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Need reassurance following recon

23 REPLIES 23
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Re: Need reassurance following recon

Cassie - you have an expander implant. My mum simply had her port removed when it had all setled and it was never swapped.

Re the one out one in thing, (and this is true!) when I go to Sainsburies I take my other half fillet, the one with the false nipple on and swap them over when I need two nipples!!!!

the other option of course is to get nipple covers and always have 2 flatties!!

Td xx

dotchas
Member

Re: Need reassurance following recon

Cassie,
If you have a port,then its an expander inplant.I believe these can sometimes be left in place ,rather than swap them for permanent implants.You would need to ask your surgeon or BCN what they intend to do with yours.
I would have thought they should have discussed it with you by now!
I am nearly 8 weeks post LD flap and my boob is softening now although I have a hard ridge along the bottom.

Judy,
Thats a neat idea!
Its all very well having stick on ones or a reconstructed one but there will always be times where they will be "one out ,one in" LOL!

Dot
xxx

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

I have what might seem a silly question...basically I am not sure whether I have a tissue expander or an implant proper. It has a port through which it can be inflated etc but then am I right in thinking this is a temporary measure? And 6 weeks post-op, my reconstructed breast (LD Flap) is rock hard, is this normal or is this typical of tissue expanders, if that's what it is?

When discussing surgery with my consultant, I was given the impression that I would have an implant straight away and I don;t really want further surgery.

Thanks,

Cassie

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

just had a thought- wouldn't it be nice if they made a heat/cold sensitive nipple, so we could always have a matching pair!
Judy

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

Hi
I am not sure if it is cording or not, that is restricting my movement. I had a SNB prior to mastectomy and recon, but I had almost got the full range of movement back inbetween. I had node clearance through the mastectomy site. I do hang the washing out, but find it quite difficult. I am also walking up the wall with my fingers frequently. I spoke to someone today, who had had a similar problem, which had been resolved instantly with ultrasound! Has anyone ever heard of this before?
I am quite interested in nipple reconstruction- must find out more about it in a while. Too early yet though-6 weeks post op today.
Started driving yesterday-my consultant was quite hesitant about letting me on Thursday, and asked about power steering etc, before saying I could try it. It's lovely to be independent again. I have also tried swimming, but very gently. He said I would open the back scar up if I wasn't gentle, so I have been extremely gentle! It's so nice to get back in the water, and seems to quieten down the 'twitching'! Progress at last!
Judy

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

Hi Dot,

Sorry if you thought this thread had put me off having recon, it hasn't really, as I'd more or less made up my mind not to go ahead anyway. Haven't seen a PS, but I am very slim with a bra size of 32DD, so doubt I'd be a candidate for the tummy or back options, and imagine I could have only an implant and then reduction surgery on my remaining breast.

Also I am no spring chick (58), although was proud of my figure b4 all this! I think I have now made friends with my mastectomy scar, and prosthesis - well, at least I've come to terms with it!

Good luck to all you ladies with your reconstructions....I'm just not sure it's right for me xxxxxxx

dotchas
Member

Re: Need reassurance following recon

Thanks to everyone for advice and support.
Judy, I hope your arm is getting better,I can give you a shout to hang my washing out for extra exercise LOL!
I must be so lucky not to have a problem with arm movement.Do you have an underarm scar from the lymph node removal? Mine were dug out from my mast wound,just wondering why I am not having problems while you are? The other girl in my 2-bed bay after op was drying her hair 1 day after her op.I was bit slower but I have no problems now.

My chicken fillets are great ,very natural and cover my dent.Also can be used as a pair to hide the one nipple syndrome which will probably be a problem in a Scottish winter or near the chiller cabinets in Sainsburys!
I won't wear them everyday as only need them when wearing something closer fitting but they do make me much less self conscious.

I must ask about stick on nipples! Before my mastectomy I wasn't sure I wanted a recon nipple but now I think I do.I think it will look a bit less odd.I think I have to wait 6 months so maybe can get one as well as get my dent fixed if it doesn't sort itself out!

