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All TopicsForum: Living Without Reconstruction After a Mastectomy → Topic: Overweight, bilateral mastectomy, pear shaped, how will I dress?

Topic: Overweight, bilateral mastectomy, pear shaped, how will I dress?

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: Mar 20, 2017 10:42AM - edited Mar 20, 2017 10:45AM by itfinallyhitme

itfinallyhitme wrote:

Well, I don't know what to say. I was diagnosed a year ago, had a lumpectomy. Now the mammo looks bad on the other side and my only reasonable course seems bilateral mastectomy.

I'm also overweight, something strange with my metabolism, I really don't know if I can get in shape (I normally eat less than 1000 calories a day and I'm rarely hungry anyway). My tummy keeps expanding, my arms are getting flabby, and I've always had hips and thighs.

I have enough trouble dressing anyway ... really don't make much income. I've never been vain (I don't think) but maybe I am ... I'm SO thankful I haven't lost my hair, and my face is pretty, but I'm past 50 and while I'm not gaining weight, everything seems to be expanding. But I've been shopping at thrift stores for years, it's all I can afford.

I'm worried about how I'll look in public. I'm worried about what my husband will think of me. I'm on Medicaid and am covered for reconstruction, but the only two plastic surgeons who take Medicaid outright refuse to even see me (not sure why, maybe just overbooked). Maybe I don't really want recon anyway ... I was feeling pretty good thinking I could get at least small ones back - that's all I wanted. But I read women say it looks concave to them without recon

So now I'm seeing myself in thrift store clothes, fat, no breasts, and a chipped tooth besides, and itFINALLY hit me. I'm afraid I'm going to be hideous. I'm not going to be able to leave the house, and I'm terribly worried that my husband will --- anyway. I just walked in on him watching porn recently and he never did that before, he comments on other women's breast jiggling. I'm dying inside.


I probably should have written sooner. My appt with my surgeon is in 3 hours. To plan the surgery I guess. What am I going to do? :(


I've been through diagnosis, tons of tests, two surgeries, radiation ... and my "attitude" was so wonderful, they told me. They were impressed with how I was handling it. But this has knocked me down, thinking this way. What am I going to do?


Ugh - I HATE to whine.

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Mar 20, 2017 10:53AM ElaineTherese wrote:

Hi!

There is nothing vain about wanting to appear "normal," whatever "normal" is for you. It is about feeling comfortable in your body. I'm sorry that your local plastic surgeons won't accept you as a patient. Some plastic surgeons will not do reconstruction on women who are very heavy. I never had reconstruction (and haven't researched it much), but that may be the issue for you. Yes, they might also be overbooked. But, you do deserve some kind of assistance so that you can feel more comfortable about your surgery.

One thing to consider: get your bilateral mastectomy, and talk to your surgeon about getting in to see a plastic surgeon (maybe he/she can get you an appointment). You can always do reconstruction later, say 3-6 months after your first surgery. ((Hugs)) and I'm really hoping that someone more familiar with the reconstruction process can help you here.

DX IDC June 28, 2014, 5 cm., 1 node tested positive (fine needle biopsy); 0/20 after neoadjuvant chemo + ALND; Grade 3; ER+ PR+ HER2+ Neoadjuvant chemotherapy starting 7/23/14 ACX 4, Taxol X 12, Perjeta X 4; Herceptin: one year Chemotherapy 7/23/2014 AC Targeted Therapy 9/17/2014 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 9/17/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 9/17/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 1/12/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Hormonal Therapy 2/25/2015 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy 3/9/2015 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 20, 2017 11:05AM itfinallyhitme wrote:

Thank you Elaine.


The surgeon has tried to get me in. I had thought it might be the weight, which honestly I don't know if it's "fixable". It could be the radiation. I understand that's not good before recon. Or maybe something else.


I originally thought I didn't want recon anyway, then went back and forth on it. I hear horror stories. But I finally thought I would, so I guess not being able to pulled the rug out from under me again.


If only I could figure out how to DRESS! If I thought I could make myself look ok in clothes, I'd feel much better. I haven't been topless in front of my husband since he made unkind remarks after the second surgery, so if only I could feel ok even in clothes.


