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I look for other flat chested women. A rant.

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  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    Dustycat, my surgeon left minimal dog ears. At the post-op appointment he said he did it on purpose, in case I would want recon. He claims the dog ears make it easier for the PS to "anchor" the recon. However, he apologized for the way they look and told me that if at any time I want him to fix them he will.

    By dog ears, I am here referring to little blobs of skin in the middle of my chest, by the breast bone, where the scars terminate.

    Apparently it is also common to have sort of blobs of tissue under the arms below the scars. That is apparently quite difficult to fix.

    Either way, I would go talk to a plastic surgeon. 

  • Sian65
    Sian65 Member Posts: 38
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    Usually these blobs of skin are there because the skin is no longer being pulled forward & down by the breast that was removed.

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    Sian, makes sense. Even when I had boobs, they were so small that I haven't had this issue.

  • Sian65
    Sian65 Member Posts: 38
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    Hej Momine how are you? - I'm kind of the same around cup size A-B and I've not had much blobbing; a friend of mine was cup size E and she calls herself Miss Blobby heee!  The surgeon can fix but she said no because it would cause long unattractive scars down her sides and who wants more unnecessary surgery anyway.

  • alexandria58
    alexandria58 Member Posts: 202
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    I have dog ears and would prefer to be just flat - but they don't bother me enough to have additional surgery. 

    We seem to have a number of us going to NY on September 22.  Maybe we should get a head count and then find a venue.

    Bringing my guitar, folks.  Just wrote a new song:

    Look at me, I'm feeling fine/ in my body and my mind/ and i know/ that i still glow

    Look at me, not at my chest, it's flat, ok, check out the rest/ and i know/ that i still glow

    When I'm looking in the mirror/ I see a woman without fear

    When you're looking now at me/ I hope you can see my beauty

    And I know/ that I still glow

    Look at me, don't shed a tear/ Just look and see that I'm still here/ and i know

    that i still glow

    see me glow

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    Sian, I am well thanks, except I can't breathe, so now the docs want to scan me. It is probably just inflammation from the rads, but annoying. I hear you on not being eager for additional surgery. I am totally over surgery, and I didn't even have much.



    I am bummed about missing Flat Fest. I was just in NYC last month and I don't think I can justify another transatlantic trip by September.



    I would suggest Noho Star for the get together. The owner is an onc.

  • ddlatt
    ddlatt Member Posts: 39
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    I've been posting photos of my bilateral mastectomy every step of the way for three years:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/oceanbornstudios/sets/72157608493948291/ 

    http://ddlatt.blogspot.com/search/label/photograph of mastectomy

    I've also blogged about my experience every day during treatment:

    http://ddlatt.blogspot.com/

    I had a very hard time finding graphic photos of mastectomy before my surgery.  I needed to SEE what was going to happen to me!  So that's why I documented my experience with photos.  

     I love not wearing a bra!!!! 

    xoxo, Deborah 

  • dustycat
    dustycat Member Posts: 2
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    Crystalphm...

    Thank you. I will look for her posts and info.  I will pursue getting these dog ears removed.  Mine are sort of part of my armpits.  I also have a little near the breast bone. 

  • Sian65
    Sian65 Member Posts: 38
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    Momine - I hope the scans are clear.  I'm about to begin rads next week and wonder what my SEs will be!

  • Kindergarten
    Kindergarten Member Posts: 2,883
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    Dear Momine, I have the dog ears, too. Thank you, I was never sure what they were and my BS, never told me anything about them. My hubby calls them my mini boobsWink
  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    Sian, thanks and good wishes for an easy zapping. I did get a nasty burn towards the end. It was only a few spots though. I HIGHLY recommend those expensive gel bandages if you end up with this problem. Those suckers healed up the burns in a few days.

    Kinder, mine have shrunk to the point that I doubt I will bother doing anything about them. They are not pretty, but I can't get too worked up about it. 

  • Sian65
    Sian65 Member Posts: 38
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    good hint Momine - I have taken a note :)

  • Wrongchick
    Wrongchick Member Posts: 5
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    Dusterella and others...I can't find a digital copy of the essay I mentioned in response to the OP,  but pretty sure it is from the book titled The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde.  I'm going to try to find my copy of the book this weekend.  I'll scan it and perhaps I could email or PM?   

    Is there any interest in a West Coast flat-fest?  I would love to join the gals in NYC, but I have young kids and limited travel funds. ;)

  • Kindergarten
    Kindergarten Member Posts: 2,883
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    Hi, Wrongchick, I live in Torrance, CA and I would love to do lunch or dinner, and meet others who did not do reconstruction. How fun!!!!

  • Sian65
    Sian65 Member Posts: 38
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    Just wondering if there is any one in Europe out there for a flat fest???

