We are Macmillan. Cancer Support
hi - if you feel like 20 questions, here goes minus the Beer! :
1] It would be reassuring to know how the hospital procedure works just before and after surgery, how long does a single mastectomy take in a straight DCIS [non-invasive] operation, would it be 2, 3 or more hours?
2] With a simple DCIS mastectomy is the underlying muscle cut, I'm still not certain about that?
Having had a discectomy years ago, a five hour operation for a fractured lumbar disc, that time after anaesthesia I felt extremely weak, it took a day to just get a little strength back.
3] Would I be able to move my left arm at all [left breast mastectomy] - and would there be need for a bed pan if needed in the first few hours after operation?
4] Is there a difference with the initial recovery period depending on age, say in 40's, 50's and 60+ years?
A 'thank you' - again to those who kindly answered my earlier post over the weekend.
Hi N, I had a mastectomy and lymph node removal Oct 2011, no idea how long it took,just grateful to be asleep, op was thurs afternoon, assistance given going to the toilet because of drain fri afternoon, drain removed temp prosthesis fitted painkillers given, exercises given, and home.felt better being at home, kept up painkillers and stuck to excercises,and felt really good within a week.Just see this as the start of getting rid of this cancer,and the road to recovery, I am 60,and feel optomistic about the future, so good luck, and allow yourself time to recover properly. regards little jude
hi Ethel - my best wishes to you for an enjoyable Happy Birthday today!
It seems from what you went through, the first week was the worse for discomfort and by week two you were able to drive again with full movement and reach, that's quite quick I guess.
I wonder if you experienced any Lymphoedema or did your execises help to prevent that?
Can you tell me also what is the difference between 'remaking' the breast and 'reconstruction'? It was mentioned to me that I could go for an implant but I need to research this more.
With best wishes
hi little jude, we are in the same decade, me a little older. Thank you for the details, this will help knowing what to expect when I've have the mastectomy. From what I have learned so far the exercises are important to recovery. You had a 'prosthesis' fitted - would that be an implant?
What kind of painkillers do they give you, I can't take paracetamol, is it codeine?
It must have been a relief for you to feel good within a week, that quickly and the future has a positive tone to it again.
With best wishes!
Hi Diana, think I had either tramadol or codeine can't really remember,am not going for reconstructruction, just want to get on with enjoying life,still am numb in the chest and arm region,but thankfully no sign of lymphodema,do still think back to last year going thro chemo etc. but you know what that is soooooo! last year ,onwards and upwards that is what I say, best wishes Jude
They should tell you but it can be between 1.5 and 5 hrs. Depending if you have any kind of reconstruction could be longer.
The underlying muscle shouldn't be cut unless they find it is affected. You may well feel the same but you just have to go with the flow!
Yes, you should be able to move your arm although it might get stiffer for a while. Do the exercises they give you. If they don't, have a look on here, I'm pretty sure there are some (or on breastcancercare.org). You might have a bedpan if you aren't feeling up to much, but most probably the nurses will help you to the toilet if you need it.
I've never heard it called remaking the breast! Prosthetics are false boobs that you tuck in your bra. Implants are put under the skin and muscle. If you are having reconstruction, you should have a consultation with your plastic surgeon who will give you a list of possible options depending on your body.
Depending where you are in the country, there may be a support group local to you where you can go and see real women with reconstructions?
I had MX and ax node clearance with implant recon.
The surgery itself took two hours and I was in recovery for a further two then back in the ward.
Nurses helped me with a bed pan that evening and brought the commode the next morning. After that I walked to the loo..although a little warily. I felt light headed for a couple of days and very sleepy for three days.
First drain was removed on day two and I went home with two drains which were removed a few days later.
Movement of my arm was not too bad. I had my implant placed under the muscle and it was this muscle which caused the most pain as it adjusted.
If it helps you, I have photographs of before (with my surgeons drawings on my breast!) and various after stages here You need to scroll down and down and down again to get to the pre and post surgery photos!
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