Thank you Kate, that’s really helpful, and very reassuring that you found the feeling so different. “ a mound that just sat on my chest” is a really good description of how I feel about the implant too, although I’m lucky enough not to have much cramping. To be able to actually forget it’s there and not a breast must be amazing, I’m constantly aware of the implant.
I would definitely choose the diep over implants. I didn't have the best relationship with the mastectomy implant. It rippled, it was freezing in cold weather and it was a mound that just sat on my chest amd caused rib cramping so I was glad to be rid of it. With the diep, like I said earlier on I dont have an atypical shape due to the amount of repair I required but what I do have is a breast shape diep. It feels like a breast, its warm like the rest of my body and it shapes and hangs like a breast. I only remember that it's not a breast when I see my scarring in a morror and I have extensive scarring on mine which isn't the norm but I had to have so much skin removing that it meant me having the breast shape completely rebuilt. I have seen some really good dieps that look amazing and you can barely tell the difference between real breast and diep because these surgeons are absolutely fantastic.
Cosmetics aside I would still opt for the diep. I was the right choice for me. I still feel feminine, way more than I did with the implant.
I hope this helps. I'm happy for you to private message me if you need anymore help x
Hi @Kander ,
As you’ve had both an implant and a DIep, could I ask how different you found the two?
I currently have a temporary implant following a nipple sparing mastectomy, I’ve had it for four months and I hate it. It healed well, I have no pain, the scar is small and the appearance in clothes or even without is great. But it’s constantly uncomfortable, and the feel of it is horrible. It’s unyielding and heavy and moves in a single lump, and is just so artificial, I can’t bear touching it or having anyone/thing else do so.
I’m meant to be having a contralateral mastectomy and bilateral Diep early next year, six months after end of radiotherapy. My surgeon prefers delayed-immediate reconstruction with such a complex operation as it reduces complications and avoids irradiating a newly reconstructed breast which can cause permanent damage, and I was on board with that from a medical perspective.
But with how much I hate the implant, I’m seriously considering just going flat instead. How different does the Diep feel, is it significantly more natural than the implant, even without the capsular constricture?
Many thanks for any personal insights you can share,
Hi Bettty J.
No hun. My surgery was done at The Chtistie in Manchester.
I can't speak for that hospital unfortunately but I can say that my after care was second to none. The nursing staff we fantastic with me and I would hope all hospitals work the same way x
Thanks so much for your reply. I really appreciate it. It is good to hear you would go for it again.
Was your operation done at Whiston? X
Hi Betty J.
I've just hit 3 years since my diep surgery and there are pros and cons for me. I had to have a lot of breast skin removed and therefore a lot of my tummy to rebuild the breast so my diep isn't Atypical. I wouldn't change the fact that I had a diep done though as previously I'd had a mastectomy with implant repair which failed me after several years and caused discomfort due to capsular constricture and I had cramping like you wouldn't believe.
Even with a few issues I would still 100% do it the same way. If I had been given the option of a diep from the start I would have opted for it then.
My friend is awaiting a diep and even though shes seen me go through it, she haS seen the outcome with my breast and is still happy to go and have hers.
I call mine my belly boob and I love it x
I hope you don't mind me replying to this thread, but I am due a single mastectomy and diep in Whiston soon. I'm getting nervous and was wondering are you still happy with the results. I've had an option to save approx 50% of my breast but have opted for Diep. I'm just getting scared about surgery now x
Hello Kander, I had my DIEP last November, Im fully recovered and happy with my decision.
My advice would be to ask for as much help as you can get from whoever offers it. I expect your husband would feel better if he was doing practical stuff, but if he cant take you to the hopsital then ask a friend to go with you. Similarly for visits in hsopital and the journey home.
You will need help in the early days with things like washing your hair, removing the anti thromobosis socks that you need to wear for 4-6 weeks but do need to be removed for short breaks. If you have an over the bath shower then you will need help getting in and out. My husband did this for me but friends also offered.
If you accept help from people during the recovery it will mean you will get back to normal quicker. Its also surprising what other people (including children) can cope with when they have to do things because you cant. Take your time and look after yourself, its a big operation so your body needs time to recover and you deserve some time out.
All the very best with the operation and recovery
Hey Kander - good to talk to you.
Without hesitation I would do the DIEP again - best decision I made. I was terrfified of the prospect of needing future surgery if I went for the implants, and also, the radiotherapy has not affected my new boobs in any major way.! I can't talk about Christies as I had mine done at Whiston where the surgoen had very strict instructions regarding recovery, which worked perfectly! I was out of hospital in 4 days, with no drains in situ and able to walk almost upright within a week or two. There was no pain - the pain relief topped it all and by day 3 I was just taking paracetamol. Physio's had me walking up the little stairs the day after and although I fely woozy as my bloods were low, after a quick transfusion I was up and about in no time. Amazing.
