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Topic: Tissue expander discomfort- is this normal?

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

Posted on: Apr 17, 2020 07:38PM

daenerys30 wrote:

I had a unilateral mastectomy on April 10th. I'm doing ok but the tissue expander is so uncomfortable. I feel like I have a metal plate in my chest. Im afraid to laugh or cough. Doing arm exercises helps. I almost have panic attacks over the discomfort. I still have one drain and swelling. I just want to know if this is normal and will it go away. I'd really love for support from someone who has had a tissue expander.

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Apr 17, 2020 08:21PM Sabbymama wrote:

I also had a mastectomy on April 10th with a tissue expander in place. It is a very awkward feeling and quite uncomfortable, but not necessarily painful. I had a follow up with my PS yesterday and she noted some extra fluid build up in the area around the expander but didn't feel it was necessary to drain it since my drainage looked "healthy". I understand what you are feeling and I sympathize! I feel like the tightness when I take deep breaths is improving a bit more each day and I hope that you will feel more comfortable soon too. Taking it one day at a time.....


Dx 3/2/2020, DCIS/IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 4/10/2020 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 5/25/2020 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Apr 17, 2020 09:19PM LiveLoveLaugh2020 wrote:

Ladies unfortunately it's very normal! :( I had such discomfort for about 7 weeks. I hope this is not the case for you! It finally went away after that and I had my exchange surgery a few months later which was an instant relief! I went to PT in between (with someone who was experienced in BC patients) and it made the world of difference! I hope you feel better soon.

DCIS Dx @ 34 - Bil NSM 09/2019 - Bil implant exchange with FG 01/2020.
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Apr 18, 2020 11:18AM MinusTwo wrote:

Yup - I felt like I had steel turtle shells in my chest. My son said it was the only time he heard me continuously complain. I will help some when they start filling - at last smooth out the edges. Try not to let them fill too much at a time or the stretching will hurt.

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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Apr 18, 2020 05:00PM daenerys30 wrote:

thank you for letting me know. I was worried that I was the only one. Today was a little better than yesterday. Hopefully this discomfort subsides to a dull annoyance.

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Apr 18, 2020 05:03PM daenerys30 wrote:

I'm not in pain either except when I cough. My PS told me I had to move my arm more to stretch out the muscle and I do feel a little better each day. I was afraid I was the only one feeling this way.

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Apr 19, 2020 05:38PM Laurencl wrote:

  • I had a mastectomy with TE 8/17/19. You are not alone, it is uncomfortable and at best annoying. On bad days I feel a pinching under my arm. With the COVID situation, who knows when I can get the reconstruction surgery. You will feel better once the drains are out. Also, after surgery, I was put in a very tight surgical bra. Once you can wear a comfy sports bra, you will feel more normal
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Apr 20, 2020 07:02AM - edited Apr 20, 2020 07:06AM by Via

sadly what your feeling is normal! And yes this journey takes lots of mental control because your chest feels like something not normal is in it. But when you have your second surgery and get your Permanent implant the difference is astonishing. The expander are horrible and you still have draining so once they take them out you will feel way better: This is a hard journey but Somehow your body gets use to the new you!

I want to share this and it may help I made videos of my journey and what I was feeling. This may help you when you feel something and wonder if anyone has it too https://m.youtube.com/channel/UChJA2AxDL3pCr5aE-S63jMg


you got this I know you are just staring but you got the hardest thing done and that was that horrible surgery. Recovery will get better every minute it passes. Rest take naps and you will pass all of it!


Via

Hormonal Therapy 3/14/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Apr 23, 2020 06:07PM - edited Apr 27, 2020 07:10PM by Brooked0920

This Post was deleted by Brooked0920.
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Apr 26, 2020 07:47PM Lioness111 wrote:

Hi, I’m new here. I had right side mastectomy with expander and lymph node removal on the 24th of March and it’s been really painful both in the breast area and under arm and down arm. My surgeon did not want to extend opioids for painkillers and instead gave me Gabapentin 300mg three times a day and it’s helped incredibly. Like a world of difference. But the pressure feeing hasn’t gone away. I also have delayed wound healing. Has anyone had that? It’s kept them from doing the “fill” at my last two check ups as they say it could cause the wound to split open.

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Apr 27, 2020 07:07PM Brooked0920 wrote:

I had a BMX on 4/3 and these expanders are driving me crazy. They filled mine up as much as I wanted during surgery , but they are so uncomfortable and heal like the are in my armpit on one side. I feel bad complain because I’m so thankful they got all the cancer but these things are driving me crazy. So ready for my exchange surgery

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Apr 28, 2020 07:54AM daenerys30 wrote:

I feel like I have a rock in my breast. I also have nerve pain that feels like a bad sunburn. Hang in there with me. If I can get through it anybody can.

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Apr 28, 2020 07:56AM daenerys30 wrote:

I do feel better with the drain out but I'm still uncomfortable. I learned that if I stay still to long it's worse so I try to stretch every once in a while.

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Apr 28, 2020 08:47AM Sabbymama wrote:

Oh I am so looking forward to getting this drain out! I'm happy for you :). I have noticed an increase in nerve pain this week, almost feels like I am tearing stitches open under my arm, in addition to the numbness/burning sensation between my elbow and armpit. Thankfully the incisions are healing nicely and the PS was able to fill the TE more than expected, but it is still feels awkward and uncomfortable. We've got this ladies!

Dx 3/2/2020, DCIS/IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 4/10/2020 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 5/25/2020 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Apr 28, 2020 07:02PM LiveLoveLaugh2020 wrote:

Ladies those drains and expanders (cement bricks) are the worst! I had my drains for 3 weeks, once they are removed you will feel instant relief. Same goes for the cement bricks! Take your medication if you need it, rest up and hang in there :)

DCIS Dx @ 34 - Bil NSM 09/2019 - Bil implant exchange with FG 01/2020.
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May 16, 2020 04:18AM gigigamble70 wrote:

i had double mastectomy April 8th, 2020

W/reconstruction. I had my drains out in less than 2 weeks & first fill at 2 weeks & second the following week. I feel that they expanded me way too fast & i have been in terrible pain ever since.

I sleep slightly elevated but wake up in terrible pain. I feel like someone is sitting on my chest. Sharp pains in my chest thru to my back. Doctors wouldn’t give any pain meds after two weeks.

Advil & Tylenol do not give me much relief at all. I have a few pain pills left that i use sparingly ... when i just can’t get relief or sleep.

I’m exhausted & i have 6 more weeks until the swap of expanders for implants.

I get that pain meds should be used sparingly but I’m not getting the relief i need. I’m not a big baby when it comes to pain but so far my experience is terrible! :-(

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May 16, 2020 09:04PM Moderators wrote:

Hi gigigamble70,

We want to welcome you to our community, and say that we're so sorry you're having such a rough time. We know this is a difficult experience! Everyone handles expanders in their own way, and if you're still experiencing significant pain this far out from your first and second fills, you may want to revisit that with your doctor. It definitely is a process, but if you're not able to even rest comfortably, it's worth seeing if there are other options available to you!

The Mods

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May 19, 2020 01:46PM e32 wrote:

Yes. I had delayed wound healing, but so glad I waited on fills!! I had surgery in Jan and no fills for 3 months bc of Covid 19. I so get it. Felt like it took a long time to heal also. But finally finally there.

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Jun 6, 2020 04:49PM Emily12 wrote:

MinusTwo,


how much is too much of a fill each time. I was told my PS would put 50ml each visit?


thank

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