Reconstruction/ Newbe here!

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Tutti
Tutti Member Posts: 7
Hi Everyone,

I am 55 years old and relate so much to many of you here. My mother was a primary breast cancer survivor X2. First at age 38 (1968) and then again at age 52 (1982). She passed away at age 72 but it had nothing to do with breast cancer.

I knew after her second diagnosis (probably before) that if this day ever came and it did on May 8th, 2012, I would have bilateral mastectomies, and I did on May 30th. We started the reconstruction at that time but I needed the incisions revised four weeks later. That was done June 30th. the incisions are healing well now and the PS will start inflation on Friday, July 27 a few days prior to my first chemo cycle.

I would love to hear from anyone who has gone though this process.....and any tips on surviving the next 6 cycles of TCH would be great too.......

After reading many of your posts, all I can say is I am so glad I found all of you!

Have a good day!

Tutti

Comments

  • salls41
    salls41 Member Posts: 340
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    Hi, sorry you are going through all of this. My chemo was TAC every 3 weeks for 6 treatments. So I won't say much other than when you think you can't do it, dig down deep and take a deep breath and know that you really can and we are here to help.Drink lots of fluids and eat when you can. I found small bites of stuff throughout the day was better than full plates of food at meal times worked for me.
    I am in the inflating process of my reconstruction and for me it is more painful than my mastectomy was but again, I dig deep and tell myself I can do it! My advice is take ibuprofen before your appointments! Lots of pillows to sleep with to keep you from rolling over on them, and if your plastic surgeon okays it, massage massage massage!
    {{{Hugs}}}
    Sandy
  • VickiSam
    VickiSam Member Posts: 9,079 Member
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    salls41 said:

    Hi, sorry you are going through all of this. My chemo was TAC every 3 weeks for 6 treatments. So I won't say much other than when you think you can't do it, dig down deep and take a deep breath and know that you really can and we are here to help.Drink lots of fluids and eat when you can. I found small bites of stuff throughout the day was better than full plates of food at meal times worked for me.
    I am in the inflating process of my reconstruction and for me it is more painful than my mastectomy was but again, I dig deep and tell myself I can do it! My advice is take ibuprofen before your appointments! Lots of pillows to sleep with to keep you from rolling over on them, and if your plastic surgeon okays it, massage massage massage!
    {{{Hugs}}}
    Sandy

    just my experience, my opinion
    Chemo is not just physically depleting, it wreaks havoc with our
    hormonal/emotional self as well.

    My fatigue was cumulative; I ended up experiencing a form of exhaustion I didn't
    know was possible, and I was convinced I was trapped in an episode of the
    Twilight Zone, never to re-emerge as a normal, healthy woman!


    You may be physically and emotionally EXHAUSTED from Chemo -- it happens
    to many of us, but not all.

    Chemo is so powerful, and its powerful job is to kill the beast! Hang in there,
    and know that the side effects will not be with you forever!

    ==============

    First of all, it is okay to be anxious of the unknown -- Please don't allow this
    anxiety to get the best of you. Remember to alert your Onco RN of any unusual
    feelings etc .. a list of possible side efforts, which should be presented to
    you before your first chemo infusion.


    It is so important to remain and continue hydration, water - water, and more
    water. Splash in a little lemonade, cranberry juice -- or prepackaged crystal
    light, or Lipton Tea. Herbal Tea's also work for a change of pace.

    If you are getting the neulasta shot -- Please ask your Oncologist about taking
    a benadryl --
    or claritin -- which many of us === swear by -- as they help alleviate that
    'just run over by a truck' aches and pains - some of us experience from the
    neulasta shot.

    Ask for prescriptions for nausea and vomiting -- as well as diarrhea.

    Plastic silverware is a must ---
    biotin toothpaste and mouthwash is a daily essential
    (available at most Target's or Walmart's)

    Food is subjective -- depending on your personal needs and taste buds .. What
    taste good or was tolerable 1 week -- changed for me, the very next. I could not
    tolerate any foods with sugar, i.e. ketchup, or cola's.

