Masectomy 12/4

Reikigemgirl
Reikigemgirl Member Posts: 278
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Well, I have my masectomy on Friday, Dec. 4th and I'm scared. I am only having the right breast done because my insurance company won't pay for bilateral because their is no cancer in my left breast. I got a new recliner to sleep in after I get home because of advice on this board. The old one was broken and we needed a new one anyway. I am scared of the surgery, the drains the whole thing. Please send thoughts and prayers my way. The good thing is that the tumor has shrunk from the chemo that I already had and more chemo to come after my surgery. I have inflammatory breast cancer. All of you have a great day today.

Love and Light,
Vicki
«1

Comments

  • lynn1950
    lynn1950 Member Posts: 2,570
    Oh, Vicki. As if we don't
    Oh, Vicki. As if we don't have enough to fight, we have to fight with insurance, too. I hadn't heard of insurance denying prophylactic mastectomy before. Did you appeal?

    It's good to hear that the tumor has shrunk from the chemo. The surgery is scary and the drains are a hassle. We are here with thoughts and prayers that all goes well and that you receive all the care that you need.

    xoxoxoxo Lynn
  • crselby
    crselby Member Posts: 441
    Scared
    Oh, Vicki, scared is OK! Scared is normal. You are facing an awful lot right now. Keep talking about it to the people who support you; don't hide it, OK? Certain people will know just the right thing to say or do for you, if you do.

    At one time, I was facing a possible bilateral mastectomy, depending on test results. I had cancer in only one breast, but the resulting lopsided-ness of a single mastectomy would have been enough for my breast surgeon to recommend a double. I never questioned if the insurance would cover it or not. I just assumed that if the surgeon said yes, the insurance would cover it.

    When I was scared, just like when I was learning to drive a stick-shift, I gathered strength from realizing that plenty of people before me got through this, and many of them were not as capable as I know I am. If 'they' could do it, I could do it!

    Federal law says insurers have to cover reconstruction, ...but not a bi-lateral? Anyone know about this insurance issue?

    It sounds like you are starting to plan and set up some good things for yourself. Good for you, Warrior Woman! I hope you get more useable advice through the replies to your post.

    Prayers and long hugs to you!
    Connie
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    Nice seeing your face on the
    Nice seeing your face on the boards! I know you are scared, sweetie, but this is going to be FINE~ and how wonderful that your tumor has gotten smaller! The surgery of course will be the next Big Gun on your way to Life After Cancer! The drains are manageable; and we will hold your hand and give you the needed encouragement. None of us wanted to find ourselves here, but we can be thankful that we are alive in almost 2010, and live in a time/place with medical advances, and all of us cheering you on !

    Keep us posted, and as I like to say, I hope you are in a HUGE operating room, as all of us will be in that room with you! If you feel pariticularly safe, calm and conmforted, now you know why! (((((hugs)))))

    Chen♥
  • Sunrae
    Sunrae Member Posts: 808
    chenheart said:

    Nice seeing your face on the
    Nice seeing your face on the boards! I know you are scared, sweetie, but this is going to be FINE~ and how wonderful that your tumor has gotten smaller! The surgery of course will be the next Big Gun on your way to Life After Cancer! The drains are manageable; and we will hold your hand and give you the needed encouragement. None of us wanted to find ourselves here, but we can be thankful that we are alive in almost 2010, and live in a time/place with medical advances, and all of us cheering you on !

    Keep us posted, and as I like to say, I hope you are in a HUGE operating room, as all of us will be in that room with you! If you feel pariticularly safe, calm and conmforted, now you know why! (((((hugs)))))

    Chen♥

    Hi Vicki, Your surgery is
    Hi Vicki, Your surgery is only a few days away and I understand how you feel too. I don't even have my surgery scheduled yet but I'm already worrying and scared. It is such a comfort to come here and be assured by all our wonderful sisters that they've been there and know what you're going thru. I heard that the surgery may not be as much as going thru the chemo but I'm not experienced on that either. You have great cheerleaders here and we all want the best for you. Just another step on your way to recovery but what a step! You're in my prayers and will be there for you Dec. 4th.
  • ladybug22
    ladybug22 Member Posts: 646
    masectomy
    That is great news the tumor has shrunk.you will need some help with the drains.i found walking the wall with my hand was the hard part.Prayers comming your way hang in there and please remenber one day at a time.I had i b c
  • chickad52
    chickad52 Member Posts: 497
    Vicki
    I just had my mastectomy this past Monday. My surgery was at 8am and I was back in my room by noon. They brought me in a tray for lunch, and I did eat part of a sandwich. Went home the next morning. Other than being sore it wasn't too bad. I do take pain meds. The drain is just a nuisance. I have to empty and measure 3 times a day.I'll go back to see the surgeon on Tuesday. You will do fine, and my prayers will be with you!! Hugs, Diane
  • LadyParvati
    LadyParvati Member Posts: 328
    Challenge your insurance company!
    The following information is copied & pasted directly from the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund (NBCCF) website here: http://www.stopbreastcancer.org/nbccf/access/

