November Mx and DIEP surgery

Apologies if I’ve missed another thread for November, I can’t find one…
You will all recognise how that recall letter is so life changing, and I seem to have been on hold since then (August)… In the meantime it’s been very reassuring to read the thoughts of so many of you when you were pre op and now have the surgery behind you. I shall try to be as brave as you.

At last I’ve had the phone call I’ve been waiting for and have date to go in…22 November. My bag has been packed for weeks, so now it’s a matter of the real practicalities like what’s in my fridge, who is available to bring me doggie bags etc etc… I can feel my nerves starting already, though I’ve been hoping for the call for several weeks.

I guess the next ten days will pass in a flash…ironically the only events I’d had booked in all this time are going to clash with my in patient experience, but at leastI shall be on the road to recovery by Christmas!!!

Anyone else similar timing to me???

Hi Nonsuch,

I may be shortly after you.

Am due to see my Surgeon on the 21st, to discuss whether I want MX with immediate or delayed reconstruction. If delayed reconstruction they can do the MX & SNB all in the one op, and have said it will be within 1 week. Otherwise I have to do standalone SNB and it will take a little longer to schedule the MX with DIEP.

I am now thinking about what I need get to bring with me - all my nighties are pull on over the head, so need some sleepwear to put on without lifting my arm. Also if having Diep need to think about what to wear on bottom half. Have you found any tips here or on other sites on this ?

Also trying to guage whether I will need help the first few days out of hospital as I live alone. My Sis says she will come and stay for a few days if I need it.

Have spent so much time worrying about treatment options, and chasing appointments that the day to day practicalities have been forgotten.

Sounds like you have been waiting longer then me. I was told I would need surgery on the 19th Oct.

Where you based ?

I am definitely not brave, though I guess you get used to it once surgery is over and treatment is underway.

Fiona X

H Fiona,

Wow it’s quite quick for you, isn’t it? I’m in south staffs…you?

If you cn so it I would go for the immediate recon with the mx. A lot of people who have done both routes have given me this advice and I’ve stuck out for it. I’ve never been ill or had any health problems before, so it’s all a tough maze to negotiate, like you I guess? They rushed me thro the tests and that was a worrying time, then once opted for the DIEP they told me I’d have the snb stand alone.

There are a lot of reasons to go for it in a big way, but it’s hard to bite the bullet I know…part of me doesn’t want to lose my boob, but if it’s got to go, I want the best possible result afterwards. Once you have the mx in advance of a full recon you don’t have any priority for the DIEP and I gather people wait for about a year or more.

The snb was my first ever op, but it was good practice for the big one, and really not as bad as I expected. I couldn’t drive for two weeks they said, but I felt I could have after about 10 days. I went home after a few hours and the next day walked into town and did some shopping for dinner with my daughter. That did make me feel tired I must admit. They told me to have someone stay for first 24 hrs because of the GA. The cut is small and has healed really well… The PS said she would reopen the same cut but extend it to join up the artery.

I’ve managed to find some pjs for the big op, you can see them on M&S website. They are the only pair of light pjs I’ve found anywhere…cropped legs, small cap sleeves, very light and soft. Pale mauve/White but not granny type. So comfy I’ve bought another pair. You wear the hosp gown for the snb, and initially for the first two days after big surgery.

I’ve got a big list of other items recommended by our friends here, the hosp hasn’t given me any info at all. Cambridge hosp and UH London both have info on their web sites.

Would you like to pm me, or phone?

