Calcification/DCIS/Mastectomy/Reconstruction

Hi there,
This is my first post (a post I was rather hoping I wouldn’t have to make, but hey - here I am!), I am 43, and a few weeks ago following a mammogram and ultrasound, there was significant calcification found in my left breast. I had a core biopsy in December and the results of that showed that I have an area ‘suspicion of pre-cancer’. They are going to do two further biopsies next week in another area of the breast which they believe will show the same. If that is the case they will advise me on a mastectomy; if it doesn’t show the same, I think they may suggest mastectomy is the best course of action anyway (the consultant has already penciled the operation in for early Feb!). At the moment I am swaying towards immediate reconstruction with a strattice reconstruction, however, I am rather large breasted and would want the new breast to be a smaller cup. The consultant has suggested that we reduce the other breast in a few months time. Has anyone any experience, advice etc for me? Has anyone had a strattice reconstruction? I have very down and confused days at the moment, and any help and support would be amazing, thank you for reading this x

Hi,

Can’t help with the stratice recon (unfortunately), but I had lumpectomy following DCIS in 1991, then uplift, and reduction on my “good” side in 2008. Cosmetically, it was an excellent result and I was really happy with it. Started off about 34ff and ended a 34d. Feel free to send me a PM if you think I can be of any help.

Hugs,
Margaret

Hi
I had an immediate reconstruction with stattice mesh and implant in June 2012 and am really pleased with the way it has turned out. Volume wise it is a good match to my “normal” side and over time it has dropped a bit (sits very high to begin with) so that now I don’t think I even need my normal side lifting, the difference just isn’t big enough to warrant going through further surgery.
It is difficult and scary having to make such a big decision, and I found they had to be made quite quickly but I have never regretted the one I made.
Take care.
Clare.

Hi Margaret, thanks for your reply, I’m really pleased you are happy with your reduction, it’s good to hear your positive thoughts. I hope you are now happy and healthy. Sue x

Hi Clare. Thanks for replying, it’s great to hear of your positive experience of the strattice mesh implant. You’re so right - it’s such a hard and daunting decision. However, at the moment this seems the most favourable. How long was your recovery etc? It’s so hard when you’re trying to digest the news that you have DCIS, you have to make such life changing decisions. Sue

Hi Sue
My recovery was straight foward, I didn’t encounter any problems. Had my op Saturday morning and came home Monday lunch time with two drains in. They stayed in for 14 days. I didn’t really have any pain just a feeling of extreme pressure in my chest. My mum stayed for four weeks to help me out with school run, etc. Once she went home I managed everything fine I just needed more help with some things (reaching into high cupboards for example) because it takes a while to get full movement back in your arm. By the time she went home I was back to normal in terms of walking and getting out and about. I’m not a driver so can’t comment on how soon you could get back to driving. My chest felt very strange for the first few weeks, sensation of pressure and as if it had a bolder stuck on it but this gradually lessened and I would say by 10-12 weeks was starting to feel more normal. Now, six months down the line I can move my arm around fine and my reconstruction only feels tight if I’ve done too much.
Hope this helps, Clare.

Hi Sue, Iknew exactly what you mean about life changing decisions. I was diagnosed in November with multi site high grade DCIS and I will be having a MX and immediate reconstruction tomorrow using the LD back flap. It is so scary and I wish of all wishes that I hadn’t trodden thispath, but here I am thankful that it wascaught very early and receiving fantastic support frompeople on this forum. Presumably your next step will be to have a SLNB, mine thankfully was clear. good luck with whatever decision you make and remember that with DCIS you can afford to research, check out all the options and reach the right decision for you. Big hugs to you. Xxxxxx

Hi Clare, it’s so great to hear you’re doing so well. I too have young children, and of course that’s the big concern - it sounds like you had a great help from your mum, I’m also lucky on that score. Can I ask - did you have your reconstruction to your original size? I’m a 38gg and ideally would like to go to a D and have the other reduced later? I’m very concerned that until the second op, I’m going to look very ‘lopsided’. Sue

Sorry Clare, another question - did you have your mastectomy and implant done at the same time? Thank you x

Hi Sue
My son was 7 when I was diagnosed (is 8 now). He has handled everthing brilliantly but we have made sure to tell him what was happening to me each step of the way so there were no nasty surprises for him. I’m now down to one chemo cycle to do and then tamoxifen so can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Mum came as much for her benefit as mine I think. If she’s here she knows how I am, if she’s at the end of the phone I might be saying I’m ok when I’m not!
Yes, I did have my mastectomy and reconstruction all in one operation.