    "Know your rights as a breast cancer patient.

    Congress passed a law that makes most health plans and health insurance companies cover certain parts of breast cancer care. The law is called "The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998." For example, one treatment for breast cancer is to remove the breast. This is called a "mastectomy." Reconstructive surgery is a kind of plastic surgery that rebuilds the breast. Federal law says that health plans and insurance companies must cover reconstructive surgery if they cover a mastectomy. And they must cover surgery on the healthy breast to make both breasts the same size and shape. The law also says that they must pay for breast prostheses and treatment of lymphedema, which is the swelling of the arm that sometimes happens after lymph node removal.

    Sometimes states have better laws than the federal government about breast cancer care. To find out if your state has passed breast cancer laws, contact the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Or contact your state health department. The phone number should be in the government pages of your phone book.

    If you think you were turned down for care unfairly, you can appeal. This means that you ask your health plan to review your care request again. Appealing works best when you can back your appeal with proof that you need the care. Care that you need is called "medically necessary" care. Contact your health plan to find out how to appeal a decision the plan made. Click here for more information on how to file an appeal."


    The home webpage of the NBCCF is here: http://www.stopbreastcancer.org/nbccf/index.html

    I hope this helps you, Vicki--I think your insurance company may not be *able* to deny you coverage for a bilateral mastectomy if that's what you want--note the section that states they "must cover surgery on the healthy breast to make both breasts the same size and shape." They may *try* to deny you coverage--hoping that you'll choose the less-expensive (for them) option--but you can certainly challenge them!

    Good luck! Sandy
  • mlmjt1
    mlmjt1 Member Posts: 537
    Hi Vickie
    You had chemo already and I personally think that the chemo is far worse than the surgery and I had bilateral mastectomies done in May. The drains are nothing to be afraid of...they are a nusance, but there really not a problem. Pain meds work, sleep can be a pain, but you will get thru this.

    Im glad the tumor has shrunk form the original. It sounds like you have a good plan.

    Hang in there
    Linda t
  • MyTurnNow
    MyTurnNow Member Posts: 2,686 Member
    Vicki, we'll be here for you
    Vicki, we'll be here for you every step of the way! You'll do just fine with your surgery. I'm also glad that the tumor has shrunk. Great news indeed!
  • lisamcsherry
    lisamcsherry Member Posts: 29
    take a deep breath
    and keep breathing.

    I just had a unilateral mastectomy on 11/12 and it was really ok. I, like you, was terrified of the pain and how hard it would be. Trust in pain medication -- they do a really good job with that nowadays. Do not leave the hospital until you know what works for you and what counteracts the nausea (many people get nauseous from pain meds, another med will dispel that).

    The drains are bothersome, but you'll pin them to your bra (eventually) or to your waist band, or put them in a pocket and it will be fine. (I bought a couple of men's shirts and my drain -- I still have one in -- rests in the chest pocket.

    Make sure you have warm clothes and that the top buttons or zips on and off. Get a bottle of 'no rinse' shampoo (that's the brand name) so you can get your hair cleaned. Prepare your home so that you won't have to lift anything and won't have to reach above your head. Make sure someone will be there for at least a few days to help you get up and down. Make sure you have healthy, nutritious food on hand.

    My drain continues to be the reason I take narcotics, but I take about 1/2 the recommended dosage and I am generally fine.

    You will be too. Waiting is almost the worst part.
  • tommaseena
    tommaseena Member Posts: 1,769

    take a deep breath
    and keep breathing.

    I just had a unilateral mastectomy on 11/12 and it was really ok. I, like you, was terrified of the pain and how hard it would be. Trust in pain medication -- they do a really good job with that nowadays. Do not leave the hospital until you know what works for you and what counteracts the nausea (many people get nauseous from pain meds, another med will dispel that).

