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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 11:16AM

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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Posts 31 - 58 (58 total)

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Mar 18, 2021 12:37PM NotAsCalmAsILook wrote:

I am following for answers cfrank. Have you tried/looked into handful?


I’m too new to help. Just picked up first prosthetic yesterday.

I’ve got a large breast (DDD-H depending on brand) and have always had a hard time finding bras I liked. (I never owned a sports bra before yesterday). Having only one breast doesn’t make it easier.

Swimwear is going to be my next challenge.

Dx 7/2020, DCIS/IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/12 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic ovary removal Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol)
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Mar 19, 2021 02:44AM Bright55 wrote:

Hi My dears...sorry you are here ..hope I can assist like you 10 years ago now.... I considered why not to have rads so chose mastectomy

My surgery was over done n dusted.

Just retired .....got on with university degree travellin and camping .

some are lucky ..no pain and quick healing and no lymph involvement

First couple of years and some times in cold winter I wear a compression singlet to stop lymphoedema on chest wall

Heavier boob does need to be fitted from a specialist fitter for a good bra and In Australia the breast protetheis is gov claimable each two years

Livein beach area some humidity..

At home no bra just cotton loose tops

Beach walking/ swimming lightweight foob insert gel

Some swimmers I have sewn in my own fibrefill and no need to remove

I found that I had to remove the side seam plastic boning from bras as it rubbed side where I had Lymphedema

Had to use massage to chest wall

Winter have wear wool vests and foob more often as chest gets tooo cold

All the best

Bright in hope

ps

At present making my own lace and soft cotton camisoles




Dx 2011, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2016, Right, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 7/10/2016 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 11/3/2019 Afinitor (everolimus) Hormonal Therapy 10/9/2020 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Targeted Therapy 10/9/2020 Kisqali Surgery Mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane) Hormonal Therapy Liquid tamoxifen (Soltamox)
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Mar 22, 2021 12:10PM cfrank wrote:

I never heard of handful..but I will look into it.. The only prosthetic I like is knitted knockers..but they dont last that long.

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Apr 14, 2021 12:43PM - edited Apr 14, 2021 12:44PM by dreaming

Mastectomy bras and prosthesis are covered by insurance and Medicare. I got them for years from Liberator medical supplies, they processed the claims,contacted the doctor for the order etc.

They decided to close that department and I am looking for any other that will provide mastectomy bras and process claims.

Anyone knows of any other supplier? It was very convenient. By the way because I had mastectomy in one side I ended with adult scoliosis as a result.

After the mastectomy a second diferent cancer was found: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, C.F.M.: Dx 7/7/1991, ILC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 14, 2021 08:23PM NotAsCalmAsILook wrote:

dreaming - are you looking for local or online

Dx 7/2020, DCIS/IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/12 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic ovary removal Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol)
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May 8, 2021 11:06AM Carpe-Diem wrote:

Same position - flat on one side, and a large healthy breast on the other side. I have found some good swimsuits on Amoena website. https://www.amoena.com/us-en

They also carry prosthesis and bras.

Dx 2021 Metaplastic Spindle Cell Triple Negative Dx 12/12/2013, ILC/IDC, Left, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 1/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/3/2014 AC Chemotherapy 2/27/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 5/12/2014 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap Radiation Therapy 6/30/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 8/9/2014 Surgery 1/21/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Dx 1/29/2021, IDC, Left, 2cm, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 2/25/2021 Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 3/30/2021 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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May 13, 2021 12:59PM julesAI wrote:

Just to share: While I have a prosthesis and two pocket bras (paid by insurance), I really prefer sports bras. To my old sports bras, I sewed in soft cotton to create a pocket for the prosthesis. Not perfect but works pretty good.

Often I go without the prosthesis, as I no longer care if anyone notices there's only one breast, and wear a Champion Performance sports bra. It's tight-fitting and comfortable.

Thank you, Carpe_Diem, for the website link. I really need to figure out a swimsuit. :)

Dx 3/17/2017, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIA, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/28/2017 Mastectomy Hormonal Therapy 4/17/2017 Femara (letrozole)
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May 14, 2021 09:44AM saltmarsh wrote:

I feel like this is one of those situations where the trans community helps everyone out! cfrank, if I were in your shoes, I'd do what I just did and google "trans binder"...and see if any of them appealed! I'd also probably ask the company/your doctor if there is any reason not to wear one in cases of a UMX, just to be safe.

https://www.bustle.com/style/11-of-the-best-binder...

https://www.gc2b.co/?utmt1&gclid=CjwKCAjwv_iEBhASEiwARoemvCPH3zAOybGu1u6LEibW83or9AByIPC_HMsZwvRzFJqV4kT-rtaOmhoCfREQAvD_BwE

Dx 3/8/2021. LCIS, ILC. Surgery 4/19/2021 mastectomy, right
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May 24, 2021 03:32PM Too-Ticky wrote:

I'm going to have a mastectomy next month. I can't have reconstruction due to awaiting radiation therapy and there is already a risk that the mastectomy wound could be quite tight. My concern is that because I am big busted, I can't find any mastectomy bras in my size. I'm a 36H (UK size) which I think is a 36K in US sizing. I asked the consultant about having a double mastectomy because of the significant size and weight difference, but he advised against it. Does anyone have any advice or recommendations about life with one huge breast, or where to find mastectomy bras in my kind of size, please?

