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    New Survivor
    ckohio posted:
    hello all. I was diagnosed in April 2011. 17 nodes. Have completed chemo and radiation. Just got back from plastic surgeon, implants not option at this point he is suggest a deep inferior epigatric artery flap, implants to follow later for size. Anyone heard of this procedure?
    At this point I am still freaking out like is it worth to get implants, am I going to live long enough? BC SUX!!! I am trying to stay positive but it is so hard. Anyone else have multiple, like lots, of nodes? Is this survivable? I feel hopeless then I feel like I can kick its butt.
    Haylen_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Welcome ckohio!

    You've come to the right place for support and information.

    As evidenced by the amazing community members CAN kick its butt.

    Stay tuned for feedback from others here...


    p.s. I'm the community moderator. If you have any questions about using the site, please let me know.
    jenna291 replied to Haylen_WebMD_Staff's response:
    While I have no experience with what you are going thru, I did finish chemo and radiation over 4 years ago.. You CAN kick this disease's butt! You have already gone thru so much.

    I am sure someone will be able to offer you some info with your situation. I just wanted you to know we all care here, and will listen always!

    Gentle hugs ~ Jenna
    rachael67 responded:
    I am sorry to have to welcome you to this site, but very glad you have found us. This is a community filled with caring people, many of whom have been there/done that and will be available to share experiences as well as to hold your hand!

    I am unfamiliar with the suggested procedure you spoke of, but perhaps others may have knowledge of it.

    You don't tell us much about your diagnosis except that many nodes were involved. Could you tell us the stage, etc? It might be reassuring to learn that many, many members live with advanced cancer and that which has metasticized.

    Please know you will be in our thoughts, and feel free to return here if we might help in any way. We care!

    Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly!
    Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
    judyfams replied to rachael67's response:
    Sorry that you need to be a part of our club - but you we are all here for each other for advice, support and information.
    I have not had the DIEP surgery, (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) but have done research on it.
    DIEP is one of the types of reconstruction that is autologous - meaning it uses you own body fatty tissue and abdominal skin. This procedure does NOT use the abdominal muscles thereby preserving the strength of the abdomen. (The TRAM flap does use the abdominal muscles). The tissue is cut free from the abdomen and then moved up to the chest area to reconstruct the breast. This requires that the blood vessels be connected to keep the tissue alive. Because of this type of microsurgery the surgeon should be experienced doing DIEP reconstruction. Also because this type of reconstruction involves such intricate surgery - it usually takes longer than the other types of reconstruction, and the recuperation from the two surgical sites take between 6-12 weeks to heal.
    This is done in stages - first is the actual reconstruction of the breast, then after a period of time there is the shaping and other procedures that will make the reconstructed breast look "natural" and the last stage is the reconstruction of the nipple and tatooing the areola.
    The advantage of this type of reconstruction is that the reconstructed breast has feeling and sensation as it is your own tissue, skin and blood supply.
    You have not told us your stage of bc - but since you are being considered for the DIEP reconstruction I would venture to say that is a good sign that the doctors expect you to do well and survive to kick bc butt!!!!
    Let us know if how you are doing - as we are forming a virtual conga line to kick bc butt and you need to be there!!!!!!!!
    MBH34351 responded:
    Welcome. I like the idea of a virtual conga line. I'll join that. I don't know anything about DIEP but I do know about living with BC. One good step was coming here. Good on ya!

    Mary (high kickin') Beth
    It's doable!
    rachael67 replied to judyfams's response:
    Oh, Judy!!! I never put any thought to what DIEP stood for and was totally ignorant. Thank you so much for being such a good teacher even to students who should know better!!

    Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly!
    Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
    judyfams replied to rachael67's response:
    Even retirement couldn't take the "teacher" out of this girl!
    I love doing research and sharing it with all of you - knowledge is an aphrodesiac - and I hope we all get high on it!
    mhall6252 responded:
    Welcome ckohio! I agree with everyone that your doctors would not be recommending DIEP if they didn't think you were going to live long enough to enjoy the new girls and resulting tummy tuck.

    The DIEP surgery is not easy (like any of this is...) but most people who undergo DIEP are extremely satisfied with the results. The beauty is that you will never have to worry about a failed implant. They only last so long, and at some point you would need surgery to have them replaced. I am planning on having DIEP sometime next summer...I am doing rads now.

