Newly diagnosed and confused

Hi I am 56 with 3 grown up children and was diagnosed on Wednesday with BC. I had a dcis excised last Monday and have been told there are multi focal ‘specks’ throughout my right breast. I had further scans on Wednesday and my left breast and nodes appear clear but am having a Sentinel Node op next Friday to check. My consultant has recommended a mastectomy and I have been offered an immediate reconstruction to which I initially said yes straight away. However having read the leafelts given to me I am now not sure. Some of the options for reconstruction look a bit scarey! Heck its all a bit scarey! I was tempted by the abdominal option but, having had a hysterectomy aged 40, have a scar there already. I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon next Tuesday to discuss options but I’d be interested to hear how other people made their decisions.

hi, I cannot help you with your decision, but I am sure someone who has been in the same boat will be along soon. Or you can ring the help line, they are very knowledgable and can talk the options through with you.

the only bit I can help with is that I had a hysteroctomy years after I had a ceaserian and the went in through the same scar and actually tidied it up a bit.

yes the whole thing is a bit scarey, I remember after having my op (Just a lump not an mx) Gosh a few weeks ago I had did not even know i had a lump! Its all such a rollercoaster ride, but you will find lots of people on here to answer your questions and share every step of the way

Thanks for that, I am going to have a chat with someone tomorrow. I know its going to have to be my decision it just all seems to have happened so quickly here too.

Hello Tolkein Fan,
I had a masctectomy and immediate LD reconstruction in February. I was told before my consultation that there were two options - LD (back muscle) and TRAM (tummy tuck). However, when I got to see the plastic surgeon and she’d checked me over, she told me I didn’t have enough fat for the tummy tuck option… woo! First time I’ve been called too thin! So, it was LD or nothing really. Also, because I had to have radiotherapy (I had my chemo pre-surgery)she wouldn’t have done the TRAM straight away as in her view it damages the fat.

The surgery lasted about 5 hours I think, and I was in hospital a week, but would probably have been let out earlier had I not lived alone as I was basically fine. It is major surgery, and I spent one night in a high dependecny ward (standard at my hosp) where they watched the recon. very carefully to make sure it was fine.

Six months on, and post radiotherapy, it looks super, and I will be seeing my plastic surgeon in the autumn about what she terms “finishing touches”.

I hope this helps a little bit, feel free to PM me if you want more details.

You will make the right decision for you, I am sure of it

Bumping for Tolkein Fan

Hi Tolkeinfan
I am 51 and had my mx with LD recon last November, personally the thought of waking up with no breast was really scary and something I didn’t think I could cope with. Saying that I didn’t think it looked much like a breast at first, but now I am really pretty happy with the look of it especially after my healthy breast was reduced and lifted to match the new one.
The op itself is a major one, I think mine lasted about 7 hours, so is not something to be entered into lightly. I was told what to expect and have to say nothing was quite as bad as feared. As for pain I can honestly say I didn’t experience a lot of what I call pain… discomfort yes and strange twinges and stuff.
I do not regret having this op and I am looking forward to having a nipple recon soon.
As for choosing which op to have, I was told I couldn’t have the abdominal option because I had previously had surgery in that area…I don’t know if that applies to you too
Hope this all helps
Its such a scary time and being asked to make such big decisions is so difficult
Lots of love E x

Hi I’m 49 and had a mastectomy with LD flap 5 weeks ago. Couldn’t have tummy flap cos not enough tissue there.Decided to go for immediate reconstruction cos knew I wouldn’t be brave enough to have it at a later date! Can honestly say it hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as I thought. Was in hospital for 3 nights,on painkillers for 5 days then decided to try without and was absolutely fine. Had quite a bit of seroma but it has gradually disappeared.Ribs felt a bit sore which I’m convinced is because consultant sat on me during surgery!My boob is starting to look a bit more “boobie” with the exception of my nipple which was saved but looks a bit peculiar. New boob is smaller than the original and consultant has talked about lipofilling which I’m happy about only hope I get to chose where they suck the fat from!I know it’s hard at times but try to keep thinking positively as I’m convinced that’s aided my quick recovery.X

Thanks everyone, I have been reassured by these positive comments and it really is helping me. I am a very positive person generally anyway so this is not going to get to me! The next hurdle is the node biopsy and we’ll take it from there. I have my family and friends and now support from here too.

thanks again

Well - just back home after the Sentinel Node op and not too sore. Now the wait for the results… Fingers crossed the nodes are clear and then we can move on to the next step of the mastectomy. Never thought I would be looking forward to something like that!! Provided nodes ok I have decided to go with the immediate reconstruction and most probably the DIEP free flap. Might as well get the tummy tuck at the same time eh girls. Going away for a week now to try to relax - seems strange not to have a hospital appointment!!

