Just been discharged after DIEP flap and complications

Hi All,

I went in last Friday (28th) morning and had my surgery, which was a mastectomy, immediate DIEP flap reconstruction and breast reduction on my good breast. As far as I am aware the operation went well and took 11 hours as expected. It was explained to me about the possibilities of complications beforehand. Unfortunately, an hour after I had come round they had to rush me down for another emergency due to a blood clot close to my DIEP flap transplant on my breast. I lost 2 pints of blood but lucky they spotted it so soon that it was removed and a blood transfusion was given. That op took a further 3 hours. Needless to say, it washed me out completely and it has taken me several days to get my whole system back in sync. 

I managed to get discharged yesterday as they have got me down to 1 drain and I’m so relieved to be home. It was a vicious circle of problems, to be honest. I hadn’t moved my bowels since Monday 24th Feb, so as I couldn’t move for days the indigestion was more painful than the actual wounds. Because of the pain from indigestion, I couldn’t eat for 5 days resulting in my blood sugar dropping, this made it too hard to focus or stay awake so my oxygen levels in my blood were too low, pulse rate/temperature and blood pressure was unstable till I took it into my own hands, in the end, to break the cycle and work on getting my blood sugar up with basic minty sweets. It was that which gave me the energy to stand up and move to ease constipation, help me breathe better etc. So it was then that I felt I turned the corner. 

The surgeons and nurses were amazing and did an amazing job with the surgery so It was more keeping my body in sync that was a problem. If I ever had to go through it again I’d make sure I respected my body’s need for such basic essentials such as blood sugar, bowel movement, oxygen levels.

I’m still not stable, dizzy, temp spikes but really giving myself as much care as I can. I thought I would be indestructible but just recognize and accept that maybe I need to not overestimate my strength quite so much in the future.

Sorry for not keeping you updated but couldn’t even focus for more than a minute at a time for the first 7 days. Wimp…

Please don’t let my experience put anyone off going for a DIEP reconstruction as I’m sure when all settles this will have been worth it.

Thanks for reading everyone,

Sam xx

Hello ollies41,

Thank you for posting.

It sounds like you had a really difficult time. Please know we are here and we are always happy to chat. If you would like to talk about any concerns or worries, you can reach our breast care nurses on freephone 0808 800 6000, they are available from Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and Saturdays 9am - 1pm.

Sending you our warmest wishes,