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I look for other flat chested women. A rant.

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Comments

  • Nel
    Nel Member Posts: 597

    I love the idea of a flat fest!  Had UMX on my right side with no reconstruction.  I have my foob and wear to work, but have given up wearing it at home or running out to do quick errands.  I am small breasted so used to go braless most of the time before the MX, so wearing a bra now is just annoying, especially in the summer heat.  So now more often than not, braless and foobless.  My kids, both teens are adjusting!  They have adjusted to me going without a wig or scarf so just another in the long line of my Mom is not going with the typical program stuff for them!

    Gentle 4th

    Nel

  • nibbana
    nibbana Member Posts: 349

    I love this thread too. I utterly refused reconstruction from the beginning, yeah, one set of problems for another. Right before my surgery a fellow survivor gave me a camisole with drain pockets. I took one look at that thing, with the fake boobs, and went "Oh hell no! This is not happening."

    I just look at it this way. I used to have breasts, but I got sick, and they had to go. I'm the same person as before, I just have a different look. So, I walk around in my polos flat as can be. If I have to go out on the balcony, I'll go out with my shirt unbuttoned, I'm not going to shirk and hide fromm anything, but I'm not one to run along the beach topless either.

    Is just is what it is. 

  • nagem
    nagem Member Posts: 46

    If there is a meetup, I think it would be great if we all wore our best flat-look clothing so we could share what works. 

  • BonoboGirrl
    BonoboGirrl Member Posts: 104

    Excellent idea, Nagem! 

    Nibbana: Your response to the camisole made me laugh. :)

    MT1: What a sweet guy you have! An ex of mine (a man I'd started a relationship with a few weeks after my BMX) was similarly supportive in a jocular manner. When I got my port, he called me his delectable cyborg.  

    Hi to everyone else! Wish I had time to address each of your posts. Alas. Glad the thread is expanding, though! 

  • alexandria58
    alexandria58 Member Posts: 202

    Definitely going to be a meet-up, details still in progress.  I'm repeating what I already put on facebook since not everyone gone there: We're looking for a low cost meeting place on the thought of getting together around 11 for an informal lunch (bring or pick up sandwiches) and then afternoon activities and maybe dinner at a restaurant.  Dawn is looking into a possible free place, but I was also thinking of meeting in Central Park - with a backup tba for rain. 

     

  • MT1
    MT1 Member Posts: 223

    Alexandria, I will ask at my hospital if they know of a quiet, free, cheap and available space for us to gather. 

  • MT1
    MT1 Member Posts: 223

    I just felt like showing you all my chest. I have been hanging out naked alot lately, I love to sew, I am acustomizing myself to my body, taking lots of pictures and trying to integrate my new look into my psyche. I think my surgeon did a wonderful job. I like having the cleavgae line down the middle of my chest. 

    I will probably take this photo down in a few days. I uploaded it to my server because I don't know where else I might feel comfortable having it. I don't know about crawlers and google image search engines.

  • CLC
    CLC Member Posts: 615

    MT...you look great!  My scar looks a bit puffy above and below and a little bit zipper-ish.  I agree that your surgeon did a great job.  I have been considering seeing if the ps will do a revision on the scar, but I don't think I care enough about it to go through another surgery.

    The day I first took off my bandages, I walked around naked all day until the kids came home from school.  Whenever I get the opportunity, I want to be at least  topless around the house.  It makes it all feel more normal, somehow.  More okay.

  • MT1
    MT1 Member Posts: 223

    Gosh CLC, I don't know that I would want to go under the knife either. There is a spot on my right scar that, uh... to use sewing terminology, could have been eased in a bit. It was sewn with a whip stitch and the skin there was gathered, think ruffles. I wonder how it is to sew skin. Anyway, I had thought about asking about scar revision surgery, though I don't think that is necassary in my case. As I use my body, the skin seems to be stretching and softening. It is very stiff there but it is getting better.

  • alexandria58
    alexandria58 Member Posts: 202

    MT - you are so flat, I'm jealous.  I do have those annoying dog ears.

    CLC - wish my surgeon had done a better job, but I also don't care enough to go back.

  • crystalphm
    crystalphm Member Posts: 277

    Melly, simply gorgeous! And I love that I find you gorgeous, so now all I have to do is see myself as gorgeous. I am a bit "fluffier", like my incisions dent in more answswell out more, but basically, the same thing.

    I will be working during flat fest, so it there anyway we can join in virtually at night? Skype anyone? Just 10 minutes? maybe someone has a Laptop who will be going?

    I too have brought out my sewing skills, I am wearing a sun dress (my first time) that is just stretchy over my flat self, and it was dipping too low, so I made the straps tighter. just simple things and we can make clothing look so much better.

