Topic: I look for other flat chested women. A rant.

Forum: Living Without Reconstruction After a Mastectomy — Discuss prostheses, swimsuits, bras, and other options for women not having reconstruction or waiting for reconstruction.

Posted on: Jun 13, 2012 03:39PM - edited Jul 2, 2012 07:56PM by mt1

Posted on: Jun 13, 2012 03:39PM - edited Jul 2, 2012 07:56PM by mt1

mt1 wrote:

I know many of you wear prosthesis, so I probably wouldn't be able to see or 'know', but. I look for you. I want to see you. I want to form a union, lol. I wish it were even more accepted, acceptable to be flat. To not wear prosthesis, not feel the need to, to opt out of reconstruction-if that is your choice. I do hope that women who see me, flat as can be, see there are options, that reconstruction isn't par for the course. I want to make flat beautiful, sexy, stylish. Normal. And it is normal for me, is becoming normal, but I am talking about society, norms and expectations. Breast cancer is not about 'boob jobs'. Yes, many of us opt for them, want and need them. But it is also about choosing to be flat. 

Geez, would I like to meet up with other flat chested women. I would love to take over a hotel, make noise, laugh, cry, be flat together-to see you. I want to meet other women who, like me, have decided not to reconstruct. I want to be able to see you and high five! I want to experience our society of normal.

I was picking up my vegetables from the CSA and a man could not stop looking at my chest, I wanted to yell, 'Breast Cancer did this!! Get it together, man!' I wish all of us would!

Rant complete.

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Nov 11, 2012 09:01AM - edited Nov 11, 2012 09:47AM by maryah930

Okay, just a thought here.  Insurance usually pays for re-construction. Therefore, given what we go through with BC, I think if we choose not to have re-construction for whatever our personal reasons, the insurance companies should be nice enough to let us choose another procedure, such as facelift, eyelift, tummy tuck, etc. that would make us feel better.  Wink

Dx 9/13/2012, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, Surgery 10/16/2012 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/21/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 3/1/2013 Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 11, 2012 09:08AM Momine wrote:

Ha! Marya, like the way you think, lol.

Dx 6/1/2011, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 7/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 6/19/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/12/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy 1/8/2012 Surgery 3/7/2012 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2012 Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 11, 2012 10:09AM Dawn7 wrote:

Ladies,
How about a CASH rebate? Woo-wee!

Surgery 10/24/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Nov 11, 2012 10:14AM Dawn7 wrote:

Another thought- the money not used should be donated per insurance to fund breast cancer research or to pay for treatments for those in need. :0)

Surgery 10/24/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Nov 11, 2012 11:33AM Tina337 wrote:

Linda-n3 -- What an interesting and informative article. One hears about different procedures performed at pain clinics, but this article gives a better understanding of why certain procedures work on some and not others. That this surgeon is interested in preventing this kind of pain from the outset is wonderful. As per the injection treatment, a concern I would have is that it could pose a risk for lymphedema. Needles, IVs, punctures, etc are best avoided in a quadrant of your body where nodes were taken. Since I have LE, all I can say is that you do not want it! However, as a quality of life issue, I can understand wanting relief. I would ask how many injections would be required.

Regarding the emotional element as part of the pain cycle, I can totally relate. The cause of my pain was not related to issues he mentions but I definitely became depressed after a certain point of living with chronic pain. I went to my primary and told her I was "going down" and caving as far as my ability to cope long term. I was prescribed an antidepressant and found it very helpful. Participating in several group therapies at my hospital enabled me to talk about my pain and have it acknowledged, which in itself was beneficial. Pain can be such an isolating thing.

