If you’ve lost a breast to cancer, a benign growth or an accident, it can be difficult to make the decision to undergo breast reconstruction. You may be leery of hospitals and medical procedures in general, or you may fear additional pain or discomfort.
You may even fear your intimate partner’s reaction to the reconstruction after they’ve already accepted the loss of your breast. If you’re not sure about reconstruction, here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before going forward.
Am I Physically Ready?
Cancer treatments or rehabilitation after an accident can take a serious toll on your body. It can take months after your mastectomy for your body to completely heal and replenish all the calories and nutrients it used to survive and get well again.
If you’re feeling strong and are at a normal weight, ask the doctor if you’re well enough to undergo breast reconstruction. He may give you the green light or advise you to work on your strength first.
Am I Emotionally Ready?
Losing a breast, regardless of the reason, can be deeply traumatic. Breasts are wrapped up in our confidence, sense of self, gender identity and sexual identity. If you’ve already accepted the loss of your breast, you may be ready to accept a new one in its place.
If you’re still working through feelings of anger, loss and grief, you may be overly critical of the new breast and not ready for acceptance. Speak to a counselor or other mastectomy survivors about these feelings, if you’re ready.
Why Do I Want a Breast Reconstruction?
For some mastectomy patients, reconstruction is the obvious next step in reclaiming themselves and ‘being whole’ once again. For others, the reconstruction is simply another procedure in a series, a forgone conclusion to erasing signs of their mastectomy.
Still other women want a reconstruction to create balance again. Thinking about your motivations can give you the strength to withstand surgery and come out of it with a positive attitude.
If you’ve had a mastectomy, you may be asked over and over again by well-meaning loved ones and healthcare providers about when you’ll have your breast reconstructed. Asking these questions to yourself will help you gain clarity.
If you think you’re ready for reconstruction, contact the office of Dr. Wendell Perry today to set up an appointment. We’d be happy to help you along your path to full recovery.