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Topic: Anyone regret going flat?

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 23, 2019 10:03AM

StAuggie wrote:

I'm finishing up chemo next month and will have to make a final decision about whether or not to do reconstruction. I'm planning on having both breasts removed. I do not want implants, so I'm choosing between going flat or DIEP fat grafting.

A few weeks ago, I was just fed up with the whole multiple surgery, lengthy recovery idea and just wanted to put cancer behind me, so I decided to just go flat. My concern is how I am going to feel later. I realize that no one can tell me how I'm going to feel about having no breasts, but I don't want to make the decision to go flat and then regret it later; from what I've read, its better to start reconstruction right away or at least leave skin, if they're able to, and then have it later.

If I go flat, I would probably wear some type of prosthetic to give the appearance of having breasts, at least in public. Not sure that I want to mess with the hassle of prosthetics, but in all honesty I don't think I can be comfortable without them in public. I just keep going in circles and haven't been able to come to terms with either option.

Dx 4/12/2019, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 5/9/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 10/29/2019 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Posts 121 - 150 (213 total)

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May 3, 2020 08:42PM CCGirl wrote:

Hi Angelanotangie

Thank you so much for the info on Handful. I was wondering what I was going to wear swimming this summer (if we ever are able to go out!). I’m going to check them out. It’s always easier to walk with a buddy. :)


Dx 11/22/1998, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, ER+ Surgery 11/22/1998 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 2/1/1999 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 3/1/1999 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 3/11/2020, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/25/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 5/4/2020 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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May 14, 2020 07:01AM - edited May 14, 2020 07:02AM by Aftonfog

StAuggie, I felt the same way about the prospect of multiple surgeries and multiple recovery periods, so I have opted to go flat. I'm scheduled to have my BMX in June, and I'm just focusing on the positive for now.

Does anyone know about the current policy of visitors in the hospital following surgery? I know visitors haven't been allowed due to Covid, but things have been changing recently. The prospect of sleeping in the hospital alone is pretty daunting.

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May 17, 2020 11:10AM Lezza13 wrote:

All you can do is focus on the positive ladies. After almost 8 years, I have not regretted my decision for going flat.

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
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May 17, 2020 02:45PM BlueGirlRedState wrote:

Bilateral Nov 2016. 59 years old at surgery. I do not regret going flat, but do get frustrated at not finding undergarments to wear under very thin shirts, Ts, want to take shirt off, or if I want to have that "jog bra" look. Also need to find correct swim suit size. I guessed, based on old swim suit, but the one I got is actually too large. I think the old was nylon and the new is spandex, so more stretchy. Still shy in the locker room, and change in bathroom stall or private shower if available. I went the full circle. Talked to plastic surgeon before the bilateral, and I was not enthusiastic about plastic. Before surgery talked to a woman (early 30's) who had everything removed. She did the DIEP FLAP (love handles turned into breasts) with lyposuction, and was very happy with the results. Not available where I live. Consulted surgeon in another state, who said I was not a good candidate. (not enough good fat in the right places). I also found out recovery time, surgery more extensive than I thought). So I decided to go flat.

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Jun 21, 2020 12:27PM peyton3 wrote:

I have not been on here in a long time, but here is my story. I had bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. My plastic surgeon was a real jerk, put in these huge silicone implants(500cc) I was 4'11 weighed 125lbs, I looked ridiculous. A year later I had them removed and smaller ones put in over the muscle. Still in pain, iron bra, burning on rib cage. People kept telling me to just take them out and it will be better. So I did, I hate being flat, and I really hate wearing the prosthetics. So now I am considering the diep flap but unsure.

