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Anyone regret going flat?

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Comments

  • jaybird627
    jaybird627 Member Posts: 1,227
    edited January 2021

    Barbara, I had a lat flap. It's a mound, not completely flat. I've had 3 failed expanders due to open wounds. The flap was done after 1st expander fail , then flap with expander, that failed, then another expander (#3) with HBOT before and after and while that lasted 2 months that too failed. I'm back to a mound with no real options. I'm having the other side implant removed due to capsular contraction and I'm trying to match. If that doesn't work I may do another lat flap in the future. I recovered well from the lat flap. No real issues. I'm tight all around but I was after the BMX so not sure which surgery to blame. I just want balance as I hate wearing a prosthesis (the bra has to be tight which I hate). Good luck.


    Edited to add: my PS said since it's my own body parts (skin and muscle) that's why the lat flap has held up. I had it done 12/2019, so a year ago. The flap was successful but my skin doesn't like the foreign objects. He said it's probably due to bacteria in my scar tissue. I will never have a successful expander/implant on that side.


    J ~

  • TenS4me
    TenS4me Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2021

    J- Thanks for sharing. I'm sorry you have also had issues. My plastic surgeon is a good surgeon, but horrible communicator. He never answered any of my questions and seemed to try and avoid bad news which is why I'm talking to other surgeons. I'm sure it will all work out, eventually.

    Take care,

    Barbara

  • nola70115
    nola70115 Member Posts: 61
    edited February 2021

    Thanks to everyone here, this thread is really useful. I am waiting for the biopsy to come back on a possible recurrence, but I think it's pretty clear there is something there and I'm going to need more surgery. I originally went with direct to implant surgery when I had my BMX because I didn't want to have to keep having more procedures. The cancer was only on one side, and could have been removed by lumpectomy, but I felt like it was inevitable that it would recur if I kept my breasts so I just wanted them gone. The cosmetic result is fine, if not great. I have some dog ears. I never got nipple tattoos. I just didn't want to think about it or have to keep getting more work done. The implants have never stopped feeling like something shoved under my skin. They are subpectoral so any time I flex that muscle I feel them. I really don't like the feeling.

    So I'd like to be rid of the implants, but every time I look at what goes into the surgery for a flap I cannot get behind it. I have enough scars already. Cutting into healthy parts of my body to take tissue and put it somewhere else --- I just can't. No judgement on anyone who does have flap surgery, that's great for you. I just can't do it myself.

    That said, I don't know how good I would feel about being flat either. I insisted on implants that were much smaller than my natural breasts had been, because I hated my 38G natural breasts, and they had always been a source of embarrassment to me. I like the smaller size, but I have to admit that having them small makes it hard to fit clothes to me. I gained weight during chemo and without natural breasts to absorb it, all that extra fat settled around my waist, so now my waist is bigger than my bust line, and my proportions are all off. I can't wear anything with a waistline. My level of comfort with my body is not good. I haven't gone without at least tank top outside the shower for seven years. I try not to let my kids or my husband see me without a shirt on.

    So that leaves me with going flat. And wondering how I would deal with that emotionally when I'm already kind of a mess on this issue. And I'm learning here that if I want to wear a prosthetic, I would have to have a bra on tight so it would stay in place. I haven't worn a bra since my BMX and I'm not keen on going back. And apparently you can go flat and still have the scars feel tight, or have complications that need further surgery. It's likely I will need radiation this time around and it might wreck my skin. I just want to not feel my breasts aching every minute of every day. Ugh writing all this out I see I need to get some therapy to work on these self image issues. I went to a therapist before but I need to find one that has experience with breast cancer patients.

  • juju-mar
    juju-mar Member Posts: 200
    edited February 2021

    TenS4me,

    You mentioned U of M - is that Michigan?

    Julie

  • BlueGirlRedState
    BlueGirlRedState Member Posts: 900
    edited February 2021

    Nola - something I asked about but was not available where I was 4 years ago, computer visualization. If technology can age progress a child, it seems like it would be possible to show you what you might look like flat. I think a friend was able to see what breast reduction would look like.

