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Is anyone going flat or living flat?

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  • specialk
    specialk Member Posts: 9,236
    edited March 2017
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    suburbs - thanks! That is an excellent compliment! I am so glad that you have reached a place of peace with your choice - I think this is common, wrestling with the pros and cons, and then you have a moment where it becomes clear and you feel more sure. For me, it was the choice between lumpectomy or MX or BMX. I knew if I had either the MX or BMX I would reconstruct. My BS was out of town so I had two weeks to decide between lumpectomy and mastectomy, and it took the full two weeks of going back and forth. Even though I have had recon challenges, I wouldn't change my choice - I would do the exact same thing if faced with this decision today, and it turned out I had unseen "stuff" in the non-cancer breast, so BMX was the right choice clinically too. I am hopeful that everything goes perfectly for you and I am so happy for you!

  • windingshores
    windingshores Member Posts: 160
    edited March 2017
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    I had a mastectomy and then a few months later had the other one taken off. I recommend asking for a paravertebral block which allow for less anesthesia and NO pain meds needed. (Forgive me if I am repeating myself-can't find any posts on this thread but they might be there!)

    I am flat and it's fine. I was self-conscious a little the first summer but not for long.

  • georgiarai
    georgiarai Member Posts: 60
    edited March 2017
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    "I'm starting to even get happy just knowing others can be happy not reconstructing"

    Suburbs, I remember feeling exactly this way! I knew what I wanted, but it was hard to explain when people expect you to automatically want reconstruction. Finding this board didn't change my mind - it was already made up! - but it was so nice to find like-minded women. I'm almost 5 years out from my BMX and haven't questioned my decision once. Being flat took some getting used to, but I assume reconstructed breasts take some getting used to, too.

    I was back to work in 3 weeks, and have always chosen to wear a bra & forms (first foam, then silicone after finishing rads). I'm more comfortable in a bra - but that was true when I had boobs, too; I'm strange that way!

    Best of luck to you, and congrats on knowing and accepting what is right for you.

  • amw5
    amw5 Member Posts: 74
    edited March 2017
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    Hi ladies.

    I know everyone is different, but I'm wondering how long you took off from work to recover from you dmx. Also, how long did you have to wait to drive?

  • castigame
    castigame Member Posts: 336
    edited March 2017
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    me, 47 about average re exercise. It has been a month attempted to drive twice within the gates. Changing gear was a problem. For me i think i will be OK in 2 wks. (6wks post op)

  • lisey
    lisey Member Posts: 300
    edited March 2017
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    I was having some muscle twitches at 2 weeks... but I forced myself to drive slowly anyway. I couldn't use the seat belt for about 2 months due to my sternum being so angry... but the PT would rub my sternum and she made all the pins and needles go away very quickly. I was working after 1 day, but that was because I got my office set up in my bed and my big screen was my monitor. Most comfy desk ever.

  • hilltop49
    hilltop49 Member Posts: 12
    edited March 2017
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    I had BMX in Oct 2003 and after much thought and research chose not to have recon. Was told I could have it later if I really couldn't handle being "flat". After 14 years I have never regretted my choice. I was told by MO that I should wear something just to protect my chest/ribs so I went on a quest to find something workable. I have small silicone and foam prosthetics (I was rather small chested - B cup). I have found that the foam works quite well in shelf camisoles (with maybe a little double stick tape) and feel like I'm wearing nothing - very comfortable. I use the silicone with bras when dressed up on rare occasions (still on first set for 14 years). Of course, I often just go flat. Biggest challenge is finding clothes that fit properly and have higher necklines.

    My "AHA" moment came in the waiting room of the plastic surgeon when I read an article in "O" magazine about honoring our bodies and listening to them. My body was telling me that I was about to go through enough trauma (chemo and BMX) and adding more trauma was not what it wanted. It was confirmed when the plastic surgeon told me the trans flap surgery would add another 8 hrs to my surgery. Uh-uh. Not for me. I was 53 yo and happily married. DH had indicated that recon worried him, but choice was mine. He would love me no matter what.

    I have been flat and happy for 14 years, but everyone must do what they feel is best for them.

    PS I've never been much of a Facebook fan, but I'm going to check out the Flat and Fabulous page.

  • bareclaws
    bareclaws Member Posts: 246
    edited March 2017
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    I had my BMX four days ago, no reconstruction. That was an immediate decision when I was told my diagnosis back in November and I've never questioned it even once. Viewing my incisions and flat chest on day two didn't upset me in the slightest, despite being a basket case about so many other things. I'm on Ravelry (social network for knitters and crocheters) and started a bundle of garment patterns for "Living Flat". I think clothes really look better with a flat chest than they do with a full one. Looking at my A-cup daughter yesterday, we don't look so different. Well, anyway, I made some Knitted Knockers and they're so cute, I'll try them and see but am pretty sure that will be a no go. I look forward to getting back to running, without the extra weight in front. I definitely have incentive to try to get my stomach flatter. (Steroids and chemo have been soooo cruel.)

