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Double Mastectomy and immediate DIEP Flap reconstruction

Posts: 77
Joined: Mar 2011

well I have few more weeks before my "Big" surgery - Double Mastectomy and immediate DIEP Flap reconstruction .... anybody have any before/after surgery tips/sugestions ?

Posts: 601
Joined: Mar 2004


First of all you will not be able to do anything for about a week or so. Make sure you have people signed up to make meals, take care of kids etc. As far as yourself, I always found it easier to sleep in a recliner than try to lay in bed. If you do lay in bed when you get home you will need about 5 pillows behind you (your almost sitting up) and someone to help you in and out of bed. You will also need someone to help you shower as you will have drains and have to hold them when you shower. Make sure to get pain meds on the way home from the hospital, you will need them and take them as directed. Guess that is my 2 cents.


tufi000's picture
Posts: 547
Joined: Jun 2005

I put a futon mattress on top of my side of the bed and let it hang over the side so I was able to get in and out of bed myself due to its firmness. I only used 2-3 pillows at first then went to 2 till this day if I want to sleep on my side now.
Actually I was able to get around after a couple of days but the initial thrust of sitting up and down will be a bear and you cannot straighten up for a long long long time or your guts may fall out!! LOL
Since you aren't real active I went with sink showers and no guilt. There were so many drains and bandagings it was much less trouble. And yeah keep the pain meds going, but I tried to just use them at night because you will need them for quite awhile.

My surgeon is a marathon runner to keep in shape for these surgeries. Mine was over 14 hours!!!!
But they treated me like a queen and it was not an awful experience at all. So the best to you kiddo.

peanutcat's picture
Posts: 104
Joined: Mar 2011

I was only in the hospitol for two days, brought those horrible drains home with me. Some pain not a real lot. I had pain pills of course. The Cancer Society sent me two little pillows. I put one at my back and the other at my stomach,that helped. I had plenty of help home. My kids are grown and they helped. Two of my friends were at the house all the time . I started the reconsructin the same day. the stetchers. I have to go back for the inplants soon. I got luckyand so will you. you will heal just as quick as I did. In a week or so I could move some so I didn't have to go for therapy. OH I had a double mastectomy.

jnl's picture
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

I had a lumpectomy but wanted to wish you the best of luck with your surgery and please update us afterwords so we know how you are doing.

Hugs, Leeza

Fitzpatrick's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 2012

My mastectomy was fairly easy. I was in the hospital one night on a pain drip, felt no pain with that. When I came home I made sure to take codeine with Tylenol for 3 days, that was it. Trying to sleep comfortably was not easy, I do not like sleeping on my back. I put pillows on both sides & did my best. I had someone to assist me while I had the drains in, you cannot raise your arms too high. Had them out on day 5, was independent after that, including driving. I slept quite a bit the 1st 4 day. I had expanders put in during the mastectomy, which was in February 2011. A month ago, December 2011, the expanders were taken out & I now have silicone implants. Will have nibble reconstruction in a few months. All & all, I do not feel the mastectomy was terribly painful. If you have any questions, you can write to me directly at clscars@aol.com. Good luck to you!!!

sea60's picture
Posts: 2601
Joined: May 2010

I was in the hospital for 3 days. As mentioned, the recliner was a huge help. Also, get yourself a cheap string of long length fake pearls or tie shoelaces together and pin your drains on it while showering. And yes, have someone helping as you'll need it for at least the 1st week or until your drains are removed.

Praying all goes well.



Posts: 563
Joined: Dec 2010

Well thinking of you. The other ladies advice is good advice. You are having mastectomies done at once, so double trouble. I had one done one month and the second done the next month. So grit your teeth because its a good thing to have both done at the same time but more intense. The drains are a pain, sorry. Be patient (easy to say) but two weeks or so down the line all will be better. The operation itself is mostly no big deal its the after wards, take it easy, slow, be gentle with yourself, dont fight it. The first drain for me was very painful where it entered the body, the second not at all. Both kind of under the arm pit, awkward. I had a hand shower, and oh boy did it feel good to get clean. Please get someone to wash your hair for you (we all feel better when the hair looks good right!). If you are able, sit upright and just do as little as possible, dont feel guilty its healing time. Read, watch TV, become best friends with your computer. Sleep as much as you want. I am feeling great now having gone through what you are now dealing with. One thing, ask after operation how to 'milk' drain to stop blockage. When blood stops draining you think, great time to get this/these things removed, when unfortunately it may not be the time yet for drain freedom. My drains were both in for two weeks. Some only have them for one week (lucky devils). I hope you are one of these. Good luck to you.

Posts: 563
Joined: Dec 2010

ps Critical to wear soft, comfy, tops that button up at the front.

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