Linda, your post is also terrific because it touches on the use of art therapy. I practically squealed when I read that. My hospital started offering an art therapy group very soon after my mastectomy and expansion/implant surgeries, and I normally wouldn't have participated in that kind of thing (although I loved viewing art). I figured what the heck, and ended up getting so much out of it I went for three years! They stopped funding it this spring and is no longer offered. Anyway, I found the weekly group incredibly helpful in exploring my creative side and began doing projects on my own as a way to cope with pain. That "lost in doing" I experienced as a child, of being in the moment without judging myself, became a source of release, joy, meditation, and definitely a pathway to my feelings and thoughts. I cannot say enough about how this has changed my life. I am not an artist, but I do believe each of us has a creative side which can be nurtured and rediscovered.
"Life isn't about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself." ~ George Bernard Shaw Dx 11/13/2007, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 11, 2012 11:38AM Starak wrote:

Not sure what you all are describing as lumps and bumps.  Look for the photo on this page from an old thread.  From my viewpoint, the work of a surgeon I would run from.  But then I am not a medical person.....

http://community.breastcancer.org/topic_post?forum_id=82&id=695424&page=1

If you have seromas and/or what I felt was a lake on my chest, as the fluid is absorbed they will likely resolve or at least show tremendous improvement.  My fluffy stuff under the arms will never be gone but has improved alot, helped along by weight loss and exercise.  My BS & her nurse told me to expect it.  If you gently grab the fluffy stuff horizontally and then try to raise your arm, you will not be able to do so, which is probably why it is common to lipo them.  In my case, when I had The Mutants removed, I chose to leave the fluffy stuff alone for a number of reasons.  They had improved alot over time, I already had nerve damage with ongoing symptoms on the right side and did not want to risk exacerbating the situation.  Also realized how many lymph nodes and vessels are in the area and did not want to be inviting LE. I started to feel alot better about them too when I noticed the women of the Olympics Swim Teams had much the same thing.  Sort of like our tummy, it was there all along, just became far more noticeable without breasts. 

If what you are describing is a sort of point or bunching up at the end of an incision, it is likely a dog ear.  Often the fluffy stuff under the arm is also described as a dog ear.  Some create a point, others a hole.  Any of you who sew will see that they are much like the end of a seam that creates a dart.  Center dog ears are pretty much that.  You will hear a number of explanations from hard to get it flat when you were exceptionally large prior to the MX or often excess skin purposely left to more easily facilitate a recon.  Funny how we all react to them and can be a stark reminder of how two people can look at the same thing and come away with totally different reactions.  I have heard a number of women here and a fair number of husbands who have a great fondness for the mini boobs as they can give an illusion of cleavage.  Men might even like to play with them.  I called them The Mutants to bring a touch of humor to something I hated and would eventually decide I could no longer live with.  They were "things" that did not belong on any human chest, man, woman, child or teenager.   I could not even think of a single animal with anything similar.  There was no simply going flat, I had to strap them down with ace bandages or flat sports bras with no center seam.  I can and do accept my flat chest with all the scars as an essential part of me.  As their name implied, The Mutants were completely alien to me, and I used to fantasize about hacking them off.  The constant strapping down and necessity to hide was starting to really weigh on my psyche.  The PS, on the other hand, could hardly hold back the laughter, because to a doctor, they were just a couple of no big deal bits of tissue.  Like I say just a demonstration of how differently each person can view the same thing.  I do still think those who look at them with fondness are probably the mentally healthier.

Trouble with dog ears, they do not forewarn you and photos can be unbelievably difficult to find considering how common they are.  For those looking at Diep reconstructions, they are a common leftover for the tummy tuck part of the surgery.  I have found it far easier to find photos of tummy tuck dog ears than of mx dog ears.  Don't know if they are one of those dirty little secret things or what but you will find them totally lacking from any photos on the boob factory sites. Many PS seem to think that repairing them when not doing a full recon is beneath their dignity and a waste of their artistic talent. 

What I am hearing as ridges at the bottom of where the breast used to be is probably the mammary ridge.  I am simply guessing here but another thing that becomes noticeable without breasts.  Perhaps purposely left when there is any thought of recon as sort of landmarks if you will.  It is my impression from my own chest as well as others who were clear about not wanting recon and requesting a result that is aesthetically pleasing as possible, that those ridges can be minimized/eliminated if the surgeon chooses to do so.

Much of the end result seems to have alot to do with the skill of the surgeon.  In spite of The Mutants, I had an excellent surgeon who did a beautiful job and the only one I would consider using if ever faced with further surgery.

