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Anyone regret going flat?

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  • aussie-cat
    aussie-cat Member Posts: 5,502
    edited November 2019
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    I Spy, I'm also really sorry for what you are going through. I hope that the surgery helps you to feel so much better!!!

  • windingshores
    windingshores Member Posts: 160
    edited November 2019
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    I "went flat" and have no regrets. I don't wear any kind of prosthesis. There are actually some clothing options I didn't have before. Lands End makes a bathing suit specifically for those who went flat. I have other health problems and did not want to stress my body with any other procedures, and I really felt fine about going flat anyway.

  • Gigicommon
    Gigicommon Member Posts: 58
    edited November 2019
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    I went from a natural DD cup to flat without reconstruction. I tried knitted knockers once and I could never convince myself to wear my fitted prosthesis. It all just felt foreign and unnecessary. I've been wearing some kind of bra since I was about 10 years old and flat feels freeing to me.

    One thing I have found fascinating is the number of folks I have engaged in conversation about my cancer journey who, while looking directly at me, will ask me what kind of cancer I had. The first time it happened I was talking to a woman who knew me from my big breasted youth. The fact that she didn't notice made me question if anyone really noticed. I do try to camaflouge the extra skin the surgeon left behind but, other than that, I wear cute blouses/dresses (cute is always important to me) and live my life.

    For me flat was an easy and right choice but I understand that the decision can be very difficult. Don't be pressured by anyone. This is your body, your life, your decision.

  • rljes
    rljes Member Posts: 499
    edited November 2019
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    I totally agree with Windingshores - I have no regrets going flat, and didn't even consider prosthesis. I did have to over ride my BS and demand to have both breast removed. I have several auto immune diseases, skin disorders, so that was a factor. It also alleviated some of my upper back pain due to my heavy breasts. The only issue is that I have to keep an eye on my tummy bulge. I can see it now. Ha.

    I'm 61, divorced and happy with my decision. Now that its been 2 years, I'm considering tattoo's to cover the scares. Nothing this exotic (see photo) but you get the idea!

    image

  • Abelian
    Abelian Member Posts: 2
    edited November 2019
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    i am 8 months post BMX with no reconstruction and very happy to be flat. I had scar revision surgery about two months ago to remove redundant skin and under arm bulges. I have been fitted for bra and prosthesis but don't use them.

    As others have said, nobody notices, even though I was rather large before. Some clothes actually fit better now.

    Good luck with your decision.

  • JCC4958
    JCC4958 Member Posts: 3
    edited November 2019
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    Dear StAuggie: I had BMX six years ago and have never regretted going flat. I had so many surgeries every two years and just couldn't stand the thought of more. It is a process when you decide to go with implants or the flap. There can be complications and more surgeries involved. Make sure you get all of the pros and cons from your surgeon on each procedure.

    You do not have to make a decision right now. Most insurances will cover it years later should you decide. I actually had to fight with my surgeon. She couldn't understand my decision. I have never regretted it. I do have several varieties of prosthesis but find myself not wearing anything at all most of the time. Take your time and make the decision you feel most comfortable with. Don't let anyone pressure into making a decision before you are ready. Prayers for you on your journey. JC

  • cfrank
    cfrank Member Posts: 9
    edited November 2019
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    I had a mastectomy one year ago..just one breast. I choose no reconstruction because it involved so many other surgeries and drs visits. I have a prostetic but I never wear it.. Im very comfortable..there are a few things I cant wear because its too obvious. But I love my flat side!!

  • HopeWins
    HopeWins Member Posts: 81
    edited November 2019
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    confused516 - I don't know if this will help, but offering a perspective. I'm also 5'8" and 150lb, just like you. I read, researched, read more, drowned myself in statistics and case studies and as much info as I could find after deciding on bmx. I leaned towards DIEP because I wouldn't have to deal with implants and figured the recovery wasn't much worse than dealing with TEs for a few months. I had my surgery 8/22.

    I think I was right on the recovery. Its rough for a week or two but doable. I'm not positive I was right about DIEP being right for me. The first PS was skeptical about having enough tissue and said- we'll need to do quite a bit of fat grafting and you'll be smaller. The far more experienced surgeon said - it will be close, but probably just enough to recreate what you have. I thought I'd be ok with being a little smaller if that was how it ended up and went with PS#2.

