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mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

12 REPLIES 12
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Re: mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi All, would just like to say, taking on the role of a parrot is one of the side effects of all this!!!!!!!!!!!!!! either that or its a senior moment!!!!!!!!! so sorry for the repeating of myself

Alisonxxxxxxxxxx

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Re: mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi Katy, just reading through the threads again, and knew i should have posted sooner, but you know what its like! in answer to your question, i have been so lucky that i didn't have to have chemo or rads, just straight onto hormone tablets, and i am now five weeks since my op and really i am so happy, ok, a bit sore now and then, sleep, well thats now sorted too, the best thing is getting back into my usual bra's they are so comfy, and i feel really really confident and good about myself ok, it will never be like the old one, and it does look something simillar to an eye, (i could not keep my nipple, so they cut round the nipple to remove the breast, then brought the back muscle in from under the arm, not sure where the implant is hidden, but i have a pump!) and due to beng a bit of a smoker, some of the skin died, so had to have a third op to have that removed and then that was stitched back onto the skin that came with the back muscle, so getting there, in the near future i will have a new nipple attached, not sure how they do that, then that area will be tattooed to match the other side, so more to come, but its all good now. well, you should have had your op by now, and can't wait to hear from you to see how your doing

lots of love and hugs

Alison

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Re: mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi Katy

Sorry - I havn't been on here for a while and I missed saying good luck to you for your op etc.

Well I really hope everything has gone well for you - and want you to know that I have been thinking of you loads - I definately think doing the chemo first helps as surgery for me felt pretty do-able - I hope it was the same for you (although I know having recon will have meant a longer op).

I am still waiting for a start date for Rads hopefully it will be next Monday - I've had my planning appointment - where they put you on a simulator and draw lines all over you. I have now got 4 pinprick tattoos - so they can align the machines each time they do a treatment.

I feel extremely well at the moment (touch wood) - my hair is now growing and it actually looks quite red/ginger/auburn - depending on how the light catches it - still wearing my scarves as I think I mights still scare small children.

Take care

Love and Hugs

Wendy xoxoxox

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Re: mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi Katy

I am a bit late on this one but I had a mastectomy back in 2003, I wanted to get each stage over with before embarking on another, I hope this makes sense. I had a chest expander inserted 10 months after mastectomy. I was ready for it. My recon was finished about 5 months later, I was very happy with it. Unfortunately I then went down with brain cancer and with chemo it seemed to affect the silicone boob and I had bad scarring tissue. So I have just had the whole thing redone. I am very happy with the reconstruction. I am small breasted. The mastectomy scar went right across the centre of the boob as my cancer was right near the nipple. I had a nipple tattoed and it is almost identical to the other nipple. If I had your email address I would happily send you a picture of my reconstruction (and how I looked after the mastectomy) I know I would help a lot of people deciding if they wanted a reconstruction.

Regarding the drains issue - after my mastectomy when they took out the drains I nearly died from the pain. BUT when I had the drains taken out in a different hospital after my recons I hardly felt a thing. "The art of stopping pain" said the lovely nurse "is to pull the drains out VERY slowly and make sure the patient is breathing correctly" so make sure you check that one out.As Dilys says "breathe and relax!" I hope I have been a bit of a help Katy. Love Roz xx

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Re: mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi Katy

Just to say I was terrified of the drains coming out, but honestly it was just nothing. Don't worry about it one bit. I know what you mean as the worst thing about an emergency appendix a few years ago was the pain of that damn drain on the way out. But my three after the mastectomy were NOTHING. Just breathe and realax my love.

Take care

Dilys
xxxx

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Re: mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi Katy,
I just started to message you only to loose my message ! very annoying.
Anyway in answer to your questions I did have a reconstuction on my other breast(left) but did not have a masectomy. The result is great however there is a noticable difference (with clothes off) to the breast which had the masectomy the left I feel at the moment kind of mocks the right! But in terms of wearing tops and tight fitting stuff you really would not notice the difference the fullness is just not quite the same.
I will get back to you on the other questions as have a friend popping around in a min.

All the best Michele x

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Re: mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi Michele,

Its good to hear that you're back at the gym so soon after your op and that you managed to wear a bikini on holiday- thats very reassuring.I have been given a date for my surgery today and will be going in on 31st July which I am pleased about as its not too long to wait- I just want it done now.

Did you have a mastectomy both sides, or just an implant on the other one at the same time?

Also- how bad was it when they took the drains out? I have heard that its nauseating more than painful?
Have you started radiotherapy yet or do you have to wait a couple of months for recovery?
Sorry for all these questions-its just the more I think about it the more questions I have, hence why I wanted it done as soon as, as I drive myself mad-Ha!
Take care
Katyx

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Re: mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi Katy,
I had a masectomy and recontruction with implant on my right and a implant on my left on the 20th of April. I chose to leave the hospital on the third day. This basically was because I had had enough of being in a hospital environment and knew that for me I would feel better once home. I did however still have a drain in which was taken out seven days after the op. Although the drain wasn't the nicest thing to carry around it did mean I rested once home! In terms of recovery I was able to drive four weeks after my op I don't have power steering so I did take it gently at first. With the reconstuction I am generally happy with it actually I must be as I felt comfortable enough to wear a bikini on holdiday and that was early june time. I don't know if it was the best choice for me at the time to have an implant in my left at the time it made sense. In terms of scarring I have been useing Bio-Oil which can be brought form boots I also took Vit E which is good for healing. I'm also someone that flits between nicotine gum and the odd cigerette but don't feel this impacted too much on my healing tho of course this is difficult to judge.In terms of my recovery I have been swimming and have been back at the gym this was started probably around late May time.
I hope some of this helps I think most importantly it is about listening to your body as everyone is so different in their recovery.
If there is anything else you want to ask then please do.
Wishing you the very best for your op.