I have 2 young boys and my husband stepped up to the healm and they all helped out with all the domestic stuff (well, sort of!) - I was driving by 5 weeks. I walked every day when I got home - even if it was only a 100 yards up my road, but I eventually built up my stamina and was feeling 'normal' again after a few weeks.
It's a very hard decision to make and only you can make it. The team at Whiston were awesome and I'm sure at Christies like everywhere else, they are brilliant too. So skilled and confident - and passionate - in their work, I felt totally safe and fully supported by them all throughout every aspect of the build up to the op, the actual op, and the aftercare.
Oh - and the tummy tuck! It was a no-brainer for me!
very besst of luck hun - it's amazing how we get through things and find those resrves when we need them most. Take care,
Thank you chasanddave, I am frustrated & not sleeping - worrying that by the time they get round to surgery it will have spread. I will be speaking to my MBCN tomorrow - altough not finding her particularly sympathetic! Sue x
Hi Pico. That sounds really frustrating. I had Reika Taghazadi who was awesome. If it's a DIEP then she insisted on Mr Sripidam for RT. Good luck with sorting. Jacqui x
Hi chasanddave I hope you don't mind me asking this - I am new to this forum, due to have a MX & DIEP at Whiston Hospital and noticed you were under Whiston & just wondering which surgeon you had? I had a WLE for DCIS & was hoping to be on RT by now but they found it was actually Grade 1 so now waiting to see Mr Koshy. Unfortunatley he is off sick & when he gets back my Breast Surgeon is going on annual leave. I had WLE at beginning of June & it looks like beginning of September before they're all around....so now I'm wondering if there are any other surgeons at Whiston who could do this - did you have Mr Koshy or someone else? Thanks Hun
Yes, Sue. You need non wired full support. You'll be wearing them 24 hours a day for 22 weeks as they help to get everything in the right place and shape. You'll need good hold in pants as well. This supports the tummy. I've still had a build up of fluid, but it's not nasty.
Didn't know what to expect, but I'd prepared well with exercises etc before hand. If you want to PM me I don't mind passing on my number if you want a chat.
Thanks for all the advice on this thread. I have been diagnosed with a recurrence and even though the tumour is small they have suggested mastectomy with reconstruction because it's my second time around. I haven't been too sure whether to go for the reconstruction or not, but after some thought have committed to it and been given a mid-June date at East Grinstead.
Any more advice on what to take in to hospital, or advice on support knickers and bras would be gratefully received!
Oscar's Mum, I am only 3weeks post DMX and DIEP reconstruction. As it was immediate reconstruction, only my nipple areas are the skin from my tummy and I am assuming that this is why I have feeling all around both breasts. I can feel all my tummy but would assume there will be some strange sensations around the scar, but a small price to pay to still be all me. The tummy scar is quite low. I'm wearing trousers now and not finding it uncomfortable.
Yes the ops a biggie. I felt like I'd been hit by a bus for a couple of days and then every day you feel a bit better. I trued to prepare well before the op exercising to strengthen core, arm .shoulder and chest muscles and this seems to have paid off. I had full range of movement in my arms before I left the hospital. I have also eaten really healthily to aid my skin healing. I'm a bit of a fatty (size16now) and I had the body mass index thing thrown at me. I ignored them and found someone who was competent enough to do the surgery (and never mentioned my body mass index).
You have to do what feels right for you throughout this horrid journey. You are the one who has to live in your body, not anyone on this forum, not your friends and family and certainly not the doctors. You will know what you must do for yourself and what you can cope with. Apart from the split second as the theatre doors closed, when I was in blind panic mode, I haven't regretted my decision. I'm still all me and all still there, except the bits I really didn't want to be part of me anymore. I only have a decision to make about nipples now, just a tattoo or the lumpy bits as well. I do seem to have phantom nipples at the moment though and that feels very strange!
You'll make the right decision for you. xxx
Thank you for sharing all your experiences on this forum- it's incredibly informative
I had a left mastectomy last year. I am in the process of deciding on reconstruction and not sure whether to go for a DIEP or keep things simple with an implant.
One thing I am worried about with a DIEP is the tummy scar and whether anyone experiences numbness (as I do with my mastectomy scar) afterwards. Is it uncomfortable to have your trouser/skirt band rubbing on it?
I'm feeling really well and able to do everything since my mastectomy and am a little anxious about undergoing such a big operation.
Thoughts and experiences greatly received!!
Hi Fairy Dust, good to hear that you are doing well post op. Glad that you had good care, it does make a difference. Also great to know that cancer all removed, as my GP said, now you can out it behind you and get on with life.
Like you I was pleasantly suprised at my Hubby's skills, very good blow dry and styling with instruction from me, lots of meal preparation and general looking after. While nobody would want to have cancer, a positive thing was it it reminded me how lucky I am to have him.
