Mastectomy – 2 years later!

Wow! only two years? It seems like forever ago.
So where do I stand now in this whole journey?

Truthfully?…I have no idea. After being discharged from my plastic surgeons care, I never went back to the hospital. No follow up appointment with the surgical oncology department, despite them telling me I should have half yearly check ups.
They never contacted me to make appointments so I never called them.
This being the third year though, I know I’m due to have an MRI in lieu of a mammogram. That, I might just make the appointment for.

As far as how I feel post mastectomy.
I have not regained any feeling in the skin around the implants, it’s still completely numb and often seems a little cooler than the rest of my skin, although the scars have now reduced to fine lines.

Talking of implants. After the surgery to put them in, you get the orders to do implant massage….a word of warning….don’t move them tooooo far to the sides and up and down.
I healed awesomely, with no scar tissue, but I feel that I’m left with larger than I’d prefer pockets so that when I bend over, pick something up and flex my pec muscles it seems like the implant gets stuck and I have to push it back down. Not too bothersome when I’m at home, but kind of annoying/embarassing in the middle of a crowded Walmart.
I imagine people thinking or saying…
“Oh look, there’s that woman who keeps checking her boobs”

Even more embarrassing, which was quite funny at first, is the dancing foobs…Any one sided flex of the pecs and the implant moves up. Party trick at first…majorly embarrassing now.
One thing, that I slacked on in the first year, was the walking my hand up the wall with my finger tips. I did it for a little while, but soon got bored of it and put it off till later, or just forgot completely … bad move on my part.
I ended up with a frozen shoulder and ended up needing a cortisone shot.
The shot itself wasn’t bad, and it helped immensely, but the pain from and leading up to the frozen shoulder was agony.

Another problem, although the area surrounding the implants is numb, just under the left ‘foob’ is a small area (about the size of a finger tip) that is extremely painful if anything touches it. Nerve damage we suspect. It has left me unable to wear a bra, and in turn, not moving my arms to the back of my body to hook a bra, t’s also left me unable to actually put my arms behind me and up my back.
This is something I’m still working on, getting full range of motion back.

For anyone about to have a mastectomy, one tad bit of advice I would give…once all your restrictions on reaching and lifting are gone. Move your arms every which way, or you’ll end up in pain and unable to move them, or at best, not having that full range of motion.

Well, that’s pretty much where I am now. I stood by my decision not to have further reconstruction, and besides the few minor annoyances, and bumps in the road, I can honestly say that if I was faced with a do over, I wouldn’t do anything different, I’d still have the double mastectomy, and still choose to have immediate reconstruction.

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2 Responses to Mastectomy – 2 years later!

  1. Sarah says:

    Hello Tracey! It has been quite some time. I am an absolute LOSER when it comes to social media, making friends on the net, etc. But I keep checking your blog every so often, because you were my hero and your blogs were so humorous and down to earth, and helped me through.

    I thought because you got silicone, you needed an MRI yearly? It was my understanding that the MRI was only for the implants, to see if they were leaking. That was the reason I did not choose silicone. While I got saline, I still see my plastic surgeon yearly. As it stands, I have more contact with my plastic surgeon than I do the Breast Surgeon/Center, although the breast center did say I should come in yearly for breast exams, I decided between my PS and OBGYN, I would be covered.

    I have been wearing the sports bras up until 6 months ago, when I finally got some “girly” bras 🙂 and weened myself off of the ever-so-comfortable-sports bras. As far as after surgery woes…I got this flap of skin connecting from my left shoulder to my left “foob”. I can feel it, and it’s not going away! It just hangs there. It just looks funny. And I got these “divets” (I don’t know what else to call them), on the right side where the drains were. I find it extremely funny how you get a slight cut and they want to put in a stich or two, but they pull a 1/2 inch drain out of your skin, and they just put a Band-Aid on it!

    Did you get the BRAC test?? I hope so, you are a candidate to get through your insurance, meaning they should cover it.

    BTW, your pictures are absolutely beautiful!!!

    Hope to talk soon!!!

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    • Tracey says:

      Well hey there stranger! So nice to hear from you 🙂
      I often wonder how you’ve been getting on, yet like you, I suck at communication and my blog has been a little neglected this past year.
      So glad to hear you are doing well and have your girlie bras now 😉
      I’d never heard of the yearly MRI’s, but then I’m at the point where whatever a doctor tells me, I take with a pinch of salt….lonnnng story….but I’m sure I will blog about it soon 😉
      Sounds like we both have our ‘battle scars’ so to speak, with weird skin things going on.
      Have you mentioned it to your PS? They should be able to ‘touch up’ anything that bothers you, at least that’s what mine offered, although after all I’ve been through so far, operation wise, I’m quite happy to stay away from the knife and freaky looking LOL.
      We’re still arguing the BRAC test, but I’ve just changed PCP and my breast surgeon retired, so hopefully now we are on the right track. I have an appointment in just over a week, so fingers crossed. I refused to see a doctor at all last year, except for a check up on my thyroid…and I managed at least one year with no nasty diagnosis’s…here’s to 2016 being a ‘your body is trying to kill you’ free one also…for the both of us 😉

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