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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 5/9/2019 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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Aug 29, 2020 05:20AM mheibel wrote:

Each of us have a different journey and personal decisions to make. I am getting used to my new "normal'. It's good to hear that you can have corrective surgery after going flat. I'm currently having radiation surgery now so I know any additional surgery is on hold, but I think I'll look into it once I see what the final result is. I also am most likely going to look for another PS, as I feel like I was dismissed from my current PS after the infection and my decision not to continue with reconstruction.

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Aug 29, 2020 05:11PM BlueGirlRedState wrote:

mheibel - you might want to consider DIEP as well. I went out of state for a consult since it was not available where I live. I was not a good candidate (not the right kind of fat in the right places) and recovery was several weeks longer than plastic. The PS surgeon gave me several names (I think all in Oregon). I do not regret going flat, but the temptation to turn love handles into boobs sounded like a good deal.

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Oct 31, 2020 06:46AM Dubhain wrote:

Fiaranch1 - I love your attitude 😀! My surgery will be sometime in January. My chemo isn't done until about mid-December. I'm considering double mastectomy since it has the fewest complications and shorter recovery time. I may ask if I'm a candidate for a DIEP anyway just so I know whether or not it's even an option and to be fully informed. Definitely will not do implants.

Dx 6/23/2020, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Nov 2, 2020 06:05PM ILOVERMONT wrote:

I am a week out from my bilateral mastectomy and total hysterectomy due to BRCA2+. Very little pain which was surprising. The drains came out today and one was getting angry so glad to see them go. I went straight to flat. I met with a PS to discuss my options early on and when he got to the part about 5-6 surgeries to get them to look even (right breast was radiated so not a candidate for implant and not enough body fat to do two) I said no way. Very surreal to put my hand on my chest and nothing there but they were trying to kill me so I won't miss them. I'm looking forward to not wearing bras anymore just to go get the mail, shop etc. I am 60 and my partner of 10 years was fine with my decision but if I were 20 years younger and single I may have gone for reconstruction. For me it was the healthiest option at this point in my life and so far no regrets!

Dx 1/21/2019, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/11/2019 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 4/2/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 7/1/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Nov 3, 2020 04:27AM LivinLife wrote:

That was one of the main reasons I chose to go flat - I've had no regrets! I hope you continue being as comfortable and happy with your decision... Glad your partner is supportive too!

Dx 7/2020, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/31/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Nov 3, 2020 07:28AM mightlybird01 wrote:

I am half flat and 1 year out from surgery and I don't have any regrets. It feels totally natural to me. I kept my hair short too, after having had long hair all my life. Loving the short hair :-)!

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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Nov 3, 2020 09:18AM JO-5 wrote:

Half flat here, never sorry, but wish I would have had the other removed as well. This way .... I am off balance and having one large breast causes rib, shoulder pain.


IDC 04 Stage 1 Grd 3 no nodes Lumpectomy rads plus boosts ER+PR+HER- AI 5 yr 2014 secondary angiosarcoma from rads lumpectomy recurrence 1 yr Mastectomy with lat flap 1/2 flap went necrotic skin graft to center of chest.
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Nov 3, 2020 12:10PM Scottie719 wrote:

I've been half flat since July 2017, and honestly never even think about it. And like mightybird01, I've kept my hair really short after a lifetime of shoulder-length or longer, and consider it one of the [few] silver linings of the BC experience!

Dx 1/6/2017, IDC, Right, 0/12 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Chemotherapy 1/23/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 3/21/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 3/21/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 7/17/2017 Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 9/6/2017 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 19, 2020 02:11PM mheibel wrote:

Does anyone else have a protruding sternum after bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction? I had my mastectomy in June, left expander removed (due to infection) in July and the right one removed in August. I also had radiation during October on my right side, so I was waiting to see if everything would "calm down" a little, but it's still protruding. I'm getting used to my body and I don't think I will have reconstruction, but maybe a little "clean up" because there is extra tissue (to the right of my sternum) that my first plastic surgeon left behind.

Any information is appreciated.

Thank you.

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Nov 19, 2020 04:43PM LivinLife wrote:

I wouldn't call it protruding exactly though I had ribs that felt (some still) 2 1/2 times the size of normal and other areas that either feel too like other extra tissue settled in the wrong place or is still swelled or both. P.T. didn't want to do any myofascial release on me because I"m a "slow healer" and they are afraid I'm not healed yet. I went on line and found two techniques on YouTube and did very little work gently on my right side each night for a handful of nights and it helped a lot. P.T. was ok with that.

I'm still struggling with cording issues too. Other women on this site recommended I go to see a lymphedema specialist for that. I'm hoping she may do some myofascial release too. I don't know if that would help you or not though you could research that a bit and see if this fits for what you are dealing with. Apparently it's not unusual for tissue, etc. to settle in the wrong places and it just needs a little help to get back where it belongs (or a better place?).

Dx 7/2020, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/31/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Nov 22, 2020 06:04AM mheibel wrote:

Thank you LivinLife for the information. I am unfamiliar with myofascial release, but will do some research. I did see a lymphedema specialist and she was happy with my range of motion and said I was healing well, but that was a while ago. I also completed PT and continue to do home exercises. Thank you again for the information and I hope your cording issues are resolved soon.

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