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Seeking DIEP recovery stories



  • NicInTexas
    NicInTexas Member Posts: 18
    edited November 2022

    Hi gh11,

    I waited a year for no reason except convenience. My PS said i needed a few months for them to settle in before attempting the implants, but when I got to that point in the timeline, I had quite a few things going on that I did not want to shift. I zeroed in on the week before Thanksgiving, so I would not be missing too much work.

    The reason I needed fat grafts is because during my first BC diagnosis, I had a lumpectomy and radiation. Due to the location of the original BC (near ny breast bone), it was not going to be handled by the flap or any implant. And I know that it can get reabsorbed by my body or have necrosis, and I'll deal with that when I get there,

    Also, I needed the implants because one of my breasts was much smaller than the other. During the BMX,they took more tissue on the BC side). So, he put a very small one on the left, and a slightly bigger one on the right.


  • gh11
    gh11 Member Posts: 27
    edited November 2022

    Thanks Nic, hope you are doing well and appreciate you sharing your insight.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 768
    edited November 2022

    I believe that the flanks and thighs will be where they'll have to do my fat grafting. I worry about having loose skin after; something I'll be talking to the PS about in a few weeks. They did fat grafting on my abdomen and hips the first time and it was sore, I've heard the thighs are a bit more painful. Thanks again for sharing.

    It would make sense to make the incision beneath the breast; I have nowhere else they can cut, especially now with the flaps.

    Gh- that's interesting about there lumps. I had fat grafting done summer before last when they did my exchange from TE's to implants and that was never mentioned. Then again, there are a lot of things that are not told to us. Now that I think about it, I believe I read in one of the threads that someone had lumps form on the sight where the fat was harvested from, but I could be mistaken.

  • tntbayer
    tntbayer Member Posts: 2
    edited April 7

    I'm having R DIEP flap recon in June. Great advice on this website as well as from a kind lady I met in my surgeons waiting room who has already had this procedure. She's given me a lot of helpful hints.

    Because of the nature of my job, I'll be out of work for 12 weeks. Has anyone else been in this situation? And have you found any breast cancer sites for financial assistance? I have a feeling I may not qualify, but 3 months unpaid will be a very big stretch.


  • abigailj
    abigailj Member Posts: 95
    edited April 11

    @tntbayer - I’m guessing your job is very physically demanding since 12 weeks seems like a very long recovery period. is that what your care team told you to plan on? Are you self employed or employed by a small business (no short term disability benefits through employer) and located in the US? Some states do have assistance programs for folks on extended sick leave from what I’ve read but not many.If you are sure you have no disability pay benefits through employer and you live in one of the following states you may be eligible for temporary disability insurance but you’d need to contact the applicable agency further for details: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington. Hope this helps and that you have a quicker recovery than anticipated!

  • udpt82
    udpt82 Member Posts: 12


    Not sure where to post this question, but thought this might be a good place.

    I am years out from my DIEP, but still have trouble bra shopping. Can anyone recommend bras that don't ride up? I don't have sensation to know when it is up and it could be halfway over my breast before I notice.


  • sharon0706
    sharon0706 Member Posts: 80

    Oh I really really get this! The only bra that works for me — and I have spent a lot of money trying to solve this problem! — is Athleta's Embrace bra. The bad news is that Athleta seems to be phasing it out. Your question prompted me to finally call Athleta customer service to ask about the next closest design, and I was told to try the Warrior Longline bra. So right after I post this I'm going to order one and see how it goes. Maybe it will work for you? Good luck!

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 768

    Has anyone had a revision of their abdominal scar? It's something that was offered to me by my PS and I'm just wondering what other's experience has been.


  • abigailj
    abigailj Member Posts: 95

    Although I haven’t had a cosmetic revision to my abdominal scar, I did have to have a revision to it because of wound healing issues. It made the skin tighter and uncomfortable (massage by a physical therapist several months later relieved it) and that procedure caused me to have increased painful touch sensitivity for a few months as well. I did have kenalog injections to reduce the abdominal scar a year or so after that which reduced the raised scars and caused no I’ll effects.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 768

    @abigailj thank you for responding! I had wound healing and they did nothing about it then. Revision was brought up now and I'm not sure how I feel about it for the reasons you mention, tightness and and discomfort. I already experience both.

    Did you have any issues with wound healing with the revision?

    I've never heard of kenalog. If that had been an option, I may not have to be thinking about a revision.

  • abigailj
    abigailj Member Posts: 95

    @serendipity09 i had to use silvadene cream for a few weeks after the procedure to deal with the initial wound healing which took place a few weeks after my initial DIEP surgery, it was pretty nasty but healed ok. I suggest you ask about the kenalog injections to reduce the raised scars. I personally would not undergo more surgery given prior healing issues. Also try and find a PT that specializes in massage to loosen up the fascia - that really helped me.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 768

    I did have PT massages 😔 however I felt more time was needed.

    I will ask my PS about the injections. I wonder if it's too late? I'm a year and three months out from the DIEP.

    Why they don't tell us about all these other things? They say they want to help us feel and look like our old selves as much as possible, but really don't offer the extra information. It's so frustrating. I'm assuming it's an insurance thing.

    Thanks again!

  • abigailj
    abigailj Member Posts: 95

    @serendipity09 Definitely not too late to try kenalog injections for the keloid scarring. You can have them up to 3 times on each site - it’s a corticosteroid so that’s the safe limit. It takes 3 to 6 months to assess results. I had it done twice and felt it was good enough. I also had fat grafting twice to smooth out contours of the recon breasts so the injections were done when I was under anesthesia for those 2 procedures which were around a year apart. I had good insurance thankfully, everything associated with the BC nightmare fully covered (except the PT and doctor visit copays of course) without any issues.

    i hope you will ask either the PS or your GP for another PT prescription, you shouldn’t have to tolerate such discomfort.

    and yes, totally agree more transparency from doctors about possible complications, treatment options, etc would be very welcome but ain’t holding my breath….

    Hope all turns out well!