To justme who said we put her off a reconstruction
Please remember there are many ladies who have no problems or concerns with their recons and hence will not feel the need to post here.
I do not for one minute regret my decision.I am just after some support from people who have been through the same thing.
The decision is different I imagine if you are considering a recon after a previous mastectomy but please don't let us put you off. Mine looks fab with my clothes on and is now starting to soften and feel more natural.
I have no regrets.

Hugs to all
Dot
xxx

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

judy

- don't worry - it's only 6 weeks on. the cording will get better anyway (assuming that the cording is also hindering your movement) and if you continue to do stuff that pushes it just a little bit (hanging out washing is good for this) it will get better of it's own accord. The 'dancing tit' thing will also get better as the muscle learns it's been moved. i had to occasionally take 2mg of diazempam to control the seizing up stuff, but only at night and not often.

The other type of fillet that is really good is one of those stick on bra things.They can also be bought cheaply (about £7) in Matalan. They are silicone with a sticky backing and are designed to wear for cleavage when you have 2 breasts. I have left the backing stuff on and teased out a bit of cotton wool to stop moisture collecting (tried lots of things before this!) and as it is not solid it gives a very nice natural shape and adds the bulk currently missing (implant not yet done). As I only wear one (obviously! - on the recon side) I have stuck my false silicone nipple on the other one (these are GREAT - very natural!! Got it from my BC nurse for free. You can also wear them directly on the skin. I put my spare one of these on when I'm in seductive mode. Which I have to say is not that often with chemo ongoing!) so that if it is particulary cold I can match them up!! I find I particularly need it when I go to Sainsburies as their chiller cabinets are SO COLD!

The stick on silicone nipples also work well for dent filling! and Dot - you could try stitching , with just one stitch, the cotton wool into your bra if it moves. but take it out for washing.....

Td xx

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

I love my recon and I love wearing underwired bras.
:)

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

Hi Ruthus
Just 1 small problem with the door frame exercises-I can't reach it with my right hand (-left hand is fine), but I have't got the full range of movement back in my right arm yet. I think I need a physio referral to sort it out. Thanks for the suggestion though,
Judy

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

Hi Justme

Just a word in support of recons!

I had a Diep and have had very few problems - and I'm thrilled with the result.

I guess we're all different and you have to make the decision that's right for you. But just to let you know that it's not always a nightmare!

Lizzie x

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

Ye Gods...this has helped me finally decide NOT to bother with a recon! Good luck ladies!

xxx

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

Hi All

Glad your feeling a little more reassured Marg - that's what we do for each other isn't it!!

I have a friend who had her op and recon in Feb and is just talking about the opposite of yours - an implant on her 'normal' boob and also nipples etc with our surgeon so it looks like maybe 6 months after op might be the time to start talking about it. I know that my surgeon said to wait until 3 months before making a judgement on how the new boob looks. I do think that physio can help with lymphoedema too so maybe that's an avenue you could explore. Hope this helps.

I am also going to ask them to take my inlet valve out at some point because it is driving me nuts. Top up anyone??

Dot I love the chicken fillet idea - I bet we could think of 100 uses for chicken fillets outside of their original purpose. Like as earrings, a hair decoration, a pretend parrot on your shoulder.

Judy - try holding on to the top of a door frame with both hands and sort of pulling down - really helped me with arm and shoulder movement, back and other aches. Might also stop your boob from leaping about for a few minutes!! Maybe you can train it to do party tricks??? 😉

love Ruthus xxxxxxxx

delamere
Member

Re: Need reassurance following recon

Thanks everyone for the replies and the laughs too!!
I will assume everything is going ok until i see my surgeon.
Some more questions. i am waiting for reduction on my other side, how long do you have to wait for this after recon? Also how long for nipple and tatoo. can't wait to get it all over with, but know i probably have to be patient.
I tried taking underwire out of one side of bra, but it just emaphasises the fact that i am smaller on one side. i am wearing a "busom buddy" from M&S inside my bra to fill it up and it looks fine, but just want to get on with the rest.
Yeah i know what you mean the muscle does feel weird, just unconfortable though not hurting. I am having more problems with Lymphoedema sinnce op though and sometimes my whole side and shoulder feels swollen and achy.

