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DIEP recovery queries

Member

Re: DIEP recovery queries

Hi Strawberry,
Thanks so much for your reply 😘. I have felt a bit low today, and questioning my recovery, silly me.
I was discharged at Day 6 post op, and given no indication as to how long to expect to be stooped. At least I am more mobile than I was, grateful for the little progress each day too, just need to be patient and also build up my strength. And like you I have done everything suggested re arm/shoulder exercises.
I am at Plastics dressing clinic on Monday, I will ask advice before speaking to Physio about my arthritis.I have been pain free since Feb 2017 following injections into joint, so disappointed with the flare up.
Will get there though 💪💪

Di xx
Member

Re: DIEP recovery queries

Hello Superdi, it is early days for you and each person is different in how things progress.  I remember the notes I was given saying that I would be upright within 2 weeks, but I was not.  Even at 8 weeks (when I thought I was upright) I realised I was still slighlty stooped.  I visited a therapist I know who specialises in scar massage and re posture she advised me to think about a string pulling me upwards through the top of my head, which did help. 

 

I found that everything  was a bit more difficult later in the day, my stomach area felt tighter and heavier than in the morning. This was the case for about 10 weeks or so.  I did do the exercises they reccommend to make the arms and shoulders more relaxed. If you know a physio you trust you could ask for advice on exercises and gentle stretching, especially as you have arthritis.

 

Good luck with your recovery, it does get better and the time passes quickly

 

Strawberry

x

 

 

Highlighted
Member

Re: DIEP recovery queries

Hi Ladies,
I am Day 15 post op, left mx/immediate DIEP.
I am struggling to stand upright. Any advice would really help. I do well in the morning, then as the day goes on it becomes harder to achieve.
I have sacroilliac arthritis in my back, which has flared up since my surgery and is not helping the situation.
Kind regards,
Di.
Member

Re: DIEP recovery queries

Hi Wendy, Oh no, sorry to hear you’ve areas which still need dressing. I found the area underneath the new breast took the longest, it was tender for quite a while. I spoke too soon about lying in my side, I find it needs to be an exact science with my feet on a pillow. Like Strawberry, I have been walking each day for the last few weeks. I was silly yesterday & pulled out some dead flowers from the pots in the garden, under my arm is very achy from doing that. I did drive for the first time today & it was absolutely fine. It was my right side I had done. I too have been disappointed with my tummy. Straight after surgery it was lovely & flat, I suppose being nil by mouth for 24 hours helps!! Although it is flatter than before, it’s not as flat as I thought it would be. The skin below the tummy scar has been very itchy, I used aveeno which was almost instant relief. What about contacting your PS secretary if you’ve any concerns? Or the breast care nurses can point you in the right direction? I hope you’ve had a better day today, sometimes the fatigue can just hit you. I definitely know when I’ve done too much 😐 xx
Member

Re: DIEP recovery queries

Hi Wendy

 

I work for myself and my work does not involve anything heavy/physical so did look at and reply to the odd email after 3 weeks. But it was 6 weeks until I felt like doing proper work and as I had a sentinal lymph node removed I was advised to avoid using a keyboard or doing other repetiive manual tasks for any lenght of time  to reduce risk of lymph builidng up in arm. 

 

 As it is such a major operation I think you need plenty of rest and relaxation to recover.  I did take exercise in the form of long walks from about  3 weeks afer the operation but I tried to minimise stress to help me recover. I decided that I would put my own needs first for a change. 

 

Re the swelling in tummy area. Like you I did wonder if it would ever be flat. It felt heavy at the end of each day for about 10 weeks. I wore loose waisted trousers for about 12 weeks both due to swelling and the scar. By about 14 weeks my tummy was noticeably flatter and I could get into trousers I had worn before the operation. I suppose that even after the scar on the stomach has healed it takes much longer for everything else to heal underneath in the various layers - as the skin has been loosened all the way up to under your breasts the whole area is a bit traumatised! My stomach is very flat now, flatter than before the operation and the scar is fading. 

 

Best wishes

 

Strawberry

x

 

 

Member

Re: DIEP recovery queries

Hi Strawberry

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

I have reduced my pillows down to three now.

