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Autologous Breast Reconstruction
Lina2022
3 Posts

I decided to pursue autologous breast reconstruction. I would like to hear your thoughts and relevant experiences. My boyfriend advised me to do some sit-ups to strengthen my abdominal muscle, but I am afraid to lose the fat tissue needed for breast reconstruction. Does anyone know an exercise that best fits to prepare for it? I also worry about the healing process because I can only take so many days off from work. Another worry I have about this process is how much OHIP would cover? I do not have private insurance, so I only rely on OHIP coverage. Thanks for your thoughts in advance. God bless!

8 Replies
Whitelilies
2447 Posts

@Lina2022 Hello Lina and welcome to our caring community….I am sorry for your reason to join us….but glad you have! We will support you….and listen and share experiences….

I will tag 2 members from ONT, who can hopefully answer your concerns about OHIP…

Please meet @ashcon & @JustJan Thank you ladies…..I have tagged you, kindly could you read through Lina's concerns about OHIP….and I hope you can offer your input (Sorry, I am unsure myself)……thank you again……

Lina…..if you wish to tag/reach anyone; type “@”screen name (no space after “@”) and a few names will drop down; select name you wish; turns blue; they receive your message.

Welcome Lina

Whitelilies

#Newmember

JustJan
1728 Posts

@Lina2022 welcome. I have not had reconstruction so can’t comment on exercises. I do know the procedure is covered by OHIP but what may not be covered are any specialty items you may need post surgery while you recover. You might want to discuss this with the nurse at your surgeon’s office and they hopefully they can tell you what you need and what is covered. You could also ask them about exercising prior to surgery and what you can do and what you should avoid.

I wish you well with your surgery.

ashcon
2182 Posts

@Lina2022

Welcome! I chose to remain flat after my double mastectomy, but I believe @maggiey had autolugous reconstruction and may be able to offer some insights to you.

Yes, OHIP covers the surgery so you don't need to worry about that. But as @JustJan mentions anything post-op, or needed after you leave the hospital, would need to be covered by you, or your private insurance, if you have such coverage. For example, pain meds, post surgery therapy, or medical devices, etc.

Do you have short term or long term disability benefits from your employer or from your private insurance so that you have income while you are recovering?

If not, EI offers 15 weeks of sick leave benefits.

Check into this, and also what paperwork would need to be filled out and signed.

At my cancer centre there are Social Workers who helped me with forms, resources, and a multitude of other things - even outlining what was needed for me to get genetic testing done. Most cancer centres have these little miracle workers. All you have to do is ask for a referral to one.

Wishing you wellness and a successful surgery! When is your surgery date?

Essjay
2051 Posts

@Lina2022 i havent had the surgery but I do exercise…you are not going to shift much belly fat doing sit-ups…they may tone what is underneath but the exercise won’t shift fat…There are way better exercises for abdominals like planks, squats, dead bugs, palloff press (I haven’t done a sit-up for years)…

maggiey
25 Posts

@Lina2022

Hi. I'm glad you have reached out with questions. I had breast reconstruction with abdominal fat (DIEP Flap). My surgery went very well. I was not advised to do exercises prior to surgery. I am very active, and I do think that helped with my recovery. I was able to take as much time as I needed to heal. 8 weeks. The abdominal incision will take time. You will wear a binder around your abdomina area for 4 weeks, maybe longer dependin on what your docto advises. I had to purchase this on my own.

I hope this was helpful. Please reach out if you have any other questions!

Maggie

Sus2021
2 Posts

@Lina2022 Hi Lina, I had a single mastectomy with immediate reconstruction (DIEP flap) surgery last July. I didn't do any pre-surgery exercises and actually lost about 5lbs prior to the surgery (probably from the stress but also from generally trying to eat as healthily as possible). My plastic surgeon didn't really seem to be concerned either way and he never recommended any pre-surgery exercises. As Maggie mentioned, it definitely helped with recovery that I was an active person to start with. I took 8 weeks off work and my surgeon advised me to wear the abdominal binder 24/7 for a full 3 months. I hated it at first but got used to it pretty quickly. It was just uncomfortable during the heat of summer. A useful tip with the binder that I realized about halfway through wearing it was to wear a “belly-band” underneath it. I had these left over from maternity wear and I found they were protective against the velcro on the binder fastening which could be rough if you didn’t line it up exactly when putting it on (with numbness in my stomach area I couldn’t tell if the velcro was rubbing my skin). I am happy to share my experience with the DIEP surgery if helpful. Thinking of you!

Lina2022
3 Posts

Thank you @Whitelilies for welcoming me into this group. I am so glad to meet you and the rest of the members.

@JustJan, thank you for your kind wishes. I will make sure to speak with the surgeon about the OHIP coverage and other things.

@ashcon, thank you for all of your suggestions. I will surely look into them. The surgeon hasn't given me a date yet, but I will be meeting with her in mid-February. Thank you for the kind words.

@Essjay I want to thank you for all the exercises you suggested. I will make sure to do them, maybe slowly, since I haven't done them in months as well :)

@maggiey Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me. I am so happy to hear your surgery went well. Honestly, I haven't been really active for months and have been fighting depression since I lost my job. But, I will make sure to push myself more to lose weight and stay in shape. Do you have a suggestion on where I can affordably purchase the binder? Again, thank you so much for sharing. This was very helpful. Please stay safe Maggie.

@Sus2021 Thank you very much for sharing your experience with me. I haven't been a healthy eater since I was a child, but I will do my best to make healthier food choices. I like the idea of wearing the belly band to wear underneath the abdominal binder. Will you be able to share where I can purchase one? Again, thank you for helping me in this decision-making and for your kindness. Take care.

Sus2021
2 Posts

@Lina2022 My suggestion is to wait to buy the binder until you see your plastic surgeon and find out what she recommends. The abdominal binder I used was bought from my plastic surgeon’s office. It was from Clearpoint Medical and was around $80 (I looked up the same one online and it worked out about the same price to buy it from the plastic surgeon and get it straight away). There may well be ones that are cheaper than this. I was apparently supposed to have been sent home with one from the hospital but I only found that out afterwards. I started wearing it about a week after the surgery at my first check up.

The maternity belly bands can be bought fairly cheaply at Walmart – almost like a thin liner for the binder (which you can wash easily so don’t have to wash the binder itself as often).

Thinking back, immediately post surgery it would have been pretty hard to put on the belly band since they are like an elastic tube and not wrap-around like the binder itself. That was probably another reason I didn’t think to start using them until a few weeks later.

Don’t be hard on yourself about diet and exercise. Be guided by your doctors and do what you feel comfortable with.

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