Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog - it’s been therapeutic. My dad is doing well too!
It sounds like you have been on a long journey. It’s really interesting how hospitals do things so differently. I know what you mean about waiting for the further surgery, I think this has been one of the hardest things to come to terms with. If I hadn’t taken the cancellation for the nipple reconstruction and lipomodelling, I’d been advised it could be a two year wait - that seemed interminable.
If I’m honest, the DIEP recovery was much better than I thought. Don’t get me wrong, it was sore and moving around was slow at first but I was going for walks pretty soon and back to some yoga too. The scar’s not great though, I’m fact, my body’s a bit of a jigsaw now!
What are your options now? Do you have any scope to have the rest of your treatment at another hospital? I am on Twitter and I did see a lady who was due to have a DIEP at a NW hospital and her surgery was delayed. She posted a message to all the local NW hospitals asking if any of them could do it in a more timely fashion and one did get back to her and two weeks later, the surgery was completed...sometimes, it’s worth asking.
We’re away for the weekend and don’t have a great signal so if I don’t reply, that’s why.
Much love xx
Hi Toots, your blog is great. I thought I'll start having a look at it this morning for a bit, then I couldn't stop reading - so about an hour or so later I surfaced. It brought back loads of memories to me - I found myself saying 'That happened to me' and 'That's how I felt at the time' - so thanks for that. I've subscribed so should get any further updates.
You're very glamorous by the way. 💄👠👗
You ask why I opted for the expander - to be honest I didn't opt for it - it was sort of a fait accompli. In those first few early weeks after being diagnosed everything was a whirlwind of scans, biopsies, MRI's, treatment plans etc etc - I just remember the consultant asking me what size i was - i said 36D - and she said 'an expander would just about make it to that size'. I wasn't told or given other options and I knew so little about it all I just 'went with the flow'. I didn't know there were different types of breast cancer or different treatments or different reconstruction options. I just knew once I was told I had to have a mastectomy that I didn't want to stay flat.
I think now I know so much (from this site and general google) I probably would have preferred the DIEP - things would have moved along a lot quicker I think - I realise now why mine seems to be dragging on - I had 2 months of weekly hospital appointments after the mastectomy having the expander filled, then it had to be left for 3 months to 'settle in', so it was only in February that I was put on the list to have it exchanged (5 months after operation) - then waited another 6 months for a date to have the silcone implant put in - done on 12th August. It was such a long time with the tissue expander in, and it was so hard and uncomfortable - like a bowling ball stuck under my skin. This new impalnt is much more comfortable - not a great shape, still lumpy - but maybe it will get better with time.🤞
God know's how long I'll have to wait to get the left boob sorted and a nipple reconstruction and tattoo for my new one.
The good thing about the expander is that I only have one site of operation - 2 surgeries on my right boob - so one very neat fading line across the middle from the mastectomy and now one under the breast where the exchange was done - your tummy looked very sore from your DIEP.😪
I'm not sure how you e-mail via this site either - I'll have a look now and try e-mailing you then maybe you can reply?
Hope your Dad is OK.🥰
It does sound like you’ve been waiting a long time - i think the waiting is the hardest part. Do you mind me asking why you opted for an expander rather than reconstruction?
Ive not been very active on the forums and I can’t see a way to send you an email - do you know how to do it?
Hi Toots, thanks for this - I've saved your blog page so I can read it 'at leisure'. I'm sure it's OK to post it on here, though, as I'm sure i've seen other references to blogs - but at least I have it now if it does get removed.
I seem to be waiting ages in between things getting done
I had my mastectomy last September, then a tissue expander, which was at its correct size by November - then had to wait 3 months until the February to be put on the surgeons list - then waited another 6 months for the exchange surgery!
I have a follow up appointment on 26th Sept - I'll be asking to have my left b👀b reduced and lifted to try and get some symmetry - but god only knows how long I'll have to wait for that as it will be viewed as non urgent and cosmetic. Think I may have see how much it might cost to get it done privately as all the waiting and not knowing is such a strain.
I know we can't name hospitals but I'm from Liverpool and under the Aintree one. Just wondering what region you're in?
It would be really helpful to see photo's - I think they can be sent in a private e-mail through this site? I have gone on you tube to try and get an idea of what reconstructed nipples might look like - but I quickly came off the site as it seemed to be gorey operations and I'm a wimp.😜
Thanks so much for all this help, I really appreciate it as I'm hopefully moving into this next stage of my journey.
63 isn’t old!!
I think we have all been through the mill! I have so many blessings to count.
I am not sure if I am allowed to post the title of my blog so totally understand if this part of the message has to be deleted. It has been very therapeutic writing about my experiences, the web address is:
I had a mastopexy at the same time as my reconstruction, that went really well and I am so pleased with the outcome. Both of my boobs look pert and alert! The scars on the mastopexy look like a ‘T’ and are hidden on the underside of the breast. My nipple was also relocated on that side so it lined up with my new reconstructed breast. I would be very happy to send you some pictures if it would help you? What I would say, there has been some loss of sensation to my nipple following the surgery but to be fair, having breastfed both of my children, they had lost some sensation anyway.
