Oct 28, 2015 03:46PM cloudynight wrote:
I am reasonably physically active, and had a unilateral DIEP construction at the end of April of this year. I'm overweight, but can run 4 or 5 miles at a time, and lift weights once or twice a week. I'm 36, and this was my first, and only reconstruction procedure. I did not have radiation. I was not in my top physical condition when I had the surgery, and I followed it up with 12 weeks of Taxol, so I lost a lot of strength there too.
I would say that my overall experience has been great with a DIEP reconstruction. That said, holy hell, it is QUITE a surgery. I'd had abdominal surgery before, a C-section, and this was much, much more serious.
Good things: I personally have no range of motion problems with my arms. I'd say my range of motion is 95 percent of what it is on the unaffected side. My pecs are almost as strong as they were pre-surgery. The cosmetic result is FANTASTIC. The surgeon actually sewed my abs together (they'd separated during pregnancy), so my stomach looks pretty darn good.
Bad things: My ab strength is nowhere near what it was before surgery. It's actually a loss of strength much greater than just the time off from the gym I took while recovering and doing Taxol, and I think it has to do with the abdominoplasty part of the surgery. Recovery was really a full six weeks until I felt like I could get back into things, and it was strange to try to do so in my new body. I lost a lot of abdominal skin in surgery, and my whole body just felt off. My abdomen was much too tight for a while, and it all just felt so weird: It was just really weird. Not too bad, and six months out, I'm pretty used to it, but the scar is huge. Short-term recovery is also pretty rough: I was in the hospital for five nights, and I'm not sure I could have come home any earlier.
I'm also facing the second-stage surgery next week, which I'm nervous about (but which is a much more minor procedure).
I've just given you some scattershot impressions of my experience. Am happy to say more if you have any more specific questions.