It is now just over a year since I was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer. What a journey.
After Mastectomy, chemo and all that went with it...... I cant believe I have not had the chance to even think about what has happened to me. I became a grandma and the excitement of it all has just dissolved all the pain. My trips to the hospital, day care oncology and doctors together with heart scans and blood samples is something that nobody will realise accept my dear husband who never for one moment let go of my hands! I am so grateful for this and I keep reminding him each day how special he is!
I am now in the stage of having the other breast removed because of genetic reasons and after considerable thoughts opted to have reconstruction. Its funny but I have suddenly felt so brave that i cant wait to get it over with. Its a wierd feeling. I want it all behind me and I feel that with reconstruction I will be back to normal again and Breast Cancer will be history.
I wonder if anybody can lighten me on the subject of reconstruction. Am I doing the right thing. I understand that there will be no feeling so it wont be "normal" so who am i kidding? If cancer comes back there will be complications would'nt there? what about recovery.... my plastic surgeon warned me that for 3 mths i cant carry my granddaughter now 10 mths but i suppose better now than when she is over a year!!!
I have been waiting for over two months and my plastic surgeon has'nt called me. He keeps saying that he has to get the whole team together before he gives me a date -- does this normally take that long? I suppose having a breast removed and reconstruction is a big job. Is anybody out there had this procedure done and if so how do you feel? this is very important to me as you are my only link to this kind of operation.
I am now on Herceptin and it is my last 3 months left. which means I will be in remisssion. I feel fine. a little tired but that is because I am 58 years young and we all feel this way.
How very special to be a grandma! Makes the hard survival stuff all worthwhile! I am a breast cancer survivor but haven't needed reconstruction. However a friend of mine who had reconstruction 10 years ago at the age of 45, tells me that it was the best decision she made (she too had double mastec for genetic reasons) She said that at the time she didn't think reconstruction was important, but went ahead with it as she was encouraged to by her friend, a surgeon, and she later realised that it helped her feel "feminine" and helped her adapt to life after breast cancer. Only one person's opinion but I hope it's helpful to you. Guess we're all different, and you'll know what's right for you. All the best with your journey.
thanks for your comments. Its two weeks now since I had the left breast removed and had tissue expanders inserted. The operation was not too long and the recovery just quick. The hospital had the best staff and I was home before I knew it. I remember asking the nurse for help in the BC for my first bath and the sight of my breasts removed was a shock but a relief for my left breast removed as my right breast was removed a year ago when i was first diagnosed with BC. That year was uncomfortable wearing a prosthesis and having just one breast. Now it feels "confortable" to look at - its a wierd feeling.
As for the tissue expanders..... IF THERE IS ANYBODY OUT THERE ABOUT TO HAVE THIS PROCEDURE please listen carefully:
* be ready for uncomfortable feeling
* be ready for pain
* expect restless nights
* no sleeping on the side. a recliner is the only relief
* the feeling of turtle shells hard against the ribs, constantly.
* the shock the body goes thru is devastating... be ready for sudden shock waves as if the nerves are rubber bands talking to each other "what the heck is going on"
i believe it will all end soon and i accept the pain. this is like an endurence test and if i can handle this - i can handle anything. But this is where i am now. the next step is the saline inserted and the expanders gently pushing up forming a breast. My PS said that when it gets to the correct size I get admitted again and he will remove the tissue expanders and insert the gel and this will be much more confortable for me. It will be the end.
I am finished with Herceptin this month so no more oncology trips. will miss my friends there...... I am on Aridmidex for another 4 years and hopefully the BC will not be in my vocab!!!!
Yours in pain
There is no need to accept the pain. If you are on good pain management than you should be pain free and able to maintain that during the healing process. The real risk is that unless such pain is managed you can end up with chronic pain because nerves get used to sending pain signals. Get back in touch with whoever is managing your situation, tell them you are in pain and that you want appropriate pain management. If they will not provide it ask for a referral to a pain specialist.
I did not go into the internet for a long while and just read your email. I am so sorry to hear of your cancer. Are you now getting some form of treatment? Please explain what you are feeling.
This is an update. It has now been 8 weeks since my left breast was removed (the right breast was removed 12 mths prior) The reconstruction was started immediately. 2 tissue expanders inserted and I have already had 2 sessions of saline injections.
It is remarkable how my breasts have expanded and if you think of a pregnant woman and how the skin remarkably streches over the stomach, this is exactly what happens to the breasts as saline is inserted over a period of time * usually 2 weeks. At first it was painful and even now I cant sleep on my side but now I am used to the feeling and it is almost painless. I think I will need only two more sessions of saline injections. The tissue expanders are like baloons inserted into both my breasts. My new breasts now feel firm and i must admit it feels better than my "old breasts"
In a few weeks I will be admitted again and under surgery the tissue expanders removed and gel selicone inserted. what magic has come out of this nightmare!!!
I want to say that i highly recommend anybody who has a breast removed to consider a discussion with your surgeon and have the other breast removed and reconstruct straightaway. Its the best thing i have ever done. I now feel normal and confident with myself.
All the best.
My third session with the Plastic Surgeon today. He has now injected 900ml of saline. I originally had large breasts and my frame is comfortable with this large size - so here I am. No pain just ready for the next step. They will tell me when to be admitted again and the tissue expanders removed and selicone inserted. My PC said that the opening will be in the original cut.
Will let you know in a few weeks how I feel. I am now mentally totally relaxed and positive leaving behind all the hard painful days.
If anybody out there wants to know about reconstruction after mastectomy, please dont hesitate with questions.
May the force be with you.
I am due to have a right-side mastectomy and immediate reconstruction in late March or early April (approx a month after finishing chemo). I am going to have a silicone implant.
My breasts are quite small so the plastic surgeon was hopeful I might be able to have the implant put straight in without needing an expander. But he'll have to see how the operation goes on the day.
Did you have to have a drain in after your surgery? This was only mentioned to me last week and it sounds unpleasant.
If I do have the expander does that mean there is some sort of port left in for it to get filled through? How do the injections work?
I am so happy that you responded and that I may be able to bring you some relief to this operation.
Congrats on you finishing chemo. will you be on any other drugs like herceptin?
Yes. You will have the tissue expanders inserted as the skin over the breast will have to be large enough for the silicone to be placed. The idea is to fill the expanders with a saline solution - its like a balloon and when large enough a cut will be done on the same scar and the silicone placed. Remember there will be no nipples. How bizaar!!! I am still getting used to this.......
Regarding the drains? Yes, I came home with 4 drains - two on either side. I stayed in hospital for 5 days and after the 2nd day got used to the new look AND PAIN. Please dont hesitate to take a prescription for a strong pain killer. You will need it. But let the flow of pain go thru your body. It will end trust me. Dont fight it and take lots of bed rest too. I hope you have others to take care of you and DONT CARRY ANYTHING HEAVY. it hurts.
Also keep away from anybody who has the flu or coughs. If you get sick it will hurt in your chest.
Oh and regarding the tissue expanders again.... yes, there is a port on either side of your breasts. Your PC will put a magnate and this will show him exactly where to fill the saline solutions. Hope I have helped. As you mentioned you might not need expanders - you lucky gal! Remember, nose up and you will be back to normal soon.
I have another 150 mls on each side and it will be over. well not yet as I have to go thru the final op of opening the scar and inserting the silicone. I think i will be back home with the drains. they need to be measured twice a day and emptyed twice a day too. What fun!
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.