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Is weight training after reconstruction possible w implants?

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  • yogini
    yogini Member Posts: 3
    edited November 2008
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    This is all very new for me.....I am at the beginning of this journey, having just started chemo, prior to a surgery.  I am a yoga instructor (25 years) and practitioner, and am trying to decide what sort of surgery to have.....  One option is the latissimus dorsi flap and a silicone implant.  My concern is that I don't know how this will impact my yoga.  I'm guessing that the lat flap and the elevated pec will cause a weakening and tightening of those muscles, but I'm just not sure if they will render me unable to practice and teach yoga.....  Any feedback from those of you that have had similar surgeries would be greatly appreciated.

    Ally

  • Alicia
    Alicia Member Posts: 17
    edited November 2008
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    Great to hear from a yoga practitioner! In the past, I've taken classes in few different types of yoga, including Ashtanga. But with 17 lymph nodes removed, I wonder if I'll ever be able to do downward-facing dogs again. I'm supposed to be very careful at building up the amount of weight I can bear, making sure to do it gradually (I'm up to 5 pounds right now). But with downward-facing dogs, the tendons in the back of my legs are too tight to get my heals on the floor, so it puts a ton of weight on my arms and shoulders unless I bend my knees a lot.

    Do any of you have experience with this part of yoga post-mastectomy/lymph node dissection? 

  • yogini
    yogini Member Posts: 3
    edited November 2008
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    Alicia, when you practice Downdog, you don't need to think of placing your heels on the floor.  It's more important that you take your hips high and, pressing your thighbones back, descend your heels as close to the floor as possible.  The action of the thighs moving back will take the work out of your arms.  Downdog is primarily designed to be a spinal lengthening pose, and secondarily a leg stretch.

     Ally

  • Alicia
    Alicia Member Posts: 17
    edited November 2008
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    This is really helpful, Ally. It changes the whole dynamic of the exercise. Do you think it would also help to modify the pose by putting my arms on a platform that's higher than the floor and/or bending me knees more than usual?

  • yogini
    yogini Member Posts: 3
    edited November 2008
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    You have several possibilities, Alicia.  You have either, a) do the pose on the ball mounds of your feet, with no bend in your knees and, keeping your hips pulling as high and as far away from your hands as possible, descend your heels any amount possible.   This will create length thru your spine and some stretch through the backs of your legs.  b) Bend you knees a lot, and simply focus on the elongation of your spine.  You can stretch your legs more completely with other poses.  c) Place a buckled strap around a door handle and, closing the door, draw the strap through to the other side.  When you pull on the strap make sure the door is pulling closed not open.  Now, step into the loop and place it around the tops of your thighs.  Place your heels against the door and walk your hands out into the room.  As you walk out, the belt will draw your thighbones back and you can stretch forward with your arms and hands without having to bear any weight on your arms.  d) Place a chair against a wall.  Place your hands on the seat of the chair and walk back until you're in a Downdog stance.  Practice the pose with all the same actions as usual, but you won't be asking your arms/shoulders to bare as much weight.

     Let me know how these ideas work for you.....Take care - Ally

     

  • Alicia
    Alicia Member Posts: 17
    edited December 2008
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    Thank you so much, Ally. I'll let you know how it works out. 

  • OnEaglesWings
    OnEaglesWings Member Posts: 13
    edited December 2008
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    Was wondering if any of you ladies out there (Farrah I think you are one who liked to lift heavy for upper body) who have switched to permanents are back into heavy weight lifting for the upper body?  How is that going?  When could you resume the weights.  It seems like some of you mentioned about 8 weeks after the switch to permanents.

    I'm only one week out from my switch.  Just curious how the weightlifting is going for others who have had their permanents in for awhile......

    Thanks,

    Sue

  • Jorf
    Jorf Member Posts: 26
    edited January 2009
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    allenroc - sorry for the delay, I don't visit too often.

    It's a pec fly but starts with arms up like a V and you pull down only to about chest level or (as for me) you hear your shoulder start to crunchFoot in mouth

  • OnEaglesWings
    OnEaglesWings Member Posts: 13
    edited January 2009
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    Hi ladies,
    I had double mastectomy with implants - had the permanent exchange on Dec. 4th.  I've been released to resume weight training (starting light of course).

    I was wondering if any other women can offer their advice that have had mastectomy with implants - in terms of when they could resume push ups, pull ups, and that kind of upper body stuff that reallly works the chest muscles?  Any practical advice/input/experience would be GREATLY appreciated!
    THANKS!
    Sue

  • aerogymdancer
    aerogymdancer Member Posts: 1
    edited August 2009
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    i'm a 4 year survivor and an aerobics and trainner coach and I just found out that i wasn't supposed to be lifting weitghts...well my doctors never told me that but I'm grateful that they didn't that was the only part in the whole ordeal that was "normal". Of course i had to modify the weight and exercises but nevertheless i was able to keep working out so I guess that as long as you know what you are doing or you are trainning with somebody that really knows their stuff you shouldn't feel like you cannot have a regular life. After all, we need to stay strong and we need to take care of our bones and muscles...we need to bein control :) 

  • ailenroc
    ailenroc Member Posts: 21
    edited August 2009
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    dancer: I'm glad that my old post is still alive.

