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How have you adjusted to being Half Flat?

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  • ReadyAbout
    ReadyAbout Member Posts: 145
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    I just had an expander removed and will be half flat for next two months. I've got steri-strips over incision site and I'm wondering when I'll feel ok wearing a Coobie bra? I plan to shove two inserts in the Coobie and hope that evens my sides out enough until I get a new expander in. Do any of you remember how long it took before you felt like you could wear a bra?

  • aussie-cat
    aussie-cat Member Posts: 5,496
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    ReadyAbout, I'm sorry you had to have your expander removed. I started wearing a soft bra and soft forms 8 days after surgery and I wore them on 4 days and then developed nerve pain 2 weeks after my surgery. Wearing those things may have contributed to me developing nerve pain, so I would recommend waiting at least 2 weeks and then only wearing them for short periods. Each person is different and it would be good to play it by ear and see how you feel so you don't irritate your scars.

  • beeline
    beeline Member Posts: 193
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    Readyabout, I had a umx 6 weeks ago and am just starting to feel like I could wear a soft bra... but would still prefer not to. I think it's largely down to the ALND though. The incision across my chest is fine, it's my armpit that bothers me.

  • ReadyAbout
    ReadyAbout Member Posts: 145
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    I got a set of knitted knockers yesterday and am wearing one today on my flat side. So far so good! Knitted Knockers is a nonprofit and the rep for my region happens to live nearby so I went to her house yesterday to pick a set out. It was so cool! It's a group of knitters nationwide who knit these - she said it takes her about 3-4 nights in front of the TV to knit a set. They have all sizes and they leave a hole in the back of the knocker so you can pull the stuffing out and create the exact size you want. The yarn is super soft, not that I have any sensation in my chest anymore, lol. Here's a pic of my set. Check out their website!

    https://www.knittedknockers.org/

    image

  • cfrank
    cfrank Member Posts: 9
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    funny that you say that about your stomach!!! My surgeon warned me that my stomach would look larger now that the breast was gone...Mine sure does...

  • Dhanno
    Dhanno Member Posts: 33
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    Very difficult to live half flat .I thought I can carry on like this for one year but now feel low some times . I wear a sports bra at home .It gives some projection to the missing breast . Reconstruction is also not an easy road . Tough choices

  • ReadyAbout
    ReadyAbout Member Posts: 145
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    I met with BS yesterday. She hadn't seen me since a week post-bmx in May and was unaware I'd had so many complications. I am currently flat on one side and have a TE on the other side. I expressed my frustration at not being able to run and return to my normal activities - I need an MRI on my hamstring because it's torn, but I can't get the MRI as long as I have an expander in. Anyway, she said that it may take several more months of waiting to get an expander because I had an active infection one month ago. She also said I had a lot of scar tissue from 2 bouts of cellulitis as well as contracture of the tissue since nothing is in it now. I am now leaning towards going half flat permanently. I meet with the PS tomorrow to discuss options going forward - I switched PS last month so he is new to me. I was diagnosed Feb 1 and I think I've hit a wall in terms of wanting to keep this foob. I would appreciate pros and cons from anyone. I will be a full B cup on the right foob after implant. So far I don't mind the knitted knockers - I don't wear on at the gym or when I'm wearing a button down with a blazer, which I wear often at work.

  • bennybear
    bennybear Member Posts: 245
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    readyabout, this is a tough one. As I had rads before I would have to do a tram flap of some type and as I had previously major abdominal surgery this could be a big issue for me.

    I am thinking of staying this way, it sounds like so many possible complications. I know women are happy at the end of the day with reconstruction.

    I am larger so it is very marked for me. But since I got a proper prosthesis I don't think about it during the day. Still some getting used to, But I am so done with surgery and this whole process it is nice to just go forward.

    Don't know if this is helpful but just my thoughts.