    I used to be a C. I'm now more like an A. No cleavage and some concave areas. I know I didnt go flat, but I feel like I did. I've had people ask - Have you thought about whether you're going to have reconstruction? My BS has said 3 times - you definitely had more breast than belly. I REALLY struggled getting dressed/leaving the house after surgery. I need to have revision surgery, but it would probably take 4 surgeries minimum (lipo to other parts) to get enough fat to fill in these flat areas. I'm not willing to do that. In addition, after the big surgery, I learned my PS is booking 6m out for revisions. Its depressing, honestly. I need closure. I'm debating leaving it as is. I'm debating switching surgeons. I'm debating adding an implant. I see the PS next week and will discuss this with him.

    Hind sight from a woman who was told she was borderline for DIEP, I don't know that I'd recommend it. It's not just about potentially going smaller. The results are less predictable. They're not "round" for lack of a better term. I've got divots and the inner/upper areas are skin on ribs. There's a lot more scars with DIEP. That part isnt a huge deal to me, but it is to some women and I don't love the numbness under my arms from the incisions that go almost around to my back. I haven't worn a v-neck in 3 months... it's just difficult to adjust to.

    At the end of the day, nothing will ever be the same. I'm not super proud of my body, but I did have really good boobs before BC. Nothing will ever compare to my old ones. I'm just trying to find a mind/heart/self-esteem balance with a new me. DIEP wasn't what I hoped it would be, Implants definitely have their downsides. Flat is a super admirable choice, but not right for me. It's really hard. Not sure if you're aware but there are hybrid surgeries that combine DIEP with implants. Not many surgeons do it, but it is an option that's been successful for thinner DIEP patients. I learned about it recently.

    I wish you the very best! It's so hard!

  • mybee333
    mybee333 Member Posts: 672
    edited November 2019
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    I too have had a lot of problems that I relate to my implants. As someone who already had auto-immune issues I was a very poor candidate for implants. But no one mentioned that at the time. I’ve developed further difficulties and what I had worsened to the point where I too spend most of my off time laying down reading, watching TV, phone surfing or just napping. I no longer date and I hardly exercise at all because I pay for it afterwards and have next to no muscle recovery. I’m exhausted I can hardly keep up my house. My implant from UMX is ruptured and has capsular contracture and I’ve only had these implants for 7 yrs. What they say is that about half of women who get them have complications by the 7-8 year mark. In 10 years every woman should get them replaced or removed. Implants are much more hassle than anyone ever tells us. Explanting hopefully in December. I do have concerns about finding a doctor that can do a good explant as well as a nice smooth closure without dog ears. I’m having a little trouble finding somebody who can do that. So I’m wondering even about just doing the explant and then having a revision later although I really, really do not want another surgery. I had seven at the time I got BC.

  • rljes
    rljes Member Posts: 499
    edited November 2019
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    mybee333 - I am sorry to hear that no one told you about complications when one has immune/skin disorders. I understand completely how you feel. Having auto-immune diseases complicates recovery when going thru chemo & BMX. I turned down radiation - Chronic fatigue and pain is a way of life for me. 2 years after my BMX I still have to sleep with a pillow under my armpit.

    Hindsite - I should have had the Plastic Surgeon sew me up instead of the BS.

  • squatchmama
    squatchmama Member Posts: 16
    edited November 2019
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    StAuggie,

    I am newly diagnosed and looking through this thread to see how everyone deals with this.

    First, thank you all for being so open and helpful in this forum. I thought cancer was cancer. Now I know differently.

    57 and already small breasted so I don't think flat would bother me too much. It isn't my choice to do any of this but with that being said I am here doing it. I would have thought that I would be happy to have an option to have somewhat larger breasts but not this way. And I already deal with autoimmune disease 10+ years so the chance of that becoming uncontrollable or God forbid getting another one from implants doesn't appeal to me. But I am still undecided even with all that said. Ugh. I will keep reading your experiences and I thank you all in advance!

    Shelly

  • 1redgirl
    1redgirl Member Posts: 94
    edited November 2019
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    It will be 2 yrs in March since I had my mastectomy. I also had lymph node dissection removing 12 nodes. 1 had cancer. I was told that morning after surgery by my surgeon and nurse navigator. They both knew I would refuse any further treatment as I did 25 yrs ago.