 

i am not able to sleep on my side yet as I have had both sides done, plus I am not In a few areas, left Breast and several points on my hip to hip scar, I also ended up having my laparotomy scar cut again as PS couldn’t get the skin to stretch with recutting it, lucky me extra 8” incision, still it looks neater than it did before, so every cloud has a silver lining.

 

i think I will keep with the control knickers for another week or so until those scars have stopped leaking.

 

My tummy feels quite swollen today and not as flat as it was after surgery, is that normal? I am concerned that my tummy is not going to be as nice and flat as I expected it to be once everything settles.

 

Do you work and if so how long was it before you could return to work?

 

 

Best wishes

Wendy x

Member

Re: DIEP recovery queries

Hi Unicorngirlmummy

 

Sorry for not responding sooner, I used to get notifications of a reply but didn’t this time, so I thought no-one had responded.

 

I hope your recovery is still going well? I have felt that I have gone backwards this past week, the fatigue has been dreadful and really wiped me out.

 

i tried sleeping for an hour or so on my side in the early hours of this morning, but I ended up stressing my hip to hip scar and woke with a patch of bloody fluid on my control knickers at the edge of the scar, whoops best not try that again for awhile. I am also having some healing problems on my right Breast, I think some of the flap in the corner died off and now there is a gap, I saw my GP yesterday and she has got the nurse to dress it for me a couple of times a week and then I need to do it myself on another two days per week. With this in mind it will be awhile before I can have a bath.

 

i havent got any contact for reconstruction nurses, feel a bit out on a limb with it. When I had my mastectomies  4 years ago and reconstruction with implants I had plenty of support from the Breast Clinic and the nurses. The plastic surgery dept doesn’t seem to have as much support.

 

Have you strarted driving again yet, assuming you do drive?

 

Best wishes 

Wendy x

Member

Re: DIEP recovery queries

Hi Wendy

 

I had left mastectomy and immediate DIEP last November, I kept a diary so can tell you what I did.

 

I found sleeping on my back the worse thing about it as Im a side sleeper too. I got an awful headache in hospital due to being propped up. Once home  I reduced the height of the pillows after a week so I was only a bit propped up.  I slept on my side 2 weeks after the operation on my right side. I bought a narrow (half width) pillow and hugged that when I went  to sleep which made it more comfortable.

 

I stopped wearing the control pants at night four weeks after operation and stopped completely at 6 weeks. I actually found those anti thrombosis socks worse. I dont have baths and I could not have got out of the bath unaided for the first 6/7 weeks, my scar had healed well by 7 weeks so probably could have had one, perhaps best to check with your dcotor/nurse re bathing.  

 

All the very best for your recovery, the time does go quickly and Im sure you are already feeling a lot better. 

 

Strawberry

xx

 

 

 

Member

Re: DIEP recovery queries

Hi Wendy,

I’m a week ahead of you, I had a DIEP reconstruction & reduction to the remaining breast on the 21st. I remember thinking I’d never be able to walk properly last week, but a week later & the difference is huge! I’m also a side sleeper & this has been really hard. I’ve not woken the last few nights being uncomfortable & I even managed to lie on the reduction side last night. I was told 6 weeks of wearing the control knickers & bra for 23 hours a day. As for a bath, I would imagine 6 weeks, once the wounds are fully healed.

The hospital I had mine done had a number for the reconstruction nurses, do you have a contact, they’d be the best people to ask.

I hope you continue to recover well. Xx
Member

DIEP recovery queries

Hi ladies, 

 

I haven't posted for a long time but after having recently had a bilateral DIEP flap reconstruction I wanted to ask a couple of things from ladies out there that have already been through the process. 

 

I had my operation on 29 August, so I am now on day 16 and recovering quite well, but I am really struggling with sleeping and getting in a comfortable position. I am currently sleeping propped up on several pillows, v shape pillow etc and pillow under knee, but as a side sleeper this is possibly the worst position for me comfort wise, but I know necessary, can any ladies out there let me know at what stage they could return to sleeping in their normal position?

 

Also I am only allowed a shower at the moment and I really miss my baths, at what stage can you return to having a lovely old soak in the bath, I am guessing this will probably not be until around the 6 week mark?

 

And how long are we expected to keep these awful control knickers on, they are so uncomfortable!

 

Best wishes to you all

Wendy xx