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Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

27 REPLIES 27
Caroluna
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi

I know everyone heals differently,  but I got some control knickers from M&S, just fairly light control. These didn't prevent one seroma that needed draining, but then I folded a towel and kept that in place, folded several times over into a pad the length of my inscision and maybe 8 layers.  I kept that across the scar all the time day and night for about 3 weeks under the knickers, terribly glam, but hey. I did have a couple of towels the right size so wore one washed one.   Of course, mine may have healed ok whatever I had done. I did have a very small open wound for a couple of weeks, but luckily only need to cover with a dressing. So I do suggest compression. 

Happy to share my compression tips if any one wants more, PM me.

 

I was due to have my scar tweaked at one end next week , but guess what, it's been cancelled and they tell us the NHS has enough funding...

Good luck, ladies all.

rosie14
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi Steph no it didn't happen in hospital it happened 3 weeks after surgery. The
abdo opened and 4 weeks later it is slowly healing with the help of the district nurses every day!
Steph J
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi Rosie and other ladies 

Just thought Id say hello . Im six weeks in from mastectomy and diep recon . I was interested in the comments about recovery time .. I have been thinking myself that I would be ready to go back to work in March but Im still quite breathless at times and get pooped if I do anything .. like Iv done Sunday lunch and now Im sittng feeling couldnt do anything else now !! 

So its only just 8 weeks till March and Im thinking am I going to make it ? I guess only time will tell but right at this moment Im not so sure . 

Sorry to hear that youve had problems with your abdo wound ..if you dont mind me asking what happened ? Did it start in hospital ? Steph xx

rosie14
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi purplejan I had a db DIEP done nearly 6 weeks ago. It is a big op and I have had a problem with ab wound so am still having to have lots of rest! I am retired and I would not feel ready to go back to work if I was working! It's going to be another month before my wound heals the nurse told me today.
I think the expected recovery time is 8-12 weeks obviously depending on invidual cases! Good luck with your op hope,all,goes well for you. You will def need longer than a month!

whitelily
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi purplejan I am about to go through it too after failed LD and implant. I think you will definitely need longer than a month from what I have been told, I have got my pre op tomorrow so will see what they say x

Caroluna
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi 

I had a MX and DIEP 6 months ago. My recon hardly hurt at all,  just a bit tender, but it has taken a while for my abdomen to settle... Sorry to be giving this news. I had a second opinion because I was so shocked that I was recommended a MX for DCIS... and that surgeon said word was 3 months recovery from a DIEP, but most women took nearer 6 months. He was right...

I'm sure all women are different and some will have  a shorter recovery. My scar healed well and I only has one seroma drained, but the place where the muscle wall was divided has been not mega painful but nagging /twingy when I turned over or got up from the settee. 

I had already retired but last week I did think how I would have managed if I had been working. 

So I'm off for my first post- op mammogram  on 20th...  

All best wishes to all of us going through these interesting times.

Annaa
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Sorry I can't give advice as I had Diep done at the same time as mastectomy so I don't know recovery time of Diep on its own. A month def not enough if it was done at the same time . Best of luck to you
Purplejan
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Ladies, it's a few months on now, I'm wondering how you're all doing and whether you have any more wise insights to offer to someone about to go through it all. I had very persistent seroma with the first Mx, needed draining four times and then kept persistently bleeding internally under the scar so I'm keen to know if there are any tips for preventing or reducing this when I have the contralateral Mx and dbl recon. with DIEP.

 

Some great ideas about under- and over-garments and hospital wear. I am going smaller because of insufficient abdominal tissue so will wait until I get out before bra fitting - like the sports bra front zip fastening idea because it's an unholy pain trying to do up a Mx bra with a heavy prosthesis hanging off the front of it!

 

I was hoping to be back at work in a month, is that realistic? How long before you could drive? I'm lucky I can work at home if I have to, but as a co director I know the pressures will be there to get back quickly.

 

Appreciate any more advice you can offer. Thanks!!

