Breast reconstruction begins on Wednesday

Posted by Chris on 24 Sep 2011, 01:03PM

After months of trying to decide what to do, and finally getting around to making a booking, the day is nearly here. On Wednesday afternoon, I will be going to hospital and having boob number 2 removed and the insertion of tissue expanders on both sides. After finalising my booking about 6 weeks ago, I had a breast cancer scare in this remaining boob, so I know that this is the right thing for me to do. However, I'm still very nervous about this procedure and am becoming more scared as the day approaches. This time it should be easy, as I won't have the breast cancer fear hanging over my head, like I did last December when I had, first a lumpectomy, and then a mastectomy 3 weeks later. This surgery is purely elective, so short of them finding a nasty little surprise lurking within, it should all be pretty straight forward.

I will let you all know how the surgery goes. I'm a bit paranoid about getting sick and having to cancel it, as I have only just recovered from a very heavy cold that lasted about a month. There is still so much illness around, and I hope to avoid it.

 

Love Chris xx

 

Comments

Hi Chris

TonyaM's picture

I think any surgery makes you nervous.There is no getting around it,just stay busy ++till wednesday.I think you are very brave having the other boob off but it will be peace of mind in the long run and no more mammograms.I think I'd be abit anxious about having reconstruction of any sort but at least the expanders are a quick operation.I can't have them cos I've had radiation in the past and my skin hasn't much elastic.I'd have to have the  Diep recon.and that scares me.It's 16mths since my mastectomy and I still find it hard to come to terms with a missing boob.I hope all goes well for you on Wednesday and that you end up with nice boobs -you deserve it.Will be thinking of you so let us know how you go.

                                  Tonya xx

DIEP

Chris's picture

Hi Tonya,
I looked into the DIEP and even saw Professor Pennington from RPA. That procedure gives pretty impressive new boobs, but like you, I was rather freaked out by the massive size of the operation, not to mention the length of the anaesthetic. Also, like you, I'm a nurse and as a nurse I understand the complications that could happen from such long surgery. I was very lucky to be spared needing radiotherapy, and due to only fairly small boobs now, B cup, and having 2 mastectomies, I was a good candidate for the implants. I'm still nervous though, and wonder what I'd be like if I had decided to go for the DIEP instead. Probably be a complete nervous wreck by now. Thanks for your good wishes.
Chris xxx

Hi Chris

TonyaM's picture

When it comes to reconstruction perhaps ignorance is bliss! Being a nurse does not always go in your favour.I can understand how you must feel but you just have to keep reminding yourself that to get to this point you must have carefully thought it through.I'm sure you did your"homework",weighed it all up,found good surgeons etc.I think it's hard knowing that this is not the final operation and that there's more to come.When it comes to breast cancer, it seems that any decision you have to make is a torturous one.If you don't have recon.then you have to live with an awful scar to remind you and continue mammograms and worry for the other boob.You look too young to have to do that.You'll be o.k -you're a breast cancer surviver AND a nurse so you are one gutsy chick!

                                   Tonya xx

Debbie J's picture

Chris, wishing you all the best for your surgery. Like you I am going to have the other breast off next year and implants. The thought of the other and being under for so long really sacred me,as I get so sick from it just for a few hrs.  I am going to my GP on Monday, as I have had constant pain in my left breast and under the arm , no lump. I will be glad to get it off as it is such a worry. Big  hugs Deb.

 

Chris's picture

Hi Debbie, how did you go at the doctors on Monday about your breast pain?
Love Chris xx

Chris's picture

Hi Debbie, how did you go at the doctors on Monday about your breast pain?
Love Chris xx

Chris's picture

Hi Debbie,
Good luck with your trip to the GP. At least you can stop worrying once you see them. I'm a worrier, and I do not want to spend the rest of my life worrying that my cancer will return in my left breast, so am glad it is going. I am still feeling very nervous now that the time is near though. Thanks for your good wishes.
Love Chris xx

LizzyB's picture

Hi Chris

Due to family history I chose to have a double mastecomy in April, which in my case proved timely as the pathology post surgery showed pre-cancerous cells in my 'healthy' boob.  I had expanders and recently had a second operation to replace them with silicone implants.  Yes the surgery is abit scary.....(well lets face it the whole breast cancer thing is scary!!!)....but I reckon the whole experience is not as bad as I thought it would be.  I have absolutely no regrets.  Sure it was tricky with two busy little boys, but with a positive attitude and my sense of humor still firmly in tact - I am now pretty much back to my old self....albeit with new perky boobs!!!!

Wishing you all the best with your surgery, I will be thinking of you....

xx Liz

 

Debbie J's picture

Did you have implants or tummy one?. I am having my other breast off next year and reconstruction.