  • akmom
    akmom Member Posts: 98
    edited February 2021

    Nola, so sorry you are having to go through this again. Personally I feel the best thing about being flat is not having to wear a bra. To me that makes up for the fact that my belly is bigger than my chest. I have found ways to minimize this with clothing - vests help, and loosely gathered shirts or strategically draped scarves. It really is surprising how people don’t even seem to notice the missing breasts. Not once have I seen anyone so much as glancing at my chest, and nobody has ever asked questions or seemed uncomfortable.

    You are right that it is a self image issue, but of course knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to cope with. I hope you can find a way forward - and whatever you decide, I hope you will be comfortable with your choice. Warm hugs x

  • TenS4me
    TenS4me Member Posts: 5
    edited February 2021

    JujuMartin, yes, U of M is University of Michigan Plastic Surger

  • lezza13
    lezza13 Member Posts: 579
    edited February 2021

    After 8 years going flat, I have never regretted it. I have to concur I don't believe people notice the missing breasts. I love not having to wear a bra. The most important thing is not having to worry about getting breast cancer again with such little tissue left. I also did not want to worry about implants leaking or having to be replaced.I was not fond of my plastic surgeon in the first place. took two extra surgeries to remove extra tissue. But after 8 years, I have never regretted it.

  • jakm5
    jakm5 Member Posts: 2
    edited February 2021

    Aw Nola, I am so sorry that you're having to deal with this a second time. It's always in the back of our minds, but with a total mastectomy, you hope it doesn't happen. You got this girl. Just same old, same old. Hug, hug.

    I'm afraid I'm going to the be the outlier here and say that although I didn't go flat, I went small. I was never thin, but always small chested before (almost a B) so for reconstruction I stayed small. And I DO regret it. I also have the under pec implants, so yes, I feel them, but I can also have fun with my kids and grandkids flexing them like a beach bum! Never gets old. However, I also like clothes. I'm not a fashionable person and I only shop maybe three times a year, probably only twice, but I do like to feel good in what I'm wearing. I also work in a large office. boooooo. So now I have to wear a bra anyway in order to hold the pads needed to make my clothes look normal.

    I've gained weight (sz 16 pants, XL to 1X top) and it's just hanging out from my diaghram on down. My belly is bigger than my chest, and let's not even discuss the bottom half. Unfortunately, clothing manufacturers always equate plus size with a large chest. I'm so frustrated, angry and mostly sad at trying to find pretty clothes that work for someone shaped like me.

    If I had gone bigger, I would still feel them, no difference there; I still wouldn't have to wear a bra; I would fit and look better in clothes; and wouldn't be spending the morning in a pity party (because I've been attempting to shop online.) So unless you don't mind wearing a bra or figuring out how to make swim suits work, or are naturally thin, it could be an issue.

    That's just me. Sorry for mucking up the gears, just being honest! That's why I'm here today - because I knew there would be others here that know the struggle, and it makes me feel less alone and sad. If 1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, why do I see so many BOOBS out there? haha!

    Hugs and blessings to all of us.

  • nola70115
    nola70115 Member Posts: 61
    edited February 2021

    jakm we are exactly the same shape/size. I have the same problem with clothes. It's really sad not being able to find anything that fits me, either in plus sizes or regular sizes.

  • jakm5
    jakm5 Member Posts: 2
    edited February 2021

    Hi Nola,

    Yes, it really is depressing, isn't it. I almost went flat, but I'm single and thought maybe I'd regret it if I decided to start dating. I think we all just want normal. If you're having pain and discomfort, maybe the trade off of going flat would be worth it for you. I've been extremely fortunate and not had any after-affects of the reconstruction. For me, the only issue (so far, thank God) has been appearance. You know, we all make the very best decision we can with the information we have at the time. Whatever you ultimately decide, be confident that you did the right thing. Then if it does bother you later, make a new decision about how to deal with it then. I've only had these for 7 years, but I'm planning on rethinking it all in another 3.

