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JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 6/22/2009 11:42 AM (GMT -7)   
This all started on January 23, and Wednesday, June 24, I will have my last breast recon surgery -- the lift for the other breast and a revision to release scar tissue beneath my mastectomy arm and to lift skin off the mastectomy side chest wall. This time, I will have PAIN!  This has been a real journey, beyond what I expected, and I have my concerns about whether it has been worth it. One thing I did not realize was that I had "frozen shoulder" from radiation and since the second surgery in April, I have been undergoing physical therapy. Finally I am able to get full range of motion without pain, however, it is somewhat uncomfortable and now here I am getting ready to do more surgery.
 
Sometimes I think I must be crazy to have done all this.  I'll keep you all updated on how it turns out.
 
Judy

postal2
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1106
   Posted 6/23/2009 11:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Judy, sounds like you have a very full plate! Hang in there and yes, please let us know how it all goes.  {{{{{Judy}}}}
 
Gail
  It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.
 
Elisabeth Kubler Ross


barkyboys
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 6/24/2009 4:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Yeah...what they DON'T tell you about the recovery process is just amazing, isn't it? I had a TRAM, and they told me, "6-8 weeks and you'll be back to your old self...you just won't be able to do situps anymore." :) Boy, was I dumb to buy that bologna!

Good luck on the surgery.

Hugs...
BEV

PS...the lift for the other breast isn't bad... I had mine done one day, fixed t-giving dinner for 12 the next day. Never even took a pain pill, I don't think.
"There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker."  --Charles Schulz


JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 7/7/2009 6:21 PM (GMT -7)   
I am 14 days post op from the Mastopexy. I still have some pain, but I don't think I should take any Lortab. Aleve, however,  doesn't take care of it by the end of the day. I have taken very little pain meds 1/2 of a 5mg Lortab 1 or 2 x a day for a week and then discontinued. (I don't like the "side effects" of pain meds i.e. constipation). How much longer will this "pulling type of pain" last and soreness? I feel good in the a.m., but by the end of the day I am "hunched" over a little. Am I overdoing this?
 
Thanks
 
Judy

Post Edited (JUJU8872) : 7/7/2009 7:24:01 PM (GMT-6)


gma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 7/9/2009 4:13 AM (GMT -7)   
A lot of people hate to take pain medication for one reason or another, but the healing process works better when the pain is alieviated. Probably you are hunching over because it hurts less that way. And don't you think that position is harming the healing? There are many pain meds and one works better than another on different people. If constipation is the only problem there are lots of over the counter things that help, including good old MOM. Stop fighting it and start healing and then you will feel better. The reconstruction is far worse than the mastectomy. And some of the discomfort from it never goes away. Well, I say never because after 12 years I still experience some. Hugs MK


babyseeester
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 7/11/2009 2:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Judy,
 
I haven't been on here in a while and I see that you have been going thru quite a bit.  The healing does take time.  You have to do a little at a time.  Don't over-do things.  My tram took probably 6 months before I could say I was even close to 'back to normal'.  But, I am so glad I did it.  And about the pain meds - I used to not take anything, but now, I figure - why suffer?  Everyone is different, but it may make it easier to tolerate until you are healed more.
 
Gentle hugs coming your way.
L & H,
Kathy


JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 7/23/2009 5:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Went for 3 wk checkup and PS says I am doing really well. I still have some discomfort with the maxtopexy, but he said some people were just more "tender" than others. He believes it will clear up with time. I did start back on pain meds for about 10 days, but I am off now with only minor discomfort during the day and a little more at night. I am now in regular bras, but I will have to wait approx 2 more months to get fitted for new ones. I have noticed that I am smaller around the chest now, so I'm going to need a better fit, and hopefully more attractive undies.
 
I'll keep you updated.
Judy 
 
 

barkyboys
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 7/23/2009 6:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Judy. Glad to hear you are doing better. Did you have quite a bit of tissue removed with the mastopexy? I had lots of issues with the TRAM, but I didn't with the mastopexy, but didn't have a lot of tissue removed, so that may be the difference. Anyway, getting better is good news.

Hugs...
BEV
"There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker."  --Charles Schulz


JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 7/24/2009 5:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Good morning, Bev. No, I don't believe I had much if any tissue removed with the mastopexy. I believe what happened is that with the implant and radiated tissue removal surgery (done in April) on the mastectomy side that my under arm "nub" was removed and smoothed.  I believe that is what has made me smaller around the chest -- cup size still seems to be the same.
I feel much better these days about my decision.
Judy

LdyJane
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 8/11/2009 6:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Judy, I've just started this process. Mine started out as DCIS (A little itty-bitty no big deal thing, is the way it was described to me) back in May; I switched surgeons and I just had a mastectomy two weeks ago; they found invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 2, but without lymph node involvement. Because I had major surgery last year and used up a lot of my time I'm not in a position to go through the entire reconstruction process now.

In a phased approach, we've gone with a tissue expander for now; I retire in a year and 1/2 and will finish it then. I've had a good amount of pain, they gave me ultram for it and it work only kind of okay; once I supplanted it with something else, I felt a lot better. I have the pulling and discomfort especially around the fold, I've wondered about the length of time that it will take before it stops feeling so odd and the pain or discomfort will stop too.

