We are 145,005 members in 73 forums discussing 114,830 topics.

Help with Abbreviations

All TopicsForum: Surgery - Before, During, and After → Topic: DIEP Flap speed of recovery depends on.....

Topic: DIEP Flap speed of recovery depends on.....

Forum: Surgery - Before, During, and After — Surgical options and helpful tips for recovery and side effects.

Posted on: Feb 28, 2011 01:16AM

dannade wrote:

I wanted to post a new topic on this subject.  I have not been on this discussion board for about a month.  After reading so many quick recovery stories and discussing my particular recovery with my PS, I thought I might mention a few things.  I felt very badly that my stomach was and is still bloated (surgery was Dec. 7, 2010) and I can't fit in most of my slacks from before surgery.  It seemed everyone on this forum experienced a nice flat stomach or at least somewhat after 2 months.  I have not lost 1 inch since surgery in my waist.  My tummy is definitely shaped differently.  The point I wanted to make is that age makes a lot of difference in recovery and mending time, original weight and shape and structure of a woman.  And, I didn't know how old anyone was.  I have expressed my frustration with my doctor and told him I'd 'talked' to women whose tummy's had gone down, who didn't have seroma or scar tissue.  He said, how old are they?  I just turned 65, was 64 at time of DIEP surgery.  Yes, it was painful for the first 4-5 weeks, but I did just about everything I always did before surgery after 5 weeks, resumed PT for scar tissue and arm therapy.  I'm very active in community theatre.  PS told me to walk (well, it's been freezing and snowy since, but I've fit in some walks).  And he told me to do mild crunches to firm up my tummy.  Now, I was not fat, but certainly not skinny and had a genetic full tummy/hips, in other words a lot of extra tissue for the reconstruction.  PS told me to be patient, that everyone heals at their own rate, younger people faster.  I still have very red scars, purple tummy ones. The top of my new breast (I originally had two implants after BMX, but left side failed so the DIEP flap was on left only) is very swollen and pulls when stretching.  PS is wanting to wait to see if my body absorbs it, but I don't think it will.  At which point, he will need to go in and release some tissue (it's were the tissue is tethered to the facia or something like that).  Just wanted to express myself so others don't feel badly like I did about not having a flat stomach which is was looking forward to and having the tissue problem in the breast.  I'm happy to be cancer free, independent and active.

Log in to post a reply

Posts 1 - 3 (3 total)

Log in to post a reply

Mar 2, 2011 12:48PM Snobird wrote:

I'm 56 almost 57 and I had DIEP on Dec 9,2010. I have gone down 2 sizes in pants since my surgery but that has only happened in the last 2 weeks. I am also very active (yoga, skiing,etc.) and I have totally changed my eating habits since the surgery (whole grains, organic produce, grass fed beef, free range chicken, organic yogurt and tons of water). I have limited my alcohol to 2 glasses of wine or a couple of beers on the weekend. I drink green tea everyday, 1 cup of coffee occasionly and herbal tea in the evening. I take a multi vitamin, extra vitamin C, D, E and Calcium/magniseum supplements daily. I see that I have started to get the dog ears everyone talks about so I imagine the PS will do some adjustment there when I go back for nipples, etc.

Give yourself some time and in the meantime get moving and watch what you eat. Walking is a really great excercise and I know several women around your age that have lost alot of weight with only walking as there only form of excercise. Our school opens it's doors to walkers in the evenings for 2 hrs. in the winter. See if there is a place in your community where you can walk indoors and grab a friend. Worked for my mother-in-law.

Dx 10/2006, Paget's, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+Surgery 12/20/2006 Lumpectomy (Left)Surgery 02/15/2007 Lumpectomy (Left)Radiation Therapy 03/07/2007 ExternalSurgery 12/06/2010 Mastectomy (Left); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)Surgery 11/17/2011 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
Log in to post a reply

Mar 2, 2011 12:52PM Snobird wrote:

Oh, I forgot. I've been using a pure vitamin e stick on my scars and it has been helping alot with the healing and fading of the scars.

Dx 10/2006, Paget's, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+Surgery 12/20/2006 Lumpectomy (Left)Surgery 02/15/2007 Lumpectomy (Left)Radiation Therapy 03/07/2007 ExternalSurgery 12/06/2010 Mastectomy (Left); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)Surgery 11/17/2011 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
Log in to post a reply

Mar 5, 2011 12:05AM dannade wrote:

Hi Snobird,

Thanks for your reply.  I am trying to eat better, but sometimes I still don't.  I do take vitamins daily and have started to walk everyday now that the weather is better.  This last week I have had extreme lower back pain - I have been plagued with that for years on and off, but it has been gone for the last 6-8 months.  It seems to be connected to the bloated stomach which also seemed to have gotten worse at the same time.  I drink no caffeine at all and rarely drink alcohol.  But I do like my pastries (have to cut that out,eeek).

I'm almost thinking I made a mistake with this procedure.  The breast that was reconstructed has a hard lump on top and has gotten worse instead of settling down.  This is where it is stitched inside.  I see PS in 2 weeks (5 weeks after my last appt.).  He wants to wait to see what to do when things settle down.   It is pulling and hurts so that I want to just pull it out or something.

My pt lady who is great just does not know what to make of it all.  She's had other women with DIEP and said their tummy's were bloated but not as long as mine and not so much trouble with the reconstructed breast or breasts.  I also still have lots of scar tissue under the arm from the lymph node dissection and radiation that she works on.  Well, now she is massaging my tummy scar also because it is so hard and lumpy.  I am using something the doctor had as a sample, but it is way too expensive for the scars so I think I will start using the Vit. E thing.  I hear massaging is the best thing to flatten out the scars.

Well, maybe I'm just taking longer and I'm not as active as you are sportswise.  I'm always doing something, active in that respect.  Keep in touch.  Are you working?

I was laid off 1 week before my diagnosis in Aug. of 2009, so don't have to get up early and rush around each morning, but have found more time for my community theatre work.

Dx 8/28/2009, ILC, Grade 2, 3/3 nodes, ER+