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    Breast Cancer Surviver
    An_248177 posted:
    Hi, I had a bilateral mastectomy about one and a half years ago. I had expanders implanted during the surgery and just recently had the permanent implants put in. I wonder if other women who had this procedure are disappointed like I am. I don't think they look very natural and I am not going to have the nipples or tatooing done. It has been a long journey and I just want to go on with my life.
    I feel fortunate that the cancer was removed and that I have a good prognosis, but I am still going through depression. Is this normal? I also have gained a lot of weight from the medication I take (anastrozole). Does anyone else have this problem? What are your suggestions?
    rachael67 responded:
    How discouraging to have gone thru all you have and be less than pleased with the resulting reconstruction! (As I have not dealt with reconstruction, there is little I can offer along that line. Perhaps other members can tell of their experiences.)

    However, I do hope you have consulted with your medical team and discussed this at length...Is there a support group in your area that you can join? Information and, perhaps most importantly TIME, might be most helpful! Sometimes we anticipate a particular outcome within a specific time and when that is not realized, it can be more than disappointing!

    I did look at the drug anastrozole and the side-effects. (Might be something for you to check out if you have not done so already.) Among the common ones is depression. (Could this be contributing to or a cause of yours?)

    (Also it mentioned "chronic trouble sleeping" Though you did not mention this as a problem, if it is, please be aware that lack of sleep can do some nasty things to our emotions and how we deal with life's situations. Something to consider as well.)

    Though apparently less frequent, it did speak of "breast tenderness" as well as "weight gain." Parts of the puzzle as well.

    Sadly, it is not uncommon that what we take in seeking a solution to a health issue, serves also to complicate and cause its own problems!

    Tho there is little I can offer to help you at this time, I did want you to know you are not alone....I will hold you in my thoughts, and hope that soon you will begin to feel more like "going on with your life"...You have been thru so much, it is bound to affect your perspectives. Life will not be as it once was...It will be different...That is a given! However, it can be every bit as good and as full and as lovely as you'd ever hoped.

    Please let us know how you are doing. We care!

    A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.
    Maya Angelou
    brcansur responded:
    An_248177 Hello and welcome I too had the surgery you are talking about and I agree they don't look like my breast did before dx. I also decided not to get the nipples done I feel I don't want to have them poking out all the time like I am cold I used to hate that with my should I say my own breast before dx. So why would I get them now if I could go without the problem hey that is one good thing about the dx and surgery no more cold nipple bumps right !!! I also agree it has been a long journey and I too want to get on with my life cancer free.
    Now about the depression yes it can happen and does to a lot of us. You have to remember our bodies, minds and souls have been through a lot and need time to heal from it all. The gaining weight is also something that happens to a lot of us me included.
    Have you talked to your doctors to see if you could get on something for the depression for starters, then see if maybe you can change the meds that have made you put on the weight. Sometimes the meds you are taking can cause depression also check into that. But either way talk to your doctors about how you are feeling and about the weight gain.
    On a personal note I will say it has been 3 years now since my surgery and it has taken me a long time to just say I don't really care any more what my chest looks like because my boobs don't define who I am. I am who I am because of my personality and the way I interact with people and it isn't my boobs that do that for me. So just forget about them and think about me the whole me. I will say I feel a lot better now that I think about it that way and not focusing on the chest as much as I used to do. I hope that you get some answers from your doctors and feel much better soon. Because it isn't fun feeling the way you do I know I have been there please take care of you and know you are not a lone. I am sure there will be others coming to answer your question also. Angel hugs Roberta,
    lukefrancis1 replied to brcansur's response:
    hi everyone, with ref to reconstructions did most of you use saline or silicone? Have appt with PS Friday for bi-lateral ...I am susre of my decision just want the least painful way out!

    My breasts do not have to be beautiful! as Roberta said they don't define who we are! hugs to all
    This is the day the lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
    brcansur replied to lukefrancis1's response:
    Hello again I used saline due to I have to many alergies to to many things to even think about trying out the silicone. I didn't even want to go that route and have an issue then have to have them taken out and have the saline put in so just went with saline. Plus if one should leak it is just good old saline going into my body that is just my thought on it all. Everyone is is different I just have to many other health issues and allergies to worry about also.
    I know they say that saline doesn't look as normal as silicone does but if you ask me once they are in they look the same to me. I have seen other womens that are in my group and we have stood side by side bare chested and they all look the same you could not tell who had what kind in. we all tried to quess and we were all pretty much wrong on each of them. So it all depends on what you feel is right for you no matter what you decide you are the only one that has to live with them in your body and be happy with them. Talk to the ps and ask all kinds of questions make sure to get all info on both kinds and don't think any question is stupid because the only stupid question is the one not asked. Oh and no matter what ones you pick they are heavier then your breast were before. The feeling of them in your chest is going to take some getting used to also. I will say they feel much better then the expanders do which is a very good thing. The expanders are very uncomfortable I will let you know that right now so be warned ahead of time. Have you had children and gotten very full of milk felt like you could just burst that is what your chest will feel like when getting fills. But it eases up in a day or two and you get used to the feeling and each fill gets better. See don't you just love this board we tell you all kinds of good things
    Better to know ahead so not blind sided and going in scared as a child at the doctors for the first time. I wish you the best with the ps and I will be on Pinkie for the trip. Sending more angel hugs Roberta,
    marilyn63 replied to lukefrancis1's response:
    Hi, I had reconstuction done with silicone. I am happy with it.
    Saline with out breast tissue can show through the skin.
    The new silicone is nice and it does not leak as saline would if there was a problem. I believe doctors may call it gummy's (for gummy bears).

