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Aug 28, 2020 09:06AM
Hi Chitown55, congrats on your success with chemo! I had a BMX with flat closure this past April, during the height of the pandemic here, and I had no problems with infections. All the extra hand-washing and distancing we're doing nowadays has got to provide an extra layer of protection against infection of all types, not just Coronavirus, so you can feel good about that!
I don't want to scare you, but since you mention it, I did have a minor complication with the drain on my right side. That side was much juicier than my left--draining almost twice as much on the days I was more active--and I became obsessed with trying to get every last bit of fluid out of the tube and bulb. I used alcohol wipes to "milk" the tube, like they tell you to do, but I think I must've been overly rough with the bulb, squeezing and shaking it every which way. (I was also worried about leaking, so I kept checking the stopper and fiddling with it.) In any case, after about a week, the bulb lost its vacuum. Instead of staying concave and sucking the fluid out of me, it was completely inflated with air and round. So I ended up having to take that drain out early, and had to go to the hospital twice after that to have a nurse draw out all the fluid that was collecting on that side, with a big syringe--100 ml the first time, and 75 ml the second. It was so odd, the fluid collected right where my breast was, so the seroma made it look like I still had an A-cup there!
Anyway, go easy when emptying your drains, and you should be fine! And keep in mind that you would have drains whether you reconstruct or not.
Another thing I wish someone had told me: you might want to do all the post-surgery physical therapy exercises at least once BEFORE the surgery, and take note of your normal reach and range of motion, so you have a baseline of what you're trying to get back to afterward. For example, the exercise where you walk your hands up the wall--I would do that now and mark the height you can reach with tape. I think I kept doing the exercises for longer than I needed to, because it bothered me that I never knew or thought about how high or far back I could reach before.
Whatever you decide, good luck! :-)
10/28/2019, DCIS/IDC, Both breasts, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
11/18/2019 AC + T (Taxol)
4/23/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right
5/27/2020 Femara (letrozole)
6/3/2020 Whole-breast: Chest wall