my diep

hi all
just wanted to say that all your previous posts helped me to prepare for my Diep reconstruction last week.
I had read all the official information but the real help came from yourselves…
I am sitting here with a new breast mound [which is larger than my own breast after uplift and reduction]but I dont care ! I have struggled into my last bought tankini [before cancer holiday 2011] and paraded my new body for my teenage daughters and old hubby …still with the redivac drain insitu!
Its been a long road and isnt over yet I know. I need liposuction to remodel the flap to match the other side and a nipple formed but for the first time in 10 months I feel that I am starting to think about moving forward.
good luck to you all who are heading this way and any advice you need please ask and I will answer as honestly as possible about my post op period !!!

Wow, really please for you and glad you are happy and doing well. Mine is end of feb and I only hope a week after I can be trying a tankini on, way to go, hope you progress as fast as you have done to date xx

hi lisaf
back from hospital dressing appointment today . drains all out and one tiny dressing remains !
HB still low so feel quite tired but not in pain and able to move quite well. Everyone is different and I have to be honest I hated the first 72 hours in special care…not for the discomfort but for the heat and lack of control.I now look back and see it was a small price to pay!
I am sure your op will be great in Feb and you will have an excellent result !!!

You are so lucky I have been fighting for a diep for over 18 months and dispite a 2nd opinion they say I can’t have one. Too high risk is what hey say I would sign any waiver they want but too scared of being sued if anything went wrong. If I could go back to before my mastectomy I would rather Live with what I had than what I’ve got. My biggest fear inthe beginning was been left with either an implant or nothing and that’s now my choice.

Hi amanda so sorry you have been turned down, was your second opinion at same hospital, have they given you any other options.

Wow, one small dressing left that’s amazing. I am dreading the lack of control too, im terrifed of how and when to stand up straight and scared to pull any stiches etc. Last time i went in and it was cancelled i had to lie next to woman who had bad reaction to it and they kept me in the hot ward too so know that feeling, I am more worried about lying flat and not being able to move for two days, like you say you you soon forget but am soooo dreading waking up from up and being restricted but hey hoy just glad i am having it done, double whammy xx

Hiya Girls, I’m new on the site so bare with me! i was diagnosed in 2004, had a left side mastectomy and pre cancerous cells removed from right side, in 2006 i was refused reconstruction due to other health problems i had, last July i met another surgeon who couldn’t understand why i had never been offered reconstruction before! he is prepared to do a diep/trams?? think I’ve got that right! i have another meeting with him on Tuesday morning to go over things and hopefully put my name on the list! really want the reconstruction but also scared! and reading through some of your comments i feel a little better, any advise would be appreciated, thanks, xx

Hi again Lisaf and also hi to shoez,
How are you doing?

Just to say even the first two days weren’t actually as bad as I’d expected!
I’d read about lying flat for the first couple of days and of course you cant do anything n that position! I was dreading it! but in fact that was far from the case.

When I came round I was propped up on pillows, my affected arm was also on a pillow and there was the fat one under my knees, as well as the w shaped bed. I did have a canula and drip in my good arm, and of course a drain in my left side, but Left arm was reasonably mobile and i could still do a lot for myself if things were n reach. I had my wet wipes and face wipes in reach and kept wiping myself down, put makeup on next morning and fed myself with meals. The worst bit was not being able to adjust my position in the bed, had t rely in staff moving me and adjusting the pillows. Try to get control of the bed adjuster control as soon as you can, cos then you can get in a better position to eat, drink etc…then lie lower afterwards. Having a large sandwich box with the things I might need was really helpful as it kept them in my reach but stopped things falling off my table.

Eight weeks on now, after my DIEP and it’s all looking good…even my numb bits seem to have recovered.
All the best,
lynette xx

Thanks for all those tips, it’s making me feel slightly better about it, having both sides at the same time done did scare me a bit but hopefully it sounds like you werent too restricted, I usually react bad to anesthetic but the last one was fine so fingers crossed dont fancy being sick… thanks for all those tips they are great, I will have a drink by me and a straw and some nibbles, get you make up on day after, well maybe moisturiser will be my limit. Thanks for the tips, cant wait to get one of these expanders out it;s about an inch under my collarbone so havent left the house without a scarf for 18 months, and my hobby is handmade jewellery so been making for everyone else but havent had a necklace on in a long time.

im due to go on holiday 9 weeks after operation, it’s long haul to florida, surgeon says it’s doable as long as I dont lift anything and should be able to swim unless i have problems with open wound (had a tiny one last time that took a while to heal). I got there every year and not planning too much, just a wee stroll, shop, and chill out - do you think that is doable based on how you feel 8 week afterwards??


Progress after DIEP…I’m thinking back to Christmas when I was 5weeks post op…I took part in all the usual things on Christmas day but still felt a bit of pulling round my tum and couldn’t stretch totally. I can see I’ve been so much better physically after eight weeks…I walked 5miles along canal last Sunday then went to a party and helped wash up later. I can do just about anything in the house, and reach and stretch for things. I try to avoid lifting heavy things but that’s the only thing I’m conscious of. My PS told me to avoid swimming pools and their germs until after eight weeks although my sites were totally healed after six.

We do all heal at a different rate, but I’d have thought after nine weeks, your op sites should be healed unless you’re unlucky. I should think its just the lifting baggage that would be any risk; you should really be able to enjoy your break. My refilled boob is still a bit over inflated for my liking, at about a DD, but no one would know but me and I’m sure you’ll be pleased to flash yours a bit!!!

I’m waiting till after the three month sports bra wearing period till I go away but I don’t have anything planned so it doesn’t matter.

Hiya Nonsuch and Lisaf, how are you both doing? thanks so much for the feedback it was a great help, learnt more since joining this site yesterday, than i have since being told i could have reconstruction in the summer! Nonsuch well done, you really are doing well, good for you! and being able to put your make-up on the following day is great news to me, hope i come on as well as that,
Lisaf the very best of luck to you for Feb!
Am i better taking Nightie rather than pj’s do you think? and when i come home would i be better in jogging pants and a vest?
Still scared but feel better about my meeting tomorrow Morning with PS! Thanks girls will let you know how i get on, Lynn xx

just a quick post as late, thanks again, fingers crossed for swimming them, ha wonder if I will have to wear a sports bra under my costume, oh never simple, we booked the holiday as i was due to have operation a while ago so gave us plenty of time, almost 8 months…

Im defo going for button up nighty and maybe my baggy soft pjs as so comfie for when im up and mobile a bit more as it has a nice cardi type top that i can just wrap around.

Thanks and good luck with appointment tomorrow x

Hi both/ all interested,
The recon nurses made a point of saying that the essential thing in the bras is to have separate and defined cups to support and mould each boob…and I gather that the snugness helps take down any swelling. Some swimsuits have support style cups, otherwise I guess, have a swim then put on bra, T.vest and shorts?

Re nightwear, After the op I came round with the gown just draped over me, arms not in it…stayed like that wed and Thursday, till drip taken off, cant really get your arms into anything with a drip in!!!
when I got out of bed first time, on the Friday, I put on a front opening M and S maternity nightie which buttoned all the way up, had short sleeves and was cotton. Still had catheter till saturday So pjs wouldn’t work. (If you pm me your email address I can send you a post op pic when i first came round…)

I tried my light pjs with my tummy drains on the Sunday but wasn’t comfy so stayed in nighties. They need to be loose so you can move easily and not feel constrained. Then I had a worry about wearing pants so that i wouldn’t flash getting in and out of bed…hmmm, you need em to miss your lower scar and the navel scar, not be uncomfortably tight, but not too loose as the drains have to come up over the top without pulling pants down!!! The best thing was my long dressing gown which zipped up and down so i could move with drains but relax on the bed without risk of flashing!! And slippers need to be easy to get on without using your hands to help. I didn’t get cold feet and didn’t have prob with surgical stockings, asked the nurses to massage my legs and feet with cream each morning so they didnt get itchy. Small sizes of things like handcream, moisturiser etc are good so you can manage them easily when you can’t lift a weight. My daughter bought a special drinking bottle on line, called a hydrator, it hooks onto something like a bed and has a straw thingy so you can drink without lifting…a variant on a cyclists bottle.

