All Topics → Forum: Living Without Reconstruction After a Mastectomy → Topic: What does your husband/loved one think about your flatness?
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 10:37 PM
It's been more than 4 years since my left mast/SNB, but I've been thinking about this question off and on since then. I've also worried about what I would do if faced with a tumor in my "good" breast that necessitated another mastectomy.
I do think I would choose another mast, because I'd hate to worry about what was left in there after just a lumpectomy/rads. (The same worry influenced my decision for a mast on the left side 4 years ago.) And, I doubt seriously whether I would want recon on my right side any more than I wanted it on the left. The idea of rearranging other tissues or stuffing a fluid-filled bag under my pectoral muscle to construct a "breast" just isn't on my list.
What concerns me even more, though -- and I've been afraid to confront this -- is, whether my husband would "accept" me if I was totally flat-chested. I know, in theory a spouse commits to love "...for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health," etc. But, in reality, how much of a turn-off is it if the woman has no breasts?
My husband has not been put off by my flat left side. He and I together decided recon wasn't a good idea 4+ years ago. (I had already decided that, but he was convinced by the "after surgery" pics at the meeting with the PS.) I told him today I was worried he wouldn't find me attractive anymore if I had a mastectomy on my right side. He hugged me and said of course he would, and that I was being silly.
But, really... how has your husband/loved one reacted to your flat side, or to your flat chest if you had a bilateral? Has the flatness had any impact on your, um, ... love life? I hesitate to ask such a personal question, but I guess I'm looking for some reassurance "just in case."
Posts 61 - 90 (163 total)
May 8, 2012 03:34 PM Tina337 wrote:
Good afternoon, all! It's a new day! Sheri, I truly am sorry I exploded and spoke to you in that manner. I don't know what came over me.
It's amazing that even a year after freeing myself from years of chronic pain I still carry such sadness for the loss of my breasts and reconstruction. In the past six months, the sadness has taken a back seat and most days I am happy, feel good about myself. I can't pinpoint exactly what was said that triggered the memory of my struggle with the recon and the realization it couldn't be salvaged. It doesn't matter. I know having a bad outcome doesn't give one the right to be hostile to another. I hope all of you will forgive my sharp tongue. For the record, I am not anti-reconstruction, and I do appreciate the reminder that this forum also includes those who may be waiting to reconstruct. Thank you, Pandazankar. I certainly don't want you to feel you don't belong here and refrain from posting. No one who has experienced BC deserves to feel isolated. I am now going to return to the topic of this thread.
Barbe, you look absolutely terrific. Thank you for sharing such wonderful pictures of yourself. I believe your confidence, the way you carry yourself, and your cheerful smile are the focus here and the reason no one notices you are flat. Love, love, love it!!!
May 8, 2012 06:31 PM crystalphm wrote:
Barbe, You are a stunning woman!!! So inspiring, and while on you I cannot see that you have had a mastectomy, on me, it feels like a neon sign.
So it really is my thinking and attitude that needs a change. And I have to let go of solid colors and buy prints. it really does deceive the eye.
Thank you for the photos!!!!!!!
Tina, I really do understand what you are saying, most days I am fine, and then I have day where I just feel so sad about all of this cancer stuff. but it also seems pretty normal to have times like this too.
May 8, 2012 09:17 PM kt1966 wrote:
Wow you look great Barbe! I envy you being able to go braless! I've had a unimastectomy and I'm really quite tired of wearing breast forms. If I had the choice I would get my remaining boob off so I'm not lop-sided.
I do go braless at home. The kids & hubby don't mind. But I know what you (sorry,can't remember who said it- too scared to scroll back) mean about being worried someone will drop in & see me. Its one thing for my nearest & dearest to see me, but acquaintances & strangers- no way!
I agree & so does my husband that its who we are that matters not our physical perfection, who cares about breasts we love each other no matter what...
