While exploring options for my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy, both my breast surgeon and plastic surgeon asked me if I wanted a Nipple Sparing Mastectomy. There are different types of mastectomies performed depending on the situation. My situation allowed me to choose if I wanted a Nipple Sparing Mastectomy that would enable me to keep my nipples.
I already knew going in that I didn’t. I mean, yes of course I “wanted” them. Who would choose to remove their nipples if they didn’t have to right? Well I guess I did.
The risk of having breast cancer in the nipple is quite low but it does occur. So I wanted to remove as much tissue as possible that may increase my already high risk of breast cancer. Keeping them wasn’t an option for me. I wanted to know I did everything possible to eliminate my chances of this disease that has devastated my family.
I chose to have a bilateral “simple” or “total” mastectomy that would remove the entire breast including the nipple.
The decision wasn’t easy. The loss of feeling and sensation of natural breasts and nipples is something I knew I would struggle with. I was and still am sad at the loss of them.
But in all honesty, that loss doesn’t compare to the happiness and relief I feel about reducing my chances of breast cancer to single digits. I had such a huge and heavy worry erased in a matter of hours thanks to this procedure.
And again, my procedure was prophylactic. I was lucky that I didn’t have any lymph nodes or muscle removed. Other women like my Mom and two aunts weren’t so lucky. All three sisters had a diagnosis and were battling Breast Cancer. My procedure was done to prevent it.
There are so many facets of this process that are deeply personal and individual. What was right for me would not be right for someone else. I’ve met plenty of women who kept their nipples and they don’t lose any sleep over it.
Choosing not to keep my nipples was the right decision for me.
I don’t regret my decision for one minute. Not one.