I have spent two days doing online searches for how to dress without recon, and all the images are of thin women. Some of them even LOOK triangle shaped because of the clothes, but they aren't really. So I image myself really BEING triangle shaped, and it goes downhill from there in my mind.


I don't really want extra surgeries, possible complications. Ideally, I think I'd like to be ok without recon. I just don't know how to get there

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Mar 20, 2017 11:11AM goldie63 wrote:

I am a (new) member of a Facebook group called Flat & Fabulous, and their sister group Flat & Fabulous Breast Cancer. They're closed groups but you would be eligible to join if you're thinking about or want some info on staying flat. The F&F group has lots of conversations on clothes that are helpful (the F&F BC group is more focused on cancer).

dx bc 1997, age 33; dx lymphedema 2003, with recurring cellulitis; sister dx bc 2014, age 48; genetics testing, BRCA 2 Dx 3/1997, IDC: Medullary, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/13 nodes, ER-/PR- Dx 12/29/2016, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3 Surgery 3/3/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Chemotherapy CEF Surgery Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal
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Mar 20, 2017 11:14AM farmerlucy wrote:

It is tough to get into a PS anywhere. My BS had to make the appt for me and it was three months after my biopsy. You can go ahead with recon later if it makes you feel more comfortable to go ahead with surgery now.

I'm sorry you are feeling so down on yourself. What can you do to get those endorphins going? A walk in the sun? Some days I feel so down on myself I can't even look in the mirror. I try to remember "The Purple Hat" poem.

Lots of ladies wear prosthetic boobs and no one ever knows the difference. I did get recon but have second guessed it many, many, times. I think it would be quite freeing to go flat.

Oh and I love to shop at the thrift store. It is good for my pocketbook and the environment. My kids always laugh at me when I'm wearing a new shirt and they ask where I got it - my normal reply is "TSA - a very exclusive store " The Salvation Army).

THE PURPLE HAT




When a woman looks in the mirror:

  • Age 3: She looks at herself and sees a Queen.

  • Age 8: She looks at herself and sees herself as Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty.

  • Age 15: She looks at herself and sees herself as Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty/Cheerleader or if she is PMSing she sees Fat/Pimples/UGLY ("Mom, I can't go to school looking like this!")

  • Age 20: She sees herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly"; - but decides she's going anyway.

  • Age 30: She looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly"; - but decides she doesn't have time to fix it, she's going anyway.

  • Age 40: She looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short, too tall/too straight/too curly"; but says, "At least, I'm clean"; and goes anyway.

  • Age 50: She looks at herself and sees "I am"; and goes wherever she wants to go.

  • Age 60: She looks at herself and reminds herself of all the people who can't even see themselves in the mirror. She goes out and conquers the world.

  • Age 70: She looks at herself and sees wisdom, laughter and ability, goes out and enjoys life.

  • Age 80: She doesn't bother to look. She just puts on a purple hat and goes out to have fun with the world.


Maybe we should all grab that purple hat a little earlier!

  • The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears.
  • The figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair.
  • The beauty of a woman must be seen within her eyes.
  • That is the doorway to her heart.
  • The place were love resides.
  • The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole.
  • But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.
  • It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows.
  • And the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!


YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN!

Dx at 51 after a preventive mx that wasn't. Oncotype dx 3. 3D tattoos from Vinnie! PTSD?? You are not alone! Surgery 2/21/2012 Prophylactic mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Dx 2/24/2012, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/11/2012 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 7/22/2012 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 4/10/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 4/14/2015 Prophylactic ovary removal
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Mar 20, 2017 11:21AM goldie63 wrote:

that's a lovely post for all of us farmerlucy. Thank you

dx bc 1997, age 33; dx lymphedema 2003, with recurring cellulitis; sister dx bc 2014, age 48; genetics testing, BRCA 2 Dx 3/1997, IDC: Medullary, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/13 nodes, ER-/PR- Dx 12/29/2016, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3 Surgery 3/3/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Chemotherapy CEF Surgery Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal
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Mar 20, 2017 11:44AM - edited Mar 20, 2017 11:46AM by itfinallyhitme

Thank you, farmerlucy. I'm in tears again, too much crying today, but these are a little better ones. I'm just past 50 btw. And I've been "ok" since I was 30 (I remember those horrible teen insecurities, lol) but I guess that's why I don't know how to deal with this now.


