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Topic: Delayed reconstruction? Anyone?

Forum: Breast Reconstruction — Is it right for you? Discuss timing and various procedures and techniques.

Posted on: Nov 2, 2019 07:38PM

mnsotamom74 wrote:

I had a double skin sparing mastectomy one year ago. I decided at that time to be flat. My mom went through breast cancer 9 years ago and went flat, so I just assumed that is what I would also want. The last several months I’ve been really regretting my decision. I don’t like being flat and I don’t like wearing the prosthetics, they feel hot and sweaty and they move around. I’m seeing my surgeons partner on Monday to discuss options. I’m nervous as heck. I know I would like to do reconstruction, I’m just nervous about going through it. Have any of you done reconstruction after being flat for awhile? Are you happy with your results? Of course anyone who has had reconstruction can also reply. I’m just wondering are you all happy with the results or wish you wouldn’t have done it?

Thank you in advance for all replies:

Dx 10/25/2018, DCIS/IDC/IDC: Cribriform, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 11/4/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 1/6/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 3, 2019 10:19AM - edited Nov 3, 2019 10:19AM by Peregrinelady

I had a single mastectomy immediately after diagnosis and a Diep surgery (and mastectomy for the other breast) a year later. I have no regrets even with a couple of complications. I just didn't realize how important it was to feel “normal" and my mastectomy scar was very uncomfortable. Just make sure you find a surgeon who hasdone many of these surgeries and listens to you. Good luck!

Dx 4/24/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2015 Liquid tamoxifen (Soltamox) Surgery 4/17/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy 7/31/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 3, 2019 10:41AM mnsotamom74 wrote:

Thank you so much for the reply. I have been doing some research and I am a little concerned about some studies that show that delayed reconstruction has been shown in some case studies that it can awaken dormant cancer cells with the surgery and lead to a recurrence. I don’t know what to think. I’m definitely going to ask the surgery tomorrow about it. If it’s even a small chance? I will just learn to live flat. I’m anxious by nature and this would probably drive me nuts worrying

Dx 10/25/2018, DCIS/IDC/IDC: Cribriform, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 11/4/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 1/6/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 3, 2019 10:50AM Peregrinelady wrote:

I have seen those studies, too, but I am not sure how that happens unless your tumor was close to the chest wall. It is a huge surgery, so make sure you definitely are sure. What really helped me was reading all the DIEP threads to learn as much as possible before deciding.
Dx 4/24/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2015 Liquid tamoxifen (Soltamox) Surgery 4/17/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy 7/31/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 3, 2019 11:11AM DDF77 wrote:

I had a single mastectomy on August 20th. Waited two weeks for the oncotype to return and from that determined no chemo but 5 weeks radiation. There was a micro metastisis in the sentinel node. Now, 2/3rds of the way through radiation I'm facing hormone treatment after as well as reconstruction. HOWEVER, right before I was diagnosed I was scheduled to have a hip replacement surgery which was put on hold. I have severe stage four arthritic hip. So surgeon gave me a cortisone shot and sent me on my way. I went back to get a second shot last week and asked if he could do surgery after radiation. He said yes but that he'd prefer to do it before I start hormone therapy (obvious reasons) Does anyone know of any reason this plan would not be a good idea?

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Nov 3, 2019 02:54PM mnsotamom74 wrote:

DDFF7, I’m sorry, I don’t know the answer, hopefully someone will chime in.

Peregrinelady, no, my bc was not close to my chest wall. I am on anastrozole though and don’t know if you can have surgery on hormone therapy? I have been writing down a ton of questions for the surgeon

Dx 10/25/2018, DCIS/IDC/IDC: Cribriform, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 11/4/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 1/6/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 3, 2019 08:36PM Peregrinelady wrote:

I am not sure about AI’s, but I stopped my Tamoxifen for surgery then resumed afterwards. Definitely something to ask your Dr. about.
Dx 4/24/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2015 Liquid tamoxifen (Soltamox) Surgery 4/17/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy 7/31/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 5, 2019 03:52PM sunnyjay wrote:

