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Topic: Deciding to Go Flat . . . Maybe. Please advise.

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: Oct 29, 2018 06:56AM

Geez_Already911 wrote:

Hey there. You all are my foob posse so I wanted to reach out to ask for your thoughts, suggestions, insights & questions on going flat. I am 95% sure that's what I'm going to do sooner than later. Meeting PS this Wed to discuss.

Can you talk it through with me? Anything I should consider before I decide? Questions I should ask? After care & prosthetic wear I may need?

I've been open about how uncomfortable I've been this last year & 1/2, but this last month I've had intermittent pain on my left side, like severe heart burn. They just don't seem right or part of me at all.

I'll discuss with Oncologist tomm too- going in to see him as well. Thank you for your support & any info or help you may provide. I appreciate all the love & guidance you've each given me.❣️
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Jun 12, 2019 04:39AM Erica wrote:

Hi Schweety, I did respond to you on another thread...

BreastFree.org (breastfree.org); BreastFree Blog (breastfree.blogspot.com); Twitter @BreastFree
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Jun 12, 2019 07:25AM - edited Jun 12, 2019 09:50AM by Schweety

This Post was deleted by Schweety.
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Jun 12, 2019 09:50AM Schweety wrote:

What is dog ears?????? Is that normal???

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Jun 12, 2019 10:09AM Castigame wrote:

If you get skin sparing mastectomy, surgeons leave extra skin to be able to get reconstruction later. This excess skin is usually between to your armpit and torso. Slang for this excess skin is dog ears.

Mimi Dx 1/11/2017, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, 0/2 nodes Dx 1/11/2017, IDC: Papillary/IDC: Cribriform, Right, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/15/2017 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal Chemotherapy 3/20/2017 Radiation Therapy 7/30/2017 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 10/30/2017
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Jun 12, 2019 12:22PM Christene502 wrote:

Schweety

Dog Ears - Are huge pockets of flabby skin on the under arm side. They are like having "Boobs" just in the wrong place.

I got them where the drains were placed. Not sure if that has anything to do with them.

They are annoying... You can see them if your top is on the tight side. Bulging out.

Not sure if I can post a picture of mine...

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Jun 13, 2019 02:07AM Schweety wrote:

Castigame, Oh thank you for that explanation! <3

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Jun 18, 2019 06:17PM Nora22 wrote:

I had a double mastectomy in November 2018. Then they started reconstruction process, basically filling my TE with saline water, now cca 400 ml in each breast. I feel unwell, breasts hurt, especially one (the cancer one), something very hard feels inside, cannot sleep on that side. Both breasts are “ on fire", having burning sensation, pinching, pulling. All bad. Plus I Cannot sllep at all, only with sleeping pills which make me irritated and depressed. I thought that these feelings are “normal" or common, but my nurse navigator told me they are not.

I thought that when they replace my T E by permanent implants I will feel better but don't know anybody to ask, therefore I joined this forum.

I want to stop the whole process and have my TE removed, just dont know if to keep my nipples or to go flat and remove all breasts. Nobody showed me any picture how the breasts look without expanders, if I have only skin and nipples. Probably not good but I dont want implants any mor, so far only pain and discomfort.

If you know a person who went through this, please let me know. Tahnk you.

Dx 8/15/2018, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes Surgery 11/19/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Saline implant; Reconstruction (right): Saline implant
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Jun 18, 2019 10:03PM Moderators wrote:

Nora, welcome to Breastcance.org! Sorry you have to be here, but glad you've found us and decided to reach out. Besides this wonderful thread, you may want to post/ask also in the popular thread called Exchange City, where you'll find lots of member's stories all related with tissue expanders. We hope this helps!

Please, come back to let us know how you're doing!

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Jun 18, 2019 10:49PM Lezza13 wrote:

Schweety: I have lived without reconstruction for over 6 yaers now.. My husband was very supportive of my going flat after going with me through 3 biopsies on the breast that did not have cancer when I got my dx. I believe the areas below the scar line where my breasts used to be are very sensitive. A good sex life was there before BC and was there after, at least for me and my husband and after almost 30 years of marriage. I am very happy with my decision to go flat and I have always believed that breasts do not define a woman or her sexual desires. Best of luck.