  • beeline
    beeline Member Posts: 193
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    Readyabout, I've been half flat now for 9 weeks since my umx. I chose this route in the hopes of minimising complications and multiple surgeries, also wanting to get back to running as soon as possible. I also figured I could change my mind down the road if I really can't live with it. I'm a small B on the other side (or maybe a large A after kids) so there's less in the way of asymmetry than if I were bigger. I felt quite self-conscious initially, esp because everything was too sore to wear a bra for any length of time. That said, I've found people are very unobservant and even just a jacket or open cardigan is enough to break up the line and make it less obvious. Scarves would also work but I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to clothes. I've also found post my first chemo that I care that much less -- or maybe it's just time. I will probably get a foob eventually to try it out because I have a subsidy to pay for it, but I think overall I will be fine with just the one. Good luck whatever you decide and I'm sorry it has been such a difficult run!

  • sm627
    sm627 Member Posts: 142
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    Hi Joanne,

    Thank you for the info on the bra. Will check them out.


    I have a question for all my Half Flat Sisters out there. How have you mentally prepared yourself for the annual mammograms for your remaining breast? I had a mammogram back in May of this year and totally fell a part emotionally there times before and after when the tears would not stop! I was so worried that something bad would show up. Then the water works happened again when I went for my MRI this past month. I am looking at the future and don't want to always get so emotional every time I go in for one of these screenings. The good news is that both Mammo and MRI came back normal all they found was some small cysts.

    What is a good pep talk to have with your boob?

    I told my left that if it gets sick it will be shown the mastectomy door. I know I should not be threatening it LOL That kind of language will not help matters, but I havn't figured out a way to talk to it nicely.

    Thanks for any advice I appreciate it.

    Hugs to all,

    Sara

  • MexicoHeather
    MexicoHeather Member Posts: 147
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    Sara: At the annual exam, I hit a car in the parking lot before the mammogram. No internal anxiety here Shocked!  I try to relax knowing that I like my little, boob, and all tests point to there being nothing new to see.

  • sm627
    sm627 Member Posts: 142
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    Thank you MexicoHeather! I like going with the nothing is wrong. I will remember that for next year. Sorry to hear about the car situation that must have really sucked. Thank you for sharing that story with me. It reminds me of something similar that happened to me but it involved a bus. After my mammogram back in May I was taking the bus home and a person ran out in the middle of the street and the bus almost hit the person. I guess crazy things happen on the road before and after getting a boob checked out.

    Singing

  • socallisa
    socallisa Member Posts: 10,184
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    I have been half flat for 18 years. My mastectomy bras work just fine. The prosthetic fits well. I hardly think about it anymore. Last time was when I was unaddressing at a pool dressing room. But a towel works.

  • bennybear
    bennybear Member Posts: 245
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    aw sorry Mexico heather, I go Monday, should be strange for sure!

    Has anyone tried a prosthesis made by Bressante? They are custom made and very light and you can use regular bras. I am going to check them out next week. I would love to use regular bras that are not so expensive.

  • buttonsmachine
    buttonsmachine Member Posts: 339
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    Bennybear, thanks for posting about Bressante. I will look into those. I'm still on a quest for a prosthetic that works better for me. The one I got looks fine, but I still have trouble wearing it for prolonged periods because of the weight. All the weight of the prosthetic rests on my lower ribs because I'm very concave on my right side. After a while that becomes uncomfortable, so I still use my knitted knockers regularly.

    I got two mastectomy bras from my insurance, but I find that I prefer "regular" bras without underwires. Anita has some great full coverage bras without underwires. The full coverage cups allow the prosthetic to sit securely, even without being pocketed. The lady who fitted me said many people have success with having a seamstress sew a pocket into a regular bra - I have not tried this yet, but I like the idea.

    Anyway, it's a work in progress for sure!

