Thanks Sea breeze, I have PM'd you, but no doubt your reply will help others and I'm more than happy to keep this thread going with others thoughts and perspective. Regards to everyone. Wonky.
What you are saying does make sense since to some of us the surgery represents having got rid of the lump...and subsequent treatments add to the sense of zapping it. I also felt that way when I sensed occasional very quick shooting sensations (not painful, more like a little instantaneous zap) in the radio treated side since my medical team said it was the nerves healing.
You mentioned burns from radiotherapy, I know most people get through the radio relatively well, however if you have got bad burns you might want to contact the radio team to see if they can suggest a suitable cream to use. I was in this situation and they gave me flamazine, a cream which you can only use after radio has finished (since it contains a metal based chemical - which plays havoc with radio). It's a special burns cream - for the rare cases where it's worse than the sunburn level. I found the cream really helped, alongside time for natural healing.
Re your question about has anyone considered a reduction to try to even out lopsidedness....I had a reduction (well, it took 2 reduction op's)...my experience as below, if it helps your thinking about what is right for you....
I had lumpectomy on one side, tried this with a prosthesis (in case you are not aware they do make prosthesis to sit over a breast and make it appear larger, they are not all for women who have had a mastectomy). However my skin had a strange reaction to the prosthesis (the fitter at the hospital who has worked there for years said she'd never come across it before so the vast majority of women must be fine)!
In the end due to feeling really quite lopsided and not being able to wear a prosthesis I decided to have a reduction of the larger side. Because I was having just one side reduced, the surgeon didn't want to risk removing too much (since apparently some women lose quite a bit more during the healing period). I had my first reduction 2.5 years after initial BC surgery, then gave it 12 months to give things a good time to settle and was still getting shoulder problems since I was still lopsided. So had round 2 reduction 12 months later (3.5 years after initial BC op), which worked well re balance angle.
Considerations/things to ask the surgeon to help you decide:
1 - As I am sure you are aware from your lumpectomy, having surgery you do lose some sensation in your breast (to varying degrees), particularly for surgery near the nipple. Most reductions take the form of incisions around the nipple and down from the nipple or that with a curved line under your breast (my surgeon referred to this as lollipop or smiley face if it helps you get the picture).
Any breast surgery, particularly near the nipple can lead to some degree of loss of nipple sensitivity. So in that respect it's a balance of what is most important to you. The most useful thing anyone said to me when I was debating that wonky feeling was that our priorities change when we have BC, and maybe more comfort due to being less wonky is worth any reduction or loss of sensation?
2 - My understanding is that radiotherapy can cause some breast shrinkage over the months following radio. You might want to ask if this is the case and if you are likely to end up with a better result if the reduction is carried out at a later date?
3 - Personal preference and depending upon level of lopsidedness - would you prefer to keep one breast intact and wear a prosthesis?
4 - If you are not in the right place to decide now, check if the surgeon thinks there is any chance the NHS may change it's policy to doing this as part of the breast cancer package. Hopefully the policy will not change...I'm just aware of what future NHS budget pressures may be.....
5 - Do you heal from surgery quickly? Some do (thankfully I do), some aren't so fortunate which can cause further issues and maybe a factor in decision making.
6 - Reduction surgery tends to be less invasive than a lumpectomy, since they are not trying to get in and around a lump/s allowing margins etc. I found the recovery much easier and had didn't get much pain either.
Me - I'm really pleased I had a reduction. It was definitely the right decision for me. The scars fade a lot and to me the physical discomfort of being so lopsided was unpleasant and caused shoulder problems. I got fed up of bras twisting round me and due to the extremely unusual allergy to prosthesis issue, I had no option but to try to disguise my shape under baggy tops. But this isn't the case for most women re prosthesis so the factors influencing your decision may be slightly different to mine. My partner, who was very supportive of whatever I decided, said he noticed a difference in how I seemed to feel about myself after.
Timing is a whole different question! In hindsight maybe I'd have the first reduction 12 months after radio or just after the 2 years from initial treatment scans (so you know how your body is progressing in relation to reducing risk of reoccurance).
I hope that helps. Do post again if you need clarity on anything above, or message me if you want to discuss more details.
All the best
Seabreeze (5 years on and doing ok - reduction 2.5 years after diagnosis/lumpectomy, further reduction op 3.5 years, now at 5 years no evidence of disease)
Hi Ladies. So nearly through treatment ( apart from the Tam) and beginning to see a glimmer of light, despite being bushed from rads. The 'bad boob' is badly burned and obviously I have scarring from the lumoectomy and lymphetomy, but I also have a boob which, in comparison to 'the good one' looks like it survived the effect of gravity, it looks so much 'perkier'. ( mid 50's). Thank you wonderful surgeon mwahh. What I'm wondering, ( Tam alert!) is surgery on the good boob to make it match the bad one, size and pertness? Anyone considered this, looked into it? Also I like the bad boob better because the scars and rads burns are helping me to be positive that I am cancer free. Realise others are struggling with the visual impact, apologise for any unintentional upset, but I seem to have found a 'flip side' ( in my head) and, so far, it's feeling pretty good. Anyone else having positive thoughts beginning to creep in, what works best? X