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Follow my Brava and Fat Grafting Day by Day

clb052975
clb052975 Member Posts: 42
edited May 2015 in Breast Reconstruction

I want to share my experience with the Brava Bra and fat grafting after a double masectomy.  Since I have had 3 infections with expanders, a tumor on my spine five years ago which has made my back weak and a large scar on my stomach, all other options are out for me.  Come with me on this trip.

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Comments

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    6/07/2012 I took the bra off this evening and I have little puffs (for lack of a better description) where my boobs once were. Yea.......And I had no discomfort today. Only thing is that because I have lots of peaks and valleys with no boobs, there were times that the cup lost suction and I had to reapply it. Not a big problem however.

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012
    Day 2

    6/08/2012 Good day pumping. I have discovered however, that when the weather is warm and you are using the Brava after a mastectomy the seal can and does break easily. If your skin is bumpy then any movement can break the seal as you perspire. I only got in 9 hours because the seal was breaking up as I got warmer. Tomorrow I will start pumping earlier. Possibly later this week I will try pumping at night.

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    Day 3

    6/09/2012  Wow I actually have little boobs and I wore the cones for 11 hours today.  I made one change and that was instead of wearing the black bra that you get with the brava cones, I used the bra that they give you after you have had a mastectomy or expanders.  It was more rigid and because it has been very hot here (Denver) it seemed to hold the cones better in place.  I look like I almost need a training bra.  No discomfort however even though my skin was a bit red when I took the cones off.  I did use the cream that they give you and it seems to be fine.  For those of you that are doing this after a mastectomy you need to remember that these cones were designed for women that have boobs and so they sometime will release because our chests are flat.  Don't give up.  I will be back tomorrow with more updates. 

  • brcamomof2
    brcamomof2 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    I didn't even think to consider using my post mastectomy bra with my BRAVA domes. Thanks for the great tip!!

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    Day 4

    6/10/2012  Some challenges today as I tried to do some gardening and found that the cones were just to hot.  So I did 5 hours and then had to take them off.  I am going to try to sleep with them tonight.  The pump is working as well as the alarm so we will see how it goes tonight.  Still not uncomfortable though.  I am still having a bit of a struggle with the uneven skin and getting a really good suction.  I imagine that this will get better as my skin stretches.  I am amazed at how much it has stretched in just 4 days.  I also have to say that this is much more comfortable than expanders were.  Will check in tomorrow night.

  • faithhopenluv
    faithhopenluv Member Posts: 154
    edited June 2012

    Thank you for sharing - my surgery is Thursday.  I will need to heal a bit until I am using the Brava, but I really appreciate you documenting your experience.

  • kriserts
    kriserts Member Posts: 61
    edited June 2012

    This is great! Thanks for posting your diary.

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    Day 5

    6/11/2012   A good day today.  Maybe because it was about 15 degrees cooler and so I did not have any issues with it being hot and trying to keep the cones on.  I told you I would let you know how the sleeping went and it did not go well.  First off I am a side sleeper and I could not get to sleep.  I finally gave up, took them off and then went to sleep.  This will have to be a day time project for me.  They do not look bad however with clothes over them (and providing you don't bump into anyone), so I went about my business going to the grocery store and then played canasta with my group of senior hiking girlfriends.  I am getting ready to take them off now as it has been 11 1/2 hours that I have had them on.  

  • EileenKaye1
    EileenKaye1 Member Posts: 166
    edited June 2012

    great that you can wear them during the day.  What size are they?  Mine are Large, Wide--definitely cannot be worn underneath--anything at all without looking strange.    I had the same sleeping issue--and I usually sleep on my back. Still feel a discomfort from the borders.  Eileen

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    Day 6

    6/12/2012  I put the cones on this morning at 8am and went off to do a Dr. appointment and some shopping.  I discovered that the no sting wipes actually have a coating on them and I think it helps seal the cones to your skin.  I had a good suction all days and I am getting what appear to be boobs.  My skin is a bit irrated where the adhesive is but it seems to be better in the morning after I use the skin cream at night.  The other good thing is I can move the cones around so that they don't hit the same area which will give me a bit of relief.  I still am amazed at how this does stretch the skin and make what appears to be small breasts.  Still not uncomfortable....So, right now I only see good side effects.  Eileen to answer your question, my cones are large (at least to me as I have never been very large) but I just wear the mastectomy bra or a sports bra and then a shirt over it and I look like I have large boobs.  After walking around with a concave chest however, nothing fazes me though.  Talk to you all tomorrow.

