Masectomy with flap reconstruction

mariam_11_09
mariam_11_09 Member Posts: 691
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hi there,

Has anyone had a single masectomy with the flap reconstruction? I have a schedule surgery on 1/5/10 and have chose to have immediate recontructive breast surgery with the tram flap since I have enough fat on my belly. I guess this is one case where it pays to have been a little extra weight. I am just curious to know if there are tips and tricks people who have had something similar would like to share. How long did it take for you to feel like wanting to get up and about? Where you able to walk the stairs? How many days before you could shower, or at least on your own? What helped with sleeping?

BTW: My dear mother is coming down for 3 weeks to help out and my daughter will be having plenty of sleepovers in the beginning.

thanks

Comments

  • New Flower
    New Flower Member Posts: 4,294
    Welcome
    Mariam Welcome to the board.
    We had several discussions on this subject. If you search on this subject you will find answers to many of your questions.
    Tomorrow somebody will help you out.
    Good luck with your surgery
  • mariam_11_09
    mariam_11_09 Member Posts: 691

    Welcome
    Mariam Welcome to the board.
    We had several discussions on this subject. If you search on this subject you will find answers to many of your questions.
    Tomorrow somebody will help you out.
    Good luck with your surgery

    Thank-you.
    I had done a

    Thank-you.

    I had done a search on Tram reconstruction, flap reconstruction and reconstruction. Found plenty on expanders but nothing specific about the Tram Flap reconstruction and in particular my questions. Maybe I am not doing the right search. If that be the case perhaps someone can advise me on what I can do a search on so I don't waste peoples time.

    thanks
  • Calleen
    Calleen Member Posts: 411

    Thank-you.
    I had done a

    Thank-you.

    I had done a search on Tram reconstruction, flap reconstruction and reconstruction. Found plenty on expanders but nothing specific about the Tram Flap reconstruction and in particular my questions. Maybe I am not doing the right search. If that be the case perhaps someone can advise me on what I can do a search on so I don't waste peoples time.

    thanks

    first of all
    You are certinly not wasting any of or time here.. we are all sisters in pink and we are here for each other...

    July 29th I had a double masectomy using my belly fat. I chose to do both since it's a one shot deal using the belly and IF I got cancer in my other breast they would have to use an implant or some other part of my body.. mostly I didn't want to worry about the other breast.

    I was in intesinve care for 2 days so they could closely monitor the tissue transfer. I had 6 drains 2 for each breast and 2 for my belly. I came home with 5. I didn't have really any pain and the night of my surgery I refused the morphine pump and only took a non narcotic pain med 1 other time while in the hospitial and nothing at home. I was sore and the drains were a pain in the bootay to deal with but I was not in pain. I've had back pain so this was certinly not to me painful enough to use drugs. BUT everyone is different. narcotics slow the healing process. The very best sleeping suggestion is sleep in a recliner. have a table next to you and try and keep water by you at all times. have a chair in the tub to sit on while you shower. my daughter stood by constantly. As you get stronger you can move to standing up 7 -10 days. I had the go ahead to drive within 2 weeks. I used a small pillow to protect myself from the seat belt for the trips to the doc. I let my family totally spoil me. The drains are the biggest pain. everyone will tell you that. dealing with them while you shower!! I used the belt from one of my robes and pinned the drains to it whil I showered. Otherwise I pinned the drains to my surgial bra to keep them from pulling.. I was also requested by mmy plastic surgeon to purchase a compression girdle. It helped ALOT.. it cost about $100.00 and they ordered it for me. my first visit they helped me get in it. I walked like I was a very old hunched over granny for abut 2 weeks and slowly got better at standing up straight.

    Any other questions just let me know.. I get my nipples put on next week and I can't wait!!! my body has looked like a scary happy face now for too long!!! oh and I'm very happy with my choice with no regrets...
  • jk1952
    jk1952 Member Posts: 613
    Calleen said:

    first of all
    You are certinly not wasting any of or time here.. we are all sisters in pink and we are here for each other...

    July 29th I had a double masectomy using my belly fat. I chose to do both since it's a one shot deal using the belly and IF I got cancer in my other breast they would have to use an implant or some other part of my body.. mostly I didn't want to worry about the other breast.

    I was in intesinve care for 2 days so they could closely monitor the tissue transfer. I had 6 drains 2 for each breast and 2 for my belly. I came home with 5. I didn't have really any pain and the night of my surgery I refused the morphine pump and only took a non narcotic pain med 1 other time while in the hospitial and nothing at home. I was sore and the drains were a pain in the bootay to deal with but I was not in pain. I've had back pain so this was certinly not to me painful enough to use drugs. BUT everyone is different. narcotics slow the healing process. The very best sleeping suggestion is sleep in a recliner. have a table next to you and try and keep water by you at all times. have a chair in the tub to sit on while you shower. my daughter stood by constantly. As you get stronger you can move to standing up 7 -10 days. I had the go ahead to drive within 2 weeks. I used a small pillow to protect myself from the seat belt for the trips to the doc. I let my family totally spoil me. The drains are the biggest pain. everyone will tell you that. dealing with them while you shower!! I used the belt from one of my robes and pinned the drains to it whil I showered. Otherwise I pinned the drains to my surgial bra to keep them from pulling.. I was also requested by mmy plastic surgeon to purchase a compression girdle. It helped ALOT.. it cost about $100.00 and they ordered it for me. my first visit they helped me get in it. I walked like I was a very old hunched over granny for abut 2 weeks and slowly got better at standing up straight.

    Any other questions just let me know.. I get my nipples put on next week and I can't wait!!! my body has looked like a scary happy face now for too long!!! oh and I'm very happy with my choice with no regrets...