My newly reconstructed nipple is great and I know following a slight revision it will be perfect! I am hoping to have tattooing done in September – fingers crossed!
As for the lipomodelling, I would speak to your plastic surgeon. Ask lots of questions as to where the fat will come from. If you only need a small amount of fat, they may be able to take it from your abdomen which would be less invasive than your hips, (I hardly had any bruising on my upper abdomen). I think I have been unlucky – if these were the results, I don’t think the procedure would be done! There are always risks and I wouldn’t let my experience put anyone off. You have an opportunity to make a huge difference to the way you look and feel and in that sense my advice would be to make sure your questions are answered and if you’re happy with the answers go for it
Poor you - sounds like you've been through the mill.
I'd love to read your blog - so if you can give the details of where I can it that would be great.
I'm a lot older than you - I'm 63 (but I like to think a 'young' 63) and still care about my appearance, so I was considering having my left boob reduced and lifted. I also wanted a new nipple reconstructing and tattooed.
I had a right mastectomy last September with a tissue expander. I had to wait 6 months to get the tissue expander exchanged - had that done last Monday. I've been left with some puckering and a big dent in it - so was considering lipomdelling to sort that out - but I might think again about that!
Still want the left one sorted for symmetry.
Thanks for sharing this experience - its really helpful.
I am really sorry you are in this predicament but hope you have had good outcomes so far . I have just written a blog about this latest episode which I can give you the details of separately if it would help.
To be honest with you, this has probably been the least successful part of my journey. I think I was totally unprepared for this part of the surgery and perhaps that is where I have come unstuck. I’m normally very on the ball but having had three previous surgeries I think I had become complacent!!
I was scheduled for nipple reconstruction on my right breast, lipomodelling on my left breast with the harvest sites being my inner and outer thighs and upper abdomen. I am quite slim a size 8 to 10. The surgery took about four hours which was longer than I had expected but immediately afterwards I was up and about and went home on the same day.
The bruising was extensive considerably more than when I had the DIEP reconstruction. I was bruised from my bottom to my knees and couldn’t easily sit, stand or sleep – I felt really sorry for myself! I am a really positive person but it did test me a bit.
When the dressings were removed on the reconstructed nipple (they were on for 2 wks), I was absolutely delighted. Whilst I had previously been given a very good prosthetic nipple I had not expected the lifelike appearance of the reconstructed one. I had been advised it may retract over time and sure enough at nearly 8 weeks post op it is very flat and points downwards. I have been told I will likely need a revision in due course.
The lipomodelling has been moderately successful as already some of the fat has been reabsorbed which is one of the possible risks associated with the procedure. I am awaiting further advice from the plastic surgeon as to whether I will undergo further surgery but to be honest I am not sure whether I want to.
My greatest problem is the damage caused to my legs. Unfortunately I have been left with significant depressions on both my left and right thighs where too much fat has been taken and also skin on the inside of my thighs has become very loose. I am only 46 and feel this ages me by about 30 years!! I have been wearing compression garments as advised for the last eight weeks and have been asked to wear them for another four weeks until my appointment with the plastic surgeon. I am not sure, based on my conversations with the surgical team, that my situation is typical. If I had been made aware these issues were a possibility, I would not have had the procedure done. I did ask whether there was any chance of an outcome like mine and I was told no.
All in all, I’d have the nipple reconstruction in a heartbeat but as for the lipomodelling, whilst one problem has been partially resolved, it has left me with another more significant one.
I really hope your surgery goes well. If I can do anything to help, please let me know.
Hi Toots - just wondering if you decided to go ahead with these procedures and if so how was it.
I'll be getting to that stage next, so am wondering about outcomes etc.
Hi, I’ve not had this yet as I’ve only just had my Diep (1 week ago) and hysterectomy plus overies 10 months ago. But from what I understand and this isn’t a lot tbf but I think they take fat from thighs????
I am wearing an abdominal binder now after my Diep that is supposed to support lower back while not standing straight.
I think it would be a shame if you didn’t have the final tweets after you have gone through so much but perhaps not just yet. If you turn down the date would they still offer again in maybe six months time?
I haven't had any procedures apart from mx/node clearance so can't help unfortunately...
Hopefully someone with experience will be along to advise you shortly x 💗
After writing 12 months ago totally despondent about my cancer diagnosis I am now nearly 12 months on since my mastectomy and DIEP.
This Friday, I have been offered a cancellation for nipple reconstruction and fat grafting and will only see the plastic surgeon to discuss the details on Wednesday.
Having had a hysterectomy three months ago I do feel like I’ve had a fair bit of surgery and have contemplated whether to have this done or not.
Can I ask whether any of you have had the procedure have been pleased with the results and ultimately whether you have had the sensation change in your breast. I have no sensation in my reconstructed breast but I am worried that adding fat to my other breast will change its sensation and I am not sure I want to do that.
I have read a lot of people seem to wear abdominal support – is this because fat was taken from the abdomen, and to manage bruising. Is bruising extensive from sites that have had the liposuction?
Any personal experiences would be much appreciated.