I've wondered too about the TRAM flap thing as well. It is not the method that I want to use, my PS thinks that we'll have great results from that and I've already gotten the sit up talk...a friend though had it 10 years ago and still has problems with her back from it, so I'm no sure I want to go that route.

I'm wearing a Wycoal bra and it seems to be fairly comfortable..not great, but tolerable. Right now, I'm still waiting to get the drain out; it will be 2 weeks tomorrow and I'm still draining a lot.

I'm interested in everyones' discussion here and I hope you continue to heal Judy.
Janice

JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 8/12/2009 4:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Just to let you know, I am doing better. I get cold from the Air conditioning sometimes and I get a "spasam" but for the most part, pain is quite mild.
 
You are still fresh with all this surgery and the discomfort from the mastectomy will last for a while. Don't worry too much about this now. Are you getting weekly fills for the expander or are you waiting for retirement for everything. Since I delayed reconstruction 4 years and since I had radiation, I needed 3 operations -- insert expander, permanent placement, and mastopexy for other breast.  A LAT surgery was all I could do. I am lucky that I could have recon at all. While it is not "pretty" (because of my treatment), I am comfortable with how it looks. My PS wants to do a "fat graft" (I believe that is a new name for liposuction) just above the implant. I don't know about that. Four surgeries might just be too many.  
 
For your pain, I am not familiar with Ultram, but I use Lortab. Does pretty well for me. Anything stronger and I see "pink elephants".
 
I know how all this ittsy bittsy stuff is -- mine was supposed to be mucin CA and as it happened I was stage IIIC invasive. I was shocked. Just shows that they never know what the know until the end.
 
As for the drain, keep moving around at home  --  that should help. Hope you can return to work soon. Keep in touch.
Judy

LdyJane
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 8/13/2009 6:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Judy, I'm sorry you've had to go through so much! My PS says weekly fills aren't necessary; he's happy with the size and shape that it is. Today's visit produced a no-go on the removal of the drain; we'll see what the volume is like next week. Thanks for the heads up on the discomfort, because it really is, but, like I always say, it can always be worse! I've switched to Motrin 800's the ultram helped a little as long as I doubled up and 2 hours later followed up with something else. I've heard of Lortab, but know little of it.

I had to look up mastopexy, didn't know what that was! LOL!, but I do now! Right now the plan is to keep the tissue expander in place until I retire and then go for something else. I'm planning on going back to work tomorrow, yes, I know it's Friday, but it's a Friday when most are going to be out of the office, so I can come in and work quietly, then go home and spend the weekend and start up next week, hopefully stronger!

You keep getting better Judy!
Janice

babyseeester
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 9/4/2009 4:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Janice,
 
You mentioned considering the TRAM surgery.  I did mine 3 years ago and am having no trouble with it.  I waited a year after the mastectomy to have it done and am so happy I did it.  I'd be glad to answer any questions, if you have any.
L & H,
Kathy


MicMae
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 9/13/2009 7:34 PM (GMT -7)   

Hello...Just wondering if someone out there can give me information on how painful/uncomfortable it is to have reconstruction.  I am supposed to do the reconstruct after my chemo sessions which end in November.  My  masctectomy was in june.  I'm so tired and the thought of going through more pain for a long period of time scares me and I don't know if it is really worth it in the end.  I need the advice of those of you that have gone through it.  The surgeon is recommending expanders and saline bag and doesn't feel that it will take too long before the skin stretches enough (3 months)...that seems like a long time of suffering and then after the surgery???  Please advise.

MicMae


JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 9/14/2009 4:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi there! I thought I would reply since I just went through something similar to this. I'll give you background first. 58yo when diagnosed in 2004. Had 2 rounds of chemo and 35 rads.
For reconstruction, I did have my doubting moments, but overall everything was good. I started recon in Jan 2009 with chest expanders. (I was lucky to have reconstruction at all -- thin so I had to have chest expansion on radiation damaged tissue). The worst of these processes for me  was the initial chest expander.  I was really down because of the tenderness of the skin. Skin that was being expanded was very sensitive because of the radiation. 
In April, I had the permanent silicone implant with a Lat Dorsa flap -- skin moved from my back to the chest so they could do away with the bad radiated skin.  No problems, but a little soreness.
In May I began rehab so I could lift my arm -- remember I had radiation and also 5 positive lymph nodes.
In June, I had maxtopexy to lift other breast and some revision of reconstructed breast. Lifted breast was sore for about 3 months, but very tolerable. There was almost no pain in the reconstructed breast.
 
Your course of treatment will probably be different. Many people have only a two step process, not three as I did. As for pain, it is different for everyone, but for me, reconstruction pain was small compared to the pain I had right after mastectomy.
 
Hope this helps with your decision.
 
Judy
 
 

MicMae
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 9/14/2009 9:37 PM (GMT -7)   
blush  Thanks Judy for your feedback.  I'm meeting with the surgeon on wed. this week to go over everything.  I'm hoping it is not going to be too long of a process or too painful.  I'm sorry that you  had to go through all of that!  God Bless You and keep you well.  You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.
MicMae
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