I'm glad i have people on here to talk to otherwise i would worry all the time( Not that i don't anyway!!)
Love to all
Marg

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

Ruthus-I have a query! I had a LD flap reconstruction nearly 6 weeks ago (without implant.) My boob contracts the majority of the time, and really seems to liven up when I lie down, and relax in bed. It also thinks that cleaning my teeth is a signal for doing the can can! It feels like a rock that has been placed on my chest,although in a bra it looks fine. I'm not sure how I can avoid any activities when it contracts randomly. It also gets very agitated when I try to walk quickly, so I have to slow down, or my whole side goes into a spasm. Any ideas?
I think I will ask my GP for a physio referral and see if I can get it sorted, and get some more movement into my arm,
Judy

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

I love the fact that everyone is so matter of fact and humorous about things that we no doubt would have thought very differently about pre BC. I find myself looking at other women differently now - what with the statistics being so high every 10 women I walk past may well have gone through/be going through the same thing and I find myself thinking "Wow, we are amazing!"

dotchas
Member

Re: Need reassurance following recon

Ruthus,

I nearly splattered my tea over my laptop at that picture! LOL!
I broke my foot 3 years ago and underwent 2 operations to fix it and it still causes me bother so some days I feel 84 not 44,especially when clambering out my car!
Re the contracting boob syndrome ,I wonder if it is more noticable if it was your dominant side.I am right handed and had a right mastectomy,so I use that arm so much more than my left (bum wiping etc).Its hard to retrain as I have been doing things that way for 44 years!

I might have temporarily solved my sunken scar problem ,I got a pair of silicon chicken fillets in TK max for £7.At least it disguises it when wearing plan fitted t-shirts.It will also help with the one sided nipple look when its cold!

Love
Dot

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

Dot

Perhaps we need to invent a post op bum wiper and also bottom washer?? I found doing both really pinched at first but getting better all the time,

As for getting out of the sports car, maybe you could try one of those 'Starsky and Hutch' type rolling actions and flop out to avoid using the muscle. lol (now know this means laugh out loud thanks to abbreviations thread). This might cause endless amusement picturing oneself flopping out of the car at Tesco's. x

Snogs
Ruthus

dotchas
Member

Re: Need reassurance following recon

Great comments girls,nice to know we are not alone.

I never thought of a wee bit cotton wool to fill my dent,Hope it doesn't fall out LOL!
So we think that soft padded bras are OK? Mine is certainly more support than the ones the hospital gave me.
Might try my wired ones for special occasions.

Ruthus,
Thats makes sense about the muscle and avoiding the things that make it contract.I'll need to reasses bum wiping and getting out the drivers side of my wee sports car !!!!!! ( but not at the same time!)
I am going to a "after treatment is finished " session next Friday so will hopefully see a physio then.I would appreciate some treatment on my scar as it is very tight.I put cream on morning and night.
Love
Dot
xxx

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Re: Need reassurance following recon

Hi Girls

I had my mast plus LD recon on July 4th. I initially wore my old maternity bras, then went in to a soft crop top which supported well and then in to an M&S sports bra. My surgeon saw all these. He had said at the beginning that as long as it's a supporting bra then it's fine. I am also still wearing the soft crop at night as it's rather obvious that my boobs are different without it. My old boob is more saggy - new boob is lovely and pert!!

Marg, I would say that you are fine that you wore a softer bra during the summer - it's the initial months that are important whilst it's settling. I am two months on and have put one of my pre-op bras on for the first time today so your thread was very timely. I also noticed today that I am getting a 'wobble' - my implant is starting to soften. I think this is all going in the right direction. It certainly feels more girlie. In fact I did want to shout happily about it all the way up to school dropping the kids off but I think that others would not understand as we do how important these things are.

I think they are supposed to soften and droop more naturally as time goes on. So Marg it sounds to me like yours is just fine. Dotchas - I am having physio through my hospital to loosen the scar on my back and my physio told me that the contracting is because your muscle thinks it's still in your back. She said it's the muscle we would use to pull ourselves out of the bath. She said that over time it would contract less but to note when it is contracting and avoid those activities because it's like negative reinforcement for the muscle. Does that make sense?