    I honestly have to say not only do I look at myself differently after discussing and ranting with all of you, but my clothing choices are beginning to work better for me. How exciting, to feel like shopping again!

    Barbara and Nagem, glad you found us here! I have been thinking about both of you, you both played such a role in my getting my life together again!

  • MT1
    MT1 Member Posts: 223

    Crystal,

    This weekend I ripped a shirt apart, smashed the darts into the armhole, took 4 inches of cloth out of the side seams, rearranged the sleeve opening, extended the pin tucks-to remove even more poof, and put it all back together again. It is the cloth you see me working on in the photo above. I am about to do it to a pink paisley bouse now too. Being able to sew and having a handle on garment construction is going to pay off for me now. I recently bought a linen blouse online. I couldn't tell from the photos but it has darts in it. Now I know I can take stuff apart and get it back together again!

    And you know Crystal, I begin to see myself as gorgeous too. Thanks. We all should after all we have been through. 

    Skype now has a video service for multiple callers, right? Unfortunately, I don't have a laptop. Anyone else? 

  • alexandria58
    alexandria58 Member Posts: 202

    I have a laptop, but it won't work if we're in the park.  I have a smartphone that can do gmail chat.

  • 1boob
    1boob Member Posts: 11

    Prostheses are a bore. I have one large remaining boob and a neuropathically sore mastectomy site. All bras hurt. A softie means that any bra rides up on the mastectomy site so I am uneven and in pain from extra soreness. A weighted softie is more or less even to the weight of the breast but has a ridiculous crumply bit at the back which makes the mastectomy site painful.  A sillicone job is too heavy so it weighs the bra down on the mastectomy side and I am uneven again. So I go single breasted as much as possible.

    I even checked out transgender shops. I can get 2 prostheses there (with nipple and both similar) for only about 20% more than the single one cost me. A twofer (two for one as in supermarkets)! Worth checking out if you have had a double mastectomy. The ones I looked at were standard triangles. Transgender shops also have very good stick-on ones - but that's no good for me because of the soreness.

    I love the word "foob".  What a gorgeous word.

  • MT1
    MT1 Member Posts: 223

    When I first began looking for thought processes that might help me with being flat and wondering what place gender has in my corner of the breast cancer world, I visited a few sites geared toward transgendered folk. I can't say I am anywhere near understanding wanting to change my body in order to reflect my internal vision of my gender, quite the opposite. I made a decision to change my body based on a need. But it sure did open my eyes to dysmorphia.

    When I was 19 years old, I was raped. After which, I had many years of therapy. Even still, I covered my body and dressed to hide my figure, so much so that when I dressed up to go out, my friends would get startled that I was so thin.

    I have girlfriends who love their breasts, love the feeling of them touching one another, love scooping them up into a top and showing them off. Not me, I was always afraid that would trigger some maladjusted person to do something awful.

    It was only in the last 5 years or so (I am 42), that I started wearing clothing to fit my size. I started wearing clothing that flattered my form, modest but pretty stuff.

    So now, I have no breasts and in some ways, it is a relief, you know, it's a mixed bag, I miss them, insert the multitude of emotions associated with breast cancer decisions and treatment here, but it is almost as if I don't mind this new me at all. And I am determined not to be modest and shy about my body anymore, that's for sure. If my scars show, I am ok with that! I am coming to the thought that my scars and chest are pretty hot (and I don't mean that I am having a Tamoxifen induced hot flash), :) but low cut blouses, yup, back baring summer dresses, here I come.

    I almost feel like I now have it all. I can be the sexy babe I know myself to be, I feel even more feminine than I have in years. These scars are amazing. My body is amazing. I find empowerment, authenticity, simplicity in this place. I also feel empowered to have taken control of my body, I don't want to rely on doctors for revisions, exchanges, and the associated treatments of reconstruction. I just want to be the woman I am, authenticly.

    And although I am playing with androgyny some, I am all female. I have always loved being female- just not the societal downside of it. This decision, to forego reconstruction, has really helped me in so many ways. It has fortified my intent to be as embodied, enriched, and as present to myself as I can be.

    While I was going through treatment I wrote my second craft how-to book. I am amazed at my ability to have done so. Between that, chemo, radiation, surgery, I wonder, What else can I accomplish? So all this is pretty heady, but hey, if this is the blessing in disquise, so be it.

    P.s. I wish I could spell. Never my forte.

  • ddlatt
    ddlatt Member Posts: 39

    today is my third year anniversary since end of treatment.  i've posted another self-portrait of my mastectomy:

     http://www.flickr.com/photos/oceanbornstudios/7508233142/in/photostream 

    and

     http://ddlatt.blogspot.com/2012/07/3-years-since-end-of-treatment.html 

  • MT1
    MT1 Member Posts: 223

    Deborah, your photos are always inspiring. Thank you for partaking in this tradition of yours and for allowing us in on the journey.

