DIEP jitters and advice?

Hi everyone. I am 7 days away from my DIEP surgery and had a mastectomy about 2 months ago. I am getting really nervous! Any advice for settling the nerves? And any tips for the hospital and those banana weeks where you cant straighten out? Curious how long it took for people to start walking too.

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Hi.
I’m 7 days post surgery. I too thought Wtf have i done. (im trying not to be biased as its not exactly essential like heart surgery)
it also looks like i have no defined waist either, but ok) But each day gets better. I was offered a ppi (lansoprazole) as lots have sickness. But i was ok without. Pooing on the other hand was tricky. I ate lots of prunes to help.
Coughing is probably the worse bit so far for me (and laughing)Do some "huffing " exercises. And eat steady so not to cough.
You will probaby have to do blood thinning injections when your home.
These are ok, but i cant do it myself.
Get all cushions and pillows out when your home. You may find sitting becomes uncomfortable (couple in the car too for a while).
Im gonna try and put my padded cycling shorts on tomorrow see if thats easier.
You will probably have back pain as its not a normal posture, so sit when you need to.
Best wishes x

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Many thanks for the advice! And best wishes and good luck in your healing journey! Will be sending you good thoughts and healing prayers.

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@papillary I am a few months out of my diep surgery. I recommend a large pregnancy pillow to sleep with once you come out of hospital to keep you on your back, pillows under your knees as well for the first few nights. Short sleeve, loose fitting, button down PJs for hospital and at home. High waisted tummy control pants really were comfortable and helped prevent rubbing against clothes. Bra extenders - I bought umpteen bras in all different sizes but I could have saved a fortune and just used the extenders. I slept on the sofa for the first few weeks as my bed was too high, getting in and out was a faff. A wheely side table or trolley would be handy, I had one, loaded up with drinks, snacks, meds, books, tablet etc and I wheeled it around wherever I needed it. The banana days only lasted maybe a week and a half for me, then every day after I felt improvement in posture and in how far I could walk. Coughing is definitely an experience, I was advised to keep a rolled up towel nearby and hold it against my tummy if I needed to cough or sneeze. Also I was a bit scared to straighten myself up but at the follow up appointment 1 week after surgery, my surgeon said to me to go as far as I could, that I wasn’t going to cause any damage (which is what I was worried about) even though it was uncomfortable. Hope these help, I can’t think of anything else and probably your medical team will have already suggested some of them.

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Hi @papillary
I fully, understand your nerves it is absolutely normal it is a big surgery but it is worth it. I was also, terrified and confused about what to expect before my surgery.

I had a double mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction 3 weeks ago today, and life it getting easier and better each day, I am also thrilled with the results. The first few days are the worst being very overwhelming and lots of drips and drains in you, but I was out of bed the morning following the operation, showered the next day all be it not particularly effectively, the next day walking along the ward unaided and by day 4 after the operation I was allowed out of the hospital with a friend to have a coffee at the cafe across the road. The banana walking lasted about a week but in general, I was what I would call delicate and not able to walk far for the first 2 weeks, I made sure I did 2 walks a day gradually increasing the distance which I am still doing, I am now able to walk a few thousand steps at a time before taking a rest.

They will give you plenty of painkillers and I would recommend taking them as it enables you to move and this helps with the healing process. I was given gentle laxatives to counteract the painkillers, also, a suppository to get things going on day 3 to assist with no.2’s which is standard following being under the anaesthetic for so long.

A few tips were, a front fastening bra, pj’s with a button front, a set of day clothes I wore slouchy yoga trousers and a soft button-up top, long sharing cable for phone and wired earbuds (they were easy to grab off the table and less risk of dropping on the floor than wireless ones) download some ebooks or music, you won’t have any energy to read or focus for long. I started this topic before my surgery which has some helpful tips DIEP flap surgery experiences

All the best with the surgery, it really will be fine, your team will look after you, and post surgery just remember to listen to your body, take things gently and rest. xx

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Hi
Firstly all the very best with your operation.
I had combined mastectomy and DIEP flat surgery together in October 2022, so a little blurry now.
Like you I was a little nervous about the whole op but it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. But then not taking away it’s a big operation and remember that in your recovery and don’t do what I did and try to rush it all.

Things I’d say you need or may help: (sorry no particular order!)

  • Sure you have already been advised but get the post op bra so they can unclip at the front (bamboo fabric is wonderful).
  • I had a little hand help fan which was worth its weight in gold. When they put the heat blanket on after the operation, you will need it.
    -I got a cushion for the car journey home (2 one for tummy and one for boob), for the seat belt.
    -I got a onesie for journey home and sitting in hospital - you can step into it and nothing tight around waist.
  • slip on shoes for journey home or something easy to get on.
  • When sleeping at home I tried in bed with loads of pillows, but found too uncomfortable - so ended up sleeping on settee sitting up (then slowly built up till I could go to bed).
  • I decided to take all the pain killers offered to me (as didn’t want any pain), but beware!!! I had the worst constipation ever, so get both liquid and Suppository for constipation on the ready.
    Also beware of any pain killer that makes you sick, don’t over do it like I did!
  • I had the shower chair but never used it, but glad I got it ‘just in case’
  • I did all the exercises they gave me. Just go slowly, but your body will say if you’re over doing it.
  • I was pretty confident walking up and down stair, but I’d already decided they were not going to stop me going home.
  • They said I could go home after 3 days but I felt I had a set back after being sick, so they said I could stay the extra day. Don’t be rushed home out of hospital, if you need the extra day there then take it.
  • Deffo have someone at home to help, if you can. I sat around for days enjoying the rest.
  • Also put my dog in kennels for couple of days as worried he may jump up, but think he senses I’d had an operation and was amazing
  • I also had two drain bags, ready when I came out of hospital. But never needed them as the drains were removed before I left hospital.
  • when the time comes, do lots of circular and light tapping movements over the scars, to help them heal.

I can’t think of anything else, but if I think of anything then I’ll write again or if there’s something you think of, then please just ask.

I’m also happy if you want to call me - email me on dawnado24@hotmail.com and I’ll pass my mobile number to you

All the very best with your operation. Will be thinking of you.

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Thank you so much @ngt, @summer-sunshine, and @Dawnado24! Really appreciate the support and advice.

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I started walking on Sunday - the day I went home
I had my op on Thursday (8 Sept 2022 - easy to remember as it was the day the Queen died. I was up at 6 I think and at the operating theatre by 7.30 or so. I was out of the operating theatre maybe at 4.30 pm or so. You basically have three ops - skin saving mastectomy, tummy tuck, tummy tuck made into your new breast with the blood vessels reconnected by microsurgery (using a microscope) I felt a bit of a fraud as I was 67 at the time I had the op and thought maybe I was being too vain, but no, I was so much happier having a warm breast rather than some sort of falsie.

It wasn’t long before I was walking quite upright as I religiously did all my exercises three or four times a day or whatever I was meant to do.

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