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tightness around ribcage post surgery

13 REPLIES 13

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

Hi Bella

My surgery date has been bought forward to 19/5 but not sure what's being done.... Pre-assessment was done Fri. There seems to have been a complete turnaround since my last consultation... thanks to a very proactive psychologist. (I may not have mentioned before but I asked to be referred a psychologist attached to plastic surgery team a some months ago) I have had some therapy based on the 'Decision Regret Model' and have tried meditation and various techniques to help me live with the discomfort and pain. Some of it has helped and I'm sleeping better. Thank God I did as she is the only person that seems to be 'listening' to me. She's arranged for second opinion next Wed and made another appt for me to see my surgeon the day after. All a bit scary... but at least I'm not back on another endless waiting list. Wish me luck and I'll let you know what's decided.

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

Hi Mags , you are going for the second opinion??? It would be interesting to hear what the surgeon  giving the second opinion would say I am curious why the surgeon needs to do the redo, so to speak I am not surprised you felt wrecked after the consultation , its all so stressful at times. I do agree with frizbee, the after care is some what lacking.. I am very active, but it still seems that  at times my back goes stiffer after exercise, It does seem a little better, iam not keen on the itchyback. I do get a sort of burny itchy sensation at the top of my cleavage , does anyone else have that?My best wishes to you.all

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

Mags, I think you are right. When I have my positive head on its easier to look objectively at it. Have read info before op, most of the advice from the cancer support sites said a recovery time of 4-6 months - at least. I think, when my PS said 4-6 weeks, I leapt on that and decided that was for me (not helpful that I have a ridiculously competitive nature!!) and, being relatively young & fit, thought I'd have it all smashed in a month. Finding out I'm not actually superwoman has been a bit of a shock!
That said, there was little to prepare me for the discomfort and after-care has been in very short supply. Could do better I think would be my feedback.
I do hope your problems with you recon are resolved soon. It's so frustrating trying to get information, let alone action from medical professionals at time. I do feel for you.
Lisa
P.S. And thank you for your kind words re my mother!

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

Dear FizzB Sounds like your poor Mum is in denial... of course you had cancer...you just got off the chemo. For me the problems post recon have been more far reaching than the effects of chemo... so you have my sympathy... however 11 weeks is early days... so keep walking your dog and doing your exercises. Most people get over this surgery very well from what I can gather... I just think that some surgeons are a little optimistic about the recovery period so I think you have got to allow yourself more time.... despite what your Mum says. Good Luck!

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

Dear Bella just an update... I have had two difficult Consultations with breast surgeon and I have now asked for a second opinion. I was wrecked when I came out... Plan now is for another plastic surgeon to remove dog ears asap and I'm on waiting list to have implant removed and repositioned and pocket re- stitched. No guarantees this will improve things and my surgeon is sceptical. He said I'm not ready so had never discussed this option with me before? Having said that he said he would prefer to do the surgery than have someone else do it. I have to say I'm very scared now. I'll keep up with Pilates in the interim, as this seems to be my only salvation. I've read your post a couple of times and it resonates with me totally. Like you say we have no choice but to live with the residual effects . Thanks for your responses it does help to think that someone else has experienced the same discomfort. Not that I would wish it on anyone else. On a positive note the Pilates is helping that numbness in the LD muscle back area that you mentioned. My instructor has a pilates reformer machine which stretches that back muscle a bit more than you can do on your own. I hope as time goes on things do improve for you. Thanks again!

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

Dog therapy is definitely the way ahead Bella ... endless, patient, non-judgemental listening & always a cuddle when you need one!!

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

 Hi Frizbee Ps I think I will get a dog, it doesnt give an opinion and it does n't care what you look like!!!

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

Hi Fizbee  yes the recovery is a lot rougher than they discribed.  your comment that  the dis comfort made you exhausted, highlighted to me why I am so tired at times.Its rubbish really. It also makes me think that if it is just pre cancer, why have we had such major surgery, yes i understand but may be not for others. Any  wayrant over, obviously walks withe the dog are keeping you sane! very best wishes bella

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

Hi Fizzb

 

I have put for you below the link to BCC's publication 'In it together' which might help your mum understand better what you are going through.  I hope you find it helpful.

 

http://www2.breastcancercare.org.uk/publications/diagnosed-breast-cancer/it-together-partners-people...

 

Take care

Jo, Moderator

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

Hi ladies, just jumping in to say how grateful I am to hear your views (although obviously sorry to hear your experience). I'm only 11 wks post bilateral mx & LD recon but have been feeling similarly. Again, I know how lucky I have been with early diagnosis (DCIS) and no need for additional treatment, only the surgery. But again, I do feel that my PS is only interested in aesthetics and the 4-6 weeks recovery that was discussed pre-op was wildly inaccurate. Yes, I am off my sofa and relatively fully functioning however the constant discomfort in my back and the weirdness of my numb top half was never mentioned. Sleep is still a problem, I am propped up with pillows galore & unable to enjoy my nightly snuggle down.
(Lord, I sound like a miserable cowbag!! Apologies for using you all as a punchbag, I am usually very positive but I think the energy involved in that, as well as tolerating being so uncomfortable is wearing me down!! Family not helping either, have been told by my mother that I should really be over it now as I didn't have proper cancer anyway .... aaaarrrgghh!!!)
Apologies for the mass whinge, I am very lucky I know, particularly in the light of some of the experiences you other ladies have had to go through, but as you say Bella, sometimes that's logical, not emotional, thinking.
Rant over .... off for a stompy & hopefully restorative walk with Dog x