I am in a similar boat.. I have a tissue expander from my single mastectomy 2 1/2 years ago. I was told at the time that it was better to wait until after chemo and radiation to get reconstruction done. I had to delay reconstruction longer because my husband got a kidney transplant 10 months ago and I am his caregiver. So far, he hasn't had complications and everything seems to be going well. So now it's my turn for surgery. I've had the expander for 2 years and haven't had any issues, but I know this is only temporary so I have to make a decision soon. I have an appointment with my plastic surgeon tomorrow to discuss my options. When I last spoke with her (2 years ago), she recommended getting an implant over flap surgery. It may be due to her inexperience with flap surgery because she didn't even mention that as an option until I asked about it. I am also preferring to do the implant because of the recovery time. I have my own business and can't afford to be out of commission for a couple of months. I recovered well after the mastectomy so I'm hoping recovery will go well for this also.

I met with my oncologist yesterday and mentioned that I plan to undergo reconstruction soon. He didn't say anything about having to stop tamoxifen prior to surgery. But I will make sure to ask about that.

Dx 3/23/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/17/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 5/19/2017 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 7/20/2017 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Nov 6, 2019 11:35PM mnsotamom74 wrote:

wow, I didn’t know you could have a tissue expander in for that long. Keep us posted on how everything turns

Dx 10/25/2018, DCIS/IDC/IDC: Cribriform, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 11/4/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 1/6/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 6, 2019 11:45PM SimoneRC wrote:

I think one needs to stop Tamoxifen before surgery, but not AI’s. DVT and PE risk with Tamoxifen. For all of my pre op instructions it says to stop Tamoxifen if taking, but not AI. As always, please consult with your surgeon!!!


ATM Gene Mutation, Deletion. IDC w/Lobular Features and Focal Mucinous Features. Pre Pectoral Reconstruction. Hysterectomy Surgery 4/6/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 5/6/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 7/3/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 4/30/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 4/30/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 8/6/2019 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting
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Nov 7, 2019 12:04AM GreenEyes81 wrote:

I had a single mastectomy, went completely flat….one sided. Interesting experience to say the least. lol I have not heard of any thing about recon "triggering cancer cells"…interesting as well. I had DIEP on one side a little over a year after the first dx. I was dx with a recurrence in the middle…. Recurrence 7 months after mx with no recon…ya.

Do what will give you peace….worry about the statistics, the what if's….just do what gives you peace and don't look backwards.

Dx 7/21/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/9/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Dx 4/18/2018, DCIS/IDC, Right, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/2/2018 Radiation Therapy 5/26/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Nov 7, 2019 12:05AM GreenEyes81 wrote:

And yes, you have to stop tamoxifen for any surgery. Sounds like your doctor is on the right path. Even if you have a suregery a year out for something else, you would still stop tamoxifen for a while.

Dx 7/21/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/9/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Dx 4/18/2018, DCIS/IDC, Right, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/2/2018 Radiation Therapy 5/26/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Nov 14, 2019 10:29PM Mominator wrote:

Hello, I answered most of your questions on your other thread, questions for everyone who has done reconstruction

However, about surgery awakening dormant cells and causing a recurrence: You may wish to read this thread on TORADOL (ketorolac) linked to Recurrence Prevention. There is a theory that the inflammation from surgery (not just reconstruction, any surgery), can awaken dormant cells. The drug Toradol/Kerorolac lowers inflammation and thus may prevent recurrence. There was a video linked in this thread that is very enlightening. Toradol/Kerorolac is not very expensive.

https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/73/topics...

Best wishes.

Mominator, BRCA2+, STK-11 VUS. My Mom dx DCIS age 62, ILC stage IIIA age 79; Mom passed 2/28/18. My Grandmother died of ovarian cancer age 48. Friend to Lori M, passed 5/25/16. Surgery 11/11/2015 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 1/18/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 6/30/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant
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Nov 15, 2019 04:45PM Soccermom4force wrote:

Hi there!

  I was dx in 2004 (Stage 2B) did bilateral mastectomies w/no recon as Mom was dying from metastatic disease and I didn’t need them to take care of business (at that time).

  3 years later I opted to reconstruct . Due to scarring/lack of tissue implants (alone)  were not an option.  I had stacked DIEP with small implants added for contour ,and that was roughly 11years ago. No regrets,no problems. 


best wishes no matter what you decide!

