Supporting women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer

Delayed LD flap early 2010

by rr

I had a delayed LD flap last week, thought I would post on how I have got on so far. I know I was very scared beforehand, and would have welcomed news of someone going through it to reassure me.

Well I was operated on at Leicester Royal Infirmary. The booking in was truly dreadful. There is some building work going on at the moment, I think the surgical arrivals area is just temporary (well I hope it is as it was awful). The staff there were very embarrassed by it, my surgeon said he didn't even want to walk through the area. Everyone was herded into one small area, it felt like waiting for a plane by the departure gate. It was small and crowded, there weren't enough seats, there was no privacy, you had to get changed into a gown & dressing gown & then sit back in the crowded area. Truly awful, not the way to treat someone who is anxious about a major operation. The staff I saw urged me to write to the chief executive & MP about it.

However, that was only for a short time, I was first on the list, and once I got onto the ward everything was fine.

I have had a basic LD flap with no implant - I am only a AA, so we decided to do the basic opertion, then decide at a later date whether I need a small implant or some fat transfer (and possibly enlarge the other side with implant or fat transfer too) or just go for a nipple.

For the first 24 or 36 hours after the operation I felt pretty bad, and was wondering why I had put myself through this, but from 48 hours onwards I started to feel much better, and already (9 days on) I am pleased that I have done this. I have the beginnings of a new breast, I am fairly certain I will need some extra volume in it with an implant or fat transfer, but just to be doing away with the prosthesis, and no longer looking at that flat mastectomy scar, feels really good.

I have three scars - one around the skin flap (which is a very similar colour to the rest of my skin so I think it will be a good match once the scar fades), one long one on my back, going from roughly under my armpit to half way across my back, and another smaller one under my armpit - this is where they divided the tendon, to avoid any feelings of tightness around my chest or that feeling of having a rolled up newspaper under my arm. I have to say that this area is quite swollen, so I can feel a bump under my arm, but I think quite a bit of that is post operative swelling that will go down.

None of this is painful. The only pain has come from my arm not wanting to move. This wasn't very pleasant for the first few days, but I have been doing all the exercises they have given me and already I have a lot more movement - I can lift my arm both to the front & the side by more than 90 degrees. When I first started to try to lift my arm I had a strange sensation in my shoulder area, almost as if there was some padding missing and something was grating in there and not running smoothly. This worried me, but already that feeling has gone. I don't know what caused it, but doing the exercises got rid of it.

I am very tired, doing almost anything wears me out and I have to go and sit down, but I am going out for a walk everyday, slightly longer each day (it was only down the street & back the first day).

I still have a drain in. The one to my chest came out very quickly, but the one in my back just keeps pumping out fluid. It's a nuisance, but I'd rather be home with it in than still in hospital.

I have had no stange sensations from my back muscle being in my chest - does that come later, or does not everyone get that?