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Topic: Living Without One Breast

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: Aug 16, 2019 04:16AM

LSG wrote:

I have to decide whether to have a mastectomy or a lumpectomy. I am leaning toward the mastectomy, I don’t want to drive 30 miles for 30 days for radiation. I would like to hear from those who have had only one breast removed and how they deal with it. Do you wear your regular bra wit

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Aug 16, 2019 05:19AM sm627 wrote:

Hi LSG,

I have been living with one breast for 2 years now. A mastectomy was my only option. Looking back I was initially sad to lose my breast, but now I'm so grateful that I didn't have to go through radiation. Living with one breast has helped me in a way. I was finally able to find the right bra size. All these years I was wearing a size that was one cup smaller. My insurance paid for some fake boobs and two bras that I love the fit so well and they look so pretty too.

If I want to go out and have a boob I'll sometimes wear my knitted knocker it is very soft and fits comfortably inside a bra. Hawaiian shirts have been my new best friend for what I don't want to wear my fake boob. The patterns on the shirt does a good job of camouflaging my missing breast so no one can tell I only have one boob. Colorful scarves help too.

Some days I don't even think about that I'm missing a breast I just enjoy life to the fullest. God forbid anything happened to my left breast but if something did I think I would have another mastectomy just to be done with it all. Then I would be even and no more bras or mammograms. I am hoping though that my healthy breast will continue to be a good girl and not get sick. I do like having her around. :-)

I know this is one of the biggest and hardest decisions you have to make. Take your time and do what feels right for you and what will give you peace of mind.

Sending you lots of support, love and hugs, Sara

Diagnosed at 32 years old. DX 5/30/2017 Borderline Phyllodes Tumor 17cm. Surgery 6/27/2017 Mastectomy(right). Hormonal Therapy 9/25/2017 Tamoxifen
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Aug 16, 2019 07:23AM Moderators wrote:

Dear LSG,

Welcome to the BCO community. We are sorry about your diagnosis and surgery. We are glad that you reached out to our members and we hope that you will find support and information here that will be helpful as you make decisions and move through your treatment and beyond. Please stay active here and keep us posted on what you decide and how things go. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help you navigate your way around the boards.

The Mods

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Aug 16, 2019 10:43AM bethanygb1 wrote:

I did the rads three years ago and glad I did. Stage 1, no spreading. It wasn't fun but glad I did it. 30 days is really nothing and that is done.

Dx 7/15/2016, DCIS, Left, 1 cm, 9 mm, 3 mm Stage 0, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 8/21/2016 Lumpectomy with SNB-clear margins no spreading Rads: Sept-18 2016-Oct 26 2016
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Aug 16, 2019 05:26PM powerthruit wrote:

Hi LSG, I’ve been living “one down” (as one of my friends said) for about 4 years now. It’s been fine. It took me a while to find a bra I liked that my prothesis fits nicely. I don’t wear it all the time. Depends on the clothing. I was not large-breasted to begin with, so I don’t feel too lopsided. I had to do a mastectomy. MRI showed multiple spots that turned out to be one large tumor.

Dx 5/2015, LCIS/IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/4/2015 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 7/6/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Aug 17, 2019 05:54AM Grandma05 wrote:

I am right there with you girl, my surgery is scheduled for October, just finished up my chemo. I am having such a hard time deciding whether to have reconstruction or not. My doctor said I had no option but the masectomy. No radiation is a good thing about it. I'm almost 63 so I'm leaning towards fake boob instead of reconstruction. This is such a hard decision to make.

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Aug 19, 2019 08:49AM - edited Aug 19, 2019 08:50AM by Miriandra

I recently had my left breast removed, and my sentinel node was clean. So I'm hopefully going to be able to avoid both radiation and chemo. Looking at my long-term recovery, I chose mastectomy with no reconstruction. It is expected to be a faster and more comfortable recovery overall.

I just got a few sets of the adhesive bras for backless dresses. Most have little clasps in front for two cups (obviously don't need that bit!), but others are separate cups that can be worn individually. They are surprisingly comfortable and supportive, particularly the kind with a longer top to pull the breast upward. (I'm a C, so a bit of lift is appreciated.) I haven't tried the "petal" bras yet, since my store didn't have my size. I hope this helps!

Dx 5/31/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/1 nodes, ER+ Surgery 8/13/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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Sep 8, 2019 03:50AM deteamana wrote:

I had a right sided mastectomy in Sept. 2018, followed by 28/7 radiation. I am in remission and chose not to do reconstruction. I have a prosthetic and a knitted knocker. Most days I go natural, with no bra or prosthetic. I am lucky that I have a husband who told me not to get the reconstruction just for his sake, that he loves me know matter how many breasts I have. I am comfortable with myself and so is my spouse. I know I get looks from people but I do not care. I woke up breathing, it's a good day. I don't care what others think about me. I fought, I won, I will live live to the fullest and not worry about what others think about how I look. When I do wear a bra, the knitted knocker is so much more comfortable than the prosthetic my insurance paid for. What ever you decide, Make sure it is what you want for yourself. You need to be happy about your self image. There is no right or wrong way to react or do things after cancer. Good luck.

