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Topic: February 2020 Surgery Group

Forum: Surgery - Before, During, and After — Surgical options and helpful tips for recovery and side effects.

Posted on: Jan 27, 2020 09:33AM - edited Jan 30, 2020 09:49AM by striveforhealth

striveforhealth wrote:

I'm here so that means my surgery is scheduled for February! The 26th to be exact. I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get to the point of having a plan and a date for surgery. My 6 month f/u left breast mammogram was on November 19, 2019. I'm glad to have some time to prepare myself for all that's to come. I am going to have a lumpectomy on my left breast and oncoplastic reconstruction to lift both breasts and additionally reduce the right which is considerably larger than my left. My pre-surgery consultation with my plastic surgeon is Wednesday. I am having my annual mammogram on my right breast this week which will ensure that all is normal there. Hoping other February surgery members will post here as well so we can support each other.

Many Blessings!

Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 27, 2020 12:35PM Bubblybubbles_1 wrote:

striveforhealth - Hey, I have a double mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction on 19th February. I had lumpectomy and sentinel node dissection before so if you have any questions, ask me.

Dx 5/25/2018, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Chemotherapy 6/13/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 27, 2020 02:47PM striveforhealth wrote:

Hi Bubblybubbl - Thanks for posting your upcoming Feb 2020 surgery here. It sounds like you've been through a lot in the last few years. I'm sure it hasn't been easy and I'm sorry you have to be back here again. It must have been shocking to find out you had another cancer. What did they find this time?I get nervous every time I read that a member had a recurrence or another breast cancer. I expect that we first timers to BC have some degree of fear that our surgery won't be the last breast surgery.

My lumpectomy and oncoplasty surgery will be 3-4 hours and I'm expected to go home the same day. I don't do well with anesthesia or all narcotic pain meds which I get sick from....and then I still have the terrible pain to deal with. I've had other types of surgeries (my last one was in May) and we still haven't found keeps me from getting sick so I'm concerned about the pain and very reluctant to take narcotics. The plastic surgeon suggested trying Tramadol. I meet with him for my pre-surgery consultation on Wednesday.

I won't be meeting my MO and RO until after the surgery some time, but expect that radiation and Tamoxifen will be part of the treatment plan for me. Not looking forward to either but hoping going through it will give me somewhat better odds of not having a recurrence. I guess that's a crap shoot!

I've been putting some things together for myself and making a list of things to get to have on hand that will keep me from having to get up and down a lot for the first several days post surgery. I'm also going through my closet and pulling out button up style shirts and easy pull on pants, getting a shower chair and trying to figure out how to cover my chest area so it doesn't get wet. I'm also thinking about other bed pillows for comfort and to keep me from turning on my side in my sleep.

Hoping we both make out well with our surgery, treatment and recovery. I'll certainly be keeping you in my thoughts. :-)

Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 28, 2020 02:10AM Meg5000 wrote:

I met with the surgeon today and have my double mastectomy and sentinel node dissection scheduled for February 6. I was first diagnosed with two tumors (IDC) in my left breast and thought I would only need a mastectomy of the left breast. Then the MRI showed three more abnormal enhancements in my left breast and two in my right. The results have me very worried that this may be an aggressive and fast spreading cancer. I forgot to ask my surgeon about it and I've obsessing ever since.

I accepted the recommendation of double mastectomy as I feel I have no choice. The reconstruction will have to be done at a later date, but I'm okay with that. Everything is happening so fast that it doesn't seem real, Today is the first time that I have felt afraid since this journey started. It's a bit overwhelming.

Dx 1/10/2020, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 28, 2020 08:53PM striveforhealth wrote:

Meg, of course you're feeling overwhelmed and afraid. I'd encourage you to call your surgeon's office to say that you would like a call back so you could discuss other concerns you have. I'm sure this is not unusual and doctors expect that after you walk away you need time to process information and will have additional questions. After all, you expected one thing and then got additional news that wasn't expected. That will knock you more off balance for sure. No wonder you were flustered. I didn't get any news that wasn't expected and I still came away from that BS consultation with lots of questions that I didn't know I had when I was sitting in the office getting the news and information. You deserve to have all your questions answered even if the treatment plan remains the same. Good luck. Thinking about you.


Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 29, 2020 09:46PM Lajonesin wrote:

Hello all! I'm new, so excuse my unfamiliarity with abbreviations and whatnot. I was DX a few weeks ago with ILC multifocal left, 1 cm, stage 1A Grade 2 ER+ HER- (did I do all that right?Loopy) After talking with 2 surgeons with different opinions of my cancer, one recommending wide lumpectomy w/radiation, the other mastectomy w/no radiation, I think I've decided to go the latter route. Both really REALLY want me to get reconstruction, but I just don't want it. I'm fine being flat/asymmetrical. I'm barely a B cup as it is! Did anyone else make that decision and get pushback from doctors? I finally agreed to just see a plastic surgeon so they know I'm educated on the subject of my own boobs. Many more questions.....everything is swimming in my head....but this is a good start I'm hoping to meet a lot of new friends going through the journey as well.

Dx 1/2020, ILC/IDC: Tubular, Left, 6cm+, Stage IB, Grade 1, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/11/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap
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Jan 30, 2020 01:02AM Moderators wrote:

Welcome, Lajonesin! We're so sorry you find yourself here, but we hope you find this to be a supportive place as you continue down this road! And your abbreviations look great Winking the early days and weeks are typically filled with more questions that answers, but you'll get a lot of information here! Please keep us posted on how things are going, and best of luck on your surgery!

The Mods

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Jan 30, 2020 10:20AM striveforhealth wrote:

I had my right breast mammogram this morning and it was negative for any issues. Whew! I feel better going into my surgery knowing that nothing is lurking in the other breast. Yesterday I had the pre-surgery plastic surgery visit with the doc's PA. We went over the plans for my surgery which was very detailed and my instructions for before and after surgery. Everything was printed out for me so I went home with all the paperwork. I was able to ask more questions and felt comfortable with all the responses. I've not had any success with narcotic pain meds which make me sick so I'll be trying out Tramadol this time. Hopefully it doesn't make me nauseous and vomit. I'll also have extra strength Tylenol on hand. Has anyone else had problems with narcotics making you sick?

This surgeon's practice is 80% breast surgeries so I feel like I'm in good 'hands'...lol. The PA was very organized. While I was signing paperwork, she set up the post-surgery appointments, sent the order for my meds to my pharmacy, and contacted my primary doc to let her know what pre-op tests they would like me to have....just an EKG and some blood work. I have a pre-op appointment with my breast surgeon the week before my surgery. Her office has been great with organizing and coordinating everything that needs to be done.

Now just need to focus on getting things ready for keeping comfortable after surgery and making things as easy as possible for myself. Plan to do some cooking and freezing ahead of time so I'll just pull out and use the microwave. I'm not sure how to keep myself on my back when going to sleep as I'm a consistent side sleeper. Any suggestions are welcome.

Best wishes to everyone as they get closer to their surgery.

Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 30, 2020 10:43AM striveforhealth wrote:

Hi Lajonesin, Getting different opinions from 2 docs must feel overwhelming. I know it's more work, but have you considered a 3rd opinion? It's good that you are open to a plastic surgery consult. I wasn't going to have reconstructive surgery but ended up changing my mind after the consult. It opened up my eyes to how lopsided I would be due to the fact the my 'good' breast was considerably larger than the affected breast. I will need to have radiation and it tends to shrink the breast about 10% in most women so I decided to have bilateral oncoplastic surgery with a PS that has lengthy experience doing breast oncoplasty. The left breast gets a generously sized lumpectomy to ensure clear margins and the right breast gets reduced plus and additional 10% in size to approximate the left breast after radiation. The bonus that wasn't expected is that both breasts get lifted. And by law insurance covers all the cost which ensures that we can have two normal looking breasts. The prospect of reducing the size and weight of my breasts will additionally afford me less shoulder and back pain and I'll finally be able to purchase bras that fit both my breasts well. This might be a surgery that could work for you but you'd need to meet with a PS to learn the specifics of all your options. It never hurts to have more information and in the end the choice is always yours to decide what you think will work best for you. I hope this helps.

Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 30, 2020 04:47PM Lajonesin wrote:

Thanks so much for the responses! As for being lopsided, I don’t have much to lop. Lol My surgeon said that since my nipples are in perfect placement (no droop) there just isn’t anything to work with as far as a wide lumpectomy is concerned, and she wants to take it all to ensure there’s no cancer left behind, or another operation I’ll need.

Is an oncoplastic surgeon a different type of surgeon? All I have is a breast surgeon and a plastic surgeon. I’ll keep an open mind, though. Just no way I’ll ever want an implant.

Dx 1/2020, ILC/IDC: Tubular, Left, 6cm+, Stage IB, Grade 1, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/11/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap
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Jan 30, 2020 07:33PM Mamags wrote:

Hello everyone! I wanted to introduce myself to the group. I am a 42 year old mom of 4. I will be having a bilateral nipple/skin sparing mastectomy and right side removal of sentinel lymph nodes on February 25th, and a second surgery for insertion of tissue expanders on March 4th.

Similar to you, Strive, I have been dealing with this since November. I found out in September I am BRCA2+ and had my first MRI screening on November 27th. I had 3 biopsies on December 30th. One of the sites came back with atypical cells, possibly DCIS. There was not enough tissue to make a determination and an excisional biopsy was recommended. Since I am BRCA2+, I decided to have a BMX. It is something I was going to do eventually, I was just hoping to wait a few more years!

I am feeling nervous but I have been reading lots of posts on this site and I have joined a few groups on Facebook and that has helped to calm my nerves tremendously. I have read about recommendations on how to prepare and things that are helpful to have after surgery.

Meg5000, I hope you can get some more info from your doctor before your surgery. As much as I am sure you want to get started with treatment and a plan, I also feel you should have all of your questions answered first. And, I have been doing a lot of research on breast reconstruction and there are so many options for different procedures for delayed reconstruction.

Good luck to everyone as your surgery days approach! If anyone has any tips or suggestions to offer, please share! Some of the the things I have done are I froze a few meals, bought a wedge pillow, a few button up shirts, an apron to hold drains.


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Jan 30, 2020 08:09PM striveforhealth wrote:

Lajonesin...No "lop"? Well, I've got plenty to go around for anyone who needs extra...lol. Well, at least I will before Feb 26 that is. lol! Yup! I'm trying to keep some level of humor with this BC. :-) To answer your question, my plastic surgeon is specially trained in oncoplastic reconstruction techniques. He happens to be the PS my breast surgeon works with. I do believe that you have to have enough breast tissue to work with for oncoplastic surgery. At your consult, the PS will go over all the options that would work for you. You'll get to ask questions and think about what you want to do, or not do. You will make the decision that best for you.

Keep us informed about how you're doing. Keeping you in my thoughts.




Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 30, 2020 09:45PM striveforhealth wrote:

Welcome Mamags. I'm glad you have your plan set. I'll be thinking about you going in for your surgery the day before I go for mine. I've also found that reading the posts on this site are comforting. There are a lot of strong women here.

I'm also hoping that doing some prep work prior to the surgery will make recovery a bit easier. I am putting together a basket/tote of essentials to have that I can keep near me in the bedroom and family room. Things like tissues, lip balm, mints, lotion, water bottles, medicine, cozy socks for my always cold feet, book, magazine, phone, remote, pen and paper, etc. I'll be able to take this tote with me when I move from room to room. I don't expect to be moving around too much the first few days though! lol

A member on another thread mentioned taking things off higher kitchen cabinet shelves like plates, bowls, cups, and leaving them on the counter to eliminate having to reach up high. Also making arrangements for someone to drive you to your follow-up appointments. Actually I tend to shoulder the 'burdens' myself, but if friends offer to help me with whatever....I plan to take them up on their offers. This is the time to accept assistance if you need it.

Using an apron with pockets to hold your drains sounds clever. My surgeon gives lanyards that you attach your drains to. We'll see how that works. What type of wedge pillow did you get? I'm trying to figure out how to stay sleeping on my back. I know I'll roll onto my side. Not sure how to keep myself from rolling.

Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 31, 2020 02:10PM Lefty_Lucy wrote:

Hi all! I just had my first surgery yesterday, L mx and sentinel node removal. Recovery seems to be going well overall. I don't know when R mx and DIEP flap will be, but hopefully sometime in February. When I talked to my breast surgeon this morning, she said she and my PS were texting about my case last night, after she finished my mx, and he wants to get me in sooner rather than later.