Ugh - I thought I could do anything. And usually I can! I never imagined that the thought of losing my breasts would actually hit me like this. I guess we keep learning about ourselves!




I did go out and water my plants and move a few around. It's just getting warm enough to have them outside, and the Bougainvillia are blooming, and I love my little succulent collection! It's a little better ... thank you.

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Mar 20, 2017 11:47AM itfinallyhitme wrote:

Thank you Goldie, I think I'd like to join?


I'll search for them. If I need anything more, I may ask? Thank you

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Mar 20, 2017 12:01PM Moderators wrote:

Welcome itfinallyhitme to our community. And everyone, while Facebook offers the private group, please keep sharing the tips here for our community too Winking. Thank you!!!Hug


To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Mar 20, 2017 12:13PM itfinallyhitme wrote:

Thank you Moderators ... I would love it if there was a thread with tips or about this. I'll search!

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Mar 20, 2017 12:18PM - edited Mar 20, 2017 12:18PM by goldie63

Hi Mods, I did think about posting some of the actual clothing details, but I just made soe granola and that used up my energy lol. The biggest tips I've got so far are patterns, scarves, cowl necks (too warm now though) and loose clothing.

Itfinallyhitme, private messsge me if you can't find the group. Hugs

dx bc 1997, age 33; dx lymphedema 2003, with recurring cellulitis; sister dx bc 2014, age 48; genetics testing, BRCA 2 Dx 3/1997, IDC: Medullary, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/13 nodes, ER-/PR- Dx 12/29/2016, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3 Surgery 3/3/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Chemotherapy CEF Surgery Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal
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Mar 20, 2017 12:27PM pupmom wrote:

Hi everybody. I haven't had a mastectomy, just a lump with reconstruction. But I thought this vest might be something you'd like. I've ordered a few, due to age related tummy bulge, lol.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B014A4SDXC/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Life is what happens while we're making other plans. Dx 10/18/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 20, 2017 01:14PM Luckynumber47 wrote:

You don't ever HAVE to look triangular shape if you don't want to. Fake boobs can be cheap and easy. Walmart has several styles of pocketed bralettes under $10.00, then add in the triangular breast forms from Genie Bra (3 pairs for $19 unless they're on sale). You'll have a lovely profile, be able to wear all your old clothes and no one's the wiser.

Almost everything I wear comes from the thrift store. I think it's great fun to go load up on new clothes and spend next to nothing. Besides, everything's already preshrunk so there's no fit surprises after washing.

I bought some "rub on nipples" for my DH as a Valentine's Day surprise. I think they look kinda cute and my DH and I pretend it's just like having real boobs. We just try to make the best of this curve ball that cancer has thrown us

My avatar is a Blue Footed Boobie. Cracked me up. ATM variant, mom died at 33 from BC Dx 2/15/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/16/2016, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR- Surgery 4/5/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 5/16/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Mar 20, 2017 03:15PM - edited Mar 20, 2017 03:15PM by Moderators

Maybe someone could start a new topi here and post the ideas ThumbsUp


To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Mar 20, 2017 03:47PM Luckynumber47 wrote:

pupmom, that vest is really cute but how does it fit? Their size chart says an XL fit size 8. Yike

My avatar is a Blue Footed Boobie. Cracked me up. ATM variant, mom died at 33 from BC Dx 2/15/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/16/2016, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR- Surgery 4/5/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 5/16/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Mar 20, 2017 03:49PM - edited Mar 20, 2017 03:51PM by pupmom

I get a Medium and it fits fine. Not understanding how XL could be an 8!

Edit: That must be a mistake on the size chart. The other sizes don't make sense either. I would just go with what you usually wear. I'm Amazon Prime so stuff is really easy to return.

Life is what happens while we're making other plans. Dx 10/18/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 20, 2017 04:25PM Pessa wrote:

I am also large. Did not want reconstruction. I use fake boobs and they look very natural and normal. Clothes fit as prior to my MX. Highly recommend

Dx 2/20/2010, IDC, <1cm, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 5/5/2010 AC Surgery 10/22/2010 Lumpectomy: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 11/20/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Mar 20, 2017 06:11PM ravzari wrote:

I'm pretty pear shaped (at the time of my BMX I was about 210lb) and had big breasts, which balanced it out a bit.

