Upcoming Mastectomy with Reconstruction - Conyers, GA

I will be having a reconstruction after mastectomy...

I will be having a reconstruction after mastectomy. Today I went to a different PS and she suggested that I do a two step reconstruction...tissue expanders, then silicone implants. I originally wanted saline but the doctor recommended the other. I didn't qualify for the DIEP or TRAM flap due to previous abdominal surgeries and a hernia I have present. It was suggested that I do only implant based reconstruction at the time. I will be getting 800cc implants but I was told today I will probably only be to a C cup at the maximum....which I was very upset to hear but technically there is no cup sizes involved...its cc. My doctor did say after the tissue expanders are filled, if I wasn't satisfied with the size I could do the latissimus dorsi route with the implants to add a bit more volume.
I do have to say ...todays appointment didn't go quite as I had hoped. In my future I had planned on getting breast implants and I was expecting augmentation results. I had to snap back to reality and realize its not going to be like that. Reconstruction is totally different than augmentation.
I also wanted to note that it seems as though finding any pics and information on breast reconstruction on larger patients is scarce....especially on patients that have lost a significant amount of weight and are still large but comfortable where they are at.....Sometimes I feel as though many think that just because one is larger than average..or has saggy skin from weight loss.....there is no need to reconstruct "nice and perky" breast.....and that's not the case at all. ( I understand that some reconstructions don't turn out great...but it seems as though most do)
I hope that any woman who has had a mastectomy or a mastectomy on a larger woman.....doesn't feel that they aren't fit enough.....or attractive enough to deserve to have your breast reconstructed because I have met doctors that certainly feel that way.

Pain from expanders

I had my mastectomy and its been 3 weeks. I had breast reconstruction as well with alloderm and tissue expanders. I had 4 drains and had 2 removed 2 weeks later and then the other 2 came out on week 3. Those drains were so painful. I hate the TE. They are so hard and I am just now starting to be able to deal with the pain. My expanders are very hard and uncomfortable. My muscles have spasms. I was filled to 500cc at the time of surgery! I have heard that is waaaay too much. But anyways things are improving and I am getting better. Still trying to decide on silicone or saline implants. My exchange surgery will be coming soon...

Week 4 of my journey

I am in week 4 of my recovery from the mastectomy and reconstruction. I have had two expansions of 60 cc in each breast each week and am currently at 620cc. The expansions are horrible. I have severe pain for about 3 days then I seem to be back to just moderate pain. I am still on pain meds and muscle relaxers. Whenever I say that I am still in pain, the nurses say..." its normal to feel like a heavy workout". I am thinking to myself......."WHAT?! A heavy workout my ass....I feel like someone took a baseball bat and beat the crap out of my chest!!!.....HEAVY WORKOUT MY ASS!!!!!" I never in my life thought that the breast reconstruction would be the worst pain in my life and I have had 3 c section, a tubal ligation and 2 LCL reconstructions on my left knee. The breast reconstruction takes the cake for sure. I cant believe how much pain I am still in after 4 weeks post op. I fear my nurses and doctor think I may be a pill popper because I ask for a pain med refill each week due to the pain of expanding and in general since my surgery. I am a nurse myself and I know that sometimes medical staff can be quick to judge. I have also heard some people say that their breast reconstruction journey was a breeze....hats off to you...I wish I can say the same. My second expansion of 60cc wasn't that bad....for my right breast...but for my left breast(underneath) it has been soooo painful. I seriously cried....for hours last night. Anyways....to anyone who reads this...if you are going through the same thing...I am so sorry, I feel your pain! I also wanted to give anyone who reads this and is going to have an upcoming mastectomy with reconstruction a heads up of the reality of this surgery. It often seems to be sugarcoated by many people....like...".oh at least you get perky boobs"..."oh...so and so had that done and she loves her new look" or " oh don't worry youll be fine" ...." When I got breast implants it wasn't painful at all"....It is very nice for people to try and relate to you BUT the pain of breast reconstruction is very real and a very different procedure than a simple augmentation and it may have been a breeze for so and so but this is YOU. I had a great friend who had breast augmentation and I remember her saying it was painful....but she was up shopping at walmart the next day! Its been 4 weeks and I have not stepped foot in any store...and I LOVE me some retail therapy!!! I just hope you plastic surgeon has told you the true reality of the surgery. IT IS PAINFUL AND A VERY LONG RECOVERY FOR SOME....like me. I wish the best to everyone and if I can be of some help...please by all means leave me a post and I will do my best to help you through this. Just remember your pain level is what YOU say it is and no one else can deny it. Be an advocate for yourself and dont suffer...if youre in pain ask for a refill on pain meds.
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Comments (7)

Thank you for sharing your journey with us on RealSelf. I'm glad to see you're already meeting some other members that have been in or are in similar situations. I realize reconstruction is a very unique for each person, but it's nice to have some support during the process. Have you met Trinalll and Cindy588? They're toward the end of their reconstruction but have been helpful in the community. Wishing you the best with your reconstruction process. Please keep us posted!
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It is so important to be told that this process is nothing like augmentation; I was never told that! And that this can be a long process as well. I am thankful to be alive, and had to come to terms with the fact that these breasts are not like real ones. But a good surgeon will work with you to make you happy. Find one you feel you can trust (and trust them - listen to their concerns). God Bless you on your journey!
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Thank you so very much! I am hoping for the best..but my life is way more important and I think now that I have actually scheduled everything....I am starting to come to terms with the reality.
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As a"bigger" girl I know what you mean. I hope your surgeon told you that with a BMI over 30% (I'm 5'7 200 lb which is BMI of 32) that you are at significantly higher risk of infection and lymph edema. I ended up with both. Since you are close to Atlanta I am sure there has to be someone trained and experienced in fat grafting. I traveled from Western PA to Miami to have mine done. Sorry to say I don't have after photos because I am still under construction, but you can see what my original expander reconstruction looked like before I went to Miami for a do-over. I am thrilled with the results thus far. You can send me a private message if you want more info but I am having surgery tomorrow Jan 15 . My doctor here in Miami is not only making me feel whole again, he is making me feel even more beautiful than before. In any event, I wish you a safe procedure and speedy recovery. Love, Diane.
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Awww..that was so nice of you! I hope your surgery goes great! They did tell me all the complications that could arise. My doctor seemed confident in my health other than the breast issue. The PS and the breast surgeon recommended this step first and I trust them....but I almost feel like when I express the concern of my breast reconstruction looking nice...they think I am doing this to get implants and cosmetic work. This is to save my life and hopefully make the future a bit more easier...but I also hope they turn out great. My surgery is Feb 5....and the doctor is performing a skin sparing mastectomy. I do have some asymmetry to begin with and I hope they address the issue and at least fix that before inserting my tissue expanders. Well anyways...good luck to you...I hope you recover fast and get the results you deserve!!!
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I want to let you know I have been praying for you to have a safe surgery today. Breast Cancer is devastating, but thankfully your Mastectomy will remove the Cancer and you will have beautiful Breasts from your breast reconstruction. Although you will need to go through a series of fills in your tissue expander, it will be worth wait. Take your time getting that done. It will be worth every minute. It is sad that people may feel Weight or BMI should affect anyone's decision on Breast Reconstruction. You have every right to feel feminine and happy with your body image, regardless of body weight or anything else. Your Breast Reconstruction will go great. I have heard some negative things of the TRAM FLAP Breast Reconstruction. With Breast Cancer, health insurance should not only cover implants but also a breast lift which is an added bonus. Keep in mind, it will take some time to get your results and more than likely slight revisions to make sure your final results, implants and the breast lift the way you want them. As hard as it is, please try and be patient. It can be a long process. I had 6 monthes of Chemo, no radiation. The entire process has taken about a year and a half. Please keep the faith. You are not alone. Sending hugs and prayers your way. Please keep me updated. You are not alone in your struggle. I am just a message or post away. Make sure you take your pain medication exactly as scheduled, I took 2 Percocet every 4 hours. Whatever you do, do NOT wait for the pain to start or you will be in agony. xoxo ~hugs~
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Thank you so much! I am struggling with so much pain and its been 4 weeks and I am still on pain meds... I wanted to do 100cc at each filling but 60 cc is too much pain already. I cant imagine how that would feel. I just posted an update...feel free to read. I will continue to keep you posted on this journey...I have learned that patience is required in this journey!
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