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

Hi Mags i am sorry you feelso wretched. I do think you should go for a second opinion, maybe it would make you feel that you had more control. It sounds like you are doing  every thing possible to get better. I do think that when they ie Drs explain about the reconstruction some of the negative things are glossed over, I think at the time i was like a rabbit caught in the in the headlights, iwas so befuddled ( i found out i had  early cancer on a mammogram), I didnt think of any alternative. I have to say the professional emotional support was more or less non existent. Even now it seems that i have had my 5 minutes of support, heres your leaflet, bog off.Which has made it worse,  I received a questionaire today from the breast reconstruction nurse. i do n't know what they do with the info, but there were lots of questions about breast pain and tightness, so they do know! I may be wrong, but i do think that plastic surgeons think that the main thing is that if they look alright, then everything is hunky dory.

I sometimes feel that my brain cannot understand what has happened, because i didnt have any symptons, and yet i have this numb lump at the front, which is meant to give me more confidence, (but it does n't)and this stiff weaker back.I suppose I will get used to it, no choice now. But logically not emotionally i know im lucky I

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

Dear Bella I am sorry to hear about your experience and wonder if we have the same surgeon. I am in same boat and I've told my plastic surgeon I bitterly regret having a bilateral LD flap Recon two years ago. I've spent hundreds on private massage, Physio and more recently on one to one Pilates with an excellent instructor. The latter has made some improvement...but I still cannot expand my chest fully and feel numbness and pain on left side where muscle was cut. I feel I have 'lateral malposition' of the left implant which was a delayed reconstruction.

I feel my surgeon is complacent and at my last consultation he said there was still room for improvement as I'm only one year post surgery when in fact I'm two!!!! I'm fast loosing confidence and have insisted on seeing him again tomorrow but get the feeling I'm going to be fobbed off again. He says I have scarring but what am I to do when I've said from day one that the left implant is too far over and I can feel the implant under my arm.

Sometimes I don't feel my life is worth living as this wretched surgery has impacted negatively on every aspect of my life. I do not feel the negative results of this surgery are ever recorded and I'm beginning to realise that it's ok for a surgeon to say my new breasts are aesthetically pleasing never mind I feel one is adhered to my breast bone and malposition of one implant is causing me pain.

I saw my surgeon two weeks ago and he said lets get these dog ears off (surplus flaps under my breasts that should have been removed 6 months after surgery but I was in too much pain) Little did I know I will now have to wait a further 5-6 months to have this procedure and although it will at least mean I may be able to get a bra to fit Its not going to ease the tightness and discomfort I'm experiencing on my left side and LD muscle area.

I'm going to ask for a second opinion now as I feel I need to make sure any decisions made from hereonin are right for me. I'm also thinking there cannot be a regular audit to monitor patients with complications post LD Flap Reconstruction. As far as my surgeon is concerned my reconstruction is aesthetically pleasing.... job done!

Be assured you are not alone with your problem. I think many of us don't want to write negative experiences as many people recover well post reconstruction. Having said that I would not want my daughter or anyone else close to me subject themselves to this surgery and I would not hesitate to spell out the risks to anyone contemplating it.

I don't think you are negative and of course we are grateful and thankful to be alive... but I do so regret having this surgery. If it would help please contact me.... just wanted to let you know you are not the only one.

Re: tightness around ribcage post surgery

Hi Bella60,

Yes I have had this too - sometimes the scar tissue sticks to the ribs, and that causes the tightness and horrible pain too. I had lipo done to alleviate it, and although it helped for a while, it eventually wears off and the cycle starts all over again. My op was the same as yours with the LD Flap. It could also be caused by nerve pain too and you could ask for special tablets for that. Feel free to PM me if you need any more info/details.

K M x

tightness around ribcage post surgery

 I had a mastectomyand lapdorssi reconstruction last sept. I have made agood progress  up to xmas, when unknow to me( there is no feeling), i knocked my reconstruction and it developed a very large haematoma, which is only just sorting itself out. My problem now is that despite doing the exercises post surgery religiously, my back and ribs  feel very tight, to the point that when i walk a reasonable distance, I feel that i cannot take a deep enought breath. I have told my surgeon about this, but the answer seems to be to do yoga and tchi and the answers seem to be different every time.  in the leaflet they didnt mention that. I am taking exercise, and i am active. I am wondering if it could be scar tissue aroun my drains site.I am starting to loose confidence in my surgeon and the system. I sometimes wonder if i was so befuddled by the diagnosis that my thinking was not really clear and i have made a mistake having this reconstruction. Its mean tot make me feel more confident but i think i would rather have my fitness. I know this is very petty and i am lucky, but ido find it dispiritng and I feel alone with my problem. Right rant over. Does any one else have the problem that people dont understandthat normally surgery is meant to make you better, but iam finding , that reconstruction leaves you worse, or am i just being very negative?.