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 04:31PM

Posted on: Jan 12, 2022 04:31PM

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 04:39PM 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.

There is no option for Metaplastic under subtypes so hopefully new people searching for Metaplastic can find it in sigs. Surgery 8/16/2013 Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right): Simple Dx IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 12, 2022 04:39PM parakeetsrule wrote:

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

Stage 2 at 37, Stage 4 at 41. Cancer is dumb. Cookies are good. Dx 3/21/2017, IDC, Left, Grade 2, ER+/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 5/14/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 12/8/2021 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Targeted Therapy 12/13/2021 Piqray (alpelisib) Dx IDC, Other, Stage IV, ER+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lymph node removal (Left); Mastectomy (Left) Radiation Therapy Whole breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Jan 26, 2022 09:13PM barbojoy wrote:

I decided on flat after abandoning reconstruction a the tissue expander phase. I had them remove those and close it up flat. My surgeon left dog-ears, which sucks and I may get those fixed once I'm done with radiation. I am mostly happy with being flat. I would certainly prefer to have my natural breasts, but implants aren't for me and I don't think i can tolerate the pain and suffering for DIEP reconstruction.

I think there are many women who go flat now and it is a very practical option, in my opinion. I'm 46 but I see several younger than me also going flat. Who knows.. maybe in time I'll change my mind.

Dx 6/15/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+, ISH, IHC Surgery 7/28/2021 Lymph node removal (Left); Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic mastectomy (Left); Prophylactic mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Left) Targeted Therapy 9/1/2021 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 9/9/2021 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/1/2022 Whole breast, Radiation boost: Left breast, Other part, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 2/1/2022 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 4/1/2022 translation missing: en.treatments.targeted_therapy.targeted_therapy_medicine.short_options.phesgo
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May 5, 2022 12:17PM blums8 wrote:

Love reading your posts. I am considering going flat, so I love reading all of the postive input. I am 65, small breasted and just wanting to minimize surgery.

Thanks to all of you brave women.


Take care,

Janice

Chemotherapy 2/1/2022 Other
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Jun 10, 2022 02:13PM prairiedweller wrote:

Hello. New to the community. After 8.5 years one of my breast implants has ruptured and I'm seriously considering going flat. I seriously considered it in the first place when I had cancer. Back in 2013 the person to call me on the phone and tell me it was cancer was my family physician and she also told me that she was a cancer survivor that opted not to reconstruct and just live flat. The thing is, I never knew it until she told me. Some women are just flat chested anyway I guess. Still at this point in my life I want to look normal. Will I look normal if I'm not as tiny and petite as she was? I won't wear prosthesis ever. I don't like all these fake things. I was a head scarf person when I lost my hair, because to me the wig thing was a fake thing. I could ask one thing of those living flat, maybe some clothing hints or suggestions? What did you change about how you dress? And swimsuits? And it is strange that I kind of like the no bra ever again idea? They have never been completely comfortable to me. Will my husband hate no breasts? He says he doesn't care, but do I believe him?

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Jun 10, 2022 03:37PM moderators wrote:

Hi prairiedweller, We really understand where you are coming from. It's a tough, and personal decision. Your plastic surgeon will be able to outline your reconstruction options- including going flt, so perhaps first meet, and see what they say. Indeed, swimsuits are variable without a prothesis, but there ARE options out there. We're all here to support you with your process.

Warmly,

The Mods

To send a PM to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/my/...

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