    To help prevent mouth sores -- suck on ice chips during all chemo treatments.

    Rest when you can, as some chemo queens have bouts of insomnia ---

    Take goodies to entertain yourself during your infusions -- games, books,
    friend, a snack, IPOD, laptop ...

    Strength, Courage and Hope.

    Vicki Sam
  • Tutti
    Tutti Member Posts: 7
    Options
    VickiSam said:

    just my experience, my opinion
    Chemo is not just physically depleting, it wreaks havoc with our
    hormonal/emotional self as well.

    My fatigue was cumulative; I ended up experiencing a form of exhaustion I didn't
    know was possible, and I was convinced I was trapped in an episode of the
    Twilight Zone, never to re-emerge as a normal, healthy woman!


    You may be physically and emotionally EXHAUSTED from Chemo -- it happens
    to many of us, but not all.

    Chemo is so powerful, and its powerful job is to kill the beast! Hang in there,
    and know that the side effects will not be with you forever!

    ==============

    First of all, it is okay to be anxious of the unknown -- Please don't allow this
    anxiety to get the best of you. Remember to alert your Onco RN of any unusual
    feelings etc .. a list of possible side efforts, which should be presented to
    you before your first chemo infusion.


    It is so important to remain and continue hydration, water - water, and more
    water. Splash in a little lemonade, cranberry juice -- or prepackaged crystal
    light, or Lipton Tea. Herbal Tea's also work for a change of pace.

    If you are getting the neulasta shot -- Please ask your Oncologist about taking
    a benadryl --
    or claritin -- which many of us === swear by -- as they help alleviate that
    'just run over by a truck' aches and pains - some of us experience from the
    neulasta shot.

    Ask for prescriptions for nausea and vomiting -- as well as diarrhea.

    Plastic silverware is a must ---
    biotin toothpaste and mouthwash is a daily essential
    (available at most Target's or Walmart's)

    Food is subjective -- depending on your personal needs and taste buds .. What
    taste good or was tolerable 1 week -- changed for me, the very next. I could not
    tolerate any foods with sugar, i.e. ketchup, or cola's.

    To help prevent mouth sores -- suck on ice chips during all chemo treatments.

    Rest when you can, as some chemo queens have bouts of insomnia ---

    Take goodies to entertain yourself during your infusions -- games, books,
    friend, a snack, IPOD, laptop ...

    Strength, Courage and Hope.

    Vicki Sam

    Great Tips!
    Thank you so much for all the great tips.......I have been buying all of the OTC items getting ready. Got to love the Wally World! When I have my meeting with the Onco nurse before my first treatment and will have a list of questions.

    Sandy, I will check with the PS if massage is OK....... can't see why not. The Motrin will be taken prior to inflation.

    I know this will be tough but I will get through it the best that I can.

    It's wonderful to know you will all be hear with me....

    Susan
  • Megan M
    Megan M Member Posts: 3,000
    Options
    Tutti said:

    Great Tips!
    Thank you so much for all the great tips.......I have been buying all of the OTC items getting ready. Got to love the Wally World! When I have my meeting with the Onco nurse before my first treatment and will have a list of questions.

    Sandy, I will check with the PS if massage is OK....... can't see why not. The Motrin will be taken prior to inflation.

    I know this will be tough but I will get through it the best that I can.

    It's wonderful to know you will all be hear with me....

    Susan

    Welcome Susan, though I am
    Welcome Susan, though I am sorry you are here. I hope that we can help you in whatever ways you need. Looks like you have already got some good advice.

    You do have a tough road, but, you can do it! We are your cheerleaders now!


    Hugs, Megan
  • DianeBC
    DianeBC Member Posts: 3,881 Member
    Options
    Tutti said:

    Great Tips!
    Thank you so much for all the great tips.......I have been buying all of the OTC items getting ready. Got to love the Wally World! When I have my meeting with the Onco nurse before my first treatment and will have a list of questions.

    Sandy, I will check with the PS if massage is OK....... can't see why not. The Motrin will be taken prior to inflation.

