Mastectomy with reconstructive surgery

I have just been diagnosed on 18/12/09 with DCIS requiring a mastectomy.

It has been sugested I consider reconstructive surgery at the same time with using abdominal muscle/tissue as the best option.

Has anyone undergone this type of surgery. I would like to now views about the surgery and post operative recovery and body image which are all things i’nm appre abouthensive

I am 47 I was I was original diagnosed with DCIS of the left breast in September which on further investigation turned out to be invasive. I had a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction on the 27th October I wanted to live and having a breast was not the priorty. To be offered a DIEP reconstruct was a wonderful bonus. I looked at lots of photos of surgery and was given a book The Boudica Within which helped .It is important to have realistic expectations.

I had the most amazing plastic surgery team and suberb after care ,8 weeks on the healing is fantastic. I happy with the natural result- its my skin /my wobbley bits and feels comfortable.The left breast is larger than the right (it doesn’t show in clothes ) but it is still early days.

I was scared of the surgery -it took seven hours I was HD unit with 2 other women having the same surgery on a drip with drains in and catheter no pain being checked regularly any concerns the team would call the plastic surgeons in to check me ,even at 3 in the morning.after the initial recovery period I was given paracetomol and nurofen regularly lactose for constipation .I was lucky to have alot of support the first 2 weeks after surgery I did very little you need to accept your body needs time to recover .My advice do some research ,make sure your are happy with hospital/plastic surgeon ,accept it will take time to recover and don’t let the fear stop you from feeling positive about yourself.

Hi i am 45 years old and had my DIEP reconstruction on the 17 Dec, came out of hosp on the 22 Dec am taking it easy at home. I have nothing but praise for the nurses who cared for me - even with an adverse reaction the antibiotics, Was quite shocked with the first look but have accepted that I either had the surgery or had cancer and the surgery and scars are by far a better option. Hope everything goes ok for you - positive mental attitude will help get you though even though this is hard at this moment in time. Liz x.

bizzyizzywizzy - sorry had to post to your username. My eldest daughter is called Elizabeth. So when she was young I would say “bizzy lizzy lets get wizzy or bizzy”. Shame I can’t tell her about your username at the moment.

I have just recently had a mastectomy (not an easy decision) but in the end felt it was for the best.

I have been told reconstruction won’t happen for at least 18 months! Not sure I can wait that long. It seems there are so many options. I only have small breasts! What are the options?

Hope everyone had a good Christmas.

Love, Amanda xx

alicat - can you give me more details about the book - “the boudica within”?

Many thanks, Amanda xx

Hi Amanda ~Sorry for the delay,The Boudica Within (The extraordinary journey of women after breast cancer and reconstruction,)by Elaine Sassoon has empowering images and personal accounts of 23 "real "women ages from 34-64.Also explanations of surgery and before and after clinical photos.I found it helpful.

Take Care

Alicat xx

Thanks Alicat, I will try and get a copy.

Amanda xx

Hi Ladies
wasn’t sure whether or not to post here but thought I’d offer you a different perspective as someone nearly 2 years down the line!
I had Mx & Diep March 2008. My immediate post op experience was not pleasant. I’m quite skinny and was borderline eligible for the procedure in the first place, my tummy was pulled so tight I could hardly breathe, couldn’t lie flat and could only stand with stooped posture. I then went on to have my chemo and suffered terrible wound healing issues and fat necrosis which required further surgery in Sept 09. However after an unbeleivable roller coaster ride I have finally been discharged by my PS and I can honestly say it was the right thing for me. It’s taken me nearly 2 years and a lot ofheart ache in between but I’m young (38 at diagnosis) I’m incredibly sporty and I just can’t imagine having to cope with prosthesis. My stomach became more comfortable after about 3 months and now it’s washboard flat and when I had my corrective surgery in september to sort out the fat necrosis the PS lifted the other side to match so my boobs ceertainly don’t have the appearance of someone whose breastfed 3 kids. Sure, it’s not perfect but I’ve said all along to the team all I want is to be able to change in a communal changing room and get measured for bra’s in M&S without feeling really self conscious and I can do that now. I think for me the fact I went to sleep with a boob and woke up with a boob helped me cope with the prospect of having an MX. I accept I’ve had one but I don’t really feel like I’ve had one. At my last appt the PS conceded that he could never get an implant to move and feel as natural as the DIEP boob. Having said all that it was not an easy ride and I have since met other people who have decided not to proceed with recon and they have accpeted their mx and are happy with their decision, I can totally understand where they are coming from.
I guess we just have to do what feels right for us at the time.
Good luck with whatever you decide.(sorry! as usual I’ve written an essay!)
E xx

Hi eal69eal.

Thanks for your post it was really helpful, as i was border line - had to have a reduction on left due to not having enough fat to do a match, my stomach feels really tight. I know it has only been two weeks but i hate walking along like a stooped up old woman, i am only 45 and fit, do a lot of running, finding it hard to be less active and to rest. I felt that i needed to have two boobs and that they had to be my own. Hope everything keeps going well for you.
Liz x