As for holding drains, I'm using a fanny pack for mine and the On-Q ball my BS put in, and it's working well. I also have a lanyard ready if I decide to go that route.

Lajonesin, not a bad idea just to talk to a PS, but don't let anyone pressure you into a decision about your body you're not comfortable with. Many women don't want reconstruction and are happy about it. I wish I felt comfortable with the idea of going flat, but I'm just not there yet. I feel like if I could just pause the cancer and get two years of good therapy (or even two months!) I might want to just stay flat. It's a very personal thing, and it's major surgery. Your body, your choice. ThumbsUp

striveforhealth, glad you're keeping your sense of humor. I definitely have felt better when I can tap into mine... definitely made up a parody of "Baby Bye Bye Bye" by NSync, but with the words "Booby Bye Bye Bye," hahaha.

Mamags, that's a lot to go through and process. Having little kids both makes it extra stressful and keeps me extra motivated (and sort of organically limits my stressing I can do... I'm lucky to get a few minutes a day to even think about what's going on--though now in recovery I have more time for sure.

Meg5000, hope you get some reassuring answers soon. For me, the hardest part was waiting for surgery. I know lots of MRI abnormalities are not cancer, but I also know how hard it is not to stress over the unknown. Best of luck.

Dx 12/30/2019, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 1/29/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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Jan 31, 2020 08:06PM striveforhealth wrote:

Lefty_Lucy, WOW! Yesterday surgery and today, here you are, keeping us informed. I'm glad to know you are doing so well and I hope that continues. Be good to yourself. You've got another surgery coming up so rest well. Fanny pack for the drains...another good idea for what to do with those hitchhikers!!! :o My surgeon gave me a lanyard. If you use yours, let me know what you prefer. Thanks for checking in with us. Blessings for a great recovery.

Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 31, 2020 09:31PM - edited Jan 31, 2020 09:31PM by dots74

I've been lurking/reading and gained a lot of insight and comfort since my diagnosis on January 6th. My preop is coming up on February 5th with a double mastectomy with expanders on Valentine's Day. I've had a huge range of emotions come up with this, but I'm ready to get the show on the road and this process underway. They will be removing some lymph nodes to check them during the mastectomy surgery. I'm thinking the remainder of the process hinges on those results. Waiting is the worst. I'm doing a lot of praying. I just want to wish everyone here a speedy recovery and good results in whatever path you are on.

Dx 1/6/2020, ILC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 2/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/13/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 7/27/2020 Femara (letrozole)
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Jan 31, 2020 10:03PM - edited Feb 1, 2020 03:52PM by striveforhealth

Welcome to the thread dots74 You said it! The waiting is the worst!!! Waiting for appointments, phone calls, results, more appointments, more test results, etc!!! There's sooo much waiting involved in this process. I've used that time the way you have. By doing lot's of reading/research and trying to prepare myself for surgery and recovery. Some people in my life told me not to read....that's just not me! lol I actually found reading comforting in a way because I was able to see that "we" all get through this and we support each other. :-)

Sending you blessings for the best outcome possible.


Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 1, 2020 07:27AM Lefty_Lucy wrote:

striveforhealth, I think I might end up preferring the lanyard when that's the only thing I'm hauling around. Fanny pack is great for the medicine ball though, which is much bigger and heavier.

dots74, I felt a lot better about surgery once I let myself do all the crying over how awful it is and had a plan in place. Then I felt like I could just start to wrap my mind around getting this cancer taken care of and out of my body. Having this group also helps so much--I'm saddened to realize how many people are going through this, but it's so encouraging seeing other women fighting the same fight.

Dx 12/30/2019, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 1/29/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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Feb 1, 2020 12:27PM dots74 wrote:

I’m feeling better since knowing when the surgery is coming and what to expect. I have a good friend who is very handy. She’s making me little “pockets “ with double sided fabric tape for putting on the inside of my clothes to put my drain tubes in. I went to goodwill this morning and bought some large button down shirts, so if they get ruined by the tape I won’t care. It feels good to do things to prepare for weeks to come.