Hi to both of u
I had my mx on the 8th Nov , having been diagnosed on the 18th Oct. I haven’t had reconstruction as I need radiotherapy after chemo. I had my op at 5 in the afternoon and was up the next day, although the anaesthetic left me feeling very sick. I was in hospital for 4 nights and came home with a drain still in which came out yesterday. The actual mx site is a bit sore, but I can get my hands on my shoulder already. Most of my discomfort comes from the node clearance under my arm, but paracetamol keeps it in check.
Front opening pj’s r b must , preferably baggy as it’s tricky to get ur arm behind u. Warm socks, baby wipes for a quick clean up, nice biscuits to cheer urself up. I took a couple of small cartons of juice for something different to drink. Earplugs would be handy too.
Hope this helps
Herbi x

Hi All, my surgery was way back in July but just a few things that I needed. I had mx and DIEP
Expanders for your sports bra, you get them in M&S or debenhams they are essential to be able to get your bra on.
A couple of sports bras, tesco do a really good one for £6 and i had the cup size and back size one bigger.
I had front fastening shirts and pyjamas and I was able to wear normal pants and leggings 2 days after my surgery even though my drains both breast and tummy were still in place.
Moist toilet tissue wipes makes you feel so much better.
Liquorice allsorts for the inevitable constipation!!!
I hope this helps, you may want to take some cloth bags in case the hospital don’t have bags for your drains.
I hope this helps. If I can help any further help let me know
BTW I was in my own jamas and clothes etc the day after surgery

Hi all,

Thanks for tips.

Sounds like you are doing well Herbi if you can get hands on shoulders already, well done.

Nonsuch I am in Reading, but having surgery in London. I will be thinking of you on Tuesday, and waiting to hear how it went when you are back online.

The expanders are a good idea hadn’t thought of those. Has anyone looked at front opening bras or found a good source for them ?

My head is buzzing now with thoughts about have I prepped everything I need, have I got the right stuff to wear, meals in the freezer, how will I manage without driving etc.

Some people seem so calm, and so in control of it all, and I feel like a headless wimp, doing a mr bean impression.

Anyway good luck to all of us, this is our marathon.

Fiona xx

Hi Fiona and anyone else in our position,

In terms of front opening bras, There are some specialist suppliers on line who sell a couple of front opening styles. Just google post surgery bras. My daughter bought me one but not sure i will be able to use it, not without help anyway as it takes a lot of holding to get both sides in place and the zipper hooked up!! It also felt like a straight jacket when i tried it a few weeks ago…maybe I’ll do another test!

After the snb I felt best in a bra that was low cut at the side, and it was more comfortable to sleep in one, too, with a soft roomy Tee shirt over. Id got a soft tee shirt bra which i wore a lot then. I also took a tip from the forum and found the best position for sleeping the first two nights was by being propped up as it didn’t pull the wound so much. Oh, and I moved my lamp/clock over to the other side of my bed so I could reach with my good arm!

I’ve seen a tip for the main op on an American forum, a person recommended getting soft cheap tee shirts and cutting them up the front and using safety pins to close them. they are easy, comfy, absorb leaks from drains and drains can be pinned on them. I’ve done one,just in case.

It’s all given me a focus!!

Had my mx on Wednesday and home Friday morning with two drains. Front fastening pj a must. Got some lovely ones from m&s. Short sleeve and not full leg length so you don’t get tangled up. I came up to the ward 7.30 at night and was in pjs next morning. Wet wipes are a must and also face wipes. Haven’t bothered with a bra yet, will be fitted next week. Got a front fastening one from a specialist site.
X Sarah

Hi all

Thanks again for advice - I have found so much out on this forum its great.

Good luck Nonsuch hope all goes well with surgery tomorrow.

I saw fantastic surgeon in London today and she suggested when we talked through my concerns, that I wait until the results of my genetic test (due by Christmas)to make my final decision.

I had been tossing and turning over waiting, and whether if I had BRCA genes I would get both done at the same time. I am currently a saggy DD / E cup so will need my good breast reduced to match recon even if I don’t have BRCA. Might as well go for 2 smaller and less saggy ones.

Anyway that means postponing for a few weeks, and she has suggested that they might start me on tamoxifen while I am waiting.

All in all it was a very good meeting, and I feel so much less worried.

Xx Fiona