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Reconstruction Woes
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tenuli posted:
I am a survivor - a grateful survivor. But after a successful bilateral mastectomy, I've had nothing but trouble with my left side reconstruction. The right side is fine.But my body has tried to push the expander out on the left side. My skin opened, I developed infections; you name it - it went wrong. I've had 3 surgeries to correct problems with the left side. The left side was allowed to heal and rest, then a new expander was put in. It's trying to push its way out of my body again. We have a great deal of confidence in my surgeon. We know several other patients; no one has ever had any problems.It's me. I have diabetes which makes me slow to heal and compounds everything. I've tried wearing a prosthesis but find it to be too heavy, hot and uncomfortable. (Want to feel crazy? Have a Femara fueled hot flash with a fake boob strapped on.) I'm now contemplating having both expanders removed and just going au natural - flat as can be.I don't want to be lopsided so I would have them both removed. I want to know if anyone else has done this - how do you feel now about your decision? I'm 55 and don't need to prove I'm a woman to myself or my husband. He says he doesn't care as long as I am healthy and happy. Anyone else going flat topped and not bothering with fakes? Are you happy with your decision?
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rachael67 responded:
I am so sorry to hear that you are having such problems with the reconstruction. I assume you have consulted your medical team regarding these issues. Have you thought of a 2nd opinion? (Something most of us really value!)

Some ladies favor implants over expanders...Perhaps because of the issues you are facing?

Another souce of information might be a book one of the members recommended: THE BREAST RECONSTRUCTION GUIDEBOOK by Kathy Steligo.

Regularly members check in to sound out the thoughts of other ladies regarding reconstruction: Which kind and whether they should do it or not. Generally ladies do choose reconstruction. However, it is NOT uncommon for a woman to choose not have it. Even ladies whose husbands they describe as "breast men" have opted out!

Those who choose not to have reconstruction speak of the "missing ladies" as not being an issue as far as their personal appearance or image. They have prosthetics now that look exactly like your own and you are able to wear low necklines with no trouble. One member's job involves much movement and the prosthetics remain in place with no problems including swimming!

All seem to have great support from partners and family who leave it up to the woman to detemine what is best for her! Also they speak of the importance of your own self-image. Please take that into account. Being comfortable with your decision is essential!

I hope others will tell of their personal choices and the whys. May I suggest that you also post on the Breast Cancer Exchange (the main Exchange) as it appears, at this point, to have more folks post. I want to make sure that you can get a good sampling of the decisions folks make.

Meanwhile, please know we will be sending you good vibes to ease your decision making! Let us know how you are doing. Okay?

Blessings.
Rachael
 
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Mabel57 responded:
I have had a bilateral masectomy 20 months ago and had a different cancer on each side at the same time. My surgeon has explained that he could not attempt reconstruction until at least 2 years after the op and also said he couldn't guarantee that it would work, especially on my left side, which was also Her2 positive and hormone positive with cancer present in most of my glands as well. He said that he would try reconstruction if I wanted but I and my husband decided that it wasn't worth the extra strain on my body. I can't wear a bra and external prosthesis as I have a scar from under my left arm right across my chest to under my right arm which is quite indented and any bra rides up into this indent and causes pain. I am quite happy with the way I look and have simply changed the way I dress and anyone who doesn't know me has no idea that I've had my breasts removed. I am very lucky to have a great husband and I just get on with life and enjoy as much as I can. I think each of us has to do whatever they feel happy and comfortable with and remember that we are still the same person, with or without boobs! Good luck!
 
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rachael67 replied to Mabel57's response:
Ah Mable! You're a breath of fresh air! You've the Warrior spirit dressed up in the most feminine of garb!

You are so right that we each must come to a conclusion of what is good for us!!! My Mom used to say that it ws good that each person in the world was different ...Otherwise all the men would want to marry her!!

But being wise enough and knowing yourself well enough to make that choice is the real conundrum! Happily, you (and that sweet hubby!) were two who possessed both elements!

Thank you for your input!!

blessings.
Rachael
 
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Mabel57 replied to rachael67's response:
WOW!!! Thank you for the lovely words Rachael!
Breast cancer is such a cruel thing for women to face but I believe that many more people go through even worse things and the way I cope is to hold my head up, put a smile on my face and get out there.
There are so many wonderful things in this world to enjoy and having any cancer is not going to stop me doing that.
I know I'm very lucky to have such a great husband & family, as well as fabulous friends, who all help me through this.
Yes, I have times when I feel down but I tell myself that it really doesn't help me feel good and just get on with things.
It's not very nice having no boobs or being told that your cancer is going to return in a relatively short time, but I don't intend laying down and giving in to it!
Thank you once again for your kind words, and I hope that every woman on this site has a great future.
Jen
 
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tenuli replied to Mabel57's response:
Thank you so much for sharing your story. In March I developed a staph infection on the right side and ended up having both expanders removed. My chest wall had collapsed on the left side and they had to move muscles and attach them to support my chest wall. I now have scars that go from under my shoulder blade, across my chest to under my other shoulder blade. There is no possibility of reconstruction now.

My husband has been incredily supportive. I was just surprised at how I reacted both physically and emotionaly. I am now healing physically and am getting help with the emotional pain. And I include your response as very much a part of my healing. Thank you.
 
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LADYPAR72 replied to tenuli's response:
hi!
i had drainage tube and it fell out in 4 days after disectional.had to have seroma drained then had a infection so was put on antiotics a weekm still red and put me on a bacterialmed but still hasnt gotten better . it was a little pink after my sentenial just got worse after last surgery. not a diabetic . if this doesnt work have to go to a infection doc ,probally hosp. my guestion is how did you get rid of it and what did they give you/ can you still have treatments with it if it improves, during this. how long did it take, this med makes me feel better so may work on it 3 days. any insight and hope all goes well with you! anxiuos to start radiation no chemo.


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