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The Next Step

21 REPLIES 21
delly
Member

Re: The Next Step

That's great Mary. Please don't allow yourself to be "pushed" too early ref your next expansion. Only "you" know how your skin and tissues are feeling/coping with the stretching and we're all different. So if you feel it needs more time to settle before another inflation, make it known and delay it for a bit.

xxx

maryminder
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Delly, expansion went ahead yesterday, not as bad as I anticipated, managed 100ml quite comfortable, slight tightness and have been warned not to stretch muscle too much at the moment next one due in about 10 days, Mary 

delly
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi everyone, hope you're all doing well.

Thanks for that Mary - interesting. Yes both my expanders were sited under my Pec muscles, bit in my case, I don't know it they were "stitched", think they relied on creating a tight fit pocket and as said, some immediate expansion to keep in place. Did you have "Strattice"/ tissue matrix used? They make a sling to cradle/support the expander and finally the silicon replacement. That requires stitching into the muscle. Isn't possible to use it with Delayed implant recon following a full mast.

Anyway - it all sounds as though they have your best interests in mind which is brill. Let me/us know how you go on with Thursdays expansion.

Have a wonderful Anniversary on Friday. You never know, Janey may have bake you one of her famous yummy cakes - hint hint

Loadsa love girls

Delly xxx 

maryminder
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Delly, During my MX they managed to save about a 3rd of my skin and the expander was placed behind my chest muscle, they didn't expand during surgery but it was stiched to the muscle to keep it in place, it's very wierd because as i use my arm I can feel the expander move with the muscle within the pocket of skin. The plan will be to continue to expand during chemo however my surgeon has said that during radiotherapy it may be necessary remove some fluid and start again after, he has also said that reconstruction would be done about 6 mths after treatment ihas finished. Hugs Mary x

Janey2
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Mary that sounds a good plan. Laughter helped hugely - especially (spoiler alert Delly!) when they tried to get her into the hospital! Delly - cheeky? Moi? I am but a baker of cakes!! Xx
delly
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Mary, I'm primarily responding on your "expansion" appointments. But firstly wanted to say a well done to all you've been through and come through so far.

You mentioned you'd had a "skin sparing mastectomy", so don't know how different to me it is. You may have more tissue over the top of the expander? But I was coming from a very delayed recon from two full mastectomies 9 and 10 yrs ago now. Had always had implant recon in mind, not any of the various self tissue recon. So had expanders installed at a much later date under the existing thin layer of skin, that then required regular extra fluid injections to then stretch the skin pocket. 

At the time of your mast op and installing your expander, I suspect they already gave it some fluid expansion to keep it in place?? Following expansions are a very simple procedure where they inject a measured amount of sterile saline through the metal port on the front of the expander, so you just feel an initial prick of the needle, then tightness afterwards. The tightness reduces over the next few days until the overlying tissues stretch and adjust. If like me, you just have thin skin over the expander, I had to have a discussion with my surgeon to explain I had delicate skin that was good for healing but not stretching. I didn't want to add stretch marks to the already existing damage so I chose to have less expansion amounts (50ml instead of 100mls) with a longer period between (4-5 wks instead of 2-3) in order to be more gentle on my skin. But I had to go for more appointments for longer because of and was very glad I did. Plus, I had to really stand my ground on one inflation appointment, with one "trainee" who was insistant I had 100mls and a 2-3 wk return. But I equally insisted just 50mls and took no notice of his return appointment, made excuses that it would have to be 4-5wks. Thought and found his attitude very arrogant and espesh when I'd had the sense to discuss this with my actual surgeon who'd said "You know what your skin can cope with best - so very sensible of you to mention it" !! I thought HE'd be carrying out all my follow up and expansion appointments, but that would seem too much to expect these days.

Anyway - hope that helps. Let me know how different you are to me following your tissue sparing mast as I don't know much about it. 

Hope you enjoy you 38th anniversary on Friday and the weathers kind to you. Watch out for that Janey (xx) - she's cheeky and may lead you astray.

Love to all Delly xxx 

maryminder
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Janey2, hope the weather on your break was kinder to you than it was to Bridget, as you say the film was the best medicine for a few hours of escapism, already planning a Rom Com and wine afternoon when Mr B next goes to the football, Hugs Mary xx

Janey2
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Mary. Thank you for the link. I was enjoying a mini break (Bridget Jones style!), so a late reply. I saw the film the other week and it was just the perfect nonsense chortling I needed - hope it worked its magic on you too xxx
maryminder
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi, Appointment today for CT scan (followed by Bridget Jones and Wine with friends) have my first appointment with the Oncologist on Tuesday to discuss further treatment, also have my first boob expansion on Thursday not sure what to expect so if anyone could let me know would be very grateful. Jeez, whatever did I do with my time before BC.

It's my 38th wedding anniversary next Friday so planning a day with just Mr B and I, hopefully the weather will be kind and we can get out into the country for a long lazy lunch, just to take time to breath and catch up with each other will be lovely.