Marcia


" I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore,there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow human being, let me do it now, as I shall not pass this way again." Dx 12/2/2004, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH)
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Nov 15, 2019 08:39PM mnsotamom74 wrote:

thank you ladies for your replies. My oncologist said he is not even slightly concerned about it. I told him that if he even felt the chance was teeny tiny I want to know and he got very strict with me and said I need to stop doing google research and talk to him or my breast surgeon. I am guilty of googling way too much since my breast cancer diagnosis a year ago, I’ve literally scared myself so badly from reading worst case scenarios online and convincing myself that it’s definitely going to happen to me. Sometimes I don’t know how he puts up with me Scared

Dx 10/25/2018, DCIS/IDC/IDC: Cribriform, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 11/4/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 1/6/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Dec 29, 2019 11:39PM Whatjusthappened wrote:

Hi ladies, just looking for some advice here. I had a bmx 10 months ago and still trying to decide whether or not I want to reconstruct. I met with a plastic surgeon and was told that my only real option was a DIEP since the radiated side would not be able to take an implant. Early on I was determined to stay flat, but just cannot stand how I look now. I have a growing collection of bras and prosthetics and just can't find an option I'm comfortable with.

Adding to my poor self-image is the fact that since my diagnosis I've probably put on 20 pounds. I tend toward gaining weight easily and only keep it off with a lot of exercise, and that went out the window this year, for multiple reasons. If I were going to go with the DIEP, would it better to lose the extra weight first? I am worried about losing the weight, having the surgery, and then gaining it back again while I'm recovering. Even with weight loss I think I'd have plenty of tissue- I've never been able to lose the tummy no matter how much weight I lose.

If I do the surgery it will probably be in the summer. My family is against me having more surgery but would support me. So I guess in addition to whether or not to lose weight first I'm wondering how long of a recovery to expect.

Any advice greatly appreciated- I've been agonizing over this decision for a long time!


BRCA2 positive; multifocal LCIS/ILC found after sugery Dx 2/1/2019, LCIS/ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/22/2019 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 4/23/2019 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 6/17/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Dec 30, 2019 09:50PM mnsotamom74 wrote:

oh whatjusthappened, I totally understand how you feel. I thought I would be ok with being flat or wearing my prosthetics. I had my double mastectomy Nov 2018. I had chemo but didn’t need radiation. I have gained weight since chemo and being on arimidex, I look like I’m constantly 5 months pregnant. I had 2 other surgeries not related to my breast cancer during 2019, but 3 weeks of hospital stays and long recovery. I didn’t think I could handle another surgery, but I decided to go for it. I had expanders placed December 16. I’m incredibly pleased with the surgeons work and very excited to get them filled again. I know you said you would need diep, I think I would have definitely gone for that if this would not have been an option. It’s very personal and each woman has to decide for herself. I’m glad I moved forward and decided to have reconstruction. I know there is a private face book group for women who have done diep and they share their knowledge and answer questions for women preparing or gathering information to make their decision. Very best of luck to you in whatever you decide

Dx 10/25/2018, DCIS/IDC/IDC: Cribriform, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 11/4/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 1/6/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Dec 31, 2019 12:05AM Whatjusthappened wrote:

mmnsotamom74, thank you so much for your response. It truly means the world just to know someone else gets it. I totally understand what you mean about looking pregnant. The"Buddha belly", as it's referred to often on this site, is just not a good look on me. I've seen plenty of women (pictures, anyway) who look awesome flat, but I'm not one of them. Just gotta work up the nerve to go thru the surgery. I find it much scarier than a bmx.

I'm glad that you are happy with your decision and results. I wish you all the best.

BRCA2 positive; multifocal LCIS/ILC found after sugery Dx 2/1/2019, LCIS/ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/22/2019 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 4/23/2019 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 6/17/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jan 4, 2020 03:19PM Mobri wrote:

I had my reconstruction about five years after I finished treatment. My doc was really concerned about potential complications from reconstruction surgery delaying the start of my chemo treatment. And so for that reason, I'm not sorry I waited.

I wound up having a diep flap surgery. Overall, mostly happy with the results. The nipple reconstruction didn't take so I'm not thrilled about that but also don't want yet another surgery.

I didn't wait to lose wait before having the surgery...and I don't think 20 pounds really makes that much difference one way or the other. FWIW. And, you may want to ask the surgeon, but those extra 20 pounds might be better for diep.

