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Anyone regret going flat?

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  • Bniebauersmith
    Bniebauersmith Member Posts: 1
    edited September 2019

    In April, 2019, I had a double mastectomy with no reconstruction. I had chemo first, lumpectomy scheduled for May but stopped at 4 1/2 months due to neuropathy in my fingers. Also, the lump was not shrinking. Decided on double due to risk of another cancer developing in remaing left breast. I was triple negative hormone receptive. No regrets on no reconstruction. My clothes actually fit better now with my "C" prosthesis. I was a "DD" prior to surgery. Could not imagine going through all the skin stretching procedures and surgeries. My husband was and is very supportive of my decision. He's amazing!!!

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,685
    edited September 2019

    Hi Bniebauersmith, and welcome to Breastcancer.org!

    Thank you for sharing your story with us -- it's always helpful to hear positive outcomes, as well as the wonderful support received from loved ones.

    Thanks again for posting and we look forward to seeing you around the boards!

    --The Mods

  • I_Spy
    I_Spy Member Posts: 33
    edited September 2019

    StAuggie: I got implants after my BMX in 2015. They looked good with no complications. I fell and smashed one in April 2018 and have been getting sicker and sicker with autoimmune illness since then. I only realized recently that it might be the implants. I'm going to have them taken out just on the (strong) chance that they are causing my illness.

    I wanted to tell you this: You're deciding between going flat and having reconstruction, and you're thinking that one means you "have breasts" and one means you don't. I think you're mistaken in that view. Your breasts are being removed. There is going to be sadness and grieving that you need to allow yourself. Reconstructed foobs (fake boobs) do not feel like breasts. You're completely numb across your chest, for one thing, and also there are dents here and there, you can feel your pec muscle clamp on the implant (they go under the pec muscle normally for safety), and at least for me there are no nipples. Yes, they look good in clothes, but so do stuffed bras. I don't want you to make a decision to go flat and then afterwards feel "sad you have no breasts" and think you made the wrong decision. I wish I hadn't gotten implants now. But at least I can speak from experience for others when I say: "meh, not that great."

    I wish you luck in making this difficult decision, but just realize this is not a choice between Disneyland and Six Flags; there is going to be sadness either way, and that's okay. :)

  • castigame
    castigame Member Posts: 336
    edited September 2019

    Was 47 at the time of DX. Due to DX, I had no choice other than BMX. Had skin sparing on both sides in case I change my mind later. This was 2&1/2 yrs ago. No regrets about being flat. I tried foobs on two different occasion. I hated them. I even managed to find regular priced bathing suits w no foobs.

    For me the main reason being flat was PTSD because I could not think of carrying something on my chest. Secondary was fear of recurrence and third was reconstructed boobs are not mine even if I get tummy tucked ones.

    Now I really wish I went real flat at first place because I have dog ears. Dog ear removal is not an option for me because I plan to stay the hell away from surgery.

  • mybee333
    mybee333 Member Posts: 672
    edited September 2019

    I don't know if this will help your decision and I know it's been a couple of weeks...Seven years ago I had reconstruction with an implant on my right side and a smaller implant for symmetry on my left. I was very pleased with how I looked and that's how I progressed through my 50s. So to some extent I would recommend that. Yet I don't think they truly tell us about the risks or how this might progress over time. Interestingly I too had a fall several years ago and landed hard on my implant, and have now developed capsular contracture. I am very concerned that a rupture may have brought this on and have an MRI scheduled. The PS I consulted with is not feeling an exchange is a good idea perhaps in part due to health issues that I have such as fibromyalgia and other autoimmune, nuisance stuff. Although he didn't say that. He just said that repeated exchanges did not make sense to him; maybe my age was a factor too. (I'm 62). I wish I'd asked more questions. Now I'm in a similar situation to you - trying to make a decision - DIEP or flat. Flat seems like the easier route, I've had many surgeries already, but will I regret it He did tell me that I could choose to go flat now and then have a DIEP later. But again that would be more surgery.