    I wonder, how do you feel about putting these photographs on the web? 

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845

    Mel, back when I was 25, I posed for an art photog. I have been tempted to contact him and see if he would want to do another session.

  • MT1
    MT1 Member Posts: 223

    Momine. I would love beautiful photographs of myself too. :)

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845

    Mel, same here. I already tried to interest another artist friend who photographs in doing a project with it, but she declined.

  • cwestbro
    cwestbro Member Posts: 5

    I have a good friend who is a fabulous photographer who may be interested in doing a project such as this.  I would be happy to ask her.

  • alexandria58
    alexandria58 Member Posts: 202

    Maybe we could do photos as a part of Flat Fest?

  • LtotheK
    LtotheK Member Posts: 487

    As a feminist, I am truly loving this. I'm back here in earnest--biopsy next week for highly suspicious area.  After going through this two years ago, I truly wish I had had the double mastectomy.

    I am debating it now, because I'm sick of this 6 month trauma on top of all the other post-cancer upkeep.  But I think I'd want reconstruction, and I hate myself for that on one level.  On the other level, it's not about femme, or sexy, or any of that.  It's like a limb for me.  I touch my breasts in the morning, I salute them for making it through our first round with this sh***y disease.  They are heroes, and I'd hate to say goodbye to them.  That, and at age 39 at diagnosis, I am already reminded every day of my early chemopause as my girlfriends are all having families and complaining about their periods.  I don't miss my period at all, and I feel every bit the person I was before.  But not having it is a reminder that I'm different.  I love being different, I'm an artist.  But this is the wrong kind of different.

    Thank you for giving me a place to share my feelings.

    Edited to add:  thank you for those of you who shared your photos.  You are both very beautiful women, and maybe if I felt more beautiful, I'd feel differently about this process, too.  To consider.

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845

    LtotheK, I really don't think that wanting recon is some kind of "failure." Nor do I think that it makes someone "better" to go without it.



    I would be happy to have replacement boobs. It IS weird to have such obvious parts missing. I have reasons for not getting recon. I think my reasons are good (obviously ;) ). Meanwhile I am discovering the flat thing and finding it completely OK, which makes me happy. This thread is sort of a celebration of that, to me.



    The whole point, however, is that you should do what works for you and what makes you feel good and whole.

  • LtotheK
    LtotheK Member Posts: 487

    I just think the whole BC community is amazing.  I'm having such a wonderful time, reading all these articulate stories of coming to terms with what we go through (which sucks no matter your decision).  These boards have changed my life.  And who knows, they may change my mind on this topic, too.  So hard to know if it's our heart or culture talking, and I try hard to listen to the "authentic" self where I can find her.  Some folks talked about that here.

  • lilylady
    lilylady Member Posts: 478

     I posted early on in this thread but have been offline for a while. Quite interesting conversations.

    About the photos=Have any of you seen "The Scar Project" exhibit. It is exactly what you are talking about. Graphic artistic photos of 3 BC survviors. If yu type in the scar project is will come up and the images are right there. They were in Cinti last summer days after I had my BMX. I went with my best girlfiends and found the whole thing amazing-they however were horrified mostly. They could admire the courage of the models but couldn't conceive of ever doing it themselves. I show my scars to anyone who ask-male or female. The women in this photo exhibit are beautiful but it is definitely a shock to the uninitiated.

      As far as saying anything to somebody. I am keeping my chemo wire hair extemely short-which suits me but with the short hair and the flat chest-I have been called sir so many times!! I used to say something but it only made them feel bad about themslves and what's the point of that?-I don't think I have ever been insulted or made to feel bad by anyone on purpose. I work in a factory as an electrician-primarily with men and they think nothing of it-or at least I think that. I am a very strong woman (physically) and when I returned to work In Dec I was as weak as a kitten. 10 months off work and just started radiation-I couldn't do hardly anything. We are at our busiest right now and a friend today said "It is so good to see you lifting things you shouldn't and doing things it usually takes 2 people to do". That made me feel great.

    As far as why I didn't reconstruct. I was Stage 4 from the get go and was facing liver and lung surgeries at one point. Turned out they weren't needed yet but the idea of doing all those extra procedures to have fake boobs with no feeling-it just wasn't me. Wonder if any of these other posters are 4's? Sometimes they have trouble convincing surgeons to do recon on metastatic patients.

