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Topic: Reconstruction during COVID

Forum: All things COVID-19 or coronavirus —

A place to discuss the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on you and the ones you love.

Posted on: Oct 11, 2020 11:37AM

Laurencl wrote:

Hi All,

I’m interested in experiences of Reconstruction during the last few months. I had a unilateral mastectomy in 8/19 with TE placement. The plan was to have flap reconstruction in the spring of 20/20, which did not take place. I did meet with my PS in May, who said he would let me know when things open up and I have an appointment this week. Flap surgery sounds awful and I believe it is about 5 days in the hospital, which does not sound ideal. I live in New Jersey, right outside of Philadelphia and the COVID numbers are climbing. At the same time, I am over my TE, which has now been in for over a year and is uncomfortable. I also feel like I have been unable to move on from “the cancer year” of 2019 without the surgery.

I’m interested in your thoughts. Thank you.

Lauren

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Oct 11, 2020 01:02PM alissat wrote:

I had diep & lap flaps in August. I was in the surgical ICU for 5 days & 2 days in a regular unit. No covid patients on either unit. I felt the doctors, nurses & staff took great precautions for me & themselves. I was super nervous going into but those quickly faded. My surgery was in Dallas & they had high covid numbers over the summer. Best wishes & good luck!

Dx 5/22/2019, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/27/2019 Lymph node removal: Left, Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 8/19/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 1/6/2020 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 2/13/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 8/3/2020 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Surgery 11/9/2020 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting
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Oct 11, 2020 01:30PM abigailj wrote:

I had a BMX with immediate DIEP recon in late June in NYC at Weil Cornell. My roommate had same - she was maybe 50, I’m 63. She went home on 3rd day, I stayed 5 days. I never felt at risk for Covid and was pleased with the care.

Dx 1/2020, ILC/IDC, Both breasts, 2cm, Stage IB, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/23/2020 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap, SIEA flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap, SIEA flap
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Oct 11, 2020 02:56PM Laurencl wrote:

thank you for responding. May I ask about recovery from surgery?

Thank you, Lauren

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Oct 11, 2020 08:13PM - edited Oct 12, 2020 02:24AM by abigailj

Hi Lauren

Well keep in mind that I'm also a former smoker so circulation isn't great - I had some wound healing complications so in addition to the planned surgery 2 weeks after I was discharged to remove the extra skin I thankfully didn't need (my skin survived as did my nipples), I had another surgery to revise the scar at my bikini line and an infection happened in one breast so going to have fat grafting in a few months.

The first 2 weeks were really tough, the got gradually better. My PS was very straight with me - it's a long process - but even with my somewhat bumpy road I'd make this same choice again. If you do this it's critical to have a PS highly experienced in this procedure - it's very complicated and specialized make sure she/he does nerve grafting too

My hospital observes strict Covid protocols and I would imagine that's the norm so I never had concerns on any of my several subsequent visits.

There is a ton of helpful info on the 2018 DIEP thread - I really suggest reading through it if you're considering it.

Wishing you the best,

Abigail

Dx 1/2020, ILC/IDC, Both breasts, 2cm, Stage IB, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/23/2020 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap, SIEA flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap, SIEA flap
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Nov 13, 2020 04:08PM Laurencl wrote:

Hi again,

I had the surgery on 11/9. I really was not prepared for the pain (felt it was worse then the mastectomy). Out of the hospital and recovering. Did anyone wear something like spanx rather then the hospital garment

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Nov 24, 2020 03:11AM FunShine wrote:

Hi Lauren,

I just had delayed DIEP reconstruction on 11/13 (replacing tissue expanders form 12/2019 BMX, followed by 3/2020 radiation), at Weil Cornel on NYC, like Abagail. I'm a little over a week out and recovery has been rough so far. I have a short torso and the hospital compression garment bothers me. It keeps riding up to the incisions under my breasts, and I have to roll it up on the bottom to not rub on the lower drain sites. I hope everything heals properly and I can try to put everything behind me. I'd also be interested to hear if anyone has any alternatives to the hospital compression garment that might be more comfortable. It's 3am here and I'm finding sleep difficult!

Dx 8/6/2019, ILC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 2/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Targeted Therapy 8/15/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 8/16/2019 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 8/16/2019 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 12/18/2019 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy 3/2/2020 Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 5/15/2020 Aromasin (exemestane) Surgery 11/13/2020 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Nov 24, 2020 07:57PM Laurencl wrote:

Hi Funshine,

Can you cut the garment to fit you better? I rolled it up at the end and that helped a little. At week two my DR. Said I could switch to a spanx kind of garment (boy short kind of thing or compression cami) that has helped. I am over the drains! Unfortunately, I don’t think they are coming out tomorrow, and it has me really down.

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Nov 25, 2020 08:16AM abigailj wrote:

Hi Funshine - yes, I’m short-bodied too - I cut a few inches off the hospital compression wrap so it fit my body better. I also worse a large man’s plain T shirt under it for more comfort.After drains, I used a ‘body shaper’ boy short I ordered from Jockey, legs were about 3 inches down on thighs - my normal size is around 145 pounds, curvy, and I’m 5’ 2” but I was very swollen and close to 160 after the surgery so ordered size XL and that was great for me until I was told I was done with compression (honestly can’t recall if that was at 6 weeks or 8 weeks, guess I’ve started blocking that period of time from my memory 😊).

Dx 1/2020, ILC/IDC, Both breasts, 2cm, Stage IB, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/23/2020 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap, SIEA flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap, SIEA flap

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