Dx 5/21/2021, ILC, Right, 6cm+, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 25, 2021 12:21AM Miriandra wrote:

Interesting. This could be differing philosophies across the pond, or from doc to doc, but my surgeon voluntarily brought up the option of considering a proactive double mastectomy, even though I was BRCA- and just needed one side removed. She said that some women are more comfortable being symmetrical, and the weight difference of having one breast on one side can cause back discomfort. I'm not huge, so I chose just the single mastectomy.

You might want to pursue a second opinion, or at least ask about breast reduction on your remaining side. In the States, insurance is obligated to cover a second mastectomy to "create symmetry" if a woman later decides to have her other breast removed.

Dx 5/31/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/1 nodes, ER+ Surgery 8/14/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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May 25, 2021 04:38PM NotAsCalmAsILook wrote:

too ticky - I don’t know where to recommend, since I’m a few letters smaller and have a hard time finding what I need.

Some women are sewing pockets into regular bras… I’d be bleeding on them if I tried that 🙄

I can say this - if you go the single route, and you decide to wear a prosthetic- it took some doing to figure out the correct size…. We actually went down a size or two from an exact match to my solo breast. It makes sense, since it starts in a different place. But you have to try it in a bra, more than one if you find bras in different styles. And try moving with it. It reminded me of shopping for pants with a little kid…. Ok, they might fit if I’m standing still, but what if I’m bending this way? Or running?

Does your hospital or breast care center have someone who can help with this

Dx 7/2020, DCIS/IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/12 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic ovary removal Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol)
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Jun 21, 2021 11:30AM - edited Jun 21, 2021 11:34AM by Too-Ticky

Thanks for your advice. I don't know yet if my hospital has someone who can help with this. I think they're quite understaffed, I don't yet have a dedicated breast care nurse, let alone anyone to discuss prosthetics or bras with. I hope that once my drains are out they might put me in contact with somebody.

Great advice about moving around and bending before deciding on which prosthetic fits best.

Dx 5/21/2021, ILC, Right, 6cm+, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 25, 2021 12:57AM Lynn1234 wrote:

i have mbc and had a mastectomy on my right side about 8 years ago. No reconstruction. I very rarely think about it anymore. There are two stores in my city that offer prosthesis and mastectomy bras, they are certified in fitting for the mastectomy bras which is very important. There is a department store also that just recently had two employees certified in fitting for mastectomy bras. The insurance will pay for 3 bras each year and one prosthesis every two years, i believe.

Good luck everyone and God bless you.

Dx 3/26/2013, IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, 1/27 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 25, 2021 01:00AM Lynn1234 wrote:

btw i have been running each dayfor the last two years with the prosthesis with no problem.

Dx 3/26/2013, IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, 1/27 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Oct 6, 2021 07:55PM zuri927 wrote:

hello friends. I am new - right side mastectomy 4 weeks ago. I am trying knitted knocker and purchased prosthetic in my own bras (no consult yet). They are comfortable but lopsided. I am 69 years old so left size C cup breast is much lower than prosthetic side. Anyone have any suggestions?

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Oct 7, 2021 05:31AM Irene9 wrote:

Hi, I have the same question. My mother had a unilateral mastectomy at 80 yrs old. Three years later she is still struggling to find a comfortable solution. She wishes she had known how uncomfortable she would feel with the weight imbalance and would have opted to go flat had she known. She wears a knitted knocker out in public because the extra weight from the prosthesis causes her bra to chafe her skin. She has tried several different bra styles with no luck yet. Anybody have any input? Thank you!

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Oct 7, 2021 07:19AM Moderators wrote:

Hello, zuri and Irene! Sorry you are here, but wanted to say welcome to BC.org! Hope you find answers and good advice from our community members. Please keep us all posted as to how things go for you, and let us know if we can be of help.

Warmly,

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Oct 7, 2021 09:32AM - edited Oct 7, 2021 09:36AM by TB90

This Post was deleted by TB90.
Dx 11/28/2013, DCIS, Grade 2 Surgery 12/17/2013 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/19/2014 Breast
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Oct 7, 2021 09:34AM TB90 wrote:

Please ensure you are being fitted by a specialist. I only purchase through a certified prosthetic specialist. Lop sided is unacceptable and knitted items are no better, but serve a very temporary purpose especially while healing. Also, it really helps to ensure that you are fully healed as any weight or pressure can irritate skin. I also received radiation to the chest wall. But now I don't even think about it. But it has been 8 years. I achieved comfort within the first year, so do not settle for anything that further affects your quality of life. This is solvable. And the quality of the bra is just as important.

