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After mastectomy tips and tricks

Ladybug-Chunk
Posts: 8
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi,
Newly diagnosed and will talk with doctor tomorrow about mastectomy.
Is there a thread about what to expect and any tips or tricks to help someone get thru this?
Thanks Deb

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi Ladybug! Just want to welcome you! I had a lumpectomy, so, I can't offer any advice, but, others here will. Good luck to you!

cats_toy's picture
cats_toy
Posts: 1463
Joined: Feb 2009

The only thing I can say is make a list of all your questions, and hopefully the doc will give you all your options. This site will have lots of people's experiences regarding every aspect, so you can do some searching and you will find a variety of information. Let us know how it goes tomorrow.

Cat

Voltie
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2009

are you having both or only one breast removed. I at first was having only the one with cancer. They were going to take muscle from my back. With talking with others, I chose to have both removed for a couple of reasons. My Plastic Surgeon said in 10 years (depending on your age) I would need to have my "good breast" worked on because with age comes the sagging etc, and the other one would be perky. And others told me they didn't want to worry about it getting cancer. I chose to have both remove and assumed they would take muscle from both sides of my back. Because I chose to have both, they didn't have to use any of my muscles from my back or tummy; I guess that is only done when you are having one to create symmetry to the nondiseased breast. My recovery was wonderful and no loss of strength due to not having the muscle removed.

Good luck.

Voltie
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2009

are you having both or only one breast removed. I at first was having only the one with cancer. They were going to take muscle from my back. With talking with others, I chose to have both removed for a couple of reasons. My Plastic Surgeon said in 10 years (depending on your age) I would need to have my "good breast" worked on because with age comes the sagging etc, and the other one would be perky. And others told me they didn't want to worry about it getting cancer. I chose to have both remove and assumed they would take muscle from both sides of my back. Because I chose to have both, they didn't have to use any of my muscles from my back or tummy; I guess that is only done when you are having one to create symmetry to the nondiseased breast. My recovery was wonderful and no loss of strength due to not having the muscle removed.

Good luck.

Ladybug-Chunk
Posts: 8
Joined: Jul 2009

I want to have both removed as the other one is the one with the problem of recurring abcesses. It depends on what my insurance says and I still have to talk with the surgeon on everything. I will start on that process tomorrow. This just seems too overwhelming.
Thanks for the replies.
Deb

Noel's picture
Noel
Posts: 3101
Joined: Apr 2009

Good luck to you Deb. But, just remember that you can still get bc back even with a mastectomy. You still have breast tissue left. The recurrence and life span is the same with a lumpectomy as with a mastectomy. Your oncologist will share that info with you. But, you need to do what is best for you and your circumstance. We are all so different and need to make our own choice.

jk1952's picture
jk1952
Posts: 613
Joined: May 2009

I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction (I couldn't do the implants because I had radition 9 years earlier). I am very happy that I chose to do both, since they have both had the same reconstruction and will age and sag in the same way. I know that there is still a risk of breast cancer, but it is greatly diminished and so hopefully there will be fewer tests and treatmnets going forward.

I had no problems with my insurance carrier relative to any of the surgeries, and I had only had a diagnosis in one breast. And this is the same carrier that I fought to have them pay for the MRI's.

Hope things go well tomorrow. Let us know.

Joyce

confused123's picture
confused123
Posts: 241
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi,

Just wanted to say you should write down some questions to take with you and write down the answers if you can. Taking another person to your appointment may help too. I had a double mastectomy in January this year. I had to have the right side done and chose both. If you decide on mastectomy let us know and I and I am sure others will give lots of tips. Take one step at a time. Good luck making your decision.

Kim

DorothyA
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2009

Deb,
Just had a mastectomy on May 19th and I made the choice not to remove the heathy breast. I am glad I did because my recovery has not been rough. Healing has been quick. I was a smoker when I was diagnosed so I was not able to have a reconstruction until later...down the road. My breast had to be removed because it had spread to two other spots located directly behind the nipple and another located at the 6 oclock position. Lumpectomy was out of the question. Normally, if the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes you won't need chemo after a mastectomy. Gotta say there was no pain following surgery...a drain tube is left in for 1 to 2 weeks. Mine came out easily. So it should not be bad. God luck!

bfbear's picture
bfbear
Posts: 381
Joined: Mar 2009

on May 6th.

I was told all breast tissue was removed, with clean margins of epithelial (skin)cells. My surgeon said there was very little to no chance of bc recurrence, unless it was on the surface of the skin (my diagnosis/pathology report was DCIS in the L breast -- a tumor and many small spots throughout;no nodes involved; my R breast was "healthy" like yours, with no malignancies but lots of lumps that I would have worried about constantly).

I also had implants put in under the chest muscles. I didn't have enough around my middle to use for reconstruction (I tried to get the plastic surgeon to take some from my butt, but she didn't go for it...lol) I think the implants are the biggest part of recovery, but all in all it went much easier than I expected. The first few days are rough, but now I am even starting to do push ups again! The drains were a pain, but only for 10 days or so, and it's just part of the process that you get used to, like anything else!

So, keep us all up to date, please. We're here for you.

Gentle hugs,
Debi

P.S. You can always PM me with more questions.

bfbear's picture
bfbear
Posts: 381
Joined: Mar 2009

Read that thread, which began on 5/31/09 and is currently on page 11. It will address some of your questions, too!

Debi

Noel's picture
Noel
Posts: 3101
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi Dorothy A! Just want to welcome you to the site also!

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3629
Joined: Apr 2009

My surgery was lumpectomy, so can't specifically address your question.

Still, I welcome you - we're all here to support and encourage each other.

I hope things went well for you today, at your doctor appointment.

Ladybug-Chunk
Posts: 8
Joined: Jul 2009

Thank you all for the information.
Today I called the surgeon to tell them to get the ball rolling.
Have to get the insurance pre authorized and stuff.
Thanks again
Deb

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3888
Joined: Jun 2009

Good luck to you Deb! Keep us updated!

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

Welcome Ladybug! Looks like you have your mind made up. Just wishing you good luck with

your surgery! Keep us posted!

Kristin N's picture
Kristin N
Posts: 1969
Joined: Mar 2009

I didn't have a mastectomy but want to welcome you Ladybug! Be sure and write down your questions to take with you to your doctor and take someone else with you too. 4 ears are much better than 2. Also, the ACS site and the Susan B. Komen site have questions already made up that you might look at and see if they pertain to you.

Good luck! Let us know how your visit goes with your doctor!

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