Member
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎01-09-2016

Re: Diep reconstruction

Hi Sarah

Hope you don't mind me asking but as I am also due for surgery with Mr Favaro (having too been with Mr Rhodes) I was wondering how you are following your surgery.  I hope all went well and you are now recovering.  Would love to hear about your experience.

Member
Posts: 124
Registered: ‎28-12-2017

Re: Diep reconstruction

I've found this thread really useful. I don't have an exact date, but am told they are trying to organise for early April. Trying to get organised at home for my period of inactivity! The tip about the little electric fan is really useful.

 

I was diagnosed in mid December (multi focal 4 areas invasive ductal in right breast) and feel I have had to really fight to get the surgery and reconstruction I want/need, because I wanted the other breast removed as well. I am having to travel 2hours to see the surgeon who has accepted me and who has been so supportive since I met her. My local area don't even do the diep reconstruction and gave me no information about where I could go. I found my own surgeon, but the delay and battle I have had has caused me a lot of anxiety and distress. I am also concerned that it has allowed the cancer time to spread. I was originally told my lymph nodes were clear, but now I have  35mm piece in 1lymph node and have to have a level 1clearance at the time of my surgery.

 

We shouldn't have to go into battle with the NHS when we are already going through the biggest fight of our lives! They shouldn't treat us like we are automatons who don't need information and will be good little girls who will do what they tell us and be grateful for it!  That's another rant over!

 

Feel quite calm at the moment, but know that will change once I get the date.

Member
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎29-07-2017

Re: Diep reconstruction

Hi Sarah. I had a bilateral mastectomy with diep reconstruction 3 weeks ago in whiston hospital liverpool. they are amazing there. the Bair hugger heat pads were hard work ...especially as I've been flushing since tamoxifen started. I bought myself a chillow pillow which I took in which offered wonderful relief! I also took in a small battery operated hand fan. I was up and walking on day 2 (well, more 'hobbling!') & thought I'd never be able to stand up straight again! however with the help and reassurances of the physios I was more or less upright by day 5 when I was discharged!
I did buy front fastening nighties etc but stuck with hospital gowns instead as they were so much easier for the constant checking (was every 15 mins the first night to check blood vessel whooshing in breast with a doppler) and to accommodate the drains and catheter. All the drains were removed before I came home and that first shower was heavenly! I bought front fastening soft bras but they were too small with the swelling. tHe hospital provided 2 beautiful M&S ones fitted by the OT.
All in all it is a huge op but worth it! I couldn't handle the thought of implants which may need replacing in the future. The frustration is holding back from doing too much at home and having to rely on others for help. But I'm. getting better at that! very best of luck with yours. take care, Jacqui x
Member
Posts: 291
Registered: ‎01-05-2012

Re: Diep reconstruction

Hi Sarah,
I didnt get to Bossom Friends as not feeling upto it. Decided to think about the nipple recon when im over the recon. One thing at a time .....
Like you, i wondered what to take into hospital so i rang and asked my surgeons sec to ask. She gave good advise, usual toiletries, full knickers (i bought sainsburys own cheap ones). No girdled required for me but maybe you should ask about this as many on here seem to have needed one of these.
I asked my surgeon about this & he told me that they way he stiches doesnt reqire a girdle 🤗 they really are progressive & fantastic at BRI.
Bra cropped tops. I brought 2x m&s pack of 2 £14.
Loose top & pants to go home in.
I took a front fastening nightie rather than pjs but didnt wear it. Just wore the hospital one as doctors need easy access as will be checking new breast contantly. I didnt have the energy to bother wearing my own.
I too care for my mum and made provision before the op for her to be looked after whilst i recover.
Also my family have stepped up whilst i take a back seat. Hope you are able to do the same Sarah.
One the first day i was totally out of it. My surgery was an epic 12 hours. So no visitors needed. The surgeon rang my family when op complete.
2nd & 3rd day still pretty spaced out but my husband came to see me. I decided not to let my children visit till i was out of high dep & on the ward.
I was stood up and walking slowly by day 4 and discharged on day 5.
The first week at home is a bit of a blurr. I slept alot. 2nd week started to move around a bit more.
Ive got better and better since. Trying to walk out every day (weather permitting!). Pottering about, cooking etc....
6 weeks post op & im getting around ok, not driving yet or lifting anything heavy tho. My body really letting me know when ive done too much.
Planning on going back to work after 3 months but only if im fully recovered.
I was very fit & heathy before the op & i have a supportive husband & children which really helps.

Sarah the procedure is a tough one am not guna lie so dig in. Keep the long term & summer in your mind and good luck.

Hope this helps.
CJ 😊


Its tough Sarah im not gunna lie to you but i am totally overwhelmed by what Mr Williams had been able to do for me.


Member
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎17-07-2016

Re: Diep reconstruction

Thank you CJ have looked up the Bosom Buddies group and I’m going to try to make it to the meeting on Wednesday work permitting, feel that the input could be beneficial to me as the tattooing is something I shall be having in the future.

I wondered what you suggest I take to hospital above and beyond the basics of pj,s and toiletries. 

