We are so glad you found this site. The women here are very supportive and have the knowledge and experience to help you.
Lori's advice is good. It seems that you have many things happening that is effecting your emotional healing.
I had a simple mastectomy to my right breast. My appearance was somewhat shocking after my husband and I removed the bandages. Our focus at that time was to get rid of the drains. What a happy day that was!! I had also started reconstruction the same day as the mastectomy so my outlook was one of promise that I would soon look fairly normal. With lots of support from family and friends and all my breast friends here on the board, I was able to emotionally recover quickly.
What you are experiencing is normal, but I do agree that you need to talk with someone. Another suggestion is to contact the American Cancer Society. I know in my area someone called me and offered to come out and talk about their experience and give me much information and resources. They were very helpful. Lori's suggestion about a counselor is good. They can help you untangle all your concerns. Another thought is that some of us experienced some depression and our doctors were able to relieve that with some anti-depressants. Talk with you doctor.
What ever your decision, I hope for the best for you. I hope you stick with us, this group of ladies is the best and we are here 24/7. One of us will have some answers for you and all of us want to support you.
Hugs and prayers,
Like Frayda, I had bilateral masts in 2000.....it is a shocking and hard experience to see the results. I did do the tram flap surgery at the time, but of course no choice is exactly like the original. I remember being in the shower before surgery and saying "goodbye" to my breasts. I had a little chat with them and thanked them for feeding my babies, but since they could kill me, they had to go! Life is obviously so much more important, but it doesn't reduce the reality of having to grieve for lots parts of ourselves.
Lori's advice about counseling is great......I AM an MFT (marriage and family counselor) and still have benefited from sharing with my best friend who is also a counselor all the depths of my sadness as a woman in our breast-obsessed culture. I feel for you because it's just pickin' hard. I had to go through many surgeries too and ultimately lost one of my reconstructed breasts due to a very nasty staph infection and all the effects of radiation. I did 40 hyperbaric treatments just to grow enough skin to cover some bone and save my life ( I know, good heavens). So I had to grieve losing a breast again. The prosthesis world is a new experience and I sometimes still get sad 4 years later that I can't even have fake ones! What I have found is that it takes re-working my self identity and getting grounded as to where my femininity really lies. It's a good, growing process, but it's okay to scream and cry with a trusted friend or counselor along the way. I find journaling to God helpful too.
Bless your heart for all you are going through. The ladies here are great.....Frayda was an encouragement to me along with so many others here too.
Love ~ Joany
About 8 years ago, I had a single Mastectomy and reconstruction. I was never happy with the results - you really can't match them up very well (or at least not in my case). In April, I had a recurrence and opted to have Mastectomy and implant removed. It was a HUGE Shock to see my chest afterwards. I had a hard time. I am doing better now and am going to a plastic surgeon on Dec. 1st to go about beginning reconstruction. Although on the outside I look the same (except for the wig), I feel like I look so different. I also have been having problems with self-esteem. Fortunately, my DH has been very supportive of me and loves me like I am - ALIVE!!!!!!!!
I know this is a hard time for you - remember that you can make it thru. It is very demoralizing to have such a scar but remember you are a survivor!!!!!!!! That's the most important thing - all the rest is cosmetic and can be fixed. We are all soldiers in the war against Breast Cancer and there are always consequences of war, unfortunately.
I will be praying that you will go thru the difficult time with much ease and confidence. Remember that God, family and friends all love and care for you.
I wish I had known before that you could have a bilateral - wasn't told that. I wish I had both breasts removed the first time and avoided this year's excitement. But, oh well, you learn by experience. Also, each time I have met even more women struggling with breast cancer and try to help with emotional support and practical advice. Might as well have something good come out of this. It's all part of the journey. (why couldn't mine have just been a trip to Hawaii?)
Glad to be back on the screen - very saddened by all the losses - even tho I didn't know any of them. They are all still "sisters" in this war on BC!
Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving - we are all very blessed to be here this year for it!!!
Hello, welcome to the board. You've received lots of good suggestions already, and I just wanted to let you know that there are lots of women who have made the same choice you have. I had bilateral mast. in 2001 with no reconstruction and the emotions you are feeling are very normal... it's a loss, you have to grieve... but just think, it is a new 'you' that is emerging, a new cancer-free you that can be stronger and still live life fully and completely. Yes, you look different. But you didn't choose this disease, it just happened... and you are doing what you have to do to save your life. Be proud of that stance and think of your scars as battle scars, for a battle that you are winning. People have crosses to bear everyday... wearing a couple prostethics to me isn't so bad after you get used to it. I am the same person inside, and nothing can change that.
good luck, and i hope you feel better about it soon.... hang in there!hugs
Hi! I am two months ahead of you. I had a bi-lateral in August. I chose to start reconstruction at that time. My emotional response wasn't like yours. Logically I knew that they had to go. The thought of going through chemotherapy again if it recurred in the other breast was not something I wanted to ever worry about and going through another surgery depressing.
Right now my breast scars are healed and they are around a bra size B. I am starting radiation in about a week. With the final reconstruction starting some time after the radiation is complete.
I do think having the expanders put in gave me a sense that I looked somewhat normal in clothing. Of course the removal of the nipples does have a shocking effect when the bandages are taken off. Even though there are scars I am hopeful that over time after this nightmare is over that the reminders will fade even though the memories will always be there.
I wish you well in your recovery. Be strong.