All Topics → Forum: Living Without Reconstruction After a Mastectomy → Topic: I look for other flat chested women. A rant.
Posted on: Jun 13, 2012 02:39 PM, edited Jul 2, 2012 06:56 PM by MT1
I know many of you wear prosthesis, so I probably wouldn't be able to see or 'know', but. I look for you. I want to see you. I want to form a union, lol. I wish it were even more accepted, acceptable to be flat. To not wear prosthesis, not feel the need to, to opt out of reconstruction-if that is your choice. I do hope that women who see me, flat as can be, see there are options, that reconstruction isn't par for the course. I want to make flat beautiful, sexy, stylish. Normal. And it is normal for me, is becoming normal, but I am talking about society, norms and expectations. Breast cancer is not about 'boob jobs'. Yes, many of us opt for them, want and need them. But it is also about choosing to be flat.
Geez, would I like to meet up with other flat chested women. I would love to take over a hotel, make noise, laugh, cry, be flat together-to see you. I want to meet other women who, like me, have decided not to reconstruct. I want to be able to see you and high five! I want to experience our society of normal.
I was picking up my vegetables from the CSA and a man could not stop looking at my chest, I wanted to yell, 'Breast Cancer did this!! Get it together, man!' I wish all of us would!
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Posts 1621 - 1650 (2,982 total)
Dec 5, 2012 12:53 AM Momine wrote:
River rat, I have done it that way too, but someone here, maybe you?, brought up this way, so I tried it. It works perfectly, and it means you can use any cheapo bra. The only downside is that the resulting cami is definite underwear, whereas if you sew a MX bra to the inside (using the same approach otherwise) you can get away with wearing the cami as "clothes."
Outfield, I had the same thought, LOL.
Dec 5, 2012 07:42 AM Starak wrote:
Djustme: Do followup. At the very minimum you should talk to his nurse who hopefully can triage the situation. The morning I was sitting on the floor by their office when they opened, it was a surgery day for my BS but the other BS in the same office saw me. Things that could have been handled relatively easily when addressed early can turn into really difficult ones if ignored too long. Use your head and judgment to protect yourself.
It is a real rarity that I camp on a Dr/Clinic doorstep. Once resulted in 5 mos on my back bedridden - I wonder to this day if that time might have been significantly shorter had they been able to diagnose it way earlier. The waiting on the floor was after a month of total frustration of getting nowhere, miserable, and wanting an answer. A less than 12 hours old cat bite that was already turning septic got immediate attention when they opened up. I very nearly landed in the hospital on IV antibiotics. If I had waited or just tried to schedule an appt. instead of waiting on the doorstep, I am sure I would have ended up being hospitalized. The time with the BS from the huge hematoma (softball sized) and bleeding was able to be better bandaged and then wait and see. Still in all, it was serious enough that had I opted for chemo, it would have been significantly delayed due to risk of infection. Had I to do it over again, I would still have DEMANDED to be seen that day, period. Never be afraid to advocate for yourself when you know in your heart, something is really not right. At the very least, the peace of mind that it is okay is worth alot.
Please let us know what they say.
Dec 5, 2012 07:44 AM FernMF wrote:
THANKS all . . . I am wearing an "ahh" bra today, with added soft elastic at the bottom, and my foobs (without liners) . . . I will probably take them off mid-day - - I just HATE the way it feels - - I have baby-powdered the foobs - - it's a bit better - I just don't like the way it feels. I have been a BIG GIRL through this whole experience and am just becoming more and more intolerant with this discomfort - I guess I can be a BIG BABY about this one thing. Discomfort developing into minor pain EVERY STINKING day by the end of the day is JUST NOT what I want. . . I gave up my hair, I gave up my boobs, I am trying to eat healthy, I am attempting to do everything in my power to DO THIS CANCER thing . . . now, I just want comfort. ! ! !
I purchased a new sewing machine last week (early christmas present - this way the hubby has "done good" and he wasn't actually involved and doesn't have to give me anything else) . . . it is supposed to be good at the stretchy, thin materials as well as for quilting (my passion) . . . my mom (wonderful seamstress) is coming in this weekend - - I FEEL A PROJECT COMING ON!!!! My mommy can feel useful and I may get comfort! Here's hoping.
