Talk with others facing decisions about whether or not to have breast reconstruction, and if so, what type and when.
Sep 24, 2021 10:16PM
My wife had a bilateral skin sparing mastectomy three weeks ago today. The drain on her right side has been removed but she still has the left one. Approximately one week ago, the drain stopped putting out fluid. Her left breast swoll up and appeared to be red in some areas. We saw the plastic surgeon and she aspirated the breast and sent the fluid off for culture.
Luckily the results showed no infection. My wife took a hot shower and did some stretches and she said she felt a slight pop in her breast and the drain began flowing again. The breast surgeon and plastic surgeon agree there was probably tissue blocking the drain and she pulled it out of the way while stretching. The plastic surgeon had been prepared to have another surgery to replace the left expander in the event my wife had any further issues
Yesterday the plastic surgeon added more fluid to her expanders. She advised it was not necessary to replace the expander because everything was looking fine, but she did not particularly like the color of the fluid she aspirated from the breast. Plastic surgeon also said it appeared there was inflammation. Each time fluid is added to the expander my wife says it makes her chest feel tight and causes pain under her breast. Today my wife has been complaining of pain particularly in the left breast that has given her problems. It appears puffy in areas, however the redness is going away. She is not running fever, the drain is working, and the breast is not hot to the touch. Does all of this sound relatively normal? Any tips or advice? At what point should we start to worry? Thank you!
11/2016, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to liver, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 25, 2021 09:15PM
So sorry your wife is going through this!
Tough questions, as none of us are trained doctors, who have seen your wife...
All I can say is it does often hurt when they add saline to the expanders. And it seems like a good sign that the redness is going away, and it isn't hot to the touch.
But you are worried, and it is understandable. And when doctors speak in cryptic terms like "they don't like the color" of the fluid without explaining, it only adds to the anxiety.
If your wife is still in pain on Monday, maybe you can call the doctor or PA/nurse and ask for clarification. Or, perhaps they can slow down the expander fills so that your wife is more comfortable. That may not be advisable if she is having radiation and they are trying to get the TE fully expanded in a safe time frame where they feel the radiation is most effective.
Everything going on may be perfectly fine and normal. But I think you're smart to be vigilant. I had an infection at one point, and still had residual pain deep in my breast after antibiotics. My doctor insisted the infection was gone (the surface redness had subsided) but the pain only went away after another doctor put me on antibiotics for a different infection. To be clear, it could have been pure coincidence, but it always made me wonder.
If you're still worried next week, don't hesitate to call and ask for more information and reassurance. And by your posting, it looks as though you are asking the right questions and thinking things through.
Wishing you both all the best.