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Double mastectomy
Vida
2 Posts

Hi all,

I had a lumpectomy in May and I will be having a double mastectomy on Wednesday Nov. 23rd.
The radiologist recommended the mastectomy because the ultrasounds and MRI could not show all the cancer prior the first surgery. The MRI only showed the biggest one (2cm), the ultrasound showed 2 ( the big one plus one of 1cm) but during surgery two more (6mm and 8mm) were found. All the lymph nodes results came back clean.
But the radiologist brought my case to a conference and everyone agreed that surveillance doesn't seem to work for me because my breasts are too dense. The reasoning is that there could be more cancer or even if there isn't right now, in a case of recurrence it won't be capture by the MRI.
So, here I"m ready for a second surgery, well, I'm not ready, I'm scared, I have this huge fear that I won't wake up… at this point I just want to wake up after the surgery.
There are moments that I panic, specially when I'm taking a shower.
I haven't shared this with many people, just my husband, in-laws (my mother in-law told some of her friends) so, I don't tell her much now.
If you see me in the street, I look like a healthy person, perhaps only my eyes might be telling my actual situation.
I just told my kids about this coming surgery but I didn't tell them what kind of surgery it is. They don't know much, only that mommy needs to have another surgery to be more healthy.
The plastic surgeon will put expanders right away, but she suggested to not keep the nipples, right now I don't remember the reasons…, I said ‘OK’ while I was at her office, but I looked for some info once at home and emailed to her office that if possible, I would like to have the option of ‘nipple sparing surgery’.

We are going to have a phone call conversation on Monday… I'm not sure now, I want to look the same as much as possible but also I don't want to complicate things…

6 Replies
Whitelilies
2656 Posts

@Vida Hi Vida and welcome from BC! I am sorry for your reason to join us here….but glad you have……..

You already posted…terrific…..soon members will chime in with greetings and share their journey, here with you (ie Mastectomy)…..

You wrote you wished to connect and get information……I will include a link below (Breast Cancer)….please have a look…and read and learn and feel free to connect/'tag' other members, ask questions, etc…..simply type “@"screen name, no space after @, select name, turns blue, they receive your message.

Wishing you the best, for your surgery….on Nov 23rd. (You will wake up!)

Warmly

Whitelilies

#Breastcancer #mastectomydecisions

@Vida

The prospect of having a mastectomy is scary. I had one in 2011, but I never had reconstruction. It's a very personal choice. I'm glad your doctor is aware of the role that dense breasts can have on your well-being. 40% of women have dense breasts and, unfortunately, they may not be aware that dense breasts increases your odds of developing breast cancer and, ironically makes it more difficult to see cancer if it occurs. The tissue from dense breasts shows up white on a mammogram and so does cancer, which is why it makes it hard to identify cancer on a mammogram. In fact, based on your experience and mine, we know it can take a lot of tests to get a clear picture of the extent of your cancer. Even with a mammogram, ultrasound, an MRI and an MRI biopsy, they were still surprised at the area of cancer. For me, a lumpectomy wasn't even an option.

Since I didn't have reconstruction, I can't really help in that area. I am glad that you have done some research and know what you want to ask your doctor.

Please keep us posted, if you feel comfortable, about your doctor's appointment and your upcoming surgery.

You are not alone. Feel free to reach out if you need support. It's always scary to go through something so life changing. If it's any consolation, I have had many surgeries since my cancer diagnosis and I have survived and done well afterwards. I feel confident that you will do the same. It's waiting and not knowing how the surgery will go that can be so difficult and draining.

If you can, please believe that everything will be okay until proven otherwise. That's what I tell myself to help me focus on the here and now. I hope it might also work for you.

cancertakesflight

#mastectomy #reconstruction #nipplesparingsurgery


@Vida
Hello and welcome. That is a lot to go through and to think about for sure. I thought I would share some info from www.cancer.ca about nipple sparing mastectomy in case it helps to form some questions on Monday:

Nipple and areola reconstruction

If a woman had a nipple-sparing mastectomy, the nipple and the dark-coloured skin around the nipple (called the areola) will still be in place.

If the nipple and areola were removed, the surgeon can also rebuild them to create a more natural-looking breast. This procedure is done after the reconstructed breast settles into its final shape, which is usually 3–6 months after breast reconstruction.

The tissue used for nipple reconstruction comes from the newly created breast or the nipple of the opposite breast. Doctors can also use skin from other parts of the body such as the folds of skin on either side of the vagina or the earlobe.

A new areola can be created by tattooing the skin to match the colour of the other breast or by using a skin graft.

A reconstructed nipple has much less feeling than a natural one. The nipple or areola may be a different colour than the other breast.

Wishing you well for your appointment on Monday and the subsequent surgery. Let us know how you are doing if you like.

Lianne

@Vida Your story sounds similar to mine but with a few differences. I had a bleeding nipple on my left breast which prompted a lumpectomy where a 1 cm tumor was removed and I was diagnosed with DCIS. Then the Surgeon sent me for a MRI and another (2.5 cm) tumor was found. Because of it's size (I was told anything over 2 cm) meant another surgery, mastectomy. I chose reconstruction. I was referred to 2 more Surgeons, one did the mastectomy and a Plastic Surgeon placed an expander. During this day surgery my left nipple was removed as well as lymph nodes. I was then diagnosed with triple positive IDC. My right breast remained untouched at this time. It took about 2 months to fill the expander to capacity which meant going to weekly appointments with my Plastic Surgeon.

Then I went through treatment which included chemo and Herceptin but radiation was not needed. After enough healing time had passed, I had another surgery which removed the expander and replaced it with an implant on my left side and my right was reduced/lifted. Around 3 months after that my Plastic Surgeon reconstructed my nipple (origami technique). First freezing the area, then the skin is cut and sewn on itself to create a bump. 3 months after that I went to a nurse who did my nipple/areola tattoo which adds the color. I've had the tattoo done a second time a year later as I was told that it fades.

My breasts don't look like they did before as they are smaller and have scaring. And the scars on each breast are different. The left has a horizontal scar and the right looks like and anchor. My nipples don't look the same as before, one is reconstructed and one is original. But I went a long time with only one nipple and it's a weird look and I was very glad that I had the nipple reconstruction even if it's not identical to the original one. But most importantly, I'm happy with the way the breasts look now and my opinion is the only one that matters.

Vida
2 Posts

@Whitelilies
Thank you so much for your welcoming words.

@Vida I read your message this morning two days after my double mastectomy and felt like I could hopefully offer you some reassuring words. Prior to my surgery i was also afraid of not waking up, but the anesthesiologist was so wonderful and explained everything to me before the procedure which made me feel a lot better. Everyone in the operating room was so nice and explained who they were and what they were doing, and I found that really comforting.

I have tissue expanders in place now and it's all quite sore still 36 hours later, but I can feel that it's getting better and better each hour. The exercises feel quite good to do.

I opted to remove both of my nipples. I'm my case, I had a tumour too close to my nipple on right side, and i also have a genetic mutation on CHEK2 which increases my risk, so my decision was based on two things 1) removing as much breast tissue as possible to decrease my risk and 2) I wanted symmetry between both breasts.

Everyone's case is so different, and I'm sure you will feel a bit better about your decision after speaking with your doctor. I had a hard time too making all these decisions I never thought I would have to make and broke down crying so many times. I'm just trying to keep moving forward the best I can.

I wish you all the best with your upcoming surgery ❤️

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