That sounds an ordeal. I thought I was facing the same op but in the end was advised to have a lumpectomy and axillary clearance, and then found out I needed 6 months of chemo on top. But for me, although Im very glad to be cancer free, I do miss my left nipple and I do feel mutilated and asymmetrical 😱. I have a very strange shaped breast now which a dip rather than a protuberance. I’m 63, and single at the moment, but even so! My lovely surgeon has discussed tattoos and prosthesis after chemo and radiotherapy, so I need to be patient. In the end I took the wires out of the left cups of my presurgery t shirt bras, and wear those now, which work well.
Best wishes 🌻
Many thanks for your kind reply and given me an insight into what to expect.
I have a date of the 21st September for my mastectomy and DIEP. Just want to get it over with and try and move on.
you sound very positive and I’m glad it went well.
just trying to work out what type of bra would be best after surgery, if you have any recommendations I would appreciate them.
I do have a contact of a lady who had the same thing 2 years ago and we spoke yesterday so that was good.
once again many thanks
I had surgery in January and i’ve been lucky as it all went smoothly for me.
I chose it mostly because it meant I wouldn’t have to have any more surgeries later to replace failing implants. So it’s done and I’m really pleased with it
I have a massive scar across my lower tummy from the side of one hip to the other. I really do think I’m lucky as I understand for a lot of women the scar can end up with some sort of puckering as the skin is brought together. One nurse told me some women end up with dog flaps at the hips where the scar ends and the skin doesn’t quite come together evenly. My scar is completely straight and very neat. Lucky to get such a fantastic plastic surgeon. They also gave me a new tummy button which looks fairly good I’d say.
i was also fairly fit before hand. I ran 2 or 3 times a week but I had to stop a month before surgery due to other surgeries and treatment. But I did walk for 30 mins a day instead and a lot of people told me my fitness helped my quick recovery.
Also I wasn’t massively overweight. I am pear shaped so have good child bearing hips and thighs but they told me to put on weight to get more tummy fat. I couldn’t quite believe it as I thought I was about a stone heavier than I should be. Anyway apparently they normally take the fat from one side of the tummy only to reconstruct the breast but they needed to use both sides for me and as a result the surgery was longer than expected. I went into surgery about 8 and came out at about 8. I think we should allow for an hour of faffing in pre-op etc / anaesthetics etc so I was probably under the knife for about 11 hours. It was a long time and they warned me I’d feel like I’d been hit by a train but I don’t really remember. They gave me morphine for the first day and then you are on normal painkillers. It’s bearable but the worst bit is their insistence on getting you out of bed and walking by day 2. I really didn’t think I would be able to and it is hard but I could manage it. Like I said it’s bearable.
It all seems a long time ago now but I’m not back to normal yet but I am running again and that helps. You really do need to do all the physio exercises as the tummy is so stretched. I got so bored of them I took up yoga everyday after a bit instead. I still feel it in my tummy now if I miss a day as my tummy just feels so tight.
After surgery I still felt mutilated. I hated to look at my body. I was impatient and fed up and now I still hate bits of it but if I’m honest I have a really good result. It’s just that any surgery like this is a massive change. It’s not like your body any more. I think the big thing for me is no nipple. It just looks so wrong. And a massive scar across my tummy but that is getting a lot better now.
Be prepared to wear big knickers (control pants) 24/7 for months.
I was really lucky to attend a show and tell evening at the Royal Free in London so I could talk to other women who’d had all sorts of different surgeries and that was really helpful. Can you ask if you can talk to other women who have had it done. At least virtually.
I really do wish you well and whatever you decide to do you feel happy with it. It’s so hard to make a decision. That was the worst bit for me as I had different surgeons telling what would be best. Wishing you all the best. 😘 Sally
many thanks for the information, it’s very helpful.
I’ll have to look out for some front opening pyjamas as all mine are t-shirt type.
Your hospital will show you the underwear you need. You need support pants that go right up to below your bra, then a very supportive sports type bra. You can google post-abdominal surgery underwear and there is lots of choice.
I found it best to wear quite loose fitting clothes. Blouses that you can button up, rather than having things that need to go over your head, as you shouldn't raise your arms above shoulder height for the first four weeks. Quite loose shorts ( it was sunny!) and skirts were very comfortable.
I also found that having a v-shaped pillow helped with sleeping, as you have to sleep on your back for the first four weeks.
Can I ask a couple of questions about clothes.
what would be best for hospital and what was best to wear once you got home for the first few weeks?
Of course you can stay in touch- I would be delighted to share my experience as I was so grateful to get the advice of other ladies during all my treatment, so it's good to help out someone else!
