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TE TROUBLE

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  • specialk
    specialk Member Posts: 9,237
    edited July 2011
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    vhshea - yes, massage the whole area.  What you are describing is exactly what I had as well.  The reason plastics like the TE as opposed to immediate placement of implants (a one-step) is that the TE presses against the muscle and skin and minimizes the buildup of scar tissue.  With the TE gone in a new procedure you have an opportunity for new scar tissue to form under the muscle.  The massage softens and keeps everything supple.  It is like avoidance of capusular contracture even though nothing is in there.  My PS always refers to being able to fix scars on the outside (which patients are always concerned about) easily, but it is far more difficult to fix the scars on the inside.  I know it feels weird, like you aren't accomplishing anything, but definitely do it anyway.  I usually worked my way around - almost like a self-exam but with pressure, while watching TV.

  • Rennasus
    Rennasus Member Posts: 642
    edited July 2011
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    SpecialK: How soon after removal did you start massaging? I am 2 1/2 weeks post-TE removal and I still have stitches and steri-strips.

  • Just_V
    Just_V Member Posts: 436
    edited July 2011
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    and how hard do you press.. UGH - why do the PSs not tell us this stuff!!!!

  • GointoCarolina
    GointoCarolina Member Posts: 95
    edited July 2011
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    Yes, please give more info.My muscles feel like they are glued to my chest now.I plan to go to my PT,but so much going on,it will be a while.It is so good that people post these type of suggestions!!

  • specialk
    specialk Member Posts: 9,237
    edited July 2011
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    vhshea - Don't start massaging until you can do it without discomfort and any incisions are healed.  You don't want to disturb your suture line.  I pressed fairly firmly with my fingertips in a circular motion and just kept moving around until the surface was covered.  I guess different docs have varying philosophies.  It is always interesting to see what different docs say - from BS to MO to RO to PS - they all differ slightly.  It is kind of frustrating, I know there was a lengthy discussion about some new studies saying rads to the axilla for all node positive folks.  Both my MO and BS say I don't need it, but is that because they haven't read that study yet...  I figure massage can't hurt things, right?

  • Rennasus
    Rennasus Member Posts: 642
    edited July 2011
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    I'm seeing my PS Tuesday, will ask him about massage. Thanks for the suggestion SpecialK! And yes, each doc has their own philosophy. Never knew until coming here how differing the medical world could be!

  • Kyta
    Kyta Member Posts: 273
    edited July 2011
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    My PS is very big on massaging and reminds me every times I see her. She said you have to massage quite firmly and suggested I use Bio--oil. It makes it easier to massage and is supposed to also help with scars and stretch marks.

  • Jen1832
    Jen1832 Member Posts: 42
    edited July 2011
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    I had TE trouble too, but did not have to have it removed. My tumor was in my right breast at about10 o'clock.  I had a mammogram done the previous May that was negative.  I noticed a faint depression over the lump in mid Nov and three weeks later I had no boobs.  They put TEs in post ns bmx on 12/08/10.  Both TE were filled to 300 ccs.  I was discharged on 12/10/10 and was back in the doctor's office on 12/11/10 (Saturday).  It seems that the lump was very close to the skin so my surgeon had to shave to skin really thinly.  The TE compressed the skin cutting off the blood flow causing the area to quickly turn black and being to die.  Due to our quick calling to the PS (I NEVER should have been discharged that soon, stupid insurance), he was able to remove 100 ccs and start me on a regimen of vasodilator cream and a retinoic compound.  I would alternate these meds to improve blood flow and regeneration of the skin.  It was touch and go for weeks and my drains had to stay in a long time to prevent any more stress to the area, but my TE stayed in and the skin healed.  I am undergoing weekly expansions and am currently filled to 400 ccs.  I will stop at ~500.

    I tell you to caution new mx patients about 2 things.  First, if you are uncomfortable leaving the hospital SAY SO.  You can argue with your doctor!!!  (About anything, really.)  Second, because I had one smaller breast I purchased a prosthetic.  I knew that I would not get any more fills until after chemo (4.5 months) so I wanted to "look normal".  When I wore the prosthetic, it compressed my nipple so much that the "nub" now has adhesions and is almost inverted.  I am going to speak to my PS next week about how to "release it".  I tried to do a good job of keeping it clean, but I never thought to pull the darn thing out! 

