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Unilateral mastectomy & reconstruction

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  • Unknown
    edited October 2014
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    I had a good cry in the shower, and gave myself a pity ,party wanting my own BREASTS back!!! But as we all are acutely aware that will never happen, so we move onwards and upwards to the finish line, thank you all and I will be carrying you all with me, I will post as soon as I can, and as soon as I can figure out how to postinpicture forum I will post my progress, if it is any consolation with my Breast lift it has been 3 months and it looks great, I would like to post so others can see that ALL of our stories are not  bad ones, just emotion ones,,,,,,,, healing Hugz to all,,,,, J

  • Flannery
    Flannery Member Posts: 25
    edited October 2014
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    Fourminor:

    So glad you are comfortable with your decision. BC is a mean mofo for sure. I was actually thinking the other day what it would be like to be a breast radiologist and have direct contact with your patients only when red flags and cancer are found. I feel for them/you in having to be the tip of the sword in letting people know there is a problem and it might be serious. I am in internal medicine and I have my own share of that, but of course I also have the rewards of all the successful outcomes to balance the sad situations.

    I would be more impressed by the 50% reduction offered by tamoxifen if the absolute risk was higher. For example, had I chosen lumpectomy and radiation my chances of recurrence in the same breast were around 30-50% and half that with tamoxifen. With risk reduction of 15-25% I definitely would have taken it. With essentially no risk to my mastectomy breast and only single digit protection for the one remaining, I am more ambivalent. The side effects and quality of life issues are what I fear, not to mention that I have no signs of menopause so far and don't really want to be dropped into it abruptly. Who knows - I may warm to the idea in a bit and have no side effects at all. But I'm definitely going to wait until I am well on the road to recovery and resumed my usual active life before considering it further or trying it.

  • Akitagirl
    Akitagirl Member Posts: 4
    edited October 2014
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    Hi Loveroflife - thank you for your kind words!  I am surprised at how far away your PS consult is....may I ask what you are considering for a plan?  Did they place a TE?  Sorry for the questions..just helps to see what others are thinking.  

    I agree with you about this forum, it has been very helpful and cathartic to feel part of something bigger than myself.  I am somewhat isolated as I work from home and communicate mostly via teleconference and email.  Although, on the other hand...after reading some of the comments folks are receiving, it might be more of a blessing than a curse.  I think Islandmom and others are on the right track- folks really do not know what to say.  However, I wonder if we took a moment, right at the time of the comment to gently share how that feels with that person, perhaps it would help them understand and hopefully be able to have future success with more appropriate comments.  Wishful thinking, right?

    Kind of a funny story:  my youngest daughter is adopted from China and my oldest is biologically mine.  I was at a grocery store one day and the person behind me asked, "are those both your girls"?  I said, "yes, in fact, they are!"  She replied, "do they have the same father?", I said, "No, and they don't have the same mother either.  How crazy is that?"  She turned bright red and looked down at her cart.  I felt bad for being a smarty pants, so I gently said to her, "I know you didn't mean anything wrong by your questions.  However, may I ask what made you ask me?"  She replied, "well, my blood brother looks nothing like me and I always wondered if he was a present from the mailman!"  I bust out laughing and could not even reply...guess that one didn't work as I intended.  

  • Unknown
    edited October 2014
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    I am home and quite sore,,, but everything went great, going to get some rest,,, will pop back on later ,,, healing Hugz to all,,,,, J

  • Frostecat
    Frostecat Member Posts: 223
    edited October 2014
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    Yay Jeanie - glad to hear everything went well - get some rest darlin'!

  • scubalady
    scubalady Member Posts: 49
    edited October 2014
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    Glad to hear everything went well Jeanie.  Just rest and heal.

  • Fourminor
    Fourminor Member Posts: 118
    edited October 2014
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    Glad you are home jeaniebeanie and sending you healing energy!

    I'm on deck.  Have to be at the hospital tomorrow at 11:45 am.  I don't know how i am going to make it without coffee.  Thats what i remember about my lumpectomy surgery, being hungry and caffeine deprived. 

    Everyone is calling me to wish me well but i just don't feel like talking to anyone.  I can't explain how I feel, I'm still really really sad about the whole thing and kind of want to be alone, but at the same time, its time to get it over with.  It can't be put off any longer because the waiting and unknown is only making it worse.  

    My son and I just built a train track with his Thomas set and that's about what i feel like doing.  When I came home today he asked me if the doctor took off my boobie.  I said no, that's tomorrow and he asked me if he could see it was still there.