    Till then, it's a bra with padding, thigh length cardigans, tunic tops or . . . no, just that.

  • Snowbaby09
    Snowbaby09 Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2021

    I had my DMX January 19 so I’m a month out and love being flat, no regrets. My incision looks great very please

  • Jksmahoney
    Jksmahoney Member Posts: 4
    edited February 2021

    Nola,

    I went flat on 11/24, I was fitted for my prostheses on 12/31, and I am completely happy with my decision. My bras are not at all tight. In fact, they are looser than the bras I used to wear. I was fitted for them by a professional and she did an amazing job. My prostheses do have some weight to them but less than my natural breasts, and my back hasn’t had it so good since 7th grade! In fact, I would go so far as to say my prostheses are comfortable to the point of being comforting. That being said, I don’t experience hot flashes and I haven’t had my prostheses in the summer months, so I can’t comment on the heat situation. I too try to “hide” my flatness from my kids (8 and 12) as 2020 brought so much to deal with, I just want to spare them the reminder of my diagnosis. We each have our own reasons for our choices and we are lucky if we make a great choice the first time around, especially in these circumstances. So I wish you all the best with your decision and hope you will be happy with whatever you choose.



  • lezza13
    lezza13 Member Posts: 579
    edited February 2021

    Snowbaby2020 Glad to hear your surgery went well. I am sure you will enjoy being flat. After 8 years I still have no regrets.

  • juju-mar
    juju-mar Member Posts: 200
    edited March 2021

    Hello ladies, another question: for those that did a BMX, what was your recovery like? Could you lift your arms above your waist? Did you need help getting dressed, cooking, etc? I am currently having right side mastectomy in April, but seriously thinking of taking the left side off as well for peace of mind. But with Covid, I can't have my sister or anyone else come in to help. My husband will help, but he will have to go to work. I do have 2 teens at home who can cook and clean etc. Just wondering what everyone's experience is. How soon did you feel like you could do normal living things? Thanks!

    Julie

  • aussie-cat
    aussie-cat Member Posts: 5,496
    edited March 2021

    Hi Juju, I was able to lift my arms above my head the next day after my bilateral mastectomies but I didn't have any nodes removed because it was prophylactic. I was tired for a while and I had to sleep on my back for a while but I was able to do most things except carry heavy things or do hard physical work.

  • juju-mar
    juju-mar Member Posts: 200
    edited March 2021

    Aussie-cat,

    Good to know! I wondered if they removed lymph nodes from the non cancerous side. I know they will on the side with BC. Thanks for your reply.

    Julie

  • txlorelei
    txlorelei Member Posts: 68
    edited March 2021

    Well, I’ve decided to go flat after my single MX.

    This had been my initial gut feeling when I was diagnosed last summer, but talking with the doctors changed my plan to implants. Then everything got put on hold when the MRI showed positive nodes and I was put on neoadjuvent letrozole for 6 months.

    I met with the plastic surgeon again yesterday and found out that he doesn’t recommend implants after radiation (which I’ll need). He suggested a lattisimus dorsi flap as an alternative, but the additional surgeries don’t appeal to me. Faster recovery by going flat sounds good

    So now I’m back where I started. I spent yesterday evening researching prostheses wondering if cancer centers give info on local places to buy them. I do plan to knit myself a soft falsie to start with. I just want to get the MX over with!

  • rljes
    rljes Member Posts: 499
    edited March 2021

    Hi JO-5 I wanted to comment on what you said, about having only 1 breast removed. I had to fight with my BS to have both breast removed. I had cancer in my one breast, and was told they would only remove that one breast. I thought that was ridiculous since I was not going to have reconstruction. When I finally found out that my Insurance would pay for both - I gave her the ultimatum - both be gone or I would go else where. So, I just want everyone to know, do your homework before hand. Another FYI - Hindsite, I wish I would have had the Plastic Surgeon help out my Breast Surgeon. When BS finally agreed to remove both breast, she said I wouldn't need a Plastic Surgeon. I took her word - and I look like Frankenstein. But! 4 years later, I have no regrets going flat.