Dx 7/13/2015, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 5, 2020 12:28PM Maisie1780 wrote:

Reading all these responses has been so helpful. I recognize myself in some of them. I am scheduled for a bilateral MX with no recon on July 28. It had been scheduled for June 23 but when the day came I just couldn't go through with it and cancelled. I felt that I hadn't given reconstruction an adequate consideration. So the next day I saw a plastic surgeon that I had talked to a few times on the phone. She was lovely and she said it would be a challenge but she was up for it. She said that I would need fat grafting. I am 5'2" and 102 pounds -- not a lot of fat, or breast. I signed up, went home, thought about it, read through the Mentor brochure (listing all the potential complications), read a lot online, and three days later, I cancelled. Cost me five weeks but I think I have put reconstruction behind me. I will wear prosthesis. Actually, I have been wearing mastectomy bras and a small partial on one side for years because of asymmetry. So I know you can look good in clothes with prostheses. In fact there are so many size, shape, and material choices that you actually have a lot of flexibility and can get the exact size and geometry that you want. I was afraid of going through surgery with implants and discovering that I was too big, or too close or spaced, or uneven, or just strange. I read so many accounts of that happening. I read about fat grafting that didn't take -- the fat was re-absorbed. And of course I read about the discomfort, the need to have MRI's and potentially replacements. I saw lots of photos of implant reconstructions that looked terrible-- and their owners were proud and happy. I really only wanted the recon so that I wouldn't have a flat chest when I looked at myself unclothed. If I did the reconstruction and then looked at myself with implants and wasn't completely happy I would have felt foolish. That's just me I know. The truth is that there is no good solution. There won't be until they figure out how to build a breast out of your stem cells: a real breast, real tissue, with sensation. I am having a lot of difficulty facing into having a flat chest with two long scars. Those of you who wrote to say that you get past it, you adjust -- thank you.

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Jul 6, 2020 08:50AM mightlybird01 wrote:

I am unilaterally flat and I really don't mind looking at my scar. I still have one natural breast (small, A cup) and it really looks just fine for me and my hubby :-)! My surgery is not even one year and my scar is already very faint. My skin is smooth and no flaps or excess.

I think (and you could ask that) you could get a DIEP flap also years later if you really can't live with your flatness. But I think you will find you adjust just fine.

Dx 4/12/2019, IDC/IDC: Medullary, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 5/21/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 11/8/2019 Mastectomy: Right
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Jul 21, 2020 01:13PM I_Spy wrote:

Hey you guys. I had my implants removed November 2019 (BMX in 2015 with expanders and then implants placed). I've been suffering from an autoimmune condition, and I wanted any chance that my implants were contributing to it to be removed. The first thing is my upper back pain is GONE. The implants placed under my pec muscles constantly pulled my shoulders forward, causing spasms and pain in my upper back. It is SUCH A RELIEF to have that gone. In addition, my autoimmune symptoms have improved; I actually feel like I am "healing" from that condition. So I am very happy that I had my implants removed, as much as I might miss having boobs. Honestly, my boobs were removed in 2015 -- the implants looked good in clothes, but they were clearly not real once my clothes came off.

When I first posted about my decision to remove my implants, a member on here, who many people "love", had the nerve to argue with me about my decision, going back through my posts and using my past posts about my health issues to argue why it was dumb for me to consider it would help my health problems to remove my implants. I have barely posted on here since then. I reported it to the mods, but they felt she was trying to "help" me (ironically, I had blocked her five years before, but through an accident I saw her reply to my post). I requested that all of the posts be removed, including my original post outlining my reasons for having my implants removed. A reply to a post about removing your implants should be compassionate and kind, not argumentative, no matter how much it is done under the guise of "helping". These decisions are so personal, and so hard, and we can all give our personal experience, but don't let anyone tell you what is the right decision for you or argue with you about your decision. It took what I consider to be a safe space (this site) and ruined it for me. It was months ago and it still hurts.

Anyway, in lighter news, I'm posting today to make sure you guys know about The Busted Tank. It is the best prosthesis I have found. Just google for their website and online orders (I have no connection to them, this is not an ad). They make tanks and sort of jogging bras, and the breast forms come with them and fit like a dream. Very reasonably priced, too! It looks so real it's unbelievable, and they're very comfy. So just wanted you guys to know!

