Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Bi-lateral mastectomy advice???
avatar
bcdevil posted:
I will be having surgery March 17th and am looking for any advice that can prepare me physically and emotionally for all this. I have read all the literature and did the tutorial my dr sent me, but what is missing from it all is true life experience. Any input would be greatly appreciated!!! God Bless you all in your battle!!!
Reply
 
avatar
rachael67 responded:
Although I did not have a mastectomy and therefore cannot offer much adivce with your surgery, I do want you to know that you will be in my thoughts and heart. Since you have done the research and are your own health advocate, I am sure you will feel more confident about the choice. Having a sense of control over the direction we take in our treatment goes a long way toward healing.

I will be sending good vibes your way on your surgery date. Please let us know how you are doing.

blessings.
Rachael
Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly! Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
 
avatar
kayjoedwards responded:
I had a bilateral mastectomy in Aug 2009 and had immediate reconstruction with implants. You don't say what kind of reconstruction you'll be having and if you're doing a flap procedure your recovery will be a bit different than mine since you'll have a second surgical site.
My surgery went very well. I was in the hospital for 2 nights and then went home. I had drains in (little hand grenade sized plastic bulbs hanging from tubes that are inside your incision sites). They are uncomfortable but not painful. I was wrapped in gauze and ace bandages and the tubes just snaked out and pinned to the bandages. You have to empty these several times a day and record how much fluid comes out. they will give you a little measuring cup to use for this. Once the fluid level per day is down to an acceptable level (usually after 7-10 days) your plastic surgeon will remove them. It's not painful, just a little pinch and then it's over. You'll feel much more comfortable then.
One thing I did that made me feel better was to have a hand-held shower head put in my shower. I HATE not being able to shower and you can't as long as the drains are in. I used the hand-held to shower from the waist down. Then I had a friend come once or twice to wash my hair in the shower using it too. I sat on a chair in the bathtub and wrapped up in towels and plastic. It was really great and made me feel refreshed during those early days.
You'll be sleeping on your back for a while so if you don't normally do that you might want to get a pillow for under your knees. Also they will want you to have pillows under your arms too. I had so many pillows in bed there was hardly room for me but it made things more comfortable.
For me once the drains were out I transitioned from the ace bandage to a hefty sports bra with lots of gauze pads. Some doctors go to a bra earlier and it may depend on what kind of reconst. you are having. I got a great one that zips up the front and has a wide band at the bottom so it doesn't roll up. (Amoena - Patricia style)
Just try to take it easy for a while and know that things will work out. I think you'll be glad for the reconstruction. Remember that even if it looks bad when you first take off the bandage, the scars will fade and you will survive.
kayjo
 
avatar
bcdevil replied to kayjoedwards's response:
Thank you so much kayjo!! I am having the tissue expander reconstruction immediately after mastectomies. Not being able to shower was really bothering me too so thanks so much for the tips!!! So glad there are people to ask these questions to. Prior to being diagnosed I had just finished physical therapy for my back and was trying to teach myself to sleep on my back. Well, i guess i will have no choice now. I know that first sight will be devastating but also a sense of relief that i will be on the road to recovery. Thank you again for all your great insight. Take care and keep fighting!!! Sandy
 
avatar
susancham replied to bcdevil's response:
bcdevil,
I had bilateral 10/22/10 with expanders put in at time of surgery, after the drainage tubes came out as explained very good by kayo my incision had to heal before they started the saline push ups. This was to stretch skin & muscle to get it ready for implants.
I just finished my last push up today yea, now I am taking a month off for final stretching, and then go in for the implant surgery, my surgeon, I think is going to do nipple reconstruction after I heal from implant. I am not sure, I go in 3/21 to sit down with him for next stage will get all information

I found while going thro diagnosis of cancer & bilateral to much info on reconstruction, so I am just now ready to sit down & discuss it. what size, shape blah blah--Oh I have had decided <why not > I am going for tummy tuck at same time. !!!

I have been surprised at how long of recovery it has been, I guess I was thinking of these gals that just want bigger boobs & get implants on Fri & go back to work on Monday. Not our case lol.

If you want to ask me anything feel free I will try to answer if I can.

Keep in mind every case is different & healing is different & pain level is different. Amazing how we can all have same disease but be so different on recovery! But hearing other ladies trauma can definetly help put your mind at ease.
,
I was having pitty party at plastic surg. last week < :Like when will I ever be done with this weekly push up:>
A lady with her hub comes walking out carrying a full box of surgical bandages looking like death & scared like no other. Made me realize How Far I have came in my recovery It was a wake up call for me to be thankful.
 
avatar
bcdevil replied to susancham's response:
Thank you Susan!! I also, haven't asked a ton about the reconstruction as i too am first worried about the cancer. I know it's going to be a long process so i will just try to breathe. I will just be glad to get my initial surgery over with as i feel like a ticking time bomb right now. The anxiety i feel is so overwhelming!! I know i will be alot better when i know exactly what i'm dealing with. I can't begin to heal till surgery so i just want to get it over with! March 17th can't come soon enough!!! I am so thankful for all you wonderful ladies on here to seek advice from. You are the reason i have come thus far already. God bless you and stay strong!!!
 