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Sep 8, 2019 11:56AM - edited Sep 8, 2019 11:57AM by Lucy55

I had right side mastcetomy 5 years ago ..and have been fine using a prosthesis ..until now ..and have deciced to have a left side mastectomy next Monday ..to even things up ...then I can choose to wear prosthesis or not each day ..I'm not having reconstruction ...but we can always change our minds ..I have ..5 years later ?..Yes..I just wear an ordinary bra and pop the prosthesis in it !

Dx 8/27/2014, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 9/14/2014
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Sep 8, 2019 02:09PM mac5 wrote:

LSG,

FWIW...I had a Left Breast mastectomy 2011. I wanted both breasts taken, but the general consensus was IDC/DCIS wouldn’t come back in the other breast. And a PS told me at age 60 I was both to old and too fat to have reconstruction.

My mastectomy was Radical because there was skin involved. Some muscle tissue in the armpit was taken.

It has been difficult to find a proper prosthetic. And it’s not “overtly” noticeable, but my clothes fit differently.

Two days ago I found out there is cancer in my Right Breast.

If I had it to do over, I’d find a Surgeon to take BOTH

Dx 7/20/2010, DCIS/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Dx 9/5/2019, ILC, Both breasts, 6cm+, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 8, 2019 04:36PM teaka123 wrote:

I had a nipple sparing skin saving mastectomy to my left breast following my DCIS dx. Pathology report found .7 cm spot of HER2+. My mastectomy choice left me with a great deal of my breast & shape - almost like having a lumpectomy. I will have some reconstruction to shape it and fill it in, but not as much as I thought I would be having.


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Sep 8, 2019 04:51PM - edited Sep 8, 2019 05:02PM by teaka123

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Sep 8, 2019 05:02PM - edited Sep 8, 2019 05:02PM by teaka123

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Sep 8, 2019 08:15PM SoCalLisa wrote:

I had a single mastectomy 19 years ago now with no reconstruction. Frankly, I rarely think about it much any more. I have good mastectomy bras and a good prosthesis so I just leave it in the bra, hang it over a chair and put it on the next day. I have a swim prosthesis that I have had for 18 years and still works great. I get 3 mastectomy bras from medicare every six months and a new prosthesis ever couple of years free. The supplier calls me when time to get the new ones is up.

Biography: DX 11/2000 LCIS,DCIS,IDC 2B, Grade 1, ER+,PR+ Her2Neg 1 pos node Lumptectomy, CMF chemo X 6 mos, DX 8/2001, IDC same breast--Mastectomy , Left Breast Lumpectomy... Tamoxifen, one year...Armidex, Four years
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Oct 5, 2019 06:02AM Maryliz99 wrote:

Recently diagnosed with BC and mastectomy of right breast is likely. I am a 48DD and looking for comfortable sports bra to wear after surgery. Any recommendations for a good source?

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Oct 6, 2019 01:56PM jessie123 wrote:

A friend of mine also has large breasts and had a single mastectomy. She wishes that she had removed both because she said the large prothesis she must wear (to match her other breast) is uncomfortable. Her surgery was about 4 years ago and she is still uncomfortable - she says it's heavy.

Dx 11/2018, LCIS/ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/21/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/14/2019 Whole-breast: Breast
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Oct 6, 2019 05:55PM Newnorm wrote:

Hi LSG, I’ve been living lopsided since my left breast was removed. I find it ok, but the prosthesis could be heavy if you’re large breasted. I do miss not being able to wear clothes that show even mild cleavage, like shirts. But you do learn to live without

Dx 12/23/2016, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/6/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 7/27/2017 Femara (letrozole), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 7/27/2017 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Oct 10, 2019 06:42AM SharonVT wrote:

I am 57, and wear a B cup size bra. I recently had a right sided mastectomy and no reconstruction. I found all kinds of foam FOOBS (fake boobs). The Empower pads from Athleta are the most comfortable for me. They fit into all my existing bras - have to discover the ones that are most comfortable to wear during the healing process, and that varied at the very beginning due to sensitivity. Today begins week 5 of recovery and each day gets better with less sensitivity and more comfort. I am actually able to wear my regular bra and my FOOB all day long, and no one would ever know one was real and one wasn't. I do not regret my decision. Being fitted for bras and a prosthetic in a couple of weeks because insurance will cover it. Not sure what I will like more my foam Empower FOOBS or the prosthetic - we shall see.