All - I really recommend physio. The scar tissue fibres get tighter and the physio gently breaks it down. My back movement is much less tight now and I can very comfortably sleep on both sides. It's also very relaxing and not at all painful. Ask you BC nurse, surgeon - I have mine through our local hospital who have a dedicated lady who is very knowledgeable and reassuring about BC and our op.

Lots a love and hugs

Ruthus xxx

Guest user
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Re: Need reassurance following recon

Hello all

I had my LD recon but with no implant at this stage (due to need for extensive rads - no clear margin on the skin). My back scar is 12 inches long and my lymph node clearance scar sits low - cosmetically good but difficult for bras. I need a little prosthesis at present - will be having an implant 'sometime next year'.

I wore a post surgical bra for about 6 weeks, then I wanted to return to my dancing class ( latin & ballroom) for which I wanted to wear my usual 'show a bit of cleavage' clothes, so i put on a well fitting underwired bra for the class. It was fine, and I now wear underwired most of the time - the only time I can't is just after chemo as this makes everything hurt!

My mum had the same in 2000 and initially took the underwire out of her existing bras, but soon went back to them without a problem. She had an implant, and as soon as it 'drooped' correctly she felt she needed the support of wires.

I guess that as long as the wires aren't sticking into your implant, it shouldn't be a problem, providing you have good healty healed tissue.

Dot - my scar (the round one on my breast) has also sunken. I was thinking it may come out when I have my implant! Maybe not then! - It doesn't show as I have this little prosthesis, but otherwise i would use a teased out bit of cotton wool to fill the space. i use cotton wool under my falsie and it doesn't move...

The best comfy bras i found for good support were from B-Wise - soft padded t-shirt bras at £6 - they dont' do small sizes though - they start at at 36C... they have 3 hook n eye fastenings and don't show under most necklines and come in both white and black.

Td x

Guest user
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Re: Need reassurance following recon

Hello Marg

I am having a similar dilema to you. I had my first mast with immediate LD recon with implant, in January this year and my second in June. I was not told what type of bras to wear after my first op, so I opted for comfort and just wore a soft crop top for the first month or so. I then started to read threads on here about support and thought I should too, so I wore a fully supportive bra straight away after second op. Because my surgery was risk reducing I did not have the input of a BCN.

The first side sits much lower and more to the side and I have noticed how much more moveable and soft the first side is and now I am wondering if the second side will 'catch up'. I am due to see my surgeon next month about nipple recon, but I am worried this will make things look even more lopsided.

I have heard various advice about underwired bras, mainly that you shouldn't wear until 6 months after surgery, the lady who measured me in the shop told me the same. I have bought one underwired but I find it too uncomfortable to wear more than an evening.

I do not think I have helped much with your query but maybe this demonstrates it is normal for the reconstructed breast to become lower etc after a while. I just hope my other one does the same!

Best wishes
Jackie.

dotchas
Member

Re: Need reassurance following recon

Hi Marg,

I had the same op as you but in July this year. I was never told to wear a sports bra so soon after getting out I was wearing soft padded t-shirt bras from M&S.
After the op I woke up with a soft comfy bra on and wore those in hospital but they were not very supportive.
It seems each hospital/surgeon does different things.
I haven't tried a wired bra yet but have heard of others wearing them. I think it would be very important that they fitted very well and did not dig in.
At the moment I am upset as my scar has a sunken bit which is noticible through even a padded bra!
I am hoping my new boob drops a bit as its a bit higher than my natural breast even in a bra.

Can I ask if you have problems with your boob contracting?

Dot
xx

delamere
Member

Need reassurance following recon

Jsut need some reassurance since recon as not due to see surgeon again untilnext month.
I had LD recon with implant in May of this year. How long are you supposed to wear a sports bra for after? I stopped wearing one in the summer as it was making me uncomfortable, however bras i am wearing are still quite supportive as they are my mastectomy bras. My implant now seems to have dropped quite a lot after feeling like it was under my chin at first !! I am now worried i having given it the support it needs.Also it seems to move now and before it was quite solid and didn't move. Is this normal??
Also can you wear underwired bras with an implant? I haven't worn underwired at all since diagnosis.

Please reply
Marg