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Nov 20, 2012 11:32PM
Hi, ablydec, and welcome to the forum! So sorry you are going through this tough time, but very glad you found us.
Last year, after twenty years of clear mammograms, I had some bleeding from my left nipple. Seven diagnostic procedures later, we discovered that I had multifocal DCIS (non-invasive cancer) with two areas of IDC (Invasive Ductal Cancer). Nothing had ever shown up on mammography.
At that point I had several options: lumpectomy with radiation, a unilateral mastectomy (UMX) or bilateral mastectomy (BMX).
I did tons of research, read everything I could, especially posts here on BCO, and prayed a lot.
I made the decision to have a BMX for several reasons:
~ My mom had BC, and I really felt it was just a matter of time til I got it. (She had a radical mastectomy and was a 28 year survivor.)
~ My Radiologist was never comfortable telling me the right breast was clear. She wanted me to have a breast MRI on the right to rule anything out.
~ I had very heavy, dense, fibrocystic breast tissue. I knew I would be worried for the rest of my life that the cancer would appear in the right breast.
~ My Original Girls were huge, lumpy, painful, and droopy.
~ The BS told me that because I had multi-focal cancer (in two places) the amount of tissue she would have to take during a lumpectomy would be so large it would deform the breast, and that I would be better off with a UMX.
~ I got to thinking about symmetry.....a mastectomy and implant on the left, and a lift on the right, and how impossible it would be to match the two up.
I finally made the decision for a BMX and my Radiologist was SO relieved.
I had my surgery on December 5, 2011. All the margins were clear, and there was no lymph node involvement. I did not need either chemo or radiation. In the final pathology report, no cancer was found in the right breast so it turned out to be prophylactic.
Recovery from the BMX was o.k. (I had two drains in for two weeks), but for the first few weeks the expanders did hurt. However, once I started getting fills, that went away. In August, I had my exchange to permanent saline implants. (I took some time off to lose weight.)
I've just been professionally fitted with the most gorgeous bras that make me feel pretty and whole.
I've changed my diet and lifestyle and lost weight, and now feel like I can become the strong, healthy woman I want to be.
There are just as many valid reasons to have a UMX as there are to have a BMX, and I'm sure those members will be along soon to share their experiences.
I've never once regretted the choice I made.
Wishing you the best, and the ability to make a decision that brings you peace.
9/15/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
12/4/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
8/21/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
9/4/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
10/21/2013 Femara (letrozole)