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DIEP Flap Reconstruction 2017

jbdayton
jbdayton Member Posts: 163
edited March 2021 in Breast Reconstruction

I am starting a thread for 2017.

I had my initial DIEP surgery March 2014. I am having my final revision surgery Monday February 20, 2017. I had several set backs but am still 100% in favor of the flap surgeries.

I will be glad to host this thread for everyone to share their experiences and ask questions to prepare for upcoming DIEP or other tissue flap surgeries.

______________________________________________________________________________

2017 SURGERY SCHEDULE

JANUARY 5.........Maya15..................Stage 2...............New York

JANUARY 12.......WGraf.....................DIEP.......

JANUARY 24.......cwayman650..........DIEP........

FEBRUARY 2......MAPBB...................DIEP...................

FEBRUARY 20.....jbdayton.................Stage 2 #6..........PRMA Dr. Ochoa

FEBRUARY 28......Hammie28.............DIEP...................Georgia

MARCH 2.............cdv4251992............DIEP...................

MARCH 3.............botzey......................DIEP....................

MARCH 8.............Pambc010417.........BMX/DIEP..........St Vincent Carmel, IN, Dr Robert Paul (PS) and Dr Erica Giblin (BS)

MARCH 14...........fipjoemom................DIEP...................

MARCH 30...........IrishLuck..................DIEP...................Dr. Lee; Stanford

APRIL 4................Trishyla....................DIEP..................

APRIL 4................RTChris...................DIEP...................Canada

APRIL 6................Beach4....................DIEP....................Dr. Hofer; Toronto, Ontario.

APRIL 10.............. mtsalhuana.............DIEP...................Mayo Clinic Arizona

APRIL 11..............pnwgram..................DIEP...................UWMC Seattle Dr. Colohan

APRIL 17..............Okiemomof4............unilateral DIEP....St. Anthony's Hospital Oklahoma City Dr. Anureet Bajaj

APRIL 18..............Kali44......................DIEP/reduction...

APRIL 21...............kal52.......................DIEP...........

APRIL 21...............Wordlady.................BMX/DIEP..........John Muir Hospital Walnut Creek, CA

MAY 1..,.................Beckyb2016............DIEP...................Atlanta

MAY 1....................Mhud648.................DIEP....................

MAY 4....................Dawn Lee................DIEP...................NOLA

MAY 4....................bellacrawford ..........DIEP..................Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, Dr. Joan Lipa

MAY 4....................jamiens....................DIEP...................University of Michigan, Dr. Momoh

MAY 8....................songbird72..............DIEP...................OKC;Dr. Anureet Bajaj

MAY 9....................deni1661.................DIEP Stacked......

MAY 11..................BlackBear................DIEP...................Wake Forest

MAY 15.................Mama_Green...........BMX/DIEP...........IU University Indianapolis with Dr. Socas and Korff

MAY 17..................suzzyq.....................DIEP...................St. Francis Medical Center, Richmond, VA, Dr. Darrin Hubert

MAY 18.................Tpralph.....................DIEP...................Toronto; Dr. Hofer

MAY 22..................KCMC.....................DIEP....................Hudson Valley, NY Dr. Koch and Dr. Ashikari

MAY 22.................Cheri444..................BMX/DIEP...........Burlington, VT Dr. Meredith Collins

MAY 25..................Ali8..........................DIEP....................NOLA, Dr. Wise

MAY 26..................aggiemegs...............DIEP...................Dr. Kyle Gordley,The Woodlands, TX

MAY 30.................Falconer....................DIEP...................Vassar Brothers Medical Center

JUNE 7.................botzey...................... Stage II Diep.......CMC , Charlotte,NC , Dr Robinson

JUNE 17...............Hopfull2.....................LAT Flap............

JUNE 22...............Rlsteadman...............DIEP...................

JULY 7..................FlaxenGirl.................UNI/DIEP............Louisiana

JULY 11................MichCali.....................DIEP...................Beaumont, Dr. Chaiyasate

JULY 13................hanley50....................DIEP..................Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Neal Topham

JULY 17................mmcmom...................DIEP...................Penn, Dr. Serletti

JULY 27................jeanwash....................DIEP (left)..........Chicago, Dr. Alghoul

AUGUST 4...........Pambc010417............DIEP, Stage 2....Dr Robert Paul, PS

SEPTEMBER 18..tnd22..........................DIEP...................Medical City Frisco, Dallas, Tx.

