Topic: Seeking DIEP recovery stories

Forum: Breast Reconstruction — Talk with others facing decisions about whether or not to have breast reconstruction, and if so, what type and when.

Posted on: Dec 11, 2020 06:50PM

Posted on: Dec 11, 2020 06:50PM

sharon0706 wrote:

I had a bilateral mastectomy with tissue expanders and am now trying to decide between implants and DIEP reconstruction.

If you have had DIEP reconstruction, here's what I'm curious about:

- How did you make your decision?

- What was recovery was like?

- How long ago was your surgery and how you feel about the outcome?

Thanks,

Sharon
Dx 8/1/2001, LCIS Hormonal Therapy 6/29/2008 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 6/29/2015 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 8/24/2020, ILC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/20/2020 Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left); Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic mastectomy; Prophylactic mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Left): Tissue Expander; Reconstruction (Right): Tissue Expander Chemotherapy 11/23/2020 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 2/21/2021 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 6/13/2021 Reconstruction (Left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (Right): DIEP flap Surgery
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Sep 20, 2022 03:36PM meow13 wrote:

I had a nipple origami type reconstruction and tattooing never stays color fades. I was told tattoo doesn't stay well on scar tissue.

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Sep 20, 2022 04:38PM - edited Sep 20, 2022 05:01PM by serendipity09

Meow - "origami type reconstruction" how was that done, by just pinching and twisting a piece of the breast and make it look like a nipple? I haven't asked about that yet as I've got some time before that happens. I did meet a local tattoo artist that turned out to be the guy that everyone goes to for nipple tattoos. I've seen his work and he does an amazing job, I'll go to him when the time comes.

"You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore, before you decide to be happy" - Nightbirde Dx IDC, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 20, 2022 04:46PM meow13 wrote:

Yes my PS did it.

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Sep 22, 2022 08:23AM serendipity09 wrote:

Hi Everyone!

I woke up this morning feeling amazing! I decided to go for a walk and I've already dusted, vacuumed and cleaned my house. The only thing bugging me a bit is the compression binder. I was given the ok on Monday to switch to Spanx (or the likes of) and decided to stick with the binder. I will use Spanx over the weekend when going out dinner to celebrate my son's birthday. I wish I would have felt this way last week; a family member got married last Saturday and there was no way I could go feeling the way I did. I recall reading Trishyla saying early in the year that she was already in heels dancing at the four week mark. I feel like I could.

I decided to drive for the first time yesterday, just down the road from home to get a pedicure, which felt so good. I felt I deserved it and it gave me a sense of normalcy. The driving gave me back my sense of independence.

Per my PS, I've started applying Aquafor to my incisions and on Sunday will begin massaging to break up any fibrous bumps/lumps. I had a difficult time emotionally doing it the first time, but I'm good now. The incisions on my breasts are scabbed over as is most of the abdomen incision, the PS removed some of the scabbing at my appointment. Belly button is completely healed and looks nice, thank goodness. Belly is still swollen, but that's expected and even with that I look decent.

I'm still going to take it easy and not overdo it so as not to regress, but am so happy to feel this way.



"You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore, before you decide to be happy" - Nightbirde Dx IDC, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 22, 2022 03:34PM gh11 wrote:

Hi Seredipity, thank you for sharing that! It totally encouraged me and lifted my spirits today :). You had your DIEP surgery 3 weeks ago, I think you said, corrrect? I am going in Tuesday next week for my bilateral DIEP flap. So glad to hear you have turned a corner and what you have accomplished at week 4. Hopefully I will recover that well too...haven't danced in heels since my early thirties Smilebut it might be just what the doctor ordered. I have allowed myself to break my regular diet and indulge in Key Lime pie - just to make sure there is enough tummy fat to go round, you know Winking. Appreciate the heads up regarding the binder...good to know in advance that is coming.

Surgery 6/1/2022 Mastectomy (Right): Nipple Sparing
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Sep 22, 2022 08:03PM serendipity09 wrote:

I'm 4 weeks post-op today.

Love Key lime Pie!! I let myself splurge all summer. I traveled monthly to Puerto Rico from April to the beginning of August to see my father and the food over there is just so good. I figured what the heck. I thought I would've gained 20 lbs.; nope only 5 lbs.