Dx 12/30/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/27/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 7/16/2012 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 18, 2019 11:12PM naps wrote:

I am getting my tissue expander out today(!), after almost 3 years of being on the fence. I have come around to feeling this is really the best course for me, and while I know there may be an adjustment period to the greater asymmetry, I'm feeling pretty confident I will be able to adjust. (After all, I have been able to adjust to a now semi-deflated TE...if I zoom out and try to consider it more impersonally, it's rather unusual looking, but I don't really even notice it anymore, except when it's causing me discomfort.) I'm in a different place now than I was when planning the initial surgery--less in a mode of trying to get back to my previous understanding of "normal." And it seems like a major priority now to minimize potential complications and additional surgeries.

I'm very grateful for the stories from people who are flat and content. My husband is supportive and that also helps. Now hoping for good healing and a smooth recovery. Onwards. :)

Dx 3/2016, ILC, Left, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 8/10/2016 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy AC
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Jun 19, 2019 11:42PM Lezza13 wrote:

naps. Best of luck today! I never felt so much better when those expanders finally came out. Of course there is an adjustment for everyone. Just keep going with that confidence and you will feel awesome. I never regretted not doing implants. I was very happy to have my temporary ones removed finally. You should feel better when the drains are gone.. I do like your attitude. Best of luck with good healing and a speedy recovery!

Dx 12/30/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/27/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 7/16/2012 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 20, 2019 07:26AM Schweety wrote:

Dear lezza13

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is what I was so wondering about. I have tears reading your reply and now I am more comfortable with making this decision. Bless you!

Schweety

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Jun 24, 2019 08:27AM Lezza13 wrote:

Schweety Sorry it took me some time to reply. I am glad you are more comfortable with your decision because of what I said! how nice of you to say that! You are quite welcome!

Lezza13

Dx 12/30/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/27/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 7/16/2012 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 26, 2019 11:10AM orchidgal wrote:

Hi Mantra,


I feel you in this. Had my last implant surgery 3/11 after first one done 12/10 left lots of sagging skin. This one has been horrible - very high and tight - and wasn’t expanded enough for the smooth Mentor 425s. Originals were 350. That being said, one side has capsular contracture and is driving me crazy with itching - inside and out. If I had no itching or contracture I’d stay put. That’s a big leap! There’s my two cents. All the best in making your decision and outcome.


Best,

Orchidgal

Dx 4/20/2010, DCIS, 5cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 10, 2019 01:03PM Mantra wrote:

I have the allergen textured implants that have been banned. After many conversations my plan was not to remove them. However an MRI is showing a rupture and will now have to remove and replace or just remove.

I am strongly leading to removing and not replacing. I have a meeting with the plastic surgeon coming up. What should I be asking? Im anxious about it not be nice and smooth skin. Is it unrealistic to expect smooth skin? Not sure what to ask or what to expect.

Also, do those of you who have decided against reconstruction, go flat all the time or wear padded bras or ????

I was so happy with the look of my allergens and so disappointed to have to have them removed. I just don’t know if I want to go through reconstruction surgery again.

Thanks!

Dx 7/10/2009, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-
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Jul 11, 2019 12:29AM wallycat wrote:

Mantra, I go flat 100% of the time. Never even purchased prosthetics or padding. I went from natural D cups to flat and most people asked if I lost weight or told me I looked younger for some reason. Those that knew me well, were aware of what I was going through but said if I had not told them, they'd be unaware.

I'm so sorry you are having to make decisions again. You may want to ask your plastic surgeon how long the newer implants last before they require replacing and how old you would be then. It may be a simple thing or maybe help you swing your decision one way or the other.


Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012
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Jul 23, 2019 10:41PM Lezza13 wrote:

Mantra. I agree wth wallycat. I would go flat. I tried uses Coobie bras and various inserts but was uncomfortable in a bra anyway. I decided years ago to ditch the bras and just go flat. I am very happy with my decision. Sorry you have to make this decision again, but you need to be happy as well and wallycat had excellent questions to ask your surgeon.