OCTOBER 25......Katjadvm.....................DIEP...................Maine

NOVEMBER 20...LMichele.....................Delay of flap.......

DECEMBER 4......LMichele.....................DIEP...................UPenn, Dr. Kanchwala

DECEMBER 18....GagasDaughter..........DIEP Prophylactic...

TBD. ....................mustlovepoodles.........DIEP...................NOLA, Dr.Wise ______________________________________________________________________________

I am stealing this from jstacy's introduction from the 2016 thread.

What to Have at Home:

Walker?

Recliner/Lift chair

Stool for shower

Lots of pillow to support arms and raise knees

Button down pajamas, sized up one size

for drains: post mastectomy camisole for around the house, a lanyard or a necklace of IV tubing to pin the drains to in the shower

Stool Softeners and Prune Juice

Yoga Pants (same size as now)

What to Take to the Hospital

Robe

Book/Tablet

cell phone and charger

ear buds

Biotene Mouth Spray & Ayr Nasal Spray for dry air

Magazines

Toothpaste/Toothbrush

or Colgate Wisps for when you can't get out of bed to brush

Shampoo/conditioner

Body wash

small pillow to use for the car ride home (between your chest and the seatbelt)

comfy clothes for ride home (you can go home in what you came in, just bring a fresh pair of undies)



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Comments

  • cdv4251992
    cdv4251992 Member Posts: 110
    edited February 2017

    Thanks for staring the thread. My surgery is scheduled for 3/2. Trying to gather things I'll need and prep and freeze some meals for my family this weekend.

  • jbdayton
    jbdayton Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017

    Welcome cdv4251992 I have added you to the list.

    Best wishes in getting all the prep done. For me staying super busy helped with my nerves and then I could relax going into surgery.

    You can do this. So sorry to see this is your second diagnosis. Bless you.


  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,065
    edited February 2017

    JB - just posting to wish you well during this final revision surgery. As you know I'm an implant girl, but I will be thinking of you. Please do check in when you can - or PM me.

  • Falconer
    Falconer Member Posts: 801
    edited February 2017

    Hi Jbdayton- have an appt on 2/22 w my PS. Plan to schedule DIEP then. Thanks for starting this thread. Hope all goes smoothly for you on the 20th

  • WGraf
    WGraf Member Posts: 17
    edited February 2017

    Jbdayton - Thanks so much for starting the 2017 thread!!

    I had my DIEP on 1/12/17. I still have one drain in place in my left hip. It hurts so badly and can't wait to get it removed. Hoping on Monday the PS takes it out. I had the upper abdominal drain removed last week and scar tissue had formed around it. When she pulled it out it was incredibly painful. Now my belly button is leaking after that. I couldn't even feel it when the drains were removed from my breast because they are numb. Mixed blessing there I guess. Unfortunately, this road continues to be challenging. My abdominal incision opened up about 3 weeks ago and I've be been packing it with sterile saline and gauze ever since. Last week my PS ordered a wound vac to facilitate the healing process. My insurance denied it of course. So, I find out out on monday if the PS was able to convince the insurance company that I really need it. I'm scheduled to get my port Friday and supposed to start chemo on 3/2. If my abdomen is not closed by 3/1, I can't start chemo. It pushes everything back. I was only supposed need surgery and then a pill when I was diagnosed. Now I need everything- BMX, BRCA2+, chemo, radiation, & Arimidex . I just want to get this over with. I was so shocked to find out that I had a + node in my internal mammary chain. After removing the 4th rib during my DIEP my PS saw the ominous node and removed it. She couldn't see the others along my sternum without dissecting more muscle off my ribs and then removing more ribs. That has been painful especially when I get hiccups. So I have no idea if there are more + nodes there. Apparently it's pretty rare to have + nodes there according to 2 MO's I saw. Therefore that + node automatically made me Stage 3. I just want to have my belly closed and get this over with.

    Prayers for everyone scheduled for surgery. One thing I didn't know about was how bad my back would hurt after surgery. Just don't be surprised by that. Mine was due to not being able to stand up straight. So when they make you walk the halls have someone follow you with a desk chair from the nurses station so you can sit when need be. Also, I'm only 5'4" and found it helpful when my husband brought a little step stool from my son's bathroom for me to put my feet on while sitting in the chair at the hospital. Your stomach is so tight that it puts quite a strain on it if your feet dangle. Just my 2 cents.