  • tb90
    tb90 Member Posts: 280
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    After five years, my body and prosthesis is simply who I am. I do not give it a second thought. On Monday I get a new "state of the art" prosthesis from a very lovely shop. I feel sexy and love the bras and other options will share here on Monday. Having said that, for years I experienced weird rib and muscle pains. I am very active and I was always pulling something. Can cause anxiety but less so over time. But mammograms still put me over the edge. Annual mammogram last week and I thought I would faint or vomit. I explained to the technologist, plus the fact I was just dx with thyroid cancer. They were wonderful and gave me my results before I left. Never done typically. Thyroid cancer is concerning but I am still terrified of breast cancer. The annual mammogram never gets easier. But in between, I mostly forget about it. Cannot believe I am excited for Monday. How my life has changed.

  • aussie-cat
    aussie-cat Member Posts: 5,496
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    TB90, it's great that your body and prosthesis are simply who you are now. I hope you enjoy the new things you get on Monday. I'm sorry that you felt so distressed at your mammogram last week and that you've been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I'm glad they gave you the results before you left. Best wishes for everything.

  • sm627
    sm627 Member Posts: 142
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    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to thank all of you that have posted this pass year. Reading your stories has helped me come to peace with only having one breast. I appreciate your support and advice. I could not have made it through this past year with out all of you.

    Thank you! Wishing you all a joyful and peaceful new year.

    Hugs and Love,

    Sara

    Heart

  • aussie-cat
    aussie-cat Member Posts: 5,496
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    sm627, wishing you a joyful and peaceful New Year to you too. Hugs and love, Cathy

  • sm627
    sm627 Member Posts: 142
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    Hi Everyone,

    Happy 2019 I hope this year is going well for you all.

    How are you all doing?

    I have question to ask you all. How long do you wear your foob for in a day. I have found that if I wear the silicone foob for a whole 8 hour work day my chest wall starts to get sore by days end. The knitted knocker doesn't make it sore but it does make it hot sometimes. Do any of you just got out without your foob?

    Wishing you all well and hope you are all staying dry and warm. Here in the Northern Calif we have had so much rain this past month I enjoy every little bit of sun I can get in between the rain drops.

    Hugs,

    Sara

  • beesy_the_other_one
    beesy_the_other_one Member Posts: 170
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    Sara, I'm new to this deal (bilateral/no reconstruction was 1/31). My daughter is an avid knitter and has knitted me every conceivable size of knocker and I'm just getting to the point where I'm half way comfortable wearing a bra for long periods because my nerves and incision lines have finally calmed down. To answer your question, yes I go to the store, etc., without my foobs but generally wear them if/when I know I'll see people I know, though I suspect it will be harder in the summer when I'm not wearing jackets. This has backfired on me a few times, running into friends unexpectedly! Haven't started wearing silicone yet, but it's not like I haven't before, because I had a Phyllodes tumor removed in 1997 along with half my breast (you are only the second person I've "met" who's had one they are so rare). So before my diagnosis in August, I'd worn a silicone prosthetic for 22 years because otherwise the difference between the boobs was very noticeable. I'd had enough prosthetics break down on the outside that I knew I did not want silicone on the inside and I was not a candidate for DIEP (though I did not ever really consider it). I am very happy with my amount of surgery, the ease of my recovery and I'm looking forward to living life!

    I bought something called a Seamless Microbead Form but I ended up buying the wrong size, so I returned it--but I plan to re-order because I think it will be much more comfortable day to day than wearing silicone and cooler than either silicone or the knitted knockers. They are so light--barely weigh anything! These microbead forms are available widely and might be a good option for you.

  • socallisa
    socallisa Member Posts: 10,184
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    I wear my silicone foob all day with no problem. I forget it's there.

  • alto
    alto Member Posts: 82
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    I'm just getting started on my half-flat journey.

    I currently wear a little flannel bag full of very fluffy poly-fill on one side.

    As I'm now past the six-week mark, I am going to check out a more long-term boob. I'm pretty comfortable and don't feel 'uneven'. I've had back/neck issues since my teens, so it's hard to tell, but it seems like nothing has changed.

    Still, I hope they can find me something with a more permanent shape that doesn't need periodic adjustment.

