Living without reconstruction in a breast obsessed world is not easy - but it can be
FLAT & fabulous seeks to support and empower women to embrace life without reconstruction after mastectomy. Whether you are in the process of making the choice not to reconstruct, accepting the inability to reconstruct, or are living breast-free, we want you to know, you are not alone.
We are passionate about empowering others. We empower our FLAT & fabulous sisters through support. We empower those around us by sharing our experiences. We empower our doctors and other healthcare professionals by educating them on how and why we made our decisions.
We envision a society that actively embraces the reality that beauty is not one size fits all. And in which every woman can feel supported, comfortable and confident in making the decisions best suited for her life after mastectomy.
FLAT & fabulous sisters have had or are planning to have a mastectomy. Their mastectomy may be bilateral - removal of both breasts, or unilateral - removal of one breast. The reasons for mastectomies include the presence of cancer and prophylactic - often due to genetic mutation or strong familial history of cancer.
There are various reasons women choose not to reconstruct their breasts. One common reason is to avoid additional surgery. This pragmatic and simple approach allows these women to step back into life much sooner.
Not all of our members had the option of reconstruction. They may have been advised before surgery that they would need to heal and could attempt reconstruction later, some thought they would be starting reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy and wake up to discover there was a complication making that impossible.
We have members who have previously gone through reconstruction and have had or are considering having their reconstruction reversed (also called deconstruction or implant extraction).
Members present themselves in a variety of ways. Some choose to wear breast forms, others change sizes daily and according to the outfit, and many choose to live without using prosthesis at all.
No matter how our individual members choose to live their lives, we support and care for one another as we resume our lives, post mastectomy.
ABOUT THE FOUNDERS
FLAT & fabulous was founded by Sara Bartosiewicz-Hamilton and Barbie Ritzco. They met through their involvement with The SCAR Project and quickly became friends.
Their paths were very different but each made the same decision - to live their life after bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction.
Shortly after Sara started her FLAT life, she tried finding a support group where she could talk about the unique challenges she faced because of her decision. She couldn't find such a place. While talking with Barbie, she mentioned her idea to start a new group for this purpose. Barbie's response if you don't, I will. They have been partners ever since.
When Sara and Barbie first started FLAT & fabulous, they thought the group would be comprised of half a dozen women they already knew. They were amazed as they watched the number of members continue to grow. The overwhelming majority of these women shared privately or within the group I thought I was the only one.
These statements further fueled the passion Sara and Barbie shared - find every FLAT & fabulous sister, educate the masses about the validity of this choice, and empower each individual to live the best version of themself while embracing their own unique talents and beauty.
This map represents the countries and states where our FLAT & fabulous members reside - truly, you are not alone!