Dx 1/6/2020, ILC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 2/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/13/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 7/27/2020 Femara (letrozole)
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Feb 1, 2020 04:49PM Lefty_Lucy wrote:

Transferable drain pockets--genius! I might have to use that idea for my next surgery. I agree, getting to have a plan and take steps toward getting better feels good. I try to tell myself that even the waiting in the unknown is a step toward being cancer-free, but I sure do appreciate the active steps more than the passive ones.

Dx 12/30/2019, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 1/29/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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Feb 1, 2020 07:22PM striveforhealth wrote:

It's Feb 1st people. This is our month!

So far, it looks like Meg5000 is next up for surgery on Feb 6. Meg tell us what you've been doing to get yourself ready for your surgery. Know that we will all be following along and sending you positive vibes and good wishes for a great outcome.

dots74 I really like your friend's idea for the drains. Some people are very clever!! I do hope I don't have to use the drains for more than a week and they come out at first follow-up with surgeon. I read many posts stating it's not uncomfortable to have them removed...that at least takes away some fear.

Lefty_Lucy, where'd you get that cute name?? Left breast?? ;-) I like your attitude regarding thinking about the waiting time being steps closer to cancer-free. Yes, I like that.

Mamags did I ask you if you tried out your wedge pillow yet? Do you think you'll be comfortable with it? I'm still struggling to keep on my back and trust me, I've been trying a variety of things to no avail. It's really odd because I feel this great "urge" to roll onto my side. I actually have to fight the urge. I've never been comfortable on my back so I've always gone to sleep on my side. I'm guessing if I do roll over onto my side I'd be in pain which would wake me up. I am a light sleeper.


Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 2, 2020 12:04AM - edited Feb 2, 2020 12:04AM by Lajonesin

I have been sleep practicing. I have two wedges. One for my back and one for my knees/legs like this one. (Won't let me post photo but look up build a bed wedge system

I put a travel C pillow around my neck and lean my head to one side, then the other. It does feel like I'm side sleeping a little. I pile up pillows for arms. So far I've only managed a nap while meditating. I'm hoping once I have surgery, the pain meds will take care of sleep until drains are out.

Dx 1/2020, ILC/IDC: Tubular, Left, 6cm+, Stage IB, Grade 1, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/11/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap
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Feb 2, 2020 07:33AM Lefty_Lucy wrote:

striveforhealth, are you practicing sleeping on your back to get used to it? Or did you already have a surgery? If the former: Way. To. Prepare!! (Where's the handclap emoji when you nee it... :D)

Yes, Lefty Lucy because the left breast needed to come off. I've been trying to maintain my sense of humor from the start. Now it turns out they're both probably going, but oh well. Lucy is a family name too, one I love (enough to use it for my daughter's middle name), so it feels sort of "me" without actually using my name.

I used the wedge system last night, basically just how Lajonesin (hey, neighbor!) described, with some success. I hate back sleeping, but adding pillows all around was almost enough to trick my body into feeling like I was on my side. I actually got a few longer stretches last night, which was amazing.

Dx 12/30/2019, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 1/29/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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Feb 2, 2020 07:59AM - edited Feb 2, 2020 08:31AM by striveforhealth

Lefty_Lucy, Thanks for the explanation on your name here. Are you thinking double MX? YES, I am practicing for my surgery on Feb 26th. LOL. I am a planner...and do have sleep issues anyway so I figured I better get some idea of how to make myself comfortable/somewhat comfortable for how I'll need to sleep after the surgery. I have never been a back sleeper and have had back pain my whole adult life. Several of you here are doing trials with the wedge pillow.

Lajonesin, thanks so much for responding about your sleep practicing....lol....I thought I was the only silly one practicing how to sleep after surgery! lol

Last night I tried the pregnancy pillow again that my d-i-l used when pregnant with our granddaughter. I managed to form it into a "nest" and I added a flatter bed pillow in the upper half of the center of the nest. I actually felt like it might work for me as It was really impossible to turn over to any side. I fell asleep OK but when I woke up I remembered why I felt it didn't work for me the first few trials with it. My back was screaming at me! I'm not sure I could sleep like that for more than a evening at a time.

