Any advice, recommendations for before or after surgery? I go in Aug 20th.
I had a lumpectomy Cindy, but, wanted to make sure the pink sisters that had a tram flap see this and can offer you advice.
Good luck on the 20th,
No experience with this but wanted to wish you well......my sister in law is having a double mastectomy with the tram flap reconstruction on August 20 also....so I will have you both in my thoughts and prayers.....
No experience yet, but I go in for tissue expander on the left side August 24 and then right ride mastectomy with tram flap (reconstruction both sides) in October. Please let me know how it goes. You'll be in my prayers.
Just wanting you to know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers for your surgery.
Hi Cindy, I had a tram flap in 2001. It went pretty well, although of course, I had some pain with it. Just took pain meds the first week and then Tylenol after that. The drains were the biggest frustration though. My mom made me a type of sling to carry them in. She took two large flour sack type dish towels, sewed them together for length and we tied a knot over my shoulder with two corners and slung it down around my waist. It held the containers/drain tubes so I wouldn't have to carry them. After a week or so, they come out, which itn't that bad either. I wore loose fitting sweat pants and button down blouses. After awhile I wore tank tops with the bra shelf in them in place of a bra. I was home anyway, so the last thing I was going to wear was a bra.
Just don't lift anything for at least three weeks. I tried carrying a laundry basket of cloths up the stairs - big mistake. I slept in a recliner the first couple of nights, then went to sleep in bed with pillows elevating my knees to so as not to pull on my stomach/stitches.
After you heal, ask what exercises you can do for keeping your stomach firm or you'll lose that nice tummy tuck (like I did).
It's a doable surgery and if you have someone to help the first week or two, it hopefully will go really well for you. If not, have some meals you can freeze and heat in the microwave. Let everything else go and take it easy.
I wish you the best. If you want to contact me via email, that's fine. Post an update when you're up to it and let us all know how you're doing.
Thanks for the information. I will probably have more questions after I meet with the surgeon again.
Talked to my sister in law yesterday..as I said she's having a bilateral mastectomy with tram flap reconstruction on Aug.20 also..
She was told her surgery would take 8-10 hours and she would be in ICU for 5 days....yikes! .she just turned 60...and is a widow..she's been told a lumpectomy would be just as effective, but this is what she wants.... just about the entire family has tried to talk her out of this...I told her she has to do what she feels best for her....
I will keep you both in my prayers..
Big hugs, Nancy
Wishing you good luck Cindy with your surgery!
I had a DIEP tram flap done in November 2009. Yes, you will have post surgery issues. The drains are the biggest headache, but so necessary for your recovery. But it is sooooo worth it. In my case I had the initial tram flap surgery then came back some months later for "coning". The initial breast sort of had a "loaf of bread" look to it. The second surgery gave it the typical breast cone shape. My reconstruction surgeon tried to give me a new nipple during that process too. Not a true nipple - but what he called "banking some tissue". It looked like a huge raspberry initially and I thought - What the heck is THIS ? But it shrank BIG TIME. And I was left with a great looking new breast and very small blip of a nipple. (I also had my other breast reduced to match my NEW breast.) I was given the option of going back a third time and creating a new nipple. I scheduled surgery for that but chickened out, I had heard that nipple would probably shrink also so I'm thinking - why do this to myself - I have something like a nipple, just very small. Two weeks ago I finally went in for my finale. I had a tattoo done for the aureola at my Dr. office by the nurse. IT LOOKS SO GOOD !!!!!! I'm not joking - if someone saw me they would not guess I had gone through all this mess. I just have two normal looking breasts!! The surgeon made the scars on the underside of the breast. You just see three little lines going down from my tattooed nipple. And the best part - when I look down in the shower I just see MY TWO VERY NORMAL LOOKING BREASTS. I feel so great. Yes, I could have lived without these surgeries. And several of my friends have opted not to have reconstruction - that's their choice. But I am telling you it is well worth the trouble. Now my cancer is truly behind me. My only advice - go to someone who does this all the time. My Dr. is at a teaching hospital and has trained hundreds of reconstructive surgeons. A good Dr. is the key. And remember - It takes more than one surgery. You will need to return! But it is worth it.
I really can't give you any advice or help since I had a lumpectomy, but, want to say good luck and I pray you have a quick recovery.
