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 04:06PM lindakr wrote:

I would opt for the BMX now too, in fact I'm considering having it done - at three years post UMX.

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 06:32PM Dawn7 wrote:

My post BMX chest looks better than I thought after seeing that photo- I now see I have very little to be concerned about in comparison. I thought for simple BMX with no desire for reconstruction that everyone would pretty much look the same! Silly, I know. Once again, you all have educated me- thank you. My surgeon did not argue about BMX - I was pretty hysterical about having cancer to be honest so maybe he knew I could'nt deal with the worry.

Surgery 10/24/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Nov 11, 2012 06:47PM lindakr wrote:

Don't get me wrong, I believe we should all have the choice.  But I just went to the website for the top breast reconstruction, post cancer, site in the US, in fact after much research, I decided that should I ever have reconstruction that's where I would go.  Well I looked at their before/after pictures - though I think they do a wonderful job, they are on top of things like LE.  The pictures just reaffirmed my choice to NOT have reconstruction done. 

Everyone has told me that my MX scar looks wonderful, from the very beginning, surgeons, MO, RO, OT, PT, MX fitters..... I just smiled and said thanks, but didn't really believe them, I thought they were just being nice.  I guess they were telling me the truth!  So glad I had the surgeon that I did!

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 10:38PM Tina337 wrote:

LindaKR -- So glad the injection worked for you and helped reduce swelling! Oh, happy day! Pain can definitely cause additional swelling in an area of LE. As we know, LE is a condition of inflammation and pain can cause an inflammatory response. It's good your therapist could help sort out that the joint was causing more harm and was as much of a risk as an injection.

Still, it's important to note, especially for someone who does not have LE, that needles, etc in a compromised area can pose a risk for developing LE. One needs to have all the facts when choosing therapies, and most doctors don't know diddly about LE. I don't want to sound like a negative Nellie, but LE truly sucks and everyone should be properly informed. This discussion is a good time as any to share this info - before anyone needs it. Oh, and Linda-n3, I certainly don't want you to think I am trying to dissuade you from pursuing therapy! You deserve to be as free of pain as possible.

I was going to post this link earlier, as everyone here who's had a node removed (SN or ALND) or a mastectomy is at risk for developing LE throughout their entire lives. It's one of BC's dirty little secrets and women often don't receive enough preventive info. There are things to definitely avoid, and they are spelled out clearly on the StepUp-SpeakOut site. If any of you are not familiar with this site, it is an excellent source of accurate and current info about LE. It is also a place to find a qualified therapist in your area should you question if you are experiencing symptoms of LE. The ladies on the LE forum are also a wealth of information, and the SU-SO site was created by several of the woman who post there.

www.stepup-speakout.org/riskre...
"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 12, 2012 10:07AM crystalphm wrote:

LindaKr, I did the same thing, went to many websites looking at reconstruction, and I was not pleased with what I saw. I lost my skin to the mastectomy, so I would have to have skin from somewhere, or fat moved over....and I did not like the descriptions of it all. My scars are neat, clean, no bumps, no ridges, just fluffiness under the arm...and after 2 1/2 years I am pretty pain free...it took soooo long...so I just want to keep it this way now.

Dawn, my surgeon never mentioned reconstruction either, it was never presented to me. When my husband asked he responded "Why would anyone ask for more surgery, more procedures, more pain? I too was off the charts with my anxiety...so maybe he felt is was best to not bring it up. I don't know.

Tina, Good for you for posting about LE...you're right, now enough information is given to women about this. my arm was so heavy after the mastectomy, somehow I am sure this means it may be in my future. For now I sleeve and gauntlet for all exercise for precautions...or if it feels heavy, I wear it until that feeling goes away. You certainly do not want to do anything that brings LE as a risk.

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Nov 12, 2012 10:26AM lindakr wrote:

Tina - I think that it's soooo important to talk to your LE therpist before you have anything done on that side.  I didn't follow my advice (probably because everything went so fast) when I had the punch biopsy in MX area, so far, 4 weeks out, I'm still having a lot of issues with my LE - luckily I got right in to my LE therapist after, and we're moving ahead with the issue. 

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 12, 2012 10:37AM Linda-n3 wrote:

Tina, I am absolutely paranoid about developing LE, and am very vocal about it with every person who even suggests ANY procedure that would increase likelihood of my getting it.  The pain doc says is should not be a problem - and I have had punch biopsy that did not cause problems.  I was talking to my PT who does research on LE, and she thinks there is a different pattern of lymph drainage for those who get LE and those who do not.  It has not been proven yet, but she is working on it.  My mother never had any problems, and I am hoping I also have good luck with that.  However, she also had no recurrence and has been NED for over 18 years, and I have had local recurrence twice and maybe starting another one (just got back from MO appointment, she found 2 little tiny bumps that are very similar to the one I just had removed, so it's back to the BS again in a few weeks... UGH)

MT1, hoping you are doing well today.

All the thoughts and emotions that many of you have posted over the last couple of days sound so familiar to me.  Yesterday was a high-pain day, and in efforts to alleviate it, I was trying the bra plus prostheses to see if I could get some neuro-feedback, but it just aggravated things rather than helping.  And I felt UGLY.  And crying, feeling sorry for myself, and UGLY.  So today I chose one of my favorite soft long-sleeved t-shirts, a pretty skirt, and pretty print vest, and looked pretty good. I love it that things always change!

Linda - "Loving to learn; learning to love." "Gratitude leads to joy. Joy leads to prayer. Prayer leads to gratitude." "Oh, what fresh new hell is this???" - Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory Dx 7/14/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 19/23 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx 8/2011, IDC, Stage IIIC Dx 9/2012, IDC, Stage IIIC Dx 12/2012, IDC, Stage IV
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Nov 12, 2012 11:27AM lindakr wrote:

Oh - Linda-n3, so sorry about all of your trouble, and I bet you do look very pretty today.  I said a prayer for you! 

That's actually awesome that you've had no LE!!!!!  And hopefully you never will!!!!! 

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 12, 2012 06:08PM Djustme wrote:

Dawn7  - my scar and 'dog ear' flap under my arm got much flatter over the past year, so hopefully there will be some change.  My surgeon thinks he should be able to match the first one when he does the second one in two weeks. I hope it turns out that way because the first one is really quite smooth.  I still have alot of discomfort on the first side, though it is mostly under the arm and around the back, and mostly when I lift things I shouldn't or do too much. 

Dx 10/5/2011, DCIS, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes Surgery 10/31/2011 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Surgery 11/27/2012 Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Nov 12, 2012 08:31PM Outfield wrote:

Dawn,

I'm really flat, no dog ears, not really any puckers.  But my left (IDC) side has less tissue than my right.  I think it's subtle, so I don't worry about it, but it's very obvious to me.  The answer for me was simple - lost my pectoralis sheath and probably a little of the pec itself on that side to get a clear margin.  I wish I were totally symmetrical, but my thankfulness for the margin far outweighs any wishing.

Starak, I read about your feeling about the mutants and I immediately thought of my monster-cord.  I didn't have terrible range of motion, but every time I raised my arm quickly and felt that yank it was like a car honking at me "Cancer! Cancer! Damaged by CANCER!"  I was obsessed with it.  It wasn't so much the discomfort or the oddness of how it looked (not too many people going to see my naked armpit with arm upstretched), it was the feeling of being so damaged that I had this thing that was just totally an extra abnormal part and wouldn't somebody just FIX IT.  I could kiss the 3rd PS who did my tiny little curative surgery and removed it, except that he has moved to another state.

  



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