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Anxiety about surgery with TE

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mmiller603 View Drop Down

Joined: Feb 14 2013
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    Posted: Feb 14 2013 at 7:23pm
I am 6 weeks away from the end of my chemo sessions and therefore about 8 weeks away from the surgery.  I have very fortnuate with the whole chemo process with very little side effects but I have a lot of anxiety about the next step.  Anyone out there that can give me insight to the process and what to expect as far as time off work, level of pain and satisifaction level with the reconstuction -it would be greatly appreciated.
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Grateful for today View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Grateful for today Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 17 2013 at 11:19pm

There have been some prior forum threads on the reconstruction/implant considerations.
There may be something in them that you will find helpful.
There's a lot of info on the various threads and's a place to start.....
ask questions if anything is not clear ( and of course, discuss major questions with your MD)....

Here's some of the prior threads.
Some threads include info on all types of you will have to sort thru
to find the implant information.

I can not answer your specific questions as I did not have reconstruction.
Maybe others will see see your questions and post.

May you continue to be a minimalist in regards to side effects as you complete your chemo.

With caring and positive thoughts,
Grateful for today...............Judy

When I saw TE, I concentrated on that.
Just realized from another of your prior posts, that you will be having a double mastectomy.
You are probably looking for information on that.
In fact, it is the info and thoughts in the following 2 threads that you were looking for and not
so much the above info on TE.
There is info on the following threads on mastectomy that you may find helpful.

After reading the above threads, post any general questions. Consult your surgeon with your
   specific questions re: your surgery and plan.

Edited by Grateful for today - Feb 17 2013 at 11:46pm
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123Donna View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 123Donna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 18 2013 at 11:28am

Are you having a single mastectomy or bilateral mastectomy with tissue expanders?  I had the bi-mx with tissue expanders.  There was lots of anxiety prior to the surgery for me.  I've never had surgery before (except tonsils removed when I was 5).  I had surgery one afternoon and went home the next day.  It's a good idea to have someone help you the first week.  The drains will need to be milked and the drainage recorded.  I wasn't able to do it myself the first week, but could after that.  My best advice would be to keep up with the pain meds given to you.  The only time I felt pain was a few days after I came home I fell asleep on the sofa and missed a pain pill.  I was scheduled to get one, but fell asleep for a couple of hours.  I woke up in pain, but my husband gave me the pills and it felt better right away.  My plastic surgeon gave me step down pain meds (3 different types where you take the first one after surgery, then gradually switch to less strong pills) and it wasn't too long where I was only taking the Ibuprofen and Valium (muscle relaxer).  

My biggest advice:  
1.  If you are getting a bi-mx, you might want to sleep in a recliner the first week or two.  You can't use your arms to push yourself out of bed.  Instead they tell you to cross your arms over your chest and rock yourself out of the chair.  A recliner with pillows on each side was the most comfortable way to sleep after the surgery.
2.  Have others put dishes out on the counter for you.  Again this is more important if you are having a bilateral.  If only a single mastectomy, you'll be able to use your other arm.
3.  Keep a log of medicine you've taken and the time for the next pill.  
4.  Keep a log of your drain tubes and amount drained from each one.  The surgeon will use this to determine when the drain tube can be removed.
5.  Have some big, button down shirts to wear.  I used my husband's.  You won't want anything you'll have to pull over your head during the recovery.

Each week will get better for you.  I started chemo about 3 1/2 weeks after my surgery so I was fairly active by then.  I had planned a month off of work for recovery.  Some women get their drain tubes out sooner and can return to work sooner.  It took 3 weeks to get my last drain tubes out (I had 3 on each side).

I was pleased with the reconstruction process.  The tissue expanders can be uncomfortable (kind of hard, not like the implants).  Before you go for a "fill", take a muscle relaxer (you won't be able to drive yourself) or an ibuprofin.  The fills will stretch your skin and you might be a little uncomfortable for a day or two.  The exchange surgery was a breeze.  It was outpatient and I went home within an hour after the procedure.  No drains and easy recovery.  

DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

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