Double Mastectomy - Bullhead12

Procedure or Surgery Associated with Breast Cancer. Posted on September 7, 2012 View this journey (5 Experiences)

After lengthy meetings with my surgeon, long conversations with friends, family, and consideration of my family history, I opted to have a bilateral mastectomy, instead of a lumpectomy. For me, I felt and still feel that this was the best decision. For years, I would have to have repeat mammograms and sometimes ultrasounds as my breast were very, very dense. There always seemed to be a shadow or the pictures weren't definitive enough. I waited for that phone call every time I had a mammo and stressed until the final results were in.
Believe me, this was not an easy decision as I knew a lumpectomy was a short recovery time and the mastectomy would be a lengthy recovery. Luckily, my surgeon and the plastic surgeon were fabulous. We discussed all options inside and out and over and over until I felt comfortable. They never made me feel like I was wasting their time. They always took my phone calls and answered any questions that I had. Never did they offer their advice as to what they felt I should do until after I had made the decision to have the mastectomy and they both agreed that they felt I was making the right decision for me based on all of our conversations. My husband was right there beside me all of the way. I was lucky in that my DCIS was still non-invasive so I had the the time to research and make my decision. Also, my surgeon was doing a tissue sparing mastectomy and my plastic surgeon agreed that he would immediately place my implants in so I did not have to go through the tissue stretching. Of course, if my pathology report came back positive, I would have to have them removed but both were pretty sure that they would be able to remove all of the cancer which was in my milk ducts AND I would not require radiation or tamoxifen. The surgery went as we had expected and I stayed in the hospital for two days. This is an extensive surgery and requires a lengthy period of recovery. You have drains from each side and bulbs that hang from the front to catch the liquid that your body will be excreting. They must be emptied and measured every day and a log kept so the doctor can determine when it is appropriate to remove the drains. My drains were in for almost a month. Once the drains are removed, it is a little easier to function but you still cannot use your arms for anything except very minimal movement. It does get easier from there as you don't have the drains to deal with and movement becomes easier. I had my mastectomy in 1/2012, an additional plastic surgery in 5/12 and have temporarily suspended having my nipple formed and tattooed until winter as I need time to not be recuperating. I definitely know that I made the right decision for me. It's not for everyone and if you are thinking about it, make sure you are real comfortable with your surgeon and plastic surgeon as they can make all the difference.

Went as Expected: Agree
Minimal Recovery: Disagree
Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
1 Comment
  • mary1954's Avatar

    This sounds so like me! I hope I get a good team. I'm already having to change drs because of insurance. Good luck with your recovery, you sound great. Very encouraging!

    over 7 years ago

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