Mastectomy #2 – Breast envy


The days before and after I opted for a mastectomy and an implant, I developed boob envy.

That is, every time I saw a woman with large breasts I would think: “you lucky so-and-so.  Because of the size of your breasts you won’t have to have a mastectomy if you get breast cancer.  You’ll probably be all right with a lumpectomy.  You’ll get to keep your breast.”  It made going to the gym an exercise in surreptitious peeking.

The irony is, when I was first diagnosed, 1.5 years’ ago, my boobs were larger.  That’s because I’d been on the Pill for 15 years and the hormones put flesh on where I never had abt.  After my diagnosis I came off the Pill and the flesh (about 5kg) fell off, including, alas, my boobs.

The surgeon who made the initial diagnosis said I could have a lumpectomy.  But the second surgeon I approached 3 months’ later said that my breast was small in proportion to the tumour, and for the best aesthetic result, a mastectomy was best.  So who was telling the truth?  Because of that second opinion, I decided to try to get rid of the tumour using complementary therapies.

Now I wonder what would have happened had I had [OMG – pluperfect overload] a lumpectomy at the very beginning, when the tumour was just a Grade 1 tumour.  Would my breast have grown enough tissue to fill in the hollow left by the tumour?  Or would it have been mis-shapen?

What if I’d done neo-adjuvant chemotherapy? i.e. chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumour.  Would the tumour have shrunk so I could have just had a lumpectomy or no surgery?

I realised how small my boobs had become when I had to go shopping for bras for surgery and I had to go for a size smaller than the ones I previously used.  I don’t know why I bothered.

Regrets … regrets.  It’s been a long journey.  I’ve learned a lot.  Learn from my experiences, if you’re reading this blog and contemplating getting rid of your tumour using complementary therapies.   Whatever you do, it’s your choice, but you have more choices in the beginning.

And if you have large boobs and moan about how large they are – they are perfect.  Sometimes it’s better to have more than less.