  • Just_V
    Just_V Member Posts: 436
    edited July 2011
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    Welcome, Jen - thanks for the two points you raise... since losing my TE (due to infection which the PS thinks got in via the incision under the breast), I have been bra free... and with loose tops it is not noticeable (kinda depressing, actually!) -

    But my nipple had some bubbles around it that popped during my massage; I discovered that when my blouse got wet (yuk, right?) so I cleaned it up and put MORE Neosporin on it... I have been Neosporined and gauze for going on seven weeks... I just want to heal at this point... I still have one spot under my nipple that is healing; we thought I'd loose that to skin death but it may still make it.  Now I have bubbles around the nipple nub... So gross... and I am so not medical...  Sorry to share this with you all, but truely there is no one else - my husband, no, sisters, no, friends, no.... they are not dealing with it like we are... Ugh. 

  • BilateralMasectomyat39
    BilateralMasectomyat39 Member Posts: 4
    edited July 2011
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    Has anyone experienced any leaking after TEs put in?  I had my drains out about 2 weeks ago.  My breasts began to swell and I went back to see my PS and he said everything looks fine but to keep from doing ANYTHING active.  My left breast began to swell much more than the right but no real hot to the touch or out of the ordinary redness.  My scars have been healing nicely, however, on the left breast, there has still been a slight scab that just doesn't seem to want to heal.  Last night, I began leaking the same color fluid (I call it pink grapefruit) as I've seen in my drains.  The leakage seeped through a small hole that was where that scab had been and didn't completely heal.  Now my left breast is noticeably smaller than my right.  (just opposite as before)  The color of the fluid changed from pink to clear yellow this morning.  No odor.  I'm wondering if it's possible I may have punctured the TE or if this is just that same breast fluid.  I know there is some liquid to start with in the TEs even though I have yet to have any fills.  I don't even think I need fills since they are plenty stretched enough to accomodate a B cup that I selected.  Anyone else experience anything like this?

  • Rennasus
    Rennasus Member Posts: 642
    edited July 2011
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    BilateralMast39: I don't think you punctured the TE. Sounds like a bit of delayed healing; the fluid is the body's attempt at trying to heal the wound. Call your PS and get in to see him/her so they can access. I dealt with seepage for 5 months, under my PS's care, before finally having my TE removed. (see my story on page 1 of this thread). You're not alone! Please keep us posted on your progress.

    vhshea: Oh yeah, we understand! I no longer have nips so have not dealt with that particular issue, but nothing grosses me out anymore! So feel free to share away!

    Jen1832: Welcome to the Troubled TE club. :-( Thanks for sharing your story. I suspect my TE trouble was also due to poor circulation. (I'm still worried that when I try again (in the fall), that I'll have circ issues again.) I'm impressed you were able to save your TE! That is great to hear!

  • SuebeeBC
    SuebeeBC Member Posts: 545
    edited July 2011
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    Bilateral - Im the one that directed you here.  I started seeping like that at nearly 2 weeks past MX surgery....I kept on doing that for another 8 weeks, in a different spot along the incision each time.  One spot would heal and another would open.  I never had an infection, but went on preventative antibiotics for 20 days.  I had to care for the wound specifically with bactroban and a band aid 6 times a day....after the first month of this, it was down to one stubborn spot for the last 4 weeks.  It DID close, and I was on my way.  I did fills in April and May and had exchange in June.

    For the healing time, I was not allowed to do ANY form of exercise.  No biking, no zumba, nothing but a VERY light stroll.  I had to nearly triple my protein intake and I took a multivitamin too.  Protein really aids the healing.  As your PS because you shouldnt be seeping after 2 weeks and ask what you should do to avoid infection and promote healing.

    I came out the other side....dont fret yet!

  • specialk
    specialk Member Posts: 9,237
    edited July 2011
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    The liquid leaking from your incision line is serum, and it is indeed your body attempting to heal.  you know how when you get a scrape it is sometimes sticky on the scab?  That is serum.  I would let your PS know, but it is pretty common, especially in small amounts.

  • Just_V
    Just_V Member Posts: 436
    edited July 2011
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    Bilat - I agree with Sue - don't fret.  But do call your PS.  Mine told me to call ASAP if I see any signs of new infection so he can put me back on antibiotics ( gosh - hate hate hated the antibiotics cause they tore up my tummy).  My PS told me I could walk in the mall (really.  in the mall?  really) or eliptical in air conditioning... but NO running or anything more rigorous than walking...  now I don't know if the tamoxifen I started or the lack of exercise is causing my fatigue.. BC gets old.  Fast.  Oh, Bilat - by the way, welcome.

    Renn - I think my replacement TE will be mid Oct- when might yours be, do you know? 

    Mich_M - my incision is under where the fold of the breast was... and is very thick having been closed, opened, closed, opened, and closed again  (feel like a bad Home Econ student's sewing project).... so i will massage the hell out of that - but the rest of the breast is all folded over - it actually hurts a bit if i massage very hard - is that to be expected? oh. And Welcome to you, too!