  • msphil
    msphil Member Posts: 185
    edited March 2017
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    yes Praise God i have been wear prothesis for 23yrs now i had reconstruction at time of Lmast my body rejected the expander soon after rushed to hosp removed went flat for awhile. msphil idc stage 0\3 nodes Lmast chemo n rads n 5yrs on tamoxifen

  • Gkim
    Gkim Member Posts: 7
    edited March 2017
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    I'm getting exhausted trying to explain to my husband the pros and cons of going flat, which I prefer. He's reasoning is how's it going to affect me.

  • bareclaws
    bareclaws Member Posts: 246
    edited March 2017
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    Gkim, are you sure he's not worried how it's going to affect him? If you prefer going flat, that should be the only consideration. It's your body and you will live with the consequences of your decision much more intimately than he will.

  • Gkim
    Gkim Member Posts: 7
    edited March 2017
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    yes, I think he is trying to condition his mind now. I told him it's not a reflection of his masculinity . And besides , when I'm not working wearing my scrubs at nights, im at home in pajamas maybe just get dress for church or grocery . Im not going to try impress anyody . A lot of people explanting theirs implants and going flat will make me look leaner sporty not shorter plumper . I've read shoulders will be prone to rolling inwards though . But I just want to get rid of the cancer and not worry about the complications of more surgeries and capsular contractures and more cancers ..and back pains . I have implants now though .from 2009, and then now the cancer. I just don't want to have more to worry about. But I'll listen to the plastic surgeon this Tuesday and see. Then I go back to the pa for pre op . That's the plan for now. And I got this shirts 👚 where u can put jp drains on the pockets, and some comfortable looking pillows, I think I'm looking forward to get this over with. God willing .

  • heidi s
    heidi s Member Posts: 398
    edited March 2017
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    GKim, my husband wanted me to meet with a PS, but when he learned of the complications that can happen with recon (tissue expanders did the trick for him), he was on the same page with just a BMX.

    I'm not going to lie. He was a little freaked out after my BMX. Now, after almost two years, he's fine.

  • amw5
    amw5 Member Posts: 74
    edited March 2017
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    Had my double mastectomy on March 24. My recovery and healing are going great (no pain - thank God).

  • Blythe603
    Blythe603 Member Posts: 1
    edited April 2017
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    Recently had a bilateral mastectomy with pectoralis muscle repair as the surgeon had to remove my silicone implants located under the muscle. Since I had implants previously placed years ago for vanity reasons my care team just assumed I would opt for reconstruction. But I'm done..at an age now when I just want to avoid as much surgery as possible. I have no qualms or regrets about going flat. I feel liberated from both the breasts and the cancer. I'm alive and anxious to get on with being me. Besides I am 6'2" so my chest wasn't the first thing anyone noticed about me anyway.Winking

  • MamaOz
    MamaOz Member Posts: 239
    edited May 2017
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    so how are you doing now?

    I am facing surgery next week, i went thru chemo to shrink tumor on right side which apparently worked but still will need lymph nodes removed

    Planning double mastectomy

    I will need radiation, all drs are encouraging expanders

    But then will need to wait at leadt 6 mo before possinle implants..

    I am 63 I want at this point to be healthy again and am seriously considering no recon , drs say I will be concave and worry I wont like it

    But the thought of complications and more surgery is an overwhelming thought, mentally I think Ican handle yhe flatness

    But I need to decide asap, my last chemo was postponed then cancelled due to neuropathy so my 6 week window is next week and surgeon says we need to move surgery May 20. Any feed back is welcomed please



  • MamaOz
    MamaOz Member Posts: 239
    edited May 2017
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    gkim, so how did it go? I have old implants and they leak

    I had vhemo to shrink tumor , looks like it worked but dome lymph nodes still have residual surgery sceduled for May 20 2017 all drs assume i want expanders then 6 minths after radiation have implants put in

    They dsy if i ot for no recon i will be concave but the thought of more surgery freaks me out I am 63 have a 1 year old new grandaughter that I want to watch grow up

    Any input? Mamao

  • lisey
    lisey Member Posts: 300
    edited May 2017
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    MamaOz, so many women have pain and health issues from implants. Many women explant and go flat and never look back. Don't worry about 'being concave'... you really won't be bad - it's just a scare tactic. Sure being flat is an adjustment, but women are truly looking beautiful and living fantastic lives free of more surgeries and pain. If you join the closed facebook Group Flat and Fabulous, you'll see women with every body shape rocking being flat. There are so many clothing styles and ways to really showcase our womanhood. You'll see, you'll be great.

