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Topic: Surgery coming up!

Forum: Not Diagnosed But Worried —

Meet others worried about developing breast cancer for the first time. PLEASE DO NOT POST PICTURES OF YOUR SYMPTOMS. Comparing notes, symptoms, or characteristics is not helpful here, as only medical professionals can accurately evaluate and assess your individual situation.

Posted on: Nov 4, 2019 01:00PM

ElCart wrote:

Hi all

Due to unfavorable test results and very high lifetime risk, I’mgoing in for a bilateral mastectomy next week, with tissue expanders.

Please tell me the good, bad and ugly of what to expect during recovery.

Also, any tips for hospital stay, Recovery, etc? I’m getting really nervous.


Thanks in advance!


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Nov 4, 2019 01:13PM Yogatyme wrote:

I had BMX in Aug without expanders, so my situation is a little different than yours, but some things are likely the same. I found the pain to be manageable but the fatigue was significant. The surgical drains were a pain in the butt but once they came out things started looking up. I no longer had to sleep on my back and it coincided with getting a little more energy. The biggest tip I have for you is to really take good care of yourself and DO NOT try to do housework, cooking, etc. My BS told me that women who do too much end up with complications. Be sure to have tops that button in the front and I used a nail apron from Lowe’s for the drains and they will probably give you some mastectomy pillows for under your arms....use them. If you don’t have a strong core you might want to do some pre-surgical abs to strengthen them as they don’t want you using your arms to raise yourself up. Good luck to you!!


Yogatyme Surgery 3/2/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Dx 7/19/2019, IDC: Papillary, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/12/2019 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Nov 5, 2019 12:17PM ElCart wrote:

yogatyme, thank you so much for taking the time to reply and share your experience!! I will definitely take these tips. I hope your recovery is good!!!


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Nov 5, 2019 02:44PM SimoneRC wrote:

Ask for non child proof tops on your pills or have someone open the tops and lay them on top of the bottles. Get/make hourly calendars so you can track your meds. Lanyard for your neck for showering. I moved a side table in front of my night table so I did not have to reach back to get anything. Wedge pillows for sleeping. I ordered a group that all can zip together from Contour Living. We do not have a recliner. I waxed everything I usually wax or shave two days before surgery. I cooked lots of meals and froze them. I stocked up on protein drinks. I used Core Power. No caffeine so no chocolate or coffee. Hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes!!! I totally agree without Yogatyme, do not overdue it. Your drains cannot come out until your output is down. And you need to heal. Follow these instructions from your doctor to the letter.

The expanders are not the best, but remember it is just a moment in time. I had pre pectoral reconstruction. The fills actually made them less uncomfortable. Fills did not hurt at all for me. Front zip sports bras were my friend. I used the Jockey brand which I bought online from Amazon. They were soft. Oh, ask your surgeon if they are sending you home with a surgical bra. If so, ask for at least one extra, even if you have to purchase it. Some surgeons do not use them...

Recovery room, no tips. You will slowly wake up. You hopefully will not be in pain. Then they let visitors back after a while, in my case. I do get the shakes from anesthesia but although strange, they do not hurt. I use a Scopolamine patch which I put on the night before surgery so I don't vomit from anesthesia. I also have total IV anesthesia, no gas (called TIVA) as otherwise I am sick after anesthesia. Learned this from previous surgeries...

I had one night in the hospital and was ready to go home next day. I was up and walking. I brought slippers, iPhone, long phone charger, lip balm, zip up exercise jacket and loose yoga pants to go home. Shoes that can slip on. Hair brush, bands to put my hair up. Tooth brush and tooth paste, hospital did have that tho. Mints to suck on. And advanced medical directives just in case...

Nurses were great with pain control. I tend to stay on full pain meds for 48 hours post op, for my big surgeries, and then start alternating with Tylenol.

Move things you need at home to where you can reach them without having to reach up or bend down too far. This includes clothing in closets, dishes, silverware, glassware, medications, toiletries, shower items, etc....

My surgeon wanted me on 220 mg zinc sulfate daily, 500 mg Vitamin C every 12 hours and a multivitamin. Obviously, check with your surgeon!

This may not be as bad as you fear Elcart! Hopefully you will have a smooth recovery and a nice aesthetic outcome! Good luck and keep us posted!



ATM Gene Mutation, Deletion. IDC w/Lobular Features and Focal Mucinous Features. Pre Pectoral Reconstruction. Hysterectomy Surgery 4/6/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 5/5/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 7/3/2018 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 4/29/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 4/29/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 8/5/2019 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting
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Nov 11, 2019 06:38PM ElCart wrote:

SimoneRC, these are awesome tips and pointers. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply!!!!

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Nov 11, 2019 07:22PM MelissaDallas wrote:

You might get more responses in one of the surgery or high risk forums since “not diagnosed but worried” won’t have many who have had any experience with mastectomy

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor.
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Nov 11, 2019 07:38PM MinusTwo wrote:

El Cart - take a look in 'active threads' and find those others having surgery this month. Or read the surgery thread for the last month.

Here's a good summaryhttps://community.breastcancer.org/forum/91/topics/699896?page=1

Here's the October threadhttps://community.breastcancer.org/forum/91/topics/873479

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014

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