Im sure you will go from strength to strength, I found bruises came out in all sorts of strange places in the first few weeks and the places that ached would very day to day. I found that the arm/shoulder exercises really helped and I still do them now to keep up the fleixiblity, I expect you will have a leaflet telling you when you can start and what to do.
I found it a bit strange the first time I touched my scars, but it soon feels OK. I still massage them with bio oil each day and I include my 'real' boob so it does not feel left out.
All the very best over the next few weeks
All the places where the radiotherapy zaps have been (side of neck, breast and underarm) is a little sore with what feels like sunburn. I have plenty of dressings that have been supplied but the skin has not broken. I am also using an emollient that was supplied too, twice a day on all the affected areas. The burning sensation didn't really become sore until the last day or 2 of my 15 zaps, which is apprarently, quite normal. My BCN has advised that 2 weeks after the last session is usually when side effects kick in , if at all. So I'll report back next week.
Ok thanks so it sounds like they can repair any issues that may arise? What about the burnt breast? Can you advise further re that please? Ta.
I am discussing a reconstruction using my stomach area if it is possible for me. What size lump lump did or do you have? Many thanks.
How' s everyone doing?
I'm home now and 1week post op. It's strange looking at what I posted before and how I feel now. I'm quite surprised by how well I do feel as long as I don't cough, sneeze or laugh!!!! Ouch!!!! Feel happier than I've felt since my diagnosis before Christmas. Body looks bruised and battered, but cancer well and truly evicted and body showing promise. Managed to stand in my shower this morning! Hubby surprising me on how well he is looking after me.
One thing I must say is how well cared for I was in hospital. All the staff were amazing. I was a long way from home (2hour drive) hubby and a couple of family members visited in the evening, but because of excellent care I felt very safe.
Would love to hear how those who've gone before me are doing now. Hope you are all feeling amazing. xxx
Good idea about the weepy film, Strawberry and comforting to hear you feel so well. Been for preop assessment today, so last barrier passed before op and the real effect of this hits me. I told the nurse today that I actually feel terrified. I like to put on this mask that I'm coping well and I must admit I sometimes surprise myself, but it does get so tiring and, whilst she's no longer around, I really need my mum to pick me up and tell me she'll make it all better. I'm 57 and feel like a 5 year old at the moment. Just hoping I don't show myself up on Sunday and actually act like a 5 year old!
I've made contact with someone on here who lives quite close. We haven't met up yet, but being able to physically have a conversation with someone who truly understands how you feel without feeling you've got to be guarded, or put on some mask or false front, felt good.
As for control pants!! As I've lost 3 1/2 stone and most of my clothes don't fit me. I had bought some new control pants for the op when I extpected it to happen in February. I've had my case packed ready to go since then. After a discussion with the nurse today, I've come home and tried them on and I don't have enough for them to support anymore. I need to get out tomorrow and buy some smaller ones! Good problem to have really. I shocked the surgeon as well when she saw me and she has had to reconsider the reconstruction. Will have a breast lift now rather than just a restuff and she says she is going to overstuff, so that as I lose more weight I won't be left with empty bags! May try to weigh them again to see how much I'll lose instantly on Sunday.
The op is being done in a private hospital, but in an NHS slot. The last nurse I saw was just for a blood test, when she saw the plastic surgeon I was having, she asked me if I was excited about the op. Excited! I told her I was scared stiff, but I would be pleased to get the cancer out. She looked a bit shocked, as I think she thought I was just in there for the joy of a boob lift and a tummy tuck. If only it was by actual choice instead of necessity. I would in that case not be putting myself through this.
One of the other nurses said that this op is being done there every Sunday at the moment and it's mostly NHS slots. I had rung a couple of months ago to the same hospital, because I knew the surgeon I wanted operated there, to find out how much it would cost to pay privately, thinking I would be able to get it done quicker (money available from a pension pot if I had been desperate), but was told I would get it done quicker on the NHS!! Never expected that.
There's wifi in the room, so I'll post to let you know how I get on when I'm coherent and not overheating from the heated blanket I've been told I'll be wearing for a couple of days. Looking forward to the Letrozole hot flushes when I'm wearing that! Hand held electric fan bought and at the ready. xxx
Hi Fairy Dust
Trust your intuition, if you need to take time out before the operation then do it. Its a long slog in the months leading up to this, lots of appointments and tests as well as the emotional strain. (not too mention the dilemmas around the type of control pants to buy and falling over in the changing room trying to get them beyond my thighs!)
If you cant cry, you could try finding the weepiest film youve seen and see if it works. As for screamining you could sing/shout along to something loud - whatever takes your fancy -heavy metal?
Do whatever you feel like doing, anything you do is OK if it gets you through.
