Commonly asked questions since my double mastectomy

Common questions double mastectomy

Two years ago today on August 24 2015 I underwent a double mastectomy. When I was diagnosed with cancer, there was no doubt in my mind that a double mastectomy was the right decision for me. Since the day of my surgery, my breasts, or lack thereof, often come up in conversations. I’ve had many interesting conversations over the last two years with lots of friends, family and just curious people. I have been very open during my experience with cancer and after, so I only think it’s appropriate that on the two year anniversary of the day I lost my breasts, that I clear up a bunch of things. I often find that when I reply to people’s questions, they are shocked by my answers. I think there are a lot of assumptions with cancer that just because someone had cancer and did treatment X that all people with breast cancer will have treatment X too. This is one reason why I’ve been so open about my cancer experience is to educate people and to break down assumptions. Please note: If there are any questions you have, just ask! 

Question 1: When are you getting implants?

Answer 1: I’m not a candidate for implants. Not everyone who has a double mastectomy will have implants. As I had radiation, my skin is far too tight to stretch to make room for an implant. 

Question 2: My friend had radiation and got implants. Why can’t you?

Answer 2: See above and every single persons situation is different. So unless you know the nitty-gritty details, chances are, our situations are very different. 

Question 3: So can you not get breasts if you want to?

Answer 3: Yes. I can. I’m only a candidate for one surgery and it’s major, invasive surgery with a 3 month recovery period.  I also need to lose 35 pounds before they will do the surgery on me and the surgery comes with TONS of risks. 

Question 4: So what’s stopping you from reconstruction?

Answer 4: Read above :) At this point, I’m in NO rush at all. 

Question 5: So you go for a mammogram, twice a year?

Answer 5: Nope. I don’t. I have no breast tissue therefore, they can’t do a mammogram. 

Question 6: So you get scanned, though, right?

Answer 6: Nope! I don’t. Unless the doctors have reason to believe my cancer has spread they don’t scan me. Imagine the anxiety I feel on a daily basis when I feel any aches and pains. 

My So-Called Mommy Life Breast Cancer

Question 7: Do you wear prosthetics?

Answer 7: I tried. I got fitted for prosthetics that were similar size and shape to my breasts. I bought beautiful bras to put them into as they fit into a pocket. But they are heavy. Very heavy. When I wear them for a prolonged period, they put a lot of pressure on my shoulders and give me a headache. Therefore, I really haven’t worn them since Fall 2016. I’ve chosen to go “flat”, which is not wear anything on my chest. 

Question 8: I’m flat chested. Isn’t being flat is great?

Answer 8: When you are flat with breasts, you still have breasts. When they get removed you have absolutely nothing on your chest. I would have never known, but my chest in concave therefore making my chest not as flat and even as I would have expected. The only time I’ve felt truly beautiful since my mastectomy was when my friend adorned my chest with the most beautiful henna design. I loved that it covered all of my scars. It made me so happy. 

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Question 9: I know you’ve mentioned clothes. Why do you find it difficult to find clothes that fit you?

Answer 9: I use to love shopping. I found it was my social time, or time just for me. But since having my double mastectomy, clothes don’t fit me well at all. All I notice is my pudgy stomach when I look down. Not having breasts draws all the attention to my stomach and other unflattering areas. Having breasts were a great way to keep everyone’s attention up, and I miss that. Clothes are made to fit bodies with breasts, not matter what size. When you don’t have even little ones, to put in a shirt, they sag and often don’t fit right. As I’ve mentioned because my chest isn’t totally flat and concave, certain colours draw way too much attention to my unflattering chest. I now only shop for me out of necessity which is a little sad. 

Question 10: If I had cancer, I would have made the same choice as you. Do you regret it?

Answer 10: Not one bit. I made the best choice for me. 

Any questions that I’ve missed? Is there anything that you would like to know? Just ask! Comment down below or send me an email at info@mysocalledmommylife.com if there is something you want to know about anything related to being young with breast cancer or my double mastectomy. 

Comments

  1. Jenn says:

    Question: Have you ever thought of tattooing your scars (can you?). You said you felt the prettiest when you had a friend do henna, have you thought of it permanently like that? You beautiful inside and out regardless!!

  2. Well, I wasn’t noticing your “flat chest or bulgy stomach” when I saw you but your beautiful smile and love of life… that won’t change how you feel but believe me, you are much more beautiful that girls with perfect chest and perfect stomach. Beauty is how what you radiate from inside.

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