I feel a bit more secure in the binder. I haven't tried on the Spanx though. The binder gets a bit uncomfortable since my incision is very low on the bikini line so I'm finding myself puling the binder down to cover it. When the binder rides up, it rubs against it and makes it sore. Again, nothing I can't handle, just a bit annoying. I'll deal with it until my next appointment and then ill switch over to Spanx, which will put me at the six week mar.

You'll be ok and at the three week mark starting to feel better, if not sooner. The first week will be a bit tough, but nothing unmanageable. Be sure to keep your pain managed, that's half the battle, the first few days you may need a narcotic and after that Tylenol. Once it's under control you'll be sore and very tight in the abdomen area. The good thing is that you'll probably have use of your right arm since you already had the breast tissue removed. That makes it a bit easier.

Did they tell you how many drains you'll have?

"You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore, before you decide to be happy" - Nightbirde Dx IDC, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 28, 2022 02:01PM jrnj wrote:

that is when I felt pretty good and started doing “stuff “ at 4 weeks. Some drs require binders and some don’t. Mine didn’t. I’ve read a lot about it on the diep Facebook page. Some think it restricts blood flow. No clear answer.The nurses did tell me to wear one for phase 2 liposuction but I hated it so it didn’t last long.

Pleomorphic Multifocal, Extra nodal Extension, Lymphovascular Invasion. TEs removed due to infection Dx 8/15/2019, LCIS, Right, 6cm+, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/15/2019, ILC, Right, 2cm, Grade 3, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/23/2019 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic mastectomy; Prophylactic mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction (Left): Tissue Expander; Reconstruction (Right): Tissue Expander Chemotherapy 12/1/2019 CMF Radiation Therapy 3/29/2020 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 6/3/2020 Aromasin (exemestane) Hormonal Therapy 8/5/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 8/24/2020 Surgery 1/28/2021 Reconstruction (Left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (Right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy 3/9/2021 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 28, 2022 03:48PM serendipity09 wrote:

Jrnj - my PS requires the binder or Spanx/Spanx-type garment. I tried on the ones I had the other day, but did not like the way I looked in what I was wearing I needed the longer shorts version and the ones I had are the shorter ones, plus it kept rolling down, was not worth the frustration. I have an appointment on Monday, hoping she'll let me get away with not wearing the binder anymore. I have a feeling she's going to say another week so that I'm eight weeks out from surgery.

Where did they do the liposuction for stage 2?

Did you need/have any scar revisions?

"You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore, before you decide to be happy" - Nightbirde Dx IDC, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 28, 2022 05:22PM jrnj wrote:

serendipity09, Liposuction on outer thighs, flanks and abdomen and pubic area. Minor scar revision on outer abdomen scar, belly button(made it worse), and attempted to make my mini footballs into circles, but ended up with smaller footballs, and some side boob reduction. Main goal was to make the radiation side bigger and less flat. Very minimal improvement there. The best part was getting the love handles removed. I asked about inner thighs, they don't like taking if from there because the skin is thinner.

Pleomorphic Multifocal, Extra nodal Extension, Lymphovascular Invasion. TEs removed due to infection Dx 8/15/2019, LCIS, Right, 6cm+, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/15/2019, ILC, Right, 2cm, Grade 3, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/23/2019 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic mastectomy; Prophylactic mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction (Left): Tissue Expander; Reconstruction (Right): Tissue Expander Chemotherapy 12/1/2019 CMF Radiation Therapy 3/29/2020 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 6/3/2020 Aromasin (exemestane) Hormonal Therapy 8/5/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 8/24/2020 Surgery 1/28/2021 Reconstruction (Left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (Right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy 3/9/2021 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 29, 2022 08:02AM serendipity09 wrote:

Hi Jrnj

Did the lipo on the thighs leave your skin saggy or lumpy?

When you say "footballs" do you mean the scars from the flaps? Mine were made round and are the size of a half dollar.

My radiated side is fuller than my other side. Maybe because I'm only a year out from rads? I may need the other side touched up.

Did you breasts stay perky or do they sag as they would have naturally?

Sorry for so many questions.

"You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore, before you decide to be happy" - Nightbirde Dx IDC, ER-/PR-, HER2-

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