I will take a look at wedge pillows. Thanks again for weighing in with your trial. I also found it interesting that the travel neck pillow helped you feel like your're side sleeping with you neck positioned to the side. I have one so I'll be trying that out. Thanks!

Unfortunately, narcotic pain meds cause nausea and stomach upset for me. I get so sick from them and I also had the anti-nausea meds with them! Ugh! I'll be trying Tramadol this time with little hope that it will be better. I do plan to ask for sleep med (Ativan) at my primary pre-op tomorrow. I hate to have to take a sleeping pill but for the short haul I need to get proper rest that first week after surgery.

TIP: For everybody awaiting surgery...if you haven't been already warned....anesthesia and narcotic pain meds WILL cause severe constipation. Prepare for that ahead of time by taking Colace (stool softener) 2-3 days ahead of your surgery and every day while you're taking pain meds. You will regret it if you don't. OMG! I have been there and it's miserable and painful in a way you just don't need. I hope this tip helps those who will have anesthesia and/or pain meds. Severe constipation is also a good reason to stop your pain med as soon as you can tolerate lesser pain. :-)

Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 2, 2020 09:43AM Neamster wrote:

Hi LaJonesin, Regarding reconstruction. I had 2 multifocal lobular lumps right breast. I asked for mastectomy no reconstruction, both breasts. I am 34 F, and thought the asymmetry would be too much too deal with. The surgeon did not try and talk me into reconstruction. He was however, reluctant to remove the left breast as it did not show cancer. However, he did so. I had surgery Jan 21. I got the pathology report Friday... what they thought was just a left breast calcification was in fact cancerous. Was I glad I followed my heart on this.

i have no desire for reconstruction, and no regrets, even as I look at my flat, gauze wrapped self. Just think, I will be able to wear button fronts without worrying about gaping.. no more money on expensive bras, and expensive is what you need at my size.

Anyway, good for you for standing your ground. It's your body, and only you know what is going to work for you.

Pi Dx 11/25/2019, ILC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIA, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 2, 2020 11:36AM Lefty_Lucy wrote:

striveforhealth, yes, almost certainly going to do the second breast at my next surgery. I'm still waiting on genetic testing--if there's anything there it's an easy 100% yes mx on the right. But also, I think the DIEP flap sounds best for me, and if I don't do them both at once, I'd have to use another site for another reconstruction if I have something in the right breast later, and they'd essentially be throwing away a breast worth of tissue. In the beginning I really thought I wanted to keep the right, but considering I'm under 40 and how extensive and aggressive it was in the left, I think overall it's going to make most sense to do the right at the same time as left reconstruction.

I admire your planning! I decided early on I was going to be as Leslie-Knope about this thing as I could. I've got a crazy organized binder and I'm overplanning as much as possible.

YES YES YES on the constipation prep. My first BM after my c-section (which I got narcotics for) was terrible. I thought I was going to die! Miralax is my friend.

Oh, and speaking of pain--my doc put in this neat pain ball that delivers meds locally. I haven't had anything but the pain ball and Tylenol since surgery. Not sure how common it is but maybe you could ask? Dealing with excessive pain on top of everything else is just the pits.

Neamster, way to follow your gut. It would've been right even if they hadn't found anything, but so much better to get that out now.

Dx 12/30/2019, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 1/29/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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Feb 2, 2020 12:44PM ARmom4 wrote:

Hi ladies! I'm joining the surgery club too if that's okay! I'm having a double mx on Feb 11. I decided on no reconstruction. I can always change my mind later and get DIEP. My surgeon only does breast surgery and I got several recommendations for her so I'm confident in her ability. She asked what I wanted regarding reconstruction. Then I asked her what she would recommend. She said recover time is much easier w/o it and that's what she would do. So she just reaffirmed what I kind of already wanted. I'm only 35 so I wonder if being flat might affect me more than I think so reconstruction might be reconsidered later.

I am pretty much terrified the closer I get. I remember when I had my tubal a few years ago and it hurt! Like, a lot! I can only imagine how this recovery will be. I have 4 kids, the youngest is only 4. I need to be able to get out of bed. But it is what it is I guess.

