New boobs, who dis?
In my early 20's when I first found out I had the BRCA-2 gene mutation, I was informed by my gynecologist that I should consider having a bilateral mastectomy. At first you think, "this is really scary" and then you start thinking about what life will be like afterwards. No one really talks about what it will be like. So, you see the silver lining and think, "ok, well at least it will significantly reduce my chances of getting breast cancer, I can pick out what I want and it might be a hard recovery, but then that's it!"...wrong. Yes, for me, the positives outweighed the negatives and that's why I had the surgery, but there are some things they don't tell you upfront about the surgery. I gotchu.
You will need a new bra. You will need a post surgical mastectomy bra no matter what (check out my post "Mastectomy Survival Kit" where I reccommend a great one), but after you're all healed your old bras may not fit. I stayed with the same size (34 C), but the shape and I guess location of my boobs changed and now my bras I used to wear before the surgery do not fit right at all. Maybe you will luck out and able to keep your older bras, but don't be surprised if you have to go on a little shopping spree after the surgery. Retail therapy might be a good thing!
Little to no feeling. Some people get a good amount of feeling back, some get a little, and some get none. Typically, the closer to the scar the less feeling you have. This seems to be true for me, but I have to warn you, the first time you put on a sports bra it's gonna feel weird AS HECK! At least for me it did. Also, you will have to be very careful of your surroundings. A few months after my surgery I was at dinner with a friend and I turned and knocked the plate over with my boob! How does one explain this to the waitstaff? "Sorry, I have bionic boobies". Do you know how many times I have been elbowed in the boob and had no idea? Me neither.
Raisin boobs. This is going to be TMI, so if you don't want to know, stop here. Basically you have a lot of rippling. I have round silicone implants by Natrelle, and they were supposed to be better with rippling than the saline implants, but ummm I still have a lot of rippling. I tell my friends my boobs look like raisins when I bend over. The first time I saw it, it was shocking and I was SO upset. So, I am telling you this now and hopefully you wont be as shocked as I was when I first saw mine. I plan to get a fat transfer when I have a little break in my running schedule. Don't worry, I will blog about it and tell you all how it goes.
You wont be able to breastfeed. This may seem obvious, but it wasn't something I ever really thought about until right before my surgery. I've never felt like I "needed" to have children and I'm still not sure whether or not I want children, but when my oncologist told me I wouldn't be able to breastfeed, it forced me to think about it and it kind of made me a little sad. However, soooo many babies aren't breastfeed and turn out perfectly fine! I swear my fiance's brain functioning is better than mine and he was bottle fed and I was breast. My brain is like freaking teflon these days, nothin sticks to it...but that's another story. So, if breastfeeding is super important to you and you were planning to do a mastectomy prophylactically, then I would consider waiting to do it until after you have children.
This info is meant to help you, not scare you, but if it does scare you it's better to know now so you can make an informed decision about your body! As always, if you have questions feel free to comment below or e-mail me.
All the love,