Without them I found I really only cut one thing completely out of my wardrobe: Babydoll or "womens' style" t-shirts. I found they made me look boxy and like I might be pregnant. I didn't realize just how narrow my chest area was until the DDs were gone, I always thought I was pretty hourglass, but it turns out I'm more...pear.

I've lost about 20lb since then and am working on losing about 20 more, but still feel I look boxy in fitted shirts, so I just stick to mens t-shirt styles instead.

Other than that, my main diet of clothes wasn't anything fancy, it was mostly t-shirts and shorts in summer and t-shirts, a hoodie jacket, and yoga pants in the winter/fall/spring and those all do a pretty good job of hiding the fact that I still have a fairly big lower stomach/hip area due to my general body shape.

Sweaters, blouses, button downs, etc..all look the same to me and don't really emphasize my belly or my lack of breasts (from my own perception anyway), and it's really surprising how many people legitimately do not notice or, if they do, know it's super impolite to say anything or indicate that you might have been staring at a woman's chest region.


As others have said, you can also use prosthetics, knitted knockers, or similar products if you find it really bothers you to go out flat; in most cases insurance will cover or partially cover mastectomy bra and prosthetic costs, your dr just writes you an RX for them.

Prophylactic BMX no recon, June 2016, due to strong family history of BC.
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Mar 20, 2017 06:41PM farmerlucy wrote:

Just thought about breastfree.org

The lady who runs the site comes here often. It was incredibly useful to me in those early days.


http://breastfree.org/


Dx at 51 after a preventive mx that wasn't. Oncotype dx 3. 3D tattoos from Vinnie! PTSD?? You are not alone! Surgery 2/21/2012 Prophylactic mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Dx 2/24/2012, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/11/2012 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 7/22/2012 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 4/10/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 4/14/2015 Prophylactic ovary removal
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Mar 20, 2017 09:35PM - edited Mar 20, 2017 09:38PM by itfinallyhitme

Thanks, Everyone!


I'm still just absorbing and processing. My surgeon says I'm going to have "side boobs" still (he said I'm lying on the table so he won't go that far back) and I guess that's a plastic surgery thing.


I normally wear yoga pants, t-shirts, etc. a lot, I don't dress up at home. I guess mentally I'm trying to deal with this. I suddenly WANT to dress more feminine. I do have blouses and skirts for Sunday, and I often throw those back on during the week. But unless I wear something fake in there, I don't think those are going to look right.


Maybe it's just a sudden self-esteem hit. I really don't know why I'm thinking this way, but I am. I don't think it's so much about how other people (at least strangers in public) see me, now that I think more about it. It's strange for me to worry about their opinion. But maybe I want to wear something pretty for ME. I think it's really me that has the problem with losing the breasts.


Never thought I'd react this way, especially almost a year into this thing. I cried for a few minutes when I got the disagnosis - maybe shock. But I've really done pretty well through two surgeries and radiation, follow up biopsies, all that. Now I'm upset because I want pretty shirts? I feel like I must be losing my mind (or at least my perspective) but that's how I feel.


I hope I can get back to doing stuff soon. My gardening and activities suffered last year. I don't want to lose this year too.


And 2-3 weeks or more without a shower is not making me happy right now. My skin has issues if I don't shower. At least losing the breasts entirely should help. The lumpectomy side (actually more like a partial mastectomy - he removed half the breast) is doing better on that count.


Thanks for letting me rant a little. I guess I need to process this.

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Mar 20, 2017 09:43PM ChiSandy wrote:

Those “side boobs” are nicknamed “dog ears;” and you can have them removed later on (some women use them for flap reconstruction). Radiation does make it inadvisable to go with implants, but you can still get DIEP flap surgery (lower abs and the fat beneath them are brought up and nerve & blood vessel connections are made—it’s long & complex, involving microsurgery). On the one hand, women our size would have plenty of material to “mine;” but OTOH many surgeons are worried about doing long and delicate operations on obese women because of the risks of being under that long. A single DIEP flap can take 7 hrs.

