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Topic: How do I get over the lost of my breasts ?

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: Sep 26, 2020 04:56PM

Hope2021 wrote:

It's been 6 months since my BMX and I'm still sad / depressed over the lost of my boobs. I didn't want recon and I still don't, but the loss has been hard to adjust, or get use to. I was fine right after surgery. I was happy the cancer's been removed. But when I had my follow up on my 6th week, and the surgeon finally removed the steri-strips, that's when I first saw the bare chest and started to cry ever since. This month, my 7th month, I've been better. I think the tear well is dried up, I'm just sad now a days. I don't know how to shake it off.

I try to keep myself busy, taking care of the kids, working from home due to covid, exercise more, sleep better, write my thoughts in a journal. All that helped, but my mind just wonders off and drifts into a sad place sometimes. I can't help it. I feel the emptiness in front of me, constantly, even when I wear my foobs. I avoid looking in the mirror in the bathroom because it upsets me too much. I don't change in front of my husband anymore. I keep my top on when we have sex.

I never thought I would be like this. The surgeon only talked to me about the tests, procedures, surgery options, the arm exercises after surgery. She never talked to me about the emotional toll. Even in my follow ups, she never asked how I am coping. I had to bring it up, and her solution was to refer me to a psychiatrist, or join a support group. So here I am.

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Posts 31 - 41 (41 total)

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Jan 22, 2021 11:16PM Jaybird627 wrote:

Hi Gals,

I won't be post specific but here are some facts:

My most recent PS came highly recommended - from a nurse in my old PS's office. He's the one who recommended HBOT, my old one didn't, and so I chose him. The HBOT did help but after 2 months after expander my skin turned on me overnight - literally. I'll revisit the HBOT with my PS. Typically you do 20 before surgery and 10 after. I did like 40 before due to a situation. It's time consuming. I really think it did help me keep the expander for so long.

NOLA. I can't afford it. They don't take my insurance. I can't afford the time away from work or my child (she's 14, I'm a single parent).

I've had issues with this R side from the get-go. My current PS thinks there is bacteria in my scar tissue that get activated with a foreign body. My lat flap is fine, no issues, as it's my own body parts. He says there's no way to rid myself of this bacteria as I don't have enough skin to re-do any scar tissue. That's a basic explanation.

I can't do fat transfer as I'm, 5'1" and 99 lbs. no extra fat unfortunately.

My therapist/psychologist is helping me work through this and other issues. I see my PS in about 8 weeks to discuss when to replace my L capsule contractured implant.

Trying to wrap my head around going in one direction only to be stopped by an insurmountable road block.

I'll see if my PS has any recommendations of other PS who have more expertise with radiated skin/wound healing issues. I welcome all recommendations from anyone here.

I'm a planner. I think it helps me forget things (ie: emotional pain?). If I have no choice to be/stay flat I'm planning a cover tattoo. I'll reduce the L side as much as I can. I hate wearing a prosthesis as the bra has to be so tight. If I don't wear it it's very obvious no matter what I wear.

It's an on-going situation at this point.

Beesie, I always enjoy your fact/statistic posts!

J ~

Jaybird. My hopes are not always realized, but I always hope - Ovid. Dx 3/5/2005, IDC, Right, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/5/2005 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal; Mastectomy; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap, Silicone implant
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Jan 22, 2021 11:33PM sbelizabeth wrote:

Jaybird, thanks for the clear picture of what's going on with you. What a nightmare you've experienced.

I know you're grieving over the loss of your breasts. And you've been through so much.

My mom was petite and thin, like you. After her second mastectomy, she had a couple of surgeries to get an "aesthetic flat closure" or a smooth, flat chest. She wore scarves and vests and jackets and looked fabulous. Have you ever considered this?

pinkribbonandwheels.wordpress.... Dx 10/20/2011, IDC/IBC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 12/15/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/21/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 7/19/2012 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/15/2013 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Apr 26, 2021 08:43PM 55girl wrote:

I just had a mastectomy with no reconstruction of my left breast last week after being diagnosed with DCIS. The surgeon took the bandage off today, although the staples are still there for another week, and I cannot bring myself to look. I have been sobbing all day,and I know I will be depressed for a long time. I told my husband to take the mirror out of the bathroom and I will shower with my eyes closed. I don't know how I am going to do it.

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Apr 26, 2021 08:54PM Jaybird627 wrote:


I'm so sorry - and I get it. Why no reconstruction? What kind of closure did you have, and can you have future reconstruction? I won't say it gets better - it just gets different.

J ~

Jaybird. My hopes are not always realized, but I always hope - Ovid. Dx 3/5/2005, IDC, Right, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/5/2005 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal; Mastectomy; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap, Silicone implant
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Apr 26, 2021 10:48PM Moderators wrote:

Welcome, 55girl. We're so sorry you find yourself here, but we hope this place can be a source of support as you adjust to all that's changed. We certainly understand how you're feeling, and we're all here for you.

