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Topic: double masectomy and implant surgery

Forum: Pain —

Share important questions and provide support to others experiencing breast cancer and treatment-related pain.

Posted on: Aug 5, 2018 10:13PM - edited Aug 5, 2018 10:13PM by pmac

pmac wrote:

Hello everyone,

So, due to a very very strong family history of breast cancer and after doing breast cancer genetic testing, I chose to have a preventative double mastectomy with reconstruction (implants) all in one surgery (after seeking the opinion of my current family doctor, my previous family doctor that I still contact from time to time and 2 surgeons and all saying it was a very wise decision on my part so I went ahead with it).  I am now 3 weeks after surgery (no nipples at this point) and although I have to say I am overall happy with where I am at with my recovery, I am finding myself a little discouraged that I still have to take 1 oxycodone at around 5am in the morning when I wake up in pretty bad pain.  During the day, I can manage with taking only advil and on occasion Tylenol #1 with codeine.   I was really hoping to not have to still be taking the oxy at this point but for some reason the middle of the night is quite painful still.  I will admit, I do not have a high pain tolerance but I was hoping to get some insight from other people on their experience.  Of course, I understand everyone is different.  On a side note, I am located in Ontario Canada and I run a home daycare to which I cater to only teacher parents.  Therefore, I am closed for the school summer break (July and August).  I was lucky enough to have my surgery second week of July and I am praying that I will be able to be up and running again August 27th as I have a few little ones starting August 27th as their moms (teachers) are going back to work that week.  I am almost fully functional right now with the exception of picking up heavy items.  I am cooking, cleaning, going grocery shopping etc.  (my sister is staying with me as my husband has now gone back to work so she is helping me with all those things).   I may have started pushing myself too hard too soon.  Not sure.  I just met with my surgeon and he is impressed and thinks everything looks great.  One concerning thing is that my skin above my implants on my chest feels as if I have a sunburn.  It's painful and scratchy feeling.   I would GREATLY appreciate anybody chiming in with their experience and hopefully giving me some hope that I will be able to run my home daycare again with my 5 little ones!!

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Aug 5, 2018 10:38PM - edited Aug 5, 2018 10:38PM by Lula73

I was rotating 2 extra strength Tylenol and 4 Ibuprofen every 3-4 hours during the day and taking a pain killer at bedtime still at week 3. We are all different and some of us may need pain meds longer than others and/or longer than we'd like. For whatever reason, pain tends to intensify at night. That's likely what you're dealing with after your last dose of Advil/Tylenol 3 wear off. Give it time and do what you need to do to relieve the pain. On the skin irritation feelings, try Vagisil cream on it. Avoid any unhealed incision lines though. There's nothing in it that treats a yeast infection, so don't worry. It's skin moisturizers/soothers and benzocaine that's in it. It will relieve the pain within seconds. Brand name or walmart brand called vagicaine are the ones I use. The target brand didn't rub in well at all. Hopefully this helps!

-Lula Dx 1/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/13/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy 3/2/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 11/1/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 1/2/2018 Femara (letrozole)
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Aug 6, 2018 06:42AM Inigo wrote:


I'm a couple weeks ahead of you - tomorrow will be 5 weeks post PBMX direct to implant - and obviously everyone is different. That said, I was very disappointed with how much pain I was still in at 3 weeks. And similarly, it was worse in the morning (sometimes waking me in the middle of the night). I've had a number of surgeries in my life, and I've been surprised at how much longer it is taking to heal from this one.

Some things to consider: How are you sleeping? I'm a side sleeper, and that's just not possible yet. I have to wedge myself with pillows to keep from rolling over on my side. There have been a few nights where even that doesn't work, and I'm back in the recliner. What are you wearing to sleep? I found I needed different levels of support during the day and at night.

For the sunburn feeling - I noticed it felt better if there was some light pressure on that are. During the day I'd find myself pressing my hand to my upper chest. I bought a large hot/cold compress that's slightly weighted - it's filled with something like buckwheat. I don't actually heat it or chill it, but i find the weight very soothing at night.

Again, everyone is different, but it's been all uphill since week three. I'm off all pain meds now. I'm stiff more than sore in the morning - nothing a hot shower and some gentle stretching can't fix. How old/big are the little ones? Have you talked to your surgeon about when you'll be released from lifting restrictions?

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Aug 8, 2018 03:30PM Rah2464 wrote:

pmac, I had a nipple sparing double mastectomy 6 weeks ago with a sentinel node biopsy on the left side. Weeks 3 and 4 were the worst for me pain wise. I was maxing out my ibuprofen and extra strength tylenol with an occasional valium. And I still have the occasional day where the new foobs get cranky and remind me they are there, especially if I have been too active. My Plastic Surgeon still has me at a 10 pound lift restriction - this would be using both hands - and no housework (ie vacuuming) until the 8 week check. Apparently it is not just weight related but also some repetitive motions that stress the tissues. I find that a gentle massage with a washcloth in the shower seems to help soothe me when the nerve endings start firing off. But some days I feel like I am wearing that bra Katy Perry has. You know the one that shoots fireworks out of it??

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/27/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/27/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 10, 2018 01:10PM getnfroggy36 wrote:

hello everybody I'm going in for surgery August 13th just a few days from now my biggest concern is the pain I will experience after surgery. I would like to be told exactly 100% the truth how much pain I will experience after surgery so I can prepare myself and get the things I may need to help please reply as soon as possible thank you so much my name is Christy

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Aug 10, 2018 01:41PM DebAL wrote:

Christy, everyone's pain tolerance is different. My advice would be to take your meds as directed and try to stay ahead of it. I alternated narcotic with motrin and that helped. To be honest I set my alarm at night because there is nothing worse than letting the pain get too bad. Keep lots of pillows around for positioning. Most will agree that the drains are the most annoying part of the surgery. You may also be given a muscle relaxant which helps. It's no picnic but you will get through it. We are here to help you get through it. Best wishes!

Dx 1/22/2018, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/12/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 2/12/2018 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 4/2/2018 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 8/9/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 12/20/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Surgery
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Aug 11, 2018 07:55AM NotVeryBrave wrote:

The pain was never unmanageable. I took the muscle relaxants around the clock. I was able to take the lower amount of narcotics on a stretched out schedule and was off of them by two weeks. I continued OTC pain medications for probably a month as needed.

TCHP x 6 with pCR. One year of Herceptin. DTI pre-pec surgery. Quit Tamoxifen after 3 months. Dx 11/21/2016, DCIS/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Targeted Therapy 12/19/2016 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/19/2016 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 12/19/2016 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 5/9/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 9/9/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 6/26/2020 Evista (raloxifene)

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