Hugs and Best Wishes Mary x

 

maryminder
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Janey2, Here is the link http://liz.oriordan.co.uk/CopeWithCancer.html, a lovely blog from someone who has seen it from both sides, she does warn about accessing some of the information as statistics can be quite scary, I just read the bits I wanted to. Hugs Mary x

Janey2
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Mary. It's been glorious here until today. Do you have the link for the doctor blog? I think she's written in this month's Good Housekeeping, along with a couple of journalists from the magazine. I think my partner found the articles more useful than the Macmillan leaflets he read. I hope you get your dates through soon xx
maryminder
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Janey2, No start date yet, waiting appointments with oncologist etc but BCN has said most likely mid October, so hoping to get to Liverpool for a few days to see my son before then, I am someone that needs to be prepared so have started to gather information on chemo etc (only from forums on here and a blog by a Breast Cancer Surgeon with BC), will have lots of questions for Oncologist.

Plan on making the most of this lovely September weather by extending my walking each day and doing my exercises in the garden, will rest with a good book when body tells me to.

Hugs and Best Wishes Mary xx

Janey2
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Mary. So good you now have a plan and that your results were better than expected. Do you have a start date yet? Hugs xx
maryminder
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi, appointment with surgeon yesterday everything healing well and final drain removed, surgery results far better than expected, 14 lymph nodes removed only 3 positive for cancer and although my lump was in fact 7cms and not 4 as expected there was no spread to surrounding tissue or blood vessels.

Plan of action is CT scan as a precaution, Chemo, radiotherapy and then tablets for 5-10 years, any reconstruction would be done after treatment is finished and my body has had time to settle down, in about a years time.

Will begin inflating chest expander in two weeks time the day before my wedding anniversary (what a gift), I know there is still a way to go and chemo will not be pleasant but it could have been so much worse, even my surgeon was astounded by the pathology results, onwards and upwards heres hoping good news for everyone Hugs and Best Wishes Mary x

maryminder
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi, Final drain in until Friday when I will see my consultant to get results of surgery and further treatment plan so no shower for me, 10 days since MX and having to stop myself from doing too much, the temptation is so great, not one to just sit around so have started to take short walks around the neighbourhood always with my phone (and drain) the weather is so nice at the moment, Hugs Mary x

maryminder
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi, Hopefully will have my final drain removed on Monday and then a shower, bliss. It's been just over a week since my MX, cannot thank enough the lovely HCA at the hospital who came into the bathroom with me to get my first look following surgery, she was just fantastic. One of the most emotional things was showing my husband, not that I thought he would be horriified or disgusted (blimey he's watched me give birth to two children) but his reaction, a mixture of relief (that the intruder had been removed), tears and laughter helped me remember why I married him in the first place. 

Hugs and Best wishes Mary xx

 

Janey2
Member

Re: The Next Step

Whatever you do, don't give yourself a talking to! Good luck for the 16th xx
maryminder
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Janey2, Have given myself a talking to and decided to rest and try not worry about what might be, hope your treatment plan gets back on track soon, Best wishes and hugs Mary x

Janey2
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Mary
I'm so glad surgery is now over but what a long haul for you and for your husband waiting. Waiting continues to be the hardest part. I managed to avoid mastectomy but had to have two goes at surgery as lump was twice the original size they suspected when I was diagnosed in June; and my treatment plan is now up in the air until next week (I hope). Post surgery blues will get you for a while yet. As if there isn't enough to deal with the emotional fallout of diagnosis, anaesthetic (and you must have had a fair whack in 6 hours!) will take a while to shift and leave you feeling emotionally vulnerable. Be kind to yourself and take all offers of help. Big hugs xx
maryminder
Member

Re: The Next Step

 

Hi Everyone, it's now 5 days since my surgery and physically i'm doing well, MX and expander as expected but woke up to the news that SNB was positive so had axillery dissection as well, even my surgeon was thrown by the SNB results. Poor husband was in a complete mess as he was told surgery would be 3-4 hours and I was still in there 6 hrs later.

 

Emotionally I feel a complete mess, when first diagnosed in June it was a 1cm lump to be cleared with lumpectomy and then tablets for 10 years, then MRI showed 4.5 cm mass so MX and radiotherapy was the plan to now needing a full body CT scan and chemotherapy, will get full results from surgery on the 16th Sept  and will then have to wait for CT and results before full treatment plan can be sorted, I am trying to be positive but news just seems to get worse. Hugs and Best Wishes Mary x

 

 

Janey2
Member

Re: The Next Step

Hi Mary. Good luck for Thursday. It is so difficult not being in control of this horrible thing and I'm not sure I believe I can find anything virtuous about being patient for this game all to be over. Thank goodness for here xx
maryminder
Member

The Next Step

Hi, My surgery is booked for 1st Sept, skin saving mastectomy and chest expander, the closer it gets the more I  feel that everything is out of my control and my body has let me down, I know this has to happen but I just feel like shouting ' Stop I don't want to play this game anymore ' silly I know.

I will do this and when I wake up on Thursday at least the intruder will have gone and I will be ready for the next step towards recovery.

Thanks for letting me unload, sending everyone hugs and best wishes

Mary