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Oct 29, 2018 11:56AM
I am also a swimmer. And I have good news for you. You will be able to go back to swimming as soon as the scars are healed. Swimming is a great sport and you do not need to give it up. My pool also has open spaces for changing and showering, nowhere you can hide to change. And our locker rooms got closed for an 8-month-long renovation work the day before I went for surgery. All we have available now is a fraction (like a fifth) of the space we used to have. So the locker room is more crowded than ever. I went back to the pool right after my incision healed, one month after surgery. That was a mastectomy with tissue expander (nipple also removed), and I had a couple of sessions to further expand the expander to the point it is at now. The rest of reconstruction got delayed because I needed radiation and because I am getting a second mastectomy. So I have been swimming (and walking around the crowded locker room) with my remaining boob on my left side, and a big balloon on the right side (placed under the skin, no nipple, 15cm scar); I look very very asymmetric and weird. I just use my towel when I get out of the shower, as I used to do before, and then I change when I am in front of my locker, as I used to do pre-cancer. My experience is that nobody stares at me. Nobody cares. People are doing their own thing. Sometimes I forget and walk around naked. Nobody looks in disgust or says anything. People are compassionate and sympathetic if they notice and they may smile or say hi how are you doing -particularly people who have seen me there for years.
You say you are a very private person, but you have been using that changing room for years now. Why will it be different now? You are anticipating that you will be disgusted by your scars and your flatness, but you may be surprised that you aren't. That will be your new body. What makes you think you are going to hate it? I am looking very asymmetric and weird with my unfinished reconstruction and my balloon and I am not in the least disgusted, even less ashamed of it. I am proud of all I have gone through in life and love my body no matter what.
Also, if being flat makes you uncomfortable, you can still consider a simple reconstruction. Once you get the mastectomy and an implant, it only takes a couple "refills" (at least for me -but I am small breasted) of the implant and an exchange surgery that is very simple to get the new fake boobs, then nipple tattoos.
As somebody else suggested, a swimming suit with a bit of padding and crossed in the back will look great in a flat chest. Make it patterned rather than solid-colored and voila.
Best of luck and keep enjoying the water,
AC, THP, then HP to complete one year. Oophorectomy + AI. Right side MX+ALND, Left side MX
10/26/2017, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC)