Message for Kaz42

Hi Kaz,

Its Ju here from Pink Ribbons. Unfortunately Im pregnant no more but on the positive side I have been reschueduled for my right mastectomy and reconstruction using back muscle and skin with Mr Prinsloo at City Gen, Stoke on the 21st of August. I didnt get to see you at the Cheese and Wine night and as we dont have a meeting in August I can only reach you this way so I hope you see this.

I just need some general advice about what to expect when I have my op ie

pain levels - Paracetamol to Morpine
When to go back to work
How long before driving
How long before being able to do day to day chores - I’m right handed
How long is the op, how long will i be in, how many drains etc etc.
What to take in terms of bra, loose tops etc - the practical things

Any advice (from any one) would be greatly appreciated.

Ju x

Dear Ju

You may find Breast Cancer Care’s booklet about breast reconstruction helpful to read as it contains information relating to some of the queries you have. You can read it online via the link below or please feel free to contact our helpliners on 0808 800 6000 for a copy to be sent out to you, the helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-2pm.

Kind regards
Breast Cancer Care

Hi Ju,

So sorry to hear about your pregnancy, hope you’re ok.

Good news about the recon, are you having right mastectomy and bilateral recon ??

Re: pain relief, I was on a morphine drip for the first night but found it made me itch all over (poss side affect) so came off it the next morning, was then on high dose paracetamol and ibropufen which managed the pain ok, after a few days found it more uncomfortable than painful. I was signed off work for 8 weeks but being as I work in a school I’m not back at work until Sept, but feel I would be ok to go back after the 8 weeks.

I was able to drive after 4 weeks but only short journeys as found on longer ones I would start to ache and the swelling under my arms would increase. I was in theatre approx 61/2 hours, in hospital 7 days, four drains - two in front and two in back having these made it very uncomfortable, didn’t get much sleep (my advice would be take a portable dvd player in if you can with some good films, I found myself watching Troy at 4 am) at night but managed to cat nap during the day.

I found I was able to do day to day things fairly quickly just be careful not to overdo things, it does help doing the exercises they advise.

When I came out of hospital it was too uncomfortable to wear a bra so wore a tee shirt (had dressings on) within a few days of being out I was able to wear a sports bra (found the lonsdale bras from soccer world great - nice and cheap very comfy, the hardest part is putting it on over your head as movement in arms is limited but it does get better).

Julia, I must just say I am so pleased with the results, it has done so much for me mentally, although it is a little painful I would go through it again to get the results I have. Mr Prinsloo is a wonderful man and I couldn’t thank him enough I am seeing him again in October to discuss nipple recon etc.

I am on holiday on the 21st Aug in Spain but rest assured I will be thinking of you, I’m sure everything will go well, if you can let me know if it is bilateral recon you’re having.

All the very best, hopefully see you in Sept at the next meeting

Take care

Hi Kaz

Thanks for replying so soon. I am having right mast and right recon. I cant have the left recon until one year after rads which will be April 08.

Im a bit worried now, I took a job 3 weeks ago for 3 months and was hoping that I would only need one week in hospital, one week at home then i will be able to go back, with hubby driving me to and from work. Im a medical secretary at PRH and only do 3 days a week 9-5. I would feel like im letting them down if i take that much time off work, especially as im hoping that after the 3 months they will extend my contract and make it permanent. They are gonna wish they never took me on if i have 2 months of my 3 month contract off! ARGHHHH

Suppose i will just have to wait and see how i get on, am enjoying being back at work finally. The job isnt very demanding - sit at a desk all day, have a couple of breaks and lunch quite easy really!

Hope you have a lovely holiday, you certainly deserve it.

Ju x

Hi Ju,

Good news about your job, you may feel ok to go back to work but to be realistic there was no way I could’ve gone back after just two weeks, just the effects of being in theatre for that length of time takes its toll, I still feel tired now come mid afternoon and I’m 9 weeks post op.

I’m sure everything will go well for you, you’re certainly in good hands with Mr Prinsloo, I only saw him the once just before going into theatre, the rest of the stay in hosp I was seen by his colleagues but they were all very nice.

I’ll be thinking of you on the 21st, please let me know how you are when you feel up to it.

Take care

Hiya julie its Tina from prh, sorry to hear about your loss - after all youve had to cope with would have been great for you to have had some good news!

I spoke to my plastic surgeons sec on tues - she seems to think was gonna be in within 4 weeks - said letter with datewithin next few days so who knows maybe will see you in there! My consultant is Mr. Jaffe - he is very nice and have faith in gim so am looking forward to having it done now!

Am only having the one recon at the min - then next year have decided with plastic surgeon that I am going to have the other removed and recon at the same time as I cannot get rid of the thoughts of it lurking there still.

Will let you know when am in ! keep smiling if you can and take care.

Tina x

hiya again - sorry forgot to say that Primark in Telford are doing racer back sports bras which i have bought for going in - they have back fastening so should be easier to put on afterwards with any luck ! Have worn them with the new self sticking prosthesis and everything stays where it should and they are really comfy - I think they were only £4 each they come in white and black.

Take care


Hi Tina,

Its Karen from pink ribbons, so glad to hear you rang your surgeons sec and that you should be in within the next 4 weeks, it would be nice if you and Julia were in the same time to support each other. I really am so excited for you I know how much it means to you having the recon - it mean’t just as much to me so I know how you’re feeling.

Please let me know when you get your date.

Stay positive and take care


Hi Tina,

Is your op scheduled for Stoke too? Ive not heard of Mr Jaffe. Is your surgeon going to use the skin and muscle from your back like what Karen had and Im having?

When I saw Mr Prinsloo he told me my op would be in 6 weeks, then when i spoke to the secretary she said it would be within 6 months as I am having the right side removed and reconstructed (BC was in the left) - it is for preventative purposes so not urgent! But then I got the letter saying August, I originally cancelled it cos i was pregnant but as soon as i found out that had all gone pear shaped i rang and asked for it to be rearranged and was lucky that no one else had been put in the same slot.

Im really looking forward to it and am hoping that the recon on the left will be done April/May as that will then be one year after rads. I’ll be so glad when all this will be over - I suppose it never really will but Ive broken my treatment down into stages - stage 1 mastectomy, stage 2 chemo, stage 3 rads, stage 4 second op, stage 5 third op. So at least I am nearing the end and being rebuilt rather than being taken apart and left broken!!

Let me know when you go in, it would be nice if we were in together - bit of company and all that.

Ju x

hiya Ju

yes is stoke am going to - Mr Jaffe works alongside yours i think - he tends to have a shorter waiting time. I am having the same thing done from the back on the right side this time - then when recovered am having the other removed and recon at same time - preventative and for my sanity i think!!

Is almost week since secretary said within 4 weeks - so am starting to get a bit itchy now and want to know when!! think am going to phone again but dont want to be a nuisance!!

Would be good to know someone at same time so am keeping fingers crossed for the same time - Mr Jaffe ops on a monday and have no idea what day the 21st will fall on!!

Glad your being so positive - youve been through such a lot and so much younger than me - I thought I had had a raw deal !

Will let you know when have date.

Take care - hopefully talk soon.


Hiya Karen

thanks for your message - hopefully above will fil you in tooo lol

Hope all is well with you and you are recovering well - I read that you are feeling tired still - but guess is to be expected having both done at the same time - is a lot for your body to deal with.

Hopefully will have some news soon!

take care

Tina x

Hello Tina,

The 21st is a Tuesday. Mr Przyczyna (? spelling) is coming over from Shrewsbury to do the mastectomy bit and then Mr Prinsloo will take over and finish off with the recon bit.

It works out then that your having what I will have next year, and Im having what you are going to have next so at least both of us should get an idea of things to come hey (not sure if that makes sense!).

Im a medical secretary and I would understand you ringing again, but do bear in mind the postal strikes. Ring - Im sure the sec wont mind.

Well better go, got work in the morning.

Take care and keep me informed of your dates.

Ju -x-

Mr przczyna did all my ops as mr hinton was off with hip replacement when i was diagnosed - i thought he was really nice - i did have the choice to stay under him when mr hinton came back but thought would be easier to go to telford. I know what you meant about us both having an idea of what is ahead lol.

Havent called today - thought would wait to tues - as is a week - so theoretically i would be in within 3 weeks - and they said should have 3-4 weeks notice - would be great just to have a goal to work towards - i know its looming but feel in limbo.

You mentioned about work before - theu should be ok if mine were anything to go by. I went for the interview just before half term last oct - got the job - handed in notice at other job - found lump at end of half term hols - diagnosed mid nov - started job on 22nd Nov and had first op on 24th ! they have been great - was worried as on probationary period etc - but hasnt affected me at all - I think bc is such as thing that people are shocked when it affexts someone younger.

Will let you know whe have spoken to the sec.

Am nervous that she will tell me when but dread psotie at min so better to try and find out!

Take care

Tina xx

Hiya Karen & Tina,

Had letter from Stoke today - got my pre-op on the 15th of August. Op is 3 weeks tomorrow, cant wait although am a bit worried about the anaesthetic not sure why cos they dont normally bother me too much, except the very first one i had when i was 18 and i stopped breathing. Found out i was allergic to Scoline, didnt bother me i was fast asleep, mum got a bit worried though :slight_smile: When i had my mastectomy i was a bit sick when i came round and it took me about 6 hours before i was fully awake after the op but i suppose it was a long op so had lots of anaesthetic - small price to pay hey.

Ju x

Morning Ju,

I was very sick after my mastectomy also needed blood transfusion (3 units), the sickness lasted days and I lost alot of weight I didn’t get my apetite back for weeks and lost a stone (put it all back on now though). I think I lost alot of blood because I had the blood thinning injection before my mast, but for the recon I didn’t have the injection until after my op. I told the anaesthesist I was sick after the mast and she said they would sort that and sure enough no sickness after the recon (great eh !), so tell them everything the morning of your op especially the Scoline allergy.

I’m really excited for you having this postivie operation, I can honestly say I wasn’t nervous at all I just so wanted this recon done, the rest of my family (especially partner) were worried sick but all went really well.

All the very best, I’ll be thinking of you big style !!!

Take care

Hiya Ju

am having mine done just before you on the 13th aug. Sec called me this morning - because my surgeon is away last 2 weeks of aug for me to wait would have been longer than the time they like to be within - so have been offered and accepted the 13th - only a week and a half away! Am really excited but scared at same time - anaesthetic - pain etc etc but seeing karen it has got to be worth it!

I meant to say to you to ask your bc nurse for one of the amoena contact prosthesisis ?? not sure if that is how spelt! you can use them 6 months after mastectomy - you dont need pockets in bras can be worn with ordinary undies - it adhers to you skin a bit like the hold up stockings but firmer - have used one for past couple of weeks now and is so much better than the pocket thing - nothing moves anywhere and feels a lot more natural and seems to give a better shape under clothes - might be worth it until you have the other side done.

If you get a chance youll have to pop by and say hi when you come for pre op on 15th as will be 2 days after my op so should be on mend by then !!

Take care

Tina x

Hiya Tina,

Im so pleased your op date has come through, shame its not at the same time though. Have started piling myself up with books, DVD’s and Nintendo DS to take incase i get bored.

Will definitely try and get in to see you when I come in for pre-op, get the lowdown of what its like straight after, what to expect and all that - might put me off though?!?! What ward will you be on?

Ju x

hiya not sure which ward as yet as still waiting for letter to come - was given daye etc by phone.

Have got a load of books etc but i hope they have tv and phones on beds like telford?

Hopefully if you get to come in on 15th shouldnt be too off putting!! hope not anyway as will have to do it again myself next year!

Had legs waxed and nails done so am all ready to be a right dolly bird with 2 boobs lol - to be honest tho - am not sleeping too well now i know when am going - feeling really nervouse even tho i know this is a good one ? didnt have a second thought when having lumpectomy and mastectomy just wanted cancer done - all i keep thinking is that is this one just for vanity - what if something foes wrong and i put myself there as dont have to have it? i spoke to gp yesterday - apparently is all normal to feel like it and deep down i know i have to have it for me to ever feel like me again.

sorry for moaning on !

Take care talk soon

Tina x

Hi Tina and Ju,

Not long now eh !!!, all good exciting stuff, if I’m anything to go by you will both be fine and really happy with the results.

The bad news Tina is there is no television and phone by your bed like Telford, there’s a push along public phone and a small tv in the corner of each ward, so like I said to Ju if you can get hold of a portable dvd player take one in, when I couldn’t sleep I was watching Troy at 4am.

I was really excited about the op and only really got a little nervous when they wheeled me down to theatre because I knew how much having the op was going to make me feel so much better about myself.

I’m off on holiday on Friday for 16 glorious days in Spain - I’ll be thinking of you both and sending you lots of love and hugs,so looking forward to seeing you both in September.

Stay strong and take care

Hi Tina,

Have you had your letter yet? Do you know when your pre-op is and what ward you are going to be on?

Ju x