I'm so glad you posted to connect with others and hear about their experiences.
I also wanted to pass on some other helpful links:
Have you met a surgeon yet?
The recent BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) Day would have been a perfect opportunity for you to see reconstruction options and results, as well “staying flat” options, and actually talk to women who showed their results in the Show and Tell Lounge (done virtually over zoom of course!).
As @Lacey_Moderator mentions, I chose to stay flat. I was one of those who did not even ponder reconstruction for various reasons (didn't want any more surgeries, fear of risk of complications being 2 of the main ones.)
The one thing that was suggested to me (after the fact!) was that if you are considering staying flat, seek a plastic surgeon to do the surgery vs a general or breast cancer surgeon. They have skills in getting closest to an aesthetic flat closure
It's a personal choice, but fear not, you will know when you've reached the right decision for you!
Thank you so much for responding. My close friends and family are all hoping I choose the flat alternative and your suggestion about a plastic surgeon is helpful. It is still an alternative I am considering. I am hoping to hear from someone who has gone through DIEP to find if her feelings changed. I was able to attend part of the BRA day which was very helpful. The one woman who had DIEP seemed very happy with her decision.
I will share my experience with Diep surgery/recovery. This decision is such a personal decision. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go flat, or do reconstruction. I went to the breast reconstruction awareness day, was fortunate to attend in person in 2019. My choice was based on so many things, and I think I made the right choice. I decided to undergo reconstruction because I had the support and time to go through the recovery. 8 weeks. I would consider myself fairly active/fit going into this. My healing process went without any complications. The emotional healing is ongoing. Some things that I feel now, after surgery. I can't wear jeans, I don't like the feel of anything pressing on my abdominal area, makes me nauseous. My reconstruction side is numb, but the physical sight of having a breast and how my clothes fit was important when I chose reconstruction. I didn't want implants, and I didn't want a prosthetic. I'm back at the gym, lifting weights, and I have no pain. Lots of tightness/scar tissue but it's not limiting me except I know it's there and it's emotional.
I hope you find my story helpful in some way. I don't regret the surgery. It's just my body is so different. My partner is amazing and he's very supportive, which is extremely important too.
Sending you so much love as you make these difficult choices 💗
Thank you so much for responding. It is indeed a difficult and personal decision. I do miss my breasts and do like the shape of my prostheses which I started wearing once Covid restrictions allowed me to go out and about some more. I did not feel comfortable wearing most clothes without them. But they are hot and are time consuming (Washing, getting them in and out of the special bras etc). I’ve accepted my body is going to be different - it already is - and while I look forward to having “breasts” again, I do not look forward to the scarring and tightness across my belly. I do appreciate you sharing your experience- it helps with the journey.
I chose to do DIEP, it was very personal as to wether stay flat or not and I couldn’t. It is a long surgery and takes time to heal but I’m pleased with the outcome. Not as nice as my original and no feeling in them but that’s ok. Thankful to have a choice.
Thank you @Naan for posting. It does help to know that the surgery was worth it to go through. And yes I am very grateful to have a choice. I think it’s probably my age, 63, that gives me the most hesitation. Otherwise I am in pretty good health and try to exercise regularly. I am hoping the decision to put myself through the long recovery will be worth it. Good to hear for you, it was. It helps. Zoron.