Just home from bilateral mastectomy.... now what.....

dlr102369 Member Posts: 15
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hi Ladies!

Just got home on Monday from having a bilateral mastectomy. The path came back with no additional cancer and clean sentinal nodes, so that was very good news. Boy this has been way more than I ever thought it would be, in my mind I was prepared, I am a nurse and just thought ok I can do this. Boy was it and still is very scary! I was so not prepared for how I would feel! I had the surgery on the 30th and then had to go back because I had developed a bleed and large hematoma and went back to surgery on the 31st. I got home on Monday and it has been a rollercoaster! I do have a spot on one breast in the front that looks kind of like a burn, I am afraid of what they will have to do with that. It is so scary to look under the dressing.

I go to see the plastic surgeon on Monday and I am sure I will hear all the options. Right now I have expanders in and 2 drains on each side. So I read another discussion about the nipples and tatooing boy I hadnt even thought that far in advance really just taking one day at a time.

Do you all know how long it takes before you get the implants put in? Anyone gone through the process start to finish? Any suggestions. My husband is a boob man, not that I ever had much in the boob area originally a 34 B. I am thinking about going to a full C but that is about all I have thought about. Now i guess silacone vs saline, nipples recons. vs tatoo ect.



  • Chellebug
    Chellebug Member Posts: 133
    Glad your home
    So glad you're home and on your way to recovery. I had bilateral mastectomies, but opted not to do the reconstruction. So, I'm not very helpful, am I. :) You'll probably find that the drains will give you the most fits, and you'll be so glad to have them out. When you take a shower, wear an old belt around your waist. You can clip your drains onto the belt.

    Don't let your pain get out of control either, Deb. Stay up with your pain meds. You've got plenty of time to heal before you have to make anymore decisions!
  • dbs1673
    dbs1673 Member Posts: 203
    Hi Deb,
    Hope you are feeling better today than the day before or at least not worse. That's how I looked at my progress. I had a bilat mas in June. How right you are in thinking you've done all you can to prepare. There was no way I was prepared for the intense pressure I felt on my chest. I told people it was like I had been carring a baby grand piano around with me and then it fell on my chest. I ached around through my back and under the shoulder blades. I was most confortable in a recliner and thought I would never be able to lie flat again. I also had the expanders placed at the time of the surgery. Like the previous post there are ways to deal with those annoying drainage tubes. I used a dish towel aroung my neck in the shower and pinned the drainage balls to that. (Not all women get to say "i have balls!") I also had a burn spot which acutally turned out to be blistering that was a reaction to the surgical tape. The one blister was rather large. Once those bandages come off your Dr may recommend some neosporin for that.
    Now what????You will probably see your plastic surgeon for weekly saline fills. I was only a 34A and went to a 34B-C. I didn't want to look like a just went out and got a boob job but a fuller cup is nice. I will also say that getting the drainage tubes out makes you feel human again. I had one on each side taken out one week and the other 2 the following week. Truthfully, the removal of the first set of tubes I found to be very painful but the second set was a piece of cake. If you are employed I suggest you use every bit of sick time you are allowed. It's not only your body that needs mending. Allow people to help in whatever way they feel comfortable. In my yoga class we are taught to "honor your body" and "waken your intuition". Accept and listen...Both have been good reminders for me.
    I wish I could give you a timeline. Turns out I needed radiation. I finished that in October. That has delayed getting rid of the expanders as the body needs to recover again. The expanders are not painful but they are very uncomfortable. My boobs feel like concrete balls. I just saw the radiation oncologist today and got a thumbs up. I see the plastic surgeon in 2 weeks and I am SO hoping he'll be ready to give me a birthday present and get the implants. (My birthday is in march).
    There is only so much we can prepare ourselves for, so much our minds can absorb in this journey. My hope is that today you feel the strength of healing powers upon your body and spirit. Hang in there!

  • mmontero38
    mmontero38 Member Posts: 1,510
    So glad you're home Deb.
    So glad you're home Deb. Sorry it didn't go too smooth for you. I had a tram flap reconstruction 4 months after I finished chemo so I can't help you out with the expanders, but I did nipple reconstruction and tattooing. I think the implants are done after your skin is stretched as much as your implants will be. It depends on how well you do with the saline injections. They can't fill in too much or you'll tear skin or get stretch marks. Your surgeon will be able to give you a more accurate time. If I were you I would go with the full C. Why not? Once, you have to have implants put in I don't think it would matter much if you want a cup size larger. Do what you feel is right for you. Remember to start walking the wall with your fingers. You need to stretch the arms way up over your head so that your shoulder doesn't freeze. Once, you get the ok from the doctor you can also start doing hand weights for strength. Keep us posted. Hugs, Lili
  • survivor51
    survivor51 Member Posts: 276
    Hey Deb,
    At first the look is both devastating and shocking but it is better. I had cancer in both sides, bilateral, reconstruction, 4 drains, expanders. The expanders are the worst part and you wonder how on earth is this strange thing ever going to look normal. They filled my expanders each week with the solution which was uncomfortable. I highly suggest taking a pain pill before you go. It is more irritating than painful but is uncomfortable. Just keep your focus on the end result. I had chemo and had to wait 6 weeks after chemo to have the expanders removed. That surgery is so much easier than the bilateral and amazing but it does take time. They had taken the muscle from my back and skin for the "nipple" area which looked like two large eyes after the bilateral. When they took the expanders out, the eyes turned circular and I have one line going down under each breast. In time that line will almost disappear. I had decided not to do the nipple reconstruction for about a year but then decided to go for it. I was soooo please with the look and so was my husband...he does not care if I do or do not have the reconstruction. Then I decided not to tatoo but then later decided to go for it. Wow, what a final picture perfect look. I no longer look at myself in the mirror and "remember" but look and say wowowowow. I do have more feeling in the fatty part of the breast but none on the nipple area. You can see some veins coming in as if they are coming alive. For me....I love my new breast...yes I miss the other ones but really feel great with the new girls. Take care and we are here. Angela
  • seof
    seof Member Posts: 819 Member
    I had bilateral mastectomy
    I had bilateral mastectomy with expanders. Then I had radiation and chemo. I had that surgery Dec. 2008. I am finishing up the last Herceptin treatment next week. I will be having reconstruction with DIEP procedure June 25. I work in a Public school and that timing will alow me to recover and be ready for work by the end of the Summer. My understanding is that you could probably have the implants in in about 6 months, if you do not have radiation or chemo, or any complications, but talk to your Dr. as always. I had 4 drains. I used a long strip of gauze in the shower to pin the drains on, and I got a post-surgical camisole with pockets for the drains. I got one from the ACS catalog and one from the hospital gift shop. They were great! Do the excersizes as much as you can. Finding a way to sleep sitting up was hard at first, but I found myself being able to do a bit more every few days till I got back to normal.

    Keep your eyes on the final goal and take care of yourself!