Diagnosed at 64 on routine annual mammo, no lump. OncotypeDX 16. I cried because I had no shoes...but then again, I won’t get blisters.... Dx 9/9/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/22/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 11/1/2015 3DCRT: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/30/2015 Femara (letrozole)
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Mar 20, 2017 10:06PM itfinallyhitme wrote:

I read about the different reconstructions online. I wish the PS would have at least met with me. I don't like having to make decisions based on what I can research online, but then again, I've found doctors can give opposite information/advice and aren't always right.


I didn't know rads would mean implants were a problem, but I don't like the thought that they will almost certainly require replacement, and I don't like the sound of them going under chest muscle.


Otoh, I did read about some of the flap surgeries. Looking like I've had a "tuck" AND having boobs again both sound good, but when I saw how long the surgery takes, I became concerned. I guess I'm not that old, but yes, I'm overweight, and I for one just don't like that thought. I don't know about the real risk of tissue necrosis or somehow otherwise "failing to take" and what the effects might be on cut muscles or other tissues. It starts to sound like too much risk for the potential benefit.


I think - I THINK it's mainly for my husband's opinion that I'd want to have "breasts" again surgically. As for me, I THINK that I just want to feel good (or at least accepting) of how I look in clothes. You all are making me feel better in general. Maybe I can figure this out and do this.


I don't like how I've had to make the decisions. It feels like there should be "an answer" you know? They're not even sure exactly what's going on inside, and my decision to remove the one where I've already had it partly removed is mostly prophylactic, but images don't give an accurate indication on me, and I'm not willing to always wonder if I have cancer, or continually keep getting biopsies, in which I HOPE they catch it. (They didn't think I had a tumor on the one breast until I had surgery.)


I guess I'm hoping I'll get through this, and find a way to be ok with it, and then I really don't want any more surgery.


My surgeon did tell me that I wasn't without options for reconstruction down the road even if he doesn't leave any skin, so that made me feel less backed into a corner

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Mar 20, 2017 10:10PM itfinallyhitme wrote:

But, if I don't have a reconstruction, maybe ... I CAN SLEEP ON MY STOMACH AGAIN?!?!?!


I haven't been able to do that in a looooonnnnnnngggg time, and it used to be my favored. There's got to be some benefit in this, right? ;)

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Mar 21, 2017 06:53AM ravzari wrote:

There really isn't an answer; it's a highly personal decision whether or not to reconstruct.

However, if you choose to reconstruct, it should really be because it's what you want, not what someone else in your life wants or what someone is pressuring you to do for their convenience or desires. It's your body and your decision and if someone else doesn't like that decision they're free to have several seats or walk out the door.

This is not a thing where I feel a spouse or partner, male, female, or anything else, has any right at all to tell you what they want you to do or what you should do, because that's them making a decision for your body or pressuring/coercing you to do what they want because it's what they want, which shows an exceptional lack of respect and caring for you. Someone who truly cares about you and respects you will not make nasty remarks about your appearance for any reason and will not try to tell you what you should or should not do in regards to reconstruction after a mastectomy.

Based on what you've said in this thread, your husband has been very out of line several times and, honestly, if my husband of 14 years had pulled that garbage on me when I had my BMX, I'd have shown him the door faster than he could give a fake apology for his 'opinion' that reduced me to, essentially, a pair of breasts that were there for his benefit and enjoyment.

Your husband has no right to:

A) Make nasty/unfavorable/mean remarks about your appearance, regardless of whether he's talking about surgical scars or what you're wearing or anything. That's abusive behavior no matter how you look at it.

B) Tell you what you "should" do for reconstruction based on what he wants.

If he thinks he does, or he thinks it's at all acceptable to make discouraging, mean, or negative remarks about your appearance, it's time for him to get out.

Prophylactic BMX no recon, June 2016, due to strong family history of BC.
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Mar 21, 2017 07:03AM pupmom wrote:

My DH actually did not want me to reconstruct, because he was worried about another surgery and possible complications. I did it entirely because it was my wish. I admire people who can go without reconstruction though. I'm just too vain.

Life is what happens while we're making other plans. Dx 10/18/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 21, 2017 07:53AM - edited Mar 21, 2017 07:55AM by itfinallyhitme

I should be fair to my husband in this.