    He's what really matters.  Today when i went for the sentinel node map there was a little bald boy in the waiting area and my husband and I just started to cry.  So really, its a middle aged boob, it had its heyday and topless times at the beach and I'll miss it, but its time for us to part ways.  I gotta kick this crap to the curb for good.

    Thanks for reading me ladies.  You are all amazing wonderful souls.  

  • Fourminor
    Fourminor Member Posts: 118
    edited October 2014
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    @Akitagirl,

    Loved the kids story.  We were actually toying with the idea of adopting a girl in the future.  I was surprised that my husband was enthusiastic about it.  Have to see how this all goes before I can think about it now.

  • Frostecat
    Frostecat Member Posts: 223
    edited October 2014
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    Fourminor - wishing you all the very best, will be thinking of and praying for you tomorrow (((hugs)))

  • Loveroflife
    Loveroflife Member Posts: 4,243
    edited October 2014
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    Fourminor, best wishes on your surgery tomorrow. Will pray for you...I hope it's ok with you. Try to rest. (((Hugs)))

    Akitagirl, thank you for sharing the funny story. I had a good laugh. That's my extra dose of vitamin for the day. No worries with the questions.  I did not have a TE placed because my surgeon wanted to have the tumor removed right away and to have a TE placed at the same time as MX would require coordination with PS, which will delay surgery...it's life over limbs. I thank God that the tumor was "pure" DCIS but at the time there was no way of knowing if there was also invasive cells. I plan to have reconstruction on affected side and augmentation on the healthy side  Btw, I have two girls two.

  • Unknown
    edited October 2014
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    Fourminor, good luck today you will be ok,,,, I promise, I hope your surgery goes as well as my MASTECTIOMY, out of all my surgeries I felt that was the easiest physically,,,, emotionally for me it was the hardest.but we are all different,,,,,,,, I will be in your pocket with you😉🙏,,,,,,,

    I also had a very emotional morning yesterday, while I was in the shower the tears started flowing, I could not help it but it sure felt great, I don't cry in front of anyone,,, something about " being strong" we show to everyone, but I know for me I am just like a scared child,,,after being in there 20 min, my loving daughter (36)whom is my best friend came in the bathroom to check on my i said I was ok, she said are you crying I said yes, please shut the door, she did... As I watched my tears go down the drain, I rubbed my "Foob" and said goodbye to my excess side skin and got out and put my big girl panties on and my "scuba  Steve " sunglasses and proceeded to the hospital which was also not without crying there too, but wear the sunglasses till they wheel me back to operating room,,, thank god I have same people involved and they call me miss Hollywood, but for me it is just to hide my tears.   Had a restless night but found an awesome VSsports bra that doesn't cut in on my lift incision on the other side and I will purchase quite a few others in different colors, after spending a lot of money trying to find a comfortable bra, I have finally found the one for me.,,will try to get some rest today, but also want to learn how to post pics on the picture forum, as I have documented from my MASTECTIOMY in December till now,,,,, 

    HEALING HUGZ FOURMINOR, REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT ALONE HUN, ,,,, and healing hugz for anyone else who needs them,,,,,,,,,J,,,,,,, post when you can Four,,,,,,

  • chipmunk57
    chipmunk57 Member Posts: 28
    edited October 2014
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    Hugs for you, fourminor & Jeanie.

  • Unknown
    edited October 2014
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    thank you ChipmunkSmile may I add you as a friend?

  • Frostecat
    Frostecat Member Posts: 223
    edited October 2014
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    Jeanie - it sounds like you are having a much better day than yesterday!  That is so good to hear.  Doesn't it feel good to know that you are done with surgeries - yay!!!!  

    For an update on me - This week I'm turning the corner, I'm starting to finally feel like my old self again.  I've been warned, just because you are feeling better, don't be trying to do things that you shouldn't.  In this healing process, one tends to say we are doing better all along, but then there really does come a point when you really do!

    Monday was the first day the thoracoepigastric flap wasn't hurting me - yay!  The oozing on my lifted side is still there but is lightening up.  I was going to try and make it back to work this week, but something is telling me to hold off until mid next week.  Because once I am back, I am back.  There are no half days, or going in and saying not feeling well and going home.  That would totally mess up my SD disability and I would have to start the cycle all over again.  

    At this point in time, I can not imagine wearing a bra for a full 10 hours a day, 5 days a week without causing pain.  On the mastectomy side it is usually the flap giving me trouble, and on the lifted side, it is still sore, oozing and very sensitive.  It is good to be home and able to wear a very light t-shirt and rub my creams in for circulation and not have anything pressing on me.  I can go for shorter periods of time with the bra, but I'm afraid to go back to that schedule, I don't want to make things go backwards.  I think if I go back mid week that will help me ease back into it.