I did drive from four weeks. I am not sure if strictly I should have, but I felt so well, and I used a towel over my abdominal area so protecting it from the seat belt. I think it's meant to be six weeks really before you drive. But it's only seven minutes from home to my parking space for work!
I was really disciplined with all the exercises and walking each day. I just wanted to recover and get on with my life!
thank you so much for your reply.
your experience sounds so positive, and it’s good to hear you have recovered very quickly. It was good that they continued to do this procedure in your area.
I have been given a provisional date of 21st September to have the lot done which I am so pleased about as I just want to get it over with.
If you are back at work can you drive ?
If it’s ok with you I would like to stay in touch as I may have more questions ?
Many thanks for your reply.
i was actually told last week I could have it done so hopefully I have a date for the end of September.
I had a diep reconstruction six weeks ago. My left mastectomy was in October 2018.
It is very painful for the first couple of days. I was in hospital for four days. When I got home, being able to sleep in my own bed, without the continual observations ( every fifteen minutes on the first night!), I felt so much better!
I walked every day and was really pleased with how quickly I recovered. I was back at work after four weeks.
I am really pleased already. It is SO nice to have a cleavage again. I feel so much happier with my body. It is not completely symmetrical yet, but I will be having symmetry surgery after six months, when my right breast will be given an uplift, and the surgeon left a little excess skin on my abdominal scar to fashion a nipple for my left breast. When I wear a bra, I look symmetrical. The breast feels like part of me, not a foreign body.
I have to say, despite the initial pain, I am thrilled that I went ahead with it, and I wish you lots of luck.
I didn't go for it in the end, I wasn't ready for such a long recovery and didn't want to put it off any longer . They started breast recon in Oxfordshire which was my nearest centre at the end of July. So as long as Covid is controlled in your area, diep recon should be back as an option. Good luck
I hope this helps someone in some way, I made a video of my DIEP journey, pictures from before and after....best thing I ever did, although yes it was a long recovery. I was back at work at 3 weeks post op....all the best xxxx
You can buy dressing gowns with pockets in them to hold the drains and I really recommend getting one. They have them in Asda for £12.
I also recommend bringing headphones and an I-pad or similar so you can drown out the madness of a hospital ward.
And wet wipes!
hello, yes - it was particularly painful for the first two days after the operation. When they said they were taking the catheter out and I’d have to walk to the loo I wondered how I’d manage. The pain predominantly was across the abdomen, where the drains come out and around the new breast. But painkillers really helped and it was bearable. But by day 3 things were so much better! The quicker you’re up and about, the better. Pack prune juice as the painkillers cause constipation!
I’m so much better now - 2 weeks on I’m not needing any painkillers at all. I won’t pretend it’s an easy thing to go through - it’s really tough but definitely worth it!
best of luck xx
Hi. thank you for your reply. I am glad all went well for you.I am still awaiting my referral, so still thinking of pro's and con's. Was it painful? x
Hello, I had my Diep flap mastectomy and immediate reconstruction 2 weeks ago today and, while it was quite an ordeal, am happy with the way it went. The surgery is undoubtedly harder to recover from than implant reconstruction - I was in hospital for six days and for the first two I felt like I had been hit by a truck. But the recovery is really remarkable. I feel better every day, am able to walk up to a mile a day now and managing very basic tasks. One of the hardest things to get to grips with weirdly has been getting used to my belly button being in a different place (it’s higher and a little off centre now!) but I’m told that can be corrected if I can bear another surgery. The shape of the new breast (while still pretty swollen) is a good match and I’m confident enough already to wear tops that show my shape.
I wish you well with the decision and am happy to answer any questions about the procedure. It’s early days for me but no regrets so far. Xxx
Going for my pre-op appointment this morning so not quite sure what that entails. Probably more weight checks and blood tests. 90 minutes drive and yet i have a hospital on my doorstep. Still....gives me a chance for a day off I suppose.
I think my good boob will be having an "upgrade" too. Hope it all goes well for you, and I look forward to your response xxx
i'm having a mastectomy and Diep flap reconstruction, alongside a restructure of my good breast at the same time next Friday. I'll definitely keep you updated as to how things go and have the same question as you in my mind too, to be honest.
Hi all, I am almost 3 years post mastectomy (immediate reconstruction with implant), and I am nor considering DIEP flap, as I am not happy with the way I look. Can anyone share experiences? I know its a big op, so I am wondering if the pain and recover are worth it in the end for the results xx Lots of love to all you beautiful ladies (and men) xx