Did you feel up to having visitors on the day of surgery .

On a practical note how soon were you able to get back to day to day activities , I am sole career for my elderly mother and whilst she is hopefully going into respite care whilst I’m in hospital I wonder how quickly I will be able to get back to looking after her .

Sarah

Member
Posts: 291
Registered: ‎01-05-2012

Re: Diep reconstruction

Hi Sarah,

 

Waiting when you just want to get on with must be frustrating but probably for the best to let things settle following treatment 🙂

My diagnosis was Oct 14 and treatment finished in May 2015.

So my reconstruction was delayed by choice. I was offered the reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy but I declined as it would have delayed chemotherapy and I just needed to get on with that ASAP.

 

My reconstruction was done by Mr Williams and I am completely gob smacked by his genius not to mentioned that a kinder, more caring person  I could not wish to meet.

 

You will be in safe hands at BRI. The plastics team are outstanding and although the hospital is busy I found the care to be the very best.

 

I could go into lots of detail here Sarah, but would rather ask you if there is anything in particular you want to ask me I am happy to reply.

 

Also wondering if you know about the Bosom Friends group who meet at the Cancer Support Centre behind BRI 3rd Wednesday every month? Very supportive group & several women have had recon ops & happy to discuss. The next meeting is 21 feb........ I don’t go to everyone but dip in and out depending what’s going on.

 

 

 

Hope this helps,

CJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlighted
Member
Posts: 291
Registered: ‎01-05-2012

Re: Diep reconstruction

Hi Sarah,

 

Waiting when you just want to get on with must be frustrating but probably for the best to let things settle following treatment 🙂

My diagnosis was Oct 14 and treatment finished in May 2015.

So my reconstruction was delayed by choice. I was offered the reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy but I declined as it would have delayed chemotherapy and I just needed to get on with that ASAP.

 

My reconstruction was done by Mr Williams and I am completely gob smacked by his genius not to mentioned that a kinder, more caring person  I could not wish to meet.

 

You will be in safe hands at BRI. The plastics team are outstanding and although the hospital is busy I found the care to be the very best.

 

I could go into lots of detail here Sarah, but would rather ask you if there is anything in particular you want to ask me I am happy to reply.

 

Also wondering if you know about the Bosom Friends group who meet at the Cancer Support Centre behind BRI 3rd Wednesday every month? Very supportive group & several women have had recon ops & happy to discuss. The next meeting is 21 feb........ I don’t go to everyone but dip in and out depending what’s going on.

 

 

 

Hope this helps,

CJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Member
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎17-07-2016

Re: Diep reconstruction

CJ ... Thank you very much for the reply . I am booked in for surgery on the 12th March and it is being done by Mr Andrea Favaro who I am informed has taken over from Mr Rhodes who I did see previously ... I finished all my active treatment at the end of November 2016 so I feel like I have waited an age for this op. X

yjk
Member
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎09-01-2016

Re: Diep reconstruction

[ Edited ]

Hi Sarah, I had my DIEP surgery 4wks ago and my experience so far is as follows:

 - meds: I was discharged after 7 days with codeine, paracetomal and ibruprofen however I stopped the codeine immediately as it was causing constipation...as well as senna tablets one of the surgical team recommended eating kiwi fruit, which really helped (apparently other fruits are too bloating).  Since then I've been coping fine with any pain by taking the paracetamol and ibruprofen twice a day.

 - bras/underwear: I was told by my nurse on the plastics team at the Royal Marsden in London that I would need to wear high-waisted support pants and a front fastening maternity/sports bra post-op.  However when it came time I found even trying to get the support knickers on so painful my surgeon said I didn't need them and that if you're a "smaller" build there isn't a need for the support pants (although I'm guessing every surgeon has his/her own protocol for patients).

 - wound care: once discharged I was told to cover both the breast and abdominal wounds with brown surgical tape (flesh-coloured micropore) and to change the tape every 3-4 days.  About 3wks post-op most of the wounds were healed sufficiently to begin massaging them with a basic moisturiser (I used Aveeno).  However, there is a small area at the centre of my abdominal wound which is stubbornly refusing to heal (I've been back to hospital a few times to get this looked at) - apparently it's not uncommon and tends to happens if the surgeon has maxed-out on the amount of tissue they've taken.

 - I found I only started walking straight and upright about a week ago (3wks post-op) as before this it was too uncomfortable to straighten up, so don't worry if you're still walking around like a little old lady a few weeks post-op!  

 - The first week out of hospital is the hardest physically so don't be surprised if you're not doing anything more than moving from bed to the sofa and back again.  It's important to take things very easy - I live on my own and even though my mum came to stay with me for that first week it was still very daunting being home initially.   4wks post-op I'm still not supposed to be lifting/carrying anything heavier than a 1.5l bottle of water, which is very frustrating but you learn to adapt.

 - Before you go in for your op do make sure you've prepared your home for your return - plenty of pillows in position on the bed to prop you up; a rolled up towel to help when coughing/sneezing; items that you use regularly within easy reach/waist height; if you have a walk-in shower get a cheap perching stool to sit on when showering (i found that very helpful during my first week home)

 - Arm exercises: do do these as religiously as possible as it's the best way to avoid muscle tightness or cording.