  • EileenKaye1
    EileenKaye1 Member Posts: 166
    edited June 2012

    thanks--would still want to know.  when the domes came--the shipment slip gave the size.  seems yours must be much smaller than my large, wide domes.  perhaps this makes them easier to wear.  Mine could never be worn outside of the house-extremely uncomfortable, irritation from rims--  Perhaps a smaller dome would work for me. 

    Good to hear that your brava is going well.  I still think brava will make a big difference in the fatgrafting outcome.  eileen

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    Day 7

    6/13/2012  Another good day today.  I am getting some skin irratation on my chest so I am trying to move the cones around.  It has been a full week and I still think this is easier than the expanders.  Not much more to report just trying to keep a positive attitude that when I see the Dr. in two more weeks, he will be able to start the first fat graft but if not then I keep pumping.  Everyone is impressing with my "big" boobs until I actually rap on them and they hear a hollow noise.  Kinda a funny especially with cancer you have to look for every funny you can get.  Goodnight and have a super day y"all.

  • J9W
    J9W Member Posts: 10
    edited June 2012

    thank you so much for sharing your adventure with these. 

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    Day 8 & 9  Sorry I have not blogged in a couple of days but I have been dealing with skin irratation.  Last night I had to put ice on my chest after I removed the expanders.  I am still going to try to use them today, but I may have to take a day of "rest".  Not something that I want to do willingly, but I also don't want open sores, which I don't have at this time.  I also may try to use them for less time and then try again tonight.  My chest is expanding however and that is the good news.  I also found out yesterday that one of my blood test came out not so good and they are hoping it is just a "fluke".  I am going back in for more blood work in two weeks.  Cancer never leaves your mind and if it does then some how we get reminded.  Oh well life goes on.  I will blog tonight and let you know how the day is going.

  • LilliM
    LilliM Member Posts: 4
    edited June 2012

    Hi clb052975:

    Have you been in touch with the Brava coach?  She is the best source of information on ways to avoid or minimize skin irritation when using the Brava following mastectomy.

  • PLJ
    PLJ Member Posts: 65
    edited June 2012

    Thank you for doing this. I'm interested in using the Brava to recreate my skin envelopes for Neopec once it becomes widely available. I wish you an easy journey!

  • brcamomof2
    brcamomof2 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    Hi, PLJ! There is a whole group of us that are using BRAVA with AFT for unilateral or bilateral mastectomy. Feel free to join us over at fatgratpatients.com Are you in Australia? What is the difference between Neopwc and traditional fat grafting?

    clb, I used ALOE LIFE SKIN CARE GEL (purchased at vitacost.com) instead of the Smith and Nephew wipes. I found the gel to be much less irritating. Another tip is SOVERIGN SILVER FIRST AID GEL or hydrocortisone during the day.

    Good luck!

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    Thanks Liz for the suggestion.  I will try both of those

  • janetann
    janetann Member Posts: 1
    edited June 2012

    I have been wearing Brava for 5 1/2 weeks now and had fat grafting surgery almost 2 weeks ago. I could not have gotten through without Tagaderm which was recomended to me by the Brava coach. It has really helped me stay on track through the skin irritations!

  • EileenKaye1
    EileenKaye1 Member Posts: 166
    edited June 2012

    still not able to master--the Brava technique--perhaps because I have an implant.  Hoping that what I do will still help my next fatgrafting round.  Tissues still looks softer and expanded.  Eileen

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    Yesterday day 10.  A good day and the skin irratation is getting better.  I try to keep the cones off the red area (pick a new area to make red), I also put attibacterial cream on it last night.  I only made 9 1/2 hours as once again I lost suction once I either got warm from the heat or from hot flashes.  Because the skin in uneven and I am hot, then when I sit down the suction in lost and it is hard to get it back.  However I still think that although this is a long procedure and it for me still worthwhile.  Thanks to everyone for their suggestions on creams etc. and I have put in a call and an e-mail for someone to call me back from brava.  Still though have not heard from them.  Maybe today.  Another hot day so I am off to put on my "new" boobs.

