Recurrence :(..treatment questions

eddiek Member Posts: 17
Hi there
Just reaching out after a recent diagnosis of a recurrence at age of 47..after 8 years since my first breast cancer (age 39)- oestrogen-progesterone positive :( First time lumpectomy, axillary dissection (cancer in nodes) and chemo/radiation.  My three tumours are under 12mm in size..but am being advised by first surgeon/oncologist I have seen in the public health system that masectomy is the only option.  I feel in myself I am too young to have no breasts..but I am also a very active person therefore feeling alot of trepidation in the thought of a pro-longed reconstruction process..of which I have heard nothing positive yet.  Only stories I have heard directly from ladies that have gone through this is that it is at least a 3 year process, lots of pain, discomfort and that physical/upper body strength significantly impacted.  I love my swimming, scuba, snorkelling and dragon boating and am extremely saddened that this may take several years to get back to my current strength and ability.  
Can anyone out there give me something inspirational please...a good reference for second opinion, personal experiences re recon and impacts to physical strength post all of this?  Thank you very much in advance x


  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,328
    Commiserations on your recurrence, that’s really bad luck. One other option is to not have reconstruction. I was older than you when I had a mastectomy but it’s been nine years now, I remain mono-boobed and comfortable with it. I wear a prosthesis, have one for swimming, find it easy and straightforward (a good fitting is a must however) and neither my partner and I have any problem with my body, it’s just a bit different. My best wishes for a happy and satisfactory outcome whatever you decide.
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,088
    Hi there
    so sorry to hear about your recurrence.
    I am 63 and was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2020.
    My tumour was 5.5cm ( not picked up on mammogram  12 months prior).
    I initially opted for single skin sparing nipple sacrificing mastectomy and reduction in the other breast.
    I didn’t have anything in my lymph nodes so didn’t have chemo  but I did have 28 sessions of radiotherapy and started Letrazole shortly after finishing radiotherapy.
    Long story but I ended up deciding to have a preventative mastectomy of the other breast and double DIEP reconstruction ( where they take fat from the stomach) in August 2021.
    I had it in the private system.
    I would be lying if I said it was a walk  in the park , especially as I had two surgeries and recoveries , not one.
    Now it is 10 months post the reconstructive surgery I am back to everything I could to before and am very happy with the results.
    Ask to join the “ choosing breast reconstruction” group on here there are lots of stories and photos and most of them are positive,
    One thing I think really helped me was I saw an exercise physiologist to help me get lose weight and get fitter before the surgery and Also I saw a physiotherapist who specialised in breast cancer patients to help me recover my full range of motion and help with massage of scar tissue.
    Take care🌺
  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,511
    Mastectomy is not as scary as it sounds, it's very necessary for some, (me).

    There's lots of choices and as already noted some are happy to be flat!

    Here's a website that will help with research

    There's also a What to Pack for Hospital PDF

    Take care
  • Blossom1961
    Blossom1961 Member Posts: 2,340
    edited May 2022
    I had treatment with two young ladies, who both had reconstruction using implants. Both were in their early thirties. Both were fit and healthy. One had continual problems but the other did not have any problems at all. It really does vary from one person to the next. I have been told that the implants using your shoulder back muscles (not sure of technical term) results in long term reduced muscle loss. As @Julez1958 recommended, join up with the recon group so that someone more knowledgeable can assist. Sending big hugs. Sorry I couldn't be more help. My cancer has metastisised after four years of NED so I understand what a shock it is.
  • Glemmis
    Glemmis Member Posts: 343
    Hi @eddiek, I had a mastectomy in 2016, then chemo & radiation. In 2019 at 59 I had the other breast removed & double Diep. Like you I was quite active & being fit before surgery helped with recovery.  It was a 12 hour surgery but other than the first week being difficult every day got a little bit easier. I was back to work after a month, driving & back at the gym. Back to dragon boat racing at 2 months. As suggested join the breast reconstruction group as there are many positive stories there.
  • eddiek
    eddiek Member Posts: 17
    Belated thank you to all of you that responded to me, appreciated.
  • StrongCoffee
    StrongCoffee Member Posts: 128
    I'm 46 and had my single mastectomy with immediate implant reconstruction just over a year ago. As I had a good amount of flesh on my skin (tumour was deep inside the breast tissue) my plastic surgeon opted to place the implant over the muscle. I could have it done in one surgery as I most likely didn't need radiotherapy (I didn't).

    I have no regrets, really happy with the result. I have shared in the Choosing Reconstruction private group (which was invaluable in helping me decide what to do!). I couldn't say exactly when I was back to normal, but I was up in a headstand last night at yoga and appreciating that I don't need to worry about a prosthesis!
  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,808
    Well done @StrongCoffee - your description of the yoga class minus the prosthesis made me laugh.  It is the 'little things', isn't it ?  Sometimes it is good to highlight the humorous side of all this BC saga ....
  • MicheleR
    MicheleR Member Posts: 343
    Hi @eddiek

    Sorry to hear about recurrence.

    I had a mastectomy and no reconstruction for the reasons youve stated. I was 48.  I feel physically fine with it and prefer not to wear a prosthetic. The only issue ive had is finding a suitable bra to manage my dd remaining breast with out prosthetic and sometimes i like to diguise the fact that im breastless and dresses and swimwear dont really cater much for it. Not insurmountable and in my opinion less painful than more surgery. Im sick of the medical intervention.