And good luck everyone with this very difficult decision. Like I always say: You're not choosing between Disneyland and Six Flags. All options suck in this scenario. You just have to make the decision that is best for you.

Dx 9/2/2014, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+ Surgery 9/2/2014 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 7/7/2015, LCIS, Left Surgery 7/7/2015 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 10/9/2015 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 11/27/2019 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Jul 21, 2020 07:42PM Beesy_The_Other_One wrote:


Thank you for posting about The Busted Tank--wow, I would never have found that! I noted they even carry an insert for ladies who had a single mastectomy. The camisole is just what I've been looking for!

You are so right: we did not get to choose between Disneyland and Six Flags--there aren't any great options.

I'm glad you're feeling better after having removed your implants.


1997: Phyllodes, R breast. 2018: IDC, L breast. TCHP, BMX, Radiation, Nerlynx. Dx 8/20/2018, IDC, Left, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (IHC)
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Jul 22, 2020 09:26AM helenlouise wrote:

thanks I spy, ive had a look and will order some

Dx 1/2013, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/3/2013 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 2/10/2013 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 3/1/2013 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 2/2018, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 1/8 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/25/2018 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 7/23/2018 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 8/27/2018 Chemotherapy 8/28/2018 Xeloda (capecitabine) Dx 4/2/2019, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 1/8 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Dx 4/16/2019, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to other, Grade 3, 1/8 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (DUAL) Dx 3/2020, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to other, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (DUAL) Chemotherapy 3/18/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 3/19/2020 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 3/19/2020 Herceptin (trastuzumab)
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Jul 28, 2020 03:05PM Erica wrote:

Thanks from me also, I_Spy! I just checked out the Busted Tank website and their products look really appealing. I've ordered a cami and a bra to try, along with two sizes of their breast forms, and am really hoping they work for me! (; BreastFree Blog (; Twitter @BreastFree
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Aug 3, 2020 12:02AM Aussie-Cat wrote:

I_Spy, I'm really sorry you got hurt on this forum - that makes things so difficult! The Busted Tank looks great and they even have international shipping. Thanks for your ideas. I will think about ordering something from there. Take care.

Diagnosed with nerve pain (post mastectomy pain syndrome) July 2018. Twin sister died of breast cancer May 2019. Surgery 6/19/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right
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Aug 3, 2020 11:37AM BlueGirlRedState wrote:

I-Spy - I hope everythingworks out for you. It is all such a personal decision, and what is right for one person might not be right for someone else. All we can really do is share our stories and hope they can help someone else going through these times. It sounds as if removing the implants is having the positive effects on your health that you were looking for. No advise on clothing or prosesthics. I went the full circle on reconstruction and almost went out of state for DIEP, but found out I was not a good candidate(not the right kind of fat in the right places, even though I have a lot). I am happy with my decision to go flat.

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Aug 5, 2020 06:59AM mheibel wrote:

I'm so grateful for finding the thread and for all of you sharing your stories and struggles. I'm 58 and had a bilateral mastectomy on June 25 after four months of chemo and I knew I had to have six weeks of radiation after surgery. I really struggled on whether to have reconstruction. I wanted to be "normal", but didn't want anything foreign in my body. I ultimately decided to have reconstruction and had expanders put in during my mastectomy.

I went in for my first fill and my left side wasn't healing as well as the right side. I had a few fills on the right and my left was about the same size with no fills. My PS "cleaned up" my left side in the office to aid healing. The next day I started running a fever and soon it spiked to 103. I was back in the PS's office and they extracted fluid from my left side and then sent me to ultrasound to see if they could see more fluid to remove it. They found fluid, but it was too close to the expander to remove, so they sent me home.

