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May surgery thread

janewhite
janewhite Member Posts: 49

Happy MAY everyone! Going to start the May thread, even though I'm not scheduled for a couple more weeks yet. Best wishes, family.

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Comments

  • fur-n-scales
    fur-n-scales Member Posts: 24

    Hi, I’m tentatively scheduled for May 11th. Bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction with tissue expanders. Left side dx, right side prophylactic. I have final appointments with oncologist and surgeon this week

  • wendini
    wendini Member Posts: 7

    I have May 16 mastectomy for high grade DCIS, after a lumpectomy, chemo, radiation all 16 years ago, same breast. 57 years old. Sadly reading about Post Mastectomy Pain syndrome. Was feeling positive and strong until seeing all the scholarly studies on this. love to all...

  • fur-n-scales
    fur-n-scales Member Posts: 24

    hi Wendini,

    I’m in a similar situation. My first diagnosis was 12 years ago. Now dealing with dcis diagnosis. It was a difficult decision to go ahead with the mastectomy. In addition, I’m having trouble getting my surgery scheduled, I keep getting moved and it’s driving me crazy

  • janewhite
    janewhite Member Posts: 49

    I'm scheduled for right side preventive mastectomy May 19. Last year I was diagnosed with DCIS at age 40, and I decided to do lumpectomy with bilateral reduction and lift, followed by radiation.

    Then we found out there was another DCIS site that didn't show up on the scans, and it got cut in half during the first surgery. So I had left mastectomy 3 weeks later.

    At this point, I've decided I just want to go boobless. My first recovery wasn't too bad, I hate the stress of mammograms, and the risk of another, potentially worse cancer is rather high given my age. I don't want reconstruction, either.

    Looking forward to being breast-free.

  • ath3na
    ath3na Member Posts: 1

    Hi endini, your comment made me think of this study I saw recently about pre-op numbing cream as a potential way to reduce the risk of post-op pain. EMLA is a topical numbing cream widely used in outpatient procedures with few associated side effects. I'm not allowed to post links yet apparently (I created an account to respond to you, have been lurking here for a few weeks after a nerve-wracking biopsy at age25), but it's a 2000 clinical trial by Fassoulaki et al. called “EMLA reduces acute and chronic pain after breast surgery for cancer." I'll paste the results section in case it's behind a paywall. May be worth at least asking about with your care team!

    Results: Acute pain at rest and with movement did not differ between the EMLA and control groups, and the analgesics consumed during the first 24 hours were the same for the EMLA and control groups. However, time to the first analgesia requirement was longer (P = .04), and codeine and paracetamol consumption during the second to fifth days was less (P = .001, and P = .004, respectively) in the EMLA versus the control group. Three months postoperatively, pain in the chest wall, axilla, and the total incidence and the intensity of chronic pain were significantly less in the EMLA versus the control group (P = .004, P = .025, P = .002 and P = .003, respectively). The use of analgesics at home and abnormal sensations did not differ between the 2 groups.

    Conclusions: The application of EMLA to patients undergoing breast surgery for cancer reduced the postoperative analgesic requirements and the incidence and intensity of chronic pain."

  • wendini
    wendini Member Posts: 7

    These are very trying days we are in. I found my counselling appointment helped, and exercise to keep me sane! Feel positive and ok one day and overwhelmed the next. Sending you hugs...

  • wendini
    wendini Member Posts: 7

    Very grateful, thank you and I will definitely look into this. I hear the earlier we start a light motion and exercise the better. Day 2 start some movement and Rof Motion stuff...the women on here blow my mind with their support and strength.

  • fur-n-scales
    fur-n-scales Member Posts: 24

    just wanted to check in. Wendini and janewhite are you prepared for next week

  • janewhite
    janewhite Member Posts: 49

    I am so ready. With the recent heat, I remember how annoying breasts can be, and I'm eager to get it over with and enjoy flat girl summer!

  • fur-n-scales
    fur-n-scales Member Posts: 24

    janewhite, that’s great! I have my radioactive injection tomorrow and surgery Wednesday. I’ve been cleaning a lot and planning for meals… I’m already feeling guilty that I won’t be able to do housework for a while. Crazy, right?

