Wednesday, September 14, 2011


“I'm a woman with 1  D cup. My shirts won't even stay in place without my heavy rubber prosthetic breast.  I wanted to do the bilateral mastectomy from the beginning, but the doc wouldn't do it until reconstruction. I really dislike being lopsided. The prosthesis is a hassle. Also, sometimes I see, or feel my mastectomy side and it makes me sad, especially next to the breast that is still there that should eventually be removed.  Sometimes I think I'll be ok with 2 mastectomies without reconstruction, and other times I do want something built in (smaller though)to fill a swimsuit.”

This above comment is something that I wrote in response to a blog that I follow.  Some Girls Prefer Carnations.

In her recent post, the author Heather was discussing breast reconstruction after mastectomy.   Since writing the comment, I’ve had some more time to think about all of this.  I Love how Heather is very confident and sure in her decision not to have reconstruction.  I WISH I could feel the same way.  The full story  is that, I DO NOT WANT to have another surgery.  I’ve had 2 C-Sections, and a Right Mastectomy.  The Mastectomy, which the doctor stated might take 4-6 weeks to recover from (without radiation), is,  even now, 6 months after the surgery date, still causing me problems.  I am , as a matter of fact,  this very day,  seeking medical attention for the severe tightness in my pectoralis major and minor that is compressing a nerve and causing some tingling in my hand.   I am afraid of the next surgery.  Even when I consider the least invasive of options which is just having the mastectomy on the left without any reconstruction, I am afraid of the risks and the lingering tightness that I am currently experiencing.  You may be asking…Why even have the mastectomy on the right?  Well, the doctors recommend it due to the fact that I’ve had breast cancer (which was an aggressive form) and  I’m only 41 years old.   I actually agree with this medical recommendation.  I am considered high risk, I do not want to go through breast cancer treatment again.   Also, now that I’m super lopsided, AND I DO NOT LIKE IT, the idea of leveling things out sounds great to me.  When this all of this treatment started,  reconstruction sounded like the obvious decision.  Badda Bing….Chemo, surgery, reconstruction, back to normal life with “right-sized” breasts J.  Just another small RIF.  (Reduction in Force for those of  you who have not yet been directly affected by the economy).   Now, after living with  post-surgical tightness and discomfort, and understanding that there will not really be feeling in the area(s), it seems less obvious.  However, as I mentioned above, I don’t like dealing with the prosthesis, and I’ve mentioned a time or two….I DO NOT LIKE being LOPSIDED.  It is not simply a matter of how it looks (although it does make me turn for a second look whenever I pass a mirror)  it is how it feels.   I like the Carnation’s author and readers’ opinions that everything in the world does not have to be “matchy, matchy”, and that there is “beauty in asymmetry”.  I hear all that, and would agree, but,  it just doesn’t feel right to me.  Also, while I really have never wanted the larger cup size that I have/had, I have become accustomed to having something there.  I have enjoyed filling out a bathing suit or a low cut shirt.  With that said, other than the severe tightness, the lopsidedness, and the extreme reminder of what I’ve been through,  the mastectomy site itself does not really bother me.  It does not feel bad not to have something there.  I even kind of like it in some ways.  As I’ve mentioned, I do look like a faster runner on that side.      

Had I not been typing the above entry from my ephone, I would likely have mentioned all of this.

In the light of this discussion, I’ve decided to name this phase of my life just that.  Reconstruction. This is the time period in which I’ll be working to re-build my physical and mental strength in order to run a 50 mile run, and to be able to make a sound decision regarding my future with surgery.

On that note, Reconstruction is well under way.  Here is an example of a very good sign:  Yesterday, when my alarm failed to go off at 4:45 am for my Tuesday morning 5:30 a.m. group run, and I woke up at 6:08 a.m. I was very upset.  I was able to gather myself and still make it out the door, drive downtown, and start running my solo 8 mile road run by 6:31 a.m.  I completed the run without a walking break despite lack of conversation, high temperatures and large hills J.

P.S. We'll miss you Bastrop.


  1. These are such hard questions, Emily. Have you considered a reduction of the breast that you have, or at least more professional opinions regarding the prophylactic mastectomy? Regardless, I agree with you that it's not so bad to NOT have something there, and I agree that being lopsided is not easy. But with time and some empowerment, my hope is that it will be okay to live with. :)

  2. Ugh. I'm too fragile these days to process all this serious stuff, so I'm commenting on how funny Richie looks in that picture :)