  • I_Spy
    I_Spy Member Posts: 33
    edited September 2019

    MyBee333 Do you associate your autoimmune issues with your implants? My autoimmune issues started after my fall. It was actually pretty rapid, within weeks: first intense itching in right foob, then hives on MX scars, and then systemic pain, fatigue, rashes, on and on. I've only a 1/2 years later figured out it might be the implants.

    Sorry to hijack the thread, I just saw that and wanted to ask.

  • mybee333
    mybee333 Member Posts: 672
    edited September 2019

    I had some autoimmune issues and fibro prior to my fall but they’ve gotten much worse since about 1-2 years after reconstruction (7 yrs ago). Everything was manageable before BC. My fatigue is pretty bad and I’ve gained 45 lbs since I got these implants. Since the fall I think I’m more fatigued and the exercise (and dating) I was doing at that time I no longer do; My energy goes to housework and working. I just don’t know what’s going on although I do have many symptoms of Bii but there’s also pre-existing stuff. The anti-hormonals were hard on me too. It’s just hard to tell what’s happened but I’m in a downward spiral for sure.

  • I_Spy
    I_Spy Member Posts: 33
    edited October 2019

    I understand (sorry for the delay in answering I'd gotten out of the habit of looking here!). I wonder if we all have had some pre-existing situation that makes us more prone to having a reaction to the silicone? Hard to say. I'm researching surgeons but I've practically decided they're coming out.

  • Maisydaisy
    Maisydaisy Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2019

    I have no regret going flat either. I am not showing my body to all people anyway so I am not worried about that. I was diagnosed last year and had surgery in September. I had single mastectomy left. I was given Arimidex for few months. Then I asked my oncologist to change it for I am having joint pain in my middle left finger. It's painful to fold. Now I am on Tamoxifen 20 mg. for few months now. My problem with it is I am having bad hot flashes. So I am thinking of cutting the dose to 1/2. I am 70 years old and my body does not produce lots of hormones to control. Since I am HR+ my oncologist is trying to control my body from producing hormones, hence the effect of hot flashes. I think the dose is too much for me for I am menopause for more than 20 years now. What do you guys think of my decision to cut my dosage in half?

  • KLiz
    KLiz Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2019

    StAuggie... Did you decide yet? Only wondering bc I'm in the same spot... Deciding to be flat or get implants (the tissue diep surgeries sound like too much for me, super risky & I don't want my abdomen messed with). I've gone back & forth for about a week. I need to decide before they schedule my surgery. I'm doing BMX.

    This is hard. It's hard to know how you'll feel in the future... I'm 45. First thought I'd get reconstruction, because of course! But.... Now not so sure. And wondering how I'd feel, being flat. I gotta decide this week. Arg.


  • Confused516
    Confused516 Member Posts: 5
    edited October 2019

    glad I found this site, having sleepless nights on what to do. BRAC + with stage 0 BC so we caught it early. But having the gene both OBGYN and Surgeon suggested a double mastectomy with reconstruction. The thought of putting a foreign object in me, all the extra surgeries for reconstruction, complications that I read about is freaking me out and I have a lot of anxiety to begin with. I have no idea what to do. I would love to go flat but am freaked out about that option also.

    I am 50 and do not have large breasts (B cup) so is reconstruction worth it! Found some inserts on Athleta that are getting great reviews and feel I could just wear those. Have appt with plastic surgeon tomorrow to see what they present to me.


    thanks for listening.

  • Yogatyme
    Yogatyme Member Posts: 1,793
    edited October 2019

    Confused, I went flat after my bilateral mastectomy on 8/13/19 and have not had any regrets to date. I love not having to wear a bra and when I want more curves I wear a bralet with “knitted knockers” (they are knitted prosthesis made by volunteers and are super soft, light and not hot). I actually have a sense of freedom which surprised me. I, too, am BRCA1+ and my tumor was found early. I am 68 and did not want another surgery, so opted for no reconstruction. It’s a completely personal decision and everyone has to decide what is right for them. I really didn’t struggle w my decision, but I know many women do, understandably. Good luck with your decision making. While getting a dx of bc is always scary, I’m so glad you found yours so early

  • Confused516
    Confused516 Member Posts: 5
    edited October 2019

    Thank you Yogatyme!