Two days later I was in the ER having my left expander removed and was admitted and spent the next 24 hours being pumped with IV antibiotics. After a follow up with the PS, I was told I had a staph infection and they could reconstruct the left side (after antibiotic treatment and radiation) by taking my lat muscle. They said they would do their best to make my breasts look even, but it didn't sound too promising. At that moment, I knew my only option was to have my right expander removed and go flat.

I had my right expander removed yesterday and am recovering well. I feel this was my only option at this point and am looking forward to healing and the next phase of my treatment. Thanks for sharing all the websites for bras and prostheses.

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Aug 5, 2020 10:53PM Miriandra wrote:

All the best to you, mheibel. I hope your recovery goes well, and your treatments going forward are easy.

At 50, I also didn't want to run the risks of having implants or expanders, and decided from the beginning to forego reconstruction. If this had happened to me when I was younger, I may have had different ideas; but now, I am ready to accept my body showing its battle scars. While everyone's mourning process will be different and completely valid, I find that I really don't miss my breast.

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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Aug 11, 2020 10:29PM 2019whatayear wrote:

It's been a year and I was pretty sure I didn't want any more surgeries so no reconstruction and I'm happy to say I don't miss having boobs at all. I'm super glad to have been able to skip out on extra surgeries and I feel for me it helped my overall ability to cope with treatments and recovery.

5/6/2019 IDC 2cm, micromet 1/9 nodes, BRCA2+, ER+, PR+, HER- BMX 6/2019, A/C & Taxol 2019, Radiation, BSO - preventative 2/2020, Letrozole 3/1/2020, Started Lynparza for 1 year preventative on 7/18/2021
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Aug 13, 2020 12:37PM BlueGirlRedState wrote:

2019whatayear - glad that everything is working out for you. I also do not regret going flat, even after doing the full circle of considering plastic, DIEP, delaying etc in 2016. It was the right decision for me.

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Aug 13, 2020 03:26PM Fiaranch1 wrote:

I went flat 5 years ago . I have never worn a prosthetic once in 5 years . I made the decision for no implants or no recon due to the high failure rates of reconstruction as well as the number of recalled implants . I have NEVER regretted my decision. If people don't like my flat look I don't give a shit ! I am alive and that it what matters most to me !

"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom". Anais Nin Dx 9/16/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/22/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 11/22/2013 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Aug 14, 2020 06:15AM mheibel wrote:

I'm feeling much better today and have my radiation planning meeting on Monday. I'm getting used to my new body and am grateful that any additional surgeries should be behind me. I have one large area that is concave on the same side as my port. Initially the PS (when I was going to have reconstruction) told me that they could fix that, but now that I have gone flat they said they could not. I'm wondering if the area is accentuated because of the port and once the port comes out it may look better. I'm not sure though.

After surgery, did anyone have any areas that were "concave"?

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Aug 19, 2020 09:16PM alto wrote:

I'd say I have a long divot across my chest, below the center of my former breast, and it continues horizontally toward my underarm. In my case, it has never really bothered me, as I wanted them to get all the breast tissue they could - and heck, there's a boob missing and a big scar, so the divot isn't the first thing I notice. What you're describing is probably different - but I'd imagine any high point like where the port is would make the lower area more apparent.

Diagnosed at 42. Had symptoms of Paget's for years prior to positive biopsy. No Tamox because low% ER. Dx 11/2/2018, Paget's, Right, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Surgery 11/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 11/29/2018, DCIS/Paget's, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR- Surgery 12/18/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Dx 12/21/2018, DCIS, Right, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR- Surgery 1/15/2019 Mastectomy: Right
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Aug 19, 2020 10:10PM July152020 wrote:


I just learnt today that I am brca-2 positive after my lumpectomy. I know I want to have double mastectomy and I thought I wanted to do reconstruction earlier but now the thought of having so many surgeries really freaks me out. I am thinking of going flat now, since my breasts weren’t even big to begin with (AA probably), I don’t think I will miss much. But I really don’t know how I mentally would be ready for this. having two big scars across my body. I am 43.