    I know this will be tough but I will get through it the best that I can.

    It's wonderful to know you will all be hear with me....

    Susan

    You will get through it and
    You will get through it and we're here to help! Wishing you all the best and keep us updated!

    Hugs, Diane
  • jnl
    jnl Member Posts: 3,869 Member
    Options
    Wanting to wish you good
    Wanting to wish you good luck with the inflations on the 27th. Let us know how you do.


    Hugs, Leeza
  • Kitty545
    Kitty545 Member Posts: 1
    Options
    Hi Tutti,
    I just joined. I

    Hi Tutti,

    I just joined. I had bi-lateral mastectomies done in May with reconstruction during the same proceedure (implants under the muscle--not expanders). I too had breast cancer on both sides of my family and felt fully prepared to have a mastectomy. I also had to have all my lymph nodes removed under my arm. Everything has healed really well and I'm pleased with the results. I don't live in the US but I think the protocols are very similiar. I have now gone through two sessions (of a six course treatment plan) of chemo, then I will start 30 days of radiation and be on Tamoxifin for seven years provided it doesn't recur and there is a 50% chance of recurrance with the type of tumor I had.

    Per dealing with the treatments I have been prescribed steroids which I take the night before the chemo to reduce water retention and then again the next day and that evening. Sometimes people don't sleep when they take this: Dexamethason--but I have found if I take a couple mg. of melatonin that I sleep just fine. Then the day of the chemo I take a 120 mg. of aprepitant (Emend) and 8 mg. of ondansetron. Both of these drugs prevent nausia. I am receiving an IV half an hour before my treatment starts to supress vomiting --it works really well. It takes about three hours in total for me to receive the chemo and I haven't experienced any real side-effects. I still work every day, I have no exhaustion and no nausia. After the chemo I have two other drugs to prevent vomiting--but I haven't even experienced slight nausia in fact after the first treatment I was able to go out to dinner with my husband and shopping--so really I am amazed at how they can control side-effects. I have changed my diet as well just to add some benefit. This week I will have my third treatment. Have you had your first treatment? How did it go?

    Best wishes,

    Kitty
  • MAJW
    MAJW Member Posts: 2,510 Member
    Options
    VickiSam said:

    just my experience, my opinion
    Chemo is not just physically depleting, it wreaks havoc with our
    hormonal/emotional self as well.

    My fatigue was cumulative; I ended up experiencing a form of exhaustion I didn't
    know was possible, and I was convinced I was trapped in an episode of the
    Twilight Zone, never to re-emerge as a normal, healthy woman!


    You may be physically and emotionally EXHAUSTED from Chemo -- it happens
    to many of us, but not all.

    Chemo is so powerful, and its powerful job is to kill the beast! Hang in there,
    and know that the side effects will not be with you forever!

    ==============

    First of all, it is okay to be anxious of the unknown -- Please don't allow this
    anxiety to get the best of you. Remember to alert your Onco RN of any unusual
    feelings etc .. a list of possible side efforts, which should be presented to
    you before your first chemo infusion.


    It is so important to remain and continue hydration, water - water, and more
    water. Splash in a little lemonade, cranberry juice -- or prepackaged crystal
    light, or Lipton Tea. Herbal Tea's also work for a change of pace.

    If you are getting the neulasta shot -- Please ask your Oncologist about taking
    a benadryl --
    or claritin -- which many of us === swear by -- as they help alleviate that
    'just run over by a truck' aches and pains - some of us experience from the
    neulasta shot.

    Ask for prescriptions for nausea and vomiting -- as well as diarrhea.

    Plastic silverware is a must ---
    biotin toothpaste and mouthwash is a daily essential
    (available at most Target's or Walmart's)

    Food is subjective -- depending on your personal needs and taste buds .. What
    taste good or was tolerable 1 week -- changed for me, the very next. I could not
    tolerate any foods with sugar, i.e. ketchup, or cola's.

    To help prevent mouth sores -- suck on ice chips during all chemo treatments.

