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October 2023 Surgery Support

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moderators
moderators Posts: 8,178

A place for those scheduled this month for lumpectomy, mastectomy, reconstruction, or other surgeries to gather and support one another through treatment and recovery.

To get inspiration and advice from others who have been there recently, see our September 2023 Surgery Support thread.

Good luck to all with your upcoming surgeries — we're here to support you!

Comments

  • mandapanda6
    mandapanda6 Member Posts: 2
    edited October 2023
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    Hi all, I was hoping to get a lumpectomy, but we found more spots in the MRI-guided biopsy, so my surgeon highly recommended a mastectomy. I'm pretty sad about it, and am getting a UMX w/ implant reconstruction (hopefully direct to implant) on 10/10. My biggest worry is about losing sensation in my breast. I do have great surgeons who have been having luck with sensation-sparing (preserving nerves), so I'm hoping I'll still have some sensation. Getting more nervous about how I will feel and look after surgery as the date gets closer.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,178
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    Dear @mandapanda6 - Welcome to our community, and thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    We know that facing a mastectomy can be emotionally challenging. It's completely normal to feel nervous as the date of the surgery approaches, but it's great to hear that you have a skilled medical team focused on preserving nerves.

    Sending our best wishes for a successful surgery, and looking forward to hearing more from you soon.

    Warm regards,

    The Mods

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 188
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    Hello and welcome @mandapanda6. I wish you all the best for your surgery. That would be great if you can have direct to implant!

    I’m sorry you find yourself here with us ... and needing a mastectomy. My surgeon felt the same, that a lumpectomy wouldn’t be enough. It does feel good knowing all the cancer is removed and thankfully I didn’t need radiation.

    Please share whatever you want, ask whatever questions you have and we’ll all try our best to answer them. Many of us have had our mastectomies and understand.

    I remember feeling clumsy and uncomfortable (mostly in my back) for the first several hours after my surgery and was having some trouble sleeping, then the nurses called my plastic surgeon to check on giving me muscle relaxers (I asked because I remembered him saying that’s what he would prescribe but they weren’t giving me any) … once they gave me them I finally got comfortable and then when I woke up to go to the bathroom a few hours later, I was amazed at how completely fine the rest of me felt, besides my breast and underarm where I was bandaged. As if nothing had happened. Granted some of that might have been euphoria from the pain meds they gave me. I didn’t have normal energy of course and laid low for a while, but could easily get myself around, doing some things one-armed. I stayed overnight at the hospital on their recommendation after surgery but was definitely ready to go home first thing the next morning. Besides some pinched nerve type pain in my back/neck on the opposite side (that I’d had before anyway) I didn’t notice much pain, just discomfort. Others have said the same, that it wasn’t really that painful for them. Sorry for rambling on and on … not sure if this is helpful (please ignore if not 😊)

  • mandapanda6
    mandapanda6 Member Posts: 2
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    @needs.a.nap Thanks so much for the kind words and reassurance! I'm 2 weeks out now, and have been feeling pretty good. Everything went really well, and they were able to do direct to implant. And I found out that my lymph nodes were clear, so I won't need radiation!

    I had a dimple on the side of my breast (which is why I went in to get checked in the first place), and my surgeon removed the skin there to make sure there was nothing abnormal left. She ended up taking out my lymph nodes through there, instead of making a whole new incision. So that was a nice surprise! In the second week, I started getting more achy around the drain site and my armpit gets a little more swollen and sore at the end of the day sometimes. I'll be happy when I can get this drain out 😊

    I'm still waiting to hear about chemo, but my surgeon thinks it's not likely that I'll need it.

    Thanks for sharing! I hope that you are still feeling good and that your second surgery goes really well, if that is still in your future!

    Amanda

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 188
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    Hello @mandapanda6. It’s so good to hear from you and I’m happy things are going well! That’s great you could have direct to implant! And your lymph nodes are clear!!! Sorry for all the exclamation marks … I can’t help myself 😁

    You really will feel better once the drain comes out. Everyone says that and it’s so true! Take good care of yourself and rest whenever you need to. I hope you continue to have a smooth recovery!!

  • tillyrose
    tillyrose Member Posts: 2
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    Hello!

    @mandapanda6 I’m so glad to hear your recovery is going well. Congratulations on your victory over breast cancer, transforming from victim to survivor!

    I recently went through a bilateral mastectomy on 10/26 : DCIS high grade found on L side, so the R side was a preventative mastectomy. I was a candidate for nipple sparing, direct to implant so I opted for that since it means only one big surgery as opposed to multiple. Thankfully the SLNB was clear and my treatment is complete - no radiation or chemo required!

    Experiencing numbness on both sides (which I anticipated) but the breast swelling, and also corresponding aching and numbness in the shoulder, arm and hand is only on the R side (which ironically was the non-cancerous side, and did not undergo the SLNB) hoping this continues to improve with time.

    i have also experienced moments of sadness, loss, depression…I lost my mother several years ago, and felt a shocking resurgence of grief while not having her through this. The best way through this was to get up and move- make my children’s lunches, go for a walk… to set tangible and realistic physical goals. I’m planning on walking the 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day with my husband, son and daughter. I also am an artist and participating in an Instagram challenge this week. Having something to look forward to and work (that is NOT my day job- which thankfully I am still on leave from) is essential.

    One more surprising aftermath (and I’ll stop rambling!) is the emotional anxiety of being with people in public. I haven’t been out a lot yet, and when I have I’ve had strange sensations of feeling lightheaded and disoriented- some of this is still the lingering physical weakness from surgery but I know a large part is psychological/emotional. The only way out is through.

    I wish you continued recovery and healing and keep moving forward!

    cheers, aR+