Yes, loose fitting things for coming home, and shoes you can wear with surgical stockings! I was quite bent over still when I went home. Happy to answer any more questions it helps.

Getting closer for you both, it’s great to have a plan and be able to get things into place…
Big hugs,

Lynette xxx

Hi girls, not long got back from app, i am now on the waiting list 2/3 month wait! i will be having the Tram flap going to start getting bits in now to put in my case, surgeon mentioned getting a support bra from George (Asda) i would normally buy a 38C do you think i would be better getting a D cup? for comfort! thanks so much for all your advise Lynette such a great help, Lynn XX

Great news shoez,
After so long overall, it is a relief to get a date isnt it?? What area / hospital are you having your treatment?

Re recon and bras afterwards…a lot of people swear by bra expanders as they deal with the swelling around your chest size without having to go up a back size…M and S sell them online for £5 a set of three. I was quite bruised and therefore swollen around my upper back but im back to my normal chest size now. I’m still a cup size or two bigger on the recon side now from the swelling and a bit of seroma, I’ve read it takes about four months to settle fully… So a bit of slack is needed in the cups!

Lynette xx

Great news Lynn,

Lynette, thanks for all that advice, have some of the things from last time but great to get the extra tips. We get bras in hospital, they fit you the morning after. Oh it’s the bent over bit that scares me… Will pm you for photo if you dont mind.

Ta very much

Hiya Lynette and Lisaf, got my mouth freshener,sponge and moisturiser to put in my hospital bag ha ha, bit premature i know but thought i’de get organised!
Lynette did you get my e-mail? i am having op done at Warrington hospital my local one were i had my mastectomy don’t do reconstruction!
PS gave me a bit of advise yesterday he said to buy a cheap massager and massage the stomach then rub in plenty of oil, and if possible do a few sit-ups to get the blood flowing apparently its good for the healing process! anyone else heard that? take it easy girls, xx Lynn.

Hi Lynn,

Great you’ve got a PS willing to offer pre op advice… these forums were my source!
I did do sit ups etc beforehand, and yes, I also spent a couple of months giving my tum lots of tlc with massage with oil…I used mainly cocunut butter…don’t think it matters what if it’s rich and absorbable. Of course I don’t know to what extent it helped but it felt like I was doing something in prep My reasoning was that it might help it stretch as far as it needed to. So far my tum is looking really good and most of swelling has gone. I’ve even got a choice of slinky outfits I can now wear for a do tomorrow…ok, yes, I shall be wearing my spanx but this of course, is to support my back…not I in any way to slim my tum!!! Ssshhhhhh !

Someone on here suggested strengthening the thighs with exercises like sliding the back down the wall into a sitting position…I wished I’d done more of that sort of thing to help getting out of bed afterwards!!

When I did get to see a physio, she recommended two main exercises: lying on back with knees bent and alternately dro ing knees from side to side, holding for count of three. This evidently helps to increase sideways suppleness and can be started on day after op. I still do this at eight weeks but get further down. Her other main exercise post op was pelvic tilting, again with knees bent. I’m sure pre op both would be useful too.

Hiya Lynette, the exercises sound good will defo give them ago, anything is worth having a go of to help with the healing, Lynn X

Hiya Lisaf, i’ve not got my date yet, how are you? not long for you, its exciting but bit unerving isn’t it? take care love, x

Thanks, im excited about the longer term but sooo scared of op, espeically after lying next to someone who had a bad reaction to it, on countdown and work keeping me busy but eughhh stomach turns each time i think of the long recovery, this is op number 4, hopefully not too many more…

Hope yours gets sorted soon