  • stauggie
    stauggie Member Posts: 23
    edited October 2019

    Kliz, I didn't see your post until today. Sorry!

    So I am scheduled for BMX on Oct. 29, with immediate reconstruction and tissue expanders. I am opting to go with implants. I'm 50 years old.

    I have wrestled with this flat vs reconstruction debate within myself for months; I finally had to admit that as much as it is appealing to go flat, I acknowledged that my emotions were not at all reconciled with this. I was going to pursue DIEP, but I could not find a PS that did DIEP nearby that was in-network with my insurance. I'm sure that if I pursued it, I could find one and travel to them. However...I really like my breast surgeon--I feel like she is just the best one for me--and I don't want to change my breast surgeon to another one closer to a DIEP surgeon.

    I know that I could have the BMX here, take time to heal, and then go get the DIEP...I don't want two major surgeries like that, and then to have to travel to all the follow-up appointments.

    So, I felt that for me, my choices were to go flat or go with implants. I am not ready to go without at least some form of having breasts. I do have reservations with implants; especially after reading about the Breast Implant Illness possibilities. But there are millions and millions of women who are happy with their implants, so I decided to go that route. I feel like, emotionally, I need to give that a try. I am hoping that it works well for me.

  • alto
    alto Member Posts: 82
    edited October 2019

    That's great, StAuggie. It sounds like you've found peace with your decision.

    Confused516, I really struggled with my decision, too. Seeing the plastic surgeon and having more information about what I could expect on each path helped me. I hope more information helps you land on a path you feel comfortable with.

  • Confused516
    Confused516 Member Posts: 5
    edited October 2019

    StAuggie thank you for the post, good luck with your surgery!

  • stauggie
    stauggie Member Posts: 23
    edited October 2019

    I appreciate everyone's input so much. I read each post, going back and forth to each choice. It truly is such an individual decision, and often it seems like a difficult one for more than just me.

    I had my pre-op with the PS nurse, and that went well. I was dreading the photos, but the nurse was so kind that it was okay. I am dreading the surgery--both the mastectomy and reconstruction; I usually keep a pretty tight rein on myself, but I have been very emotional for a few weeks now. For me, it is horrible to think of being laid out on a gurney, while they cut my breasts open, scoop out the tissue--like carving a pumpkin lol!!! and then make new ones. With no nipples. OY VEY.

    So many people in there seeing me naked. UGH....I truly hate that. I'm such a private person. The realities of all of this has shifted from future to present, and it's staring me in the face now. I know I'll survive, and be okay. And in about six months so much of this will all be behind me. I have to focus on that, I guess.

    On a good note, I told the PS that as long as I look normal in a bra I'm good...he said, you won't need to wear a bra. This is slightly scandalous to me lol but I guess perky breasts are going to be a silver lining for me.

  • mightlybird01
    mightlybird01 Member Posts: 161
    edited October 2019

    StAuggie, I had to make the same difficult decision, and decided for unilateral mastectomy without reconstructions (I have small breasts, A cups). I just wanted to let you know, without having first hand experience yet to share (my surgery will be Nov 8th) if you really just want to look normal in a bra, you could very likely achieve that with a bra and a breastform in it. That's what my plan is at least. I have a friend who has that procedure done 20 years ago, and never regretted it. She just wears a bra with a breast form in if she wants to look "normal".

  • helenlouise
    helenlouise Member Posts: 363
    edited October 2019

    It really is hard to decide. I really did not want to lose my breasts. Who does? I went BMX. I cried the day of the surgery but felt a big relief when it was done. I did not want the additional surgeries required for reconstruction plus I thought my chance of recurrence was high so I am flat. I was a D cup and now wear a Lorna Jane pammy bra. Which has a small insert. It gives me just a tad of shape and without it I am truly flat. I don’t regret my decision and I do not regret having both breasts removed. As I have had radiation and then a recurrence, I would not have been able to wear a prosthesis on my effected side for many months had I gone UMX. I miss my breasts but did not want to chance a rapid spread if I did not have surgery.

