Saturday, December 22, 2007

Interesting email exchange

I have been reading various breast cancer bulletin boards and came across a woman who had the DIEP flap procedure. I sent her a note asking if she wouldn't mind sharing her experience. She got back to me very quickly and was incredibly helpful. She sent me her phone number and said I could contact her anytime. I recognized the number as a Simi Valley exchange (my home town) and asked her about it. She lives not too far from the house I grew up in. Kinda neat.

I asked her specifically if she'd had a c-section because I am curious how the two recoveries compare. This is her response, which I find hopeful! I was up and walking around the second day after my c-section and didn't find it too uncomfortable, so this should be a breeze!

As for a c-section, no I have not had one. My friend who had a double mastectomy and DIEP has had a c-section. She said this was a better recovery. They do not cut the muscle so you have abdominal strength. One thing though is you can not pick anything heavy up for about 6 weeks. That could be hard with a little one. The pain pump was inserted I suppose at the end of the surgery and stapled to my abdomon. I was pretty freaked out when the Dr. went to remove it. You do not have any feeling in the abdomon after the surgery so it is not painful to remove, it just looked like it would be. The pump was great though and really alleviated the pain. I had it for I think 4 days. I would ask your surgeon for one. My friend did not have one and she was uncomfortable without it.

I had the second half of the reconstruction 4 months later and that was an outpatient proceedure. He reduced my breast a little and fixed the dog ears on the end of my stomach incision. I had my nipple done 2 months later. I watched him construct my nipple without any anesthesia because I have no feeling in that breast. He also fixed my belly button at the same time. I thought the whole proceedure was very interesting. The whole cancer process is amazing. My oncologist said that if you every have to have BC, now is the time because there have been so many advanced in just the last 5 years.

I hope I have helped ease some of your anxiety. Call or email me if you need to talk to someone. I'll be more than happy to help answer any questions you have.

The online support for breast cancer (or any cancer actually) is wonderful. There are many people out there who want to share their stories and help however they can. It's heartwarming.

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