Dec 5, 2012 07:45 AM FernMF wrote:
Mimone - if you could post a picture so that I can "see" the result, that would be WONDERFUL!
Dec 5, 2012 07:47 AM FernMF wrote:
DJUSTME - I agree with everyone else - - SIT ON THE DOORSTEP until you get results. . . My surgeon's office and the oncologist's office nursing staff were always VERY helpful with even the "inconsequential" questions I kept bugging them with. SURELY, a problem of THIS MAGNITITUDE will be addressed by one of your medical staff providers. GOOD LUCK. . . praying and hoping for a good, timely, effective result!
Dec 5, 2012 08:03 AM Dawn7 wrote:
I feel comfortable going flat most of the time- but I wanted the option of foobs too. At first I was convinced that a silicone form would be too heavy but I found an american breast care one I like and got an A cup or size three-I used to be a B before the BMX. Anyway, i tried on many bras and was discouraged until I found the Ameona Marlena microfiber stretchy bra- I got it in a 40A- which sounds weird but it fit the best. The first day I wore it with foobs, I forgot I had it on! I also got pads and silicone enhancers- the kind women wear to make breast look larger- I use these tucked in a barely there bra so i don't look concave. They also sell bra pockets on TLC online you can sew these in to regular bras and camis, etc. So anyhow, good luck to you. breast free.org has a lot of good advice also. Good luck! Dawn
Dec 5, 2012 10:21 AM greenfrog wrote:
Djustme - I'm just adding my voice to the chorus - please get seen as soon as poss. The sooner they deal with it the sooner any signifcant complications can be avoided.
Momine - truly terrifying foobs eh? Go on - I dare ya!
Linda - thanks for the info. I think swapping AIs will only bring me more of the same because I'm sure my problems are caused by oestrogen depletion rather than SEs from the drug itself. Dreading the end of my "drug holiday".
Well I saw the (latest) plastic surgeon today and he was a delightful, supportive man. He totally disagreed with everything the previous PS had said and has dx-ed me with keloid scarring on the PMX side. He said "It is a good job you aren't opting for reconstruction because you could end up with monstrous scars everywhere." (The last PS refused to treat my scarring becasue she said recon was the only answer!)
Just had several syringefuls of steroids pumped into the scar today which will be repeated every few weeks. BTW I am not prone to keloids at all - he said that it was probably caused by surgical menopause/hormone therapy. Something that people considering delayed recon should bear in mind.
Hope all are well. It's snowing here.
Dec 5, 2012 10:56 AM Tina337 wrote:
Djustme - Complications take precedence over scheduled surgeries. The day I was having my implant exchange surgery, I waited two hours because the PS had a patient with complications who had to come back in. A surgeon's schedule is just that, a schedule, but emergencies come first. I hope you have called, gone and your problem has been addressed by now. I will echo the other ladies, please do not wait!
Dec 5, 2012 11:45 AM Momine wrote:
Fern, I will try tomorrow. It is a little hard, because I don't have a camera. Have to get dh involved.
Froggie, don't tempt me!
Dec 5, 2012 12:30 PM FernMF wrote:
I am a FIRM believer in post-surgery massage to assist with scar tissue and other post-surgery conditions. The masseuse was the BEST . . . in fact, I think i'll make another appt. . . just because it feels good!
Dec 5, 2012 12:56 PM Starak wrote:
FernMF: The Genie is virtually the same as the Ahhh bra but the ones in your local stores will have pockets so no need for powder or tolerating them against your skin. It is best to open the pocket opening a litttle wider and to put a couple of tack stitches in the middle at each end of the reinforcement center area to keep the forms from migrating to the center. You should be able to get a pair for $20 though I saw a single at Walmart for less than $10. The Ahh can be ordered online with pockets but so far have not seen the ones with pockets locally. The Ahh & Genie are typically in the As Seen on TV section of Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Dec 5, 2012 01:24 PM FernMF wrote:
I find even the Genie/Aahh to bind under my arm, even when I add 2 inches soft elastic . . . seems like it rubs right on the end of the BMX scar there . . . and the top of the form irritates the "fat/muscle" that pokes out above/to the side of whatever under garment I wear. I came to work today with Genie/Aah with added elastic and forms . . . I have NONE OF THAT on now - and am 1/2 hour from leaving work. I am going FLAT by comfort . . . beginning to CARE LESS if/what people think about it!
