Bilateral Mastecomy with Reconstruction

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rhetts
rhetts Member Posts: 4
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Breasts - Am scheduled to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction the end of July 2010. Had Ovarian cancer in 2007 with 6 rounds of chemo in going on my 3rd year of remission. The reason for my current surgery is that my mother passed away from breast cancer in 2009. Was advised to have BRCA test, which is a positive. Also, present is an inverted nipple, which is how my mother started. For now, they do not see cancer, but was informed, at time of surgery, they will be more sure. I'm not having the lymph checked for possible cancer ... I read up about Lymphdema ...I feel already compromised with other issues that I have ie, bursitis, tendinitis, fibro, neuropathy due to chemo.

My question to all of you, what to expect, how did you cope with the surgery and reconstruction aspect of it. What advise do you have for me, would be most appreciated.

Mar

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  • Balentine
    Balentine Member Posts: 393
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    They can do a sentinal node biopsy during surgery
    They did a sentinol node biopsy when I had my mastectomy where they only take 2 or 3 nodes and test them while you are going through surgery and if they find cancer in those nodes then they will take more until they don't see anymore cancer. I am not trying to tell you what to do but I would discuss this with your breast surgeon before ruling it out. I have had no problems with lymphedema at all. I plan to do reconstruction sometime soon but have not decided yet since I may decide to have the other breast removed because I just found out I am a poor metabolizer for tamoxifen. I will talk to another onc on 7/1 to get a 2nd opinion.
    Lorrie
  • kate33
    kate33 Member Posts: 24
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    Bilateral Mastectomy with Reconstruction
    Mar- I am so sorry you have to go through all this on top of ovarian cancer and your other health issues as well. I, too, have fibro and that alone can be difficult on days.

    I had a bilateral mastectomy in March and am just finishing up my reconstruction. I will have my final surgery next Tuesday. I had a nipple saving mastectomy and wondered if you had considered one. Since you do not have cancer you may be an excellent candidate. For me, being able to have NSM made the whole thing much less traumatic for me. My surgeon told me when I am done no one will even be able to tell that I had a mastectomy which I think is amazing. I was reconstructed using tissue expanders. The TE process is kind of uncomfortable but not unbearable. On Tuesday they will remove the expanders and place the implants and I will be done. So it was about 4 months from start to finish.

    I think the biggest difference between breast and ovarian cancer is the obvious changes to the outside of your body. It is hard to take sometime. But plastic surgeons can truly do amazing things these days with reconstruction. They can even create breasts from your own tissue! They will never feel exactly like your old breasts but in my case they will look even better afterwards.

    There is another excellent site- breastcancer.org- where you can find threads about virtually every subject dealing with breast cancer- testing, surgery, reconstruction, chemo, radiation, etc, etc, etc. So if you need more information check them out as well. And the American Cancer Society has a program called Reach to Recovery. They will match you with a volunteer in your area who can call or visit you as needed. Good luck to you.

    Kate
  • bakerette
    bakerette Member Posts: 74
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    Mar, I will be undergoing this surgery also. Mine is scheduled for 7:00 am on July 16. The day before they will inject my right nipple with radioactive dye. Because they did find a small amount of cancer in my right breast. The dye is so that they can find the sentinel node. That's the first node after the cancer so that they can see if the cancer has made it to the nodes. At the time of my mastectomies they will check this node first by running like a gieger counter over to find which one it is, then removing it and passing it to a pathologist right there in the operating room. The pathologist checks for cancer in that node and so if it is clear they proceed on and I get reconstruction started right then. If it is not cleared they will take more nodes, and I will probably need radiation as soon as the mastectomies are complete and will get reconstruction when that is all done. So, We're hoping for clean and clear nodes.
    Everyone keeps telling me I'll be fine, just fine. Easy for them to say, right? Oh I know I'll be o.k. either way. But, after all the biopsies and tests, I just want this to be done so I can be fine right now!
  • slynch
    slynch Member Posts: 82
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    Good luck
    I too have had bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction started. It is not that bad. You do need to take it easy for a while and not try to do too much. Your body will definately tell you when you have. The drains are the worst but if all goes well are not in too long. The tissue expanders are a little uncomfortable for me but it gets better each day. I wish you all the luck with your surgery and hope that it will be easy for you.
  • seof
    seof Member Posts: 819 Member
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    You can get good books on
    You can get good books on the American Cancer Society Website's online bookstore with good information to help with these decisions. I had bilateral mastectomy, (left side was profilactic, had cancer in the right). I had 7 nodes removed and have had very little trouble with lymphedema so far (3 year post-op). The muscles in that underarm get tired/sore when I do more work than I am used to, and my right hand tends to tingle (like when your foot goes to sleep) when I lie down on that side too long, but that's all. The original mastectomy surgery was not too bad. I had tissue expanders in while I did chemo and radiation, then I chose reconstruction by the DIEP procedure. It is one that uses your own tissue. I had some unusual complications, so it took longer than the average to heal up, but now no one can tell I ever had the surgeries, even in a swimsuit.

