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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 07:03AM

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 5/8/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 10/28/2019 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Posts 121 - 134 (134 total)

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May 3, 2020 05:42PM 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 04:01AM - edited May 14, 2020 04:02AM 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 08:10AM 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 Hormonal Therapy 7/16/2012 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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May 17, 2020 11:45AM 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 09:27AM 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 09:28AM 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 05:50AM 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 10:13AM 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 04:42PM 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 06:26AM 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 12:05PM 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 2, 2020 09:02PM 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 08:37AM 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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3 hours ago 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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