Yes, he has said things that were not very kind. But to tell you the truth, I think he lacks certain filters, or something? We are from different cultures. He may just not understand what his words are doing. I did tell him very directly that commenting on another woman jiggling was out of line and I was having mine CUT OFF and didn't need to hear it! I think it was a joke (based on something else we had joked about) but he turned it to the wrong thing and took it too far. But I do also worry about the stress on him handling all of this. To be honest, I kind of need him to stick around, in several ways!


But he is NOT pressuring me to have a reconstruction. He said it's totally up to me, and he's more worried about additional surgery risks and what I'd have to go through. I think for those reasons, he'd actually prefer that I don't, but he won't say so because he says it's my decision. I'm just getting inside his head (or trying to) when I say it's more for him. It's really more how I feel with him, or what I think he thinks, if that makes sense.


But I'm really not sure that little slice of "reason to do it" is worth all of what I'd have to go through, and the physical effects I can expect to deal with. At the end of the day, I'm more concerned with my long-term function and comfort than I am with my appearance.


And to be honest, I guess I'm still talking my way through this. For a little while I thought I could have small round breasts, maybe tattoo over the scars, and I liked the thought. But I haven't even been able to talk to a doctor (other than my surgeon yesterday for a few minutes) about the effects of going through and living with a recon and possible side effects. I've gotten that mostly of browsing this forum, and from my imagination thinking about the procedure. So my expectations may be unrealistic, but I am having a hard time knowing what to expect.


But any potential need for more surgeries, failure of a device or surgery, long term lack of strength or mobility, ongoing discomfort - these are kind of in the "worse than being flat chested" category for me. I think.


I guess I'll know better when I see the final results, after things get to a final result, and when I've lived with them for a while. I was pretty horrified when I saw the shape left by the first surgery, and if I wear a t-shirt or anything that doesn't float away from me, it looks like a have one round boob and a smaller angled ridge on the other side. People have probably noticed, but I try to cover it up and then I go out and don't worry about it. But then again, I never wear form-fitting.


I'm going to miss my v-necks, and princess-style necklines. The only styles that used to flatter me won't anymore. I wish I could lose weight. I'm going to try again, with macros and exercise. My thyroid is stable now. If I could be at least halfway "in shape" compared to where I am now, I think I would feel a lot better about the whole thing.


I guess I'm still talking my way through this. You ladies are very kind to listen! Somehow having to put it into words helps me see what I really think and feel.


And I'd better get busy freezing some meals and trying to get everything done around the house that I won't want to look at un-done after surgery. That kind of stuff drives me crazy! I'm also trying to make a nice place to sit on the back porch and be surrounded by my plants and flowers, in case it's not too hot by then. :

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Mar 21, 2017 08:48AM ravzari wrote:

The best part is, if you decide you don't like being flat or can't get used to it, even years later, there are still options to reconstruct.

You can always have tissue expanders placed (even if you don't have a skin sparing mastectomy) or look into the various flap surgeries at that time if you decide you're just not comfortable being flat and want to reconstruct.
Yes, that's more surgery and that does come with risk of complications or unsatisfactory aesthetic outcomes (as does any breast reconstruction or augmentation procedure), but if it turns out you're genuinely not happy or comfortable being flat or wearing prosthetics, it's still an option to take.

It's not a one shot deal, so that's always a good thing.


As for the weight, the best way to have long term results is to make long term changes to eating and exercise habits; diets tend not to work because, once someone loses the weight, they often go back to their old eating habits and food choices, and stop exercising as often, so the weight comes back.

It's got to be something you're really ready to change and stick with for the rest of your life to keep the weight off. The first couple months are usually the hardest, because changing and breaking bad habits is pretty dang difficult (there are so many days I just DON'T WANT to go to the gym but I force myself to drag my butt in there unless I have a legit reason not to--like I'm actually ill or injured--and just do the thing. I might grumble and grump and probably look really annoyed the whole time I'm there, but I always feel better after it's done), but after that it gets a lot easier as your changes become your new, better habits.

I know, for me, my biggest issue was/is portion sizes.
What I considered a 'normal' or 'reasonable' portion of something was usually 2-3 times the size the portion should have been, so I was eating a lot more in calorie content than I was burning off, which kept me heavy.