    It’s a terribly hard thing to decide when you don’t want to do it at all. So all you can do is consider the options, consider your preferences and needs and your decision will be right.

  • Confused516
    Confused516 Member Posts: 5
    edited October 2019

    still struggling with this decision, flat, reconstruction or lumpectomy with radiation. Tremendous fears with all of them!

    I really don’t want implants they scare me and I don’t want to have additional surgery want this over with! But can I live being flat, I think so I am a B cup wear coobie bras all the time and do not wear clothing to show off breasts anyways- only concern is bathing suit.


    lumpectomy with radiation- radiation side effects and fear it comes back.


    Flat - well just that Flat! Fear husband will hate it but he says he loves me for who I am not my breasts snd wants me to be healthy and here for him and kids.

    sleepless nights, waves of panic, crying out bursts! Dec 16 is surgery not sure I will make it to then!

    Pictures of people who went flat in clothes with bra inserts ( not prosthetics just little inserts like theAthleta ones would be helpful)

    https://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=372047#pdp-page-content

  • helenlouise
    helenlouise Member Posts: 363
    edited October 2019

    hang in confused. It is a verydifficult decision. Maybe get out the old pen and paper and work up which option has the most positives or the most negatives. Keep talking to us, if you find it helpful.

  • Confused516
    Confused516 Member Posts: 5
    edited October 2019

    HeleneLouise I did the pen and paper the other day, when I think I know clear cut decision I freak out and change my mind again and come up with reasons why that choice is bad and maybe go different route. I just flat out do not like any option (the option I want can’t have plastic surgeon said not candidate for using my own tissue which seems weird as I am 5’8 150 lbs)

  • trinigirl50
    trinigirl50 Member Posts: 158
    edited October 2019

    Seems odd you can't use your own tissue. It may be you dont have enough? Get a second opinion from a Breast surgeon specialist is you can. The breast reconstruction centre in new Orleans do all kinds of reconstruction (check out their website). But that does involve more surgery.

    I have silicone implants with some fat grafting. It was not a big deal surgery wise. Recovery was quick. But they dont feel real of course. What is it about implants that scares you?

  • Yogatyme
    Yogatyme Member Posts: 1,793
    edited October 2019

    confused, my sister is having the surgery you want and her PS told her he could probably give her B cup at best. She is 5’9” & 190#, so it may very well be that you do not have enough tissue. Consulting other PS’s might give you more information to help w your decision.

  • stauggie
    stauggie Member Posts: 23
    edited October 2019

    I'm sorry, Confused...I was right where you are. I know how hard it is, and what it's like to keep bouncing back and forth among all the options...none of which we really want, because if it were our choice we never would have had cancer, and never needed surgery. It's hard to choose something you never wanted at all. Hugs.

  • akmom
    akmom Member Posts: 98
    edited October 2019

    I am 64 years old, have been living flat for over a year now and have never regretted my decision. I have only worn my prosthetic breasts a few times; in fact my biggest regret to date has been buying them in the first place because they aren't getting much use. (I opted not to have reconstruction because I didn't want additional surgery that would prolong recovery time and increase the possibility of post surgical complications, and didn't want implants because I don't like the idea of a foreign material in my body.)

    Something I would like to mention in case anyone is wondering about this. I expected people would stare and possibly ask questions about my flat chest. In fact I have never noticed a single person looking, and certainly nobody has said anything to me. Also, I use a small cushion between my chest and guitar, and a couple of people in the groups I play with have asked what the pillow is for. They were visibly surprised when I explained it was just to provide some padding since there is just skin and bone in that area now. (One person was actually embarrassed that he hadn't noticed, said he was a retired doctor :).

    Wearing patterned clothing, not too tight, and especially adding a scarf or vest, seems to make the flat chest less noticeable. Personally I don't find the prosthetics that comfortable and am much happier just going without (and love not wearing a bra).

