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Case of the sads before mastectomy

ellendorfellendorf Member Posts: 13
edited July 2021 in Newly diagnosed
Hi everyone. Am about to have a mastectomy and reconstruction this Friday. DCIS everywhere is seems. Two failed lumpectomies so mastectomy it is. I have finally been crying my eyes out yesterday and today hardly any tears to date. Anyone else go through the same? Ellen 


  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,122
    SO sorry to see you here @ellendorf, in the club that no-one really wants to join - what you are feeling would be totally normal & OK ...  You've had a hard time of it with the 2 lumpectomies as well ..... feel free to tell us your story so far .... you can add your town/city to your profile, as we may have members nearby who you may be able to make contact with, after this Covid madness settles down!

    I only had a lumpectomy - but I took a pic of my boobs before hand, as I had no idea what the one would look like afterwards ..... you may like to do the same?  

    Feel free to check out this post with some handy links in the forum .... if you are into Arts & Crafts at all - put up some pics!

    All the best for your surgery & recovery on Friday xx. We'll be thinking of you xx
  • BlackWidowBlackWidow Lake GardensMember Posts: 256
    I am so sorry that you have to join our club but welcome anyway @ellendorf .  You are feeling exactly as we have all felt as we approach mastectomy.  We mourn the loss of the breast who has let us down but we are also glad to say goodbye to the beast within.  The tears come and go at the silliest of moments, don't they ?  You are ahead of some as reconstruction is in your plan.  You will be OK, take care and chat here when you need to.
  • ellendorfellendorf Member Posts: 13
    Thank you both. Yes not a club I wanted to be part of but here I am. Feeling pretty sorry for myself today and scared shitless. Mourning the loss of my breast and not wanting to be the girl with cancer…I am sure none of us wants to be that girl…
    I don’t feel like I can be that much of a whinger as so many others have it worse than me. Be in touch as I go forward. Xx
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,122
    Take Deep breaths  @ellendorf ..... keep busy between now & Fri ....  accept any assistance that is offered .....  and take any pain meds offered!!  ;) 

    take care xx
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,309
    Hi @ellendorf It's a pretty miserable time. I had my chemo before a double mastectomy so had a loooonnnngg time to stress about it.

    In the end, it wasn't so bad. Your brain sort of goes into neutral as you trudge in the hospital door. That's probably not much comfort to you now, but maybe keep in mind those puppies are trying to kill you. Mxx
  • Julez1958Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 402
    Totally normal to have a case of the sads before mastectomy.
    I am not a cry baby but never cried so much in my life as I did after my diagnosis.
    You have come to the right place here as we have all been on the “journey.”
    I had a left mastectomy in October last year and it was a whirlwind from initially feeling the lump to going under the knife.
    I was an E cup so had a lot of boob to lose, I had a reduction in the other breast but have now decided to have a prophylactic mastectomy of the other one and and having DIEP flap surgery in a couple of weeks and will be a C cup.
    amongst all the doom and gloom and emotion ( in my case hysteria) there is a lot of good stuff too , we are in a medical system not overrun by Covid 19, you will get great care whether you are in the public or private system, and breast cancer has a really good prognosis compared to many other cancers.
    There a lot of good resources on this website and on this forum NO question is ever deemed” silly”.

  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 870
    Hi there @ellendorf, I had both off in mid 2017. I also had chemo first and so had already had time to wrap my head around it all. I found the pain after surgery to be surprisingly little and I have no regrets. As Zoffiel mentions above, these previously rather nice boobs had turned feral, and were trying their best to kill me, so my choice was easy...they had to go. I hope all goes smoothly for you and I'm sure it will. Ally.
  • ellendorfellendorf Member Posts: 13
    So glad I joined the network. Originally thought it wouldn’t be for me but realised I needed a group who would know what I was going through. So anyone out there had a mastectomy with implant reconstruction at the same time? What were your experiences? Does it feel really alien? Painful? Appreciate any advice. No lymph node removal so hopefully that will mean quicker movement in my arm. Thank you for welcoming me to the group ❤️
  • Julez1958Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 402
    You may want to look at joining the breast reconstruction Group on here , there are many helpful photos and stories of both types of reconstruction , implant and the type I will be having , using your own tissue.

  • StrongCoffeeStrongCoffee Member Posts: 112
    @ellendorf sorry I'm a bit late to the party (Vic teacher, so been busy returning to normal school!). I had a mastectomy with immediate implant reconstruction 4 months ago. It was on my right (dominant) side and I had 2 lymph nodes removed for biopsy.

    Have they already biopsied any lymph nodes with your other surgeries. That scar and area has definitely been the most sensitive. However not just because of the lymph node, also because breast tissue extends towards your armpit, plus my titanium mesh (that holds the impant in place) is stitched onto the muscle there (and all around, but lots there).

    I have put photos into into Choosing Reconstruction group and shared my story while it was fresh in my mind.

    I ended up with skin thick enough to have my implant put over the muscle, not under as I'd expected. This has meant my recovery has been a little easier.

    As it was my dominant hand, I had to adjust the way I do a lot of things. However by 3 weeks I could do the basics with my normal hand (wiping my bum took a bit longer as reaching either squished my armpit or my foob, lol). I am still sleeping with a soft pillow under my armpit - not essential, but better still. I did my exercises 4x a day and by 3 weeks had my full range of movement back. I was ready to get back to trying modified yoga when lockdown hit.

    Once your plastic surgeon says you can (maybe 4 weeks?) I'd recommend investing in some silicone scar gel. A tiny tube is about $45 but 100% worth it. I saw my oncologist yesterday and she commented on how faded the scar already looked.

    I was so scared before surgery. Honestly, I think I've had every emotion and probably some new ones since the day I was diagnosed! The pain was what is was. Take the drugs. If they make you feel bad, ask for different drugs. Definitely take the panadol they give you along with the hard stuff, it helps. You'll have drain(s) and maybe a negative pressure dressing with a tube attached to a pump - so there's a bit to carry into the toilet!

    I had surgery on Tuesday, went to stay at my mum's where Hospital in The Home checked on my each day on Friday. Saw my PS on Monday, who took my drain out and discharged me from the hospital care. I thought I would stay longer in hospital, but my roommates were too noisy and my mum's place is so quiet! I went home (noisy, busy, kids etc) on the Monday. As someone else mentioned, you sort of go into autopilot for a lot of it, especially the morning of surgery.

    I've had a super smooth recovery, have been perfectly happy with my medical team (the ward nurses are legends! They work so hard!). Happy with the aesthetic and performance of my implant. I'm getting more nerves reactivating, but the armpit side of rhe actual boob is still quite numb, so if I lean on it with my arm my arm does not realise it's my boob. It feels like when you have your handbag under your arm (except on your front). I haven't felt the implant as feeling cold. Maybe because I haven't got a huge one (small C cup?).

    Anyhow, sorry for the long ramble. Just tried to write anything I remembered that may help. Best wishes for the surgery tomorrow!!
  • ellendorfellendorf Member Posts: 13
    Thank you for responding and giving me all this info. I am late to the party and have asked to join the reconstruction group late today but will be at hospital at 6 am tomorrow!!! 
    Thankfully no lymph nodes coming out tomorrow- had one out at my first lumpectomy and agree by far the most painful procedure. I will be using my own skin but I have to admit I am not sure there is enough for the implant to go over the muscle - stupidly not a question I have asked. Will also be a c cup. Luckily for me it is my left side so not my dominant side. And also staying in hospital until the drain is out. Hopefully not too noisy room mates. Once I am on the reconstruction mastectomy page will share how I went and photos. Thank you so much for this! ❤️
  • StrongCoffeeStrongCoffee Member Posts: 112
    It's standard for it to go under the muscle - gives a more natural look, especially on very lean women. I'm not very lean (lol, not even close!) plus my tumour was tucked nice an cosy in the middle of my breast tissue, so they didn't need to remove any 'extra' behind the skin to get good margins. The plastic surgeon made the decision on the spot during the op that it would be the best option for me. Even she forgets she did it that way (if she doesn't look at my file) as it happens so little.

    I think the main thing with under the muscle is to take extra care not to over exert/strain the chest muscles. So no lifting washing baskets, vacuuming, scrubbing, for at least... ummm... just try to work it for sympathy and slavery for as long as you can!

    The hospital room mates weren't that bad. If I'd had to go straight home to my own busy household, I probably would have stayed in longer and just chucked in some earplugs at night.
  • ellendorfellendorf Member Posts: 13
    Love your humour! Don’t worry I ain’t lean either, in fact eating my way through the anxiety. Not planning on doing much post op and will be playing the slavery/ sympathy card as needed! Suppose I should try and get some sleep. Thanks again. 
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,122
    All the best for your surgery, @ellendorf ... take it easy, accept any offers of assistance as you won't be doing any lifting or housework for a little while .... as @StrongCoffee says!!   Milk it for as long as you can!  ;) 

    take care xx

  • StrongCoffeeStrongCoffee Member Posts: 112
    I hope everything went smoothly today and they've got you on the good drugs now!
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