  • MexicoHeather
    MexicoHeather Member Posts: 147
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    Well, my foob was donated away. Florida is HOT. The foob was wrinkly, and a little too big for my bras. Then, I was getting hot flashes all the time, so I was hot. Now I just pick textured tops and don't wear a bra.

  • beeline
    beeline Member Posts: 193
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    Sara, I am 8 months in and don't even own a foob. I think I will eventually try one because it is free and there might be some occasions where I want to wear it, but I'm not sure it would ever be an everyday thing. I had my UMX in winter (the seasons are backwards here in NZ) and when I went back to work I bought a couple of silk tank tops that I thought would be comfortable on my skin and give an extra layer of protection. I also found that cardigans and jackets broke up the line across my chest, but to be honest I don't think anyone has really noticed. When summer came I thought I might need to invest in a bra or foob, but never got around to it with chemo. None of my clothes are very fitted or clingy so I imagine that helps, I also tend to wear black most of the time, but I have just continued to wear what I would usually wear if I still had all my parts. This may all change, but it works for me for now.

    You mention the weather in Northern CA. I lived in San Francisco a long time ago now and still miss it. The weather here in NZ is beautiful today. We are at the beginning of autumn so it can be quite stormy, but for now the sun is out and there is a nice breeze.

    Take care x

  • tb90
    tb90 Member Posts: 280
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    I am so comfortable with my food and bras that it never even crosses my mind. I have two very high end prosthetics covered by my plan. One I can wear with any bra and another fits in a pocket of a specialized bra. Both are comfortable and convenient. In the evenings I wear nothing at home. I was very open with my dx at work and everywhere. I found that people always checked out my chest. I preferred to not bring any additional attention to my shape. But now I feel ready to go either way. I so respect women going flat or half flat. People don't notice and now I am all about being myself. Stronger women have led me here.

  • MarilynIllinois
    MarilynIllinois Member Posts: 50
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    I am a year and a half out half flat. While I have a prosthesis and several bras with pockets, I prefer going bra less.

    I recently bought a Pact shelf bra camisole I found at Whole Foods. It is just what I have been looking for! Not tight under my arm, enough support for the intact breastside, and comfortable on my flat side.

  • sm627
    sm627 Member Posts: 142
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    Beesy,

    It is nice to meet you! I haven't met too many people that have had Phyllodes either. I am so sorry you have had to gone through BC twice. I hope that you have a smooth recovery from your recent MX. Thank you for the suggestion about the foam foob I will look into it. Where did you buy yours from? I hope you were able to find the right size. How is your recovery going overall?

    If you don't mind sharing your phyllodes journey with me. Also how did you feel living with 1 and a 1/2 breasts for all those years. What is it like for you now that you had to say goodbye to your other one.

    My Phyllodes grew so big within a matter of 3 months it had taken over half of my right breast and my surgeon said I had no choice but to get a MX. After my surgery was over my BS told my that my phyllodes weighed 3lb.

    Sending you good wishes and hope that you are able to heal well and get back to the joys of life soon. I see that you are from TX I had a cousin that used to live in Dallas.

    Hope you have a good week.

    Hugs,

    Sara

  • sm627
    sm627 Member Posts: 142
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    Alto: Wishing you well in finding a foob that works best for you, and I hope your recovery from your surgery is going well.


    MexicoHeather: So sorry to hear that the hot weather in FL has forced you to give away your foob. Sometimes I go out bra less too it is a nice feeling at times.

    TB90: Glad you are comfortable and not bothered at all that I a wonderful feeling I hope to have soon.

    Take Care

  • sm627
    sm627 Member Posts: 142
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    Hi MarilynIllinois,

    Wow I didn't know Whole Foods sold camisoles how much were they for the pack? Glad you are happy with how they feet. I like camisoles too and sometimes when I don't feel like wearing my foob the camisole feels so good and freeing.

    Thank you for the camisole tip.

    Wishing you well

    Take Care,

    Sara