Dx 12/30/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/27/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 7/16/2012 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 30, 2019 10:51AM GoMama wrote:

I really wish I'd read this thread months ago. I didn't know about dog ears and now I have them. When we spoke with my breast surgeon we said we were thinking about reconstruction down the road. But by the time I had surgery, I wasn't planning it anymore. If I'd known, maybe I could have discussed it with him and I'd have a better result now.


I got cancer, cancer didn't get me. Dx 5/9/2019, LCIS/ILC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 6/24/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 8/13/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jul 30, 2019 11:46AM Shelligirl wrote:

Geez, thanks for sharing. I’m trying to decide what to do and your post helped. Thanks everyone!

Does anyone know how transgender men are able to get such great mastectomy scars? I found a website for a PS that does trans breast surgery and the scar is a half moon at the base of the breast and then a reconstructed nipple. They are all perfect flat chests that look like a man or young girl. Is it because the surgeon can leave some breast tissue and with BC you can’t? I want to go flat, but I want a beautiful flat and am frustrated as to why that’s not an option. Hope someone can explain this to me so I can move on and stop googling “mastectomy scars” ;-

Dx 6/18/2019, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH)
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Aug 4, 2019 04:38PM lovemyrhodesian wrote:

I don't know if this will help you but i decided i didn't want to have to put my body through anymore stress/surgery so I decided to go flat and had a plastic surgeon close me up after the double mastectomy. I figured I'd wear bras with inserts or whatever but then it was just too uncomfortable and something in me just said "enough!"---------i'm NOT going to dye my salt and pepper hair to look younger and I'm NOT going to put on fake boobs to pretend breast cancer didn't happen. It's been a process and I still get my eyelash extensions and wear my red lipstick! but for whatever reason, I just feel better about myself by going flat because it did happen. breast cancer did happen.

dx: Nov 2017, stage IIIC, grade III
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Aug 4, 2019 09:07PM Shelligirl wrote:

lovemyrhodesian, thanks for your post. I’m leaning towards going flat for the same reasons you described. Do you mind telling me your age? I ask because I’m wondering if age matters in how we feel about our breasts and more surgeries.

I met a girl in the waiting room, while waiting for my second biopsy last week. She was 43, her hair was back and about 3” long and she was almost done with her reconstruction. She was over the moon with her post cancer body and feels like cancer gave her the body she had always dreamed about. The scar on her stomach were worth the tummy tuck, the scars on her chest were worth the reduction. She was absolutely giddy with her new body, as she should have been because she was truly lovely.

If I can’t be better at least I can minimize the number of surgeries.



Dx 6/18/2019, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH)
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Aug 4, 2019 11:40PM Eily333 wrote:

Hi there..i haven’t been on here for awhile...but I am Flat ...and i have no second thoughts. It has been a year now and although I had a small revision to one of my scars (under local anesthetic). I usually go out flat and other times..depending on my outfit I will wear a Brallete from Walmart..very lightly padded.

My surgeon was on board and I asked her not to leave me with “dog ears” the puckering at the sides and she said she’s do her best..which she did! i’ve heard of some surgeon ..”leaving a little extra flappy skin” in case you change your mind later and want implants...this ends up looking awful then requires more surgeries.. flat is flat in my mind. Anywayss just want to add my 2 cents.

I’m 70 and perhaps it wasn’t as big an issue at my age. I belong to the Facebook page “Flat and Fabulous” and its so helpful!!! I highly recommend it....its a private closed group so you just ask to join. Many women on there are much younger than me.Oftentimes women give their experiences and post pictures of the scars and their clothes that work. Many even share the experience of having implants removed after not liking them.

Dx 11/7/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Surgery 11/28/2017 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal Surgery 5/28/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy Taxol (paclitaxel)
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Aug 5, 2019 11:47PM Lezza13 wrote:

Shellgirl I don't think age matters. I was 55 when I was diagnosed. I had 3 revision surgeries too. 7 years later I am still happy that I went flat. I never regretted my decision. I don''t think clothes make who a woman is. I never wear fake boobs just to fit into clothes. Be happy with whatever your decision is and best of luck! Just my 2 cents 2

Eily333 I shall have to check out that Facebook group one day.

