• Double Mastectomy

    Asked by cris on Monday, February 25, 2013

    Double Mastectomy

    I am having mine March 4th, which is only a week away, my question is did any of you feel less feminine? I am having a hard time with this & I have been so strong through everything so far. I will be having silicone implants at the same time, so I will wake up with breast. Thanks

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      I think femininity is more a state of mind than physical appearance. Even without cancer, age changes our appearance. I was 64 and post menopausal when I had my mastectomy so the breasts that were removed were already not particularly feminine in appearance.Even when I was younger though, femininity was never a priority of mine. I would rather be perceived as strong, intelligent, helpful, and a whole of other things before I would be concerned about being perceived as feminine.

      almost 4 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar
      AlizaMLS

      Dear Cris,

      I had my mastectomy in Dec. I'm 54 and engaged to a man I met about 10 months ago. I didn't and don't feel less feminine (I hope no one else is making you feel that way). I have an expander in place and the remainder of my reconstruction will take place in April (also silicone implants).

      There's really no reason to feel less feminine. It's a state of mind-Nancyjac is correct. If you are having difficulty with this, you should perhaps consider speaking to a social worker at your hospital or to CancerCare which has trained Oncological Social Workers.

      I understand how important it is that you'd want to continue feeling feminine. If you have family or girlfriends who are asking if they can get you anything as a gift, tell them a gift certificate to Sephora or Sephora.com would be very appreciated. Perfume can be a wonderful way to help you feel feminine as can beautiful scarves and earrings. You're going to look beautiful.

      I wish you a good operation and recovery and good health!

      Warm wishes,
      AlizaMLS

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      One other thing I forgot to mention. I didn't have any reconstruction so I have no personal experience with that, but from what I have understood from those here that have had implants, they have had expanders put in at the time of their mastectomies, but those need to be in place for some period of months before the actual implants are put it and that it often takes several procedures. Hopeful somebody else that has been through the process can clarify the procedure for you.

      almost 4 years ago
    • caregiver's Avatar
      caregiver

      When I had mine in 2009 i didn't think about that. I never felt defined by my breasts so I guess that was a good thing because i never felt less feminine afterward. When you walk out your door you look like everyone else. My worst was the chemo that made my hair fall out-now that was tough-i guess my femininity was defined by my hair-which of course grew back. You're a strong lady-you'll do fine. Mainly, don't stress about things you cannot change-look forward always, not back.

      almost 4 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar
      AlizaMLS

      Dear Cris,

      Just an aside- a close male (platonic) friend has told he's heard that Victoria's Secret is coming out with a line of mastectomy bras (I don't think with implants we're going to need underwires anymore...;))

      I'll have to research (I'm a (retired) trained Medical Librarian so in addition to being fun, it's a fact finding mission for me...;)

      AlizaMLS

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar
      Nancebeth

      I had my Natrelle Silicone Gel implants put in the same time as my mastectomy as well. I didn't feel less feminine but the no nipple look freaked me a bit at first. Now I am so used to it, I am not getting mine reconstructed at all. I actually feel more feminine because with my new, smaller, perkier breasts, I can wear dresses and thinks I couldn't wear before when my breasts were DD.
      You can read about my journey at www.breastcancerbattlescars.net
      Good luck with your surgery.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Russ' Avatar
      Russ

      I am a 68 yr old man who is also a 12 year pancreatic cancer survivor. I once ran across a short newsletter that is given or mailed to women with breat cancer. In there was a story for humor...every week is a funny story. This women said she did not find herself after her mastectomy or the humor she needed to experience. One day she opened the door to reach down and collect her daily newspaper, and this one time her prosthetic breast fell out of the top of her dress, and onto the front porch. Unfortunately her dog ran by and took the prosthetic breast in his mouth. She started chasing him around the front yard and hollering at him, "stop running and give me back my breast." After the 2nd or 3rd time of saying this she realized that the neighbors were probably wondering what was going on over there..."my breasts?" With that she just sat down in the middle of the front yard and started crying and laughing at the same time. They were tears of joy. She just realized that she found what she had needed...a good laugh.

      Best reagrds,
      Russ

      almost 4 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar
      Tracy

      Hi,
      I have had several friends who have had reconstruction and two who have not. All of them were very feminine before and after. I normally give female friends silk scarves as presents as they are a great way to feel special. Look for things that make you feel good, equip yourself with the things that you know will make you feel good. Take care, Tracy

      almost 4 years ago
    • Momofivedcisbc's Avatar
      Momofivedcisbc

      It is understandable that you are having a hard time. There is a change going to happen to your body. The good news is they are taking away the cancer that is threatening your life. The bad news is that there will be an adjustment to go through. I had a double mastectomy and immediate diep flap reconstruction last September. Some say it is a boob job and a tummy tuck. Physically on the outside I look better than before but..... on the inside I am changed...ultimately for the better. No sensation in the breasts and healing from major surgery is not fun and hard work. We should not minimize these changes. I am beginning to feel more comfortable with my new body parts. I feel alive and not afraid of breast cancer anymore. Will these adjustments be easy? Maybe not.... but we will adjust. I am getting healthier every day, eating better, exercising more and appreciating life and my loved ones. I hope you will make it through the journey finding sunny days but on the cloudy ones remember we are here for you. You look like a caring and feminine Mom and woman. That will not change you will still be you. Good Luck and feel free to touch base with me privately if you want more support. Look for a breast cancer support group in your area too.that helped me.

      almost 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar
      gwendolyn

      I woke up feeling glad the cancer was gone and I was much more concerned about my arm and heart function than femininity. I suspect having the immediate implant will help make you feel that nothing is "missing." I do resent having people stare at my chest now as if they are trying to imagine what it looks like.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar
      Nomadicme

      After the pain was gone, I felt like a male circus freak (sorry but that was my reality). I had immediate reconstruction but the bumps were small (expanders), had no nipples, and two ugly scars. I really felt the entire treatment combo was designed to turn me into a man (no breasts, no hair, pushing me into menopause). I even said to a healthcare worker, when am I getting the penile transplant? (This was tingle in cheek, but I really felt down). So I absolutely hear your concern.

      The good news, now I have something on my chest that very closely resembles two breasts and have hair. I can't be grateful enough for those that went before me and made the reconstruction after mastectomy be a law (I couldn't have afforded reconstruction otherwise). Psychologically it has made a world of difference to me (and I was in a deep funk).

      almost 4 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar
      Ydnar2xer

      I totally understand your concern. When I first showered after my mastectomy in August, I cried and cried. Then I felt better. I went from 40 DDD to nothing (will have DIEP later) and now can honestly say I don't miss them very much at all. If anything, my golf is better since now I can really SWING the clubs without any mammary interference! I say, CRY when you need to, then pick yourself up and move on! It gets better, especially if you keep your sense of humor. Good luck!

      almost 4 years ago

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