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samdah

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Reply with quote  #1 
Well, after weighing all the options, reading a ton of brochures, talking to people and reading the posts here, I know what surgery I am opting for.

I want the expander/implant.

Although I know what they are saying about how more realistic the tram would be for visual and touch, I just can't see going through that drastic of a surgery right now.  I know I am taking a risk with the expander and that the implant might not work right. But, the medical risks with the other surgery are greater for me.

So, I am taking my 70% chance that the implant will work fine. If someone told me I had a 70% chance of winning something in a raffle, I would buy a ticket.

So, I will definitely have to have a good argument for the plastic surgeon. But, no one argues like I do (ask my husband). It is rare that someone can get me to change my mind or go along with something so I think it will be okay.

Thanks to everyone for your help in giving me information on options.

Sam

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Reply with quote  #2 
Sam,
Do you know the BEST part of this decision?
If you should want to change your mind 10 years from now- you can!
I know EXACTLY how you feel about not wanting to deal with big surgery right now.

Ok Kiddo- this is the surgery I know so you got me!

Love,
g


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lizws

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Reply with quote  #3 
Sam,

It is so hard to make this decision.  I'm happy that you've done what you feel is right for you.  That's what I did.  If there is anything I can help you with just let me know.  I had a bilat w/ expanders.

Hugs
Liz

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ps123

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Reply with quote  #4 

Hi Sam,

I've been away for a few days and haven't caught up on all the posts but it sounds like your surgeons have a concern with your implant reconstruction since you are going to have radiation.  I just wanted to let you know that I successfully had implant reconstruction and also had radiation.  I had chemo first, then a single mast. with expander (Feb 2003). My ps expanded me quickly  and once fully expanded I had 28 radiation treatments.  I had my exchange about 2-3 months after finishing radiation.  Implant recon. was the only recon. I would consider, the TRAM was just more serious surgery than I wanted to do.  Luckily, my ps had no problem trying the expander/implant surgery and was also of the opinion that if the success rate was 70% there was no reason why I couldn't be one of the 70% and that there was no reason not to try.  I did end up having a lift of the good side for symmetry and have been very having with the results and have no regrets about doing it. 

It's hard making all these decisions but it sounds like you've done your research and are doing what's right for you, which is the most important thing.  Good luck!  Let me know if there's anything I can help with.

Pat

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Reply with quote  #5 
Pat that is really great to hear!
I am going to have to have my expander radiated and you give me hope!
Thanks.
g


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cowgirl

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Reply with quote  #6 
Sam,
Good, you made the decision! It is feels good to make a choice. Stick to your guns, and know you are the best at making this. I support you all the way!

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samdah

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Reply with quote  #7 
I don't have all the details yet, but I meet with the PS on 11/21 for a final consult. My surgery will be 11/26 and I will spend a night in the hospital.

Here's praying for good things!


Sam

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cowgirl

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Reply with quote  #8 
Sam,
No one will tell you but have a loved one or someone spend the night with you. When you get back to your room, you will not be able to move either arm or hand three inches. You will not be able to call the nurse, by the morning it will be so much better. Hubby had to go home with the kids, I didn't think I needed anyone. A GF surprised me and came up to spend the night, she was a god send. I was heavily sedated, but thirsty, hungry and in pain. There were times I needed a lot of help the first 12 hours. By the AM you will be a different person.

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samdah

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Reply with quote  #9 
Thanks! My husband is already planning to stay the night with me. He did last year when I had my thyroid surgery and that was 2 days!


I think he slept better than I did though. He was snoring away while I was watching TV and trying to get the nurses to stop bugging me every 15 minutes!



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cowgirl

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Reply with quote  #10 

This time you will be on Morphine, enjoy the ride! I guarantee you will be snoring louder than him, one day you can get him back. DH said I snored so loud before he left, I sounded like him.


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Reply with quote  #11 
Hi Sam!

When you see your PS ask him if he could use the ON-Q Pain pump. It is great!
It is a little tube that is put into the surgical site and attached to it is a ball that has a numbing medication like lidocaine that continuously and slowly releases numbing meds for three days. IT IS GREAT. It isn't a narcotic so you aren't loopy. It just works!

Now, I am a little different from most people. I had a different experience with my surgery.

You remember that I can't take narcotics at all so I did this on tylenol and that OnQ pump. I was wheeled out of recovery at 1 AM. I had the night nurse from hell.
She was in no mood to deal with someone who was wide awake at 1 am!

I was able to move. You have to rely on your abs. But you can move. The worst pain I had was from where he took out my nodes. I had the catheter removed but the night nurse wouldn't lower the sides of the bed so in order to pee- which I had to do every 10 minutes it seemed- I had to shimmy down to the end of the bed and slip out between the crack at the end of the bed. I then had to unplug the iv from the wall and THEN walk to the bathroom.