    I've made it back to the gym since, work out regularly but with far less weight. Why? For one, it is much tougher now to handle heavier weights.  A year post mx & recon I am still figuring out the various movements I can't do quite as well as I used to.

    See my current survey on that topic here:

    Back to normal after mx?

    http://community.breastcancer.org/forum/58/topic/739258?page=1#idx_3

    Secondly, I have since read and been told from 2 p-surgeon's that heavy lifting with the pecs is associated with capsular contracture ... yikes! I sure don't want that.

    So, I lift light weights a lot ... and have good form, tone, and overall fitness.

  • OnEaglesWings
    OnEaglesWings Member Posts: 13
    edited August 2009
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    ailenroc - my PS told me that I could go back to everythin I had been doing previously, including heavy weight lifting.  I had never heard about the heavy lifting with pecs causing capsular contracture!!!  I'm going to call his office again to clarify.

    Are pushups and pullups o.k. to do?

    Thanks,

    Sue 

  • Shedua
    Shedua Member Posts: 5
    edited August 2009
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    I had my surgeries 9 yrs ago. At 1st I did slow gentle stretches,then added yoga, and later Winsor Pilates & The Firm.  Now I work out at a gym sometimes w/a trainer. My doctor did not put any restrictions on me, he said to just to things gradually. I do wt baring exercises, use free wts, bike...

    I found it took a little time to train my muscles to take over for the one that was removed.

    Shedua 

  • ailenroc
    ailenroc Member Posts: 21
    edited August 2009
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    Eagles: Yes. let me find out what your ps says. Perhaps many assume that we anyway don't lift much. I have not seen any studies on heavy pec exercises and cc but have come across this anecdotal info several times ... would be good to find out what there is to it.

    So far, there has anyway been no chance for me to back to bench pressing ... I'm trying get back to doing a push up so I can do all yoga poses.

  • OnEaglesWings
    OnEaglesWings Member Posts: 13
    edited September 2009
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    ailenroc - I talked to my PS's nurse asst. - she said that the Dr. has said that there is no definitive research of what causes capsular contraction, and therefore, no specific recommendations of things to avoid.

    She said that I could do pretty much whatever didn't cause me pain.

    I decided I'm just going to go forward with my life and keep progressing on my fitness regimen.  I still will always go lightly on any chest press.  That doesn't feel comfortable for me.  I like pull ups and pushups, though, so will still do that. 

  • ktym
    ktym Member Posts: 673
    edited September 2009
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    Sue, I got the same answer.  No one knows what causes capsular contraction, but there is a lot of superstition about what is associated with it.  I don't want capsular contracture, but I like lifting and don't want to lose muscle mass and bone density with the chemopause and tamoxifen pause more. I find I'm slower to be able to go up on the weights than before. Lot of pec and arm weakness on the side with the mastectomy and recon.  Also, the higher I've gotten on the weights the more my pec muscle cuts and distortion of the implant with movement shows.  DH lifts and likes muscle cuts so that doesn't bother him, but I can see where it might bother some other DH's and other BC women.  Personally I'm still happy with how I look in clothes and never thought I was fooling anyone that it looked real when I'm out of them.  I'm finally getting back up on the weights after having to start from scratch after the original expander placement then the exchange.  I have to be careful and go slow both because I'm rehabbing from that, and have lymphedema on that side.  So, guess I'll find out more as time goes on here.  One of those things where experience and talking to others here is all we have to go on for sure.

  • verronica123
    verronica123 Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2009
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    Hi i am new for this site and I like your site so much ,in my point of view is there many useful information watever i am looking for

    Sara

     Weight Training

  • Sharon67
    Sharon67 Member Posts: 2
    edited October 2009
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    Greeting Ladies, what a wonderful forum.......I was just reading this post and thought I would give my 2 cents, for what it's worth regarding Capsular Contractions. 8 weeks ago I had my silcone gel implants replaced due to CC. I had my bi-lat mast. 2 years ago yesterday. Back in March I started having difficulity lifting my right arm and my chest was always feeling tight. I am very active and physical due to I work with severly mentally impaired teenagers. I am always lifting them in and out of wheelchairs or picking someone off the floor. Who needs a gym, right:) Anyways, by July, I was just sick of the pain and pulling. My PS replaced my 350 rounds with 375 high profiles. Before BC I was lucky to be an A cup. With the 350's I was a small B, now with the 375's I'm almost a C. When the PS opened me up, he said I was filled with scar tissue. He replaced them with high profiles because they are more narrow. One of the reasons I had CC was  lack of movement in the chest pocket he created during my first recon.The other reason was because I am prone to hytrophic scaring, or thick scar tissue when I'm cut. Now 8 weeks later, I can feel the same side forming again. I am in physical therapy 3 times a week and the PT does special massage to the scar area as well as movement with the implant. Not exactly what I would call a relaxing massage! Now my problem is on my left side. That implant has too much area and is sliding under my armpit, not enough for anyone to notice, but I sure do, when I lay down.  So now, after my yesterday appointment with my BS, she wants me to try work on my left lat. to see if I just got stretched out from the first implant that was too wide. What a never ending process....