    I had my nipples and areola done this past Friday. I am amazed of how far medicine has come. My surgery was done with skin graphing. Though I had the same thoughts brcansur did about the nipples, I decided to go ahead and have it done for a few reasons. One, I had gone this far, why not finish and two, I hope it makes me feel more femine. My husband didn't care either way. But I did. My advice, do what you want. Our bodies have been through so much. I believe it's personal. There are a few ladies in my support group that have had them done and after a year the nipples seem to flaten out. My doctor said it was up to me. Wear a tight sports bra- down they go-don't then they'll stay.

    Our breast do not define us however, I want to be as close to my natural creation. Ok, not so saggy after breast feeding and age but I like having them.

    Rejoicing! Blessings to you.
    yogagal replied to brcansur's response:
    I had a bi-lateral 3 months ago and am now going thru reconstruction with expanders. Because I had breast cancer before with radiation it is not going well and I understand your depression and concerns. I too decided there was no way I am going to have the tattoo procedure and nipple reconstruction so I found a source for nipples that are so realistic no one would ever guess they are not mine. I even wear them now while still undergoing the fillngs, etc. because they help me feel better about how I look. Iwear tnem 24 hrs a day and even while showering and I am so happy about finding them. You can go to the website and type in the search window at the top of the page Amoena nipples. My best to you and I hop this helps.
    rosie1 responded:
    I've read all the replies and would like to offer you some additional thoughts. I've had unilateral mastectomy and reconstruction about three years ago. It was a very long journey for me with much treatment and I am only now feeling like myself. If you are depressed, which I think is normal, talk to your doctor, perhaps you can try a different AI. Weight gain or loss are often attributed to anastrozole, but it could also be you are depressed or tired, or some other drug interaction. If you have any doubts at all about your medical advice, get another opinion. With respect to the reconstruction, first, please, talk to your surgeon about your disappointment, explain why, and find out what is reasonable to expect. If you can't talk to your surgeon, get another one that you can talk to. Second, remember that it is all about you. If you don't want to have nipple reconstruction, don't. If you change your mind in another year, go for it. For myself, I finally did this after two years and actually found to my surprise it made an astonishing (positive) difference. Draw on yourself, see if you like it. No one is defined by their breasts, but your physical appearance is a part of you, and it is ok to care about how you look and how comfortable you are with how you look, how you dress, etc. If you lost a leg no one would tell you not to get an artificial leg so you could walk. Do what makes you confident and comfortable, and ignore everything else. Good luck.
    SROTA responded:
    Hi, I too recently had bilateral mastectomy 7 mos ago after my 2nd diagnosis. I had immediate reconstruction with silicone implants. They saved my nipples (tho no feeling in them) and I'm happy with the results.

    I too am on anastrozole for five years and am noticing that I"m packing on the lbs. I try to walk as often as possible to relieve the stiffness in my joints, maybe you should try that too? Walking any any exercise is great for depression!

    I'm 54 and just happy that I'm now a 2x survivor. Email me back if you'd like to chat more!

    Chin up girlfriend!
    phytherapist responded:
    I am a physical therapist who specializes in breast cancer rehabilitation and lymphedema. I have not had reconstruction myself, so I don't have first hand knowledge. But I do see breast cancer patients exclusively and have heard many stroies. I'm confident that you are not alone in being dissatisfied with your implants. It is very common. Several factors can affect their appearance such as capsular contracture. It's also very common to stop before getting your nipples done. I see many women who are burned out and are just done with the process and choose to bypass this last step. You are whole and beautiful despite the condition your breasts may be in. Perhaps consider attending a support group so you can share your feelings. This will benefit you and others. As far as Anastrozole is concerned, you might consider taking Cymbalta. It is not only an antidepressant, but can also help with other side affects some women experience on Anastrozole. For the weight and depression, try to walk briskly 3-5 hours per week to oxygenate your system. This will lift your mood and increase your metabolism. Take care.
    brcansur replied to yogagal's response:
    Thank you for the info I am going to check into this web page I have the fake boobs and the bras from that company from before my reconstruction it is a very good brand. Plus my insurance covers things I get from them so these maybe covered also. have a great day and thank you again for the info angel hugs Roberta,

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