  • hahlyn
    hahlyn Member Posts: 128
    edited March 2021

    Hello Ladies

    Looking for some advice. I had a left mastectomy on Feb 12. Had reoccurrence from original diagnosis in 2016. I don't regret going flat it's just the prosthesis is so heavy. My normal breast are 44DD. So you can imagine what I look like with no prosthesis.

    My question is for those of you if any who had large breast how did you do with the prosthesis? Mines is so heavy it's a size 13 my shoulder hurts but not much I can do..any suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301
    edited March 2021

    I actually "go flat" meaning no prosthetics - no nothing... I have enough medical issues and skin problems "weighing me down'." I just am not willing to mess with anything else.... Those who know me know I had a BMX and so know anything I would "put there" would not be real. Those who do not know me I do not worry about.... It has been so freeing and comfortable - no more bras - I was quite large......

  • hahlyn
    hahlyn Member Posts: 128
    edited March 2021

    Thanks living life! Sometimes I wonder if I should have just taken both off. This is rough. I decided on no reconstruction as my body looks at foreign objects in my body and starts to attack it. I had a port and I was in the hospital with a staph infection for 10 days my fever wouldn't break...so that scared me. I will have to figure out something.

  • aussie-cat
    aussie-cat Member Posts: 5,496
    edited March 2021

    Hahlyn, it sounds like you have a heavy silicone breast form. They come in different weights and an extra light silicone one might be better for you, unless that's what you already have. You could also consider a weighted foam one. I hope you find something better and I'm sorry you're going through so much.

  • hahlyn
    hahlyn Member Posts: 128
    edited March 2021

    Thanks Aussie Cat! I didn't know they had weighted foam. I do have a heavy silicone prosthesis. I'm new to all this I wasn't aware of other options. I'm going to talk to the center that provided the prothesis and see if I can get something else.

    Thank you again!

  • aussie-cat
    aussie-cat Member Posts: 5,496
    edited March 2021

    Hahlyn, I know it takes a while to get your head around all the breast form options. It may help to know what brand your current form is and then to look up the website of that brand to see what other things they sell. Amoena seems to be the most common brand, I think. I don't know what the centre near you will have in stock though.

  • hahlyn
    hahlyn Member Posts: 128
    edited March 2021

    Aussie

    Thanks yes it is amoena I will check with the center and see what they have.



  • cfrank
    cfrank Member Posts: 9
    edited March 2021

    I have been with one breast for 3 years now. the thought of the amount of other surgeries involved in reconstruction was not for me..My other breast is a c cup and I just wear a sports bra with no prosthetic..I cant find one that I like..In deciding on reconstruction the plastic surgeon told me that afterwards I would probably need reduction surgery to match...no thanks..I am very happy with my choicel

  • cfrank
    cfrank Member Posts: 9
    edited March 2021

    I have been with one breast for 3 years now. the thought of the amount of other surgeries involved in reconstruction was not for me..My other breast is a c cup and I just wear a sports bra with no prosthetic..I cant find one that I like..In deciding on reconstruction the plastic surgeon told me that afterwards I would probably need reduction surgery to match...no thanks..I am very happy with my choicel

  • cfrank
    cfrank Member Posts: 9
    edited March 2021

    I have been with one breast for 3 years now. the thought of the amount of other surgeries involved in reconstruction was not for me..My other breast is a c cup and I just wear a sports bra with no prosthetic..I cant find one that I like..In deciding on reconstruction the plastic surgeon told me that afterwards I would probably need reduction surgery to match...no thanks..I am very happy with my choicel

    I think you will love the freedom of being flat!! My scar has disappeared and it really is not that noticeable...and so much faster being healed and done..no extra surgeries

  • juju-mar
    juju-mar Member Posts: 200
    edited March 2021

    cfrank,

    thanks for your reply. I too am a C cup and friends have asked how I will feel being lopsided. I say fine! I want to live life, not go thru more surgeries/recovery/PT etc, I'm sure it'll take some getting used to. But that's ok 😊

    Julie - UMX April 12, 202