Last month was my two year anniversary for a double mastectomy. I have not re-constructed. I had gone on a women’s only tour group vacation a year before my diagnosis and met a lady whom I had known for three days before I realized she was “going flat”! The only reason I even realized it was because when we went to a spa she refused to take her camisole off. I was amazed that I hadn’t even noticed! So then when I had my diagnosis I remembered that, and my original intention was to not reconstruct at all. I asked my surgeon to make me as “flat as a 10-year-old boy” LOL. Anyway, I had chemo and radiation also, and the only reconstruction that I can have is the DIEP flap because of the radiation to my skin. There is a practice in my town of Fort Worth Texas that specializes in DIEP flap after mastectomy. They do a lot of them and have a high success rate. If you go that route, it is important to go somewhere that has a lot of experience because the procedure involves micro surgery. Last year I briefly reconsidered and thought about doing the DIEP flap, but then I ended up having three surgeries for pelvic floor prolapse (which had nothing to do with cancer) and after having all those surgeries I’m back to where I don’t want reconstruction— because I’m really tired of having surgery. I often go flat and it doesn’t bother me at all. I have prostheses, I call them my “foobs” (fake boobs), of all different kinds… foam, beads, silicone, fiberfill, and for swimsuits, those nylon net bath scrubber puffs work fantastic (they are light and drain the water out immediately). I find most of them to be a little awkward and uncomfortable to me, and don’t seem to sit at the place that looks natural (I’m 63, and high-up perky doesn’t look “right”!) One person told me that the Coobie slimmers with the built-in padded bra that you can slide the foobs into work well, and they do because they don’t ride up. But what I have found to be the best for me is to just wear a T-shirt or tank top that has built-in padded shelf bra. You can always stuff it if you want, but I find that wearing them “as is” works well for me. I will usually wear a vest or open shirt or something over the tank or T-shirt. It makes me look like I have some boobs and it’s OK if they are size A or small B.
After re-reading your original post I want to add that I had cancer in one breast, and my medical oncologist was not happy with my wanting both breasts removed. She fussed at me every time we discussed it. I was insistent (my surgeon gave me no flak about it al all) both so I wouldn’t have to go through everything again if I did develop cancer in the other breast, and also for symmetry. I don’t think I would feel as comfortable being seen without my “foob” if I still had a remaining natural breast.