At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 198
shock,' she said. 'Have a chat with the
breast care nurse before you decide.'
Talking to the nurse, I explained
that I didn't want any unnecessary
surgery. 'You can always have
reconstruction later,' she advised.
'Plus, we can give you a lovely
prothesis in a bra.'
'But why would I want to wear
a bra, if I hadn't got any breasts?'
I asked, perplexed.
'You really need to think about
this carefully,' she advised. 'If you
decide to live ﬂat, you won't be able
to ﬁnd any nice clothes.'
Confused, I rang my boyfriend
when I got home. 'Maybe I am in
shock,' I told him. 'Maybe I should
go for reconstruction?'
'The thing is,' he replied. 'They
might have treated a lot of women,
but they don't know you.'
A week later, I had a double
mastectomy. I was in surgery for
just two hours and was discharged
the next day. After a course of
chemotherapy, I was given Herceptin
injections and now take tamoxifen.
In January 2016, I was ﬁnally
told there was no evidence of
disease. 'Do you want to reconsider
reconstruction?' I was asked again.
But I didn't. I am happy in my skin,
and don't feel I'm missing anything.
Of course, I can understand why many
other women opt for reconstruction or
prothesis, but women should not feel
they have to undergo reconstruction
to live a normal life.
Walking into a clothes store
post-mastectomy was daunting
- and there was little advice to
198 | FEBRUARY 2018
ME - MY
PART OF ME'
'I DIDN'T WANT TO WEAR SPECIALIST
CLOTHING, WHICH IS ALL ABOUT DISGUISING
THE FACT YOU DON'T HAVE BREASTS'
help on the internet. To try to redress
the balance, I started a blog called
Flatter Fashion sharing my journey
with others ﬁnding their style postmastectomy. As a result of my blog,
I was contacted by a support group
called Flat Friends - and am now one
of the charity's trustees.
It took a while to ﬁnd my style
- I used to have to brace myself when I
went into shops, and grab handfuls of
clothes to try on in the changing room.
I didn't want to wear specialist clothing,
which is all about disguising the fact you
don't have breasts. Instead, I found
ways to create ﬂattering looks,
by working with ruﬄes and other
details, and diﬀerent ﬁts.
Once in a while, I'll have a bad day -
as we all do - and feel self-conscious in
what I'm wearing. Occasionally, I feel as
if people are looking at me. But most of
the time, I'm just me - my chest is part
of me and I don't think about it.
Sometimes reconstruction is carried out at
the same time as breast cancer surgery,
although some patients choose to delay
this additional procedure, or are advised to
delay it for health reasons.
If a large growth has been removed, or
in the case of mastectomy, reconstruction
may involve insertion of an implant. It can
take several operations to achieve the
For those who decide not to opt for
reconstruction, or have been advised
against it for health reasons, protheses can
be worn, if desired.
Some patients choose to have both breasts
removed and to 'live ﬂat'. For more on this
option, visit the following websites: