I was diagnosed with High risk DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) in March 2016. I had a lumpectomy that successfully removed the cancerous cells and left me 100% cancer free. I then completed a course of radiation and underwent genetic testing as my mother had died of breast cancer when i was 14. Whilst wating for the results of the testing I started taking Tamoxifen daily.
The genetic testing identified that I do have BRCA 2 gene mutations that are hormone receptive. After many discussions with my oncologist I decided to have a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and then hysterectomy.
During the mastectomy and reconstruction I received a diarthermy blister (blister caused by using a heat implement near the skin) that left a hole in my breast the size of a 20c coin. The surgeons attempted to fic the breast 6 times with stitchwork before deciding to remove the implant and allow the skin a chance to heal before reimplanting. When the implant was removed it was replaced with a tissue expander that gradually increases the size of the implant over a few months. Whilst my skin was healing I underwent a robotic hysterectomy and removal of tubes etc.
The implant was replaced in November last year however my skin refused to heal and I leaked seroma in high quantities. My surgeon decided to reduce the size of the implant by 70cc. I had my last surgery just before Christmas and have had weekly appointments at the hospital since then with acute care nurses visiting me for two weeks post surgery (including Christmas day). The wound is gradually healing and I should be able to return to lifting things and moving my arms above shoulder height in the next few weeks.
When I was diagnosed I thought it would just be a case of having the initial surgery and completing radiation then I would be able to return to what life was like beforehand. Looking back at my journey I firmly believe that the diagnosis is the easy part, the hard stuff is the recovery afterwards that doesn't happen easily. I am now unable to lift anything above shoulder height and not allowed to undertake any physical activity other than walking until my wound heals. No one ever told me my skin would take this long to heal