How Long Does DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction Surgery Take?

How Long Does DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction Surgery Take? This is a question I wanted to write about after attending PSTM17 in Orlando as a patient advocate. Speaking to ASPS board certified plastic surgeons at the meeting afforded me the opportunity to understand the answer to, how long does a DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery take? It is an intricate, microsurgical procedure that includes incisions and work on both the abdominal area and the breast area. The assumption is, the surgery is long. In fact, when assessing my own DIEP flap, I often report my DIEP flap lasted nine hours. What we don’t often take into consideration is what the surgery entails from start to finish. I reviewed my own surgical report to write this blog. I also spoke with plastic surgeons at PSTM17 and wanted to share some important points of discussion. I gathered information from my sister, a nurse, Continue Reading →

#WorldTeacherDay: A Teacher’s Journey through DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

#WorldTeacherDay: A Teacher’s Journey through DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction Today is #WorldTeacherDay. This quote is taken from one website explaining the purpose behind this day. The United Nations’ (UN) World Teachers’ Day celebrates the role teachers play in providing quality education at all levels.  This enables children and adults of all ages to learn to take part in and contribute to their local community and global society. That is why I signed up for this profession. I was certain my years in the classroom would continue after I completed my M.Ed. by mentoring new teachers into this vocation.  I wanted classrooms to be filled with passionate, well-trained educators providing quality education. A second breast cancer occurrence in 2014 changed my course a bit. I began a Journey through DIEP flap breast reconstruction. I put my education on hold after a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction seven months later. Little did Continue Reading →

Intimacy ~ Touching your breasts after DIEP flap surgery

Intimacy ~ Touching Your Breasts after DIEP flap Surgery This blog has been sitting in my archives for quite some time.  Intimacy and touching your breast after DIEP flap surgery seems like an unabashed topic to write about. The intimacy of the content and the shared photos delayed my writing. Respect for my fellow DIEP flap sisters and touching your breasts after this surgery is not something every woman wants to do. I know this to be true because I talk to women who feel this way. I fully respect all the complexities that surround the new sensation of your DIEP flap breasts.  The purpose of my blog is to share my experience and in some way, empower breast reconstruction patients to embrace their new breasts after they have healed from surgery and to feel comfortable touching their newly reconstructed breasts. If my suggestions and story work for you, I Continue Reading →

Honoring my Father During my DIEPflap Surgery

Honoring my Father During my DIEPflap Surgery This is a perfect weekend to write a tribute honoring my Father and his support during my DIEPflap surgery.  My father is in his late 80’s now so watching me go through DIEPflap breast reconstruction two and half years ago was not an easy process for him.  He knew nothing about this type of surgery.  My Dad’s generation and friends who had radical mastectomies and survived breast cancer never knew of the options to rebuild one’s breasts after they had to be removed after a breast cancer diagnosis.  It was just assumed that the loss was part of the plan and how you would continue to live your life. I gently guided Dad and Mom through the process and why I chose to have DIEPflap breast reconstruction after my second breast cancer diagnosis.  I will admit, it was tough.  His main concern for Continue Reading →

Choosing Reconstructive Surgery after Breast Cancer

Choosing Reconstructive Surgery after Breast Cancer I am a two-time breast cancer survivor who chose reconstructive surgery using my own tissue after mastectomy, and I am disappointed and feel slighted by the unbalanced reporting with regard to options in breast reconstruction on CBS Sunday Morning on March 12, 2017. One segment reported by Erin Morarity, “Foregoing reconstructive surgery after breast cancer”, was of special interest to me.  Hearing the words, “you have breast cancer” is difficult enough.  When that is followed by a double mastectomy this often puts added mental anguish on the individual, woman, or man.  It did in my case. Like some of the women in the story I lost my hair during my first diagnosis due to chemotherapy.  My skin was compromised from radiation during my first diagnosis.  I lost both of my breast and lived as an amputee for seven months after my second diagnosis.  Then, Continue Reading →

Tummy Tightness after DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction

Tummy Tightness after DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction I speak to many women who ask about tummy tightness after DIEP flap breast reconstruction.  The emphasis of the questions focus on how long the tightness will last and adjusting to the new feeling. When DIEP flap breast reconstruction is performed women also have the advantage of getting something that mimics a tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty.  The technical aspects of that surgery are well explained here at the Microsurgeon.org website.  Here is a quote from the page: The tissue used for DIEP breast reconstruction contains skin, fat, and blood vessels. It is the same tissue area that is discarded in the classical cosmetic surgical abdominoplasty – also known as the tummy tuck. Your Newly Altered Tummy I want to make an analogy about that tummy tightness after DIEP flap breast reconstruction.  When you buy a new pair of jeans that are Continue Reading →

Benefits of Exercise after Breast Cancer

Benefits of Exercise after Breast Cancer It is #WorkoutWednesday and I’d like to share a comprehensive video from John’s Hopkins Medicine on the benefits of exercise after Breast Cancer. Take ten minutes out of your day to view it and then I encourage you to move at your pace and ability to improve your health.   Cancer diagnosis, treatments, surgery as well as breast reconstruction surgery take a lot out of our bodies. We may have gone into either of these situations being very healthy. I often hear this from other women. This is definitely to your benefit and will help with recovery. However, after treatments and surgery you are then left to pick up the pieces from the assault on your body. Where do you move forward from there? Whether you are walking, running, dancing, doing Pilates, yoga or another form of movement, know that you are providing great Continue Reading →

A Letter to my DIEP Flap Sisters

A Letter to my DIEP Flap Sisters I have heard from a number of DIEP flap sisters lately that are having upcoming surgery for phase one or two of breast reconstruction. Some currently have cancer. Others have gone through their cancer surgery and treatments and are at the point they can now physically proceed with DIEP flap surgery. There are those of you who are BRCA positive and still others are ready to complete phase two and finalize your journey. There is excitement and exuberance in your comments. I am so excited that I have a date for my surgery! My insurance has been accepted for my DIEP flap! My surgery is just two weeks away! I will be able to look back soon on this entire process and be able to move on! I know how you feel. I sense your anticipation in removal of a disease that took Continue Reading →

Length of Hospital Stay : DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction

Length of Hospital Stay: DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction The length of  your hospital stay after DIEP flap breast reconstruction will likely be four to five days. My surgery was on a Monday morning, I was in my room by 10 pm that evening, and I left the hospital on Saturday morning. Although my surgeon came in to ask if I was ready to leave on Friday, I stayed one extra day only because I didn’t feel strong enough to go back to the vacation rental. He gave me the option to stay another night based on how I was feeling. Remember, I flew in from out-of-town, 800 miles out of town! I had to be 100% positive in my mind that going back to a foreign environment, the vacation rental, was going to be conducive to my healing process for the week I would be there following my release from Continue Reading →

DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction Blog Launch ~ March 17, 2015

DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction Blog Launch ~ March 17, 2015 It has been a complex mental process for me to know when to launch this “DIEP flap Reconstruction Blog”.   I am very clear on the purpose which you can reference in the Purpose section of this website. However, when you reach out to others in hopes of helping them by sharing your life’s story your mind becomes muddled with all the responsibilities of just that, responsible blogging. I have been an educator for many years. The nature of my profession has revolved around planning, writing goals and objectives, organizing and most importantly maintaining confidentiality with precious and valuable information regarding my students and their parents/guardians. With all those parameters in my head and my heart I was searching for the just right time to launch my blog. I realize that the only just right time to launch it is now. I Continue Reading →