Annaa
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

hi jilly , do you mean your stomach is swollen two years since your diep flap?? how are you breasts if you dont mind me asking?

thanks

Anna

Annaa
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

not boring AT ALL! the more info and experiences i hear the better prepared i feel. Thank you again so much for taking the time to share how you are feeling, and i hope your seroma is healing better. xx

jillybee
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Caroluna,love,love your posts.Yes,I got bored,with being me,and not feelng "right"

Tummy still swollen,like it for ever,just bad luck.....the seroma does slosh,and great when aspirate,however,could feel it filling up again,as soon as I left the hospital.Some surgeon like to leave it as it does get reabsorbed.....

love this board,and is well moderated,and we are a helpful and funny lot,as in we maintain our humour.1 year since last op,2 years since  DIEP,3 years since Dx...❤️💓💞:

Caroluna
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Just one more thought ( I should get out more, but for reasons you understand,  I can't... ).

Ask your PS  about having some gentle pressure across your abdomen to prevent seroma. I thought some light support pants would be enough, and PS did too.

Straight after the op I had drains and last one came out 9 days post op, however about a week later I got quite a sloshy seroma and had it drained last Monday.

The nurse and Doc who did the aspiration gave me a couple of towels. Since then I've kept these folded up towels across the full width of the scar and that seems to have kept any seroma from refilling.

I've used an old stretchy underskirt to keep these in place. I've kept this light pressure on day and night, a very glamorous look, I only look about 6 months pregnant...

So I've got a follow up with the PS on Friday and I hope he's ok with this and I'll ask him if it's OK to continue and if so how long. It isn't painful to have these seroma or to have them drained but it's another shlep  to the hospital and waiting about.

So so so, hope this isn't too boring, I'm so bored myself, I just want to have a few  days of trying to get this seroma sorted so I'm not doing too much to help the layers knit up,  so I am over sharing I know babble babble babble xxx Caroluna

 

Ooooooh the post has just come, high spot of the day !!!!

Annaa
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

I have worked out email notifications.
Thanks for the reply I'm glad to hear you're well on the mend. I'm having a double mastectomy so im hoping that makes it easier to get a matching pair reconstructed. I'm 38, im a 34c and going smaller to an A or B cup, by choice and also as I don't have much fat. I know I'm supposed to be remember the aim is to remove the cancer but I'm so hopeful they come out looking good and my stomach heals well.
So please to hear you're healing well, thanks again
Anna
Caroluna
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi

I'm glad you are feeling more confident, and I'm not out dancing but am recovering well. I'm still quite tired but I'm just going with that and getting early nights. My breast is pretty much as my PS said it would be, and I'm happy with it. I'm 63, large breasted, so in a soft crop top, both breasts are even in terms of position and size and shape, but I expect the recon to reduce a bit in size as it settles. I've got the option of having the other breast reduced and lifted to match , but I'll see. 

So I think the result so much depends on age, and breast size and so on. Hope it all goes well for you!  Caroluna

Annaa
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

thank you so much for the detailed reply it has made me feel so much better. it's been 9 days since your reply so i hope you're doing even better now. by the sounds of your progress you're probably out dancing! (apologies it took me so long to reply, it doesnt tell you when someone replies and i only just remembered to come back and check to see if i had a reply).

Although i am still terribly anxious you have made me feel so much better. Thank you so so much and i hope your recovery continues as it has been, you're amazing what you've been through. You didnt mention anything about how your new boobs look so i'm hoping the answer is "GREAT"!

Anna xxx

Caroluna
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi Annaa 

All in all much much BETTER than I expected...

I felt really confident in the surgeons and everyone, everyone, was kind and skilled. I felt in good hands who were skilled and patient and kind. 

I got a second opinion and that surgeon and the ones who did the MX and DIEP all emphasised how long the recovery would be and that was a big negative in my decision making... but ( I'm 63, size 18, not mega fit) I have recovered far better than I expected. 

So before hand...  get well hydrated up to nil by mouth time. I took in crop tops and M&S strappy vests and big knickers. I had come of HRT so was having a few whoooshes, the hospital was hot so I mostly stayed in my undies with a sheet, and used gown to keep cool.

I can honestly say I had no pain, and I am a bit of a wimp, just a bit of tenderness but nothing like I expected. I did have a morphine drive given to me but I never even thought  of using it , though I think I was given a couple of pumps in recovery.

I was given paracetamol ( and naproxen and amitriptylene for ongoing sciatica) so altogether quite  a good level of painkillers but I didn't need anything stronger.

