and very aggressive. I had 15 out of 20 nodes positive. Pretty bad for someone who was never late for a mammo. and saw the surgeon 3-4 times a year for benigh cyst aspirations. I'm currently undergoing reconstruction and I can honestly say that I never mourned losing either breast. I had nice breasts; but they were killing me and I love life more than my breasts. Everyone is different; but that was how I felt and I don't regret my decision. Good luck with your decision.

God bless,

Chris
Dx 3/2005, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 15/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 19, 2007 07:15PM Trish03 wrote:

Lizel,

I also waited two years before getting recon. Since I had lobular, which often comes back in the other side, I was sure that I wanted to have the "good side" removed, too. I had already convinced myself that I felt something in that one. Luckily, the path report came back clear, but I'm so happy that I don't have to worry about it any more. I also wanted my reconstructed breasts to be a matching set. Since the PS can only do diep one time from the donor site, I wanted to go ahead and do both. I've never regreted my decision. I had one recovery time, a great tummy tuck, and have two perky breasts. I still marvel at the outcome, and it has been almost two years since my recon.

All the best to you.
Hugs, Trish

Dx 09/03, ILC, Stage IIIa, 7 cm, 4/18+ nodes, ER+/PR+, Her2-, 11/05 BL DIEP, 5/13 Stage IV, dx mets to liver

Dx 9/15/2003, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IIIa, 4/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 5/27/2013, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IV, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 10/01/2003 Mastectomy (Right)Chemotherapy 10/15/2003 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolHormonal Therapy 04/15/2004 ArimidexRadiation Therapy 04/15/2004 ExternalSurgery 11/17/2005 Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)Targeted Therapy 06/24/2013 HerceptinChemotherapy 06/24/2013 TaxotereTargeted Therapy 06/24/2013 Perjeta
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Jul 26, 2007 11:26PM Liezel wrote:

Well, after speaking to my onc, and al of your responses, I am happy and at peace with my decision. My onc said that based on my family history (Mom and aunt), and my age (35 at dx) the chance of getting a new primary cancer in my good breast within the next 30 years is 70%. She supports me 100% in this decision, and also said it would make future follow ups a lot easier.

She did not really say anything about a recurrence in the other organs. Sort of evaded that question. I have found out that bc get spread by blood and lymph, but she feels that will all my tx to date, we got all the little buggers.

So, it is off to surgery I go on Wednesday. Confident that I am doing the right thing, but still scared that they might get something when they test everything. Now I just have to get rid of this horrible flu before surgery...
Dx 8/16/2005, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 29, 2007 09:14AM SandyinSoCal wrote:

Trish, I echo your sentiments! DIEP can only be done once, and I didn't want go through this ever again. I want symmetry and breasts that match. I am so glad that both breasts are gone. It turns out that my non-cancerous breast had prolific fibrocystic disease, so I would have continued on with difficult-to-read mammos, the frequent cyst aspirations, and biopsies--had already had 3 on that side. I'm glad to get off the rollercoaster!!

I am wonderfully made to do ExtraOrdinary things! (www.girleo.com)

Dx 5/22/2007, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-