Advice/tips on LD flap please

Following chemo, surgery (Nov 2007) and rads, I am contemplating an LD reconstruction. I am going to see the BCN in about a week’s time for her to “screen” me, so to speak. I would then see the plastic surgeon about 6 weeks later.

From what I have read on this wonderful website - in the archives, too - it is a major operation and can make movement of the arm on the affected side quite difficult for some time afterwards.

So what I would like to ask all you lovely ladies out there is this: If you have had an LD flap:

(a) How long were you in hospital?
(b) How long did you have off work (office job)?
(c) If any of you did yoga/played tennis beforehand, how long was it before you could resume those activities?
(d) Are you delighted by the result, or in hindsight would you rather not have had the pain etc and continue to look at just a blank area where the breast used to be?
(which I am quite happy to do at the moment - a very neat scar and movement in my arm was 100% immediately after mastectomy - no lymph nodes removed)

If you could spare the time to give me as much info as possible, I would be extremely grateful. I had a s*!t time with chemo, sailed through surgery, rads have left me drained (delayed reaction), and Tamoxifen is making me very nauseous, so may be I want to “draw the line” there and not put myself up for anything else. However, I intend to live to a ripe old age and the sight of a lump of flesh in my bra (rather than padding or plastic) might be easier to live with long term.

Bubs XX

Hi Bubs

I had an immediate LD flap reconstruction about 2 weeks ago, I was in hospital for 5 days, that is probably the minimum amount of time you will be in hospital. I am pleased with the result but there are a few things to be aware of.

There will be a delve in your back where the muscle has been removed.
There will be a thickened area under your arm where the muscle has been threaded under.
You may get a fluid build up on your back which will need to be drained ( done by nurse )

I have recovered really well I am 39 so I’m not sure if that has helped, have been told I cannot drive for a few more weeks. Have been doing the exercises that they gave me and this has helped soften the muscle under my arm and on my chest.

I am going into work for a few hours tomorrow ( office job ) which is possibly to soon but I have full use of my arm, I just get a little tired body still repairing itself.

I have asked about exercise and they said about a month, but to be careful not to overdo it on that side/arm as there is a possibility that the muscle could detatch itself.
Have they offered you the expander implant?. I was offered this and it is a much simpler operation and much quicker recovery but the look isn’t as natural ( this is what they said ).

Can give you more info if you can think of any questions.

Love

Ann

xx

Hi Bubs

I had my 1st mast and LD recon in Jan.

(a) 7 days.
(b) 12 weeks. My job has the potential for violence so could have gone back after 6 -8 I reckon.
(c) I own horses and I was mucking out etc 7 - 8 weeks.
(d) Very pleased with result. Waiting for nipple. There was pain but it cant have been too bad as I am going back in next week for other side.

Hope that helps. Good luck.
Jackie xx

Hi Jackie

Is there a reason you didn’t have both sides done at once?.

Ann

xx

Hi Ann

My surgeon would not do both sides at same time, she said it would be too much to recover from in one go. I was supposed to have the second op 6-8 weeks after the first but a bed crisis meant it has now been six months. I am just grateful to have had the opportunity to have it done even though virtually all this year has been affected by it.

How did it go at work today? I was off ages!

Jackie x

Hi Jackie

Only went in for and hour and a half spent most of the time discussing breast caner with the girls and drinking tea. I only went full time a year ago as we were so busy, but things have quietened off with the credit crunch so am going to just pop in for 2-3 hours a week to keep my hand in. Hopefully by the time I am fully recovered the economy will be too!!.

I am going to have a mastectomy on the other breast after I have recovered from chemo ( starting in 3 weeks ) probably Jan next year. They found quite a bit of DCIS that hadn’t been spotted on any scans or mammograms, so not sure if the other breast might be affected now or in the future. Better safe than sorry, just wish I could do it now and get it over with.

Why did you have the double mastectomy?

Love

Ann

xxx

Hi Ann

Mine is purely preventative. My mum has had bi-lat BC and there has been lots of BC,ovarian, bowel and lukemia in the family on her side, though she tested negative to BRCA1 & 2.

I am due to have my ovaries removed when I have recovered from my next mast. On some days I think I have gone over the top and over-reacted and other days I feel relieved. I hope that when it is all over I can forget it all and hope further advances have been made before my daughter needs to face the decision.

Has your employer been supportive? Or are you the boss? I work for the Police and because I had nearly 3 months off for my last op they are talking about halving my pay. My argument is that I would have gone back earlier into an admin role but they couldnt find me anything office based.

I hope your chemo goes well, how are you feeling about facing it?

Jackie x

Hi Jackie

luckily I am my own boss, but still need to work although I can do some from home.

I don’t think you have overreacted, if someone had told me that I would have chosen to have a second mastectomy as a precaution I wouldn’t have believed it. But I can’t take the risk that it won’t show up on the next mammogram/scan in a years time. I just want it done, I want to see my boys grow up and will do anything that will get me there.

Have you spoken to your union rep about it, you may need to put in writing that you are happy to came back if a suitable post can be found. Can’t see how they can get away with halving your pay.

Was really bothered about losing my hair but I think I will be ok with that now, but have always had a problem with sickness I will try all day not to be sick and just prolong it. I just want it to be this time next year as it has taken over my life and will continue until early next year now.

How old is your daughter does she know/understand what is going on?.

Ann

xx

Hi Bubs

I had mastectomy, lymph node clearance and LD flap recon no implant 51/2 weeks ago. I’m 44 with 3 kids.

I have NOT had any indentation in my back from the muscle being moved, and the bulky area under my arm has begun to go down. I think that the lymph node clearance has caused me the most discomfort as it lead to cording which meant I couldn’t put my arm in the air. I now have full use of my arm, no deficit in my shoulder that I notice doing everyday things. if i use my shoulder muscle it feels wierd because my ‘breast’ moves!! I can swim all strokes. I don’t think there would be enough power to serve, but mine is my left arm anyway… I can drive and change gear fine.

a)I was in hospital Mon - Sat as I had the Mx at the same time, and had 4 drains. I didn’t need any morphine or tramadol post op at all.

b) If I had an office job and I wanted to, I could work now, even bearing in mind that I lost 2 litres of blood and I have a 12inch scar on my back (from where the fat and skin flap was harvested). As it is, my job is physical and I can’t work through chemo anyway so I’m off.

c)I swam & drove this week. I find it hard to ‘crawl’ on the floor - weight bearing on shoulder but that’s getting better.

d) It was not painful!!! My back and ‘breast’ is still quite numb. It has been tender, but nothing worse than that. Where the LD muscle was attached to the breast bone in the front it was tender until a few days ago. I have a cleavage and can wear little vest tops (with ‘secret support’ as can’t manage a bra yet which I’d need to bring the other one up to the same height!!)

The recon side is firm - won’t move for a push up bra! - or when I lay down. At the current time it’s also a lot smaller because I have to do Rads, so my implant isn’t in yet - I use a small prosthesis.

yes, I am delighted, esp to have a cleavage. I don’t have to worry when bending down or if someone looks at it, or if someone is standing behind me when I’m sitting (went to a dinner party recently). People don’t know which breast I’ve hd removed when clothed, and naked it looks odd due to size and no nipple, but nothing worse than that. OH is fine with it and 2 girls don’t even seem to look at it now.

And it’s only 5 weeks!!

I’d say ‘go for it’

Love Td x

Oh yes - and I was dancing at 3 weeks. Cautiously! this week i’ve managed Samba and Tango too - tango uses back & soulder muscles a lot - and Jive is fine…
Td x