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,670

    Hello, all,

    We wanted to let you know we have organized a new meet-up for people age 45 and under with a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis and wanted to let you know in case you would be interested in participating if this meet-up description applies to you. The meet-up will be run by Julie Kramer, who had a metastatic diagnosis of sarcoma in her 20s.

    Under 45 w/ Metastatic Breast Cancer

    When: Thursdays at 1pm, ET (first meetup is May 26, 2022 1:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

    Register in advance for this meeting: https://breastcancer-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/...

    We hope to see you next Thursday, and please share with others who may be interested in being part.

    -- The Mods

  • janewhite
    janewhite Member Posts: 49

    Hey, fur-n-scales, how did it go? I got my surgery done today, and I'm not feeling too bad. I was walking around for a while. My parents came over, and they help but they also take it out of me and keep asking questions, like, "Where's your son's shorts?"

  • fur-n-scales
    fur-n-scales Member Posts: 24

    hi janewhite!

    Good to hear that you’re feeling ok. My surgery was Wednesday. The past few days have been all about pain management and eating enough. Definitely limit the time spent with people who sap your energy! Let me know how you’re feeling

  • janewhite
    janewhite Member Posts: 49

    After a day of general craziness that included my father asking for nails and then hanging a bunch of photographs all over the house, they took the kids off to their house for the weekend. After which I took a nice little 12-hour nap.

    I've been chilling out all day. I'm not needing too much pain medication, haven't had any since last night.

    Ice packs help. And I'm still so, SO happy to be breast-free.

  • fur-n-scales
    fur-n-scales Member Posts: 24

    I can’t believe you don’t need the pain meds. I’ve been having pain on the side that previously had lumpectomy and radiation. So Tylenol and OxyContin as needed. Stretching helps too but difficult with drains

  • janewhite
    janewhite Member Posts: 49

    Last time I remember it hurt a lot more.

    Last August I had lumpectomy with bilateral reduction and lift, then the pathology lab discovered another DCIS site, totally missed on the scans, that got cut in half during the first surgery, and I had to have 1-sided mastectomy just a few weeks later. THAT was rough, especially since my reduction wounds reopened and took a long time to heal fully. That was a Whole Situation, and I remember being in a lot of pain. This time around is easier.

    It's also easier that I've only had surgery on one side this year, which means I can lie on my side as well as my back.

  • fur-n-scales
    fur-n-scales Member Posts: 24

    it’s amazing what you’ve been through. The pain is not what I expected, it’s like a burning at the site of the drains, and a heaviness in one arm. The incisions on my chest are different on either side, the radiated side is still reddish in color and slightly concave at the collar bone. I wonder if this will change

  • janewhite
    janewhite Member Posts: 49

    The arm might have to do with lymph node removal. Look into some lymphedema exercises.

    And yes, it will probably look more normal with time.

  • janewhite
    janewhite Member Posts: 49

    OK, I've had ENOUGH. Enough of wearing a binder, enough of having drains, enough of itchy dressings over the incisions and the drain ports.

    Post-op is Friday, hopefully some of those annoyances will go away then.

  • fur-n-scales
    fur-n-scales Member Posts: 24

    janewhite I HEAR YOU! I saw my PS today and had 2 of the 4 drains removed. Still uncomfortable, still itchy, still can’t shower…. next week they plan to remove the other 2. I’m very worried about the stiffness in my arm getting any worse, it’s not the side that they removed nodes, it’s actually the side that I had nodes removed 12 years ago! So I don’t know…

  • janewhite
    janewhite Member Posts: 49

    Nice news today: My surgeon sent my breast to pathology, and it came back free of cancer but full of dense fibrous tissue and scar tissue (from the reduction with delayed healing.)

    Which makes me all the more glad I had the mastectomy. Because every mammogram for the rest of my life was going to involve callbacks and drama, and cancer STILL might get missed.

    Now, no mammograms. In the very unlikely event I get breast cancer anyway, it's going to be a really bloody obvious lump on my otherwise flat chest wall.