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Remember, they only want me to work the left side, not the right.

    Thanks, Sharon

  • SixtyplusSea
    SixtyplusSea Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2009
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    Did your surgeon or PT tell you about how much and how hard you are supposed to massage your implants to prevent capsular contraction?  I had to have one implant replaced (it was 350cc) due to capsular contraction.  After that, I followed the instructions to begin realy squeezing it and moving it about rather roughly aftet it healed.  I'm now doing that regularly (hope no one notices me doing that when stopped at a long traffic signal) and it seems to be working.  These implants have been in for 2 years.  The one weird thing about the implants as they are below the muscle is that when I flex my chest (pecs), my boobs contract also.  Not too attractive but better than no boobs. I found a great video of massage techniques on a plastic surgeon's website and will try to find the link for you if you are interested.  By the way, I was 65 years old when I began this saga, am very athletic and am overall happy with the implants and reconstruction results.  Only complaints are that silicone is heavier than natural fat-filled boobs and my implants get cold in a normal swimming pool.  Again, better than the alternatives.

  • ailenroc
    ailenroc Member Posts: 21
    edited October 2009
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    Sharon: a few thoughts on your situation: first of all, I am sorry you have these ongoing challenges. Could the difficulties w your right arm stem from a lymphnode biopsy on the right? that would explain why physical strain impacts you. I have the same issue; also if you had a LNB, try to keep the are unrestricted: loose fitting clothes /bra. I feel considerably worse when wearing a tighter bra; impedes the already impeded lymph flow.

    regarding a floating implant: I had that too: know what you mean when lying down. I had a pocket modification to keep the implant in place 3 months back and that made a huge difference: no shifting anymore and no disappearing in the armpit when I lay down anymore.

    what kind of scar massage does your PT person do? I am always looking for good guidance on that topic.

  • dhorak
    dhorak Member Posts: 3
    edited November 2009
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    I had recon with silicone implants and recently started doing "Chalean Extreme" dvd's.  The only weight bearing exercises that I'm leary about doing are push ups.  I'm still afraid that the skin on the radiated side is thin, and I guess I think that I may tear the scar.

  • mvneverland
    mvneverland Member Posts: 1
    edited December 2011
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    I had a bilateral mastectomy with expanders Feb 2010.  My doctor used Alladerm for additional support.  I had the exchange done in June 2010 with 6+ weeks of radiation ending in Sept. 2010.  I opted for the 650cc silicone implants at the time of the exchange, and for awhile everything was great.  But after radiation the radiated breast moved up and out and the non radiated breast moved down and out...it was not a good look.  I started lifting heavy weights this year and my PS did not have a problem with it.  Then in June I underwent a revision to make them look more alike.  I wore a bra 24/7 for 8 weeks, did no upper body workouts for 12 weeks and then I resumed.  Well, I ended up in mostly the same place.  So I underwent another revision 2 weeks ago this time with more Alladerm.  So I am again in the bra 24/7 and again no upper body workouts.  My PS seems to think that the addition of the Alladerm and the extensive stitching will keep it in place and I will be able to lift again.  I don't think I will even attempt it of 6 months...so only time will tell.  He has also said that part of the problem is the size I opted for.  Though 650cc is not the largest it was the size that most resembled my natural breasts.  I will update this post later in case my saga can help someone else.

  • Kdh1315
    Kdh1315 Member Posts: 1
    edited November 2016
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    I just found this forum and because I'm experiencing the same drift, I was wondering if you had an update on what worked or didn't work for you? I can empathize with this predicament and I hope all is finally well with you!I had bilateral mastectomies with expander implants one year ago.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,097
    edited November 2016
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    Dear Kdh1315,

    Welcome to the community. We are glad that you found us and reached out. We hope that you will find support and information here. We notice that this particular thread has not been active since 2011. We suggest that you start a new topic in the Reconstruction Forum and re-post your question. Such may give it more attention and bring you some responses. Let us know if you need help with any of this. The Mods

  • lauramv
    lauramv Member Posts: 6
    edited March 2020
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    I’m so glad I found you ladies! I am one month post radiation. Have expanders. Won’t have reconstructive surgery until August due to radiation. I miss upper body arm weight exercises! Flys were my favorite! I tried to do a push up the other day, and my body was screaming no way! I hate how my arms have lost definition since diagnosis. so is the main consensus to not do upper body weights that affect pectoral muscles with having expanders in? I just assumed I could.... body feeling pain when I try with just five pound weights. And now worriedabout getting lymphedema!