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DIEP FLAP SURGERY AND RECOVERY SUGGESTIONS

mtks
mtks Member Posts: 51

I will be having DIEP flap surgery in February.

I am 13 years out from ILC/ bilateral masectomy w/ silicone implants. I have struggled with BII for 4-5 years. Exhausting many specialists, knowing it was silicone toxicity I was struggling with the last 2 years, I finally had Explant surgery last October.i was scheduled for explant/ DIEP flap surgery for May 2024. I didn’t want to wait so I asked implants be removed and DIEP flap to be scheduled asap per healing. I am preparing at home for the best possible post op healing. is there a discussion forum here that someone can direct me to? My Plastic Surgeon suggested me to come here. I did find BC.org discussion board to be so helpful during my recovery during my diagnosis 13 years ago. Thankful!anyone have suggestions?

Comments

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    Hi, and welcome again to the community, @mtks!

    If you go to the Search function and type in "diep" (without the quotes) as your search term, you'll see a list of discussions all about this type of surgery, and can then check out the thread. If you need some guidance, see here our help section on How to use search on the discussion forums.

    There's also an excellent discussion full of helpful tips about surgery from our members: Shopping/packing/to-do list for surgery + recovery

    We hope this helps! Stay in touch with us and let us know how things are going.

    The Mods

  • nns121317
    nns121317 Member Posts: 102

    I'm having my DIEP done next month as well - surgeries 2/9 and 2/20. I have implants now, and can't wait to be rid of them. How do you feel since you explanted?

  • abigailj
    abigailj Member Posts: 100
    edited January 15

    @mtks The thread “seeking DIEP recovery stories” has a lot of good info. Best wishes for a good outcome!

  • mtks
    mtks Member Posts: 51

    My explant removal was suppose to be an outpatient procedure but I ended up staying overnight then home in the morning. Within DAYS I felt better. As each day passed I was sure I made the right decision and so grateful! No lymph pain in chest, armpits, collarbone and neck. No headaches! Headaches that would come and go. They would last 20 to 40 minutes and then dissipate. Some headaches were excruciating. I saw growth with a week with my nails! And my hair started feeling thicker in several weeks. I did not feel the extreme fatigue that I had for so long. I have more energy. My muscle and joint pain are gone. I’m not sure about my auto antibody blood work. My ANA, DNA and CCP all were high, but clinically showed no signs. Rheumatologist agree with me along the lines of breast, implant illness/silicone, toxicity, and agreed with my decision in having breast implants removed.My sleep is so much better. Digestive issues are gone. No shortness of breath. I feel like I can think more clear. I am able to lose some weight with less retaining fluid. No more bloating! Like I said- so grateful that I have the implants out and feel GOOD!! Thanks for the directions to  “seeking DIEP recovery stories” I will try to navigate there.

  • creativezoo
    creativezoo Member Posts: 20

    I am POD# 7 from prophylactic right mastectomy and bilateral DIEP flap reconstruction. I was freakishly unprepared. I think I was trying to pretend I could have a normal life again after 9 months of being on leave and doing chemo, etc. When I got my surgery date for this, I wasn’t in the same frame of mind in regards to preparing and researching as I had when I was initially diagnosed and getting the first mastectomy. So I’m finding that I am frustrated and angry with myself for being so casual about such a big surgery. I spent the week in the hospital going from one panic attack to another causing me to struggle to get pain under control. Ugh- so at this point I’m trying to problem solve silly things like the general discomfort of living in a chair. In the beach chair position, my back will start hurting so I lean back a bit to sleep and my butt will eventually hurt. So I sit up so my butt doesn’t hurt and my back starts to hurt. Any suggestions? I didn’t have but a cheap manual recliner that I can’t really recline in. But it has a nice posture and sits high enough that it’s easy to get in and out of. That’s where I’ve been since I got home. Not quite ready to traverse the stairs to my bed which itself is high set so will need a step stool to get into the “log roll” position. Any advice on this and whatever would be appreciated!

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    It's not uncommon for folks to envision returning to normal life X amount of time after going through treatment. I think in a certain sense what gives one hope or the energy to get through it is sometimes by having that mentality of "well if I should push through this, then I can look forward to a return to pre-diagnosis normality." Going through active treatment, and especially surgery definitely impact you not only physically, but emotionally. It's rough. I'm sorry for all of the pain and discomfort you are going through, @creativezoo. I hope you aren't too hard on yourself though. It's hard to prepare oneself for this. We do hold free weekly meet-ups over Zoom if you wanted to vent or find others that can understand your experience. Like the discussion boards, it's a great source of support, and oftentimes members will give suggestions/tips on how they managed certain side effects. But we also discuss the emotional impact of diagnosis and going through active treatment can have, and finding ways to adjust to a "new normal." If you're interested, you can come as frequently or as infrequently as you'd like. We have the date/time and registration information available here:

    You would be looking at the In Treatment groups if you are still going to have radiation or chemo, otherwise the Bonded by Breast Cancer groups are where we focus more on the emotional processing post-active treatment phase.

    I hope this is helpful! Keep us up-to-date on the progress on your recovery! ❤️

  • creativezoo
    creativezoo Member Posts: 20

    @moderators if i go to the meetups/groups, do I have to participate or be on camera each time? Can I go and just listen?

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    Hi @creativezoo, you can come and listen for sure. Of course we find the most supportive groups though are when people share a bit either about themselves or provide encouragement to others.

  • creativezoo
    creativezoo Member Posts: 20

    @moderators ok thanks. It takes me a bit to warm into things so that is helpful. I appreciate your response and Happy Valentines Day!

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    Completely understandable, @creativezoo!

  • jonib
    jonib Member Posts: 85

    Having single mastectomy and Diep flap next week and now second guessing all my decisions. Worried about the aesthetics as I am confident on the mastectomy.