    My experience was much like
    My experience was much like Calleen's. I also had a bilateral mastectomy and DIEP/free flap reconstruction. I'm not sure how our experiences would compare to the TRAM flap: I doubt that you will need to be in intensive care because that was due to the monitoring of the blood supply where it's reconnected. I couldn't wear a bra for several weeks, but that was also related to the blood supply. I used a lanyard (web thing that goes around your neck to attach ID) for my drains, when I showered and that worked well. I slept on my back with pillows supporting my arms and under my knees. I agree that a recliner is invaluable: I spent most of my recovery in one.

    If you have the option, I would recommend that you check out the surgery that Calleen and I had. It has a long recovery period, but it doesn't require the tunneling of the tissue and usually no muscle is damaged. We're both very happy with the results, and I believe that it is a more advanced technique than the TRAM flap. But, there are only about 150 plastic surgeons in the US who are qualified to perform the surgery, since it's a very delicate microsurgery.

    I hope everything goes well. Let us know.

    Joyce
  • jk1952
    jk1952 Member Posts: 613
    jk1952 said:

    My experience was much like
    My experience was much like Calleen's. I also had a bilateral mastectomy and DIEP/free flap reconstruction. I'm not sure how our experiences would compare to the TRAM flap: I doubt that you will need to be in intensive care because that was due to the monitoring of the blood supply where it's reconnected. I couldn't wear a bra for several weeks, but that was also related to the blood supply. I used a lanyard (web thing that goes around your neck to attach ID) for my drains, when I showered and that worked well. I slept on my back with pillows supporting my arms and under my knees. I agree that a recliner is invaluable: I spent most of my recovery in one.

    If you have the option, I would recommend that you check out the surgery that Calleen and I had. It has a long recovery period, but it doesn't require the tunneling of the tissue and usually no muscle is damaged. We're both very happy with the results, and I believe that it is a more advanced technique than the TRAM flap. But, there are only about 150 plastic surgeons in the US who are qualified to perform the surgery, since it's a very delicate microsurgery.

    I hope everything goes well. Let us know.

    Joyce

    To answer your specific
    To answer your specific questions, I had my surgery on Wednesday and was released from the hospital on Sunday. That day I took a shower, and I never had any assistance with the showers. I did walk up and down stairs as soon as I got home, but limited my trips to only a couple a day at first.

    Getting up and about takes a while, and you have to go slow. At first, it was a triumph to walk to the mailbox, then to the end of the street, then 1/2 mile. I was amazed at how winded I was after the surgery. But, within a 2-1/2 weeks, I was able to drive short distances and was able to be away from home for a couple hours. Driving is dependent upon your meds: the sooner you can get off the narcotics, the sooner you can drive. I was off hem a couple days after surgery (using Advil only), but I'm told that I have a very high pain tolerance.

    I'm like you: I had a body made for this surgery.

    Joyce
  • LT
    LT Member Posts: 31
    jk1952 said:

    To answer your specific
    To answer your specific questions, I had my surgery on Wednesday and was released from the hospital on Sunday. That day I took a shower, and I never had any assistance with the showers. I did walk up and down stairs as soon as I got home, but limited my trips to only a couple a day at first.

    Getting up and about takes a while, and you have to go slow. At first, it was a triumph to walk to the mailbox, then to the end of the street, then 1/2 mile. I was amazed at how winded I was after the surgery. But, within a 2-1/2 weeks, I was able to drive short distances and was able to be away from home for a couple hours. Driving is dependent upon your meds: the sooner you can get off the narcotics, the sooner you can drive. I was off hem a couple days after surgery (using Advil only), but I'm told that I have a very high pain tolerance.

    I'm like you: I had a body made for this surgery.

    Joyce

    I too had the DIEP reconstruction
    and am thrilled with the results. My pain tolerance is evidently not very high because I stayed on pain pills for a while, but the doctor assured me that is normal. Told me to remember - full healing is from 8-12 weeks. I was put in a surgical bra before I woke up from surgery - like a full figure support bra but with velcro straps for easy access since every medical person and their dog come in to check on them every 2 hours for the first 24 hours. I was in the hospital for 5 days and went home with 4 drains and a pain ball that fed into my belly incision. Contrary to what I'd heard from a friend, drains did not hurt when pulled out! Recliner is a lifesaver, but ours is old and not so cushy - finally got an egg crate that is used on twin beds, put it on the recliner, put the pillows under my arms and slept like a baby! My surgeon had me get Palmer's cocoa butter to massage on the new girls twice a day to prevent lumps and bumps. Cold really bothered them so the lotion hurt at first but then we got the idea to put some lotion in a bowl, nuke it for 10 seconds to take the chill off - worked great. Took assisted shower in the hospital, had a chair at home, but only used it once or twice. The first 4 weeks they had me taking showers while facing the back of the stall - no direct strong spray on new boobs - and only using a anti-bacterial soap like Dial.
    Hope some of this helps you. Good luck!
  • whipple
    whipple Member Posts: 11
    Flap reconstruction
    Hi Mariam,
    I had a single masectomy and flap reconstruction March 31st 2008. I used a belt for the drains so they didn't pull. I agree that the recliner was the most comfortable and pillows under my arm. For some reason my arm was the most painfull when I woke up from the surgery and after. So therefore I probably didn't move it like I should have and ended up with a frozen shoulder. I'm great today and physical therapy helped but swimming was the best for getting my full movement back. It looks really good. I have a large hard lump that my surgeon said happens. I just got my tatoo and it looks ok but is completely round like a silver dollar. It's not centered on the nipple because I wanted it to appear more even with the other one. It's done with dye instead of ink and therefore will fade expecially when swimming in clorine. Anyway I'm happy with it and the scars are fading. I could go upstairs right away. Button up things are the best. I think I was off work for a month. Good Luck
    Jude