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Mastectomy

DjkDjk Member Posts: 5
Hello ladies, I’m 32 yo with HER2 positive breast cancer. I’m currently undergoing chemotherapy and i’m 3 weeks away from finishing my Abraxane+herceptin+perjeta treatment. 

I will be having a mastectomy mid May, followed by radiation, then reconstruction which is scaring me a lot. I’m having all sorts of anxiety. My appearance is a huge thing for me, and on the other side I fear recurrence. I’m afraid of feeling ashamed of myself and never be confident again.
I know the world of plastic surgery is so advanced, and the stuff they do are amazing, but I know it will never be the same specially after loosing sensation. 
I’m just wondering if anyone else felt the same? What did you do to feel better ? 
Has anyone had a recurrence? 
I would really appreciate any help!

thank you
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Comments

  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,889
    Dear @Djk

    Feeling apprehensive and anxious about surgery and reconstruction is perfectly normal, it’s a lot to take in and take on. But shame doesn’t enter the game. You will have taken on things that others haven’t, you will have shown strength and commitment and you can be the better for that. Your body will be a little changed, but we all change, physically and emotionally, as we grow and develop. No one enters the same river twice - it’s just that we don’t always notice the changes. Cancer makes us much more aware of change - it can be uncomfortable, but it’s a really important part of living. And that’s what it’s all about - having the opportunity to live your life. Don’t look
    back, you are not going that way - none of us are. Think of what can and will be, and grasp it with confidence. Best wishes. 

  • Cath62Cath62 Brisbane Member Posts: 787
    Hi @Djk, so sorry you are going through this. It's a tough gig. So many emotions to deal with and all are normal given what you are experiencing on this breast cancer ride. You have been through so much already and surgery pending escalates anxiety and no wonder, it is a big deal. You will recover physically quickly really. Dealing with body image goes on one's entire life regardless of reconstruction. As @Fraser said we are constantly changing and we have to adjust as we go. You can always chat to your breast care nurse and there are psychologists who can help too. You have alot to process and talking with a professional who understands the breast cancer journey can help. However please do not have shame about this. There is no shame, there is only courage and resilience and you have it in loads. Best wishes 
  • DjkDjk Member Posts: 5
    Thank you so much ladies! 
    I’m really struggling to cope with the situation. My anxiety is getting worse the closer I’m getting to surgery. I’m currently seeing a psychologist to help me accept it, but I find myself drawing in all negative thinking specially at night time. 
    I’m sorry for the drama! 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,889
    @Djk

    Everything is worse in the small hours. As a chronic night waker (nothing to do with bc) I have learned to occupy my mind with something else (cryptic crosswords or sudoku do it for me) otherwise my brain will be off on some long narrative, which may not be disturbing but will be sufficiently interesting to keep me awake! I found surgery pretty straight forward (and painless) but I didn’t have reconstruction. As reconstruction will be important to you in terms of your self image, see it as an investment. Whatever discomfort or difficulty you encounter will be worth it in the long run, like losing weight, passing an exam or anything else that takes determination and effort. Don’t forget to reward yourself on the way. This stuff isn’t a doddle! 
  • DjkDjk Member Posts: 5
    @Afraser you are very inspiring. I really admire strong women like yourself. It gives me reassurance and peace of mind when I hear good recovery stories from women in the same boat as me. I pray I have an easy surgery and fast recovery. I hope I won’t feel as weird as I have it in my head at the moment. 
    Thank you so much 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,889
    Nothing particularly strong about me! We all find, one way or another, how to get through all this. The important thing is to get through, don’t worry too much about the niceties! As the saying goes, when you are going through hell, keep going! 
  • Julez1958Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 401
    Hi there
    I had a double mastectomy with DIEP flap reconstruction 8 months ago and was an absolute mess leading up to the surgery.
    I knew I had great surgeons and was in a fabulous hospital but anxiety is emotional not rational.I tried to keep busy heading up to the surgery.
    I am really happy with my decision and the results.
    Ask to join the “choosing breast reconstruction “private group on here it has a lot of stories and photos and you can post more specific questions there.
    There is also a website ( and Facebook group ) Reclaim your Curves”.
    Also worth listening to the Dr Charlotte Tottman podcast referred to above in announcements she is a psychologist specialising in cancer related distress who got beast cancer herself.
    And you can post anything on here and we all “ get it” as have been there !!
    Also there is a young persons private group on here too.
    I am 63 and keep forgetting about that.
    Take care🌺

  • Christabel03Christabel03 Member Posts: 22
    Hi @Djk
    I'm almost in the same boat as you, Her2 positive and just finishing my chemo after six months. My mastectomy surgery is in about two weeks time and I have been so positive and brave about it until about now. I had my first scan since diagnosis yesterday and that just bought all the anxiety and tears back even just sitting in the waiting room. 
    It's quite a journey this, and nothing can prepare you for it as they say. I also had counselling when diagnosed but find strength now in speaking with others who have walked or who are walking the path. 
    One thing I say to myself when I'm feeling low is that I that I want to live, I want my life, so whatever I have to do to get through this, I'm just going to do it and keep pressing on. We can't change what has happened to us but we do get through it, often surprising ourselves with our own strength. Whatever you are feeling, that is ok too, be kind to you as you go along. 
    Wishing you all the best for your surgery :)
  • DjkDjk Member Posts: 5
    @Christabel03 at last someone understand my feeling and anxiety!!! 
    It’s been really challenging for me too. I have 2 young kids a 3yo and a 1yo and I’m fighting with all I have for them. I’m not ready to go yet !!! 
    At the beginning of my diagnosis I wasn’t in the mindset of the surgery, I was focused on chemo And it’s side effect. As I’m getting closer, my fear is growing. I’ve been looking at some photos of brave women post mastectomy, and it’s making me so upset as I’m not ready for this dramatic change. And I will never be :(
    I’m working on myself to be stronger and accept my circumstances! 
    I’m so sorry you have to go through this as well! I’m always here if you ever wanna talk, or need help!
    I pray you have an easy surgery with no complications and a fast recovery!

    Can you please keep me updated how you go with everything! 
    Do you mind if I ask you where are you located ?

  • Christabel03Christabel03 Member Posts: 22
    @Djk thank you for your message xx 

    I'm located in Brisbane. I understand not being ready for the changes, I think perhaps we all go there at some stage, it's such a big thing. I did some research on the surgery originally when I found out what I would be having done, but I have stopped looking now. I feel like it is what it is and it's the next step in my journey and I kind of want that part over and done with so I can move onto the next phase. I'm not sure I have accepted the circumstances either I still have the why me days!

    I think perhaps we are doing better than what we think we are, it's a crappy ride that is for sure!

    Will keep you posted, you take care as well :)
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