The left side is what a Double Mastecomy should look like after surgery, the middle picture is what it should NOT look like after surgery and the picture on the far right shows you what my drains look like. There are a couple different types of drains but the type of drain you recieve will depend on what your insurance will cover.
The "after" picture on the left is without an implant. Most people do not have an implant at the time of the surgery, they usually have expander's or nothing depending on what treatments they need. Everyone is different, your doctor will help you decide what is the best option for you. The reason the stitches are not straight on the after photo is because he was trying to save all the good skin.
Reconstruction will stretch out the scar and it will fade over time. I have seen the after product of a reconstructed breast and nipple, so many of my fears are gone. It is hard to look at my chest now but I am confident I will have a sucessful reconstruction. I met another young girl who went through this process. She showed my what her reconstructed breast. I met her 3 yrs after her surgery and I was amazed. Aside from the scar which had faded nicely, they look "normal". She can wear a bikini and you can't even tell. The entire reconstruction process is long (6+ months) but I am going to one of the top Dr.'s in this field in California who will specializes in this procedure.
Today I spent the entire day at different Dr.'s offices and on the phone with insurance yesterday. As suspected, had a nasty infection set in the area that "died". Dr. Uribe, my regular surgeon told me today that she could no longer treat me, but she was sorry about the surgery outcome. Really? She then left the office to meet with another patient. She didn't even take the time to wrap the area so, I had to look through the cabinets and find what I needed. This infection has been spreading for 3 weeks now. It smells, it's swollen and my entire breast is hard and shaping into a tight ball. After being put an an antibiotic that was obviously not working I was instructed to take a bleach bath. She told me to add a cup of bleach to my bath water and soak 2-3 times/day. Not only was that scary and weird, but it did not work. By this point I was getting really frustrated with my care. I realized she did not use good judgement and should have sent me to see another Dr. earlier before the infection got so bad. Although Dr. Uribe couldn't continue to treat me you would think she would follow up or at least have someone from the office call after they sent me packing...and she is the best in town. Not good!!!!! If you are in Yuma and you need a surgeon, do not go to Dr. Uribe. She lacks compassion for her patients (I have talked to others that are upset with her) and it is not uncommon to spend 1-2 hours waiting to see her because she triple books patients. Anyway, I went to see Dr. Miller (a plastic surgeon) on an emergency status. He doesn't usually take our insurance, but he is the only board certified surgeon in town. After he got over the shock of the condition my chest was in we got to work on getting the surgery approved.
My infection has spread and damaged the good skin. Now, it all must be removed before infection sets in the rest of my body. The size of the area covered most of the breast and 2 inches under the incision. The picture is of the left breast but the right had an infection in it too. In the picture I look like I am missing a nipple but have normal breast. That is because I had an implant but all the breast tissue was removed. What normally happens would be that overtime that skin is stretched out and I would get a larger implant over time. Expander's and flap surgery are options too. In my case, the implant and dead skin was removed. Now that I have lost all the good skin, after my treatments when I go for reconstruction I will need expander's to stretch the skin to make room for the implant. This stretching process will take months.
Back to the appt.....the plastic surgeon was VERY concerned. He had never seen anything so bad and was in shock that Dr Uribe let it get to this point. I met with Dr Miller on Thursday night and he is doing the surgery tomorrow, Friday morning. He is taking everything out and I will restart this lovely process as mentioned earlier. I still plan on going to San Diego for the full reconstruction but have to do something right away with this infection. It is terrible looking and feeling. He said it should be an out patient thing (keeping my fingers crossed) but SO NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THE DRAINS!!! Those things are just as bad as the operation. They may need to do a skin graph once the infected area heals. my mom is scheduled to fly home sat and we already changed her ticket once so, we think we will have her go home as scheduled and bring her back in Dec. my friend is driving from San Diego to help with the kids for the weekend. Kelly, my husband will take the week off. Chemo is pushed back again but this infection has been removed and I am finally in the care of a qualified caring dr.