May 8, 2012 09:42 PM, edited May 8, 2012 10:29 PM by KSkier
I've been trying to post this all day, and every time I did the site went down. Must have been the new format. Anyway, I was inspired by Barbe posting her pics, and I remember very clearly how important it was to me to see some pictures when I was in the deciding phase. In the end, I wasn't offered the choice of reconstruction, so flat I am. This picture was taken on day four of a music festival - and just as many days without a shower! But as you can see "busy" print tank top is what works and is most comfortable for me. While I enjoy no longer having to choose things to cover my bra straps, I still choose conservative cuts because first, I am well over 40, and second when I wear something skimpy my scars and radiation tatoos do show. I've got a real bad case of dog ears near my arm pits, so I can't stand to be in something too tight. I guess if I could stand the idea of more surgery I could get those fixed, but I am too busy fighting for my life and living my life to spend more time in a hospital for that. If I get real brave I am going to find some swimsuit pics for ya'all!
Here's one where it's a relief to not be wearing a bra. I do remember how awful it was when those sports bras got good and sweaty, and I had to pull some Houdini act to get out of them! I am sharing this picture because it is really worse case scenario: tight tank top, side view!
Here's just a plain t-shirt like I would have worn before:
May 8, 2012 10:10 PM sespebadger wrote:
Kskier and Barbe....you both look GREAT! There really are fun clothes to wear even if we choose to go flat.
And Barbe, I am a glasses fan...and yours are really cute on you!
May 8, 2012 10:45 PM Tina337 wrote:
Wow, Kskier, you look terrific, too. Would you mind posting your pics on the thread Wardrobe Pics for Boobless Days? I can't tell you how happy it makes me feel to see these! It's so good to have a visual of others going without forms. I have become used to my new flat appearance, but every once in a while I will wonder if something looks right or not. It's fairly obvious I need to stop having second thoughts.
May 8, 2012 10:56 PM Erica wrote:
Thanks for posting these. You look terrific. It's nice to see that you can pull off simple tees and tanks so beautifully, even with a ton of ski gear on your back!
May 9, 2012 09:29 AM kmccraw423 wrote:
Barbe ... those are great pictures! You would never know you were "flat." I think you look beautiful! Your grandson is too precious!
I wear a lot of oversized t-shirts. I haven't noticed anyone staring at my chest but I don't really care if they do. There are lots of flat chested women out there - I am just another one!
May 9, 2012 03:54 PM crystalphm wrote:
Ladies who posted photos, I can't begin to tell you how inspired I am to feel more free, to be me!! You all look sensational, I am including the ladies from the other thread (wardrobe for a boob-less day).
Between this thread and the one about girly stuff, I am coming to realize so much of this is *attitude*.
I can't even begin to tell you how the photos help!! Thank you.
May 9, 2012 05:23 PM barbe1958 wrote:
skier, you are MUCH more buff than me and you rock the look!!! I was worried about my fatter arms and belly, but I'm 54 and have reached the point that I just don't care! I'm here to post pics and that's wonderful to me. There is a thread by Linda someone who has pics of "with forms" then "without forms". It was her thread that gave me the guts to go flat! We don't hold our arms back towards the rear, so really, our arms alone cover the side view. I'm famous for saying "Why should I wear foobs to make YOU feel more comfortable?"
Here's the purple "sweater" I wear over that one tank. Here I'm too hot to have my glasses on. First Christmas with 2 of the grands!
Here I am at my son's wedding. There is some boning in the bosom area, so I had them bend it and then dart the top in.
Here's an example of a 'plain' tee, see the difference!!??
Here's a shot of my very heavy 'before' breasts...
I'm so glad that these pics are helping someone...anyone!!! This is why I continue to post on these threads 3 1/2 years later. If I can help one person, I am blessed.
May 9, 2012 07:12 PM FLislander wrote:
To all that sent pics you look awesome! I think it is just I am more critical of myself and remember how it looked before. I agree that people do not notice! The wedding dress picture is beautiful.
May 9, 2012 07:19 PM Momine wrote:
Crystal, I think that looking good is always about 'tude, we just tend to forget that when we have all our bits in good working order. We get suckered into thinking that it is our bits that are so fabulous.