So had op on Weds, 2 nights in HDU , more of that later, to the ward Fri midday ( did a short walk that day)  and home Monday.

I did every thing the physios told me to do, the coughing which everyone dreads was not too bad, used a towel across my tum but the anxiety is far worse than the actual discomfort. By Saturday I was doing laps up and down the ward corridor every hour and a half, increasing number each time and bit faster and straighter each time. Sorry if this is too much detail!!

 

I did need a nurse or health care worker to help me to the loo to keep the the drains and catheter untangled, but once I'd seen what needed to go where I was OK.

I was at a hospital a bit of a distance from home and 3 of my close friends were away, but my chap visited every day and that was enough. He brought chopped up fruit and salad which was just what I wanted.

 

So, I'm now 2 weeks and 5 days post op, I had two of the drains out before I left  hospital and the last one 9 days post op. I have been fine, just needed to have early nights and have been doing very little, just making sure I have a walk every day and bits of very light house work... making cups of tea, putting light things on airer. I expected to be really feeble, but even in hospital I could look after myself. 

We had planned that my chap would stay with me for at least the first 2 weeks, but he's had a couple of nights at his place and I've been fine with friends dropping in. But don't underestimate the general looking after you'll need.

I hope this hasn't been to rambling, and hope it's been reassuring, I'm really happy to answer any other questions. I was looked after by a brilliant team at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

So can't think of anything else, but very happy to answer any other questions. 

Hope this is reassuring and every best wish to you for a straight forward op and good recovery, with love Caroluna 

Annaa
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi Carolina how are you, how did it go? I hope it was successful and you are through the worst of it now. I am having a double mastectomy and Diep flap in a few weeks and feeling all the same anxiety you had before yours. Please do come and tell us (me!) how you got on if you're feeling up to it
Best wishes for you,
Anna
Jokely
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi Clairewoo

Glad all is going well for you.

I just wondered with everything you've been through, if you had to choose all over again would you have still tried the implants first (I know you said they went wrong so it's probably a really stupid question and I apologise) I'm really struggling to decide what route to go down. I'm letting fear get in the way. Are you happy with the outcome?

Thank you and take care.
xx

Caroluna
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hiya Bennie

Many thanks for this detailed post... I'm having MX and DIEP next Wednesday and having a recent post with the practical tips and how it really is, is very reassuring. I'm going to take in thin strap vests, yes, easy to slip down but bit extra support over crop tops or sports bras.

Really appreciate the time you took to do such a detailed post, thanks, and all good wishes for your continued recovery, Caroluna

Caroluna
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi Cairewoo

I'm so grateful for all this detail, it's  taken away so much anxiety when I have a good idea of what will happen - I do know it's different for everyone- thanks for taking the time to put in all this information and tips. I'm having the MX and DIEP on Wednesday 22nd and reading your post has just taken a bit more worry away.

Hope you are getting better every day, and I'm looking forward to joining the 'I'm done' ladies in a few days. 

Thanks again

Caroluna

Bennie123
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi Debra

 

I had my Mx and Diep reconstruction on 5th May - 6 weeks ago today.  I have now started to drive again which has been good.

 

I had to wear a bra right from the day after surgery - I think every hospital must be different. I was told to get sports bras which I did. The best ones were from Asda so they don't break the bank. Bra extenders are a must. I'm tiny up top but with the swelling from the op I needed a 40B bra the next day. Often they don't have bra extenders in the hospital. I got mine from eBay on my return home from hospital. I couldn't get button down pyjamas but instead I wore wee string strap vest tops as they were handy to pull down as the nursing staff need to see your new boob many times in the one day. I'm still waiting for my tummy wound to completely close up but it is getting there. It's not really painful - just like wearing a corset on your lower tummy all the time. I still can't stretch out in bed - I still have 2 pillows under my knees but I have moved down from 3! Despite the length of the operation, I was only every on ibuprofen and paracetamol in the hospital and only paracetamol when I got home. I was very worried about what I could and couldn't do so my hubby took a week off work when I got home which was great and friends have popped in to take me out or to visit. Six weeks on, I have my independence back and am trying to walk every day so I can regain some fitness. I have still to wear a bra 24/7 but I see my PS on Monday so I am hopeful that I might be able to cut that down a bit.

