The journey to fight breast cancer can be long and arduous. There are a lot of times when one feels that all hope is lost. Thanks to the advancement of medical science, millions of people worldwide find hope and find their way back to a normal and happy life.
However, some cancer treatments, such as mastectomy or lumpectomy, can greatly impact you physically and emotionally. It can be challenging to deal with the loss, but all hope is not lost again. Breast reconstruction is a successful procedure that has given many breast cancer survivors hope.
Although breast reconstruction is uncommon, it is best to understand your options and feel confident with your doctor before making up your mind. After all, it’s a big step towards making your life whole again.
Before you say yes to breast reconstruction, here are a few things that must be considered.
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1. Understand Your Situation
According to research, breast reconstruction is not the best option for every woman undergoing mastectomy or lumpectomy. Only 30% of women battling breast cancer choose to have breast reconstruction due to several factors.
While you can find support from so many women that undergo the same ordeal, you cannot base your expectations on their experience. Everybody is different in so many ways, and the extent of mastectomy can differ from person to person as well.
Therefore, it is important to better understand your situation before letting social media and internet resources take over your mental peace. You can start by creating a list of questions regarding breast reconstruction that surround your head.
Further, you can take this list of questions to your doctors and get the most accurate answers according to your body and battle with breast cancer. Unlike the resources of the internet, your doctor’s answers will be specific about you, your condition, and your journey.
2. Listen to Yourself
Breast reconstruction is a personal decision. Yes, your friends, family, and spouse may have been with you every step of the way, but they cannot feel your struggles and issues in person. Therefore, you must know that the final call is yours.
Of course, it is a great idea to bring a loved one along for consultation so that they also understand your options and possible outcomes. If the procedure is right for you, the reassurance from the doctors may even convince your loved ones to get on board with your ideas.
You must remember that every step of the way needs to be taken with your consent and full agreeability. It is okay to ask your doctors for some time to think things over and proceed only when you are comfortable and confident.
3. Discuss Your Preferences
One of the biggest concerns for women considering breast reconstruction is that they will be able to choose their breast size. It may sound like a simple question, but in reality, there are many factors that can determine the right answer to it.
In most cases, the size of your breast reconstruction can depend on your pre-operative body. Of course, your doctors can try to accommodate your preferences as much as possible, but you still may face some limitations while choosing your ideal size.
Generally, the doctors ask you if you want your breast size to be bigger, smaller, or close to your current size. The final decision can only be made after you meet your surgeon. They can give you research-based hope about meeting your expectations.
However, you can request your surgeon to show you some photos of patients that may have gone through breast reconstruction with the same body or mastectomy as yours. This part will give you an idea about how you will look after the breast reconstruction.
4. Ask Questions Freely
The news of being diagnosed with breast cancer, let alone is enough to shake a person to the core. Of course, dealing with the journey and treatment itself can be a tiring and scary procedure. The important thing to remember is that it is okay to be scared and have a ton of questions.
You do not have to be concerned about worrying or agitating your doctors with your questions. After all, they are here to help you and want to bring you back to normal life. A dedicated doctor and their team will be more than happy to answer all your questions about breast reconstruction.
You can keep a journal by your side and write as many questions regarding the procedure as you want. Getting your questions answered is the best way to feel confident about your breast reconstruction and throw fears and doubts out of the window.
In addition, receiving satisfactory and honest answers from your doctor and their team can also give you the comfort of being with the right team. They can clear your doubts at any step of the way and help you gain more and more confidence in the procedure.
5. Consider the Downtime
Even when everything seems good to go, and there are high chances of success, breast reconstruction surgery is a time taking process that requires your commitment. Depending on your condition, you may need several operations to complete the breast reconstruction.
Of course, it is also important to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions. You may have to deal with post-operative pain and discomfort for a few days. Your doctor may also tell you to refrain from sex, workout, and driving for some time. During this time, you may have to take some time off work as well.
You can discuss the possible downtime with your doctors before the surgery. In addition, you can also discuss if you will need house help through your healing. The answers to these questions can impact your decision to go through breast reconstruction surgery.
It is important to remember that your doctors and their team want the best for you. If you feel that something is wrong during the post-care, get in touch with your doctors as soon as possible. They can offer you help and take timely action.