Dx 11/28/2013, DCIS, Grade 2 Surgery 12/17/2013 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/19/2014 Breast
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Oct 7, 2021 09:35AM - edited Oct 7, 2021 09:35AM by TB90

This Post was deleted by TB90.
Dx 11/28/2013, DCIS, Grade 2 Surgery 12/17/2013 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/19/2014 Breast
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Oct 7, 2021 11:28AM Miriandra wrote:

Irene, check with your Mom's surgeon and/or insurance. When I got my unilateral mastectomy, my doc said that insurance companies are legally obligated to cover "any surgery that will create symmetry". For me, that meant that I could still opt for reconstruction in the future, or go fully flat. If your Mom would be willing to go through it again, going flat may still be available for her. Good luck!

Dx 5/31/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/1 nodes, ER+ Surgery 8/14/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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Oct 7, 2021 06:51PM - edited Oct 7, 2021 06:58PM by LW422

Zuri and Irene--I have the same problem after my single mastectomy and found a product on Etsy that helps. They are called "SuspendHers" and are small suspenders that clip to the bottom of my bra and to the waistband of my pants. This holds the lightweight (or empty) side of the bra down and keeps it from "creeping." Here's a link to the product; I have no interest in this other than a satisfied customer. LINK

I ordered the "shorties, 1 1/2" size and they work well for me.

Dx 1/20/2021, IDC/IBC, Right, <1cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 0/32 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/7/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/23/2021 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/4/2021
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Oct 7, 2021 09:51PM Rubytoos wrote:

It's my understanding that 3 weeks is the accepted protocol for early stage BC radiation therapy. Does your center offer that? If time is your only concern, that might be worth looking into. On the other hand, I think aesthetic flat closure and a prosthesis or poof work great as long as your anatomy doesn't dictate otherwise. I can imagine for women with larger breasts it might be uncomfortable. I had two lumpectomies (years apart) and ultimately a mastectomy. I didn't have a lot of pain with it, but one is left with a certain amount of tightness and potential impact on range of motion in that shoulder. I also have no feeling in that area, something I wasn't really prepared for. But aesthetically it doesn't bother me at all. I had a flat closure since I would never want reconstruction. I am about 10 weeks out and though I wasn't planning to get a prosthesis, I decided just this week to do it and am really happy I did. I won't wear it all the time, but there are lighter weight alternatives, and in a pretty bra no one can tell I had surgery recently. Eventually I want to have a flat closure on the other side. It is a hassle dealing with the foob and for casual living I personally wouldn't feel the need to have a visible breast line.

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Oct 8, 2021 05:34PM julesAI wrote:

LW422: "SuspendsHers" is such a great idea! For a long time I could only wear a Knitted Knocker, and something like this would have been wonderful for those times when the Knitted floated up quite a bit. Winking


Concur with others that a fitter is very important.

Dx 3/17/2017, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIA, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/28/2017 Mastectomy Hormonal Therapy 4/17/2017 Femara (letrozole)
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Oct 8, 2021 06:46PM LW422 wrote:

Jules--the SuspendHers work great and are a real help for me when I use my knitted knocker. I tried using a giant safety pin but that didn't go so well. :biggrin:

I can't wait to get done with radiation so I can have a prosthesis fitting, but I will probably still use my knitted knocker and SuspendHers for comfort.

Dx 1/20/2021, IDC/IBC, Right, <1cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 0/32 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/7/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/23/2021 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/4/2021
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Oct 10, 2021 12:56PM julesAI wrote:

LW422: I ordered a pair! I don't always wear my prosthesis, and my sports bra tends to ride up, so I thought I would try. So thank you again for the suggestion.

Sending you a virtual hug through radiation treatment. Patience with healing was something I had to be reminded of over and over.

Dx 3/17/2017, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIA, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/28/2017 Mastectomy Hormonal Therapy 4/17/2017 Femara (letrozole)
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Oct 10, 2021 06:22PM LW422 wrote:

I hope they work well for you, Jules. Be sure to post when you get them. The only "problem" I've had is that I forget I have one on when I go to the bathroom, lol. I'm finally getting used to unhooking, though!!

Thank you so much for the good wishes. Radiation terrifies me (just like chemo did and surgery did), but hopefully it won't be too bad. Take care.

Dx 1/20/2021, IDC/IBC, Right, <1cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 0/32 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/7/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/23/2021 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 10/4/2021
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6 hours ago serenitywisdom wrote:

Hi,

My breast implant ruptured after open heart surgery last year and they removed it. I get occasional back pain when I am simply standing and not wearing a bra. Is that because my left breast is about a 38 D and maybe not having a right breast causes me to be out of alignment. My plastic surgeon has recommended not to get reconstructive surgery because of all the problems I had after open heart surgery and then the implant removal. I did not think about this until I start reading the posts. If so, does that mean I should be wearing a fairly heavy prosthesis even when I am home alone? . Grateful to be alive . Any advice appreciated regarding reducing back pain and what type of prosthesis to get. .

Dx 1/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 2/24 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 2/2/2011 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Targeted Therapy 4/10/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 4/10/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/28/2012 Reconstruction (right)

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