Best of luck to you whatever you decide.

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Jan 4, 2020 05:38PM Moderators wrote:

Mobri, thank you for sharing your experiences. We welcome you warmly to our community. Whatjusthappened, it is a difficult decision. Certainly also get as many professional opinions as possible, to help guide your decision-making.

We're here for you All. Medicating

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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May 14, 2020 01:49PM Whatjusthappened wrote:

Hey everyone, I am back to this thread again because I have decided to go ahead with the DIEP surgery. Had my CT scan and am waiting on a surgery date. I am having a hard time with this decision. I have gone flat for over a year and have gotten used to certain things about it. My family thinks that I should be proud of my flat chest and that I shouldn't feel the need to conform to society's expectations. I USED to feel that way, but now I don't feel like walking around like a breast cancer poster child for the rest of my life. It's not about conforming, it's about feeling like myself again. Yes, I've tried numerous prosthesis and even my expensive ones don't stay where I want them to unless I wear a really tight, uncomfortable bra.

I just want some feeling of normalcy, and while my family will support me, I know they would rather me not go through more surgery and the risks that come with it. So I'm feeling like I'm being a bit selfish, and maybe even like getting the surgery is a bit of a cop-out. Has anyone gone through delayed reconstruction and felt this way? My mom told me that instead of spending all that money on surgery, maybe I should spend the money on counseling to help me be at peace with the body I have now.

BRCA2 positive; multifocal LCIS/ILC found after sugery Dx 2/1/2019, LCIS/ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/22/2019 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 4/23/2019 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 6/17/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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May 14, 2020 04:14PM - edited May 14, 2020 04:27PM by sbelizabeth

Whatjusthappened, it's YOUR body, YOUR desires, and YOUR choice. Not your family's. Not your mother's. No one gets to tell you how to feel or how to manage your breast cancer experience. Jeez, can you tell I'm fired up? That crack about spending your money for a therapist is just way out of line.

Because of medical necessity, I was flat on one side for a year. I couldn't wait to get my DIEP done, for a lot of the reasons you describe. The prosthetic breast was hot and heavy, I had to wear a bra every waking moment or I looked weird, and I wanted a feeling of NORMAL back. After all the chemo, surgery, radiation, meds, the DIEP was something designed to give me something of myself back. It was hopeful. The only thing I would do differently would be to not go for the surgical creation of a nipple bump. Mine wound up in the wrong spots and I had to have them removed. I got 3-D tattoos, which are beyond gorgeous, and don't need a "bump" to look real.

If anyone in your family wants to be proud of a flat chest, fine! If they have the crapalactic luck to lose both breasts to cancer, they get to go flat. I think your decision to go for it is brilliant. Best of luck! SB

pinkribbonandwheels.wordpress.... Dx 10/20/2011, IDC/IBC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 12/15/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/21/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 7/19/2012 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/15/2013 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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May 14, 2020 07:31PM Whatjusthappened wrote:

Thank you sbelizabeth for the encouragement. You are right of course, and I know it in my head at least. I'm trying to get to a point that I don't feel guilty about my decision. I am alive and I am relatively healthy and I feel like I should be happy with that. I don't really want to do this, but I don't really want to be flat either. I also didn't want to have cancer but there it is (I like the term "crapalatic")!

I do know that my family are just scared for me. It's been hard on them too and they are the ones who end up taking care of me after all. Even my mom's comment was not meant the way it came out-she genuinely though I should look into counseling as another option. I don't hold it against her-like I said, she's scared for me. She was here for me when I needed her and that meant the world to me.

I saw that you had both chemo and radiation. Did the radiation affect your diep procedure at all? One doctor told me that sometimes the radiation can affect the blood vessels and make them less elastic and I've had a lot of issues from the radiation already. I really like the nipple tattoos that I have seen and will be looking them when the time comes. I wouldn't want reconstructed nipples that I have to worry about hiding for work anyway (I'm in front of teenagers all day 😉).

Do you feel like your procedure helped you regain that feeling of normalcy? I hope that you are doing well and wish you all my best.