    The biopsy was no big deal, and it was useful to help the Drs. pinpoint what kind of cancer I had to help them make a more informed treatement plan. I was very glad I had it done.

    Best of luck to you as you make your decisions. seof
  • jo jo
    jo jo Member Posts: 1,175
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    Sorry to hear about your mom
    Sorry to hear about your mom and your cancer.
    I had a bilaterial mastectomy in Nov 09. The breast surgeon removed my breasts and my plastic surgeon was right behind her putting in my expanders and somewhere in the process they removed my lymphnode to see if it was positive and if it is they remove more until they are all clear. When i woke up i had 3 drain tubes which i really did not like cuz you have to keep empting the fluid and measuring it...which isnt hard just an inconvience, but they buldged out from under your clothes...everyone thought i looked about 3 months pregnant! Then i went thru 6 rounds of chemo.
    Now my doc said they have to wait for at least one month after chemo before they can do any surgery. In the meantime we scheduled step 2 of reconstruction...exchanging my expanders for the silicone implants...I get this done July 14th...i cant wait cuz the expanders are hard they feel nothing like boobs but thats not there job, there job is to stretch your muscles and skin and i guess they cant be soft to do that?
    For months after i get the implants then i can have the nipple reconstruction.
    Now as far as coping with the surgeries...for me it wasnt that hard cuz i just focused on one thing...I get new boobs!!!
    I think alot of people will agree with me that after your mastectomy see a physical therapist especially if you have lymphnodes removed cuz they can help a great deal of getting your ROM back and with lmyphedema.
  • jnl
    jnl Member Posts: 3,869 Member
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    Balentine said:

    They can do a sentinal node biopsy during surgery
    They did a sentinol node biopsy when I had my mastectomy where they only take 2 or 3 nodes and test them while you are going through surgery and if they find cancer in those nodes then they will take more until they don't see anymore cancer. I am not trying to tell you what to do but I would discuss this with your breast surgeon before ruling it out. I have had no problems with lymphedema at all. I plan to do reconstruction sometime soon but have not decided yet since I may decide to have the other breast removed because I just found out I am a poor metabolizer for tamoxifen. I will talk to another onc on 7/1 to get a 2nd opinion.
    Lorrie

    I had a lumpectomy, so, I
    I had a lumpectomy, so, I don't know anything about a mastectomy.

    Just want to say good luck with your surgery.

    You will have lots of support and help on this site.

    Hugs, Leeza
  • SamuraiMom
    SamuraiMom Member Posts: 295
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    Hola
    Hi there!

    I have my story and photos under the Member Resource Directory if it might help. Just look for my photo. :)

    You're not alone!!!!

    Hang in there!

    xxoo,
    SamuraiMom
  • DianeBC
    DianeBC Member Posts: 3,881 Member
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    jo jo said:

    Sorry to hear about your mom
    Sorry to hear about your mom and your cancer.
    I had a bilaterial mastectomy in Nov 09. The breast surgeon removed my breasts and my plastic surgeon was right behind her putting in my expanders and somewhere in the process they removed my lymphnode to see if it was positive and if it is they remove more until they are all clear. When i woke up i had 3 drain tubes which i really did not like cuz you have to keep empting the fluid and measuring it...which isnt hard just an inconvience, but they buldged out from under your clothes...everyone thought i looked about 3 months pregnant! Then i went thru 6 rounds of chemo.
    Now my doc said they have to wait for at least one month after chemo before they can do any surgery. In the meantime we scheduled step 2 of reconstruction...exchanging my expanders for the silicone implants...I get this done July 14th...i cant wait cuz the expanders are hard they feel nothing like boobs but thats not there job, there job is to stretch your muscles and skin and i guess they cant be soft to do that?
    For months after i get the implants then i can have the nipple reconstruction.
    Now as far as coping with the surgeries...for me it wasnt that hard cuz i just focused on one thing...I get new boobs!!!
    I think alot of people will agree with me that after your mastectomy see a physical therapist especially if you have lymphnodes removed cuz they can help a great deal of getting your ROM back and with lmyphedema.

    Wishing you good luck with
    Wishing you good luck with your upcoming surgery!