    MT-I love that your partner jokes about the cancer stuff. I throw cancer jokes out all the time and lots of times I can just tell it makes people very incomfortable. My family totally forbids it. They are getting better at work. WTF? if I can make fun of it why can't they laugh at it too. Way better than crying for me

    I have no idea what just happened to the font and it wont let me fix it-and I have ran on way too long to type this out again. Thanks for the ears girls

  • Linda-n3
    Linda-n3 Member Posts: 1,713

    I have rarely shared my personal story, other than BC concerns here.  But it is that story that makes me who I am and respond the way I do.  I had congenital heart malformation, multiple surgeries during childhood & adolescence, and when BC was diagnosed, I was in shock.  I refused to entertain MX at all, knowing there would be more scars.  The lumpectomy would be bad enough.  So my DH, who is an excellent amateur photographer, took photos of me before LX - they are incredibly beautiful.  I had never ever considered myself attractive, much less beautiful.  But those photos bring out a beauty I never knew I had.  He has saved them in a "safe place" where inquisitive visitors would never be able to access them, and I cannot bear to look at them myself now, but I know how grateful I was and AM to him for capturing me and my breasts, posing me so that the other scars don't even show. 

    When I had recurrence, I knew the MX was the only option for me unless I had progressed to Stage IV by then, and I had not.  I was able to go through the surgery, and it has taken 9 months for me to really look at myself and accept it.  I still have a lot of post-op neuropathic pain (had infected seromas, and I believe that has led to chronic inflammation/pain), and some days are better than others.  I am so grateful for all of you sharing your stories and ideas.  I think if the skin sensations would just let up and energy return, I would be able to get on with with my life with a little more enthusiasm, including figuring out the clothing thing.  I was just never into clothes - flannel shirts & blue jeans were great, professional work required a little more attention to it and I never enjoyed that part so much.  Now, however, i am finding scarves with t-shirts add a little pizazz as well as give me a little wrap when the air conditioning is too much.

    OK, I got off-track.  The main thing I was thinking about was how much a good photographer can do for one's self-esteem, self-acceptance, and even self-love.  I would not have been comfortable posing without a top on for just any photographer, however DH made me feel loved, accepted, and beautiful, and it shows in the photos.  They are not sexy or seductive, just portraits of a woman who is loved and loving.  I hope some of you can find someone to do this for you.

  • Sian65
    Sian65 Member Posts: 38

    1boob - just read about your problems with the weighted foob on your mastecomy scar - can you stitich down the flap and then line the back sode with something like satin.... it is nice to have a workablke foob when you are not a BMX .. there are times when I wear a prosthesis many not to frighten children!  Totally foobless now for at least the next 6 weeks though due to radiation treatments.

    LtotheK - good luck for your biospy next week (edited to add that)

    Funny conversation when I dropped in at work the other day... all asking how I was etc; got a bot more in depth with a good friend there and I said to her it is best for me not to wear a foob during radiation- she han't even noticed that I was uniboobing and we had been talking for at least 15 mins.  I then told her that almost every time I had visited work over the past 4 months I had been uniboobind and again she was genuinely suprised - she really hadn't noticed and I know she was not pretending to "be nice" - we don't have that kind of friendship.

    So I then did a quick survey of everybody at work that day (not many there as almost shut for summer holidays).  Of the 12 people there only 1 had ever noticed that I was not "balanced" and that was a woman whose mother has had breast cancer for 3 years!!!

    It must be noted that I dress carefully - lots of dark colours or busy patterns or clever necklines with fabrics that drape really well or tight bustiers that flatten the other boob. Great excuse to have been out shopping lately... I am particularly spending time in the second-hand shops.  You can get cheap clothes to remodel or find styles that are not in the high street and if you discover they don't work after all it is easy/cheap to dump them and try again!!

    So between a combination of clever dressing, a small remaining boob and the fact that most people don't notice/care I am learning that the bad thoughts days (less and less now) are mainly created out of my own head... Tongue out

  • ddlatt
    ddlatt Member Posts: 39

    MT1, thank you! my self-portraits are all over the web, on many websites, and in many magazines and books. i make them public, and that's why i took the photos - so other people facing mastectomy won't be as afraid and also hopefully will realize how beautiful our bodies can be after mastectomy. 

  • crystalphm
    crystalphm Member Posts: 277

    ddlatt, Thank you for the beautiful photo of yourself. I hope to reach this point, and I said to Melly, I see her beauty, I now see yours too, but I need to find this in myself.

     Oh I do not consider reconstruction a failure, we all do what we need to do. I know myself well enough that I would be frightened by more surgery, and I couldn't cope well with lifeless tissue on my chest. The bills would also be horrible I suspect. My mastectomy bills were horrible.

    I also never  saw my breasts as heroes.Actually they very sneakily tried to kill me, eluding even the mammograms for about 6 years as a guess. Scary. Breasts be gone!!!!! I say with my sword raised.

    I have said this before, each time I read all your posts, I feel better about *me*!! So I thank all of you!!!