 

You'll be fine Debra, and you'll have a nice flat tummy too - which is always a bonus. Try not to worry too much about the surgery as they'll look after you really well. Anything else I can help you with, please ask!!

 

Meg x

Clairewoo
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi. I had DIEP recon on 18th May after an 18 month wait following preventative bilateral mastectomy with implant reconstruction that unfortunately went wrong - twice.

I had my surgery in Coventry & my PS was fantastic. I stayed in hospital for 8 nights.

I also had fears of the unknown regarding pain, what to expect after, what to take to hospital, limitations etc.

I was on antibiotics during / after surgery. The pain relief was managed by morphine, paracetamol & codeine. 

What I took to hospital was a couple of towels, a short sleeved nightshirt (with buttons all the way down), big pants (worn when leaving hospital & for several weeks after) - mine are from M&S, firm control high waisted - £14 for 2, cropped bra tops (mine are over the head ones, my hubby helped with getting them on /off to start), toiletries including dry shampoo - the Aussie one is fab. Slippers, dressing gown. Loads of magazines.

I wore some elasticated waisted trousers & a loose shirt... Nice trousers in Next / M&S. 

You don't wear a bra until you go home. Sports cropped type or full supported non-wired wire - the size you are now. The bra extenders from M&S are handy £5 for pack of 3.

My husband is having a month off work to look after me. 3 weeks & 3 days after surgery & I feel so much better. I can potter - make cups of tea etc, do small amounts of ironing.

My wounds on my new boobies are healing & the glue is starting to come off. My abdomen feels OK - wounds are also healing. My PS made such a neat job.

It's still a little sore but manageable.

Got a checkup next week with my BCN & then one with my PS in 2 weeks. So far, all seems OK.

 

Good luck to you. Hope I helped.

Xx

Caroluna
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

(Yo, Jillybee, we meet again! Still in the sun? It's piddling down in the north west)

Hi Debra

 I'll post as soon as I can after I've had my op, and put as much practical stuff on as poss. I'm doing as much Pilates as I can and general stretches to keep everything supple and strong before I go in. And upping the vit C and zinc which are good for healing.

Please do speak to your BCN about having people with you afterwards... I know its not possible or desired by everyone - and I like being by myself, but- see if you can have people at least coming by a few times each day.  I can see im getting clucky here so I'll stop nattering. 

Come on Wales!

xx

 

jillybee
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Had bilateral Mx with DIEP.......wear loose tea shirts and elastic waist trousers,get bright colours,Peacocks and Primark are good.Pain is different,but ensure you have plenty of paracetomol in.

A pillow to put in front if your tummy in the car.

Bra one size bigger,with expanders at the back maybe,easy to put on though.I hope you have someone with you for first few days.

Just be careful,shower when someone us in the house,in case you feel faint.Drink plenty,eat fruit,and don't worry about eating trashy food for a while...

best of luck....and take care.💞

DebraC
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi Caroluna

 

realised I have misread your reply - you're going in on 22 June. I wish you best of luck and hope it all goes well xx

DebraC
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi

thanks for your reply. If you don't mind me asking - what are the things you can't do? I think I'll only have someone staying with me for a couple of days.

 

thanks, D.

Caroluna
Member

Re: Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi Debra

Welcome to the place no one wants to be...

I think you'll get some answers in different bits of the forum , there's a good thread about what to take into hospital and look at the surgey thread for experiences of different recons.

I live alone, having MX and DIEP on 22nd June. I'm making sure I have some one with me for the month after surgery. I expect to taper it. I've boxed and coxed with my partner who lives about 50 mins away, friends and a young neighbour who is going to fill gaps, say an hour a day for stuff I can't do.

A lot of your questions might be answered by your BCN, or you can ring the helpline, keep asking till you get all the info you need, good luck and hope all goes well for you.

DebraC
Member

Mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction

Hi, has anybody had DIEP at Jimmy's? How was it? What can I expect with regard to pain following surgery? What should I take to hospital? What did you wear to go home? How sore is the stomach scar with regard to clothing? How difficult is is to put on a bra after surgery - do you wear a bra after surgery? How do you feel once you get home - I live alone, so this is a big concern.

 

any advice welcome. Thanks, Debra.