BRCA2 positive; multifocal LCIS/ILC found after sugery Dx 2/1/2019, LCIS/ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/22/2019 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 4/23/2019 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 6/17/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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May 14, 2020 11:05PM sbelizabeth wrote:

DIEP is a lengthy surgery and recovery, and depending on lots of things, there's usually follow-up surgery to refine the outcome. So it's a commitment. And yes, my own recon helped bring me back to feeling like a whole person with something to put in a bra. No more specialized lingerie stores and sweaty, heavy lumps of silicone.

I had extensive radiation and the skin on my chest was pretty fried. That's why I needed to wait so long for the DIEP; the skin needed a chance to settle down. My plastic surgeon said he removed a lot of rads-damaged tissue during the procedure. He didn't say anything about difficulties with blood vessels and my DIEP breast had no problem with maintaining its new blood supply. But even now, seven years later, the skin on my radiated chest is a different color--deep pink--than the skin on my DIEP breast. But then again, my days of making a living as a pole dancer are long over, so the uneven scars and skin weirdness don't matter to me.

pinkribbonandwheels.wordpress.... Dx 10/20/2011, IDC/IBC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 12/15/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/21/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 7/19/2012 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/15/2013 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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May 15, 2020 06:10AM mnsotamom74 wrote:

just wanted to chime in. My mom had breast cancer herself 10 years ago and chose to go flat, I think that was why I thought it would be a good decision for me. The difference is that she is 77 and I’m 46. She had huge and I’m talking Dolly Parton breast’s! She always suffered from pain in her back and shoulders, for her, not having breasts has been perfect and she embraces being flat. She has had trouble understanding why I can’t do the same, but she has begun to understand it and now she has come around and is supportive. I still have my expanders in, my exchange surgery was originally for April 3rd and then of course the covid. Elective surgery is finally going again and I’m seeing my surgeon today for my pre op appointment and to schedule the exchange. I have to say that the expanders haven’t been bad at all. I’m very used to them. Of course they have a hard piece in them for where they fill them, so they don’t feel like breasts quite yet, but they look good and I can wear any kind of shirt again. Another thing that drove me crazy being flat was how out of proportion I looked. I know some women are lucky enough to be thin and they look amazing flat. I just looked like Winnie the Pooh. Since having my ovaries removed and going on arimidex, I’ve gained 20 lbs in one year. I work out daily and watch what I eat, nothing works, I cannot get it off. Now my new boobs at least stick out more than my belly, lol. I feel guil Sometimes as well. I know I’m lucky to be alive. You ultimately have to do what is right for you!!! Nobody else is living this, they all have opinions, but unless they have walked in your shoes, they won’t understand. Best of luck to you. Keep us posted

Dx 10/25/2018, DCIS/IDC/IDC: Cribriform, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 11/4/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 1/6/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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May 15, 2020 09:03AM sbelizabeth wrote:

Winnie the Pooh! Lol... My mom went flat too, after her 2nd mastectomy in her 70's. She was delighted, in fact. She was petite and thin, and wore colorful clothes with jackets and scarves, and looked great. But when I scheduled my recon, she said, "I'm 77 and you're 57. Have the surgery."

I'm neither petite nor thin, so without breasts, prosthetics, or Swiffer dusters stuffed in a bra, I'd be among the Pooh-bears.

pinkribbonandwheels.wordpress.... Dx 10/20/2011, IDC/IBC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 12/15/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/21/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 7/19/2012 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/15/2013 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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May 15, 2020 09:59AM Whatjusthappened wrote:

Thank you ladies for sharing your experiences. Sbelizabeth, the PS did tell me that more tissue is required for the radiated side because of the reasons you describe. Immediate reconstruction was never presented as an option for me either, as my BS really believed I would be getting chemo right after and didn't want to prolong recovery (thank you, Oncotype!). I am glad of not getting the immediate reconstruction now of course since I ended up getting radiation. Plus at the time I really was just focused on getting the cancer out and not worried about how I looked after.

mnsotamom74, I totally relate to what you said about looking like Winnie the Pooh! I've heard that phrase before, and after I did, that is what I think of when I look in the mirror. It wouldn't even be so bad if I had something up top, but I am concave up there with no fat at all and the belly that just...protrudes. I too gained weight after my surgeries (I was a couple of years older than you), but even at my thinnest and most fit have always had a belly- it's just the way I'm built. If I were a thin build I would actually enjoy going flat. I am an active person and for exercise, having no breasts is awesome.

