I had a bilateral mastectomy two years ago along with an oophorectomy (had my ovaries taken out). The surgery took about 4 hours and spent 3 nights in the hospital because one side of my chest kept on bleeding internally. My surgeon wanted to go back in and find the bleeding and fix it but that was the last thing I wanted so I said no.
Of course you are sore for several weeks but with pain medication it is not too bad. You will have drains put in on each side of your chest which you must empty several times per day and then about 1 week after sugery they are removed. It hurt to have them removed, like a burning pain. Since I had extra bleeding going on I also had to go in several times and have my surgeon draw blood out with a needle. I hated that part. But it is likely that you will not have that problem.
I chose not to have reconstruction. I think it would have been too much surgery, too many extra doctor visits at that time to have the expanders put in and expanded every few weeks.
After the inital healing I had shooting nerve pain where my breasts used to be. It was alarming and a constant reminder of my cancer diagnosis. I am a BRCA2 mutation carrier as I suspect you are too since you are having a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.
I absolutely think I made the right decision having the bilateral mastectomy though. I continue to be monitored every 3 months and the cancer has not returned.
Good luck to you if you decide to go forward with the surgery. Its definately not easy but worthwhile doing.
I was diagnosed with DCIS with Grade 2 cells-comedo type. I do not have a history of Breast Cancer in my family, and I have not been gene tested. I had tow lumpectomies in which the surgeon was unable t oclear margins. They recommend unilateral mastectomy. I went to see the reconstructive surgeon, she asked if I wanted the bilat. mast. for symmetry????? She went into detail about the difficulty matching the breast etc. I t upset me b/c I think she wants me to do b/c it is easier. I have been looking at risk factors for contralateral breast cancer. I just don't want to regret not doing both. I don't want to look unmatched or have difficulty in clothes etc. I also don't want to do a bilat. mast. hastily. I have read entries of women who kept their good breast who are happy b/c they have feeling, nipple, etc. I am not sure how much screening I will have to have either. I see the medical oncolgist nest week. I am also going to Sloan Kettering in NEw York for a second opinion. Thank you for entry. God BLESS! Lisa
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