Tram Flap In 2001 - Miserable Quality Of Life Since

Question

Asked by lindagonz

Tram Flap In 2001 - Miserable Quality Of Life Since

Breast cancer when I was 34- (1985) bilat. mastectomies, with saline tissue expanders over the course of the next year. Silicone implants- they ruptured - had a bilat. TRAM Flap done in 2001 ( was told it was the "gold standard" of breast reconstruction- free tummy tuck - no need for sit-ups the rest of my life...) I had many complications at the time of surgery ( difficulties DURING surgery (( not enough "fat" to make decent sized breasts - they had taken more skin from my belly to make way for the larger breasts they anticipated, only to find out I didn't have that much belly fat to work with- seems they did this step backwards)) they could not easily close my abd. incision after taking the excess skin, so had to sit me up on the table to close me. My incision burst open a week or so after surgery, and fat necrosis was a major issue. The incision could not be closed- had to heal from the inside out, and had to be debrided on a weekly basis over the course of months.

The surgeons were finally able to 'CLOSE' the wound, and the stitches are approx. 2" apart, and 3" long. Makes for a very Ugly scar, which is the least of my angst.

It's been over 7 yrs now, and the problems I have are, in MY OPINION, directly related to the TRAM flap surgery. They present as gastrointestinal.. I have gone through quite a few major tests (CAT scan, ultrasound, abd. xrays, endoscopy, colonoscopy) ALL within normal range. When I went back to the plastic surgeon regarding my abd. symptoms- 18mos. after the Tram, she dismissed me. Said to me "this is a problem for your primary doc". I am in constant abd. pain. - swelling, bloating, n/v, most times diarrhea, not often what most people would call constipation (although I feel better when I'm "constipated")- to me that means a soft stool every day. My life has not been a life anyone would want to consider... I miss MANY days of work- I come home in tears of pain - it's a struggle to keep my job, and I must... I pay the bills. I have NO social life... my house is literally falling apart around me- the simplest of tasks are painfully done, if done at all. No love life AT ALL (no sex in 7 yrs)- I live with my BF, and he has his own medical disability issues (ie: no help around- he's not capable either) It is truly the biggest struggle that I have faced- including the initial cancer surgeries. Suffice to say, I'm on anti-depressants, they don't seem to be helping me help myself, the docs give me pain pills, (they are a God-send to help me get through my work day. When I come home, it's curled in a ball for a couple hours - maybe I can eat dinner- maybe not. I work 4/10's a week, and from Thurs. to Mon. a.m., I'm on the couch. I'm thinking I'm circling the drain. ANY help you can impart will be much appreciated

Answer

I am so sorry that you have had such a terrible time. You need to go to your doctor and tell her or him everything you have just written here. When I read something like "circling the drain" I get very worried. It sounds like you doctor has been somewhat sympathetic but you need to lay it all out. I am not sure what more can be done for the pain and I am not a doctor but it sounds to me like you have a lot more hard stuff on your plate than just complications from surgery. Please be good to yourself and do reach out for help.

Laurie