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All TopicsForum: DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) → Topic: Getting Ready for Mastectomy...

Topic: Getting Ready for Mastectomy...

Forum: DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) — Just diagnosed, in treatment, or finished treatment for DCIS.

Posted on: Feb 23, 2012 08:58PM - edited Feb 23, 2012 10:12PM by sedmokc

sedmokc wrote:


I am scheduled to have mastectomy on left side and some lymph nodes removed 2nd week of March.  I have DCIS, stage 0 grade 3, ER PR Positive. Tthe area is very large so only option was mastectomy.  The surgeon is going to try to do nipple conserving but she has warned me a possibility once she get in there she may have to remove it too.  I already have implants so we are putting in 2 new implants to match. I will have drains for about 14 days.  Very scared!  You hear all sorts of stories where some women recover in 2/3 weeks and others longer.  Also,  what should I expect the morning as they prepare me for surgery.  The surgeon indicated she will inject some dye to highlight the nodes. If anyone can give me some info on what to expect before surgery, how will the first week and let me know how long it took to feel normal again.  Also, how long before you were able to have good use out of your arm they took lymph nodes out of.

Thanks so much!


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Feb 23, 2012 09:13PM nehson123 wrote:

Hi Sharon, I am 9 weeks post mastectomy (bilat) my choice DCIS stage 0. Prior to surgery I don't remember much . I was met by the whole team in preop.They were very comforting. I did take ativan before coming to the hospital due to my nervousness. I had permission to take it on the day of surgery. I had an IV started,was given sedation and then my surgery started. It took 4 hours becaause I had reconstruction at the same time. I woke up that day,was able to lift my arms which shocked me but I was told not to raise them above my head. Had 2 drains,not alot of pain. I had an ONCue ball.Ask your MD if they use it. I went home with it for 4 days. The left arem where I had 5 nodes removed was alittle stiffer than the right but I was surprised by my mobility. Not showering for a week was tough,used Oil of Olay wipes very soothing.Used Skalexa which is the best muscle relaxer round the clock every 6 hours with percocet.Worked well. Try to stay calm.I was scared,I am a baby about things,I'm a nurse but it doesn;t nake a difference. I wish you the best. Hope some of my infor helps.Please ask your surgeon and PS as much as possible.Write everything down so you don't forget. Take Care.

Dx 11/11/2011, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 24, 2012 01:43PM LaurenM730 wrote:

Hi Sharon,

I am a month post BMX. I was diagnosed with DCIS last December and scheduled the surgery for shortly thereafter.

One of the biggest things for me was the relationship that my BS and PS have. When I went to speak to the BS it was 9PM and when I told him I was interested in the MX, he called the PS on the spot. The PS took me first thing the next morning. They describe the surgery as a tag team... The BS starts on one side and when he's finished and moves to the next, the PS starts on the first. My surgery was about 3 1/2 hours. Waking up I was in a a lot of pain and they started my dilaudit drip right away. The day before I went home they switched to pills and i got a Rx for Percocet. A little help - invest in stool softeners!!!! No one tells you what the pain meds will do to you!!!

I had my drains for 2 weeks and it was a big relief when they came out. Before they did, I had a pain Nader each arm like there was a stick digging into each armpit. That got much better, then disappeared, with the drains coming out.

Try to move your arms a much as possible. After a month, I still don't have full range of motion, and I'm wishing I tried harder. Some people get PT right away, but I didn't. Not showering is the worst, too. But I didn't even care the first 2 weeks...

It's a lot to get ready for, but I'm so glad I did it. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions or want to chat. I can also give you my number if you want to talk. This site is also great. There is so much support !

Best of luck,

Hell yeah, they're fake... The real ones tried to kill me! Surgery 10/12/2011 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 12/6/2011, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 1/22/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 6/5/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 8/23/2012
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Feb 24, 2012 05:20PM J9W wrote:

Hi Sharon,  I had my surgery in 2009 - uni mastectomy, right side.  Before the surgery, my PS came in and wrote on my chest so they had a plan in place. My BS and PS were a great team and if ever needed again, I'd want them both. Make sure you have a pillow or something really soft to cover your chest in the car for the ride home - since it's on  you left side this might not be so important but better to be prepared than not prepared.  Did you get one of those tank-tops to hold the drains?? The hospital where I had the surgery gave me one - find out if they give those out because my drain was held in that little top in a pocket on the inside. I just remembered:  someone else gave me a small pillow to put under my arm while laying down recuperating. It really turned out to be helpful.  Hopefully they'll only do a sentinel node biopsy which means less nodes removed - I only had 2 out and I've been very lucky regarding NO lympadema. I was using my arm that same evening of the surgery - although if you have more nodes out it might take longer to get back in the swing of things. The first week at home I slept a lot, no showers (yuck), and stool softeners are needed because of the amount of meds in you.  I remember the moment I felt 'all better' was when I could back my car up and put my arm up on the seat while turning my head completely.....that was the 'ah ha' moment for me.  Hugs, Janine