I think what really pushed me towards my decision was that someone close to us recently took their own life. It got me thinking about that if there is something that makes you feel better about yourself, why not take advantage of it? I have the utmost respect for all ladies who choose to go flat and are at peace with that decision. It is a fabulous option. But I was just pretending to be OK with it. People congratulate me on my bravery but inwardly I cringe. If reconstruction was not an option (and who knows, it still may not be) then I would have to make my peace with that and move on. But it is an option, so I want to live my life to the fullest and be the happiest I can be.

Again, thank you guys sooo much. I really needed to hear from those who get it.

BRCA2 positive; multifocal LCIS/ILC found after sugery Dx 2/1/2019, LCIS/ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/22/2019 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 4/23/2019 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 6/17/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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May 15, 2020 12:29PM Peregrinelady wrote:

I just want to chime in and say that I had my reconstruction a year after diagnosis because I really did not want more surgery after a single left mastectomy. However, I felt lopsided and was always adjusting my knitted knocker. The scar tissue was uncomfortable and I couldn’t imagine having that all the way across my chest. I started reading the 2013 DIEP thread and hearing the women’s experiences (including sbelizabeth) and all of the women said that even with complications they would do it again. I scheduled an appt. with a plastic surgeon ( something I never thought I would do) and it helped give me something to focus on that was a positive. My surgeon did a great job and the feeling of normalcy when I look in the mirror is immeasurable. No one who has not been in your position will understand, but we who have gone before you get it. My 22 year old daughter said something about my fake breasts the other day and I looked at her shocked and told her these are not fake, these are all mine. Plus the flatter belly is a bonus!
Dx 4/24/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2015 Liquid tamoxifen (Soltamox) Surgery 4/17/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy 7/31/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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May 16, 2020 10:42AM Whatjusthappened wrote:

Peregrinelady, I have read the stories of many women who have gone through diep, and most seem happy that they did it, except of course those who had flaps that didn't take or had major complications. Of course, those are the stories that scare me, since even my MO has told me that I've got "all kinds of weird things going on." Which makes me feel like if something strange is going to happen, I'll be the one it happens to!

Anyway, I'm going to stay positive. Thank you for sharing your experience-it gives me courage. I'm so glad it worked out for you. You ladies are all incredibly strong!

BRCA2 positive; multifocal LCIS/ILC found after sugery Dx 2/1/2019, LCIS/ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/22/2019 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 4/23/2019 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 6/17/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jun 2, 2020 12:18PM Floral wrote:

I had a bit of mild push back from my family about getting implants. They were thinking of the dangers of an additional surgery. I just figured I had to do what was going to work best for me. Plus I knew that I could always go flat if all else failed. I wanted to make my post-cancer life as normal as possible. As normal as it can be when every ache and pain can be cancer returning to take my life. And worrying whether I can do everything I want to do before cancer comes back. When I thought about the "safest" way to go - flat - I realized that I was going to use prostheses and wondered how that would effect life. I had these visions of shopping in special stores for swimsuits, bras, and prostheses, travelling and wondering where I left my right boob, the increased body heat from my hormone therapy, and I realized that this was going to be too much for me, that I needed something built in. So I elected to do implants. I have the TEs and so far so good. You have to do what has the best chance of working for you after listening to the various experiences.

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Jun 2, 2020 10:07PM Whatjusthappened wrote:

Floral, I get where you're coming from. I think that if I were in a different stage in my life I would maybe be OK with occasionally wearing prosthesis, not having to wear them every day. As it is, I am a teacher and nowhere close to retirement. I spent all of last year trying to discreetly adjust my prosthesis after they rode up every time I had to write on the board, or sweating profusely under them while dealing with a hot flash mid-lesson in front of a room full of teenagers. I have tried so many different bras and inserts, and while the silicone prosthesis stay put and look more natural than anything else, they sure get uncomfortable by the end of the day. I have often marveled at the irony of the fact that I've spent much more on my bras after having my breasts removed than I ever did when I had breasts.

I'm so glad your TEs are working out for you so far. I've never had them but I sure have read a lot of stories about them! How long do you have to wait for your exchange surgery?

BRCA2 positive; multifocal LCIS/ILC found after sugery Dx 2/1/2019, LCIS/ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/22/2019 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 4/23/2019 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 6/17/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)

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