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questions on emotions of having breast removed and having a reconstructed breast

tabletable Member Posts: 4
hello 
My real name is Ana not sure why I chose Table... Last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Been through chemo, radiation and now on hormone treatment for the next 10 years. I am going in at the end of the month for a left skin sparing mastectomy and axillary dissection with an attempt to save nipple. I am 54 years old. 
My reconstruction surgeon has suggested a Lat Dorsi, insert expander and later implant. I nearly can see the light at the end of the tunnel with this stage of my journey. 

My reconstruction surgeon kept on reminding me that my left breast will be gone and what will be there will not be a breast. He said it will look like it with clothes on the surgeon will later work on the right breast to match it up. 

This is where I need help. What does it feel like to have a reconstructed breast. I understand it wont be the same as the right breast as the cut/take the nerves  however its my skin and muscle I  must be able to feel something ? Is it like touching my thigh ?   I do roll with the punches however I am a little  concerned that I will not accept my new 'mound'  as part of me. My surgeon said there is nothing he can prepare me for emotionally for the mastectomy and reconstruction. This scares me. Can someone help me try and take control of what I can in this part of my journey

Comments

  • StrongCoffeeStrongCoffee Member Posts: 107
    Hi! If you ask to join the "Choosing Breast Reconstruction" group, you can see/hear about the results of almost any possible combinations of surgeries. It was a huge help to me when I had to make these decisions.

    I'm 46yo. had a skin sparing (nipple removed) mastectomy on my right side with an immediate over-the-muscle silicone implant reconstruction. I call it my Barbie Boob, lol!

    I never had 'no boob' through the process, I went straight from my scary cancer boob to my plastic fantastic boob. So I can't comment on emotions through that.

    In all honestly, I only think about my foob when it bothers me. Eg. We were doing some posed in yoga this week laying prone and it doesn't squash down like my other boob. So that's uncomfortable, like my boobs were back in my 20s!

    The sensation is hugely varied across the breast. Mostly around my scar, where my nipple was, is completely without feeling. But towards the middle is so sensitive- like it's compensating! My implant is held in place with a titanium mesh, sewn onto the pec muscles. There is a lot of internal scar tissue around there, which feels odd to touch and doesn't stretch much (again, usually only notice in yoga).

    In clothes, I look pretty even. You wouldn't notice a difference unless you really looked for a few minutes. My plastic surgeon has said I can get a lift plus some lipo under my arm on the other side to even them up, but I see no point.

    I initially thought I would just go flat, but my kids are only 8 and 14, and I wanted to be able to keep doing things like swimming with then without the hassle of floating prosthesis etc. My plan for now is to go flat when the implant is due for replacement (and hopefully both sides for my peace of mind/love of symmetry).

    I think that medical professionals tend to err on the side of "we'd rather warn you than not", but I don't think any of us could have predicted how we would feel through any of this. We each have our own unique relationship with our bodies, especially how we relate to our breasts. They've never been a huge part of my identity or femininity, so for me the whole surgery thing was much easier to cope with mentally than than whole cancer thing. Wishing you all the best with these next steps.
  • tabletable Member Posts: 4
    Hey there thanks for your feedback. Very interesting - yes I have joined Breast Recon group now 
  • Julez1958Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 356
    yes definately join the choosing breast reconstruction private group on here and also have a look at the “ Re Liam your curves” website.
    I actually decided to have a double mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction ( lost the nipples ).
    I had it 9 months ago.
    I was very emotional in the beginning but have got a lot better.
    The new boobs are not the same as they were before and they took a number of months to settle and “soften up “ but now they feel like boobs in my hands it’s just that they don’t have much feeling.
    Thet do look great in a swimsuit and with clothes and the bonus for me was I went from an E cup to a C cup and can now buy lots of clothes I never could before.
    I also lost 10 kilos before the operation ( it was a delayed surgery as I had radiation) and got fit again so I really am a “new me.”
    I am still deciding whether to get nipple reconstruction or just get 3 D tattoos.
    All the best with whatever you decide , and you will get lots of info from the sources mentioned above.

  • Julez1958Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 356
    Sorry should be
    ”Reclaim your curves”
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,103
    edited May 11
    There was a good interview on A Current Affair this evening .... a new method of breast reconstruction at Chris OBrien Life Centre, Sydney.

    Drs Dusseldorp and Dr Cindy

    Here's the link:
    https://www.facebook.com/watch?v=2086397504871663
  • Keeping_positive1Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 382
    edited May 11
    Breast Reconstruction Surgery Update — DR JOE DUSSELDORP

    I watched it also @arpie, and I have put up an article he wrote regarding reconstruction and waiting times, and ways around getting timely reconstruction if so desired.
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