    One more thing, even if you plan on no reconstruction you may want to consider a consult with a plastic surgeon before your surgery. I didn't bother, since I knew I didn't want reconstruction, but now am going to a plastic surgeon for some "scar repair" surgery as I have some loose skin and one side and a 'dog ear' under one arm. This may have been unnecessary if the plastic surgeon had been on hand to finish up after the breast surgeon performed the BMX, who knows?

    Hope this helps.


  • naalehunet
    naalehunet Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2019

    From reading many comments on BCO, I could see how indecision could make it more emotionally painful. After thinking about it, my husband and I earl on decided to go flat and have never doubted this decision. I am so happy to have it all over, with drains out and no longer in pain. For me, flat with no reconstruction is definitely the right decision. And I have a bit of cleavage left so no one will notice I am now flat. Plus I bought some cute Junior size blouses that make even old flat chests look nice.

    My granddaughter in her mid-twenties is flat-chested by nature and her wardrobe inspired my new clothing choices and made me brave about going flat.

  • Rachipie
    Rachipie Member Posts: 2
    edited October 2019

    Hi hun.

    I'm flat and happy! I can wear all those sexy off shoulder and backless fashions. Jackets scarves, chunky necklaces, deep V necks.

    I threw away all my bras and have no regrets. Not to mention that I work in an image driven career where everybody else seemed so concerned for me to have no more breasts.

    Mammary lumps on my chest do not define me as a woman. I'm still the vivacious , cheerful, confidant and feminine woman that I always was. I'm 4 weeks out after full double mastectomy and back to work standing tall with a confident smile and lovely clothes.

    Always follow your heart on what makes you comfortable, but for me, the idea of prosthesis seemed unnatural. I was flat as a young girl and now here I am- flat again and I don't even miss my nipples. It feels so good to let my body heal with nothing foreign in a traumatized place. The scars are still tender and I don't want anything pressing on them. I'm way past the chapter of stuffing bras in life and it's been very rewarding to hear those same people tell me that I look just as beautiful as I always did and still "look like yourself". Which is saying something since I had DD implants for 20 years before diagnosis.

    Beauty comes from within. It's in your eyes, your smile, and your countenance.

    Sending you love and hugs, I hope you feel as good as I do after your mastectomy.

  • I_Spy
    I_Spy Member Posts: 33
    edited November 2019

    Can I just throw another important distinction in here? I had a BMX with implants in 2015. I fell a year ago and I believe my implant has leaked, and I have gotten SO SICK with autoimmune illness, immediately after the fall, that I'm permanently disabled and on disability. I am having the implants removed on December 11th in the hopes I can get my life back.

    Here is the important distinction: if you get implants you are STILL LOSING YOUR BREASTS. Implants are not breasts. Your chest will be completely numb. You won't have nipples (well, you shouldn't: don't go through a BMX and leave breast cells behind to grow cancer in the nipples). Looking at yourself naked you will see that you have no breasts, and so will everyone else that sees you naked. They just look good in clothes. You know what else looks good in clothes? Gel inserts.

    It is such a hard decision and I feel my PS talked me into reconstruction, giving me some statistic that women do better or something after surgery if they have reconstruction. Well, my life is RUINED. IT IS OVER. I literally might as well have died of breast cancer. I can't leave my house, I have to rely on family support, I have no social life, I can barely do any household chores. I couldn't get a boyfriend even though I'm still relatively young and pretty, because I have no energy to do anything but lie in bed, take my drugs, and cry in pain. And now I have to have major surgery while I'm this sick to remove these implants and hope I get my life back.

    It is a personal decision and I don't judge anyone no matter what their choice. Just really take what I'm saying to heart: you are losing your breasts. Implants won't change that.

  • Yogatyme
    Yogatyme Member Posts: 1,793
    edited November 2019

    I Spy, I am so, so sorry you are struggling so much. A friend has an autoimmune disorder and does everything humanly possible to manage it, but it is a bitch!!