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Anyone out there who has had problems healing from a mastectomy?

By October 27, 2008 - 11:05am
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My friend is having a hard time healing from her mastectomy & this is pushing back her reconstruction dates. Has anyone out there dealt with this? Thanks!

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EmpowHER Guest

I had a double mastectomy in May 2011 for mucinous carcinoma in my right breast, which had spread to two lymph nodes. They removed a total of 12 from my right side. I had tissue expanders placed under the muscle, and then underwent chemo while being expanded. The right side was filled by about 125 cc more than the left, so would require a larger implant. The day before my exchange surgery, my blood count came back too low to undergo surgery, and I had to wait. It was another three months before the surgery, and my surgeon "forgot" about the difference in size. I wound up with a full C cup on the left, and an A on the right. The surgeon told me to "deal with it", "wear a pad in your bra", and to "consider myself lucky."
I fired that PS, and found another. The new doctor wanted to redo everything, I just wanted saline added to my right implant. I'd been through five surgeries already, I was ready to move on. He went in and added 50 cc to the right, said that's all I needed, but said he did me a favor and stitched my right implant up, to keep it from going into my armpit. So after this surgery, the sizes were still not right, and I eventually developed lots of pain in the breast area on my right side doing certain exercises or activities, or just for no apparent reason. I also had extreme rippling of the skin on both breasts.
It's been 5 years, and I decided this year together another opinion. I was 38 when diagnosed, now 44. I met with the surgeon in February, and he explained I would be a complete doover. Implants would be removed, muscle resewn to chest wall, and tissue expanders placed on top. I would go through expansion again, and then exchange them 4-6 months later with silicone implants. Surgery was May 10th. I did everything as told, and 4 weeks out went back to work, and started exercise as was told I could. I developed extreme lymphedema of the right breast. Was having 200cc of fluid removed almost daily until it eventually found its own path out of me, through my incision. On June 26th I had another surgery. There was no infection, so he removed the expanders and went ahead with the placement of my permanent implants on both sides. It will be two weeks tomorrow, and two days ago my incision started to leak from the same spot as before. I'm scared. I'm kicking myself for going back to have anything done. I'm wishing I'd left well enough alone and dealt with the pain and the differences.
I'm not sure this doctor knows what he's dealing with. He was unfamiliar with breast lymphedema, and now I'm wondering after all of this internet research if I have a tunnel wound?
I'm going to call him tomorrow, and I have an appointment with a lymphedema specialist on Tuesday. Should I see a wound care specialist? I'm not sure what to do. I haven't worked since May either.

July 9, 2017 - 5:38pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had a full masectomy two years ago. I developed a staph infection on the right side, and lost my expander. The hole in my chest remained for 11 months and two plastic surgeons. It was stitched up again a month ago. I made a salve at home using calendula and comfrey. I massage it into the scar twice a day. I am now seeing healthy pink skin develop. I tried everything short of oxygen treatments. Stay strong. Healing takes forever but it finally happened. I'm writing this in hopes that women will see that you will heal. It may drive you half crazy, I know at the end I felt desperate. If your doctor just looks at it and says see you in three weeks, find another doctor. I did and it made ALL the difference!! God bless and good luck!!

February 19, 2016 - 2:08am
EmpowHER Guest

Have her look in to hyperbaric oxygen treatment. that is what they strongly use in Newport Beach, CA and it has proven to work wonders

December 17, 2014 - 2:19pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I think they also have them in Florida Hippocrates Health Institute. IS she diabetic? she probably needs to change her diet omitting any sugar anbd minimum carbs. Maybe?? etc.
check with peoples pharmacy.com they may have medical or home remedies that work.

December 17, 2014 - 3:06pm
EmpowHER Guest

I just had a bilateral mastectomy and expanders put in a week ago today 12/17/2014. I have not had a easy time of this. I had already had large breast implants that both my surgeons assured me of an easier less painful recovery due to already stretching the muscle out. Come to find out the muscle was torn on one side and pushed so high on the other that both implants were just pushing up against the skin. So this is causing severe pain with the expanders in the muscle that had to have a biologic flap placed to grow an artifical muscle. But also caused my skin to be so thin, the skin is not doing well on the survival side. I am very fortunate to have an a VERY AGGRESSIVE plastic surgeon, who sent me the day after my surgery to immediately starte "Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber " treatments. I am having to do 2 a day for up to 40 treatments. I encourage anyone who is having ANY wound healing issues to look in to it, ask your plastic surgeon, general surgeon, etc. There are treatments to heal the skin by pressing concentrated oxygen in to your body. And while it looks like I am still possibly going to have to under go another surgery to remove a small portion of skin that just cant survive, its much better than the alternative. Its such an inconvience and has been hard on my family especially with Christmas coming, but if this saves my skin and helps me have to out come I am seeking it will be worth it.