  • MT1
    MT1 Member Posts: 223
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    ddlatt, I am grateful to you for posting photos of yourself. You are one of the images I was able to find before making my own decision to go flat. You gave me hope and courage. I continue to look for photos of other women with flat chests, I look for women on the streets, I just keep looking. While I was surfing the web so many months ago I came across a gallery of portraits taken by a photographer of older women who had had mastectomies 20 30+ years ago. They sat with thier husbands and mates, some were sepia colored, some full color. I didn't bookmark them and totally regret it, they were amazing.

    I read statistics that LOTS of women get bilateral surgery these days, I just haven't run into any of them yet.

    Now that I am one year out from my surgery, I keep wondering when my left scar will turn skin colored. Anyone? 

  • dreaming
    dreaming Member Posts: 219
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    I saw the photo of the survivor that acording to her she can not wear a bikini top in the pool, too much pain. But as an echo of one post, she is wearing men trunks.

    I wonder how is she able to work without a top, or just go out, most places have dress codes, not to mention winter.

    I only had "amputation fathom pain "after surgery, but after I am numb in my chest, no pain. except sometimes my shoulders. I was flat one side, but had reconstruction because the other side was D cup and one shoulder was getting lower , got the surgery and small breast on the other side, my friends that had bilateral do not have this problem and  she  looks really nice.

     I work in a cancer center and the surgeon reviews scars mine  got red and thick  I got  inyecctions flatten them.

  • ddlatt
    ddlatt Member Posts: 39
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    I know many, many women who have had bilateral surgeries in the last three years.  Most of the younger ones opt for reconstruction.  All of the older ones I know have opted for no reconstruction.  

    It took two years for my scars to turn skin-colored.  It took almost two years for the itching to stop! I had itching on the right scar, at the far end, off and on and every time I took a shower.  Drove me insane.  Then suddenly it just went away.  

     I'm 3.5 years from surgery, and I still have occasional side spasms, where my whole right chest and side (this is the side where the a few lymph nodes were removed) will seize up.  It doesn't hurt, but it's very uncomfortable. I have been told this is natural and will continue.

    All the best,

    Deborah 

  • mumito
    mumito Member Posts: 2,007
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    One side of my scar is darker than the other because I had each breast removed in a seperate surgery.I am 3 years out of surgery.

  • sandcastle
    sandcastle Member Posts: 289
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    I am older and I had a Mastectomy with Recon....BUT!! It failed....I did NOT try again and will not...I do go without a bra because of lymphedema I have been told that I have good posture...but before my mastectomy I like to do weights...I still do weights but only 5lbs....I do feel that this helps....Liz

  • ddlatt
    ddlatt Member Posts: 39
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    The Scar Project book has some beautiful images:

    http://www.thescarproject.org/gallery/ 

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    Sian, I am in Greece and coming up to scandiland in August most likely.

  • Erica
    Erica Member Posts: 237
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    The Photo section of BreastFree.org has a collection of photos of women after mastectomy. If any of you would like to have your photos included I would be interested. Just send me a PM and we can discuss. Also, if you think you have a unique story, I would be interested in it for the Personal Stories section.

    This is just anecdotal, but it seems to me that more younger women have been opting not to have reconstruction recently, as compared to six years ago when I had my BMX. I was 57 when I had the surgery, so older than many posting here, though I still feel young. :)

    I frequently get messages at BreastFree.org from younger women who tell me that they felt a lot of pressure to have reconstruction, but after finding my website felt less isolated, which reinforced their decision not to have recon. I feel as if this forum has the same effect - of causing women who are leaning toward not reconstruction to feel more confident in their decision knowing that there's a community of like-minded women out there. Us!

  • MT1
    MT1 Member Posts: 223
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    Dreaming, my surgeon told me that regaining nerve function was not a given, that I might never heal fully.  Luckily, I did, many of us do, but not all. Knowing how differently each person accepts chemo, reacts to radiation, the side effects of medicines, I bet Jodi Jaeks is doing the best she can given her circumstance. And to top it off she is opening the doors more widely for those of us who are flat, half flat and who would have wanted to be reconstructed, if their bodies hadn't rejected the implants.

    I went over to The Scar Project and emailed to ask if I might be a candiadate for photographs. We will see.

    Last month I had a hellish time with self acceptance. I went to a yoga retreat center that I have been to perhaps 7 times, they have a whirlpool that I l-o-v-e. I never used to wear a suit so I made a point of not wearing one now, flat chested and all. I walk in the pool and the room goes silent for a good long time, this happened each time I used the pool.