Barbe, first of all, I would really like to know how you manage to look 35 when you have been through chemo and have two grandkids. No fair! Also, I honestly think you look much cooler without the giant knockers ;)
May 9, 2012 07:19 PM, edited May 9, 2012 07:23 PM by KSkier
Yea for Linda! She was the ONLY one who had posted pictures back in 2007, and she was a life-saver to me 3 1/2 years ago. I am so glad I came across her here on BCO.
Barbe I LOVE that purple dress. WOW WOW WOW!! I did something similar to be in a wedding; it was called "shutter pleats". I was in tears over the prospect of dress shopping, but made out ok in the end.
Nowadays I cover up the cleavage, but show off the legs! Do any of these pictures scream "hey, look at the freakish flat girl?"
May 10, 2012 02:08 AM Tina337 wrote:Barbe, the wedding picture of you is gorgeous. What an excellent and creative way to make the top of the dress so flattering. The whole dress fits and flatters your shape well. Love the color. The difference between your before pic and your current pics is you look much lighter, like you have lost weight.
May 10, 2012 08:19 AM Momine wrote:
I was thinking that different kinds of halter dresses might work well with a flat chest. The other day I tied a large silk scarf like a halter, and the natural gathering of the fabric makes it hard to tell whether or not there is an actual bust underneath, and a halter eliminates the concave cleavage problem. I am going to experiment with making some dresses, both for going flat and some that have built-in boob pockets. Update to follow.
May 10, 2012 08:38 AM crystalphm wrote:
Momine, I will be looking forward to your update!!!
Again, thank you everyone for the pics!! They are SO inspiring!
And I had to laugh, you are right, I think my boobs might have been fantastic, but hey, they were just ordinary and not
attention grabbers. Too funny!
May 10, 2012 08:39 AM mumito wrote:
Personally the halter dresses and halter swimsuits do not work for me.I will try and show you my swimsuit options that I have found.I swim alot and refuse to use Foobs in the water.This ruffle Tankini works fine.
May 10, 2012 09:14 AM KSkier wrote:
I just bought a tankini top with a halter style neckline trimmed with ruffles in a busy pattern. Ties in all of your ideas. Haven't worn it yet; so no pics. Yea for mumito for posting the first bathing suit pic!
May 11, 2012 10:33 PM, edited May 11, 2012 10:37 PM by riley702
Momine, what a fantastic idea to sew built-in foob pockets! You'd never have to worry about whether your mastectomy bra is showing. And lots and lots of mastectomy bras seem to have a large "footprint", which limits what you can wear over it, so thanks for the tip!
ETA: I very rarely bother with foobs, as they seem more trouble than they're worth (bulky, hot, etc.), but I might if it was that easy.
May 15, 2012 04:03 PM cinnamonsmiles wrote:
I didn't like my big boobs either, Barbe. They were heavy, bras are expensive, I hated the sweat and yeast infections I would get underneathe them. But boy did I like them sexually. That is the only time I still occasionally miss them. My partner, Brian, would like it when I went braless and could see the hard nipples under my shirt, and I know he misses that. We only had seven months together with me having breasts, but its not like after my lumpectomy, I felt too horny. I also miss that I am flat on top with this big belly I have now. It was like it even it out or hit it a bit. I think big busted women will know what I am talking about.
May 15, 2012 04:40 PM Sonata wrote:
Double mx back in November 2011, no reconstruction here. I personally have loved being flat, not having to worry about a bra, that very free feeling.
My husband, not so much. :( He is/was what some would consider a 'boob-man'. Prior to the BMX, we had a long discussion about how things would be different, and he swore he would love me just the same. I'm sorry to say that hasn't been the case. He doesn't look at me the same, doesn't touch me the same and I'd guess doesn't feel the same way about me. On the rare occasion we might make love, he insists on my leaving a shirt on. *tears* Sorry, first time I've admitted that aloud.
Do you know what that feels like, says to me?? That my BOOBS had more worth than my life does!!