    Ask a lot of questions of your PS, especially how many he has done, failure rates, etc. There are a few centers around the country that specialize in DIEP and many women choose to go to these specialists rather than using a local PS. Here's a link to one of them, where you will find some excellent information:

    Have you requested a PET scan to learn if your cancer is in remission? At your stage (similar to mine) your insurance will likely approve it. Believe me, learning that I had no visible cancer left after chemo made me feel that all the treatment was worth it.

    Read my blog at
    Smile and the world smiles with you!
    qwert55 responded:
    laramin responded:
    Hi, I just finished chemo and will be having radiaiton next week. I have tissue expander on my left breast and was hoping to have implants but with radiation was told it will not be possible. My plastic surgeon is letting me have a choice of reconstruction and told me I can have the expander for a long time. I wish I can just keep the expanders bec I have been through 2 breast surgeries and throat/parathryiod dont really want to have another one. So I will take the time to think about it. A lot of the women here have really good advice. Im glad to be have found this place.
    Yes, we can survive this just as these wonderful women did!
    jlamb26 replied to laramin's response:
    I'm scheduled for DIEP flap surgery this coming Monday! I'll report back in to let you know how it goes. My surgeon recommended this proceedure because I was not a good candidate for implants either. While the surgury itself is more invasive and the recovery time is generally longer, I liked the fact that you are left with your own tissue and won't need to replace an implant in the future. I've done some research into the proceedure and it seems that the recovery time is different for everyone. I'm in pretty good physical shape...considering, so I'm hoping for the best. Good luck with your decision and remember your are worth it!!! I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Jennifer:)
    brcansur replied to jlamb26's response:
    Good luck to you on mon I will be on Pinkie for the ride and to help with some laughs on your way to surgery I will be nice after and not make you laugh I promise!! But I can't promise I wont have fun with your toenails that is a totally different story!! Yes you are so right we are all worth it! Have a great day angel hugs Roberta,
    susan1240 replied to judyfams's response:
    Judy ... I wanted to pick your brain a bit. I am also a retired teacher. Went today to a 2nd appointment with a lymphedema specialist near my local hospital. Am feeling tons of fluid building up in my chest region as well as underarm areas.PRESSURE! : - ( As you know, in 2009, I had a double mastectomy ... and a total of 5 lymph nodes removed, 3 on the left and 2 on the right. Also, later had reconstruction with silicon implants. He says I do not have lymphedema! No infection either. They measured my arms and looked at my fingers for fluid, as well as the chest region. He said to go back to my original surgeons. (from a competing hospital) I happen to have my yearly appointment with my original surgeon next Tuesday. The lymphedema doctor said sometimes they can take a needle and aspirate the fluid BUT that would be complicated with someone who had implants. He told me to wear a compression bra ... that could help with draining the fluid. I did go to 2 breast/chest/truncal lymphedema web sites. Am so confused about the fluid. Roberta mentioned that she had fluid drained when she had her original implant REMOVED. She indicated that she also had an infection. I want to avoid more surgery at all costs. Are you or anyone on this site knowledgeable about fluid behind/near implants? Is this different than a diagnosis of lymphedema? Is it just pockets of fluid that build up in the chest region? Wish I could find some answers ... I want to be comfortable for the Christmas holiday. Hope you are feeling okay during this special season. Keep in touch ...

    judyfams replied to susan1240's response:
    I have done research on lymphedema and have come across two excellent websites that I think will help answer you questions, possibly provide options for you to consider and places(doctors) to call for more information or referrals.
    The first is also known as NOLA. When you get to the home page scroll down on the LEFT SIDE and click on Lymphedema Treatment. On the same website home page go to the TAB ON TOP that says Patient Services and scroll down slowly and you will come to a video titled Topic of Lymphedema and the next video is titled Care and Cure of Lymphedema. Both excellent videos and you might want to contact them even though they are located in New Orleans - the are world renowned!
    The second website is and is solely about lymphedema. I have searched parts of all the topics they list, but not all of them. The few I have read are fascinating to read.
    I have not had any problems with lymphedema, but have done and am doing research on both reconstruction and lymphedema so if I ever need to go down that path at a later date (have had lumpectomy, SNB, chemo and rads thus far) at least I have the information.
    If you cannot get to these two websites from here just copy the web address and paste it into Google.
    Let me know how you make out with these two websites.
    Good luck and hope you can enjoy the holidays knowing there is something that can be done to alleviate the pain.
    You can email me - just click on my username.

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