Deb

Hi Chris

imelda sarmiento's picture

Hi Chris...All the best :-) ....you will be ok :-) You are a survivor! Hugs!

imelda

Chris's picture

Thanks Lizzy and Imelda, I will let you know how it all goes.
Love Chris xx

Two new boobs

Chris's picture

Hi, I've now had my mastectomy and the start of reconstruction. Operation went well, but a lot more painful than the mastectomy alone. All my rib and back muscles are very tender. Mind you, it probably had more to do with the narrow hard flat operating table, and the funny position I was in with my head back and low and my arms both outstretched. That position alone would make me stiff. I already have 2 little breast mounds as the doctor has added 200mls of saline into both. I've been detached from my calf stimulators and my drip has been removed, so now it is just me and my drains.
Love Chris xxx

Hi Chris

TonyaM's picture

Good to see you are back from the darkside and that all went well. Yes,those drains are like familiar old buddies.Won't it be weird/good to see those little mounds turn into boobs.You are one brave lady.Hope recovery is quick for you.

                                        Tonya xx

Hi chris

imelda sarmiento's picture

You are really a brave woman! Hope everything will turn out fine...and recovery will be fast :-)  (wink!)

hugs!

imelda

 

Good Luck

JJoy's picture

Hi Chris, all the best for you my dear.  I haven't thought of that far ahead for myself - with all the scars I have (sporting a new one on my face from recent skin cancer surgery) I have given up, I have walked around for 52 of my 59 years with a big scar on my chest (quite visible) from childhood heart surgery - so minus a boob and scars all over the place, I just 'go with the flow' (something like that) any way I admire you, good girl and I hope it is all good from here on! x Josie

Chris's picture

Hi all, thanks for your comments. Today has been a much better day than yesterday. I'm now up and about, and the pain is not too bad at all now. I'm glad it is now all done, and I have no regrets about the second mastectomy.
Love Chris xxx

well done

jo1234's picture

Hi Chris, Well done, glad to hear your on the mend. Hope recovery is fast for you so you can get on with your life. You are a very brave woman and i wish you all the best. Cheers Jo

LizzyB's picture

Hi Chris

Pleased to hear that your surgery went well and you are up and about and feeling good about your decision.  Stay strong, Liz x

Well Done Chris!

Ann-Marie AK's picture

Hi Chris

I'm so glad to hear your surgery was a success and that you are recovering well.

When I had my left breast mastectomy and tissue expander inserted in March it was fairly painful but bearable. I felt like I had a torn muscle in my chest, my surgeon said that is because my chest muscle was stretched over the top of the expander to keep it in place.

As you have the expanders filled your breasts will feel tight for a few days and then settle a bit before the next top up. At least they will be nice and even. I have one big round breast sitting high on my chest and one saggy old one hanging low LOL. You probably won't even need a bra while you have expanders in as your boobs don't move!

I hope your recovery continues to be smooth sailing

Take Care
Ann-Marie x

Chris's picture

Hi Ann-marie, my experience is just like yours. It does feel like pulled muscles, but it is getting better quickly. Not needing much pain relief now, but initially I was surprised at how painful it was. Today is day 4 and I have only needed pandol for the last 2 days.. I'm lucky that with having both done at the same time, hopefully they will be reasonably even and point in the same direction.
Love Chris xxx

onward & upward Chris!

LeanneI's picture

Hi Chris - glad your ordeal is on the homeward journey!

I had bilateral mastectomy in July last year with expanders.  Remember being told it was like having an elephant sitting on your chest. Mine was a little complicated as i got an infection & ended up being a longer more drawn out process than usual - but all good in the end.  Felt like going through puberty every time i had a  'pump-up' - boobs kept growing.  By the end of the filling stage, you will feel like you have bricks in your chest.  I had exchange surgery to take out expanders and put in implants at end of February this year which is much more comfortable.

I am much smaller than I was (which is prob a little hard to get used to as the rest of me unfortunately is the same size) but my neck and back are eternally grateful & thanking me for not having the double 'd's to lug around!! 

Most of all I have had a huge weight lifted from my shoulders also which is the best thing.

I don't wear bras now and joke that I will be the only one of our friends who in the nursing home in 35 years time, will still have boobs that point straight ahead :-) !!  Also can tense my chest muscles and make my boobs move - is a great party trick!!

My left side is a bit dicky due to it having all up 6 surgerys on it and lots of scar tissue inside, so may have more surgery next year to fix it.  But at the moment I am enjoying being back to 'normal' and able to do everything I could do before.

Good luck, the time will fly and you will have new boobs in no time!

Bye Leanne

 

 

Dot42's picture

Hi Chris, Sorry not been online for a little while.  Gee I won't let that happen again, so many things happen in a matter of a few weeks.  Great to hear you recover from your surgery.

I had a double masectomy and tissue expanders inserted.  When then they fill the tissue expanders the first time, I had a kink that was brusing my skin and causing pain.  So they decided that as long as I could take the pain they would keep filling the saline until the kink was out.  Well they did a 150ml on each side in one hit.  When I got up to walk I nearly toppled over not being use to carry the extra weights after being nearly flat chested for a while.  I now have the silicone implants. Which is slightly smaller than what i had filled because I told the doctor I did not want to look like a teenager with boobs right on my chest for my age.  So he stretched the skin more so when the silicones went in, they already droped a little.