    They told me 4-6 weeks and yesterday was the 4 week point (I guess they've done this before).  I was determined to be back at work at 4 weeks, but I guess pain trumps determination.

  • Unknown
    edited October 2014
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    Fourminor, we have the same road trip on this journey, I had left MASTECTIOMY and immediate TE PLACE IN,,,my doc put a pain pump in Mastectomy and I didn't feel to much of anything,, also went home with it,,,,I do not now or ever thought that my drain was a pain, but I have only had 1 T  time,, I have one now, just wear something with front or side pocket,,,,,there is also website called ,,, Polly pockets I think and they are pieces of material with Velcro on them and you can put them on the inside of anything and can tuck your drain bulb in there,,,, I am here for you if you have any questions,,,, 

  • chipmunk57
    chipmunk57 Member Posts: 28
    edited October 2014
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    Jeaniebeanie: absolutely! I need all the friends I can get.

  • Loveroflife
    Loveroflife Member Posts: 4,243
    edited October 2014
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    Flannery, thank you for your post. Just like Fourminor said, it also echoes my thought when I was deciding whether to go uni or bi. The waiting and decision making was torchering

  • Loveroflife
    Loveroflife Member Posts: 4,243
    edited October 2014
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    Flannery, thank you for your post. I hope people who are trying to make a decision whether to go uni or bi will find your post. Just like Fourminor said, it also echoes my thoughts during my decision making stage. It was not an easy decision, but now I'm so glad I chose to go uni. I can't imagine not being able to use my other hand.

    Jeanie,I hope you are feeling better. Rejoicing with you. Hopefully, you will not need anymore corrections((Hugs))  I cried for the first time yesterday, 3 weeks after MX. I think I m now mourning the loss of my breast...I felt good afterward though.

    Frostecat, don't rush back to work. Listen to your body. It has been through so much already.  Stress might delay healing.

  • Frostecat
    Frostecat Member Posts: 223
    edited October 2014
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    Lover - I hope you are doing well.  For me 3 weeks was the start of going on the upside.  I weaned myself off of meds during that time, but I'm sure you are still pretty pooped!  Let the tears flow if it makes you feel better - who the heck cares, you're entitled :-)  After my UMX I was feeling up to going back to work at 6 weeks, but wasn't able to get medical clearance until week 7 because my PS was out of town, and was not allowed to go back until I saw him first.

    In hindsight, I was glad to have had that extra time, because when I went back I did pretty good.  I hear so many stories of women who go back and are exhausted half way through the day, or had to leave early, or work a day then end up taking off two.  Maybe I'm being a bit overly cautious, but I know what works for ME.    I can't believe how many women go back after 2 weeks of exchange, yikes!  But then again, I had a bit more work done and was under anesthesia for 6 1/2 hours too.  The old saying for every hour of anesthesia one week to recuperate. That stuff packs a wallop!

  • Fourminor
    Fourminor Member Posts: 118
    edited October 2014
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    Hi awesome women!  I'm out and in the nicest hospital room i've ever seen in my life. Sloan Kettering does not Eff around!

    I cried on the OR table when i got in there but they pushed me some Versed pronto.   Then a weird am i dreaming feeling in post op.  But good news on the crappy news front: sentinal node was clean!  No chemo!  I dodged the last bullet in the gun!

    Hubs went to find food and im sipping chicken broth. NO IDEA how people deal with bilateral. I moved to bed from stretcher with good arm. 

    The worst part so fat was the utter dog breath. I felt like i cleaned a subway car with my tongue. 

    You ladies really made a huge difference for me. Thank u thank u!

  • Loveroflife
    Loveroflife Member Posts: 4,243
    edited October 2014
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    Fourminor- hooray!!!!  So happy to hear you have clean sentinel nodes and don't have to go through chemo. Rest dear. 

    Frostecat, thank you for your words of encouragement. Actually, physically, I am at at 80%. Just have spasm on surgery side here and there, especially when I over exert myself. I think all the emotions that I have been trying to suppress caught up with me yesterday now that I m on the road to recovery physically. I had forgotten that we need mental healing also, so you are right...crying is part of healing as long as you are not stuck in pity party

  • Flannery
    Flannery Member Posts: 25
    edited October 2014
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    Fourminor: so very happy for you. I dodged the same bullet despite being told to expect the worst, and will never forget the pure joy and relief of that moment. It is bittersweet, as there are so many women who get bad news from their pathology report rather than good.

