Come join others currently navigating treatment in our weekly Zoom Meetup! Register here: Tuesdays, 1pm ET.
Fill Out Your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...

Wardrobe pics for boobless days

11214161718

Comments

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605
    edited December 2011

    Christy, BEST of luck for your completion journey. The neat thing is, once you're flat, it's over. Done. No more surgeries! Make sure your surgeon cleans up any issues as best he can. Tell him to use his expertise to make your scar line perfect. Dog ears are almost always necessary and they normally put them under your arms. The incision has to end somewhere and when it does, the normal tissue starts. There's going to be a starting ridge. Starak/Barbara had hers in the middle of her chest!!! She finally got that removed...see her smile???

    I must say, if I'd only had one breast removed, I would probably have made the effort to get reconstruction as I had to wear a bra anyway. But, as my right breast had already had one cyst removed I just had them take it at the same time as my left. NO regrets!

  • Erica
    Erica Member Posts: 237
    edited December 2011

    Hi LucyL,

    You might find it helpful to check out my non-profit website, BreastFree.org. There are many personal stories from women who chose not to have reconstruction (mine is the first story there). In most (if not all) cases, there was no medical reason these women couldn't reconstruct. Some of us didn't want to put ourselves through any extra surgery, with its extra risks, but others simply didn't feel defined by our breasts and didn't feel the need for artifical ones.

    For myself, I think of reconstructed breasts as internal prostheses. I choose to wear external ones instead. My chest is smooth and flat and after five years, the scars are almost invisible. I did consider reconstruction and met with a plastic surgeon, but decided it wasn't for me. Although my DH was clear that he would support any decision I made, he actually hoped I wouldn't have recon--he was pretty horrified by the surgeries (either implant or DIEP or Lat Flap) that the PS described. Our intimate life was never affected. In some ways, it's more tender than ever.

    My sons, one in his late teens and the other in his twenties at the time of my bilateral matectomy, surprised me by being extremely supportive of my choice. They made it clear that all they cared about was my being alive and well. This certainly made it easier for me to choose non-reconstruction. Although I do wear breast forms almost all the time in public, I'm very comfortable going flat at home in front of them.

    Hope this helps.

    Barbara

  • Starak
    Starak Member Posts: 311
    edited December 2011

    It is probably a bit off topic but as a welcome side effect of removing The Mutant dog ears, the PS managed to release something that had caused me constant discomfort on the non-cancer side. Don't know what he did and I doubt he does either but I am not only ecstatic for the cosmetic result but also for turning the constantly grab you by the throat in your face pain/discomfort to simply background white noise. Barbe is right.  I am smiling Cool

    Barbara

  • Starak
    Starak Member Posts: 311
    edited December 2011

    Barbara's Breastfree.org site is definitely a favorite of mine.  Her site, along with a very kind fellow survivor fitter, showed me there are possibilities if I ever wanted prosthetics.  Now that The Mutants are gone, I have options.  At this point I am still very much with Barbe in that I am comfortable in my own skin and I love the freedom of never having to wear a bra again.  At least as soon as I get out of the silicone compression stuff to minimize any scarring from The Mutant removal surgery.

    I am not married so a spouse's reaction was not a consideration and no surprise Her Yorkinesses love Mom no matter what.  I do work in a law office and it did momentarily cross my mind how the young, first year college student summer interns might react.  There was never even a moment when any of them seemed to give it a first nevermind a second thought.  I have never once seen a fellow shopper show any sign that they noticed and they certainly did not spin their head around when I passed by.  Okay, well there was the man standing in line at the cash register who took an appreciative look at the long legs in the jeggings and mentioned I must work out. Made my day.  Barbara

  • crystalphm
    crystalphm Member Posts: 277
    edited December 2011

    I had company today, family, and I wrapped up in the customary shawl I always pull around me...then into the day I got laughing and was hot...and I took my shawl off with very little thought. I am proud of me.  

    I am soooo encouraged by all of you fully living life flat...I embrace this for my own future, to become very proud of this body that has fought cancer and won.