December 17, 2014 - 11:24am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Not only that but oxigen is great to treat cancer. Cances dislikes and dies in oxygen & heat.

December 17, 2014 - 3:10pm
EmpowHER Guest

I lost my grandmother, 2 aunts, my mother and my sister just 2 years ago. This past April 2014 I found a lump under my right arm.I didn't think anything of it, I forgot about it (really). I found the lump 2 months later again, not bigger but longer. Went for all the mammograms and the needle biopsy. My family was never checked for the gene. I went to the same breast surgeon as my sister and was encouraged to have a double mastectomy. I heard the suggestion, but I am a nurse, this just doesn't happen. August 26, 2014 was the day of my surgery, with immediate reconstruction and nipple sparing. Post op I had a lot of pain, no one removed the dressing to look. I was having a pectoral muscle spasms. The following day when the dressing was removed my right breast was black (narcotic) . I was discharged with nitro paste instructed to apply the paste to my black breast with hope to get the blood back. 2 weeks later I had surgery to remove the narcotic tissue. The skin was involved to the depth of the ex-pander. I was sent home right after this surgery. Healing well and on antibiotics, but so sick in my stomach, finally threw up coffee ground emesis (blood). More medication was added for the ulcer I had given myself. I followed up with the plastic surgeon and 60 cc. of fluid was removed from the left breast twice. The incision started to get red and the was breast warm to the touch. I was admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotic for a week. I told the doctor my mouth hurt I had an oral yeast infection from all the antibiotics. The breast swelled in the hospital so much that 200 cc. of fluid was removed under ultrasound at one time. The following day after my first dose of medication for the yeast infection, my breast was no longer warm or red ???? The plastic surgeon and I were surprised and not sure why ? I was discharged to home on an oral medication for my yeast infection. I was to continue the medication for 3-6 weeks per the infection disease doctor. A temporary fix... 3 days later the swelling started again. Back to the hospital to remove the ex-pander from the left side, JP drain all over again. The inside of the breast was found to be filled with "white pudding" of yeast. IV antibiotics would never had been able to heal this involved infection. Discharged after a few days back to home. I woke up the next morning with sever chest pain and unable to talk or breath. I could not call 911 because I could not talk. So I drove myself to the ER and was found to have 4 blood clots in my right lung (pulmonary embolism). I thought, may be even hoped I would die, this was to much. I have now been off of work for 3 months. The plastic surgeon is not sure I will be able to have a breast implant placed on the left side because I am on blood thinners now for the clots. Have I mentioned the right ex-pander is moving under my right arm. I laugh, I cry and then I ask GOD why? It is the day before Thanksgiving 2014. When I was diagnose with the clots I swear the plastic surgeon came in the dark of night and removed my staples and pulled my drain. He could not even support me at this time. The plastic surgeon did have to call John Hopkins, I am one of two people in the USA that has ever had a yeast infection in their breast.

November 26, 2014 - 3:02pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

do you mean necrosis ? ... narcotic?

December 17, 2014 - 3:54pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

MY God, At what hospital and which doctors did you go? SO I NEVER GET CLOSE TO THEM. How can they be so HORRENDOUS and insensitive you with cancer and they playing with you and sending you home ill and like that. it's horrible. I know that during the war they use to use sugar to help heal wounds. check peoplespharmacy.com they may help you with ideas advise medicines or/ and home remedies. Good luck
and my question is WERE YOU IN JOHN HOPKINS? I WAS THERE, and had the worse expirience of my life (I don't have anything towards the hospital, it is the greatest in my opinion) but i had a big huge problem with my surgeon. I've never meet a doctor so bad and with no shame and lack of empathy or anything for his patients or at least with me. He was trying to practice and learn with patients and did any unnecessary surgery he needed for practice wi. To me, agains my wishes (told him (NO) more than 10 times NOT to do anything to my right breast - 3 doctors friend told me not to do anything on the right brs.) He did my left breast (where I had my cancer) very poorly it was so bad that i was in constant pain (huge breast, twice larger that the right - did it in purpuse ? so he could fix my right to make both bigger?. I am European and we do NOT like big breast, I told him that. well not only he didn't fix my left breast to make it smaller and covered the uneven parts of the breast etc but he destroyed ( I am in constant pain) my right breast . .. just to practice on me and get his experience, With doctors like that who needs enemies.

December 17, 2014 - 3:41pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Start taking Candida, its a supplement to ward off yeast and prevent it and ask your doctor about Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber treatments.

December 17, 2014 - 11:26am
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