Dx 7/25/2019, DCIS, Right, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR- Surgery 9/11/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy
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Oct 10, 2019 06:28PM DVDiva wrote:

I got a mastectomy on the left side, and since I didn't have large boobs to begin with (the remaining size is barely an A), I've been getting along quite well with these padded camisoles from Amazon (I can't post a link but do a search for Atditama Women's Modal camisole).

I don't wear a prostheses normally and the cups just hold their shape for my missing left side with another shirt on top. I was surprised that it wasn't too hot during summer either. I have a protheses for my swim suit, and that seems to work just fine

Dx 10/24/2018, DCIS/IDC, Left, 2cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/17/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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Mar 14, 2020 04:29PM jcs123 wrote:

I had my left breast removed in December 2019. I didn't have a choice between a lumpectomy or mastectomy due to my small breast size. However, I was grateful that I didn't need to get radiation especially after 16 rounds of chemo. The pain after surgery was manageable, the anesthesiologist offered a nerve block prior to surgery that lasted several days and lessened the need for heavy pain meds post surgery. My scar has healed nicely and I'm not experiencing any lymphodema. I've been going to physical therapy biweekly to get my range of motion back - which I have. I've been wearing stretch camisoles instead of bras and I'm not sure I'm going to get a prosthesis yet. Clothes are a bit challenging at times but I'm choosing not to focus on it. I know these are tough decisions but the one you make will be the right one for you.

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Mar 15, 2020 06:36AM Moderators wrote:

Dear jcs123,

Welcome to the BCO community. We are sorry for your diagnosis and surgery. We are so glad and grateful that you reached out to our members to share your story. This community is about members sharing experiences with one another. We know how much it can help others to hear stories like yours. Please stay active here and let us know if we can be of help as you navigate your way around the boards.

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To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Mar 15, 2020 09:16PM SoCalLisa wrote:

Sharon, since insurance is paying get the prosthesis and the mastectomy bras at the same time. You can also get a Foob on your own dime and then decide. You can always use either one, but you probably only get one every couple of years.

Biography: DX 11/2000 LCIS,DCIS,IDC 2B, Grade 1, ER+,PR+ Her2Neg 1 pos node Lumptectomy, CMF chemo X 6 mos, DX 8/2001, IDC same breast--Mastectomy , Left Breast Lumpectomy... Tamoxifen, one year...Armidex, Four years
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Mar 23, 2020 03:32PM msphil wrote:

hello sweetie I was planning our 2nd wedding when I was diagnosed told needed mastectomy so went with 2 doctor opinions. My fiance now husband encouraged me also for mastectomy. And thank God with Hope and Positive thoughts and family now a long time Survivor Praise God will be a 26yr Survivor. Hang in there sweetie. msphil idc stage2 0\3 nodes chemo (adriamycin cytoxin 5fu) and 3mo after Lmast then got married then 7wks rads and 5yrs on Tamoxifen. I wear prothesis in my bras and swimsuits very comfortable. You can do this.

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Mar 30, 2020 04:54PM - edited Mar 30, 2020 05:04PM by Miriandra

Hi Ladies! Success!! Last summer I had a left mastectomy and knew from the beginning I wouldn't want reconstruction. Now that summer is on its way (and the lockdowns won't be forever), I needed a new swim suit. So I found a tankini at Target with a nice crossover bra top that worked nicely for conversion to a half-top. I know this won't be a style that everyone would be comfortable wearing, but for those of us that want to show off our tattoos, or who simply don't want to bother with a foob....

Dx 5/31/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/1 nodes, ER+ Surgery 8/13/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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Mar 31, 2020 12:22AM Bonnie7 wrote:

You look just beautiful Miriandra! 💛

Dx 2002, DCIS, Right, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2005, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2016, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane) Surgery Surgery Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole) Surgery Lymph node removal Chemotherapy Radiation Therapy Hormonal Therapy Surgery Lumpectomy Surgery Mastectomy
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Mar 31, 2020 08:31AM Miriandra wrote:

Thank you, Bonnie, I really appreciate that. I’m actually really nervous about wearing it to the pool (eventually!!), even though I normally go out without wearing a foob.

It will ask everyone around to change their expectations of what a woman’s body is supposed to look like, how we’re supposed to present ourselves in public. I’m already steeling myself for if someone says, “Cover up! There are children here! No one wants to see that!” Hopefully, society has moved forward enough that people will know what BC survivors can look like - it’s not like I got my boob chopped off for funsies! But you never know until you get there.

(((Hugs!))

Dx 5/31/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/1 nodes, ER+ Surgery 8/13/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left

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