    LucyL, I was in your boat for 20 months, then I had to have my other breast removed. I don't think I ever fully appreciated my cancer free state when I had the one breast, I think I looked at it as a fashion nightmare, rather than winning the fight against cancer. It is awkward to dress, but it is do-able, and I wish I didn't have to go through that surgery a second time. Someone here said it perfectly about recon, you don't have surgery on your body so that others feel more comfortable to look at you.

    I remember that all the time, I don't want surgery, I am afraid of hours of surgery surgery and all the things that have to happen.

     So I am learning to embrace being flat, which such INCREDIBLE role models here!!!

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605
    edited December 2011

    Many, many women have said it takes up to 2 YEARS and at least 6 surgeries to complete reconstruction. Sorry, too much drama for me! I'm the one that said:

    Why should I wear fake boobs to make YOU feel better!!

  • Starak
    Starak Member Posts: 311
    edited December 2011

    Barbe, Right on, my sentiments exactly.  Too much drama for me. 

    And may I add. Even though I made the decision prior to the surgery, and announced the same to the senior partners, that there would be no recon and no prosthesis, I too was pretty hyper in my mind, in the beginning, about how people might react.  I started off with the oversized clothes, jackets, etc.  Took about a month of slowly transitioning from hiding to embracing the new body to realize that the drama was all inside my head. 

    Actually my biggest issue was having to assure everyone that the weight loss was intentional and that I was not sick.  Being so big beforehand, the radical change made them fear I was becoming anorexic.  Took awhile for friends to become accustomed to the new look and to realize that I was in fact a nice healthy weight and not too thin at all.

    The gift of the last 17 months flat was that I now make fashion choices out of a fun and happy place.  The fear and hyper voices in my head are gone.  The other thing I learned is that people take their cue from me.  If I am comfortable, they are comfortable.

    Barbara

  • crystalphm
    crystalphm Member Posts: 277
    edited December 2011

    Barbe1958  Ok, so I thank you for my favorite quote about why I should not wear fake boobs, it is wonderful!!!!

     Starak...I think you are right, if we present ourselves as comfortable, we are perceived as confident and attractive.

    But it is alot to wrap my head around (sitting here is a super big cozy fleece top)

  • Djustme
    Djustme Member Posts: 105
    edited December 2011
    That is what I felt too! Why should I go through hours of surgery and months of pain to make other people feel more comfortable? I have always been small busted and have always hated that almost all bras for small breasted women are padded. It was like saying that there is something wrong with my body and padding is required to make it socially acceptable.  I refused to wear the padded bras just to conform and because I felt 'fake' when I tried them. I feel the same way about the thought of wearing a prothesis. It's okay if others want to wear them, but I don't want to feel like I have to. Bras have always been uncomfortable for me and would always ride up due to the lack of weight in my breasts - if I can get away with not wearing one at all anymore, then YAY!. We deserve any unexpected bonus that comes our way!
  • Djustme
    Djustme Member Posts: 105
    edited December 2011

    Thanks Stac for letting us know how to post pics - this is post surgery - draped tops give an illusion of a bust. Hope someone finds this helpful.

  • Djustme
    Djustme Member Posts: 105
    edited December 2011

    (actually it was Starac that posted procedure for posting pictures - thanks again)

    I hope things get better for you Christy - you have certainly made me thankful that I never considered reconstruction. I hope you will enjoy being part of the 'flat' club!

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605
    edited December 2011

    D, you look marvelous!! Those are the kind of tops we've been talking about! A busy print with some ruching or drape. Perfect!!

  • Starak
    Starak Member Posts: 311
    edited December 2011

    D, You look absolutely wonderful!!

    Barbara

  • Starak
    Starak Member Posts: 311
    edited December 2011

    Admittedly I often push the boundaries of what I wear.  I avoid cratering or other things that serve to over emphasize the missing girls but beyond that I will likely wear most anything I like.  Today's outfit is a good example.  This sweater is fitted and there is nothing to hide the fact I am flat.  It does have the stripes which creates a focal point.

    I promise no one in my world today will give it a second thought.

    I am off to my follow-up appt. with the PS.  6½ wks post-op for The Mutant (center dog ear removal).  Now there was a thing I could never quite get past.

    Barbara

  • Starak
    Starak Member Posts: 311
    edited December 2011

    I have to share. I saw the PS and everything has healed perfectly.  No more silicone or compression wraps.  I am FREE!!!