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Apr 27, 2021 07:13PM naps wrote:


So sorry you are going through this. I can relate. I had a UMX with a tissue expander placement that then had to get filled slowly over weeks. Confronting myself in the mirror was really upsetting (sometimes impossible) at first, and I had trouble looking at/dealing with that area for a while. It was interesting how my body and mind had this kind of disconnect. I didn't really want to think about it, but meanwhile my left arm would reflexively fold across my chest on walks, etc.--a subconscious protective instinct, I think, that lasted for some weeks.

In my case, the TE was uncomfortable and ended up damaging my skin, which was very thin and had some difficulty healing after radiation. I originally was in a damage control mode after my diagnosis, and the assumption from everyone (except my husband) was that recon was the way to go. So I set off down that path but over time realized it was just not for me. I didn't want more long surgeries, the risk of pain syndromes, etc. Over time, and it did take a long time for me, I grew to understand how I could and did adjust to many things that previously would have been quite unthinkable to me, and that this was likely to happen with regard to being flat on one side as well.

It took me about 3 years to get off the fence and bail on the recon altogether, and I then had to go through another (briefer) period of adjustment to my "aesthetic flat closure" once the TE was removed. I can say that I am truly ok with how things are now. I feel at ease with the mirror and view my scars as one part of an unfolding story--and a mark of an incredibly difficult time in my life. It is a process--different for everyone. It is a loss that may well entail a natural period of grief that can't be rushed through. I don't know if you're considering recon or not--it seems like it's a good option for many people, but it's not for everyone for many different reasons. Whatever path you are on, try to be patient and kind with yourself. Healing happens on many levels and over different time-frames.

I wish you all the best.


Dx 3/2016, ILC, Left, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 8/10/2016 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy AC Immunotherapy
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Apr 29, 2021 09:45AM 55girl wrote:

Thank you for your response. I chose no reconstruction for a couple of reasons. I don't like the idea of having foreign objects in my body. Also, I had a mastectomy of the left breast. My right side is so small that the plastic surgeon was going to have to put an implant on that side in order for the left side with the smallest sized implant for both to match up. I didn't want something done to that side if there wasn't any need other than to add in implant. So even though my breast was small, and it was my larger one, I am missing a part of my body that I will have to see daily.

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Apr 29, 2021 10:01AM Peregrinelady wrote:

55 girl, I didn’t choose reconstruction right away, but did end up having the DIEP surgery a year later. I was depressed for many reasons, but I think the lopsidedness of one breast contributed to my depression. Have you considered DIEP surgery?
Dx 4/24/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/17/2015 Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2015 Liquid tamoxifen (Soltamox) Surgery 4/18/2016 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy 7/31/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 7/19/2020 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 3/3/2021 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Apr 29, 2021 01:31PM LillyIsHere wrote:

55girl, I know how you feel. I won't forget the first time I saw my scars from BMX. I got emotional in front of the nurse and my husband but I know I am on a road of no return and we are doing the best we can. You'll get used to the new you and after a while, you won't care much how it looks. You will give a pat on your back for going through this surgery emotionally and physically. Celebrate that you removed cancer and now you are cancer-free.

“Within five years, cancer will have been removed from the list of fatal maladies.” That was the optimistic promise to U.S. President William Howard Taft in 1910 when he visited Buffalo’s Gratwick Laboratory, “What’s taking so long?” Dx 7/31/2019, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IIA, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/19/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 11/30/2019 Femara (letrozole)
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Apr 29, 2021 08:44PM Jaybird627 wrote:


Options: flap surgery or even fat transfer. I wish you luck. I'm not pushing you to reconstruct but if you can't handle the flatness, there are options other than implants. Good Luck


Jaybird. My hopes are not always realized, but I always hope - Ovid. Dx 3/5/2005, IDC, Right, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/5/2005 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal; Mastectomy; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap, Silicone implant
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May 2, 2021 07:57PM Hope2021 wrote:

Wow, I didn't know there's been so many posts added.

55girl - I feel you. It's been a year for me now. Time heals. But at the time, the emotional pain was so unbearable. I cried, then cried some more. I was angry, like why is this happening. Writing a journal helped. Reading and writing blogs helped. I was so desperate to find ways to get over the loss. But you know what, there's no rushing it. All the pain you are going through is part of the healing process. Just have to take it one day at a time. Good one day, then bad for 3, then good again....and so on..... Therapy helps, but I'm too shy to talk to one. Mindfulness meditation, yoga helped. Songs helped : I Will Survive, The Climb, What Makes You Beautiful. I talked to myself a lot. Had to convince my head and my heart to accept that this is the 'new' me, suck it up. Mastectomy surgeries are performed everyday. New members are joining the 'club' everyday. You are not alone, That kind of put things into perspective for me. I am not alone, but I do have to go through it on my own. It's like jumping off the high diving board, you are not alone, everyone in class have to jump, but when it's your turn, you have to jump, on your own.

Hey, look on the bright side, you still have one breast to touch and feel. I've got both of mine chopped off.

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