I also grew up with that mantra of, "clean everything off of your plate, even if you're full" and "it's rude to refuse food when it's offered" which doesn't help as that easily leads to large portions and overeating because you feel like you have to finish and can't refuse more food if it's offered. It's been super hard to just slow down and stop eating when full if there's food left on the plate and it's taken me a LONG time to realize that it's perfectly okay to not eat 100% of what's on the plate, it's fine to refuse seconds, and there's nothing wrong with a portion size not being massive.

Cutting way back on 'snack' foods (cookies, cakes, and sweets especially) and replacing them with healthier options (fruit, vegetables, nuts, etc...) helped a lot as well; I still got my snack, and I got some actual nutrition out of it instead of empty calories from sugar.

In addition to that, I also discovered, after really taking honest stock of my behavior, that I eat when I'm bored. The first thing I do when bored is head to the kitchen and look for something to snack on, which is an incredibly bad habit and leads to eating far, far too much food over the course of the day. I've started telling myself, sometimes out loud, "You're not hungry, you're bored, find something else to do." Even if the something else is just having a big glass of water or chewing gum or taking the dogs for a quick walk or sometimes just wandering around the house for a few minutes, it's still better than grazing on food when bored. I can't keep food at my desk at work or I'll just eat pretty much for 8 hours straight AND not realize I'm doing it!

And, honestly, I'm also just lazy. Given the choice, I'd sit on my butt all day at work then go home and sit on my butt watching TV or playing video games. Being that inactive also helps pile on pounds. I got tired of that, and tired of just generally getting winded easily, so I went and got myself a membership at a gym that's conveniently a 5 minute walk from where I work; most days I go in the afternoon on my lunch break, but occasionally I just go after work as I have to pass the gym to get to my car so I have no excuse not to swing in. :D

Either way, given my tendency to eat a lot and be super lazy, I had to really make the concrete decision to fix both issues long term and not just until I lost the 30lb I need to lose (at minimum!), it's got to be something I'm committed to long term and to making actual permanent changes in my behavior as opposed to 'diet changes' that I'd just ditch once I hit my goal.

Prophylactic BMX no recon, June 2016, due to strong family history of BC.
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Mar 21, 2017 10:23AM itfinallyhitme wrote:

Thanks so much. I'm SURE there are things I can do to improve, and I don't really live what I'd consider a healthy lifestyle.


But I didn't mean diets don't work, exactly. I mean that my normal eating is less than most diets, and I'm still fat. I followed my doctor's diet plan for a few weeks, but it was more food than I'm used to. I'd be stuffed and still have several hundred calories under the amount. She told me not to eat less, but the only way I could easily reach 1000-1200 calories was to add a soda or candy, and I know full well that's not what she had in mind.


I don't get enough exercise. I used to have a situation where I was active all day, and now that I don't, I'm sitting too much. But my knee is giving me trouble (arthritis) but I have had physical therapy and it IS improving, so I have some hope. I could use a good non-impact workout, probably.


I have tried to change what I eat, which lowers the calories even more (that may not be a good thing - a few years ago under a nurse's advice I was able to lose about 5-7 pounds by eating more frequently, but I didn't keep it up. I normally really eat 1-2 times a day.


I'm hoping high protein and cutting carbs and exercise, and probably eating more often, will be the right combination. I don't normally limit carbs on purpose, but frankly I don't eat much of them anyway. I used to, but now I get much less anyway. (I used to be a bread-aholic but now I get it maybe a few times a week.)


I do love sugar though. Or kind of. I like chocolate with nuts. And sugar in my tea. But I drink mostly water.

Still, probably more water and a regular sleep cycle would help too. My sleep has been awful since all this started.


Again, just rambling. But it's good for me to think there are things I can do, and your post had lots of good suggestions. I do need to drag myself into some kind of exercise especially

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Mar 21, 2017 11:01AM pupmom wrote:

itfinalyhitme, 10 yrs before I got bc, I was about 20 lbs. overweight. I couldn't get rid of it until I went on a low carb diet. Immediately, like within 3 days, I recognized that not only was I losing weight, but my appetite had decreased dramatically. If you haven't already, this diet might be something you could try. I was, and still am, a vegetarian, but could still lose the weight.