    I was big breasted. I was also overweight. I decided before surgery not to have reconstruction. However, my surgeon left a bit more skin than he was happy with after looking at area. He wanted to go back in a fix that excess skin. I told him not to worry. Surgery is very hard on me. I have lots of trouble waking up. So, I decided to wear a sport bra most of the time and with a 50 lb loss in weight, my good breast is a lot smaller. So pretty much nobody can really tell and I do go to the gym each day. I wear tops that have flowers, patterns, sweaters, etc. It is just recently that I can leave off my arm band and chest band when I sleep. Before the lymphatic system felt bogged down. Just so much pressure. So it took nearly 2 yrs to get back feeling in my chest and arm when prone. I guess never say never.

    I am 67, so I do understand those that are young wanting normalcy and so opt for reconstruction. My PT person had BC. Her cancer was genetic. She was very young and had reconstruction and looks great. However, at about the 8 yr mark, she had to go through it all over again. Apparently she was told years ago this would be the case. I could not go through all the surgeries she has had. Bless her and others.
  • donnadio
    donnadio Member Posts: 674
    edited December 2019
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    Not finding alot of posts on removal of implants! I have one in and one implant out from a removal three years ago because of a leak and then developed a horrid infection on the right side.. I never went back to replace it as deep down I just could not make a sane decision on what I wanted. I have immune issues and have no doubt that it is time for this one implant to come out. It is not easy to imagine what I will feel as my original scars of breast cancer was 2009. I know it is the right decision, but it is overall tiresome but i do not want to go through this again at 10 year mark as it happens. I also think my overall fatigue increased after my last surgery and implants are not good for me.

    Surgery is tomorrow and hoping for the best!


    Donna


  • rljes
    rljes Member Posts: 499
    edited December 2019
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    Hi DonnaDio - hoping your surgery went well. Just a suggestion, you had said not much on your specific situation, you might start a new thread with your topic. I don't know about everyone else, but I am always scrolling thru new threads to see if any situations pertain to me.

    best of luck!

  • Brooklyn1234
    Brooklyn1234 Member Posts: 29
    edited December 2019
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    Hope your surgery went well, Donna! I'm following this thread with interest. I have an implant and experienced capsular contraction and around the 7 year mark I developed awful itchy nummular eczema/dermatitis on it and around my armpit, and also a bit on my other breast. I have a long history of eczema but only on my hands. Now that I'm getting surgery to remove a local recurrence on my mastectomy site, I'm having the implant removed.

    My question is whether anyone going flat on one side has considered getting a dramatic reduction on the other side, just to make things more even? I'm a C cup, and am trying to decide between this and a nipple sparing mastectomy on the non-cancerous side.

    Also, if anyone is interested in the implant -nummular dermatitis connection, here's a 2015 study of Japanese women post-mastectomy: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/psi/2015/209458/



  • DivaD
    DivaD Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2020
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    I understand that anyone who hashad a mastectomy is always a candidate for reconstruction, no matter how long ago the first surgery was performed. It seems there is possibly a better cosmetic result if there is s skin- and nipple-preserving mastectomy, but plenty of women have good results even if not.


    Important to know how radiation/chemo will influence your ability to heal. sit with each possible outcome - you will find that decision that is right for YOU, and that you feel peaceful about.

    Sending you healing prayers and lotsa hugs!!

  • blah333
    blah333 Member Posts: 68
    edited January 2020
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    DonnaDio --- I used to look at the flat and fabulous group back when I used facebook. There are many women in that group that got on the flat path due to having to remove implants. You may find some comrades over there. I hope your surgery went well.

  • purple32
    purple32 Member Posts: 1,767
    edited February 2020
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    I too am trying to decide ( by this MONDAY!) of whether or not to reconstruct. UNILateral MX planned ' soon' . I WAS thinking IMMED RECON w/ implants but for a number of reasons I am re considering. I have underlying health issues

    I would like to ask this :
    ***IF need rads ( wont know of course until nodes ) how would that impact RECON? ALSO whether flat or not flat :
    How does one take care of their own drains?I am alone - my husband passed 3 yrs ago ( Damn cancer !)