    Barbara

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
    edited May 2013

    Djustme, that is freakin' brilliant. I just assumed I would be wearing foobs all the time, but so many of you seem to make the flat look work so well, that I think I will have to experiment.

  • Padiddle
    Padiddle Member Posts: 139
    edited December 2011

    I'm happy to have found this thread.  I had right mx in 2000 and used a prosthesis, but had to have my left breast removed on 11/30 and am now flat chested.  It's way too soon after surgery to consider another prosthetic insert for those expensive post mastectomy bras.  I like the idea of not having to deal with bras anymore.  I'm happy I can look through this thread for ideas that I can feel comfortable with.  Thank you.  Jean

  • Padiddle
    Padiddle Member Posts: 139
    edited December 2011

    Question:  What is a dog ear and why are they removed?

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605
    edited December 2011

    Dog ears are where the incision leaves and your real skin depth begins. Starak had very large breasts and her idiot PS kept the mounds in the centre of her chest there! Doi!

    Barbara, did he admit it all looked a LOT better your way???

  • Djustme
    Djustme Member Posts: 105
    edited December 2011
    Thank you for all of your kind comments! I was feeling pretty shy about posting a pic so I am glad it was well received.  I am glad that women are realizing they have alternatives to surgery. It's sounds like some of the surgeons still need convincing though, lol. Smile
  • crystalphm
    crystalphm Member Posts: 277
    edited December 2011

    Djustme, fantastic!!!!, I am thrilled to see the photo to see what you mean about draped necklines,....I have to say you look like you have breasts in the photo, so I am very amazed. So now I am learning to shop for the "new me". Thank you!

     Starak...you look fantastic, I have been following your photos since the beginning and have learned so much...ok, so what would be obvious as a don't wear? I have tops that are like a knit wrap, and criss cross fabric across my chest and I think i look pretty bad in them. Because the concave places sorta show. So this is what I need to avoid?

    Ok, well I am going to study the directions how to post photos again, because I would love to get ideas on how to dress better....

  • Djustme
    Djustme Member Posts: 105
    edited December 2011

     I have a confession to make - I have one small boob on right side - So in someways, finding clothes can be harder. (very hard if you have one large boob).  I love that Starac is so comfortable. I think her confidence is what works.  I am new (Nov 1/11) to having no left breast, so, although I don't mind if people notice, I still want to make sure it isn't the first thing people notice. And Starac is right - they don't notice.  I went to a xmas party yesterday and people who have known me for ten years didn't notice. They knew I had been sick but didn't know with what, and were surprised when I told them.  I only bought short sleeved tops for now because I can always put a little sweater or jacket over them for winter. You can even get the ruffled style in lined chiffon if you are looking for something dressy. Barbe1958 is right - if its printed and has a bit of gathers or draping - it probably will work while you build your confidence.  If anyone is good with scarves to wear over plain sweaters and can post some pictures, that would be great.

  • brazos58
    brazos58 Member Posts: 109
    edited December 2011

    Starak... I am so happy for you. so glad things are rocking in your world! Thank you for sharing this journey with me/ us.

    I remember after my surgery/ BMX having this major thought re: no recon. " Do I DO IT FOR ME? OR FOR THE WORLD?" I have never regretted my decision.  I have just arrived at walking the earth with my Ethereal Hooties. Its been the Spiritual Healing more so than anything else that lets me not even think about being Flat.,, and its taken me 1 1/2 to get years this far.

    I am so wishing I had a buddy that would shop with me and help me as I HATE SHOPPING. And I have to wear Under-armor Compression Gear all day and it makes it beyond tricky. My JoviPaks under my sports bra give me the wonder woman look.

    Thanks for all the pix everyone.. I do keep them in mind.

    Blessings

    brazos

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
    edited May 2013

    Jean, my surgeon said the dog ears were left there to ease reconstruction. Apparently, if you do recon, the PS can "anchor" the new boobs to the dog ears. Mine are quite small, but ugly (as my surgeon warned me they would be). 