Does that make me regret the choice of no reconst? Not at all. My breasts did not define me. I am still me with/without them. I choose to be without.
May 15, 2012 05:30 PM crystalphm wrote:
It really is such a touchy subject, it is not our fault that the world revolves around boobs and men are raised from a very early age to find them sexually attractive. I was a teacher of preschool children and even the 3 year old children would giggle about the mysteries of breasts. So our husbands or significant others are now faced with not having this visual stimulation..or tactile stimulation. it is tough.
For all of us it is tough because we really are not happy with no breasts either.
Two things that are working for me is to wear a cami or bra with the foobs in it until bed time is really "sleep time". Hey as an old married woman, I sorta know ahead of time when things will get frisky so it isn't that hard.
The other thing is I bought myself some really sexy scarves, lace, beads, and I lay them over my chest if I have no clothes on. it gives a "hot" illusion. (Illusion because usually I am not very interested in sex, but I want to please my partner, we are in this marriage for the long haul)
May 15, 2012 07:38 PM msippiqueen wrote:
My husband misses my breast, no doubt. He really enjoyed them. He backed my decision totally to get the PBLM and is just as eager to have sex now, two years later, as he way early on following my PBLM.
My husband misses them and I'm really sorry about that. I like my husband to be happy and one of his greatest pleasures is gone. I wish I could have chosen otherwise, just for him, but this was not to be, and intellectually, he gets it. Emotionally too, to a great degree.
This is a decision only the affected woman can make. Of course we consider all the advice and opinions and feelings of consultants and loved ones. At the end of the day, it's our call.
It's about health, maintaince thereof, lifestyle, and so much more. Our spouse, life partner, mate, date, will get over missing our removed breast. If not, their issue is not likely about breast, absent or fake or real. Recon can't compensate for another's insecurities or fixations regarding how our recon or or no recon satisfies or dampens their sexual appetite.
May 16, 2012 02:04 PM cinnamonsmiles wrote:
Southernsoprano: I am so so very sorry that your husband has reacted that way. I wonder if deep down that effects my partner as well. He has said from the moment I decided for the BMX that it wouldn't change anything. I know he misses them sometimes because I asked him. Since my ooph/total hysterectomy, I don't feel like fooling around hardly at all. It seems like I need so much more foreplay, which he doesn't understand. I told him once, but I know if I want something I need to tell him, but I just don't want to. I want him to do it spontaneously. Now he only gets one or two days off a month from work, which throws another wrench in the sex life. And I am so uncomfortable about my weight gain, especially my belly. So its not all him.I have noticed that since we aren't fooling around, his porn time has increased. There has only been once or twice that hes done it lately while I was awake. He has erectile dysfunction, but porn seems to work better for him than viagra. I want him to want me like he does his porn. I want him to get as hard as he does with porn with me. Ive said before that I never minded before the BMX, but was the weeks go by lately, I feel like he is cheating on me with every woman he looks at on the computer porn now.I wish it were easier to tell him how I feel. I have just started opening up on the boards here about it. I don't know why I just can't tell him. I started to the other night. I asked him if he ever gets horny for me anymore. His answer was a short "sometimes." Thats as far as it went.
May 16, 2012 02:22 PM beacon800 wrote:
Man I am so sorry when I hear about the husband's being unhappy after the surgery. Yes, that does send us a message we would rather not hear.
Then again, maybe they cannot help their own feelings and those feelings are not about how they value us as partners but more about how they validate their own sexuality as men. In other words, it's really their problem, not ours.
I have a BMX no recon, but I'll tell you, I bought some silicon foobs and some gorgeous bras that cover nicely and I use these during intimate moments. My husband really likes them and so do I as I feel very sexy like that and not self conscious. The look and feel is very good and our love life has been perfectly good. I experimented a lot with this to get the look I wanted. Quite an interesting new hobby for me as I never paid mind to bras before as I was really small.
My DH totally supported my surgical choice and did not want me to go thru recon as we both felt in my case there were more disadvantages than advantages.