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Topic: Embracing being flat and no regrets

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: Jan 12, 2022 02:31PM

tbluhm74 wrote:

Greetings! After discovering I had a genetic mutation (ATM mutation) last February 2021, I had choices to make. I learned that I was at higher than average risk of getting breast cancer (15-40%), ovarian cancer (3%) and pancreatic cancer (5-10%). The number that made me most uncomfortable was the risk of breast cancer and I could not imagine a life of screening for this (I am 47 years old). After speaking about options with my healthcare providers, I decided to do a prophylactic mastectomy without reconstruction. Having been a nurse for 20 plus years at the time, I had spent time thinking through personal decisions I may have to make one day. One of the decisions was "What would I do if I got breast cancer?" I had thought I would get a mastectomy without reconstruction if that were to ever happen. I honestly did not think I would ever have to actually make this decision---we do not have breast cancer in our family and my lifestyle has been top notch most of my life. But, alas...

I ended up getting a prophylactic mastectomy without reconstruction on May 17, 2021. I think the biggest decision was thinking through if this was a crazy decision. I had to find my own voice and own values as I processed through this. I had to be articulate with my healthcare team so they would support me. It was helpful that my husband was supportive too. It was helpful that I'm petite and athletic and very small breasted to begin with.

Looking back, I have no regrets. I do not know if there are others out there like me, but I like being flat. I wear a padded bra even with tighter fitting shirts. I think because of my petite size no one even notices. I love when I jog now. I do not have any "extra baggage" bouncing around. It is liberating. With bathing suits I buy frilly tops and once again, no one seems to notice. I am happy that now my risk of breast cancer is lower than average. This feels good. I like that I do not have to do annual MRI's or mammograms. I still have to deal with the other cancer risks but those numbers are smaller and I can deal with that. It was an empowering process to go through. I realize that I do make decisions that are best for me even if they seem crazy.

Thanks for letting me share my story. Let me know if anyone has questions. I am happy to share. I am very happy with my decision.

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Jan 12, 2022 02:39PM wrenn wrote:

I wonder if it is a different outcome if one actually has cancer diagnosed? My decision had a lot to do with having to go through chemo and therefore not wanting to take the extra time for recovery if reconstruction was involved. I was cut off chemo after one dose but still had side effects and was basically done with it all so the prospect of post reconstruction didn't fit either. I am good with my decision to be flat.

I had large heavy breasts and I don't miss that. I was also 66 at the time and not thinking about appearance as much as when young but was more geared toward being comfortable.

I'm sorry you had to make the decision but glad you are happy with your decision. All the best.

Metaplastic IDC Triple negative...Tumour is 1.5cm. BMX Aug. 16th. Chemo cancelled after one dose due to complications. Dx 7/25/2013, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 8/16/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Jan 12, 2022 02:39PM ParakeetsRule wrote:

Going flat is very common! There are groups on Facebook with thousands of members who all went flat and love it. :)

Dx at 36 and again at 41. So dumb. Dx 3/21/2017, IDC, Left, Grade 2, ER+/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 5/15/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/13/2017 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 11/1/2017 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 11/2021, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/lungs/other, ER+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 12/8/2021 Zoladex (goserelin) Hormonal Therapy 12/8/2021 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Targeted Therapy 12/13/2021 Piqray (alpelisib)

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