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
    edited May 2013

    Yes, confidence is key. But it also struck me in all the pictures I have seen so far, that boobs really are not the mark of feminity, although I think most people just assume they are. You all look so feminine, and even in pictures where the lack of boobs is clear (in another thread, I think, from a race) there is still absolutely no doubt that the lady is all woman. I think it is really powerful to be able to project "I am woman, hear me roar" with a flat chest.

  • Tina337
    Tina337 Member Posts: 516
    edited December 2011

    Congrats on your followup at PS, Starak! You look terrific.

    I wear exactly the kind of outfits you gals are showing - drapey, fitted, ruffles, gathers. It's all in the attitude! Hey, today in the bike shop I caught this guy working on the bikes sneaking a look at me so I said hello. He then said that he really liked my hat. I had totally forgotten I had my cat face hat on, so I was pleased to know that's why he was looking. I get more smiles and compliments from that hat! Talk about drawing attention away from your chest - that will do it! Laughing 

  • Starak
    Starak Member Posts: 311
    edited December 2011

    Dog Ears: They are essentially the same thing as darts in clothing.  The skin bunches up at the end of the incision just as the fabric bunches up or creates a point at the end of a dart.  In my case they were so large and pointed that when I looked down, it looked as if I had shirt collar tips in the center of my chest.  If I leaned over they hung 2" off my chest.  Dog ears are extremely common at the end of the incision under the arm.  They are not near as common at the other end in the center.  The size and shape of mine was even less common.  Another variation of the dog ear is that instead of the end sticking up, it creates a hole or crater.  I have that one in the fluffy stuff under my right arm.  I am suspicious this one was a combo of things.  The surgeon tied the last stitch down to the chest wall.  Then I had a softball sized hematoma under that arm that we let resolve on its own - mostly by draining through the drains but also by draining and creating tremendous bruising down my body.  Some fold over and create a kind of flap.  Some of it is apparently a part of skin sparing for possible future recon.  If you don't recon it is just an ugly mess.

    Dog ears to varying degrees are very common in breast surgery, tummy tucks, and certain facial sutures.

    My center dog ears were also so close together that you could not set anything with a center seam on my chest never mind the irritation.  Any thought of prosthetics was out of the question until they were removed.  With clothes it looked as if I had a pair of horns coming out of my breastbone or perhaps a parasitic twin growing out of my chest.  The only thing I could do was strap them down every day.

    I have said before - Things that are missing are not nearly so disturbing as things that shouldn't be there. 

    I feel so FREE now.

    Barbara

  • Starak
    Starak Member Posts: 311
    edited December 2011

    Crystal:  You have to try clothes on.   As part of the process, move your arms in every direction.  Occasionally things will create big concave areas, like negative breasts, and those I put back on the rack.  I had found a lovely long top with rousching that I thought was going to be perfect with my jeggings but had to put it back.  It looked beautiful initially but then as I moved my arms around it created big craters.  Just remember the problem is with the clothes and NOT with you.

    My strategy is to send the eye and focus onto anything but the missing girls.  The big concave areas create a focal point that emphasizes the missing which is what makes them so bad. While it is nice and a really big plus, it is not necessary to create the illusion of breasts.  I have worn a tshirt with the name of our local football team in big letters right across my chest.  The focus is on the logo and not what is missing underneath.

    For me, big wide belts (I like the stretch ones) give an illusion of an hourglass figure and give a little extra fullness to some of my tops which sometimes can give the illusion that I really do have girls.

    Just think focal points.  Send the eye where you want it to go.  Jewelry, belts, designs, unusual details - doesn't matter what it is.  And remember no matter what you are wearing, you can always look them straight in the eye, smile and say Hi - forces them to raise their eyes to your face.

    Barbara

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605
    edited December 2011

    Wow, great tips, Barbara!! You've really grabbed your new look by the horn!! And djustme...beautiful!!! I had no idea you had a right breast!! Why don't you look lopsided?? Because you don't....

    Sometimes I use ear rings or a huge necklace to distract the eye. I have very broad shoulders so I can wear the chunky necklaces that I love so much. 

  • Starak
    Starak Member Posts: 311
    edited December 2011

    Djustme, Barbe is absolutely right.  You look fabulous and not at all lopsided.  I would never have guessed if you hadn't said something. 

    Barbara