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kruzin (@kruzin)

Mastectomy and breast reconstruction pros and cons?

Breast Cancer | Last Active: Jan 13 6:55pm | Replies (202)

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I had breast cancer in my left breast. Decided to do a trams flap surgery. I have regretted the decision every day since. My breast is great but my stomach has given me trouble. It feels as if it is pushing out from the inside out most of the time. I have swelling almost ever day. I look like a 55 year old that is pregnant. I have no feeling in my stomach or cannot feel anything when I go to the bathroom. I have to physically look to make sure I am done urinating. Would love to have my feeling back so that I could enjoy sex again. Mine was done in 2011 and because the mesh collapsed and I had to have three surgery to remove and add another mess to my stomach hoping it would be better. That is definitely why I have no feeling in most of my body. I do have discomfort in my left side. It is very discouraging can not do hardly anything for long. Have to rest seems like I am tired all the time. Have discomfort in my right side because it seems like it Kinks. I too was told that it would be like I had a tummy tuck and it is not at all like this. Frustrated most of the time.

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Replies to "I had breast cancer in my left breast. Decided to do a trams flap surgery. I..."

I don’t have the same issues you are dealing with, but I have learned a lot about lymphedema since I developed it in my left arm due to my mastectomy/axillary dissection. You may have it in your torso/stomach region (very common after those surgeries) causing your swellings. It causes other problems too but swelling is what people see. Google “Lymphedema Education & Research Network” and “National Lymphedema Network” to find out more. It is manageable. I use active massage sleeves from SolideaUSA because they are more comfortable than traditional compression garments. They have items that would work for your torso/abdomen too. I can somewhat relate to your other issue because unrelated to cancer, but to fix pelvic floor prolapse, I had a hysterectomy (plus tubes and ovaries removed) last summer. The doctor who came in to do the reconstruction put in a mesh mid-urethral sling for stress incontinence prevention. He put it in too tight and I could not urinate at all. I had to learn to self-cath. A month later he went back in for a “revision” ( he cut the sling to loosen it). The reconstruction failed, and the “revision” only helped some. I could only urinate standing up while simultaneously leaning over! Six months later I had the reconstruction redone with a different doc at a nearby large teaching hospital. I still have issues with urinating. Things just don’t work/feel like they used to. Yes, I too have to really pay attention to things because the normal sensations are gone.
I did consider DIEP flap surgery, but I was too scared of any of the other surgeries that used muscle tissue to form the breast mound to even consider them. I kept thinking it would create a different set of problems, which is what seems to have happened to you.
Anyway, good luck. There are a lot of us out here! : )

I just hate that you are having issues for so long. Back in 2004 I made the decision to have a mastectomy with reconstruction. But I just didn't feel right about the tram flap. I cannot pinpoint why, but it troubled me, so I decided to research other options. At the time I was a member of an online support community on FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered). After much discussion, research, and recommendations from the folks of the FORCE group, I chose to travel to New Orleans to meet with two different doctors who were doing a relatively new (at least I had never heard of it) reconstructive procedure named DIEP). I chose Dr. Scott Sullivan and Dr. Frank DellaCroce at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery in New Orleans (www.breastcenter.com). I highly recommend this fine group of doctors. I have never ever regretted this decision and to this day still believe I made the best decision of my life. I truly believe you won't be disappointed. It's worth investigating and even going for an interview visit if you so choose. I don't want you to have to go through this any longer.