  • Kyta
    Kyta Member Posts: 273
    edited July 2011
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    Hi vhshea and thanks for the welcome:)

    My incision is also under the fold and has been closed and opened as many times as you so I understand what you mean about the sewing project. Although it's not feeling too thick right now, so I'm hoping it's because the massaging is helping. When you're massaging, if it hurts then massage more gently…..I can tolerate some discomfort but you don't want to cause pain. Eventually you'll tolerate a more firm rub. Hang in there.

    I was looking at some pics tonight that I took of my breast when it was infected and was reminded how awful it looked….a very bright red. My new TE has been in for about 5 weeks now and is looking great! What a relief.  

  • Just_V
    Just_V Member Posts: 436
    edited July 2011
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    Mich_M -- YEA!  I LOVE hearing success stories from women who have been exactly where I am not.. these experiences that are shared have allowed me to sleep at night!!! My gosh - can you imagine going thru this without this forum... sccccaaary!

    OK - so I just need to massage away and stay calm!  Thanks!

  • Taderbug
    Taderbug Member Posts: 5
    edited July 2011
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    I guess we have tissue expander complications.  I had a Mastectomy 6/14/11.  Seemed to have a lot of issues healing.  Last week my breast incision created a "whole" where tons of fluid continued to leak out of my breast.  As a result, expander removed on 7/19/11.  I'm starting radiation in August, thus, we will do the flap surgery after radiation healing is complete. 

     Take Care!

  • Rennasus
    Rennasus Member Posts: 642
    edited July 2011
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    Taderbug...so sorry to hear you too had to have your TE removed! Your PS reacted swiftly, which is a good thing. Now you can get on with treatment without worrying about the TE. Did you have an infection or rejection? Or other? 

    vhshea: Still laughing at your Home Ec comment! (We gotta keep laughing!) And I have no idea when PS is going to re-try the TE. I know he wanted to wait 2-3 months, depends on how I'm doing. Have to say, this is the first time since my BMX in Feb that I haven't had ANY fluid seepage from my incision! YAY for small miracles!

    Suebee, thanks for referring a TE sistah! 

    Mich_M...what is bio oil? 

  • Kyta
    Kyta Member Posts: 273
    edited July 2011
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    I don't have the original packaging, but found the link to their site. I had never heard of it before my PS suggested it. I really like it and will probably continue with it even after all this TE stuff. I'm using it all over my body now. A few weeks ago I had an allergic reaction to antibiotics and the skin on my neck/chest peeled off like a burn. The bio-oil really seemed to help re-hydrate the skin.

    http://www.bio-oil.com/en-us/

  • BilateralMasectomyat39
    BilateralMasectomyat39 Member Posts: 4
    edited July 2011
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    Thank you and everyone else for your comments.  It is so helpful.  I'm so hoping I don't have to take these out and wait to start all over again months down the road.

  • BilateralMasectomyat39
    BilateralMasectomyat39 Member Posts: 4
    edited July 2011
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    Thank you for your reply.  This site is so helpful. Are you saying you didn't have your TEs out because of that additional draining?  Or did you and had to start over later?

  • SuebeeBC
    SuebeeBC Member Posts: 545
    edited July 2011
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    Bilateral - Just a little tip - Make sure you type the person's name you are asking so they make sure to see it.  I think you might be asking me that question.  No - I did NOT lose my TE.   Rennasus and I were 'healing deficient sisters' for a few months which is why I knew she had started this thread and why I thought to refer you over here.   ANYway, no, I didnt lose the TE at all - I changed my diet and stopped moving.  I think it was my 'doing too much' that started the seepage in the first place.  I am happily 6 weeks post exchange now and the new incisions healed RIGHT up!!!  But after my exchange I didnt get off the couch for nearly 2 weeks.  I tripled my protein again (supplimenting with boost shakes, greek yogurts, nuts, eggs - whatever I could stuff in my mouth - it was NOT the time to think about my growing mid-section).  I was cleared to exercise 2 weeks out, but waited until 4 before getting on my bike - and I havent started back to Zumba yet. 

    Renn - I will BACK AWAY from you TE trouble thread.  I thought a positive story might help a little.  See ya on Bosom Buddies! Wink

  • Rennasus
    Rennasus Member Posts: 642
    edited July 2011
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    BilatMast39: I wasn't sure to whom your question was addressed, so thanks for chiming in Suebee! 