Barbara

Freed 'em when they tried to kill me. BMX, no recon, center dog ears removed, currently living flat but still tending an extensive foob and mx bra experimental farm in the back of the closet.
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Nov 11, 2012 11:52AM Momine wrote:

Tina, that is cool about the art workshop. I don't do art, but I design and make clothing for myself, knitted or sewn. I really like the planning stage, because it has that same "lost in the moment" potential. I have always thought that making stuff was important to humans, including for their psychological well-being. As the Danish proverb says, you can do the work of the mind without the hand, but not that of the hand without the mind.

Starak, I get very cranky when I see pictures like that, especially in light of what I just wrote above. I had little tops where my incisions ended at the sternum. They have since smoothed out. One scar is also still very red, but that is how my body heals, and not my surgeon's fault. I do not have any funny stuff under my arms and no ridges (but my boobs were VERY modest, so maybe that is why). When I got my DX, I was the heaviest I have ever been, but some of that weight dropped off during neo-adjuvant chemo. Maybe that plays a role too.

Dx 6/1/2011, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 7/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 6/19/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/12/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy 1/8/2012 Surgery 3/7/2012 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2012 Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 11, 2012 02:29PM FernMF wrote:

I vote for cash rebate!!!

Dx 4/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 5/6/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 7/30/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Nov 11, 2012 02:38PM - edited Nov 11, 2012 02:41PM by lindakr

Wow - that picture was pretty intense - my BS didn't leave anything extra, he was focused on getting good, clear margins, and trying to make it so that I wouldn't have to have skin grafts - after seeing that picture, I think I may have been lucky!

Injections for pain - I had bilateral carpal tunnel surgery, then later had injectionsin my LE hand for pain and degeneration.  The thumb joint is gone and was calling a lot of LE and other swelling, after talking to the LE theapist, she felt that the injection was worth a try, and didn't feel that it would make the swelling worse.  I went ahead, and the swelling went down quickly.  Apparently most of the swelling was from the bad joint.

I would love to do art therapy, I keep thinking that I'd like to water paint, I even bought things to get started.  I feel that it would be relaxing, and help me work through some things.  But, for some reason, I can't bring myself to start - approach avoidance I guess!

And I'd like to see 1/2 the saving go for those that need a little more cash for their treatment, and the other 1/2 to me in travel vouchers!

Modified Radical MX w/axillary dissection; 6xTCH, Hercpetin for a year, Rads, trying 3rd AI Aromasin. No Reconstruction. Lymphedema. Dx 3/19/2010, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 5/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/2/2010 Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left): Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left) Targeted Therapy 5/15/2010 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 5/15/2010 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 9/15/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy 9/25/2010 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 11, 2012 03:19PM FLwarrior wrote:

Hi everyone.  I have been in and out…here and not here (bco).  Trying to catch up on my favorite threads here lately.  Stopping by to check in and say HI to you ALL.

MT - hope you see your Dr. soon and that you get relief from the rash!

Linda-n3 - I am jealous!  Art Therapy!  I think I missed my calling when I didn’t travel down that road as my occupation. Also I hope that you get lots of relief from your pain with the injections.

Tina how great for you to get to participate in Art Therapy for 3 years!  I wish I could find something like that near me.

My vote is cash rebate!  And I would use some of it for follow up I’m not getting due to lack of funds…

I only had a UMX. If I knew then what I know now…I would have had a BMX.  It was not offered or discussed by my surgeon.  She did a fabulous job with the incision. Nice and clean no outside stitches, just skin glue.  In August I past the 1 year mark. The line is a faint color now.  I do still have 2 areas that ‘bug’ me. One is a divit that shows in some shirts with round/scoop necklines.  It may be the shape of my bones or it could be she got more tissue from between those ribs than the others???  I live in FL and wear lots of tank tops, but I can not wear some of the pre-bc tops anymore. The second area is a lump/wad of tissue  where the arm connects to the trunk. At the end of the incision. I guess the dart/pucker thingy you mentioned earlier.  It is annoying, but minor in the scheme of things. It is more of a problem when I am bare-chested.  If I am wearing a bra and form it weights the area down and is not as annoying. Most importantly she gave me clean and clear margins!!!

FLwarrior Dx 1/31/2011, ILC, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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