I had the Diep flap and am really happy that I did it. The drains are never fun, but the recovery was not hard. The surgeon transplanted lymph nodes from my groin to under my arm at the same time.
I wanted to add my good luck wishes and prayers for your surgery Cindy. Post an update when you are feeling well enough to.
Hi Cindy, I had a double mastectomy with immediate tram flap surgery at age 48 in October 2010. It is a long surgery, but for me, it was definitely the right decision. Now, almost two years later, I am still so glad I opted for this type of reconstruction. In my area, it seems that implants are more popular, and some people thought I was crazy to now have to have surgery on my abdomen as well as my breasts, but again, I am so glad I did- it was totally worth it. I was worried about the loss of abdominal stregnth due to muscles being cut but it really was minimal. I had two perfectly shaped breasts from the time I woke up, and had minor nipple reconstruction 3 months later.
As far as advice, I would say that the drains were a pain to have to empty, but you get the hang of it quickly in the hospital. The nurse gave me large safety pins and we pinned the drains to the inside of my clothes and it worked great. The prescription pain pills worked but gave me constipation, so I would suggest getting a stool softner from the drug store to have in the house already. I would also recommend using a notebook to keep track of your medications when you first get home. It helped me remember when to take the antibiotics, when I was due for another pain pill, etc. It may sound silly, but suddenly you're trying to remember to take certain pills at certain times, and you don't feel good, and it gets confusing, so writing it down really helped. I found the recuperation painful but tolerable, just remember, it does get a little better each day. For me, the day after the surgery was the hardest, but by the next day I was walking down the hall. It's hard to stand straight up if you have the skin taken from the abdomen (as opposed to the back) and you have to wear a tight spandex type shaper for a few weeks, but again, it does get better! Someone on the boards recommended sleeping in a recliner for the first few weeks at home if you have one, and it did help.
I hope I didn't go on too long, but I remember being very frightened going in, and now less than two years later I can say that if I had to do it all again, I would still do the same. My breasts have scars, but they're fading and I can still show a little cleavage in a bathing suit and you can't tell I had any surgery at all (the top of my breasts look normal, the scars for me are low/central and easily hidden by my swin suit.
Stay strong and best of luck to you, I will be saying some prayers for you on August 20th!
Thank you Everyone,
For encouragement and advice. I am trying to get everything ready this weekend. Just a few things to take care of mostly to make my husbands job easier with Sammie! I will get a calendar for the meds! I remember now too, during chemo, I wrote down symptoms so I wouldn't forget when I saw the doc. I always felt great those days!
I will be off line probably for a few days. I am suppose to be in the hospital for 5 and I am not sure how the wi-fi works there!
I am wishing you the best Cindy and I will be praying for a successful surgery and a fast recovery for you. 5 days sounds like a long time to be in the hospital, but, I know nothing about this surgery.
When you can get online, post an update so we know how you are.
Good luck again,
Wishing you good luck too and know that I will put you in my prayers.
Sorry it took so long to post here. I haven't been able to use my laptop for a few days. Finally, I am up in the chair, eating and feeling much better.
Surgery went well, 13 hours though. Boy, it kicks your butt! I should be going home tomorrow if I am good today.
Thanks for the company!
Glad your surgery went well and praying you get to go home today.
Hoping you are home now and resting. Let others pamper you while you recover.
Ok I am home and resting. One nap, one walk (to the end of the block) and lots of couch time. I was told to stay off the computer, but with out my coffee and chocolate, I have to feed my other addiction! Wow, to the women who went through this. I really didn't expect it to kick my butt like this! The mastectomy was not this bad. But it is only day 5 so I imagine this time next week will be a different story. Wednesday was way different than today is. Anyway, just wanted to post an update. I will follow some sound advise and rest, feet up and such.
Take care all,
There is no place like home! Put your feet up and just rest! Thanks for updating us!
Glad your surgery is behind you now, you are home and now just take care of yourself! Let others pamper you as you sure do deserve it!
How are you Cindy? Feeling stronger and better? I hope so!
All the drains are out. Still on limited activity. No heavy lifting, no strenuous exercise so I will be taking advantage of that for a couple more weeks. It is just nice to have all the drains out!!!!
I feel pretty good I just take a nap every day. Not sure if that is the surgery or no coffee! Anyway, I think every thing is going as expected.
Thanks for all the prayers and hugs and well wishes!