Making a decision

The decision…

 

 

 

 

 

I, being very matter of fact, knew I would always opt for this surgery which is what I have done. Other women have regular mammograms to pick up any abnormalities or even leave it a few years to think about. For me this was not an option, these breasts were a ticking time bomb and I wanted that risk eliminated. I got the doctor to refer me for surgery immediately during that appointment. I did not want to risk not being alive to watch my children grow up. Although I knew I wanted the surgery and the risk taken away, it is still very hard to come to terms with losing your breasts. Would i still feel like a woman? What have I done to deserve this? Why do I not have the choice to breastfeed my children?

 

Once I came over the initial shock of what I was about to face I started to feel very grateful of my position and knowledge. Don’t get me wrong there was lots of tears and sleepless nights along the way but there comes a point where you realise theres nothing you can do to change it. I know I have a high risk and I can eliminate that risk which many others cannot. I can save my own life.
Meeting the surgeon…..

 

An appointment letter came through and I went to meet my surgeon. Mr Murphy was a lovely man and discussed my options. It was decided I would have a two stage double mastectomy with reconstruction using implants and straticce. A straticce is a piece of pigs skin, it is used to secure the implant aswell as your own skin on top. He explained the two stages would obviously be two big surgeries around 6 months apart but this was the best option for me. It is different for every woman depending on breast shape and size. It is stressed you are having risk reducing surgery NOT cosmetic surgery, this is to ensure you are not expecting something that is not achievable. The surgeons are trying to remove every little bit of breast tissue which could turn cancerous, in this process they try to leave you with the best looking breasts they can. This obviously worried me, my sisters surgery did not go according to plan at all and this was always in the back of my mind. My sister is 35 and had her surgery about a year before me, unfortunately she hasn’t been as lucky as I have with the end cosmetic result.


Some people may say I was too young to make this decision at 25, I often wanted to ask these people what I would gain by waiting a few years, but never did. I wanted to have the surgery when I was young and healthy, without any children to worry about.

Nipples or no nipples?

I had a nipple sparing mastectomy which meant I kept my own nipples. This increases your chances by around 1% and is completely your choice. Being 26 I obviously wanted the best cosmetic outcome I could hope for. After doing a bit of research and my surgeon telling me he’s never seen a case of someone coming back with cancer in that area I made my mind up. His speciality also was nipple sparing, which filled me with confidence. With this surgery there is a small chance of your nipple dying, this is because it has been disturbed and whilst all the breast tissue is removed it has little blood supply to survive on. I used to think of this as re-potting a plant into the garden, but removing all its roots- it will probably die. Having a two stage meant I could end up with smaller breasts and the surgery gave me a greater chance of keeping my nipple

Stage 1: Reduction and uplift. This involved my nipple being moved, but because I still had all my own breast tissue during and after this surgery this was a success.

Stage 2: Double mastectomy with implants and stratisse. Again my nipple survived this surgery, or at least has up until now!! (day 9.)

Ladies who choose to get rid of their nipples such as my sister are able to have them tattood on.

Supplements and prep:


I don’t really do supplements but, a lady advised me to take arnica tablets pre op for 2 weeks, these are herbal. They prevent bruising and swelling. So far (day 9) I have no bruising! I am yet to see what is under the tape. I would highly recommend these, always check with your GP Incase if you take any other medications.

20 thoughts on “Making a decision

  1. What an incredible lady you are. So brave and amazing to share your story so that others who are going through this can feel secure in the knowledge that they are not alone. Take care of yourself x

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  2. Hi Charley, just discovered your blog. Thanks for sharing so honestly your feelings and experiences. Whereabouts are you, are you in UK? My breast surgeon was a Mr Murphy too! At Wythenshawe , Manchester. Wondered if he was the same one.
    I had PBM 12 weeks ago, recon straight to implants, no nipple spared. He put them over muscle, which is apparently less painful than under! I am older, almost 50 and happy with results.
    I have a 23 year old daughter, who is considering testing, I am BRCA 1, I will certainly recommend your blog to her. Best wishes for the future x

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    • Hi Julie, thanks for getting in touch! Yes I was mr Murphy at wythenshawe too! He is fab doing it over the muscle isn’t he!! Oooh please do yes and if she wants to chat to me that’s fine. Xx

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  3. Hello Charley, wow what a inspiration and brave lady you are. I was in tears reading your blog. I hope you don’t mind me messaging you. I work in a research company and we are doing some research on mastectomy at the moment, looking for opinions and stories of those that have been through it. the aim is to try and improve the aftercare people receive. If you would be interested we would love to hear from you.

    Thank you

    Jessica

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  4. Pingback: 'My boobs were a ticking timebomb': Woman who had double mastectomy at just 25 to avoid breast cancer shares her experience in brutally honest blog | To Day Updates

  5. Pingback: 'My boobs were a ticking timebomb': Woman who had double mastectomy at just 25 to avoid breast cancer shares her experience in brutally honest blog | Themsay.com

  6. I had the same Surgery. Congrats on coming out on the otherside. I am also BRCA1+ as well. I was 28 when I had my surgery. I was 30 when I had a fully hysterectomy after four kids. Way to go! If you have any questions or just want to talk to someone who is young and understands I am here. Way to put your story out there.

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  7. I am BRCA1 and dx:DCIS ductal cancer in situ Stage 0 but aunt (breast cancer) died @ 45. Niece (ovarian cancer) dx: BRCA1. My little sister also just dx: BRCA1 and will do preventative surgeries. I did double mastectomy and recon with problem still dealing with Lt breast rejecting something? Pig skin or implant? I am just 6 weeks out from total hysterectomy and I’m glad I went with proactive treatment. Thank you for your insightful Blog and article.

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  8. Pingback: Mulher retira os seios para evitar câncer de mama | Jornal Ação Popular

  9. Hi Charley ,
    Last September I received results that I tested positive for the BRC2.
    Reading your blog and article on the daily mail has really pulled at my heart strings. I now remember so clearly my mother having the surgery you have had, and I myself intend on having this within the next 8 ears. Both my mothers sisters had the preventative surgery however theirs did not go as well as yours, Which honestly scares the living daylights out of me.
    I am approaching 22 years of age and feel I am too you to take on this surgery just yet, but i also feel like I dont know when the right time is ? (Is there ever a right time)

    You have honestly inspired me to look at the brighter side of all this, and seeing your journey in detail has helped me to over come the fear of having mine. It will also help me to explain to my boyfriend what it is exactly that we carry and what I will actually go through myself.

    Thank you for sharing your storey , there are not enough women like you in this world. I really do feel enlightened , encouraged and supported with the decision I will make.

    I hope you are well 🙂

    Stefanie

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