    Rest when you can, as some chemo queens have bouts of insomnia ---

    Take goodies to entertain yourself during your infusions -- games, books,
    friend, a snack, IPOD, laptop ...

    Strength, Courage and Hope.

    Vicki Sam

    I have to..
    I have to respectfully have to disagree with drinking herbal teas while on chemo...I was told nothing herbal while on chemo....

    Hugs, Nancy
  • Melaniedoingwell
    Melaniedoingwell Member Posts: 80
    Options
    6 fun rounds of TCH too
    then the H (Herceptin) continued for a full year of it.

    Lots of good advice here. Everyone is different - I have heard of people who never got sick on this chemo cocktail. I would say I hate them but that would be rude. Okay I don't hate THEM, I hate that I didn't have that happen to me!!!

    There were times when I lived on flour tortillas and cottage cheese. They were the only the things bland enough to stay on my stomach and the only things that tasted like what they were.

    For me, everything tasted different even during the "good" times between 'cocktails' -- oh well.

    One of the hardest things to deal with for me was hair loss. When I felt so ugly, like I looked at death's door because my hair was thinning out SO much (lint rollering your pillow EVERY morning, etc.) I went and had my hair dresser cut it all off. That actually helped me feel much empowered. Yes, it came off; it came off on MY terms. There are lots of cute scarves, turbans, hats, etc. you can get (TLC on line has great sales and you MAY be able to go to your local American Cancer Society where they likely have a free closet of such items and even wigs!) I did get a wig but I wore it like twice, maybe. Then I got my head shaved and went with scarves & turbans. Around the house where I felt comfortable and with trusted friends I was just bald and beautiful. I was blessed with a nice shaped head! Who knew??

    Keep your attitude upbeat and guard your peace at all times - vigilantly.

    Oh, when they say you will lose your hair, that means if it is hair, it will likely leave you. Arm hair, nose hair, ANY and all hair... Don't freak out.

    Go to a Look Good Feel Better! Very girly, great makeup tips for LOOKING like you still have brows and lashes!! My lashes didn't completely go and they didn't start going until my hair was coming back on my head. Very funny, God. Actually - thank you God, one at a time I could handle....

    You are mighty. Even when you feel like a limp dishrag - YOU are MIGHTY!

    Well, I know I AM, so must we all as cancer battling warrior princesses be mighty.
  • DebbyM
    DebbyM Member Posts: 3,289 Member
    Options
    Kitty545 said:

    Hi Tutti,
    I just joined. I

    Hi Tutti,

    I just joined. I had bi-lateral mastectomies done in May with reconstruction during the same proceedure (implants under the muscle--not expanders). I too had breast cancer on both sides of my family and felt fully prepared to have a mastectomy. I also had to have all my lymph nodes removed under my arm. Everything has healed really well and I'm pleased with the results. I don't live in the US but I think the protocols are very similiar. I have now gone through two sessions (of a six course treatment plan) of chemo, then I will start 30 days of radiation and be on Tamoxifin for seven years provided it doesn't recur and there is a 50% chance of recurrance with the type of tumor I had.

    Per dealing with the treatments I have been prescribed steroids which I take the night before the chemo to reduce water retention and then again the next day and that evening. Sometimes people don't sleep when they take this: Dexamethason--but I have found if I take a couple mg. of melatonin that I sleep just fine. Then the day of the chemo I take a 120 mg. of aprepitant (Emend) and 8 mg. of ondansetron. Both of these drugs prevent nausia. I am receiving an IV half an hour before my treatment starts to supress vomiting --it works really well. It takes about three hours in total for me to receive the chemo and I haven't experienced any real side-effects. I still work every day, I have no exhaustion and no nausia. After the chemo I have two other drugs to prevent vomiting--but I haven't even experienced slight nausia in fact after the first treatment I was able to go out to dinner with my husband and shopping--so really I am amazed at how they can control side-effects. I have changed my diet as well just to add some benefit. This week I will have my third treatment. Have you had your first treatment? How did it go?

    Best wishes,

    Kitty

    Best wishes to you and the
    Best wishes to you and the best of luck!


    Hugs, Debby