 - If work/family life allows, do take as much time as you can to recover - it's easy to forget this is major sugery not just a "boob job".  Pre-op I naively told my employer I would aim to be back in the office in 4-5wks; however it's very clear to me that I will need more like 8wks before I can even contemplate work.  I was told I'd be fully healed in 3mths and my body will feel like my own again by 6mths.

 - Depending on how much tissue your surgeon is able to harvest there is a possibility of needing 1 or 2 smaller "top-up"/refinement procedures 3mths post-op.  I've already been told I'll need this as I didn't have enough tummy fat to fill out the breast (and I didn't want an implant) but that the procedures are day surgeries/overnight stays.

There may be times post-op you feel weepy or dispondent (I certainly did about 10days post-op) but it does get better and means you're another step closer to putting all it behind you.

Yasmin x

Member
Posts: 291
Registered: ‎01-05-2012

Re: Diep reconstruction

Hey Sarah,

I had my deep flap reconstruction 17th Jan at BRI and happy to say that plastics team at BRI are truly outstanding in every way.  I am overwhelmed by what they have been able to do for me.

When are you having the op?

 

CJ

 

Member
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎17-07-2016

Re: Diep reconstruction

Thank you for your response and I hope that you are doing well ... I’m having the operation at Bradford Royal Infirmary, West Yorkshire, feeling very apprehensive but really appreciate all the advice it certainly helps me to feel more prepared. Sarah x

Member
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎01-05-2012

Re: Diep reconstruction

Hi Sarah

i had a bilateral mastectomy with diep recon last August.

As far as recovery think everyone differs but would allow yourself at least 3 months maybe more driving for me was 6 weeks as per my insurance company 

I found the first night the hardest as I had a Bair hugger heated blanket and it was so uncomfortable and hot, a real help was taking in some flannels with me that I asked the nurses to wet every hour or so and put them on my forehead and neck to keep cool.

at home I needed help to showe etc as with a double you can't do much as you can't lift your arms.

if you take the painkillers make sure you get laxatives with them from the nurses as you do get constipated on codeine.

you will feel tired even doing the smallest task at first but it passes after a few weeks.

another thing I found really useful is that one of the nurses rolled up a small towel and taped it into a roll for me to put on my tummy scar area if I felt the need to cough as it can be quite painful to cough at first.

You will feel you will never be able to walk out of the hospital unaided in the first day or so but it does get better and you will.

which hospital are you at?

good luck

SL x

 

Member
Posts: 259
Registered: ‎13-12-2013

Re: Diep reconstruction

Hi Sarah. I was a tad unfortunate in that I got an infection post surgery. Ended up in hospital or 12 days instead of the expected 5-7. But this doesn't happen to everyone, and I was unlucky, so please don't think this will happen to you. When I got home I needed help to shower and change dressings, but other than that, I felt quite good. Within a month, I was feeling pretty normal, although my wounds took a while to heal and I did have have quite a few surgical clinic appointments so they could keep an eye on them. I didn't drive for 6 weeks post surgery and returned to work in the first week of March, so did need almost 3 full months off. I'm really happy with my new boobs and am really glad that I had this procedure done. I know 2 other ladies personally who had this procedure, and we all had about the same recovery time as far as driving and returning to work is concerned. And please remember that this op takes a lot out of you, so be kind to yourself for the first few weeks. You may well be exhausted by menial tasks to start with, so take your time to rebuild your physical strength a day at a time. I walked every day, venturing a little further each time. Hope your op is plain sailing and that you're as happy as I am with the outcome. Ann X  

Member
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎17-07-2016

Re: Diep reconstruction

Ann ..thank you very much for the swift reply ... I’ll take your advice and go out and purchase Bridget Jones knickers and front fastening pyjamas ... Can’t I ask what timescales you experienced during recovery ... I’ve been told I will be in hospital for 5-7 days and wondered what I will be capable of when I get back home initially ...also how long until able to drive and return to work ? The consultant has said around a 3-4 month recovery period which does seem a long time ..I hope that you are now doing well after your surgery x

Member
Posts: 259
Registered: ‎13-12-2013

Re: Diep reconstruction

Hi Sarah,

 

I had a double DIEP op in December 2015. I took support pants and front fastening soft bras into hospital with me. Took a couple of days for me to be able to wear the bras, but the pants were an absolute god send. All my pj's were front fastening too because of being constantly checked by nursing/medical staff. Means you only have to open the buttons rather than constantly pull your top up (a godsend in the middle of the night!!) All the best with your op and wishing you a speedy recovery. Big hugs, Ann X 

Member
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎17-07-2016

Diep reconstruction

Hi I am due to have diep reconstruction following mastectomy back in 2016. Surgery was delayed due to chemo and radiotherapy. Surgery is booked for March and I am looking for advice on things I might need following surgery I have seen mention of special bras and knickers etc . In essence any tips and advice would be very much appreciated as I haven’t spoken with anyone who has undergone this type of surgery.