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Is anyone going flat or living flat?

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  • coraleliz
    coraleliz Member Posts: 158
    edited February 2017
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    I've been flat for almost 6years now. I never really considered reconstruction. As a nurse, I had encountered breast cancer patients both with & without recon. I remember forgetting to ask my BS, prior to surgery, if my scars would be horizontal or diagonal. I didn't have a preference but I thought knowing would prepare me for the first look at my post-surgical chest. My surgical dressings fell off the night before my appt when she would have taken them off anyway. It looked like diagonal scars are suppose to look.

    As for being flat, it still doesn't bother me. When I'm changing in the locker room a the gym, I do "surfer style" changing. I don't want to draw any attention to myself or be the topic of any conversation. I've never worn foobs or prostheses.

    I usually wear a sports type bra. When shirts rub against my bare chest, it can feel strange. It's not painful but more annoying.

  • castigame
    castigame Member Posts: 336
    edited February 2017
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    post op 3 days. Double mx. No recon. It is painful enough for me to sell my mother over pain meds. I would sell my dh for the meds. I deliberately looked at my flat chest. Not a single tear came out of me.. I am very happy about my no recon decision so far.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,747
    edited February 2017
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    As I said, I respect everyone's decision about what to do regarding recon or not. However, I'm just not into the put downs regardless of the choice one makes. I'm all for honesty but one can be honest without demeaning insults. I have never gone flat so wouldn't dream of telling anyone what it's like nor refer to them or their unreconstructed bodies disparagingly. For those who decide on recon, there is more going on than justlooking good in clothing. Pain? Yes, that can happen, but it's wrong to assume that happens to everyone. Let's support each other for our choices not put down those who chose differently. Sorry, you can scream frankenboobs in all caps, but that type of language supports no one. I have never understood those who must put others down to support their own choices and I thank the vast majority of you who do not feel compelled to put others down. I wish you all the best. ¡ Adiós y buenas suerte


  • SuC
    SuC Member Posts: 11
    edited February 2017
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    I have been flat for 3 years now, never wear prostheses (don't own them) and enjoy wearing clothes that I never could when I had boobs. Love hot weather when I don't have to wear a bra. No-one stares, no-one notices

  • lisey
    lisey Member Posts: 300
    edited February 2017
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    Love how you follow me to the non-recon board Amapola, let's start a relationship since you seem so drawn to follow me. This is a non-recon board where those of us who aren't reconstructed can expression our opinions about this topic. I'm backing up what another flattie said and am supporting her. Love to see how you keep trying to antagonize me... let it go. I'm blocking you.

  • castigame
    castigame Member Posts: 336
    edited February 2017
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    post op day 4! Reduced pain med intake finally

    No recon was the right choice for me. There is no way i could have made it w recon. And there is no way i could have handled more than 2 drains.

  • pabbie
    pabbie Member Posts: 70
    edited February 2017
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    image

    No worries. This is a photo I took today on my morning walk.
  • heidi s
    heidi s Member Posts: 398
    edited February 2017
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    Post a replyReport this Post

    Feb 7, 2017 07:27AM ravzari wrote:

    "Being flat has been amazing; no bra needed ever again, no underboob sweat, no shoulder pain, no upper back pain, no tension headaches from lugging the big things around (even inside of a bra), I can't say there has ever been a single second that I've missed having breasts. No plans to ever wear a bra again or get fitted for prosthetics. I love having them gone and have never been as comfortable physically and mentally as I am without them.The idea of having prosthetic or reconstructed ones back is just one big 'LOL NOPE!" for me. :D"

    Ravzari, you're so cute! Your comment about no underboob sweat had me loling. It's so true. A little perk if one opts to go flat.

    Just want to say that whether someone opts for recon or opts to go flat is a very, very personal choice. There is no right or wrong. When I first joined this community, I was grateful for all the positive and informative information I received regarding a BMX with out recon. We are all in this together. No need for any negativity. Cancer is negative enough in and of itself.

    Pabbie, I could've had a lumpectomy, but I was concerned about the radiation treatments being so close to my heart and lungs. I don't believe there is any risk regarding your heart with respect to mastectomy.

    Beautiful pic

  • ravzari
    ravzari Member Posts: 32
    edited February 2017
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    Definitely seconding it being a completely personal choice.