I GOT OUT OF THE HOSPITAL YESTERDAY AFTER HAVING A DOUBLE MASTECTOMY AND LYMPH NODES REMOVED. THEY FOUND ADDITIONAL CANCER WHEN THEY REMOVED THE BREAST TISSUE SO I AM GLAD THEY DID THE MAST.
THEY ALSO FOUND A THIRD LYMPH NODE WITH CANCER.
THE BAD NEWS IS THAT THE BREAST LOST BLOOD SUPPLY WHERE MOST OF THE CANCER WAS FOUND. UNFORTUNATELY, IT MAY NOT RETURN. MY BREAST HAS MANY LARGE BLACK (DEAD) SPOTS. AS IF LOOKING DOWN WHERE YOUR BREAST USED TO BE AND SEEING A BUMPY VERSION OF A MAKE SHIFT BREAST WITH STITCHES THROUGH THE MIDDLE WAS NOT BAD ENOUGH, IT WAS BLACK WHERE IT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN.
I HAD SEEN THE NEW VERSION OF MY BREAST AFTER SURGERY. I KNEW WHAT TO EXPECT AND WAS OK WITH IT. THE FOLLOW DAY WHEN IT WAS BLACK IN SPOTS I COULD NOT BREATH AND COULDN'T LOOK AT IT. SEEING PICTURES OF HOW THE BREAST AREA WILL LOOK IN A DRWAING IS ONE THING, BUT SEEING THAT IMAGE, THE REAL THING ON YOUR BODY IS ANOTHER. NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU LOOKED AT THE DRAWING, YOU WILL NEVER BE PREPARED FOR THE SHOCK. YOU JUST HAVE TO LOOK AT THE POSITIVE SIDE AND REALIZE THAT NOT ONLY ARE YOUR BREAST GONE, BUT SO IS THE CANCER THAT WAS MAKING YOUR BODY IT'S HOME. KEEPING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE WILL GET YOU THROUGH THE TOUGH TIMES. STAYING STRONG, STAYING ALIVE IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT.
LAST NIGHT WAS A HARD NIGHT AND ALL I COULD DO WAS CRY AT THIS MONSTER IMAGE LEFT IN MY MIND OF A DEAD BLACK BREAST AS I WALKED AROUND THE HOUSE CARRYING THESE TWO LARGE DRAINS THAT HANG OUT OF THE SURGICAL SITE BUT TODAY IS A BETTER DAY. I AM TRYING TO FOCUS ON THE FACT THAT THEY REMOVED THE CANCER FROM MY BODY AND MY SURVIVAL CHANCES ARE VERY GOOD. CHEMO WAS SCHEDULED AROUND THE WEEK OF THANKSGIVING BUT MAY BE PUSHED BACK IF ADDITIONAL SURGERY IS NEEDED.
I have attached a pic of the drains. They are very uncomfortable. I have to sleep sitting up and if I move to the side they poke me in the ribs. I have 2 large bags I have to empty twice a day and measure the fluid (GROSS). Each drain has 2 tubes, a total of 4 on each side of my rib cage. In this picture, I am wearing a compression wrap which looks like a tube top. I used a safety pin to attach the drains to the compression top so i can free my hands. When I shower, it is difficult to hold them and try to shave so I used a lawn chair to sit in and had my husband install a new hand held shower head that could be detached. This sounds strange, but using maxi pads to cover the breast is cheaper than using a ton of first aid pads. I attach two together and tape them over my chest to hold them on, I then apply the compression wrap and pin the drains. Having clothes with buttons are the best if you are going through this process. You will not be able to lift your arms higher than shoulder height. Maternity shirts work well to cover the extra bulky drains if you are going to go out in town. Yes, I said go out in town. It may sound crazy but getting out and living the most normal life you can while going through this will help ward off feelings of isolation and depression. The support and encouragement you receive will help you through the bad days.