Cathy's Story

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I had breast reconstruction in September 2007 after finding pre cancerous cells in my right breast. I had been consulting my doctor for some time with bouts of mastitis. She referred me to the Royal Marsden hospital as I live in Epsom in Surrey, who could find nothing once the infection had cleared. Eventually my doctor suggested seeing a consultant breast surgeon privately which I did and after carrying out numerous tests including a mammogram, ultra sound scan and needle stick test still couldn't find anything that indicated cancer was present.

I was very fortunate that he didn't give up and as he wasn't happy with the look of my breast carried out the Hatfield operation and the results from this confirmed that pre cancerous cells were present.

I had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, using muscle from my tummy. Unfortunately I had a few problems after the operation, my wound became infected and I ended up having two courses of antibiotics and regular dressings which my husband did for me. My consultant wanted me to be re-admitted but I really couldn't face another hospital stay so we looked after it at home and finally at the end of December the infection cleared up.

The tummy tuck in my case has taken quite a lot to get over and I still find it hard to sit in one position for any length of time. The feeling is just beginning to return in the top part of my tummy and under my rib cage. I am seeing my consultant again because I have an indentation where the tram flap was done, he has assured me that it is nothing to worry about but after everything else I meet the appointment with some apprehension.

My breast now feels very hard mainly at the top and side. My wonderful consultant has told me that this will eventually soften but no guarantees as to how much. I wasn't able to have radiotherapy treatment because of the hardness and scarring from the infection and am about to start Tamoxifen which I am a little concerned about - my consultant thinks it will give that little bit of insurance so I will give it a try.

Yes my breast looks a lot better than it would of done without anything but until the hardness goes I won't know what the results will be. It just looks as though my nipple has been removed and I just have a white patch. I don't really like looking at my scars but I do realise how lucky I have been.

I do feel that women should be warned of how long it could take to get over this mentally and physically. I have found it very hard to come to terms with. It all seemed to happen so fast and I do not think that I have yet fully taken in what has happened. I acknowledge the skill of my consultant and plastic surgeon and know that I owe them my life but this is one hell of a thing to come to terms with.

To date I have not been in contact with any outside organisation and perhaps talking to someone about this with knowledge may have helped me to come to terms with things in a better way.

Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to talk and share my experience, sometimes you find yourself in a very dark place and talking to someone who understands helps so much.

This Page was created on Wednesday, 16th April, 2008.