Dec 5, 2012 02:04 PM Starak wrote:
FernMF, Can't begin to tell you how many times I have ripped them off halfway through the day and it is amazing how oblivious people are. Even if they did notice, I really do think they could care less. I am here to tell you, it is okay to allow comfort to rule the day. Seems I am choosing to go flat way more often than not lately.
Dec 5, 2012 02:30 PM Tina337 wrote:
I must be in a weird mood today, but the sight of those silicone boobs made me get a little teary. I know they are different compared to regular prothetics, but they triggered something. Thinking about going to a mastectomy shop stirs up a lot of old stuff. Maybe I'm just off, but I probably have issues after all I have been through. I am relieved I don't have to go there and feel liberated by going flat. However, I totally understand and respect the use of prothetics and think it is quite normal - I am not judging. I guess I have been traumatized by the implants and lymphedema when it comes to fitters. Hmmm, something I hadn't quite realized until now. Or, it could be I would cry at a dog show on TV at this moment!
Dec 5, 2012 04:13 PM, edited Dec 5, 2012 04:14 PM by MT1
I am glad to be back. It took a couple of visits to read through everything I have missed.
Djustme, please let us know what is going on, I pray for you.
I don't know who said they have a soft spot for trannies, but I do too, especially now. There is one who begs change at my subway stop and although I don't want to be friends, I have softened toward her quite a bit since going through all these changes due to breast cancer.
I am in mourning for the loss of my breasts, for the change in my body. These last two months have been really tough and just this week, I realized that I am in mourning. I did a bit of, "Go, Go, Go!!!" this last year and now the feelings and emotions have come to rest. I recently listened to two NPR stories on the program called On Being and both are helpful to me, one by a man named Matthew Sanford, who is paralyzed from the chest down as a result of a car crash.
He talks about the discontinuity of his experience, how the car accident changed him from a walking person to a non walking person. How he experiences his body. It is really quite beautiful.
And the other by Brene Brown on vulnerability, and how embracing your vulnerable self helps to open you to greater experience.
I figured I would share what is helping me to explore my thoughts and feelings. I have been fairly depressed, after the loss of my cat especially. I can't explain what a boon he was to my daily life. Thankfully, it gets easier to say goodbye to his physical body each day and the love will always remain in my heart, which helps. It is a lot like saying goodbye to my past self, my own shape and form.
All this talk of breast forms, is interesting.
I have been lifting weights and exercising. I love it. I live in a NYC apartment and it can get quite hot in here. So today, I exercised in nothing but my socks and shoes. :) I am the thinnest I have ever been in my adult life (though I must say, it isn't because I eat less!). My abs are becoming defined, my arms, butt and legs look great. As I began my workout, I smoothed my body down and told myself how very much I love my body and all it has been through.
Tina, did you say that you are part of the progressive weight lifting study? If so, can you tell us about it?
I have not gone for a fitting yet. I plan to go with a friend in a couple of weeks. I trust and love my friend and I know she will help me with this experience. My man and I have gotten to a point where, we both agree that getting forms may set me/us back emotionally, so have put it off to the side for the moment. But we have met our insurance deductible for the year and I would like to try the forms so that I know, for myself, what it is like, or could be like. I also have the ulterior motive of preparing to purchase a dressform and taking a pattern making class-so I may 'need' some forms, to make some fashions! :)
I am reading a book called Vagina, by Naomi Wolfe. OMG! It is really quite interesting. Right now, she discusses the nervous system in the vagina, up the spine and into the brain. Interesting. I bet it will get dry, (pun, I know), somewhere in the middle, but who cares!
I just finished reading Push Comes to Shove, a cultural exploration of women and aggression. I really liked the first 3/4s of the book, but faded out at the end because I did not relate to the art that was being discussed. Still a great read though.
I spent the last week and some completely reorganizing my studio space. I let myself get super obsessive and compulsive. It helped distract me from my sadness and it feels really nice in here.
As they say in Wii Baseball, 'That's the game!'
Dec 6, 2012 12:26 AM Momine wrote:
Fern, I will have pics for you a little later, but I hear you on the geni bras. However, I found some similar bra/tops at my local bra store and they work (partly thanks to a racer back).
