• airaani's Avatar

    airaani shared an experience

    Decision Point (Kind of treatment): My mother is having a lot of trouble deciding what kind of treatment option to pursue. A mastectomy seems to have the lowest recurrence rate, but she doesn't like the idea of being without a breast, or reconstruction because of the loss of sensation. At the same time, weeks of radiation doesn't appeal either. She likes the idea of IORT radiation during the surgery, but her insurance doesn't offer or cover this, nor would she be able to do this process without traveling thousands of miles from home.

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    airaani posted an update

    I keep expecting this to get easier, but it doesn't. Every day it comes crashing down on me again as I realize, I actually forgot for a split second... or thought when I woke up that it was some kind of bad dream. I feel guilty for going out and doing things this weekend, like I shouldn't be enjoying myself. I can't focus on it all the time... at the same time I want to, I want to be on the phone with her all the time, making sure she's okay.

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    airaani asked a questionBreast Cancer

    What is the recovery from a mastectomy like?

    11 answers
    • jvbaseballmom2's Avatar
      jvbaseballmom2

      I was told that I had to have my right breast removed, and opted to have a bilateral mastectomy. I have not regretted my decision ever. I was 46 years old at the time, and 10 days after my surgery, my 9 year old's baseball team made it to the state championships. I was not going to miss that for the world. I went to his games, with my drains and all, and was able to see his team win the state championship. I think the hardest part of the recovery was the soreness, and getting up and down from chairs/bed (not using my arms to lift me up). I think i would say I was recovered fully by 4-6 weeks.

      about 4 years ago
    • rkyobo's Avatar
      rkyobo

      I'm from a family where the women get breast cancer in their early 60's (three of my sisters have had it - one didn't survive...the one who got chemo and radiation...go figure...) Anyway, since I am now 59, I feel I'm probably BC waiting to happen...so with that dark cloud over me and the worries of possibly having to deal with lymphedema the rest of my life, I have opted to have prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. I have done a LOT of research on this. The recovery period for simple mastectomy (no lymph node removal) is very short - 2-4 weeks from what I've learned. At my age, and with the caring supportive husband I have...I've decided NOT to have reconstruction. I've heard nightmare stories of reconstructions that didn't go well. I do love my breasts, but have lately just focused on the UP-side to not having them. There are a lot of clothes I'll be able to wear that I haven't ever been able to before because my breasts were too big. I won't be a hot...sweating under my breasts...as before. For a menopausal woman, that is a HUGE bonus, believe me! I won't have to worry that my nipples are showing when I go bra-less. For me, I'm usually bra-less anyway, and have to sometimes use tape to cover my nipples, and still it looks funny - NO MORE!! hee-hee. That's the biggest UP I can think of. But I will be praying for your mom to make the right decision for her. God bless!

      about 4 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar
      DaveWaz

      airaani,
      Thank you so much for sharing your question. I hope all is well.

      Your question reminded me of some experience content we have on the site. One of the pages is about experience with a mastectomy:

      http://www.whatnext.com/experiences/procedure/mastectomy

      There are also some pages on experiences with breast reconstruction:

      https://www.whatnext.com/experiences/procedure/breast-reconstruction-flap
      https://www.whatnext.com/experiences/procedure/breast-reconstruction-implant
      https://www.whatnext.com/experiences/procedure/reconstructive-surgery

      One last thing, is I wanted to let other WhatNexters know about our Beginner's Guide to Cancer, which includes a guide on how women chose between a lumpectomy and mastectomy.

      https://www.whatnext.com/cc/how_we_chose_between_a_lumpectomy_and_mastectomy

      Best of luck to all,
      David

      over 3 years ago
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    airaani posted an update

    My mom seems to be holding up ok. She's had her appointment to discuss her options. She's interested in IORT Radiation Therapy but she has Kaiser insurance and that isn't something they offer. I'm helping her look into where she might be able to get that kind of treatment without bankrupting the family--if that's even possible.
    She went back to work today--not because she feels that she needs desperately to get things done, but to avoid driving herself crazy with information overload, as she's spent the last several days doing nothing but reading up.

  • airaani's Avatar

    airaani posted an update

    I wanted to thank everyone who responded to my question. Like I said I'm just feeling a little lost and overwhelmed, but the support of everyone here really helps.
    It's hard to believe it's really happening to us. I haven't in any way processed it, but I'm just trying to be there for my mother, as much as I can without actually being there.
    She was the one who asked me (since I am not currently employed, and she, even while taking time off of work to deal with this, is a very busy woman) to look into alternative treatment options. I want to know that she has all the information she needs to make the best decision, and since she lives in a small town I don't know that she has access to the best doctors.

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    airaani shared an experience

    Oh No (Diagnosed): My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am doing my best to be supportive, as I understand it was caught fairly early, but I am very worried about her. She is post-polio and due to sever difficulties in most kinds of exercise, as well as being the sole breadwinner for the family for 12 years, she does not have the healthiest body.