I’m about a 36D/38C and so the surgeon was able to matach my reconstruction pretty closely to my natural size. I was a bit lopsided immediately after surgery but as my reconstruction settled (takes about 12 weeks or so because there is an awful lot of internal healing to take place) things have evened up. In fact I put my old swim suit on for the first time last week (in readiness for finishing chemo) and was really pleased how even I looked in it. Someone would have to look pretty closely to see that there is a difference.
If you do feel lopsided for a while you might be able to get something to put into your bra on you smaller side to make you look less lopsided when you are dressed.
Clare.

Cheryl - Good luck for you operation tomorrow!
Clare.

Hi Cheryl, thanks for replying, I do so hope it goes well for you tomorrow, I’ve had one core biopsy and having two more next week, I had a fine needle aspiration under my arm as there was a thickened lymph node, but thankfully it was negative so i don’t know if ill need a SLNB. I’m wishing you very best wishes for tomorrow. Sue x

Hi Clare, I’m pleased your son handled everything so well, so far after a wobbly start my two are handling it ok. I hope the chemo hasn’t been too difficult, I get the impression I won’t be needing any chemo and slight chance of radio. It sounds like you have had good results from your reconstructionyo being the first person I have talked too who has had the strattice, it has given me some comfort to know that you’re ok. Thanks so much. I wish you luck on your continued recovery. Sue x

Hi Sue
I had mastectomy with an immediate strattice reconstruction in 2010. I went from a tiny AA cup to a C cup then had the other one augmented to match 3 months later. They look stunning (even though I say it myself!!).
Pleased to answer any questions you have.
Stella xx

Hi Stella, that’s great to hear, I’m so glad you’re doing so well. I had two further core biopsies this week and will get my results this Friday. After my initial core biopsy, my consultant and breast care nurse seemed to think mastectomy and immediate reconstruction is inevitable. Still struggling to get my head round, but to hear any positive stories such as yours gives me hope. Thanks so much. Sue

Hi everyone just to give you an update… My MX, LD back flap reconstruction and implant operation lasted 9 hours. I had 3 drains, 2 in the back and 1 in the front. The first 24 hours were rough mainly due to low blood pressure and a collapsed vein where the canulla had been inserted whilst injecting antibiotics in. In fact that was the most painful part of the procedure. By day 6 all the drains had been removed and I left hospital. It is now day 9 and I feel good just taking regular paracetomal and codeine phosphate to keep the pain at bay. My hand is still painful and swollen lol. I have been prepared for weekly visits to the ward to have fluid drained from my back. My boob looks ok, very swollen, little pain just a feeling of tightness. it is inconvenient notbeing able to wear t shirts as I am not allowed tolift my arm more than 90 degrees but it won’t last forever. My next consultant appointment is Tuesday evening when I should have the results of the pathology report. Fingers crossed it is clear so I can just concentrate on recovery without the need for any further treatment. I am a 38C . Thinking of you all and sending big hugs Sue have you had the resuLts of your biopsies yet?xxxxx

Could somebody please explain what a strategic e reconstruction is . Ta

Hi Wendy.
A strattice reconstruction is where the surgeon uses a strattice mesh derived from pig collagen to construct an internal “bra” which is stitched to the chest wall then an implant is used to fill it out. I had it done that way because Inwas too thin for the flap reconstructions. The max cup size you have get with this is a C cup. I had my other boob boosted with an implant to match. Also the mastectomy and reconstruction op was only just over 2 hours.
Hope this explains it but please feel free to ask any questions.
Stella xx

Thanks Stella. Still got to discuss with surgeon but like to get gened up before. Still on chemo last one should be 5th March and then mastectomy but don’t really want flap and this one sounds ideal. Also thinking bilateral mastectomy as also had BC in ther side 14 years ago and don’t want to worry about a third time!

What sort of recovery time can I expect and how long in hospital.

Thanks for info so far

Wendy

Hi Wendy
I was in hospital 3 nights (had haematoma, but that’s just me!!). I was up and about the next morning and it was surprisingly uncomplicated recovery. I had some Tramadols for pain relief but apart from that, it was fine. Had op Sept 20th, exchange surgery (I was fitted with tissue expander as only had tiny boob before) just before Xmas and back at work 1st Feb.
The finished result is very good. I had nipple reconstruction later and that looks good too.
Stella xx