Tina, Mel and others, I think it is completely normal and to be expected to mourn the loss of the boobs. I know what Tina means with the tranny pair, it is not all neat and sterile like amoena forms, which in itself is sort of interesting (and also somehow disturbing).
Last night I met a guy, Paul, who is missing an arm and the remaining arm is not 100% either. He was in a bad electrical accident in his teens. He has written quite eloquently, I think, on not wanting to be defined by what is missing: www.washingtonmonthly.com/feat...
I think I fall in that camp. Yes, I am sometimes sad, sometimes wistful, sometimes cursing the cancer that ate my tits, but I refuse to be defined by this one loss. Then I watch someone like Paul struggle to keep a bag on his shoulder, struggle to write a phone number and probably struggle to do 500 everyday things every hour and yet cheerfully go at life with all he's got, and really all I can think is "Thank God I only lost the boobs!"
Dec 6, 2012 02:57 AM Momine wrote:
Mel, thanks for the Sanford interview. Very interesting.
Dec 6, 2012 06:13 AM Linda-n3 wrote:
Good morning! I am facing the day without actually mourning the loss of my boobs - I don't know exactly when that happened, but they are gone, that is that. I do think of them, but I think of my father and grandmother and best friend more often, and miss them more than the boobs. The emotional pain gets easier over time, and some days are not so bad. I think being reminded of the loss every day with the pain issues is more stressful to me, and I am also making progress on that, thanks to physical therapy and some other wonderfully supportive people in my life.
I tried the sports bra + prostheses a week ago, thinking it might provide that "bumper protection" for the chest, but those damned arm holes just irritated underarm pain, so I gave up. I was traveling - we celebrated our 30th anniversary 6 months late by a long road trip to the southwest - I was able to drive despite the arm pain, which became worse as the day went on. Someone on one of these threads had suggested using a clamp on the seat belt to keep it from causing pain across the chest, and I found some little clamps at an ACE hardware store, clipped it to prevent the shoulder harness from retracting completely into the door so left a little slack in it (not too much, but just enough for comfort) and it was wonderful to at least have the chest relatively comfortable.
I had an injection of the intercostobrachial nerve before the trip to see if that would help the miserable posterior arm pain, but it didn't. *sigh* Oh, well. Many have said it can take several years to get better, and it has been onlly a little over a year.
Had a biopsy of a new little lump on Tuesday, should get results back in a few days. BS said it really didn't look like anything to worry about, and I reminded her that was what she said LAST time we did this a couple months ago, and she laughed and said "I was lying then, I promise you I am telling you the truth this time!" and I feel like she is right. I am more optimistic now than I have been since this journey started.
And despite all the healing, I still have trouble with altered physical sensations + pain issues that truly get in the way of intimacy. I am trying to be patient with this, and it seems that so many of you (us) are finding our way through this as well.
Now I need to start thumbing through all the catalogs in the mail to get a gift list assembled for DH - a little more challenging this year, but I think I am going for scarves and jewelry!
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and don't let the upcoming holidays stress you out too much! Hugs.
Dec 6, 2012 07:57 AM FernMF wrote:
I echo Dawn . . love to all you great gals . . . your words help me, daily.
Good news folks: went to my oncologist today for the report on the "baseline CT" taken last week.
CT scans show NO EVIDENCE OF METASTATIC DISEASE . . YIPEEEEEEEE!!!
A funny for the day, I also had a pelvic ultrasound - results came back fine . . but it says “non-visualization” of the left ovary - - meaning the left ovary couldn’t be found . . . wonder if it wanted to be found? Where is it hiding? Maybe it’s hanging out with it’s friend somewhere, drinking a beer????
Dec 6, 2012 08:06 AM Dawn7 wrote:
Are you going to send out a search party? I for one hate having my picture taken.......:0)
Dec 6, 2012 12:08 PM N8tureGrl59 wrote:
Hi Everyone - This is my first post, so please bear with me. I always considered myself "flat chested" even before my mastectomy. I always planned on having a mastectomy - no reconstruction when/if bc hit me. I've found some lovely padded bras that I used pre-surgery just to fill out a nice shirt/dress so my body looked more symmectical. For work, or just going out, these padded bras work for me - and it's much better than a prosthesis falling out when you bend over! Oops! While I'm prefectly comfortable being single-breasted and do not miss my boob, I have to imagine it is very difficult (from a comfort/balance stand of point) for those well-endowed women who undergo a unilateral mastectomy. I married a "boob man" and he says he continues to love me more and more each day, boobs or not. I am truly blessed and pray that my remaining chemo will kill whatever little snotty cancer cells thought they could do me in! I pray for ALL of us!
