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    mastectomy recovery?
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    564deb posted:
    In lieu of 6 weeks of radiation and for some other reasons, I am leaning towards a bilateral mastectomy with expander for silicone implants. My last chemo was yesterday (4/20). They have surgery scheduled for May 4th. Can any of you who have been through this give me an idea on how your healing/recovery went. My daughters wedding is June 20th and I am still trying to work things out in time to be up and somewhat able to contribute by then. Am I being unrealistic? Really hate to postpone all this till after the wedding because I am ready to be done with it all. Any personal experience or words of advise would be appreciated.

    Deb
     
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    survivor06 responded:
    Hello, I'm a survivor since 06. I had a bilateral mastectomy and 6 rounds of chemo. (Happy 40th bday!) Starting in Oct 06 last chemo apr 07. I had expanders put in very soon after my chemo was finished. The expanding process is more painful than my doctor let on it would be. Very uncomfortable. Try and not rush too much with the expanders being filled, let yourself get comfortable with them until the next fill. (I went every 3 weeks). Feels like you've broken a rib everytime. So would I have the surgery May 4th? Yes. But, take your time with the filling process. Maybe put that off until after wedding. My family were so upset because I wanted everything "over with" so fast, but think things through and remember to take care of yourself. I've had my saline implants now for a year and I'm getting used to them, finally. Melissa email me if you want, I'm open to any questions. [email protected] Take Care~
     
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    djmelt responded:
    Hey Deb, I can't help you with this one but I want you to know that what ever you do, you know you've got my prayers and support. Love ya. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!chemo is over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gentle Hugs, Donna
     
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    564deb responded:
    Thank you Melissa for your response. I had a lumpectomy on 1/14, started chemo on 2/6 and just finished my last chemo on 4/20...yea!! If all pre-op works out okay I am scheduled for surgery on 5/4 which should give me 6 weeks to re-coup from chemo. I am totally not worried about how quickly I get the implants filled, so I will definitely take your suggestion and go slowly. I am more worried about the recovery time after the bilateral mastectomy/reconstruction. ( I will be having this done at the same time.) I am 57 years old, so that may weigh into things also, but other than this cancer, I have always been very healthy and never smoked. Guess I want to be able to function for my daughters wedding on June 20th, but don't really want to put all of this off until after that date. Thank you for your email address. Mine is [email protected] If you think of anything else I should know, don't hesitate to write. Thanks again and God Bless,

    DEB
     
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    564deb responded:
    Donna, I have to tell you, you are such a dear, kind person. I wish you were my sister!! You are a constant source of strength, laughs, wisdom and love on this board. Your presence is noticed by all of us!!

    God Bless YOU,

    Deb
     
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    Debby30635 responded:
    Deb, I had a skin sparing mastectomy and immediate reconstruciton on both breasts. I had the expander and then the implant. My other brest was reduced, lifted so they both look the same. The surgery was easy to get over. If you have 6 weeks you will do wonderfully. The healing process was easy.
     
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    564deb responded:
    Thank you Debby for your response. I asked my surgeon about the skin sparing surgery because I remembered that you had mentioned it before. I am so large to begin with that this won't be necessary or an option by either the surgeon or the PS. I am glad to know that you healed easily and hopefully I will as well. May I ask how often you had your expanders filled?

    By the way, I love your quote!

    God Bless,

    Deb
     
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    survivor06 responded:
    Hello Deb,

    Well, we have something in common this year. My oldest daughter is getting married June 6th of this year! I'm sure you want to get involved with the wedding as much as I do, but remember to rest and you'll be able to help even more. (I'm over 2 years out of chemo and I still get very tired).

    I think 6 weeks of recovery is plenty of time for the wedding. I went back to work in 2 weeks, (1 week earlier than the doctor wanted). I just took it easy for the first couple of weeks back. The drains are so annoying, if you don't already know that.

    Please don't hesitate to email me or post here, I'm trying to reach out and help people and have started going to a support groups and my surgeon wants me to be a mentor for her newly diagnosed patients. I think it's good therapy for me too.

    If you don't mind me asking, what stage were you? I was stage 2b, triple negative. Ugh!

    Take care and I'm here if you need me.