  • cdv4251992
    cdv4251992 Member Posts: 110
    edited February 2017

    Jbdayton, will be thinking of you tomorrow. Hope everything goes smoothly

  • Falconer
    Falconer Member Posts: 801
    edited February 2017
    Oh WGraf sorry it's been such a hard road. I don't understand what you said about your ribs, though. Do you mean the PS removed muscle from your ribs or something else? Hope your insurance company comes through with what you need. ((Hugs))
  • WGraf
    WGraf Member Posts: 17
    edited February 2017

    Falconer - During my surgery my plastic surgeon had to reconnect more blood vessels than anticipated. In doing so she had to dissect the muscles off the ribs and then remove part of the 4th rib in order to get to the vessels she needed. Does that make more sense?

  • jbdayton
    jbdayton Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017

    Welcome Falconer. We are with you in spirit as you plan for your surgery. Once you have a date let us know and we can help guide you through the journey. Thank you for the well wishes for me.

  • jbdayton
    jbdayton Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017

    Welcome WGraf. I am so sorry to hear of your setback. I can sympathize, my flap incision opened up at day 10 and I had to wet/dry pack for 9 weeks then I got the wound vac for another 3.5 weeks. I didn't think it would ever heal. I lost about 50% of my flap and it destroyed my inframmary fold so my breast is a good two inches lower on that side. 5 fat graftings and tomorrow they will try to fix the fold but gives me only a 50% chance of success.

    Patience is the name of the game. Would think your PS or MO could get insurance to approve the wound vac as an emergency since your chemo depends on your healing. I did chemo before surgery as well as radiation.

    Praying for a quick recovery and insurance getting you the wound vac. It is a miracle device

  • jbdayton
    jbdayton Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017

    I am on my way to San Antonio it is no longer sunny🌤 But there are blue bonnets already blooming. The plants are so confused with this warm winter here in south Texas. 77 degrees right now.

    I am starting to get anxious

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,065
    edited February 2017

    JB - in your pocket.

  • WGraf
    WGraf Member Posts: 17
    edited February 2017

    Jbdayton - OMG!! 😱 I could not pack this thing for 9 weeks. I would be crazy! It hurts so much changing out the gauze. Did the wound vac help close it more quickly? That's my hope. I can see inside of the incision that granulation is occuring but I don't know how the incision is supposed to close itself all the way? Mine is on my abdomen. Is this the same area as yours? I couldn't tell if you meant it was on your breast. I'll find out tomorrow if the vac I gets approved. 🤞🏻😜 Also, praying to get my last drain out tomorrow as well

  • jbdayton
    jbdayton Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017

    WGraf Mine was the breast incision (the lower part of the football shaped skin paddle). The wound vac closes it quickly. If you have granulation starting that is all you need. I am praying you get the wound vac. I did have some small areas that tunneled on my abdomen but it closed on its own in about 2 weeks.

    I think my slow healing was because 2 days after the wound vac was removed I was having emergency gall bladder surgery. It was very inflamed. My body was fighting that infection and trying to heal a wound at the same time. This of course is just a guess.

    Every incision since then has healed very fast.

    Good luck with getting the last drain removed

  • jbdayton
    jbdayton Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017

    Thank you Minus I will update tomorrow when I am up to it.

    I have had my shower and getting ready for bed. I have to be at the hospital by 6 am. It is pouring rain and thundering. Hope it is done by morning. Be careful tomorrow in Houston.


  • Maya15
    Maya15 Member Posts: 112
    edited February 2017

    jbdayton, good luck!

    Wgraf, commiserations on the abdominal incision. Mine opened up too, and it just kept getting bigger. After 8 weeks of packing I had a second surgery to clean it out and close it. I think without the surgery it would have taken another 2 months. The whole thing made me really crazy, I thought it was never going to heal. If your insurance doesn't approve the wound vac, you might ask your surgeon if they can close it surgically.

  • jbdayton
    jbdayton Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017

    I made it through the night with little sleep. The storms outside were fierce and loud but just drizzling today. The drive was easy. The a/c went out in the hotel but didn't get unbearably warm. I am now in admitting waiting to get this show on the road. Bye for now.

  • Falconer
    Falconer Member Posts: 801
    edited February 2017

    Jb- with you this morning. Holding you in the light

  • WGraf
    WGraf Member Posts: 17
    edited February 2017

    JbDayton and Maya15 - I would not be able to wait that long. 3.5 weeks has been awful. Jbdayton, I hope you have a successful surgery and you'll be in my prayers.