Dec 6, 2012 01:38 PM Linda-n3 wrote:
Fern, YIPPEE!!!! So glad scans are good!
Dawn, childhood trauma can really do a number on us, making it difficult to make good decisions at times if we didn't learn how to deal with it then. I basically repressed mine and was unable to agree to mx at first when the BS told me that was my best option. I could only do lumpectomy, no rads. Agreed to chemo. Best I could do at the time. Fast forward to recurrence a year later, was able to do BMX. Another local recurrence a year after that, and I may be finally getting the hang of this. Have just gotten results of biopsy from Tuesday and it is benign!!!! I am planning on another 20 years of being a pain - in-the-arse patient, which just delighted the nurse who called me with results.
What I am saying is, I have done the best I could with making decisions, which were very difficult, and some may have been not so good, but I have been learning so much on this journey. I don't feel "blessed" to have cancer (as one woman I know suggested) and I don't beleive it is "God's plan" but I do know I have learned a lot that has helped me not only cope with all the crap that goes with BC, but also has helped me become more loving toward others.
Welcome n8turegrl! Hang out here for some excellent help, funny stories, fashion advice, rants, and general great support.
Mel, thinking of you, I know how raw things still are for you emotionally. It is truly a roller coaster, some days better, get you lulled into a false sense of security, other days so bad you cannot imagine a time when they will be better, and then some gentle times in between. "The one sure thing is that things always change." Sending you lovingkindess.
Dec 6, 2012 03:03 PM Djustme wrote:
Thank you for your support Starak, Outfield, and Barbe. I was very emotional the night I posted about my increased swelling. You are right Starak, my whole problem (with the large hematoma under my wound) was due to not having gone back to the hospital right away, when it bled through the banadages. I listened to my husband instead of my gut. He took a quick look and immediately decided that the bleeding must have come from the drainage bottle instead of undressing me to check things out. I was too dizzy to do anything but lay back down and wait for morning. By then the blood had clotted and could not be removed without opening me back up, which is why the surgeon left me in 'wait and see if the body reabsorbs it mode' when I saw him last week. I didn't go to the hospital the night I last posted either, but at least I sought the opinion of a registered nurse, and saw the nurse in the morning. The nurse took the drain out, and at least we determined that part of what I was feeling under the skin had been the drain covered by clotted blood and swelling. I will see the surgeon in the morning and I will find out if I'm going to be left in 'wait and see mode' for the next couple of months. I am really annoyed with myself for listened to my husband (or that I hadn't been kept in hospital over night in the first place), because now my recovery is going to take so much longer waiting for this hematoma to reabsorb. It's a good lesson for all the women who still have surgeries coming up - seek immediate help, especially in those first 24-48 hours following surgery. I feel so stupid.
Dec 6, 2012 03:31 PM Dawn7 wrote:
Djustme, You are not stupid. I am a nurse but knew nothing of what to expect after this surgery- what was normal or not- You are definitely correct in encouraging other women to call with any concerns.
Dec 6, 2012 03:49 PM crystalphm wrote:
Djustme, I am glad you are seeing the doctor tomorrow...you have been in my thoughts and I have been catching up here.
Fern, me too with the missing ovary, I have been pregnant 5 times (2 children) and no one ever mentioned a missing ovary so it seems odd.
About my surgical experience, the doctor never mentioned reconstruction. I was expecting it, for information, but he never even suggested it. About a year ago my Gyn asked me "Can you really be happy looking like this?"
Honestly, I still can't answer that question. No, I am not happy looking like this, but i have seen recon and I would not be happy looking like that either.
I have times where I mourn my breasts terribly, I am fortunate that now is not one of those times.
I still choose to go flat mostly every day, for a show where i sell my art, i will put on foobs because I want the focus to be on my art. or I wear a deep cowl neck and go flat. Mostly no one notices.
I am so glad to have this place to get my feelings out.