Have ? about recovery, please
I've recently had a breast reduction, but only on my left side. I had a masectomy, then a silicone implant when I was 13 due to recurring tumors. My PS replaced the silicone implant with saline in 1990. I didn't know there was "shelf life" on implants, but realized it when I woke up with blisters all over my "bad" tissue in late December. I hadn't seen my PS since 1992. He took out that implant and did some biopsies. Luckily, no cancer, but did find infection around the implant when they removed it. A week later, my PS did the BR on the left side. I still don't have anything on the right side. It's been three weeks since my surgery and I'm still having pain, have a hard time sleeping, and feel like it's not really attached to my body. Is this normal? It hurts me to drive over a bumpy road and sleeping on my right side (so my boob is "unsupported" is horrible. I used to be a stomach sleeper and that is totally out of the question. Sex (even with my husband being careful) causes pain for days afterward. I'm going in next week to have the implant put back in the other side and more reconstruction done there. Do you think that might help the sleeping situation? I don't think that will help the pain, nor the fact that I feel like I have a grapefruit stuck to the front of my body.... Am I alone? Any insight or help anyone could provide would be great. My PS is a great doctor. I've seen him since I was a child and he's an excellent reconstructive physician, but we have little bit of a language barrier, so I can't really ask him a lot of these questions. Mostly he just says "Everything looks great".... I'm at my wits end.
I'm so sorry to hear about your situation, especially that you sufferedit at such a young age, but am glad hear you were able to kick cancer in the butt and out to the curb and have been cancer-free since. That's the hardest part, you should be proud of yourself. But I know what it's like - we overcome these horrendous life threatening things which we are extremely blessed for, yet we still suffer side effects and complications from it down the road. People don't always realize that it's not just beating the disease, but also healing your body and life too.
Many of us aren't well informed about the "shelf life" of implants thankfully doctors are more transparent about it today, however that doesn't help those of us that had the procedures done long ago.
Do you by any chance know what exactly the type of infection was your surgeon found? If you know that I should be able to hopefully give some advice for it.
For the pain since you are three weeks post-op I can tell you what you're describing sounds perfectly normal. It is a major operation and I don't think the doctors emphasize just how traumatic on you it will be, not because they're trying to deceive, but they deal with it everyday so to them it's just normal. The sleeping thing I know is just horrible because we all have our positions we sleep in. Years back I was in a severe car accident and had to sleep on my back for months. Having always been a side sleeper this just would fiddle up everything because not only are you in pain and discomfort but now you're starting everyday out with a bad night's sleep which doesn't make the situation any better. If you're going in next week for the implant on the other side and further reconstruction I would like to warn you this probably will continue for a few more weeks. However I can promise you that you will be thankful you're getting it all over at once. Healing is a long process but it should drastically improve after 4 to 6 weeks. I'm not sure how you feel about medications but have you taken Ambien for sleeping? It is a great medication for dealing with post-op sleeping issues, especially when you are forced to sleep in a position which is not natural to you. I recommend the original Ambien over the Ambien Controlled Release but every patient is different.
I know how frustrating it is that doctors constantly say "everything is okay" when it obviously isn't for us, they're just so accustomed to it is all. Healing unfortunately takes longer than we wish the best way to get through it is adjust your living situation to make it as comfortable as possible through the temporary transition. Hang in there you will get through this.
I haven't had breast reduction but a weight loss surgery that made it impossible to sleep. If you have to sleep on your back what I used was a wedge which is a triangle foam pillow that props you up like you're in a recliner. It doesn't compare to sleeping on your side but it does make sleeping on your back a little easier. You can buy them at some pharmacies that carry those extra things. You should give it a shot
Thank you both for the replies and suggestions. I appreciate knowing that what I'm feeling is normal. I figured I should be off my pain medication about the time I was allowed to drive (1 week post-op), so I was really having trouble understanding whether this pain was normal. I've started taking pain meds again periodically.
Joan, I'm not sure what kind of infection he found. Sorry. I know that he expected to find that the implant was leaking (due to the blistering of the skin) and was surprised to find that it was intact. However, it was twisted and caught in scar tissue. It was also surrounded by infected fluid. He removed all of that and sent it for analysis. All he told me was that everything came back benign.
I do have some Ambien (use it occasionally for severe migraines) and will try that. Thanks for the suggestion. I also appreciate the pillow idea. I go in for pre-op on Tuesday and they have one of those pharmacies in my doctor's building so I'll check it out. Thanks for the idea. I'm willing to try anything right now, and unfortunately, I know it's going to get worse before it gets better.... But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Thanks again.
If anyone else has any words of wisdom or other ideas, I'm open to anything.
Are you still taking antibiotics for the infection he found? A strong oral antibiotic should wipe it out without a problem.
Those wedge pillows can be a big help for side sleepers. For some reason side-sleepers have a simpler time falling asleep on their back when there's an incline. The most convenient ones to use are the adjustable ones like this:
However you can always adjust a normal wedge pillow higher just by sliding a normal pillow underneath it.
A lot of the discomfort you have is most likely from a combination of swelling and your muscle tissue getting re-situated and back in place after being moved around during surgery. The swelling lasts quite a while and this extra pressure inside can inhabit movement and make things feel stiff or out of place. I know it's not fun but when it gets the worst just keep saying to yourself it's only temporary. You know the saying no pain, no gain, which is very true when it comes to major surgeries.
When you go back in for surgery do you know what entry method he is using?
do you sleep flat on your tummy or more half side, half stomach? when I wasn't able to sleep on my stomach from a abdominal injruy, I slept face down but turned to the side a little and then used pillows and positioned them in a way underneath my body to support the areas tha needed it. kind of hard to explain lol but I hope what im saying makes some sense. also I would take benadryll for sleep because I didn't want to take any hardcore drugs.
Are you taking any bromelain since surgery? It's an enzyme found in pineapple that works like an anti-inflammatory = less swelling = less pain :shocked: You should really try some out and ask your doctor about they all seem to recommend it too. Bromelian is all natural so you can get it in straight up pill form or by eating fresh pineapple. The one way you CAN'T get it is with pineapple juice. I made the mistake of buying the whole store's supply of pineapple juice before surgery only to discover that bromelian is destroyed under pasteurization from the heat. I guess it wasn't too bad because pineapple juice is yummy lol but I did have to buy a lot of fresh pineapple and the supplement in
a pill form. This stuff is great bec it helps with swelling for all types of surgeries besides breast implants and reduction. Bromelain is cheap too I think it's like $8 at Whole Foods for 200 pills but I like to combine it with fresh pineapple too because that's the most natural way for your body to absorb it.
how about arnica montana? another great herbal remedy for swelling after breast reduction and implants. i hear doctors recommend that one more than bromlian for swelling. they sell it at whole foods too it's in a little blue tube.
I just saw this and am SO TRULY SORRY to hear about what you had to and still are going through. I hope you are healing and things are improving for you. There will be light at the end of the tunnel.
First, let me say a great big THANK YOU to all of you for your suggestions and support. I am so happy I found this site. I will send my hubby out tomorrow for some pineapple and the herbal remedies ya'll suggested. My physician hadn't mentioned any of these things to me. I hadn't thought of Benadryl to help with the sleeping, but did take some Tylenol PM last night. It didn't do much for me. It helped me drift off, but I still woke up about an hour later. I just had another surgery this last Thursday, so right now I'm waking up about every hour or so. I'm still dehydrated, so part of that is a need for a drink, part is going to the potty, and part is pain.
Anyway, you ladies are unbelievably helpful and I very much appreciate you. Thank you for your comments.
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