Looking back I think the things that helped me most was talking to other people, telling them if I was scared, accepting support. Also dont worry too much about whether youve prepared for the operation and recovery - I remember talking to a nurse on the ward about putting on some pants and pyjamas on day 2 and her saying 'its probalby easier to keep your hospital gown and go commando' and it was.
After the operation take as much time as you need to recover - you may want to tell your employer that it could be 3 months - you may well be feeling pretty good after 6 weeks but you cant tell until you are recovering.
Im now 22 weeks post operation and feeling very well, I realise that it made a huge difference to me to have an instant new boob. It is a long operation and there were a couple of times when I wondered if I had made the right choice, but it was a good decision and I am very happy with the result.
Time goes by quickly and in no time you will be like me, ready to decide about a new nipple and tattoo.
All the very best
Thanks Jacqui and Strawberry. Not been on for a while. Looked in a couple of times, but not felt up to posting. Emotions all over the place with just over a week to go until the op.
Seeing GP tomorrow about maybe going off work next week. Managed to keep going for the last 5 months through this, but really finding it difficult to put that happy face mask on every morning. I love my job, but think we sometimes just need to take time for ourselves through this ordeal, if only to maintain our sanity. Feel like I could do with a good cry (or very loud scream), but haven't been able to.
Hope everyone on here is recovering ok. xxx
Hello Fairy Dust
I had my DIEP in November and I felt very much like you, both wanting to move on with things but being scared about the actual operation because there is no going back. I had a delay becuase when I had my pre-op CT scan they discovered a large cyst on one of my ovaries and I had to have this removed by keyhole surgery and then recover before they could do the DIEP.
The way I tried to think about the operation was not so much losing my breast but losing some unhealthy bits and relocating some of me.
You will get through it and cope with whatever happens. I have recovered well and been amazed at how quickly the time goes by, which means that the worst bits are soon in the past. I am not very good at asking for help but decided that I would take everyone up on their offers of support, visits, food etc and this really helped. I also decided that I would not keep it secret and everyone was really supportive. I support my Mum a lot and all her neighbours, district nurses etc made sure that she had lots of support when I was out of action.
All the very best for the 29th.
Sarah, CJ, Yasmin and Jacqui (hope I've got everybody whose very recently gone through this on this thread) how are you all doing now? Hugs to you all. Hope everything is going well with your healing. I know you're all at slightly different stages of recovery, but hopefully you're all feeling more like yourselves.
I've got my date now, Sunday 29th April, it's a weird feeling, because whilst I can't wait to get the cancer out of me, I don't really want to have to go through this op or lose my breasts and then I can't wait for the op, so that I can be on the other side of it and get to know what we are really dealing with and start looking forward. Don't we have to run the gamut of emotions with all this? Does anyone still feel sane after this? Love to you all xxx
Expect you have had your op by now & are starting your road to recovery. I had a DIEP last year. I employed cleaners, gardener & food shopped online! I needed some support the first couple of weeks but after that managed well on my own. I bought a wedge for my bed and had lots of pillows. I slept well like that!
My job is very active and involves lifting and unloading as well as lots of driving, as well as working in none desk scenarios! So my consultant told me that I would need at least 6 months. I went back after seven months. The specialist nurse told me they dont let anyone back before three months and then only if they are sat at a desk. So my advice is take it steady and give yourself time as its a massive op and it takes it out if you. I asked for a phased return and am glad I did as found I tired easily.
Am delighted with the outcome of my op it looks amazing. About to have the next op with an uplift to the other breast to match and a new nipple formed on the new boob.
Wishing you a straightforward recovery. Xx
Hope you don't mind me asking but as I am also due for surgery with Mr Favaro (having too been with Mr Rhodes) I was wondering how you are following your surgery. I hope all went well and you are now recovering. Would love to hear about your experience.
I've found this thread really useful. I don't have an exact date, but am told they are trying to organise for early April. Trying to get organised at home for my period of inactivity! The tip about the little electric fan is really useful.
I was diagnosed in mid December (multi focal 4 areas invasive ductal in right breast) and feel I have had to really fight to get the surgery and reconstruction I want/need, because I wanted the other breast removed as well. I am having to travel 2hours to see the surgeon who has accepted me and who has been so supportive since I met her. My local area don't even do the diep reconstruction and gave me no information about where I could go. I found my own surgeon, but the delay and battle I have had has caused me a lot of anxiety and distress. I am also concerned that it has allowed the cancer time to spread. I was originally told my lymph nodes were clear, but now I have 35mm piece in 1lymph node and have to have a level 1clearance at the time of my surgery.
We shouldn't have to go into battle with the NHS when we are already going through the biggest fight of our lives! They shouldn't treat us like we are automatons who don't need information and will be good little girls who will do what they tell us and be grateful for it! That's another rant over!
Feel quite calm at the moment, but know that will change once I get the date.