I was released and was home by 12 the next day. It felt so good to get home!

Do you have a recliner? If you do that will be the best place to sleep for the first couple of weeks.

I don't have one so I made a nest in my bed. I had pillows that propped up my back, and pillows for either side of me to rest my arms on. You won't feel comfortable laying flat on your back - so you need to get propped up.

I had four drains.

I made a holder for them by taking my old bras and sewing the cups to a satin ribbon. Then I took the clasp to one of the bras and made it as the clasp to the ribbon. SO it was a belt with these cups hanging off it and each drain had a little home.

As I think of more things I will add them for you.

It wasn't that bad- REALLY IT WASN'T!
And the best part is that you wake up with cleavage!

xxoo,
g


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AlaskaDeb

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Reply with quote  #12 
Hey there-

I didn't have recon, but I wanted to stop by and wish you well!  I had a bilat mastectomy.  Take good care of yourself and try not to stress leading up to the big day...yeah, I know....easy to say, hard to do.   Also do a bit of reading on lymphedema and how you can try and avoid it.  That was a big surprise to me after my surgery, and not a good one

Good luck and keep us posted
Hugs
Deb C

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cowgirl

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Reply with quote  #13 
Oh yeah I was home by 2 the next day too. I had two drains, I used big hummer safety pins. Basically when I was at home those drains were out for anyone to see. I found a very big shirt that I could cover up in. But being home is wonderful. I am not a person that likes it to be away from my family, so being home is best for me.

The ACS made these little and I do mean little pillows, like 5x5. If you put one under each arm it helped the pain.

Sam you will find the tricks that work for you.

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samdah

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Reply with quote  #14 
I do have a recliner so that should be good. The most challening thing will be keeping all my animals off me!

I was on morphine with my last surgery for my thyroid. When I came off it, I was crabby!!!

My mom will probably stay for a few days after I get home so that will help me and Keith. Although, sometimes she does tend to hover a lot.

I am so small that I don't plan to really wear a bra if I don't have to for awhile. I am a 34A so not much there to take care of. I will ask my PS about the pain pump though. I have no problem taking vicodin and stuff, although I don't like feeling out of it. But, depending on how bad it hurts, maybe I will be glad to feel that way.

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Reply with quote  #15 
You never ever have to wear a bra again! EVER! It is amazing. You get Barbie boobs.

Do you want Mr. Fluffy to give your animals a good talking to???

I think if Buddy is a jumper he might be the worst of it all. But I am sure he is very mild mannered!!!


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samdah

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Reply with quote  #16 
Buddy is not really a jumper, but he does like to be petted and he does like to sleep with me.

The cats are a little tougher. Morgan doesn't usually come up by me, he is more Keith's cat. Ozzy does like to sit with me especially if he knows I am having issues. The new one, Boo,  is still in the garage most of the time so she should be okay. She is in the house a little more than she should be these days, but I can't resist her. And she loves to play which is so cute to watch.





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CherylG

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Reply with quote  #17 
SAM... it's funny how animals have a sense of what's going on. I have two very agitated little dogs who were usually always jumping on me. After my surgery they slept quietly near my feet. My cat would crawl up in my lap but never went near the surgery site. They seem to know instinctively that you're hurting.

I had a bilat and got through it quite well with just Tylenol. (and I do not have a high pain tolerance at all) I didn't have recon but I found there was way less pain than I expected .... maybe because the nerves are all cut??

Drains are more annoying than anything ... a camisole with pockets or loose shirt with pockets sewn into it are good. I had 4 drains bit my pockets were large and 2 drains fit in each.

You will do fine... try and enjoy your thanksgiving... easier said than done I know. But I found surgery much easier than I expected.

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Karen1956

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Reply with quote  #18 
Sam- I am glad that you made a decision that you feel good about.  I had my bilat with expanders on 3/1/06.  I was lucky to spend two nights in the hospital. The day or surgery I did not get to my room till 6pm.  I really don't remember much about that night. DH had to go home to be with the two younger kids (they were 7 and 16 at the time).  I had two drains - one on each side.  I do remember being told not to move my arms away from side, but I was not a good patient and would move  them - but don't remember problems. By the time I got home from the hospital I was only taking acetamenophin as all the pain meds made me nauseated.  I wore button/zip down from tops for a couple of weeks.  I do remember feeling good enough to go out to lunch with girlfriends two weeks post mastectomy before I started chemo. The hardest part was going from a tummy/side sleeper to back sleeper, but now 20 months later, I still sleep on my back, but that is probably because I had the expanders for one year - needed to wait 6 months post rads.
Wishing you an easy time with your surgery and easy recovery.  Gentle hugs to you.  Karen
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