    My vac was just approved. Hoping it will be shipped out today for delivery tomorrow. My PS said I will likely have to postpone my chemo on 3/2 bc he doesn't think it will be closed in time. 😫 Really frustrated that this taking so long.

  • jbdayton
    jbdayton Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017

    I am at the hotel and doing well. I will update more in a while. I am going to eat some broth. Thank God I seem to be really alert. I came out of a 5 hour surgery at 1:00 today. Hubby said doctor was pleased

  • Hammie28
    Hammie28 Member Posts: 29
    edited February 2017

    Hello all. I am having DIEP surgery later this month. Thank you all for sharing your experiences

    WGraf, I see you are in Georgia. I am as well. Where was your surgery?

  • mustlovepoodles
    mustlovepoodles Member Posts: 1,248
    edited February 2017

    JB & Wgraf, I haven't had reconstruction yet, but I had a lot of healing issues after my BMX.  Even though I had a PS work with my BS, they left a huge mess. I had large, deep wound necrosis on the right (3.5" wide x 4" high x 3" deep--it looked like a rapid dog took a big bite out of my chest).  Then I got a 6" deep seroma on the left. I won't go into the details of what they had to do to treat this, but trust me--it was gruesome. Afterward, I had to stuff iodoform gauze into the seroma twice a day,  about 20" of shoestring-type gauze soaked in an antiseptic. They started me out on wet-to-dry dressings on the right side but quickly realized that it wasn't going to do the job.  They got me a wound vac which was on for 7 weeks. I had to see the PS every 2-3 days for dressing changes and even had to go back to work toting that stupid machine.  I had to stop the wound vac when I was sent out to San Diego for a week on a business trip (you can't leave it in place longer than 72 hours), so they had me using a dressing that I could change every 3 days myself. In the meanwhile, I continued to stuff the iodoform gauze into the seroma twice a day with a long q-tip. So much fun. It took my wounds 16 weeks to fully heal.

    Now I know that was a long story, but let me just say how much I liked the wound vac. I know that sounds weird, but the wet-to-dry dressings were just inadequate for the job. When they put that wound vac on, I was amazed at how much better the wound looked.  It still took a long time to heal, because it was just so massive, but I shudder to think how llong it would have taken to heal with out the wound vac.

  • WGraf
    WGraf Member Posts: 17
    edited February 2017

    Jbdayton- so glad to hear that surgery went well. Can't wait to read about the details. My revision won't be until 2018 now but great to hear that you are initially happy with the surgery.

    Hammie 28- I live in Peachtree City, it's a suburb of Atlanta. I don't know why my city doesn't show up. Maybe I need to try from my PC bc I can't change my city to public on my phone.

    Mustlovepoodles- so sorry to hear about your reconstruction nightmare. I can't imagine how awful that must have been. My wound vac didn't get shipped today. It's going out tomorrow. Very frustrating that they failed to ship it today. I'm hoping that the wound vac will kick in and heal it quickly so I can stay on schedule for chemo.

  • mustlovepoodles
    mustlovepoodles Member Posts: 1,248
    edited February 2017

    So, I guess I should introduce myself. This is long, so I won't be hurt if you decide not to read on.

     I had my BMX in Feb 2016 with no reconstruction (well, I had some minor recon but lost it all to necrosis.) At first I really thought I wanted to go flat. At 59, I felt like boobs were superfluous. But then, after my wounds finally healed (16 weeks!) , someone sent me some Knitted Knockers. I was shocked when the first time I tried them in a bra how much my self-confidence soared. I didn't realize just how much I was bothered by my flatness. So, I got some prostheses in Sept 2016 and began researching reconstruction.

    Right away I knew that I didn't want implants. After all I'd been through with healing issues from the BMX, I felt that putting implants in was just asking for trouble.  I tried to talk to my PS about DIEP but she just wanted do implants, completely shutting me down. Then I went to another PS and told him I was interested in DIEP and NO implants. He poohed-poohed that as "experimental" and said he would to a lat flap AND implants. I felt like I was in an alternative universe. NOBODY was listening to me!  At a friend's nudging, I decided to get in touch with the surgeons in NOLA. They were my last resort. If they said No, then I would accept NO for an answer. 