Diagnosed age 35. ATM gene mutation.Severe reaction to Taxol and Taxotere. Herceptin and Tamoxifen now. Dx 1/3/2020, DCIS/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (DUAL) Surgery 2/11/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Targeted Therapy 3/27/2020 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 3/27/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 4/17/2020 Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 5/29/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 7/1/2020 Prophylactic ovary removal
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Feb 2, 2020 05:58PM Lajonesin wrote:

I just heard about this pain ball the other day and it sounds perfect. I’m going to ask my surgeon about it, because I hate being on any pain meds. Alive has always taken care of any kind of pain I’ve had, but I can imagine this will be worse.

Is anyone else obsessing over the little things? I’m worried about showering, having the right drain holders/shirts/camis, how will I walk my dog, what am I going to eat, when can I drive......my brain is swimming!

Dx 1/2020, ILC/IDC: Tubular, Left, 6cm+, Stage IB, Grade 1, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/11/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap
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Feb 2, 2020 07:59PM Blackhawk41 wrote:

Joining the February group for surgery. I’ve already been through 3 lumpectomies with no clear margin, mastectomy, and reconstruction just this past May. That was first diagnosis and took 17 months from start to finish. Decided to go back to work because I was finally done and low and behold now have IDC in the other breast. Got cleared on Mammo but was also due for MRI because of prior surgeries. Needed ultrasound after MRI. After ultrasound and double biopsies and a diagnosis end of last month, I’m onto lumpectomy and lymph node biopsy February 7th. I wasn’t working for first diagnosis, does anyone have a good idea of recovery? I honestly can’t remember and my lumpectomies were pretty back to back. I gave myself 5 days off (work in a hotel on feet straight 8 hours). I would rather beconservative than try to push it if you know what I mean.

Dx 12/22/2017, DCIS, Left, 3cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 3/21/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 4/4/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 4/19/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 6/25/2018 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 5/4/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Dx 1/25/2020, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/7/2020 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/28/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 2, 2020 08:32PM - edited Feb 3, 2020 06:29AM by striveforhealth

Neamster, I hope you're healing well and feeling better with each passing day. Welcome to this group.

ARmom4 4 children! Do you have a support system. I hope you have the ability to call in reinforcements for help with your children. This is not the time to make due, but to ask for some help because you need to rest and heal. Mamags is also a mom to 4 children. I'm sure you could share ideas of what to do with the kiddos while you are trying to recover...especially that first week. You both are in my thoughts for uneventful surgeries and lots of people offering to help you out with the kids.

Lefty_Lucy and Lajonesin I do not know about the pain ball. My plastic surgeon and his PA didn't mention it when we discussed that I don't tolerate narcotics. I will have to research it. Regarding surgery, pain control is my biggest fear because I've never had luck. Nausea, vomiting and pain....that's my experience. Thanks for letting us know about the pain ball. I will be asking my doctor about it.

Lajonesin, Don't think of it as obsessing. It's you thinking of what is going to make the most sense for you, making a list, and making a plan. In another thread someone mentioned a shower shirt (Topic: Shower Shirt - Something you might want to consider) that you can get to keep your chest dry when showering. Look for a thread of preparation lists that the moderators posted. I am going to use a shower chair and a hand held shower nozzle for the first week and do the best I can. I'll be very careful to ensure my bandages don't get wet. I'm going to my hairdresser for a wash and dry prior to my 1st post-op appointment. By then, that will feel sooo good! I'm going to use the lanyard for the drains and hope they do. I don't expect I'll need them for more than a week. I got my button up shirts out and have them at the ready with a couple of pull on comfy pants and cozy socks. I think that button up shirts make the most sense for us.



Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 2, 2020 08:41PM striveforhealth wrote:

Blackhawk41. Wow, you've been through the mill. I'm sorry for all that you've been through. Was the mammo unreliable regarding your DCIS size or were there more areas that didn't show up? 3 lumpectomies are a lot of tries. I certainly hope you get clear margins this time on your right. Ask the surgeon to get generous samples. I hope you get some responses to your questions regarding length of recovery. I'm a newbie so I don't know. Best wishes on the 7th.

Keeping a positive attitude with life's challenges. Dx 12/25/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+ Surgery 2/26/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 4/5/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)

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