Mastectomy

Hi Everyone

I have not posted on here before though registered about a month ago. I find the forum very informative and would like some advice please.

I was diagnosed with Dcis grade 2 in October and i have since had two wle with no clear margins. I will be having a mastectomy in the next few weeks, I first have to see a breathing specialist so they can check my breathing is upto having tram (I am chronic asthmatic).
I am very nervous about the op and also of what else they may find as not felt like me for awhile, my surgeon has said this is due to the disease.

Can you tell me pros and cons of tram? Also, has anyone had their op in BRI? If so, what is ward 19 like? My last three stays in hospital were in breast care so not really looking forward to going to a different ward.

Thank you x

bumping up so that others with experience of reconstruction can comment, sorry I can not.

Wizz

Thank You

x

I have no experience of a TRAM flap as I had an LD flap. Has that been suggested to you, because it is a much shorter operation?

Hi Aqua - I can speak from a similar experience to you. I had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction with a TRAM flap in Nov 09 - mine was in Oxford though - I also had a reduction on my left breast. I had an excellent experience in hospital and although my op was 8 1/2 hours long I didn’t know anything about it!!! My family were well prepared and whilst it was a long day they were happy in the evening when I was able to speak to them all by phone. I was amazed at my recovery and how well the Plastic Surgery team looked after me. I was home within a week and able to walk around quite gingerly but better than I expected. My husband was fantastic and I was careful not to have too many visitors. I took things very careful for the first few weeks and started doing more in December - but got very tired. I looked into the LD Flap but as I was quite large I din’t want to have an implant as well and would have needed that with the LD flap. The DIEP flap wasn’t actually offered to me and I think its a much longer op. The tummy tuck with the TRAM is a definite benefit - although I’m still not wearing jeans (but I have bought some trendy leggings and boots which I wouldn’t have worn before!). My new boob looks great and I’m assured it will look even better in a few months. Its quite hard and still swollen but that will improve - and its great to be a bit smaller. Its not an easy op to have - but if you follow all the advice and take things slowly you will reap the benefits. Hope this has helped and that all goes well for you.

Hi Ladies

Thanks so much for your replies.

Yes, ld flap has been suggested too but the plastic surgeon said as i am too big breasted so the tram flap would be a better match to my other breast.

Brook, thanks for reassuring me a little. I hope my op goes as well as yours. Though i must say my second WLE got infected and woke up one night covered in a lot of wetness from wound - quite scared me! Had to stop in hospital for another week and then daily wound dressings by district nurses.

I am nervous about that happening again as well as the long op but hey ho

xx

Hi Aqua - sorry to hear about your wound infection. Hopefully they’ll be watching for a similar situation with your op. If you have any worries about your wounds once you are home ring the hospital - I had to and they were great. Don’t hesitate thinking it will sort itself out. I was doing daily dressings on two small areas for about 6 weeks but they are now healed and are ok. I think the time before the op is harder than after it. My friend gave me hand massages each day the week before I went into hospital and they helped relax me loads. I also listened to some calming music and burned some oils - I can’t express enough how much that all helped me. Take care.

Hi Brook

Thanks for the advice - I’m really grateful. I reckon I will be watching the wounds like a hawk as I am so scared of going through the same again.

How long after the op can you shower or bathe? Were you on morphine or just normal painkillers after the op? Are the scars very big?

xx

Hi Aqua,
I am new to this site. I had an LD reconstruction following my initial WLE within the space of a month. Before my surgery my BCN showed me a dvd which helped in very simple terms to explain things about different types of reconstruction.I found this helpful.My anaesthetist was very attentive to pain relief, and it is tailored to what suits you best. I had a pca -( patient controlled analgesia)initially, then was on oral painkillers. I was not allowed to shower but had a bath with nursing support once I was up and moving about. I hope this helps.

Thanks SaphyT

x

Hi Aqua - I showered with help from the nurse on day 5 after my op and then showered myself the next day. They preferred me to shower each day if possible - at first its the only thing you can do as its exhausting - but it feels good. My breast wounds aren’t too big and are mostly hidden. I have the new skin around the nipple area mainly and I had a lot of swelling and bruising - its still quite hard at teh side of my new breast - I took arnica but didn’t really see the benefits although others have said it helps - I think I started it too late. My tummy scar is long but very neat even though I had a few problems with the skin healing. I don’t need to see my plastic surgeon for 6 months as he wants everything to settle down and fade now. I can now have baths, can go to the gym (although my good intentions haven’t got me there yet) and am doing most things normally now - I just get quite tired. I have to massage my wounds twice a day and this really helps. I had a PCA which was great - it wasn’t exactly morphine but similar - and I had quite a bit of anti-sickness medication - both IV then orally which really helps. When I cam out of hospital I was on paracetamol and diclofenac but that made me feel sick. I changed to Tramadol and that was fantastic - I really turned a corner with that as it attacks nerve ending pain and thats where I needed when I was starting to heal - if they don’t give it to you ask for it. I’ll keep checking here if you want to ask anymore questions.