I saw some lady said she regretted and decided to have recon later but would that work without a tissue expander put in when doing double mastectomy?

thanks in advance.

Brca-2+; Dx 7/15/2020 at age 43. er+80% pr+40% Her2-, IDC 1.7cm grade 3, DCIS 0.6cm grade3 , 2/15 nodes (0.6cm) started ac+t on 9/17/2020
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Aug 19, 2020 11:52PM Hopeforthefuture1 wrote:


I was diagnosed 17 years ago at the age of 31(almost 32). I had a bilateral mastectomy due to BRCA mutation and did not do reconstruction. I am now looking into doing it. Reconstruction can be done at any time! I haven’t minded going flat but am tired of not doing what I want. I always have to consider if my prosthetics will fit or if my scars will show. Anything with a loose neckline falls forward and you can see down my shirt to my scars. I have been divorced for 10 years and dating is difficult whether I wear prosthetics or not.

In the end the decision is yours. Do what is best for you at this time of your life. There is no hurry!

good luck to you!!!


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Aug 21, 2020 12:42PM 2019whatayear wrote:

I had a BMX a year ago and did not reconstruction No regrets. I don’t miss having boobs. For me, I wanted less trauma to my body. I felt very strongly about my decision. Based on where you are with treatment I think you have time to weigh your options and make the right decision for you

5/6/2019 IDC 2cm, micromet 1/9 nodes, BRCA2+, ER+, PR+, HER- BMX 6/2019, A/C & Taxol 2019, Radiation, BSO - preventative 2/2020, Letrozole 3/1/2020, Started Lynparza for 1 year preventative on 7/18/2021
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Aug 22, 2020 04:56PM Roxanne1333 wrote:

I had reconstruction post bilateral mastectomy 10 years ago. They look good and healed perfectly, but I have a growing concern about the implants. I know they don't last forever, and though my reconstruction was successful, I'm thinking about removal leaving me flat. Having reconstruction was important to me at 43, but now at 53 my overall health is more important to me than aesthetics and I don't want to continue to have surgeries for maintenance. Any advice? Thanks!

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Aug 22, 2020 05:43PM LivinLife wrote:

divine... thanks so much for how openly you shared and how thoughtful/detailed you were in what you wrote! I have BMX surgery scheduled for August 31. Even before being diagnosed I was quite clear reconstruction was never an option for me. I have scleroderma and read a great deal on my scleroderma forum the last several years about what people have dealt with regarding reconstructive surgery, esp. implants. I have issues healing and am a frequent flyer at the local wound clinic for my hands and feet.

I saw the site mentioned more than once on this site so I did explore different areas on that site as well. I'm not sure what I expected though it was really good to see the pictures just after surgery through a year or so after. The chest area is just something I could not have imagined without those pics so they were very helpful. I now have a realistic picture of basically how I will look. I appreciate you sharing your pic as well! It helps those of us who are not there yet though will be - 9 days for me....

with expansive comedo necrosis & weak ER/PR Dx 7/2020, DCIS, Left, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/31/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Aug 22, 2020 05:58PM - edited Aug 22, 2020 09:22PM by JavaJana

LivinLife, could I suggest you talk to your surgeon about using a wound vac postoperatively to help with healing? I was familiar with vacs used to heal problem wounds, but was not aware some surgeons now use them immediately. My surgeon (a general surgeon who does a lot of breast surgery) used Prevena, she feels they reduce complications and help with healing. The unit was small, and I was hooked up to it for 1 week. I had bilateral mastectomy, no recon. I wonder if it would be especially helpful for you with your history.

