The mastectomy 'experience'!

Well, my partner’s mastectomy happened yesterday (she has Paget’s) and she can come home this morning. She was totally laid back prior to surgery and came back from recovery talking at a hundred miles per hour! Once the morphine drip had worn off she was still completely pain-free.

One thing no-one seems able to tell us is whether or not the sentinel node was biopsied while she was still in theatre, or if we will have to wait until her December 8th follow-up when we expect the full histology. Does anyone know how this generally works please? It would seem illogical to me for them NOT to do it at the time, because it could mean further surgery to remove more nodes once the results are in.

Anyway, I particularly wanted to post this to reassure people about to undergo a mastectomy (which is why this also appears elsethread; apologies if that breaks any rules!).

Sass xx

Great recovery ! Getting home so soon is fab. Good luck to you both.

To add to the info you’ve posted about your partner can I just say that I had my mx nearly a year ago (plus full anc) and felt pretty good soon afterwards. I stayed in a bit longer as I had drains, but was back home after 3 nights which isn’t bad going either.

So anyone out there about to go under the knife, it’s manageable. xx

Well, she’s home, WITH her drains! Good job I’m an ex-nurse!

I had my mx on 13th October and also stayed in only one night and came home with a drain - as the anaesthetic wore off (2 days later) the pain from the drain was unbearable except when I kept my arm clamped to my side so it couldn’t move (too bad about physio exercises! I started those after the drain came out)

Re Sentinel Node Biopsy, I got the results when I went for the follow up appointment, which was 8 days after surgery. They had taken 3 lymph nodes and all were clear. I agree that it is odd that they don’t try to get the results so they can take out dodgy nodes at the time. Maybe there isn’t time? However, I also think it is odd that some hospitals will do a recon at the same time as the mx when they haven’t got the biopsy results to know whether RADS will be needed. Pre-surgery, I was told I had a grade 1 slow growning cancer. Afterwards, it’d been upgraded to grade 3 very aggressive. If I’d had recon, it might have been messed up by the rads.

I had an mx and axillary clearance, and got the results from the biopsies they did when I went back to see the surgeon a week later. I queried why I was having a full clearance (the FNA was clear initially) rather than a sentinel node biopsy, and was told that even though the needle biopsy showed no cancer cells, the ultrasound was suspicious - and they felt a full clearance was warranted as if I’d just had the snb, I would have had to go back in for a full clearance if the results of that were as poor as they anticipated. (My cancer was Grade 3, and this may have had an impact on the decision too).

So, it does seem to me that they will only do the surgery you have been scheduled for, and re-admit/re-surge (?!) if necessary at a later date. I certainly know this is true with lumpectomy/mastectomy - I asked if I had the lumpectomy and they could see the margins weren’t clear, would they take the entire breast, and was firmly told no, they would only do what they had proposed to do beforehand.

In my case, only one node was affected, so poss. snb would have been enough, but better safe than sorry. I’ll keep it all crossed that your partner’s biopsy results are excellent news.

Sophie x