avatar
070872 replied to bcdevil's response:
Hi Sandy
Just got home from my one night stay at the hospital following bi-lateral mastectomy. I've read some horror stories but I'm going to tell you it was a "piece of cake"! I'm glad I didn't read one woman's experience with having the dye injections for node mapping before I had mine! it was nothing more than having a TB test 4 times in each breast - so, don't be afraid of that at all! The surgery took about 4 1/2 hours and the only "pain" I have is right around the lower arm pit - feels like how your muscles do the day after a good workout at the gym or lifting heavy boxes all day! So, "hang in there baby", and think positively. I'll be thinking about you on he 17th!
Barbara
 
avatar
rachael67 replied to 070872's response:
Barb, so glad to hear things went well! Continued good recovery!

Blessings.
Rachael
Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly! Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
 
avatar
bcdevil replied to 070872's response:
Hi Barb,
Thank you so much for the reassurance!! I'm proud of you!! You must be so relieved that your initial cancer has been removed. Did you get an initial lymph node status, or know how many they removed? I am so happy for you that my eyes are tearing up yet again!! All i do is cry and laugh. Cry for all of us and laugh because i've learned to appreciate the silliest things!! I will be praying for you to heal quickly and for your spirits to stay high!! I'm an Irish girl so i'm hoping for good luck on the 17th!!! Also, did you do immediate reconstruction?
Soooo happy 4 u!!
Hugs,
Sandy
 
avatar
cindy12345678 replied to bcdevil's response:
Barb I'm glad everything went well for you! I agre the lymph node mapping wasn't a big deal. They gave me a numbing cream to use before I got there. One night in the hospital, good for you! I'm moving around really good now. Work is going ok. Was I always this tired?Sandy I will gbe praying for you on the 17th.You will be fine. Youre' going to kick cancers butt!
cindy
 
avatar
bcdevil replied to cindy12345678's response:
Thank you Cindy!! I'm counting on it!!! I will pray for ALL of you as well!!!
Sandy
 
avatar
070872 replied to bcdevil's response:
Hi Sandy!
My first full day home and still doing great! Not a whole lot of output on the drains so I'm hoping they will come out "early"!! I have a "drive by" appointment with my plastic surgeon on Thursday (quick in quick out) and will start reconstruction in 6 weeks - I can't begin to tell you how "good" I feel, like a heavy load has been lifted! I just know you will do well too! I think my surgeon only took out one lymph node on each side and they came out clear - he has a fantastic reputation in this area so I knew I was in good hands! I hope your girls will be with you - mine are a lot of fun and it took the stress out of the wait in the pre-op room!! Still hurts to raise my arms but the more I do it the better I feel!! Lab report will be back on Tuesday........... Thinking of you - hang in there - you've got a lot of "friends" out here!!
 
avatar
bcdevil replied to 070872's response:
So glad to hear you are doing so well!!! I just got back from a 4 day getaway to florida, kinda my last hurrah for awhile. Only 7 days till my surgery and i can't wait to feel the relief you are experiencing!! I'm sooooo stressed out!! Are you going to need chemo? I will pray that you don't and all is clear smoothe sailing for you!! Yes, my girls will be there for sure. I feel so blessed to have them!!! Keep up the fight girl. I'm so proud of you!! Keep us posted!
Love and courage,
Sandy
 
avatar
070872 replied to bcdevil's response:
Hi Sandy,
Went to the plastic surgeon yesterday and he "repositioned" my remaining skin & nipples to how "he" wanted them to heal so reconstruction will be really easy - scheduled it for May 11. Saw my regular surgeon today and was hoping the drains would come out but after the manipulation yesterday I had a LOT of drainage so it looks like another week before they can be removed. It's usually about 10 days anyway - I was just hoping I'd be a "special" case!! But, I'm used to them now though so no big deal. My lab reports came back really good - left breast had about a 2 cm tumor, papillary cancer, clear margins - the right breast had no cancer but I am not questioning my decision at all!! It was "right" for me. I'll be thinking of you on Thursday! U go girl!
Barbara
 
avatar
bcdevil replied to 070872's response:
Thank you Barbara!! I'm so happy about your lab reports!!! I'm praying for the same. I know my decision is right for me going into this. On the bright side of this dark journey, at least I will have perky girls in my 50's!!! lol Sometimes, i have to find some humor in this somewhere!!! Hugs and hope to you sweetie, you're one of my greatest heroes!!!
Sandy


Helpful Tips

Radiation Burns
I had terrible burns over 2/3rds of my breast after 7 weeks of radiation & I was miserable. Here is what I did. The doctor told me to ... More
Was this Helpful?
14 of 18 found this helpful

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For more information, visit the Duke Health Breast Cancer Center