    God bless, Melissa
     
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    samsmomjen responded:
    Hi Deb-

    I had a mastectomy on one side. I remember that the first 2-4 weeks were pretty tough and tiring but I think by 6 weeks I was in pretty good shape. I remember that I even took a short plane trip about 4 weeks after for work. Have you asked the surgeon or PS?

    jennifer
     
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    564deb responded:
    Wow Melissa, it seems we do have a lot in common. I am also stage 2, triple negative. The good thing (if there is anything good about breast cancer) is that the pathologist report from the lumpectomy found that my tumor was a very rare type Papillary Carcinoma. The good news about this is that it is very slow growing and often does not spread past the breast. So, I feel blessed on that account. This is the reason that I only needed 4 rounds of chemo (A/C), instead of a longer regiment that they predicted in the beginning. But they were insisting on radiation which I do not want. My heart has been telling me from the beginning to do the double with reconstruction in lieu of radiation.

    I do appreciate your words of encouragement regarding my recovery time. I was back to work for a few hours in about 4 days after the lumpectomy. So, I am hoping that I will be like you and bounce back quickly. My work schedule is very flexible, which is great.

    I am dreading the drains. Didn't have to have them for the lumpectomy since my nodes were clear. I was able to have it done and come home the same night, which was fine with me!!

    I think the support group and the mentoring that you are doing is such a wonderful thing. I could not find a support group locally which is why I have depended so much on this site. When I get all past this, I would like to be a help to others also in some way. I am asking the Lord to guide me on that. Even if I can just help one person at a time who has been diagnosed, I think it would help us both. This journey has definitely taught me a lot about reaching out.

    I will definitely email you soon and we can relate a little easier.

    God Bless You Also,

    Deb
     
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    survivor06 responded:
    Deb,

    I'm so happy to see yours was not a "bad" kind of tumor. I was not so lucky. Sad thing was that I had just had a mammogram in April and my tumor was the size of walnut by September when I found it. The only reason they catorgized mine as 2b was because I was barely positive in first lymph node. Doc said that could have happened when they attempted 2 times to get a core biopsy.

    Heads up on the drain removal~ Take maximum pain medicine before you go see doctor for drain removal. It's uncomfortable when they come out. (I don't like taking them, make me fuzzy....) But, after 1st one came out, I learned to take my pills before the appointment.

    I had a 6 month chest x-ray today and my stomach hurt all day from my nerves. I worked hard today and tried to stay busy, but I was a basket case. I know this is normal, but I wish I could control my nerves better! I will know if everything is going ok when I see my oncologist April 6th. Ugh!

    The support group couldn't have come at a better time for me. I was just running and running, ignoring that I needed some help and support. My breast surgeon just started this group (she's a survivor too!) and I'm so glad she did.

    I have the best feeling that everything will turn out so good for you. I am like you, and opted for drastic measures to get rid of my breast cancer. I figured my boobs weren't doing me any good and yall can have both of them. Keep your faith and keep believing that everything will be ok.

    Laugh often!

    Bless ya girl & hang in there....

    Melissa in Tennessee
     
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    564deb responded:
    Well, the surgeon and PS both know that my daughter's wedding is on June 20th, so I think they support the decision that by then I should be okay to handle things, if not totally back to normal. I do wish I had a longer window to recover before the wedding, but I also hesitate to put everything off until afterwards and I don't think the surgeon or oncologist would support this. I will just have to pray a lot that things go smoothly and on the day of the wedding I will have to do as Donna always says and give "gentle hugs". Thank you for your support and I hope you are well on your way to normal again!!

    God Bless,

    Deb
     
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    susiemcg responded:
    Go For It!! I had a bilateral mastectomy with tissue expanders(making room for silicone implants) on Aug.22. It went much better than I expected (I am 46 yrs old and was VERY healthy prior to bc). Aftter the drains are out (about 4-7 days) it is smoothe sailing. You will probably be tired, a little sore but able to attend the wedding and have some fun!! Having just finished chemo, you may be a little more tired but physically able to do it. I understand completely... I too was soooo ready to move on and be done!! Aug 22 bilateral mastectomy, tissue expanders -back to work in 4 weeks! January tissue expanders exchanged for silicone implants - easier surgery -and now just waiting to have nipples tatooed on (kinda weird!) Good luck to you, hope this helps!
     
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    564deb responded:
    Thank you Susie for your positive attitude and helpful information. Bottom line is that I just need to do this and have faith that it will all work out. I have had a tough couple of days with my last round of chemo and my goal right now is just getting my energy back enough to face this next challenge. I live in Ohio and I am so ready for signs of spring, and as the flowers bloom a new chapter in my life (new boobies!!) This has been a long tough winter in more ways than one!! I will be glad when I am on the other side of everything.

    God Bless,

    Deb


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