    For me, reconstruction was not the right choice for many reasons, chief being I just didn't care about having breasts that much; for me, they didn't hold much sway in my self esteem or how I felt about my looks.
    I also knew that, if I wanted breasts temporarily for a certain outfit or just because that there are prosthetic options out there that look realistic under clothes, so that was always something I could do if I felt like it.
    I did research recon options prior to my BMX and they all seemed, to me, to just be unnecessarily long, painful, and I wasn't a fan of how the end results looked in the cases I'd looked at and I just didn't enjoy having breasts so much that it'd be worth it.
    I knew I wouldn't be happy with the look of a reconstructed breast on my body, and I knew I didn't want to go through the extra surgeries so, for me, recon was not the right choice.

    For others, that's obviously not the case, they wouldn't have been happy with 'foobs', and they're fine with going through reconstruction because they want to continue to have breasts for any number of personal reasons, and are happy with their end results and with how they look.

    That doesn't make my choice the wrong choice, nor does it make their choice the wrong choice.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,747
    edited February 2017
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    ravzari,

    Thank you for your articulate, balanced post. No put downs, no pejorative name calling etc. Now that is what a support group is all about!

  • pupmom
    pupmom Member Posts: 1,032
    edited February 2017
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    I would not be comfortable with going flat, but many, many people are. It's an individual decision.

  • amw5
    amw5 Member Posts: 74
    edited February 2017
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    SuC: I know I will enjoy this too.

    "I have been flat for 3 years now, never wear prostheses (don't own them) and enjoy wearing clothes that I never could when I had boobs. Love hot weather when I don't have to wear a bra. No-one stares, no-one notices".

  • castigame
    castigame Member Posts: 336
    edited February 2017
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    Hello,

    Mustlovepoodles. Yes genetic testing result pending. Preliminary asssesment is i may have cowedens. (Thyroid cancer,breast ovarian colon kidney) Luckily for me thyroid has been removed a few yrs ago due to benign nodule. Breast happened. As soon as i get this under control, will have at least partial. Or i am thinking of demanding colonoscopy. Pre scoy found benign colon polyps. Another hypothesis came out was my big sis child show the most similarities. I better tell her mom.about it

    I am doing the best i could because this is for me. First few days were awful

  • Luckynumber47
    Luckynumber47 Member Posts: 53
    edited February 2017
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    Has anyone seen stats on how many people have complications from their reconstructions. I've heard so many people lately who had problems with theirs that I really wonder if the number with problems is high or low

  • mustlovepoodles
    mustlovepoodles Member Posts: 1,248
    edited February 2017
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    Rebafan, I have PALB2 and Chek2, both considered rare gene mutations. Together and separately they cause breast, colon, thyroid, pancreatic, and lung cancers, and others. I have 19 cases of cancer in my 1st and 2nd generation family, including both sides, with many breast and colon cancers (including male breast cancer!)  It's terrifying.  I called my GI doc to let him know and he had me get a colonoscopy ASAP, since I hadn't had one in about 5 years. Thankfully it was good, and I'm glad I did it (much as I hate the prep!)  I have 3 small nodules on my thyroid they've been watching for about 7 years. My mother had thyroid cancer, so it's a concern.  I seem my endocrinologist every 6 months--so far, so good.

  • ravzari
    ravzari Member Posts: 32
    edited February 2017
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    Luckynumber47 it'd probably be hard to find solid results on that as it really can vary wildly from person to person.

    Even healthy people who have breast implants or breast reconstruction can have complications and there is always the risk of infection, tissue necrosis, capsular contracture (scar tissue forming around the implant, making it look odd, feel hard, and be painful), bottoming out, lateral displacement (if you lay on your back and your implants seem to fall far to the side, almost in your armpit, that's lateral displacement), rotation (for anatomical implants), etc...that can happen even in a regular (as in not a reconstruction after a mastectomy) breast augmentation even with the best surgeon.

    Sometimes, even if an implant has been fine for 10+ years, complications like bottoming out, capsular contracture, rotation, lateral displacement, etc...can happen.

    For the flap type surgeries, any surgery runs the risk of infection, wound healing issues, tissue necrosis, or failure of the grafted tissue; those are just risks one chooses to take when electing to have that type of surgery. The majority are likely successful, or there wouldn't still be a 'demand' for those types of surgeries, however, and doctors would very likely not recommend them if the chance of failure was high.