  • fur-n-scales
    fur-n-scales Member Posts: 24

    Congratulations! That’s wonderful news!!

  • janewhite
    janewhite Member Posts: 49

    How are you feeling this weekend? I've started walking for exercise again. A fraction of what I was doing before surgery, but still good. I'm getting stronger one step at a time, as I keep telling myself.

  • beebee22
    beebee22 Member Posts: 45

    2 days post-op here. Had my PAC (hydromorphone) for the first night in ICU and the second morning went back to OR due to hematoma, surgery done to remove and then back in ICU. Don't need that frequent the pain med the second night. Not fully mobile. I have a big scars on tummy ( DIEP FLAP) and left breast mastectomy. True that the drains are not comfortable, I only have 2...one for left breast one for the tummy. Hope it gets better...

  • janewhite
    janewhite Member Posts: 49

    Hi, Beebee22, mastectomy with flap reconstruction is rough, but I'm glad you got through the surgery. It will get better one day at a time.

    Whatever dressings are on your skin, or support garments you have to wear, keep them on as long as possible. You DON'T want those incisions reopening.

    I felt a TON better when I got my drain out on Friday, 8 days after surgery, though I know it's going to take a long time to fully recover and get all the strength back in that arm.

  • fur-n-scales
    fur-n-scales Member Posts: 24

    Hi, did you have to take antibiotics while the drains are in? And discontinue after removed? I was prescribed a 14 day course but finally had my last drain removed with a couple days of antibiotics remaining. I wonder if it's needed to take the rest..

  • beebee22
    beebee22 Member Posts: 45

    hi Janewhite, thanks for the advice, yes, I will keep the bra, my plastic surgeon approved the sport bra I bought online, so will use them. How long post-op now? Are you on any pain med? I wish the drains can be remove soon! Was it painful when they remove the drains?


    Hi funnscales, I had a few doses of ceftazone in ICU and that's it, I don't rmb they gave me anymore after that. Not 14 days for sure. If you were prescribed 14 days, do follow the instructions, a complete course is necessary. I will update what I will be given during discharge. How many days post-op you in?

  • fur-n-scales
    fur-n-scales Member Posts: 24

    thanks Beebee, I'm 12 days out. The antibiotics are giving me a stomachache. I thought maybe 14 days is overkill and more harm than good. I've heard of other surgeons recommending antibiotics up until drain removed. Mine says to finish the course, just 2 more days..

    Also, drain removal was not bad at all, I definitely felt it under my skin but it was numb. You’ll have some scabs that healup in 2 days.

  • janewhite
    janewhite Member Posts: 49

    Hi, friends. I am 11 days post-op. I wasn't given any antibiotics to take home, although I think they gave me IV antibiotics during the surgery. But then, I didn't have any implants or anything put in, and I'm younger than some folks. (I also have a stupid number of antibiotic allergies.)

    I was off pain meds for a few days. Then today I got a little over-enthusiastic with my sewing project, and by the time I realized I'd overdone it, I needed another dose.

    Drain removal was not bad. Like pulling out a splinter, it was unpleasant for a moment, then it was over and I was more comfortable.

    Yesterday, I said to my 4-year-old, "Great job combing your own hair! Give me five!"

    I held out my hand. She missed entirely and slapped me right in the chest! Luckily not too hard. I said, "Ow," then I laughed.

  • beebee22
    beebee22 Member Posts: 45

    Thanks @funnscales & @janewhite, I am still in the ward, surgery done Friday, so I had 2 nights in ICU and 2 nights normal ward now...still counting...considered 4 days post-op :)

    Antibiotics can be nasty to the digestive system as it kills off all the good ones too, have some yoghurt or high fiber food, hope it helps.

    Thanks for sharing drains removal experiences, scary that they just pull it out as I can tell mine is quite deep inside 😵💫 hope my plastic surgeon is quick and gentle.

    Can't wait to remove drains, hair wash, shower and lie in my own bed!

    Back home, do you need anything other than pillows while you sleep? I have a recliner at home, is it a good idea to sleep in recliner instead?