    The drains are bothersome, but you'll pin them to your bra (eventually) or to your waist band, or put them in a pocket and it will be fine. (I bought a couple of men's shirts and my drain -- I still have one in -- rests in the chest pocket.

    Make sure you have warm clothes and that the top buttons or zips on and off. Get a bottle of 'no rinse' shampoo (that's the brand name) so you can get your hair cleaned. Prepare your home so that you won't have to lift anything and won't have to reach above your head. Make sure someone will be there for at least a few days to help you get up and down. Make sure you have healthy, nutritious food on hand.

    My drain continues to be the reason I take narcotics, but I take about 1/2 the recommended dosage and I am generally fine.

    You will be too. Waiting is almost the worst part.

    Vicki
    Vicki,
    Best of luck on Friday. You will do just fine. We will all be with you in spirit during this time.

    Hugs,
    Margo
  • Lynda53
    Lynda53 Member Posts: 210
    I too have ibc, I get my surgery date this week,which is likely in the next 2 weeks.
    Question, is the left breast surgery needed for reconstruction? If so, I believe the law states the insurance must pay for it, but not if it is precautionary, unless there is a high risk. I suggest you call your onco if unsure and then call your healthcare provider. Do theyhave a social worker? Is there one at your cancer center? You need an advocate.
    FTR I need the left reduced for reconstruction but cannot have reconstruction until after surgery due to radiation. My paperwok says this is law from Bill Clinton, basically, if the cancer caused you to be "different" whatever is needed to make you whole is covered. Perhaps your papers were not worded as they need be.
    I will keep you in my thoughts and healing.
    Peace
  • CR1954
    CR1954 Member Posts: 1,390 Member
    Vicki....
    Thoughts and prayers ARE coming your way.

    Take it from someone who had right breast mastectomy and is an admitted scaredy-cat! You CAN do this! It will take a bit of time to feel good again and you will perhaps utter a few cuss words along the way, but you will handle it, believe me.

    God bless, and speedy recovery...

    CR
  • tigger99
    tigger99 Member Posts: 44
    CR1954 said:

    Vicki....
    Thoughts and prayers ARE coming your way.

    Take it from someone who had right breast mastectomy and is an admitted scaredy-cat! You CAN do this! It will take a bit of time to feel good again and you will perhaps utter a few cuss words along the way, but you will handle it, believe me.

    God bless, and speedy recovery...

    CR

    Yes, you will be FINE! Like
    Yes, you will be FINE! Like so many others here, I too was very scared in the weeks leading up to my mastectomy. Interestingly, though, once that morning arrived, I had such a sense of peace, that finally we were giving the beast in my chest an eviction notice and I was taking another step toward being a survivor!

    The fears were far worse than the surgery itself. I was home the following day and went out to lunch with friends 3 days later. Now, that lunch out wore me out for the rest of the day, but it was well worth it because it was so spiritually uplifting. Trust that all will go well and you will be fine.

    I pray that you have a sense of peace that goes beyond all understanding, especially the day of surgery.
  • cvolk821
    cvolk821 Member Posts: 36
    Of course you're scared!
    Man, I was very frightened before my mastectomy too! You'll be surprised how quickly the recovery begins. After the first week I began feeling better almost by the hour, and now 2.5 weeks after surgery I've stopped taking pain meds (an occasional Motrin), have had all four tubes removed, and am able to drive myself to my own dr's appts.

    Vicki, it's ok to be scared. Please read the experiences of the other women on this site, I found them terrifically helpful!

    We'll all be thinking about you on Friday.

    Connie
  • Alexis F
    Alexis F Member Posts: 3,598
    cvolk821 said:

    Of course you're scared!
    Man, I was very frightened before my mastectomy too! You'll be surprised how quickly the recovery begins. After the first week I began feeling better almost by the hour, and now 2.5 weeks after surgery I've stopped taking pain meds (an occasional Motrin), have had all four tubes removed, and am able to drive myself to my own dr's appts.

    Vicki, it's ok to be scared. Please read the experiences of the other women on this site, I found them terrifically helpful!

    We'll all be thinking about you on Friday.

    Connie

    I want to wish you good luck
    I want to wish you good luck with your surgery Vicki! We will all be praying for you and waiting to hear that you are home resting and recovering!