Xgeva 9/2/2020. History: Stage IIIc Borderline Papillary Serous Ovarian Carcinoma TAH/BSO, 0/15 nodes - 2/18/20. Benign Papilloma/ADH Left breast, excisional biopsy 10/11/2016 Dx 10/1/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Dx 10/23/2019, LCIS/DCIS, Right, 0/1 nodes Surgery 11/19/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Dx 3/25/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, 0/2 nodes Chemotherapy 4/8/2020 Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 4/8/2020 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 4/8/2020 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 8/13/2020 Femara (letrozole)
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Aug 22, 2020 09:17PM mheibel wrote:

Thank you everyone for sharing. It is such an individual decision. Today, I'm getting used to my new normal. Each day I'm getting more mobility and feeling better. I do agree with alto, that the concaveness is more accentuated since it near my port. I'm hoping that once I get my port removed, it won't look as strange.

I'm curious, generally how long does it take for swelling to totally go down? I know everyone is different.

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Aug 27, 2020 04:45PM - edited Aug 27, 2020 04:46PM by Chitown55

Hi. New here. I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma, Stage 3, in March 2020. After 8 weeks of adjuvant chemo, with much relief, the tumor is not showing up in my recent MRI. I now have to make my decision soon regarding reconstruction for a bi-lateral surgery. I did not have the BRCA gene mutation but was told I have the CHEK2 mutation. Because of this and my age (65), and after reading experiences on this website, I am 90% sure I will go flat. My concerns are aboutafter surgery infections, draining, and my chest wall looking concave as some have mentioned. My cancer has not metastasized but that future possibility is a major worry. Hoping to get through this to see my grandchildren grow up.

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Aug 27, 2020 07:26PM akmom wrote:

Hi Chitown, sorry you have to be here. I can share my situation for what it's worth... I am 64, had a BMX without construction 2 years ago and do not have a concave chest. In fact I went back for corrective surgery in June as I had some underarm bulges and quite pronounced ridges below my scar line that were bothering me. Am happy enough with the final results. No problems at all with infections with either surgery.

Wishing you the best possible outcome and peace of mind with your decision.


Surgery 2/11/2012 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 2/24/2012, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2 Radiation Therapy 4/9/2012 Whole-breast Dx 8/14/2018, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/14/2018, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2 Surgery 8/14/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 9/10/2018 Femara (letrozole)
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Aug 28, 2020 12:06PM HotFlashes wrote:

Hi Chitown55, congrats on your success with chemo! I had a BMX with flat closure this past April, during the height of the pandemic here, and I had no problems with infections. All the extra hand-washing and distancing we're doing nowadays has got to provide an extra layer of protection against infection of all types, not just Coronavirus, so you can feel good about that!

I don't want to scare you, but since you mention it, I did have a minor complication with the drain on my right side. That side was much juicier than my left--draining almost twice as much on the days I was more active--and I became obsessed with trying to get every last bit of fluid out of the tube and bulb. I used alcohol wipes to "milk" the tube, like they tell you to do, but I think I must've been overly rough with the bulb, squeezing and shaking it every which way. (I was also worried about leaking, so I kept checking the stopper and fiddling with it.) In any case, after about a week, the bulb lost its vacuum. Instead of staying concave and sucking the fluid out of me, it was completely inflated with air and round. So I ended up having to take that drain out early, and had to go to the hospital twice after that to have a nurse draw out all the fluid that was collecting on that side, with a big syringe--100 ml the first time, and 75 ml the second. It was so odd, the fluid collected right where my breast was, so the seroma made it look like I still had an A-cup there!

Anyway, go easy when emptying your drains, and you should be fine! And keep in mind that you would have drains whether you reconstruct or not.

Another thing I wish someone had told me: you might want to do all the post-surgery physical therapy exercises at least once BEFORE the surgery, and take note of your normal reach and range of motion, so you have a baseline of what you're trying to get back to afterward. For example, the exercise where you walk your hands up the wall--I would do that now and mark the height you can reach with tape. I think I kept doing the exercises for longer than I needed to, because it bothered me that I never knew or thought about how high or far back I could reach before.

Whatever you decide, good luck! :-)

Dx 10/28/2019, DCIS/IDC, Both breasts, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 11/17/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/23/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 5/26/2020 Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy 6/3/2020 Whole-breast: Chest wall

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