DCIS, grade 3, 2009. Right mastectomy, tamoxifen for only 11 months.
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Feb 24, 2012 05:30PM ohAli wrote:

Hi I am going to have a radical bilateral masectomy, and I am freaked out. I had felt a lump for months but was to scared to go to the doc'sSo Ii went . next thing I know is they found cancer and want to operate. How funky does it look and do you really have a tatooed nipple? I don't have the final meeting with my PS and surgeon until Monday when they set the date, and I'm just scared to death. Any information from anyone would soooo be appreciated!!!

Dx 2/14/2012, IDC, 6cm+, Stage II, Grade 2, ER+/PR+
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Feb 24, 2012 05:38PM - edited Feb 24, 2012 05:38PM by Nel


i am a weekout post MX.  I have had some discomfort but was sick from the percocet sohave been able to manage on tylenol. I had 30  nodes removed and for a few days it feltlike ants or something crawling on my arm, but that seems to have passed.  The area is certainly tender, but I ahve excercises that I am hoping will help with my range of motion.I was , witht he OK of my doc, able to drive a short distance today.  You will remeber very little once you are in preop, I remeber very little frommy wholeovernight hospital stay and I thought I was coherent!!!  The anticipation is the worst.

You may have already found it but under the surgery thread is a thread for women having surgery in March.  The Feb thread has been a great support as I waited and now post op.

Best of luck and you will do great.


You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf Dx 9/27/2011, IBC, Stage IIIB, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Dx 8/6/2013, IBC, Stage IV, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Feb 24, 2012 05:50PM Layla2525 wrote:

OhAli and the others,of course you are scared,OMG I was so scared and then my fiance and I got in an argument over whether he should tile the living rm while I was at the hosp and I said no and I was crying hysterically by the time I got there. My BS came in and gave me stinging shot on the boob  and they sent me to Nuclear Medicine to get some pics of the boobs. I had IDC in the right boob. This was radioactive dye to light up the nodes so they can take some out to see if the cancer went there and maybe spread already. Then back to room gave me heated blanket,took more history,started IV and buckled on leg things for circulation. My fiance came in for a minute to apologize. The anethesiologist came in asked questions and told me she was gonna put a sedative in my IV. Next thing ya know I woke up in ICU. I had a bmx,skin sparing,with TE, with 2 nodes out. All came back clear,no cancer in nodes and clear margins. I did it on Feb 13. Now 10 days later I was looking for my gold bond powder for feet and almost forgot I had the TE and the drains for about 10 min there. Pain has gone away mostly, I had Tylenol #3,Valium & antibiot.I am now taking Flexeril and once a day maybe a regular tylenol or advil. Ty#3 is Tymix with codeine cuz I am allergic to lots of kinds of pain meds. Yep they had to take the nips cause the IDC was hiding behind the right one and I dont wanna go thru it all over again if it comes back on the good left side so I said gimme the works and they did. Anyone else got some stuff to add? I am gonna see the psych cause my boobs look like 2 hamburger buns from the bottom of the groc bag so i am tryng to cope and fiance is sleeping over and I am in the recliner. We survive it cuz we dont have any other choice if we wanna live.

bmx w/TE on 2/13/12,exchange to Mentor high profile 600cc gel implants on 08/30/12,07/01/2013,new Natrelle 45 gel,replaced Mentors due to capsule. Dx 12/19/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 24, 2012 09:40PM nehson123 wrote:

Hi ohAli, So sorry you are so scared. I was too.It is normal to be scared. I had a bilat. mastectomy 9 weeks ago. It took alittle time to get used to looking at the incisions but,you will have steristrips on for at least 1-2 weeks.So,you realy can't see much in the beginning. My PS spoke to me about nipple reconstruction/tatooing in the beginning but you don't have to make these decisions until you are ready.My physical therapist has the tatooing and it is soooo beautiful. If you want to talk please PM me.Everthing is very new to me but I am finally feeling like me.I had my implants last Friday. I am a nurse and I teach nursing but..I am a new cancer survivor and I am willing to help anyone that has to go through what I just did. Try to stay calm,I went to a support group meeting 4 days before my surgery.I was in shell shock.I met a woman who had a mastectomy 6 days ago.She was fine,moving her arms,had her drains in and this helped me to know I would be ok. Please talk to you surgeon and PS about any concerns.They are there to help you.Take Care

Dx 11/11/2011, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 25, 2012 12:47AM LISAMG wrote:

Sharon, have u had a breast MRI? Being that your DCIS is high grade, is a great reason to consider this diagnostic tool as an added insurance policy prior to surgery. Good luck!

