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Breast Reconstruction

I'm Katherine A V., and I'm a survivor of Stage 1 Breast Cancer

I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer 3 weeks ago. I am going to have a mastectomy and are weighing my options on getting an implant. I am 71 years old and have been married to my loving husband for 51 years. The plastic surgeon told me the process and the things that could go wrong. It seems like a lot to go through with all the chemo and other recovery processes, but I can’t imagine not having only one breast. I do water aerobics and swim year round and am self conscious of my body. Is there anyone out there that has an opinion on this?

  • Post #1
  • Sun Jul 21, 2019
Hi, I'm chatterbox

There is no rite or wrong choice. I am almost 50 had both breasts removed last year. I look in the mirror and see my survival scars. I am alive and healthy.again. I did reconstruction but I dont like them. I look fine in a blouse or dress but i toss and turn and they are hard to sleep on. I will live with my desicion. You will never be the same in the mirror but you will always be you. It’s ok if you decide to leave one flat. There are plenty of ways to still look fine. And if people stare let them. None of this is fair.

  • Post #2
  • Sun Jul 21, 2019
Hi, I'm Betti

I elected to have just 1 removed as the other was and still is healthy. I was diagnosed at age 62 and didn’t want to have to undergo any further surgeries. I, too am very active with walking and swimming and just use a prosthesis in my bra or swimsuit and no one knows unless I tell them. I’ve even taken to not wearing a bra on Sundays unless I’m going out somewhere. Weigh all your options-pro and con and make the decision you feel is the right one for you.

  • Post #3
  • Sun Jul 21, 2019
Hi, I'm Debra L.

I was just diagnosed about 2 weeks ago with breast cancer, I am 63 I think that I’m going to have the mastectomy. I believe that I will be able to live without the breast. It’s not as important as my life. Also I don’t want to go through with the radiation. The research I have done, makes it sound like the cancer can come back. Also the radiation can limit surgical options. At this time all my tests indicates the other breast is fine. Also in February I had a normal mammogram. My cancer is very small still stage 0. Everyone feels I should have the mastectomy. My son was very freaked out.. But I feel like he’s better now.

  • Post #4
  • Wed Jul 24, 2019
Hi, I'm Susan

I was just diagnosed a week ago. I’m at stage 1 and am having a lumpectomy next Fri. I’m 64. I want to keep my breast mainly because I don’t want to go thru the extensive surgery of mastectomy. Rad scares me a little. Yesterday I went to the Lee health cancer center. They offer all different types of services and talked with a woman who explained everything to me so much better then my doc. She gave me a book that explains everything in detail. Even down to diet and goes over all side effects. They also offer financial help so I applied since I’m on Medicare. Anyway she told me the only side effect I may have is a small burn on the breast after a week or so. We all have to make a decision on what is right for us. Good luck to all.

  • Post #5
  • Wed Jul 24, 2019
Hi, I'm Betti

I went home the day after my mastectomy and lymph node dissection. The surgery wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, I had no pain just 2 drainage tubes to learn to take care of and did it by myself. One must do what they are most comfortable with.

  • Post #6
  • Thu Jul 25, 2019
Hi, I'm Terry L K.

I was diagnosed at 59 in Feb. 2018, after finding a lump two months after my yearly mammogram. They found a second lump with an MRI that was also cancer in the same breast, as well as a benign lump in the other breast. None of this showed up in my mammo. After a lot of research and 2nd opinions I opted for a dbl. mastectomy with reconstruction because of the failure of mammograms to detect my lumps. It was the best thing for me but a very difficult decision. This time last year I was going through chemo and I am so thankful that it is all behind me now!

  • Post #7
  • Sun Jul 28, 2019
Hi, I'm Beverly J R.

I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer and opted for a mastectomy (instead of a lumpectomy) in July, 2016 at the age of 61. At the time of my mastectomy I had the surgeon leave a “flap” of fat/tissue so that I could later have reconstruction. Once I was finally able to meet with a plastic surgeon and heard his detailed expectation of what to expect with reconstruction, I decided that I did NOT want this! Since I had a single mastectomy (believe me, I tried to convince my surgeon to remove both breasts, but she could not do this since my genetic markers did not support this). If I had gone through with the reconstruction, I would have needed multiple surgeries on my remaining breast as well as the reconstructed breast in order for the plastic surgeon to achieve symmetry. I also am wary of implants due to so many women having adverse reactions to them down the road. Like another survivor above, I purchased a prosthetic silicone breast form and just slip this into my bra and no one can tell that I have only one breast. It looks and feels so natural! You can purchase expensive, custom-made prostheses, but I simply ordered one on Amazon for $25 and it has served me well for the past 3 years. I am so glad that I did not have reconstruction for so many reasons. If I ever develop cancer in my remaining breast, I will follow the same process (minus the “flap”). My husband and I are both very satisfied with this decision. As others have stated, the choice must be made by each survivor, but I encourage you to meet with a plastic surgeon and get all the facts before you decide which route to take. No two people or situations are exactly alike. Just know that you have options, and you can change your mind later if you regret your initial choice. You have control over this aspect of your treatment!

  • Post #8
  • Sun Jul 28, 2019
Hi, I'm Heather E O.

As others have said, it’s a very personal decision and you should do whatever feels right for you. I am 47 years old and had a unilateral mastectomy last year, without reconstruction (so I’m flat on one side). I chose this because I am very active and did not want to have a lot of down time recovering from additional surgeries, as well as because of the inherent risks that accompany any surgical procedure. Many days I use a prosthetic (which insurance mostly paid for) in a pocketed mastectomy bra (which insurance also mostly paid for). I have had no problems exercising, doing yoga, or swimming laps with the prosthetic and no one can tell. I guess the only down side that I have found to being “uni-boob” is that I can’t wear low-cut, cleavage revealing blouses—but I didn’t do much of that before anyway. Once you have investigated your options, just make the choice that feels right for you. Best wishes.

  • Post #9
  • Sun Jul 28, 2019
Hi, I'm MARY B.

I am 62 stage 11B had 4 mo of strong chemo, double mastectomy and lymph node removal on right side and 6 weeks of radiation. Right now I can’t imagine putting myself thru the stretching and then reconstruction surgery. Right now I choose flat. It is a personal choice for all of us. Currently I am battling hand arm lymphedema the last 2 weeks, which is really so hard to take after everything.

  • Post #10
  • Sun Jul 28, 2019

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