    Lex♥
  • Ritzy
    Ritzy Member Posts: 4,381 Member
    Alexis F said:

    I want to wish you good luck
    I want to wish you good luck with your surgery Vicki! We will all be praying for you and waiting to hear that you are home resting and recovering!

    Lex♥

    Hi Vicki
    Sending you all of the good luck and prayers that I have Vicki!

    Sue :)
  • anitadale
    anitadale Member Posts: 1
    chickad52 said:

    Vicki
    I just had my mastectomy this past Monday. My surgery was at 8am and I was back in my room by noon. They brought me in a tray for lunch, and I did eat part of a sandwich. Went home the next morning. Other than being sore it wasn't too bad. I do take pain meds. The drain is just a nuisance. I have to empty and measure 3 times a day.I'll go back to see the surgeon on Tuesday. You will do fine, and my prayers will be with you!! Hugs, Diane

    SURGERY
    I HAVE MADE THE DECISION TO ONLY HAVE ONE BREAST REMOVED AND MY SURGERY IS SCHEDULED FOR 12/15/09 AND NOW I AM SECOND GUESSING MYSELF. MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE A BILATERAL IT IS ALL SO OVER WHELMING.

    DID YOU HAVE ONLY ONE REMOVED? THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT--YOU ARE IN MY PRAYERS
  • Aliaslisa
    Aliaslisa Member Posts: 16 Member
    Ritzy said:

    Hi Vicki
    Sending you all of the good luck and prayers that I have Vicki!

    Sue :)

    Hiya Vicki
    I am sending well wishes and good thoughts your way for today and tomorrow. Messed up about your insurance. It's not like a woman would ask to have a breast removed for no reason, really, get real insurance guys.

    I too have inflammatory breast cancer. My first oncologist said chemo for a year twice a month, then surgery then we will see about more chemo and some radiation. May I ask how long you had chemo before you scheduled you mastectomy?

    Again, all of my family is thinking of you. I keep them informed of what some of the women on this board are going through.

    Good News for me and hopefully, you too. Yesterday I asked my doctor about something in the future and his answer was: "No, I think I can cure this thing." I was speechless. Boy do I love this Oncologist. The first one was awful, so I moved in with family and have an Oncologist in the West Covina area if anyone wants to change oncologist, I'll be happy to respond to any emails asking for his name and address. Good luck tomorrow Vicki. Lisa.
  • LadyParvati
    LadyParvati Member Posts: 328

    Challenge your insurance company!
    The following information is copied & pasted directly from the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund (NBCCF) website here: http://www.stopbreastcancer.org/nbccf/access/

    "Know your rights as a breast cancer patient.

    Congress passed a law that makes most health plans and health insurance companies cover certain parts of breast cancer care. The law is called "The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998." For example, one treatment for breast cancer is to remove the breast. This is called a "mastectomy." Reconstructive surgery is a kind of plastic surgery that rebuilds the breast. Federal law says that health plans and insurance companies must cover reconstructive surgery if they cover a mastectomy. And they must cover surgery on the healthy breast to make both breasts the same size and shape. The law also says that they must pay for breast prostheses and treatment of lymphedema, which is the swelling of the arm that sometimes happens after lymph node removal.

    Sometimes states have better laws than the federal government about breast cancer care. To find out if your state has passed breast cancer laws, contact the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Or contact your state health department. The phone number should be in the government pages of your phone book.

    If you think you were turned down for care unfairly, you can appeal. This means that you ask your health plan to review your care request again. Appealing works best when you can back your appeal with proof that you need the care. Care that you need is called "medically necessary" care. Contact your health plan to find out how to appeal a decision the plan made. Click here for more information on how to file an appeal."


    The home webpage of the NBCCF is here: http://www.stopbreastcancer.org/nbccf/index.html

    I hope this helps you, Vicki--I think your insurance company may not be *able* to deny you coverage for a bilateral mastectomy if that's what you want--note the section that states they "must cover surgery on the healthy breast to make both breasts the same size and shape." They may *try* to deny you coverage--hoping that you'll choose the less-expensive (for them) option--but you can certainly challenge them!

    Good luck! Sandy

    Sorry!
    I apologize for coming on so strong. It just irritates the H*** out of me when an insurance company gives somebody the run around--I spent three years fighting with one and never did get all of my money from them even for things that were CLEARLY covered.

    Even so, your choices are YOUR choices--you don't have to challenge your insurance company unless you want to.

    Good luck!

    Sandy