Oh Brook, You’ve really been fantastic - thanks so much!

Well I’m seeing a breathing specialist on 2nd feb, will find out after the tests if my breathing will get me through the long op. If so, I will then get my date for the op. If my breathing isn’t up to the long op I will have to have ld flap and reduction on the other breast. I just don’t want an implant so I’m so hoping my breathing tests are okay.

If I have anymore questions before the op, I will post again on here - thank you.

Take Care

xx

Hi Aqua, I am hoping to have Tram/diep surgery this year. I have an appt with plastic surgeon on Feb 5. I will be having surgery in St Johns hosp. Livingstone, Scotland. Not sure how long the wait will be.
Hope its not too long. Like you a bit apprehensive about op pain etc but cant wait to be free of prosthesis, especially in the hot weather.
I would be very interested to hear of your experience.
Take care Carolyn159

Hi Carolyn159

I’m booked for my pre-op an hour before my breathing test on 2nd feb, and have an appointment to see the plastic surgeon the following tues. I will just be glad when the op is over and hopefully - no more bad news.

The plastic surgeon told me the op would be 7hrs though the consultant told me 8-10hrs, I’m hoping it’s the lesser!

Take Care

x

Hi Brook

I hope you are having a good day and your new boob is not giving you too much trouble?

I was wondering how long after the op were you able to get out of bed and go to the loo? Using a commode would be one of my worst nightmares! When I was taken back in to hospital after the wound infection the nurses asked me to use one rather than walk to the toilet as I wasn’t too steady on my feet, I kindly refused so they wheeled me to the toilet-bless em!

How long did you have your drains in?

Thanks in advance
xx

Hi Ladies

Aqua & Carolyn I will follow your posts carefully as I am about to go down this road too, but not until about May time. I’ve already seen the PS and have been told my stomach vessels are good for either a TRAM or DIEP, although I get the feeling that the decision may not be taken until the actual day.

I’m worried about recovery (have started a new thread Realistic Recovery) as I live in France and don’t have family around, and will be spending quite a bit of time on my own.

All this now depends on a CT scan in Mar for me, as I’ve had a long standing chest problem since the start of treatment with a cough and breathlessness, although a previous CT scan didn’t show anything so I am being treated for reflux and the cough has improved.

Brook thank you for sharing your experience and I wish you a speedy recovery.

Take care x

Hi everyone - Aqua I was in bed for about 4 days before they tried to get me out so unfortuantely it is a bed pan to start with and then the commode - but that should be on wheels and they should be able to take you to somewhere more prvate. I was lucky and had my own room with a bathroom - but needed a lot of help with personal care - I joked with the nurses that I was glad I wouldn’t saee them again. I have a nursing background so I knew that they would not think about what they had done for me afterwards - they are just happy to help and to make you as comfortable as possible. My drains came out in stages from about day 4 and were all out before I went home. Someone I met in hospital having the same op went home with a drain in.

One tip - when you speak with the Aneathetist before the op - ask them to move your arms during the operation. I had more discomfort from my arms having been stretched out for 8 hours than anything else. My friend said her anaethetist moved hers for her and she didn’t have any problems.

I’ve just been to see my parents for the first time since my op (my Dad can’t travel and they live 180 miles away) - I managed the journey and the weekend so much better than I thought I would and today I’ve been for a 2 mile walk! Last week I got a new bra which has taken away my self-consciousness - I was aware of only having one nipple but this bra is slightly padded and is great. And I’m back to work in 4 weeks.

Keep positive - I know what you are all feeling now and it does get better after the op.

Hi Brook

Nice to know your getting there slowly but surely, must have been lovely for you to see your parents again. wow 2 mile walk - well done you!

Getting a new bra - that must have nerve racking, something I will definitely not look forward too! Will you eventually have a nipple tattoo?

Yes, what you say is so spot on - On all my three stays in hospital the nurses have always been fantastic and they couldn’t do enough. I actually said the same to the nurses and of course ended up back in when the wound leaked.

I guess I will just have to swallow my pride re bed pan and commode!

Thanks for the tip, I will definitely have to remember that.

Have a lovely day, whats left of it and once again - thank you.

xx

Hi Peacock

Sorry to hear about your chest problems, I hope all is okay when you have your next CT scan.

I just hope my op goes as well as Brooke’s and I have no more wound infections -definitely don’t want to go down that road again!

x