Yes to all you girls we will have fairly perky boobs but my plastic surgeon said to me it is a misconception if you think that you boobs won't drop a little, So it is best to wear a bra at times.  He advised that its not only breast tissue that sag but your skin can stretch and lose elasticity as you age therefore your implants/boobs can sag. 

Plus one of the mums at my school had a boob job she then lost heaps of weight and now her boobs have sag quite a bit. 

So if you want to keep perky boobs try to not let the skin stretch.   So I am wearing my sexy bras to keep them looking cute. Ha Ha at least it will cover the scar until i get my new fakes nipples, which apparantly I might get them before Xmas.

Take care

 

Dot xxx

 

Chris's picture

Hi Dot, and Lizzy,
I'm doing well, but am really aware of my expanders, and wonder if I will ever be able to sleep on my side again. I'm very happy with how ist all appears at only 2 weeks post op. Both are very even and have a nice round appearance at the base. The recent mastectomy site is a bit more tender than the one done 9 months ago, but all the bruising has now gone, but there is still swelling mastectomy side, which I know is to be expected. Could I please ask you ladies, a few questions? 1. When could you sleep on your side again? ( I wake at 4.30 am each morning with a hip ache from lying on my back). 2. How quickly did you recover from your exchange to silicone operation? ( I'm trying to sort out work and time off etc, ) 3. Are either of you going to have nipples reconstructed? ( at this stage I am planning to do this ). Any other interesting facts about this reconstruction would be most appreciated.

Dot42's picture

Before masectomy I always slept on side, now sometimes I sleep on back because it was uncomfortable with expanders.  I do sleep on side now but even with silicones, they dont move to the side with your body, so sometimes it is uncomfortable in morning.  I have only had mine silicones in June this year.  So I don't know if it will get better with time.

I recover within a week of having the silicones inserted.  The stitiches/ scar took a bit longer.   The silicones are slightly uneven, one is slightly more to the side than the other about 1/2cm . So the cleavage line is out a little.  I did not notice the cleavage line was out, I enquire why one was more full on one side closer to the arm, thats when the plastic surgeon told me that one side is closer to the cleavage line and the other had move with the chest muscle to the other side. The plastic surgeon said that they can try to reinsert them again, except that I risk getting an infection then one side would have to be taken out until the infection is over. When I wear my bras you can not notice any difference at all.  So I am prepared to live with the slight imperfection.  At least I have some type of breast rather than nothing. 

I had to have my masectomy cut right across the middle of my breasts.  So that is where my scar is. I have no feeling there what so ever.  So the plastic surgeron said that my nipples reconstruction have to be under the scar so that it will take and survive.  There is still a risk that the nipples will not survive and can die.  Then they will have to do it again. The nipples are purely cosmetic.  They will  not have the feeling like the old ones.  So it does mean that I will always have a scar right across the middle but the plastic surgeon said if i get the tatooing done, the tatooist will try to do the best they can to cover some of the scar.  So I will let you know what happens when I get them done. 

If you think of any other questions please let me know.  I more than happy to help.

Dot

LizzyB's picture

Hi Chris

Before mastecomy I too slept on my side and like you wondered if I would every have a 'normal' nights sleep again.  I can't remember how long after the surgery but one morning I woke up on my side!!! Whilst it felt a bit weird it wasn't painful.  I am now just over 5 weeks post silicone implants.  I only had a week off work (I have an office job 2 days per week) and was able to drive within a few days.  Did avoid lifting anything heavy for a few weeks and was a good excuse to get my other half to do more around the house eg vaccuming, hanging washing.  I am booked in on the 28th Oct for nipples!!  It is day surgery with a local anaesthetic at the site.(haven't got much feeling there anyway)  Plastic surgeon said it will take around an hour.  He is lifting the skin and twisting it into a nipple (gives a whole new meaning to nipple twisting!! lol!!!) then hopefully early December they will finish them with tattooing for the aerola.  I was fully prepared just to have only the tattoos but both my surgeon and partner encouraged me to go 3 dimensional, as just tattooing can look like a transfer?  Hmmm I am hoping that they don't stick out too much as I really don't want perpetual high beams!! lol.... i will keep you posted.

Hang in there with your recovery. You will get to enjoy a good night's sleep in a few weeks on your side again!!

X Liz

Chris's picture

Hi Liz and Dot,
I am encouraged, thank you. Oh, to sleep on my side again will be great. I do think it is getting better by the day also. The side of my old mastectomy (R) is feeling pretty good now, and it is only just over 2 weeks since the surgery. The new mastectomy site is still a bit sore, but today it feels much better. Up to today, I've had a lot of shooting pains in the whole breast area. Today this hasn't happened, even though I have been out walking for 5.5 hours. This morning I woke up and was 3/4 on my right side, and it was great. It will probably all change again when I have an expansion next week, but at least I know it will improve.
Love Chris xx


Chris

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