  • MamaOz
    MamaOz Member Posts: 239
    edited May 2017
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    suburbs do you have an update after surgery how you feel now I had chemo first the last one postponed than cancelled die to neuropthy developing which threw my surgery schefule off and up now its next week may 20 2017 i will need radiation after

    1. All drs recommending expanders I at 63 just want to be cancer free and healthy so i am definately doing double mx, and I think going flat and moving on might be best instead of more pain and surgeries ots such an overwhelming decision i am very small framed 5' and currently have very old leaking implants.. so i really am leery of implants especially under my muscle!
    2. Please any input!! Have to decide quick!!
  • MamaOz
    MamaOz Member Posts: 239
    edited May 2017
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    thank you, I have checked them out as well. I have been researching my eyeballs out! I am sure it will be freaky at first and I have been told by PS that being so small and thin I am not a flap or the like candidate so implants would be my only option but my gut days go flat


  • lisey
    lisey Member Posts: 300
    edited May 2017
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    Here is a pic (cropped in to preserve confidentiality) of a lovely women who is petite and older in our group who is flat and fabulous. Look how BEAUTIFUL she looks!

    image

  • MamaOz
    MamaOz Member Posts: 239
    edited May 2017
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    hi bearclaws, i am facing double mx next Sat May 20, all drs think i should do expanders but I really dont want extra surgery, I have a few other recent posts with more details so I wont repeat .. I m starting to feel calmer about going flat .. its so wonderful to be able to reach out to others in same boat.. hope your recovery is going well

  • MamaOz
    MamaOz Member Posts: 239
    edited May 2017
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    thank you lisey ! I am feeling calmer as my mind settles .

  • lisey
    lisey Member Posts: 300
    edited May 2017
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    Mama, If the doctors are pushing you to get TEs (they were painful and horrible for me btw). I would highly suggest you bring pictures and written instructions about going flat. Many times a doctor will leave excess skin 'just in case you change your mind' which is HORRID. You'll need to be very clear that you want to be boy flat with no extra skin hanging and not 'just in case'. I had to have a revision surgery because my surgeon who put in the TEs refused to believe I would want to stay flat. He was an asshole and 8 months later I went to a new surgeon to remove the excess skin. Here I am this spring btw... love being flat! image

  • amw5
    amw5 Member Posts: 74
    edited May 2017
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    MamaOz - I had a double mastectomy on March 24. When I was waiting on my breast and lymph node biopsy (back in October 2016), I knew then I would live flat if I were diagnosed with breast cancer (diagnosed on October 24, 2016). Besides not being interested in reconstruction, I just didn't want any other surgeries or take a change on having any possibly health issues with surgeries. I will say this much, I love living flat, and I still feel just as beautiful as I did prior to surgery. I think I surprised a lot of people by not having reconstruction (due to my age), but I'm loving it. I hope you will make the best decision for you. Take care. (((hugs)))

  • bareclaws
    bareclaws Member Posts: 246
    edited May 2017
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    MamaOz, why do they say you will be concave? I don't think that is the case any more as mastectomies are muscle preserving. But maybe your case is different? All I know is that I'm not concave, and if my pecs were more developed, I'd probably have a small breast profile. In any case, I am VERY happy that I did not have reconstruction and chose to Live Flat. Clothes are not even an issue. Most things look better on a flat chest. I don't miss my breasts at all!! My hair, another story.

  • bareclaws
    bareclaws Member Posts: 246
    edited May 2017
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    Lisey, you look great! I don't have any pics with a tank top ("tank top" were my final words to my BS before the surgery), but here's a top I knitted in honor of new figure.

    image

  • amw5
    amw5 Member Posts: 74
    edited May 2017
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    bareclaws - I like the top you knitted.

  • MamaOz
    MamaOz Member Posts: 239
    edited May 2017
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    thank you amw5 for yor input! And lisey you look fantasticly comfortable with yourself

    I am waiting for a call back from my oncology surgeon

    Th PS emailed me extra answeres to ? And it looks like 50/50 odds on sucess with expander/ implants post radiation its such a decision Im finding scarier than the chemo was..

    I will keep you posted thank you both for your input


  • Luckynumber47
    Luckynumber47 Member Posts: 53
    edited May 2017
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    MamaOz, if your instinct says to go flat you should listen to it. It's ok to chose flat