High Risk for HBOC, BRCA Un-informative Negative Previvor, Bilateral Nipple Sparing Risk Reducing Mastectomy, August, 2010, Lipo/ Micro fat grafting with high profile implants, Nov.,2010. Risk Reducing Lap. BSO, October, 2011.
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Feb 25, 2012 09:28AM - edited Feb 25, 2012 10:18AM by Lbowling

Hi- I also have had a bilateral mastectomy on Dec 2. I had a wonderful team of surgeons between my BS and my PS. It is natural to be anxious and nervous before facing this type of surgery. My surgery was scheduled for the afternoon so rather than wait around the house dwelling on what was about to happen, my husband and I went to my favorite bookstore for a diversion. I felt calmer when I arrived at the hospital. My team came in and explained step by step what we were going to be doing. I had the chance to have friends and family in prop with me if I wanted. Right before we started my nurse anesethist came in and explained again about sedation asked if I had questions, then once they gave me the initial medication- I remember no more until I woke up. Just as the other women have stated, I had drains( I had 5- I usually do not hear of that many) that presented most of my pain and discomfort. Once you are free of those, things feel so much better. My PS used a combination of pain meds and a muscle relaxant. And even in the hospital the muscle relaxant offered more relief for me. Movement of your arms is key as soon as you are ok'd to do so. I heard someone previously ask about the tank top / cami for drains- that is a must! It just makes things easier to move around and feels sooo good on your skin. I will be thinking about you as you take this next step and pray that you will be peaceful about things:) Thinking of you, Leah

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Feb 27, 2012 12:39AM LaurenM730 wrote:

ohAli, good luck with your surgery. I'm 5 weeks post BMX tomorrow. I can't give tons of recommendations of after care, or are you interested in recovery, etc? Feel free to PM me or I'll even give you my phone number if you want to chat. It's scary, but I think alternatives are even scarier.

Best of luck and sending you lots of hugs!!!


Hell yeah, they're fake... The real ones tried to kill me! Surgery 10/12/2011 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 12/6/2011, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 1/22/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 6/5/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 8/23/2012
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Mar 9, 2012 06:13PM CurlyD wrote:

Sharon/ohAli, the operation for me was actually a piece of cake and I was out of the hospital in less than 24 hours; partly my choice as I can't sleep in hospitals; and I had a BMX with immediate reconstructions. While any operation is scary, this one is pretty routine if you've got a good GS and PS who you like. So keep your spirits high since your outlook will help make all the difference in your recovery.

One thing I would recommend is to make sure they do NOT put you on a Morpheme drip unless you really need it. One of the nurses (against my PS's desires) put me on one and it made me nauseous and was the worst part about my initial recovery. Once they took me off the drip and just gave me pain pills I felt much better rather quickly. But each person is different and if you are in a lot of pain you may want to have that option; talk to your surgeon about it before the surgery if you think you might need it.

The pain from the lymph biopsies I had was probably the most painful part for me, but it did not keep me from moving my arm even immediately after the surgery. I couldn't (actually, I could but wasn't supposed to) lift anything heavier than a glass of water right afterwards, but that had as much to do with the reconstruction as the MX and wasn't because of the pain. I was actually surprised about how little pain there was for me and stopped taking even the Ibuprophen except at night within a few days.

The expanders used in the reconstruction are the main reason I'm still slightly uncomfortable after 6 weeks, and other than the slight discomfort and the fact that I'm still not supposed (the reconstruction again) to lift anything heavy (although I've graduated to milk jugs now), I'm pretty much back to normal.

Since the nipple reconstruction is not done until 3 months after you exchange the expanders for the implants you've got lots of time to decide what you want to do. I went out on the internet and looked at pictures of difference nipple reconstruction before I made up my mine to go with the full reconstruction with tattooing. I just liked the look better although the idea of the skin graft is not something I'm looking forward to!

Good luck to both of you on your surgery and recovery and again, keep as positive an attitude as you can and you'll find that it makes it all go by much easier.  Plus, I'll add my name to the list of folks who you can call if you want some perking up, just send me a message and we can go from there.


Dx 12/2011, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes

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