    I came home wanting the 'protection' of 3d nipple tattoos, in a panic. (I have decided against)

    Really, I have just emerged from the fog of treatment. I completed all the treatments in late August,  and had a period of release and calm. But then my shoulder froze and I was forced to go back into doctors offices and to do what needed to get done. My shoulder just released within the last 4-6 weeks. The weather is warmer, I am wearing summer clothing and experiencing myself anew. I live in New York City, amidst millions, in the 'fashion capital of the world', where appearance can mean alot, not that I as an individual, buy into this. I have been yelled at and told I look like a man, I have been looked at and told the same thing, face to face by a stranger. Me, I just want the space I took up before. I don't want to hide behind breast forms (these words are mine and fit my mind set and lifestyle choices, they are not meant as judgement on other women's choices and needs). I just want to live in my body, with my choices, my way. 

    My 'skin' is becoming thicker, when folks can't seem to stop looking at me, I hold eye contact untill they release. And I am beginning to feel a greater sense of pride and solidarity. It takes time. One day, I will see another woman, like me, who opted out. And I will happy dance.

    I am not one to seek connection through support groups run at the hospital. I like this forum, my ability to connect when I want to and check back when I am able. Beside which I felt like my doctors, nurses and support staff were suprised and put aback by my choice not to reconstruct. I guess they needed to push me to make sure I was making the right decision, but it sure did feel like they thought I was crazy. 

  • Sian65
    Sian65 Member Posts: 38
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    Hej Momine - greece cool.... where up North is your plan? It would be great to meet up. PM me as your plans consolidate. 

  • Tina337
    Tina337 Member Posts: 516
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    "Me, I just want the space I took up before."



    Yes. You're already reclaiming it. Meeting that gaze is tough, but it does get easier. Half the time I don't think about my appearance anymore because I'm caught up in what I am doing. Once in a while I will notice a glance, and it might cause me to pause and acknowledge, but more often it registers after I've already moved on to the next task. It rarely sits in my mind for long at this point. I think as you resume the activities of your life and get caught up in them, you focus less on what others may be observing about your body and more on how they interact with You. Unfortunately, there will always be jerks. I am sorry you have had to experience such verbal abuse. It truly says more about them than it does about you.

  • kicks
    kicks Member Posts: 319
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    dreaming - I hadn't noticed the men's trunks but she claims can't find anything to wear that isn't 'uncomfortable' with her scars. Well that's not true as there is a picture of her with a shirt on so - clearly upper body clothes can be (and are) worn by her.

  • bak94
    bak94 Member Posts: 652
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    Mrsnjband, would love to hear more about your diep experience, as I am in pain with my bmx and wondered if more surgery would help or make it worse. I so understand the woman in Seattle not being able to swim in a top, I know I would not be able to. I don't like swimming at all so I don't have to deal with it though. I do wear a compression cami with microforms to work and that help-s with the pain, but I could not imagine swiming and having something wet rubbing on my very sensitive skin, I can barely stand drying off after a shower! I would love to go around flat, and I do at home and when I am gardening, but I have a big belly and am very self conscious about it, the foobs help even things out a bit:) I am working on losing weight though, All the pictures of others that I have seen flat are gorgeous! I know, I started with low self esteem and this has made it worse, but I am trying! I never have liked to be looked at or to have extra attention, good or bad! I prefer to be in the background.

  • Tina337
    Tina337 Member Posts: 516
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    I noticed the Seattle woman is wearing a LE sleeve and gauntlet. Perhaps she has truncal LE as well? Finding a bathing suit that works with my truncal LE has been so frustrating this summer. I found one I can wear for a short time to look nice to visit with family at the beach, but I doubt I could wear for physical activity, swimming. Too much rubbing really hurts truncal LE and makes it worse. I actually have the same issue finding regular undergarments such as a compression tank. I can't say I have actually found a truly comfortable garment that allows me to forget about my chest and trunk, but I have something that works well enough. If I had to wear it for swimming, I think it would rub almost as much as a bathing suit. I wear a compression garment because I have to, but I hate it. I feel pretty sympathetic to someone who experiences post mastectomy pain or LE. Swimming is actually supposed to be one of the best activities for LE, but wearing an improperly fitting swim garment can cause swelling or flares. I hope with permission to swim without a top she is able to swim, exercise, get relief from pain, restore some sense of normalcy to her life. We all deserve that.

  • bak94
    bak94 Member Posts: 652
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    Tina, have you tried the Wearease compression cami? It works for me and sometimes I actually prefer to have it on as opposed to not wearing it. I have and area that swells under my arm around to my back, due to another scar from surgery I had when I was 4. Fluid collects there and the cami helps. I am not sure if this is actually truncal lymphedema, my pt has not really said. It is probably very different than what you are dealing with. Like I said in my previous post, I could not imagine swimming with the the material around me with seams, with it being wet and rubbing, it sounds very uncomfortable, and like you said, it can worsen LE.