So pleased I found this website - knowing there are so many ladies paddling around in the same boats puts everything in perspective: )

It’s weird isn’t it - things we would have dreaded suddenly become things we want to get on do! Glad the way ahead is a little clearer and hope your nodes are clear, that’d be great news.

Have a lovely holiday and try not to let any of this distract you from having fun.

All the best fingers crossed the nodes will be clean, great that you feel better about the mx choices, enjoy your holiday

Mekala x

I had my SNB today too. Have mx and reconstruction using back muscle and fat next friday. I get the results from SNB on wednesday. Hoping for clear nodes. I have three tumours grade 1. Hoping I do not have to have chemo or rads. Sending you lots of good wishes. Feeling sore, but a lot better for being at home now.

Hello all, thanks for all your good wishes. Enjoyed my week away although it seems everywhere you look there is someone collecting / promoting support/ advertising etc for breast cancer - which is a wonderful thing to be doing I know- but I wanted to forget about it for a few days!
However that would have been quite difficult anyway as I am still rather sore after the SNB. The actual op area is not too painful but the skin on my inside upper arm feels really sensitive. Has anyone else noticed the same? Also my breast still has a blue patch from the dye - how long does that last??
Well I see the onco-plastic surgeon again tomorrow and should get the biopsy results.
Dizzycloud- I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you for Wednesday too: )x
Revcat and Mekalar - thanks for your support. Its nice to know there are other people out there on your side: )x

My blue dye patch went after about 10 days. I am nearly two weeks on now and everything is healing well. Hope you get the news you want x

The blue dye thing can go on for ages, or can disappear in a matter of weeks. I’m nearly 8 months from surgery and there is still a bit of a blue tinge around the nipple, but the rest of the blue stuff has all gone.

Best of luck with your results.

i have a wierd sensative feeling on the node scar even now. I find the only way to make it go away is to grab it(not a good thing to do in public) somehow it tells the nerves that they dont really hurt. the more often i touch it the less often it hurts

Great news the lymph nodes all clear and op is set for Monday 5th. Hope everything has gone well for Dizzycloud too x

Tolkeinfan: I had to have a MX but had no choice in the matter! They told me NO WAY could I have a reconstruction! I have Angina Highpertension plus a couple of other things(my husband cant believe there is something else wrong with me), anyhow my surgeon told me I counldnt, I cried for 3 weeks not getting used to the idea of not having a breast! They told me it was far too hight risk with my heart problems to be on the table longer than I had to be, I think I was more upset about losing my breast then having Breast Cancer! Really! I think I was still in shock. Anyhow they’d penciled me in for the Op in3 wks time, on the day of my assessment I asked yet again and still crying, “is there no way I can have reconstruction?” My husband went mad at me fearing for my life. Any how my BCN went out of the room came back with an appt for the following day to see a different Onc. After that he looked me over asked loads of questions and said if the Anesthetist said yes he’d do it. But only one with a Silicone implant one they put Saline in over a period of time - but at least I was getting it done I was so happy!! Told me I could have a heart attack but I said well I could anyway and I HAVE tohave it done! SO I got it done 24 days ago still taking it easy chilling and still sore but early days yets still have one dressing on it too - but no regrets. Good Luck xx

OAL that sounds absolutely the right thing to do. I had carpal tunnel surgery some years ago and the scar got very painful - I was told that rubbing the area reasonably firmly three or four times a day would help the newly re-grown nerves to settle down.

I wanted to have new breast at same time i lost mine.But was told because i was having radiotherapy.They will not do it at same time.I was 2 years round feb.And think i may ask for one as im not happy the way i am. Jane