Diagnosed With Breast Cancer And Facing Mastectomy?

If you or a friend were recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer and facing Mastectomy, this information may help.  I was asked this question in a private FB group.  I wanted to post the question and my response here, in case it could benefit someone else.  I won’t post the woman’s name who asked, in order to protect her privacy.  

fight like a girl, diagnosed with breast cancer and facing mastectomy

Helpful Tips For Women Recently Diagnosed With Breast Cancer And Facing Mastectomy

Q:  How did it go in terms of healing time, and reconstruction. Did you feel a big loss of a body part?

A:  I feel weird. It’s been 3 years and it’s still strange.
I didn’t do reconstruction. I have MS and don’t recover quickly from surgery, so I decided not to stress my body too much. I also wasn’t 100% sure I wanted recon, so I opted to wait a year then make a decision. I still feel more like reconstruction just isn’t for me.
That definitely  makes it weird. Clothes don’t fit right and I never know if someone is staring. It’s not remarkably obvious (I’m small) but it’s not completely disguised either. Emotionally, I think it would be easier to get recon… but risk of infection and other complications has me not too interested. I think it’s just a good idea to know what the risks of recon are before making a final decision. It makes sense to me that most people opt to have it done.
Healing went pretty quick. The day of surgery was awful. When I woke up the pain was unreal. They had to lift me up over a bedpan because I couldn’t move. Then when they tried to give me morphine my BP crashed and I couldn’t have anything for pain for over 2 hours… it was hell.
But by the next morning, I was up and walking the halls! The only thing that sucked after that was getting the drain thing out. My surgeon was really fast.. no warning or anything, so it was over quick, but I yelled! After that the healing has been easy peasy and now I’m focusing on flattening my scar.. it’s HUGE. As the scar fades, I start to miss it. I don’t love my scar, but it’s my battle scar. A flat chest without a scar seems weird. I guess I feel like I earned it or something. I think with recon, losing the scar would make tons of sense, but with the flat chest it seems odd.I don’t mean to scare you with any of the pain details, just want to be really upfront with what to expect. It was bad only for a short time. If you have recon and need to have the bladders, there’s pain that goes along with it. The emotional damage of having breast cancer has been worse than anything else, so we just have to find our own ways of dealing with it. Start a blog, or a FB page as an outlet, if you’re comfortable being public with it. It could be very cathartic and you’ll meet the most amazing people you wouldn’t meet otherwise.Surgery is survival. It’s a good thing. You wake up a warrior. It’s hard, depressing, painful.. but courageous and strong. Believe in your strength and power because you’ve totally got this!

Did I feel a big loss of a body part?  Yes. I feel like an amputee.  It’s weird.

fight like a girl, diagnosed with breast cancer and facing mastectomy
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