Dx 12/30/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/27/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 7/16/2012 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 6, 2019 10:41AM cassiecanada wrote:

Hi Lezza13- i added this topic to my favourites because i have to be prepared for another mammogram view - ( lumpectomy/rads in jan- april) If I have a recurrence i would like to have a mastectomy without reconstruction- it certainly is reassuring to read so many positive posts- Off topic- but, I was interested to see you were 55 at diagnosis and on tamoxifin since? I am 63 and always am on the hunt for women close to my age bracket on tamoxifin to see how they are faring- i opted out of femara due to osteopaenia I hope you dont mind me asking as I fully sppreciate this thread is not a tamoxifin thread- I couldnt resist when i saw your age
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Aug 7, 2019 03:38AM MoonGirlJess wrote:

I’m flat-flat now. Had my second mastectomy in June 2019. I had implants when I was diagnosed in June 2018 and I know that the implants delayed my diagnosis because several drs I went to blamed my breast deformity on my implants and not the fact that I was full of cancer. I had Lobular CA which was completely undetected in my 2 mammograms I had. I disliked being half flat but now I rock my no boobies look. I don’t have any prosthetics. I was 41 at diagnosis and am now 43 years old. In fact, I was told yesterday by a lady in my neighborhood I look 25 years old. I absolutely don’t miss my boobs. I’m not a candidate for any flap as I’m quite thin. Tamoxifen really keeps my weight off.
Pleomorphic Dx 6/6/2018, ILC, Left, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 3/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/21/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 7/29/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 1/21/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 1/29/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 6/12/2019 Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Aug 13, 2019 11:45PM Lezza13 wrote:

cassieadan sorry I took so long to answer since I peek into these boards only a few times a week. Yes I am on Tamoxifen and have been on for 7 years this June We are about the same age. I stay on Tamoxifen because of the joint pain issues with armidex and femera. I have never regretted going flat because of the painful issues of recon. Glad you thought my experience was positive. Don't look back.

MoonGirl Jess. Glad you are happy with no boobs. I don't miss them at all. I like looking younger as well.

Dx 12/30/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/27/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 7/16/2012 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 18, 2019 09:24AM LoveDals wrote:

Just diagnosed with BC#3, (1992, 2013, 2019) planning on BLM as I am not willing to go round 4 with this damn disease. I have no interest in implants, so my decision is autologous tissue (DIEP flap) or no reconstruction. It is making me crazy. If I don't reconstruct, there are issues of proportionality (I am not a small woman with 36G's). I know prosthetics can address that, but there is still the dichotomy of how I look in clothes vs how I look "for real". If I do reconstruct, it is a huge surgery and long recovery. My hubby is supportive either way, but has pointed to the ease of recovery and speed of getting back to real life post-cancer. So what other questions did you all ask (of others and yourself) to get to a decision?

Dx 2/1993, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0, 0/25 nodes Dx 3/2013, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx 7/2019, Paget's, Left, Stage 0 Surgery Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane) Surgery Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Aug 19, 2019 07:01AM Moderators wrote:

LoveDals - We're sorry you have to be here, but really glad you found us. Sometimes the forums are "slow" during the weekend, but we're sure others will be by shortly to help with their experiences and advice. In the meantime, you may be interested in checking out the following main Breastcancer.org site's pages:

Questions to ask your surgeon on Going Flat: Choosing No Reconstruction

DIEP Flap Reconstruction: What to Expect

We know it's not an easy decision, but you're not alone and we're all here to help you! Keep us posted.

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Aug 19, 2019 09:04AM romashka wrote:

Being flat makes me happy. One surgery. No no boobs no bras. I'm comfortable. Each day when I see my scar, I'm reminded that my surgeon cared.

PALB2 Dx 8/22/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 10/10/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Aug 20, 2019 10:01AM wallycat wrote:

Romashka, what a beautiful way to look at your scars. Makes me want to email my surgeon and remind him I'm still here (we moved from WI to WA) and how well the scars have served me. Appreciate your view point more than you will ever know.

Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012

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