    The risks for those things tend to go up if someone is already in poor health, have certain health issues (diabetes can impede wound healing, just as an example) has already had one or more breast surgeries, or is going through treatments that may suppress their immune system or compromise skin/muscle tissue.

    Going by what's seen on this forum probably isn't a good barometer of complication levels either, as people do tend to post 'vent' posts when/if they're frustrated with something that's gone wrong with their reconstruction or ask if others have experienced a complication, which can give the impression that nearly everyone experiences complications when that's not true.

    I look at the breast reconstruction forum here kind of how I view working in tech support: People usually only call for support when something needs to be fixed or is going wrong. It gives the impression that the software product in question is just terrible and fundamentally broken when, the fact is, the majority of customers aren't having problems. Support just gets a skewed perspective because we typically only hear from customers who are having problems.

    Happy customers rarely say anything, but unhappy customers tend to be kind of loud about it.

    It's likely that way with breast reconstruction; the majority are likely satisfied and had minimal to no complications, and just don't talk about it as nothing is wrong so they don't often think about it. Those who are frustrated, having complications, etc...are more likely to want to talk about it to try and get advice on what to do or to just vent about what they're going through.


  • Luckynumber47
    Luckynumber47 Member Posts: 53
    edited February 2017
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    Thanks ravzari for your thoughtful reply. I think you hit exactly what I was wondering about - yes we hear about all the complications here, but in the general population how many people are having significant issues. Surely there are studies somewhere. How can patients make well informed choices when they don't have all the facts.

    We can all recite our numbers - stage, grade, Oncotype, recurrance risk, etc. I'd just like to add 1 more #. I'd like to see the average % for complications.

    Some people are certain they want reconstruction, some, like me, could care less, but there are plenty In the middle that I feel aren't getting all the info they need.

    And I'm sorry, pabbie, I think I've wandered far from your original question. No, I do not feel my heart is exposed. I guess I never even considered it before you asked. The only thing that's bothered me is itching when I'm wearing a form or prosthetic - it's like I can't get to the skin that's itching with all that padding in the way. Pretty comical actually

  • pabbie
    pabbie Member Posts: 70
    edited February 2017
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    No worries. I'm learning a lot from all. :)

  • ravzari
    ravzari Member Posts: 32
    edited February 2017
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    Luckynumber47 sites like realself.com may be helpful for that; they have sections for breast reconstruction which is typically 100% reconstruction after mastectomy, save for a few odd reviews that get put in there when they were meant for breast implant revision.

    It's still not a huge sampling as it relies on people submitting their own experiences, but you can sort reviews by all, "worth it", "not sure", or "not worth it".

  • jcpriest0469n
    jcpriest0469n Member Posts: 63
    edited February 2017
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    Hello to all, I've been reading here got a few days. Lots of differences. Me, bc was my first surgery. I also have (tcc) bladder cancer which is bed. My point is I was more afraid of the surgery then the thought of being flat. I decided to just remove the breast with cancer. Maybe because of my age, looking back I wish I would have had a double masectomy. Having a bi-masectomy is a bit inconvenient. I wear a sports bra a lot for comfort,but have a good bra with a prosthetic for special occasions. Sometimes I forget and go shopping without a bra on. I try not to.

  • specialk
    specialk Member Posts: 9,221
    edited February 2017
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    Studies on large populations of patients who chose reconstruction put the number who experience complications at up to 25%, but to some degree those complications rates align with patient co-morbidity, radiation damage, age, smoking history, previous chemo, BMI, etc., and surgery type. This percentage includes implant reconstruction - either immediate direct to implant or tissue expander, implant plus flap, and flap only. It is a bit difficult to suss out how many patients with no risk factors for complication then do experience them, but those who have bi-lateral mastectomy with reconstruction have a higher percentage of complication than those who have a unilateral with recon - this makes sense as it is double the surgery. The complication rate for unilateral mastectomy without reconstruction is about 5% based on reading I have done, but doubles for bi-lateral mastectomy without reconstruction, again makes sense since it is double the surgery. In the studies I looked at complications for both mastectomy with recon, and without, included seroma, pain, infection, and wound healing problems. Hope this is helpful.

  • cliff
    cliff Member Posts: 86
    edited February 2017
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    guys are seldom given the choice of flat or not. ok with me, I am way beyond the age where people who make fun of the way I look last long.