Michele x

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Re: mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi Alison,

Its really reassuring to know that you are happy with your reconstruction. I was discussing my op with my husband yesterday and he reminded me that I have to have a mastectomy anyway and for me reconstruction is a far better option than nothing. I was also ecstatic that they could save my nipple. I am 35 and was diagnosed in January (Grade 3 with 27 x 20mm tumour) I had chemo first and had my last chemo last wednesday (YAY!!!!!!) The chemo obviously did its job because the last scan I had a couple of months ago, the tumour measured 7x 8 mm- have you got to have chemo next or are you straight onto rads????

My sister has breast implants for cosmetic reasons and hers feel really hard compared to mine- my worry is that if I think hers feel hard, mine-after surgery will be even harder as her implants are behind breast tissue, wheras mine will only be behind muscle, still-as long as they look okay with clothes on, I dont actually mind- I will make cracking eggs on them my party trick! Ha! I have also opted to have a mastectomy the other side as well and the surgeon says he will do that in 6 months time.

Is your scar straight across the middle or underneath? My breast nurse said that my surgeon sometimes goes underneath which is obviously preferable, but again, I'm not really that bothered-its more important at this stage to get the cancer out.

Hopefully I should have a date for my surgery by the end of this week-I'm desperately trying not to give into my cravong for a fag. I gave up last september, started again in January- the day they told me I had cancer and for the past month have given up again, although, quite often will just have one in the evening- I know its stupid, but I'm finding it really hard to stop that one. I didnt tell my BC nurse I was still having the odd one in the evening so on top of feeling guilty for that anyway, I'm now feeling really dishonest!

Take care and please keep me informed on your recovery
Katyx

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Re: mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi Katy, well i got out of hospital on Friday, so still a way to go, but it will take about four weeks for the hardness to go, there will still be some hardness, but not too much, i was in hospital for eight days, and still have the drain in, hoping to get rid of that by wednesday this week though. i can move around quite well, but i don't do too much as its no good tiring myself unneccessarily. i quit smoking in march, and am ashamed to say that i have had a sneaky one or two in times of extreme stress, no excuse, but it will do for me for now, i have had a little dead skin, but it will heal on its own, and as long as i don't get any infections then things will be fine. i really do love what my surgeon has done, even though i'm 44 years old, i really didn't want to have nothing there at all, it looks quite good, and when it finally gets its nipple, then i do think it would be hard to tell the difference. please feel free to ask me any questions at all, i was very lucky in that my breast cancer nurse put me in touch with a woman who has gone through the same op, and that really did help me, plus i didn't have a long time to think about it as i was only diagnosed on the 6th of June this year, not sure if thats a good thing or not, but i had to make quick decisions and i feel i've done whats right for me. if you would like to talk to me on the phone, then ask the moderator or ring up to find out how you go about it, as i would be more than happy to talk to you.

lots of love

Alison xxx

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Re: mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi Alison,

Thanks for your reply- can you tell me how long you have quit smoking for? As far as I know, my surgeon will not need to use any skin from my back- he will just pull the muscle round.
I am really glad that you are happy with your reconstruction- do you know how long it will take to soften up? Also, how long were you in hospital for and how long before you were mobile and able to move around.
So sorry for the barrage of questions, I'm just trying to cover every angle before I actually go in hospital
Take care
Katyx

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Re: mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi Katy, i have just had a masectomy with back flap reconstruction, that included a saline implant, but i did not have the option to keep my own nipple, the pain from the back, well, its a bit bad at first, but my surgeon has used glue on it, and its hardly noticable now and thats after only a week, the front is a bit different, the surplus skin from the back has been used to replace the nipple area, and due to being an ex smoker i have had a small amount of skin die, that is due to the lack of blood that is able to get to it, as long as it does not become infected then all will be well, and it will heal up ok on its own. the breast does look good, much better than i expected, at the moment you could crack an egg on it, but only for a few more weeks hopefully, it does also go round to under your armpit, so i'll always have a bit of a lump there, but for me, its more than i expected, i'm very happy with it, and just praying that it will all be ok.

lots of love

Alison

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mastectomy and immediate reconstruction-HELP!

Hi All,

Just wondered if anyone can give me any advice or reassurance.

I am due to have a mastectomy and immediate reconstructionin in about 3 weeks time.

I will be having a tissue expansion?!? implant which will be filled with saline after the op, and they will be using muscle from my back. I am a 34 c/d normally and the surgeeon will also be saving my nipple. I was more than happy with this option until I saw my BC Nurse who has really confused me and made me doubt that I will be very happy with the results as she seemed to play down what I will end up with .

Please can anyone that has had this type of reconstruction tell me their experience. I also need to know how much pain to expect and what recovery period was required- the breast nurse told me 3-4 months! I also would like to know what it actually feels like, both internally and externally as I am now imagining it to be so rock hard that I could crack eggs on it- ha!

I have also opted for an elective mastectomy on the other side which he will do in 6 months time

Has enayone else undergone this recently and are you happy with the results? Also I am an ex smoker and am frightnening myself silly with the thought that the scar won't heal because of this.
Please enlighten me
Thanks
Katyx