    Suebee: LOL! No backing away is necessary, you are always welcome here in the TE Club (tho I know that you have moved on)!  xoxo

  • specialk
    specialk Member Posts: 9,237
    edited July 2011
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    Hi ladies,

    I have been AWOL for a couple of days.  A scary couple of days.  Had consistent and severe pain over the weekend (isn't it always over the weekend?) and ran a fever on Sunday night of 101.5 so called the PS first thing on Monday a.m.  His staff said come to the office at 3:30 when he is out of surgery.  I had another appt for physical therapy at 1:00 and it was my initial asssesment so I didn't want to miss it, but I was in so much pain I was not sure how I could go.  The only relief was laying down - my assumption was that something was being pinched or pressed on and that gravity was a problem.  I was counting the minutes until I could take the next Vicodin and that is not like me at all.  I think I took one when I had the BMX.  I stepped into the shower before the PT appt. and suddenly that pain was gone!  By the time I went to the appt my temp was normal.  I still went to see the PS but when I got to his office they sent me to the surgery center down the street.  I figured that was where he was and it was just easier.  When I walked in they started asking me what I had eaten and when  and I was like WHAT?  He was ready to take me into surgery again!  He is mystified about what had happened but thinks somehing was pressing on a rib.  He put me on an antibiotic just to be sure and I see him again on Thurs.  Whew!!

    They have Bio-Oil at my Walgrens and CVS. I think they might have it at Sephora also.

  • Just_V
    Just_V Member Posts: 436
    edited July 2011
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    SpecialK !   OMGosh!  Scare us half to death, girl...  Wonder if it was a gas bubble (not to be funny - those can REALLY hurt and lots of folks have gone to the emergency room with them)... Glad it is gone, whatever it was...

     Thanks for the tip on the bio-oil - will check that out - CVS and Walgreens are the only stores I've found that carry Midnight (sleep aid - herbal - taken anytime of night - it's a God send).

    So I, too, will be calling my PS - think my infection is trying to come back... upper outside pole area is swelling, and my incision has little pink/red fingers eminating from it... ugh - the antibiotics killed my tummy - but, better than infection! 

  • specialk
    specialk Member Posts: 9,237
    edited July 2011
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    vhshea - this pain was right at the end of the IMF incision almost under my armpit.  If I have gas there I have a whole new problem!  Also it was there for 4 days, but was relieved by laying down (no gravity) and aggravated by sitting/standing up (gravity) so I am hopeful that I am done with it.  It will be interesting to see if I have the problem come back with fills.  I have a pretty high tolerance for pain but this took my breath away.  When you take antibiotics do you eat yogurt daily or take a probiotic at the same time?

  • Just_V
    Just_V Member Posts: 436
    edited July 2011
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    SpecialK - for the Tamoxifen I am on, I take with some type of dairy (learned that trick on this board)... when I was on the antibiotics, I did learn that eating helped to ease the tummy issues - but I was taking three times a day and just not hungry... but we will see.. I think I am the only person in the world with a doctor hestitent to prescribe antibiotics - I need to go see him instead tomorrow - so much for three weeks without a doctor's appointment.... :(

  • Lifeafter
    Lifeafter Member Posts: 298
    edited July 2011
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    Hi everyone, I'm new to this thread. I had a double mastectomy on 6/20.the skin over my right tissue expander got red and really warm last week. My plastic surgeon saw me and he said he saw no reason for alarm. I had no fever and my incision looked fine. He said sometimes the alloderm irritates the skin.



    Today I noticed the incision site on that side seems to have separated to whatever it was attached to underneath. The incision is sealed. When I push on it I can feel a space bubble underneath it. When pushed firmly all the way down I can feel what I assume is the tissue expander. It's still red or more like a dark pink.



    I called my plastic surgeon and will be seen first thing tomorrow morning. Does this sound weird? Am I just reading to much into every little change that is happening?



    Michelle

  • Kyta
    Kyta Member Posts: 273
    edited July 2011
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    SpecialK - I had some pretty intense pain shortly after my surgery to reinsert a new TE on my left side. The pain was in the left exterior side of my breast, into my armpit and my side. The pain took my breath away…it wasn't constant, but often, and was like a hot searing pain. The PS thought it was from nerve damage. The pain lasted about 3 weeks, then suddenly was gone and hasn't come back. Hoping yours is the same and that you won't have it again!!

    Hi mrochon - Hope all goes well with your appt tomorrow. When I had a TE infection, I didn't notice any weird feeling at the incision, but the redness was very noticeable, worse at night, and my skin was warm. Hopefully it's not an infection. Good luck. 

  • Lifeafter
    Lifeafter Member Posts: 298
    edited July 2011
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    Yuck, thanks mich_m. I just noticed a slight yellow color developing right where there seems to be a pocket under the skin. That could only mean one thing. Ugh