Life is what happens while we're making other plans. Dx 10/18/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 22, 2017 12:13PM CPerricone wrote:

Itfinallyhitme, It breaks my heart to read your emotional stress. Please know that we're all with you and sending you positive energy to bolster you through this. Some thoughts I'd like to share:

You have every right to whine. This sucks. So don't add guilt to all the other emotions you're working through. Cry all you want.

I recently heard something about a study that found ALL men watch porn. You probably just never caught him at it before. Don't take that personally. You can't control what he does, but you can control how it effects you.

Tell your husband that reconstructed breasts aren't what he's imagining. Mine are hard and completely "un-jiggly." I thought the silver lining of this whole ordeal would be trading in my 45-year-old droopy size Ds for perky, size C, "porn star" breasts. NOT!! Maybe others have had a different outcome, but my silicone natural shape "gummy-bear" implants are extremely rigid. I basically have two very round, barely movable lumps on my torso. They're really not "sexy", and I had an excellent plastic surgeon. I could go running without a bra and NOTHING would move. (Yes, I'm glad to not need a bra, but I'm just saying reconstruction does not mean the same result as augmentation.)

I hope someone has told you how hard things will be right after surgery. I don't say any of this to scare or upset you. I think the worst thing is to be unprepared. If you are prepared for it to suck, it might actually be better than you expect. But your husband needs to be ready to do EVERYTHING for you. He'll need to help you into bed, adjust your pillows, put the remote on your belly where you can reach it, bring you water to take your meds, help you to the bathroom, prepare meals for a few days... So he also needs to be mentally prepared for how hard this will be on him. And he needs to suck it up too. (If possible, you might want to consider having a family member or good friend come to help for at least the first week when you're basically helpless and stuck at home.)

One thing you can do to make things a little easier is to get your legs and core muscles in better shape before your surgery. Besides the general benefits of exercise, and that it will help boost your mood and self-esteem, some simple stretching will get those muscles ready to do more. You'll need them when you can't use your upper body to sit up in bed or get up from the couch. If you don't know where to start, do a Google search for "yoga poses warrior 1" or "crescent lunge." (Note: ask your doctor or physical therapist before resuming after surgery. They didn't want me reaching over my head for 4 weeks. But I was really glad I'd stepped up my efforts in the weeks before the surgery.)

Your body works really hard post-surgery during the healing process, and that uses a lot of calories. If you eat healthy during that time (and avoid the temptation of binging on junk & comfort food) you might find it jump starts your effort to shed some weight. Some people might blast me for saying that, because you certainly deserve to binge on comfort food, but you've expressed that as one of your concerns. So I thought I would throw that out there. You can turn this crappy experience into the turning point you've been looking for.

Your original question was about what to wear. I don't know if there's a magical answer. You're going to wear yoga pants (or sweat shorts) for a couple weeks, because that's all you can manage. (I lived in the cheap tank tops from Old Navy for weeks because I could shimmy into them and pull the straps up barely using my arms.) But when you're ready to pull yourself together and start feeling strong again, do it. Do your hair and pull on your favorite jeans and a cute pair of shoes. Get some of those "chicken breast" inserts for your bra if you want, and put on one of your favorite shirts. Put on some makeup... and a smile. You will get through this. And there's a whole community of people here who are sending you strength.

And don't feel bad about shopping thrift stores. ;-)


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Mar 22, 2017 12:51PM Red_R wrote:

itfinallyhitme,

I understand how you're feeling. I was also the good attitude through cancer treatment girl who is now kind of losing it on body issues and recon decisions.

I haven't told people at my job I had cancer. I'm a size 22/24 and 275# and have worn prostheses for 3 years now. Other than losing on in a pool before my mastectomy swimsuit- nobody knows. Most of the time I wear a camisole under shirts that are cut low and that works. People I have told said they never suspected it- the prostheses look pretty natural under my clothes.

One thing that helps me is to think "if I was walking along and saw myself, would I think I was hideous?" Absolutely not. Be gentle with yourself.

I'm also super girly now- we are talking makeup and clothes with flowers on them here. Bizarre. I guess losing hair/breasts/everything that made you feel pretty can have that effect.

Hugs hugs hugs.

Dx 6/2013, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 7/7/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 1/19/2014 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall

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