  • EileenKaye1
    EileenKaye1 Member Posts: 166
    edited June 2012

    clb--You've come a long way in your use of brava.  To be realistic--if  you are having issues--I'm pretty sure --I will never master the Brava domes.  NOne the less--will do my best.  Eileen

  • faithhopenluv
    faithhopenluv Member Posts: 154
    edited June 2012

    Clb -how many weeks do you anticipate you will need to wear it until your next surgery? Are you still seeing visual changes? My situation is somewhat different. I had a bmx on Thursday with immediate fat grafting. I need to heal and then will use the brava for the next 2 stages. Right now I have droopy man boobs.



    Hope you are doing well. Thanks again for your posts.

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    I finally was able to connect with the brava coach and for any of you doing the brava this should be your first thing.  Talking to her helped alot.  I have found that I have so many peaks and valleys that her recommendation is to do a lipo now in order to smoth out the skin and then I should get a better area for the bra to adhere to.  Of course you have to know that I don't do anything the easy way.   So my surgeon is going to be here for the next two weeks but then on vacation for three weeks.  And.....of course being a good physician, he of course is booked solid.  Oh well as I said I don't do things the easy way.  If the can't fit me in then I have to wait for five weeks before I have that first lipo.  I did however, use the bra overnight last night.  One of the things that the coach told me is to have my husband help me.  I layed down on the bed and stretched my arms over my head which made the skin stretch more.  Than I had my husband attach the cones to my chest.  I kept the suction all night and with the body pillows I actually slept for about five hours.  I will be doing that again tonight.  Life is an adventure......

  • jseda
    jseda Member Posts: 6
    edited June 2012

    Hang in there clb052975. I just finished my second Brava wear/fat transfer procedure and in spite of the little hassels in the big picture, it is so worth it. Wish I had had this as my first choice 3 yrs ago when I had the DIEP which didn't work for me. The Brava/fat transfer is the way to go; all natural and once done, you're done. Highly recommend that all women do their homework on options before merely putting a piece of plastic etc in their chests.

    Keep your head up as it'll be over sooner than you think and remember, the boob was not created in 1 day!

    JSeda

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    Thank you JSeda for you words of encourgement. 

    Can't remember what day we are on, however my plastic surgeon is going to fit me in next Friday for my first lipo.  This will smooth the skin and make it so that domes will adhere better.  So....I have been wearing the bra at night and I have been sleeping.  I must say it is much easier wearing them at night than during the day.  It really does have something to do with gravity.  It also makes the time go by much faster when you are sleeping.  Still have the skin irritation but I have been using Aloe Life Skin Care Gel and Soverign Silver First Aid Gel which were recommended by lizdehart.  I bought both of them through Amazon.  The redness is almost all gone by the time you are ready to reapply the domes the next evening.  

    Also I didn't answe hopefaithnlove about how long.  Those that have been through this can answer better than me (c above jseda) but the brava coach tells me that it is pump for six weeks, then lipo, then pump for six weeks etc. for how many lipo's that you will need.  My dr tells me he things 4 but that is just an estimation.  Being patient is not one of those strong suits in human beings.  We all want it NOW.   But there hare some things (I think of these as the good things) that take time.  Remember Rome was not built in a day.  

    For me  this is still easier than expanders......Talk to you soon

  • faithhopenluv
    faithhopenluv Member Posts: 154
    edited June 2012

    Thank you clb and jseda. I am a week out from a bmx and immediate grafting. It is not pretty, and I know some of it is swelling but I'm really happy. I do have a cleavage. He started w the top and inner sides.



    Clb - glad you could get in quickly w your first lipo :)

  • brcamomof2
    brcamomof2 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    I agree with jseda! Back to work 2 weeks after my mastectomy, could have easily returned to work 3-4 days after my 1st postop fat grafting.

    SO GLAD to hear the skin tips worked, clb052975!

  • sweetbean
    sweetbean Member Posts: 433
    edited June 2012

    i have a question - I Had a BMX and TE's, switched out for implants.  I have been looking into a PAP flap, but then I found this procedure.  Since my skin is already stretched out, would I have to wear the cones or could I just do the fat grafting?

  • clb052975
    clb052975 Member Posts: 42
    edited June 2012

    I am not sure sweetbean.  It would certainly be, I believe, well worth your while to ask your dr.  The good thing about this procedure is that it is permanent where implants eventually have to be removed and reinserted.  This is less invasive surgery and of course you get the rewards of both breast and lipo.  Let me know what you find out.