    Many people told me that the period leading up to surgery was by far the worst from an emotional perspective, and that has certainly been the case for me. The post-op period is no picnic, but for me the physical challenges are nothing compared to the emotional devastation that came before. I hope that will also be the case for you. Best wishes for a smooth recovery.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,086
    edited October 2014
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    Jeaniebeanie and Fourminor:

    We're all so relieved to hear your surgeries went well, and that you're resting comfortably. And Fourminor, that's wonderful news about your nodes! Wishing you both a very speedy and uneventful recovery.

    The Mods

  • Fourminor
    Fourminor Member Posts: 118
    edited October 2014
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    Its weird, because as i have said in prior posts, I am typically a very optimistic person but cancer took a major turd on that, such that I was afraid to even think about it.  But once I realized that i was not having a dream and was actually in recovery from a mastectomy that had actually happened, it was the only thing I could think about.  But i wanted to hear if from my husband, not a nurse, so i just asked that he come in ASAP.

  • scubalady
    scubalady Member Posts: 49
    edited October 2014
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    Fourminor, so glad to hear everything went well and the node was clear!  I know how wonderful it is to hear those words.  

  • Frostecat
    Frostecat Member Posts: 223
    edited October 2014
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    Yay Fourminor!  So relieved to hear no lymph node involvement!  That is such a huge relief, and a big part of the fear of the surgery going in, knowing that you will know the answer to that upon awakening.  Take care, rest as much as you can and wishing you a speedy recovery!

  • Unknown
    edited October 2014
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    wooohooooooo!!!!! WTG Fourminor!!!!  Those are some happy words!!!!! I am sooooo happy for you!!!  Thank you to the Moderators, Frostecat,chipmunk, and bosom blues for the healing hugs,,,, I finally "drugged" myself enough to finally get some sleep because as of 10 pm Wednesday night I still couldn't sleep, sooo, I finally got some and woke up this morning feeling rested,,not as sore but of course I wanted to start doing little stuff like put my hair up in ponytail but,,, my left arm reminded me very quickly about raising it!' My PS said for it to not leave my side, to pretend it was attached to my hip, I guess he meant it,,,, so between DH, and loving daughter I am back in the bed,,,, it actually feels like this is where I should be but I won't tell them that they were right ,,,lol,,,, healing Hugz to everyone,,, rest up Fourminor, and anyone else that needs it,,,, be back on later,,,,,,,, j

  • Flannery
    Flannery Member Posts: 25
    edited October 2014
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    BosumBlues:

    Thanks for the kind comment, and I appreciate your thoughts on this. I am definitely thinking about the tamoxifen, and may very well give it a try if only to see whether I encounter any side effects. I would DEFINITELY do it if I'd had spread to my lymph nodes! Now they are recommending 10 years rather than 5, and I am not yet sure it is worth it for a small reduction in risk for the healthy breast. There is no way I would start this while I am still recovering from the mastectomy, but once I am back to feeling like me and living my normal life I will review the situation again, speak with my doctors, and give it some serious consideration. 

  • Fourminor
    Fourminor Member Posts: 118
    edited October 2014
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    Note to anyone who is going in for mastectomy--when your husband says, Take one of my flannel shirts, listen to him.  I had this semi- fitted button down T shirt, and I looked like I was shoplifting my drains.  Thankfully I also had a sweatshirt.

    Serious thumbs up for Sloan--everyone really went out of their way to be compassionate and caring in a way I have not experienced in a medical setting before.   From the doctors down to the housekeepers.  It was like they were pampering you through this horrible experience and it made a huge difference.  

    Husband was awesome too.  When i looked at my chest today with the hand mirror (they made me), he said, "Work in progress baby."

    My 3 year old asked me if they took my boobie away, and where did it go?  I told him they are fixing it and will put it back.

    Now its just a question of how much House Hunters can I stand to watch.

  • Loveroflife
    Loveroflife Member Posts: 4,243
    edited October 2014
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    Fourminor, what a sweetheart your hubby is. It is a blessing to have a supportive family. I love your answer to your son question ;) Hope you are doing better everyday.  

    Jeanie- speedy recovery to you too 😃

    Akitagirl, I saw a different PS this morning for a second opinion and he suggested that I wait 3 months after mastectomy so I am scheduled to have TE placement in January of next year. I am so glad for him not because he can get me in sooner, but he took his time to explain the process of reconstruction, gave me different options, and made suggestions of what would be best for me based on my frame. Also, he has good bedside manners which is very important to me.