    But they didn't say No. They said YES, YES we CAN do this!  I was so excited. I scheduled my DIEP for Feb 7 2017 and set up my flights and hotels. Then my mother became seriously ill in Jan and I had to cancel everything.  I know it was the right thing to do--she's in stage 4 kidney failure and will not recover. This is not the time for elective surgery. 

    But my disappointment is deep.. I find myself craving a getaway.  Is that weird?  I guess it's just from the stress--my mother is alternately confused, angry, and alert; you never know who you're going to get. At one point she accused me of trying to kill her and get all her money for about 2 weeks.  We thought we were going to lose her in Jan. Then they predicted mid-Feb. Well, she's a tough old nurse and she is WILLING herself to live. But she's not taking care of finances, pets, cooking, eating, or taking her meds so one of us girls has to be there all the time (thank goodness there's 4 of us!)  So, it's really been stress-stress-stress since Jan. Well, since before that really. She's been in and out of th hospital since August.  I would love to take a vacation, but so would my sisters, I'm sure.

    I am so tired of it all. I had to have a total hysterectomy in Oct 2016. Then my mom's illness and the physical and emotional toll that has taken. I still have to walk on eggshells with her because I never know when she's going to erupt.  And of couse, there's the disappointment of not having the reconstruction.  I have used up all my sick leave on the hyst and I will probably use most, if not all of my vacation time caring for my mother and settling her estate when the time comes.  So that will set my recon back about 8-9 months, at least.  And I also need a total knee replacement! My knee is bone-on-bone and exceedingly painful day and night. Honestly, I am wondering if I should do that first, but I know if I do it will take all my sick leave amd vacation leave next year and will push back the recon yet ANOTHER year, to 2019. I don't know if I can wait that long! 

  • jbdayton
    jbdayton Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017

    Wow mustlovepoodles. What can I say, your story tops mine. I will try to write up my history tomorrow. I have one to tell also, so you will never feel alone. Enjoy your mom regardless of which personality she has for the day. I had to go through the same thing.


  • MAPBB
    MAPBB Member Posts: 20
    edited February 2017

    Hello Group,

    I'm 3 weeks out today from DIEP flap surgery and am healing well. However, I'm still having daily pain and still need meds. I'm trying to substitute Advil but it just can't eliminate the pain. Mornings and early afternoons are fine but by the time, I get to 4 or 5, I need the meds. But I have a question for anyone that has been through this. When were you able to stand up fully again? At 3 weeks, I'm still bending over a bit when I walk. the doctor and nurses say there is no need to bend over and I should try harder to stand up straight, but I just can't seem to do it. Any advice would be helpful. I don't want to end up bent over for the rest of my life. Thanks!!

  • jbdayton
    jbdayton Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017

    I am really doing good. I thought I had posted but looked back and no details. So, I got home Tuesday evening and have lived most of the day and night in my recliner. Yesterday I got to shower and saw what was done. I am hopeful that he got it right. I am controlling the pain with one Pain pill every 6 hours.

    The part that hurts the most is where he had to repair the hernia by the belly button. In fact it looks like he had to cut it loose and reposition it again. The other hernia repaired was below the abdominal incision on my right side. It is gone and feels so good. It was pulling all the time but now no pulling. the mons area is much reduced and tightened up into the revised incision. The breasts appear the best they have been. He cut the lower edge of the breast needing the fold raised and looks good. I had a 50/50 chance of this working going into surgery. Time will tell. They ended up bigger but fuller up top than under the arms.

    I am very swollen and wearing both a binder and a compression bra. I have 1 drain and just started getting up out of the recliner by myself this afternoon.

    Small but steady progress. Feeling very optimistic atthis point.

  • jbdayton
    jbdayton Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017

    MAPBB, I would begin trying to straighten up a little more each day or two. You will eventually get upright again. Be careful and don't try to straighten too much at a time. I remember a few ladies saying they think their incision issues (too wide an incision or small tears in the incision) were due to stretching upright too fast. I don't know that it led to their issues but why chance it.

    I didn't get fully upright until about week five.

  • Falconer
    Falconer Member Posts: 801
    edited February 2017

    Jeannine, A shower! Woo hoo! That's always a good sign. I'm thinking about what you said about being upright. Did you have back pain from crouching over

  • jbdayton
    jbdayton Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017

    Yes your back does get sore. I don't know how to prevent it because using a cane or walker is not advised because you are limited with using your arms. I did not have a binder. I wonder if having an abdominal binder would help support your back muscles and ease the tension.