  • Luckynumber47
    Luckynumber47 Member Posts: 53
    edited February 2017
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    Very helpful SpecialK. Thanks for the info. 10-25% is lower than I expected but still nothing to ignore.

    Lucky

  • jkbrca2
    jkbrca2 Member Posts: 16
    edited February 2017
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    I'm flat. I own silicone prosesthesis but never wear them. I go flat weekends and wear bralettes with padding to work weekdays. Prophylactic bilateral mastectomy done July 2015 because im BRCA2 positive. So far I love it. I had no complications after the single surgery. I fortunate to have the 3 years to reconcile with my decision before I did it though. I think that as well as having time to research other options helped make me more comfortable with this choice as the best one for me. Its a very personal decision. No problems with heart because without reconstruction they stay above pectoral muscle. Reconstruction gets more invasive.I'm sorry I don't know anything about a lift and can't offer info on that option.

  • pabbie
    pabbie Member Posts: 70
    edited February 2017
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    Thanks to all. Heart

  • castigame
    castigame Member Posts: 336
    edited February 2017
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    I have looked at my chest numerous times since surgery two weeks ago. Still have not shed a single tear which i found it quite odd. I came to the big conclusion that no recon outweighed recon for me. I probably would have considerd it if I were 1A not 2B. And i have a family history of cancer.


    Right now i am thankful recovery has been a breeze and I can focus on chemo and radiation.

  • HarleyDream
    HarleyDream Member Posts: 8
    edited March 2017
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    Hi All,

    I had double mastectomy/no recon Aug 28, 2016. I felt ok after surgery and after the first 2 drains were pulled. One week later the last 2 drains that were in my chest were pulled and apparently I had already started healing because they both tore tissue when coming out! It was horrific! A few days later I could no longer move my chest. It was hard as a rock. Then my right arm (6 nodes removed) developed heavy cording into it. Since last October I have been going to myofacial therapy trying to break up the hardness and get range of motion back! I had to wait 9 weeks between surgery and radiation because my right arm couldn't reach the pole so the underarm could be radiated. I now have most of the range back and my chest is significantly softer but it still needs work. My point is that I hoped if I had no reconstruction that I could quickly bounce back. I was in excellent health and shape when diagnosed. The surgeon thinks that since my BMI was low the myofacia stuck to my pec muscles and my ribs. It has been a very painful process. The debate of recon versus no-recon wasn't as important to me as being healthy and "quickly" getting back into life which I thought no-recon equated to the easiest route....cancer sucks😟! For me, living flat is easy...finding the new normal is hard!

    I like reading the positive posts on here! I'm trying to keep upbeat and get myself back to working and riding my horses. Just got to find "my" new normal! I usually never say anything about any of this but 6 months post surgery....I think I needed someone to know that I still hurt so I can keep hiding my real feelings from my family, so they can move on from this horrible past year. I will be more positive in the future I promise!Thanks for listening to me.

    HarleyDream


  • mustlovepoodles
    mustlovepoodles Member Posts: 1,248
    edited March 2017
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    Harley, I had the same thing happen. My skin is adhered to the chest wall. I had terrible cording that went from my pec to my wrist and involved the whole right ribcage. It took 10 weeks of myofascial release to fix things.

  • HarleyDream
    HarleyDream Member Posts: 8
    edited March 2017
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    Mustlovepoodles thank you for your reply! I'm sorry that happened to you too. I heard "cupping" might help too. I've never done it but just found a lady that provides that service...have you ever tried it or know someone that has?

    - HarleyDrea

  • suburbs
    suburbs Member Posts: 398
    edited March 2017
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    All, thanks for the thread and the feedback and hello specialK. I think of you as a walking clipboard carrier just ready to pull the answer out that is needed. This is the highest of praise in my book. Thank you

    So, I'm thinking BMX and going flat. And as I get closer to the decision, I am starting to just plain feel good. My anxiety level has diminished. The worry of surgery, something I have only had in a dentist's office, is like the sword of Damocles to me. I'm starting to even get happy just knowing others can be happy not reconstructing. I'm visualizing going without and imagining the trip I could take with the reduced outlay for bras. I'm thinking of what I will do with that extra gift of time not spent laid up in bed and sleeping sitting up. For right now, I am good and wow I can honestly say that it's been quite a few weeks since I have felt that way. Today, life is starting to feel good.