I’m glad I found this group, I wish we could all have met under better circumstances.
On June 6 I had my Ultrasound, and 3 hours later I found out that I have cancer ( #IDC). It was not easy. Fast forward an endless list of appointments and tests, I’ll have my surgery on Sept 1.
I will have a mastectomy on left breast. Yesterday the plastic surgeon said that although they will reconstruct the breast, they will not be symmetric And that I’ll also loose my nipple. Later, they can do a tattoo. 🙁
I’m scare. If you went through the same surgery can you please share your experience? Are your breasts that different? I feel that it’s a superficial question, but I will handle the cancer, the post operation, but how hard will be to look at the mirror?
Thank you for your support ❤️
@Barp In October 2018 I had a lumpectomy (1 cm tumor) on my left breast but then had a MRI and another tumor was found on the same breast (2.5 cm). I was told anything larger then 2 cm meant mastectomy. I had a mastectomy with reconstruction initially using a expander in March 2019. My story start with a bleeding nipple and this was removed during my mastectomy/expander surgery. It took about 2 months to fully fill the expander. I then went through chemo which included Herceptin but didn't have radiation and my lymph nodes were all good.
My next surgery (July 2020) was to remove the expander in my left breast and replace it with an implant and my right side was reduced/lifted. At first I thought that my reduced breast was reduced too much as it looked a lot smaller (even told my Plastic Surgeon this) but eventually with time it's almost the same size as the left breast.
My nipple was reconstructed in 2 steps. First in October 2020 my Plastic Surgeon reconstructed my nipple using an origami technique which created a bump. Then I waited 3 months to have my nipple/areola tattooed to add the color. I did have the tattoo done a second time as I was told it could fade in a year. The nipples don't look identical but I'm glad I got it done as I think it looked odd with only one nipple.
My breasts don't look like the original version but I'm happy with them. Are they identical, no, but pretty close in size and shape. I was also told that even if I had the same thing done on both sides, there's no guarantee they'd look identical.
Let me know if you have any questions.
I had two lumpectomies without clear margins in July and August of 2019. Instead of a third lumpectomy, I had opted for a left breast mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in November 2019. My tumour was 3 mm and 3.5 mm, but I had DCIS that was not giving us clear margins. I could not go thru another surgery not knowing what the outcome would be, so the mastectomy decision was made by me, not really recommended by the surgeon.
The expander was left in for about six months, but I believe it can stay in a lot longer, with no problems. At the beginning, you have to go in to have the expander filler to stretch your skin. I went every three weeks until the desired size is accomplished. In April 2020 I had an implant put in. I have lost my nipple in the mastectomy surgery and I will have the nipple tattooed on shortly.
My implant was inserted under the skin, not the muscle as some other ladies have had done. You should check with the surgeon what method they are going to use. Since the implant is just under the skin, and the mastectomy took out all of the fat tissue and then some, my edges of the implant are a bit rippled which is visible. I have to have another surgery when they will take fat out of my tummy (a tuck) and replant it around the sternum side of my breast. I also have very little feeling in the breast, the skin is still very numb. But I am glad I did what I did, to give myself a piece of mind.
Wishing you best of luck and hugs from BC
Hi @Barp, I had a mastectomy + reconstruction in 2011. I'm small breasted so, there isn't a visible difference when I am clothed. My advice is to ensure you look after your emotional and mental state of health … especially post surgery.
It took me months (four, five or six) to look at myself in the mirror. I neglected my mental health and found myself depressed, crying when I was alone and feeling sad. I also did not allow myself to grieve the loss of the breast. All of the neglect led to a longer recovery.
@Barp I thought I would share that my scars are different on each breast. The mastectomy/implant side is horizontal across the left breast. My right side which was reduced/lifted looks more like an anchor. There's a circle around the areola then a line down a curved line underneath the breast. I must add the scars are lot more faded then before. I believe there is stuff you can put on the scars (bio-oil)that will make them even more faded but I haven't used anything.
@Barp I am glad you found this community but am sorry you find yourself here.
I had a bilateral mastectomy in March but chose to remain flat so I cannot offer any advice to you about a single mastectomy with reconstruction and lift.
I know for me, even before cancer my breasts were not the same and I never really focused on them that much. I think cancer makes us hyper aware of so many things and body image is a big one for sure.
I’m glad others have chimed in with their experiences and I hope you have found it useful.