Thank you for writing in to me. I really appreciate all the information and support that I can get. I had my mastectomy on Nov 17, 2003. I was told that I should wait at least 2 years after my last radiation for reconstruction. I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer on Sept 11, 2003. This wonderful news came after I had returned to work for only a week after having had a stroke on July 24th. (I have recuperated from that with no lasting effects except a bit of pain and numbness in my lower left arm) I found the lump by self examination. It was pretty big and tender and by the shape of it, I thought it was just some infection in a duct. My doc sent me for a mam to double check (thank God) and sure enough, the news was not good. Went back in for another mam, they then took me right in for an ultrasound, then decided to do a biopsy (which was a little risky because I was on coumadin) Had 2 rounds of chemo, my heart started to fail and since my tumor had shrunk considerably with only 2 rounds, they decided that they would do the surgery rather than go ahead with the last dose of A/C chemo. Started back on a different chemo in December. Had a lot of side effects with both kinds of chemo, but with alot of humor, I survived and that is what is important! Finished that in March 2004, then had 6 1/2 weeks of radiation. My last treatment was June 9, 2004. I still have tenderness on my chest wall and armpit area. I too, have given this a lot of thought and decided that the tram (with bonus tummy tuck) and lift on the left side would be the best option for me. She "may" have to take both muscles since I have so much damage and scarring from the surgery and radiation. I sure hope not. The PS that I am going to comes very highly recommended and like I said, I have talked to several of her patients. I didn't even consider implants as I didn't want foreign things in my body. I guess that wouldn't have been an option anyway because of the damage to that area. I considered the DIEP flap but am not really a good candidate for that either as I have a pretty good case of lymphodema in my right arm. I fight that every day. I am kind of nervous but very excited to get on to the next chapter in my life. I live in Boise, Idaho. I am 49 (in a couple of weeks) and single but have a really great support group around me. I am truly blessed in that department. Thanks for your forum and postings. A lot of information that is very helpful and you all sound so nice, friendly and supportive. It's great to be able to communicate with others that have been to the same party as I have. Even though we wish we hadn't been invited....
Thanks for all the replies. Bev, I had asked to have a double mastectomy when I had my original surgery. The surgeon and oncologist agreed that that would not be the best option for some reason. I already have problems with my lower back because of small cracks in the bone that goes across the top of my butt. Osteoperosis. So I hope this won't make it worse. I will be getting a lift on the left side. But I will talk to the PS and ask what her thoughts are on that. Is it the "balance" that would make you have back problems now? The way that the muscle "pulls" to that side?
Thanks Kathy for your suggestions and sharing of your experience. I have read several of your posts and find them very interesting and informative. I appreciate the candid answers. We all have to deal with those "bodily functions" so why not address them? My dogs will love your suggestion on walking more. They really love their daily walks around the neighborhood. On your nipple reconstruction, where did they take the skin from to make the areola? Also, did you have them make a nipple that was "at attention" or how does that work? Did you get tatooing too?
Can anyone tell me about the tummy tuck part of it? I had heard that if you have had a hysterectomy (which I have) that you will still have that "ledge". Is that true? I forgot to ask the PS. When is Bernadette supposed to have her surgery? I will be thinking of her and hoping for the best outcome. I also had 2 very large children so have quite a bit of stretched skin to work with along with the ledge. I actually had planned on having a tummy tuck in 1986 but chickened out. Good thing or else I wouldn't be able to do this surgery now when I need it.
One more question. Does anyone have any suggestions for cording and puckering at the end of the scar in the armpit area? It also itches but is numb so I can't get any relief. It just drives me crazy. Does that even make sense?