    AND app how long does unilateral MX take- on the table?

    Many Thanks to all of you brave ladies!

    Laurie

  • purple32
    purple32 Member Posts: 1,767
    edited February 2020
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    rljes

    LOVE THAT PIC!

    Now if I didnt have lymphedema THAT would be my answer and NO RECON for sure ! Beautifull!
    They should make such a bra ! Of course Iam going UNI so that wouldnt work for me either :>)

  • 2019whatayear
    2019whatayear Member Posts: 468
    edited February 2020
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    no regrets! I’m very happy with my decision. My goal was a few surgeries as possible . I believe going flat helped me weather chemo and radiation as well. Less stress , less inflammation etx

  • alto
    alto Member Posts: 82
    edited February 2020
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    My mx was about 45 minutes. No nodes taken, as they came out with the previous surgery.


  • rljes
    rljes Member Posts: 499
    edited February 2020
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    Hi Purple32 - what did you decide? I had a RN come out once a week and assistant come out 3 times a week to help me with my drains. (that social services set up that Health Ins paid for) I was suppose to change them twice a day - that didn't happen, since I live alone and no one to help on a daily bases. I was lucky everything turned out ok and no infections. Best of luck!

  • mconover
    mconover Member Posts: 2
    edited February 2020
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    I am quite happy to be flat. Seven month's post surgery and I'm doing everything I was doing before. And really I was fully recovered in 4 months. I don't feel that anyone notices my flat chest. Of course I'm 70 and happily married, so don't need them anymore.

    One reason I'm happy to be flat is this: so many people have disabilities, visible and invisible. So by being open about my breastless condition, I feel that I am able to empathize with and in some small way support those whose disabilities are more of a burden.


    "Flat and Fabulous" is a Facebook group that I found very helpful.

  • purple32
    purple32 Member Posts: 1,767
    edited February 2020
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    rjles

    I decided no recon thank you!

    Massgeneral called yesterday with surgery date of JAN 25th

    VERY VERY concerned as I have ' other issues' going on and they said NO anesthesia consult except by anesthesia nurse via phone the DAY BEFORE!(it wasnt at all like this last time)
    VERY stressed.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,283
    edited February 2020
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    mconover, welcome to Breastcancer.org and thank you so much for reaching out and sharing your story and experiences here with our members. We hope that you will stay active. If you want, you can fill out your Profile so others can see your diagnostic and treatment information easily.

    Please keep us all posted as to how things go for you. Let us know if we can be of help.

    Best wishes,

    The Mods

  • arby
    arby Member Posts: 27
    edited February 2020
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    When I had 33 rounds of radiation following a lumpectomy, the burn so compromised my skin that the surgeon said it wasn't an option when I had 2 recurrences. I also experienced "radiation recall" while on chemo for the 1st recurrence so that further damaged my skin. I 'm a blue-eyed blonde so my very fair skin burnt so easily. I hope and pray you won't need radiation. Surely there are other options by now. I appreciated HOPEWINS story. I am finally making peace with flat, but it is such an assault to feeling feminine. Invest in good prosthetics & bras, comfortable and pretty nightgowns , attractive clothes, ( I choose pretty patterned tops for camoflag) and a Lands'End Mastectomy swim suit and let staying active chip away at the huge changes in appearance and self image. You owe it to yourself.

  • rljes
    rljes Member Posts: 499
    edited February 2020
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    Purple 32 - the only thing I regretted about going flat was not having a plastic surgeon sew me back up! You might look into it so you will have minimal scaring. My Breast Surgeon did it all - and I have severe nerve damage under my arm pit.

  • purple32
    purple32 Member Posts: 1,767
    edited February 2020
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    THX rjles I really trust this BS - she is great.

  • Lucy55
    Lucy55 Member Posts: 2,703
    edited February 2020
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    I had a UMX in 2014 when I was diagnosed ...I wore my prothesis , but always wished I had a BMX ...so had the other MX last September ..and I'm so happy now ..I can choose to go flat at home , or dress up and wear my prothesis ..and I feel more balanced ..especially when I'm in my PJ's of a night..

    It's a very personal decision ..but going flat was right for me.

  • divinehandmaiden
    divinehandmaiden Member Posts: 4
    edited February 2020
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    NOPE! 😁image