LIFESTYLE

Woman Shares Details And Photos Of Pre-Emptive Bilateral Mastectomy On Reddit To Help Other Women

05/06/2015 10:31 BST | Updated 05/06/2015 10:59 BST

Please note: This report contains images of a graphic medical nature.

A woman who has undergone a pre-emptive bilateral mastectomy has shared regular updates and photos before and after the procedure online, in order to help other women who may have to have the operation in the future.

The woman, known only as Reddit user @Murtlepos, explained that she has a long history of breast cancer in her family.

After she was tested for the BRCA gene, the 24-year-old says doctors advised her to have a double mastectomy in order to reduce her chances of being diagnosed with the disease.

sitting on hospital bed

"In the time leading up to my surgery I realised the things I wanted to know about weren’t readily available to me and there’s no suitable etiquette for asking questions to anyone who’s already experienced a not so pleasant pre-emptive bilateral mastectomy," she writes in one of her posts.

"I want to share something honest so others know what to expect and prepare for so I decided to document and share my personal experience for those who want to know and have questions, maybe it will reassure just one person or maybe not."

Read key moments from the woman's story below:

Day 1: The Day Before Surgery

"I came into the hospital at 7am and pretty much was called straight away. I had my general surgeon come in and have a lovely chat with me, running through everything and keeping me calm. My other general surgeon came in to introduce herself and say a quick hello.

"Next came the researchers asking to use the removed tissue. Then in came my first plastic surgeon. He marked my breasts, showed me where the incisions will go and then gave me a much needed run down of what was going to happen after the surgery.

"This was especially important as I only had two weeks to prepare for this, I hadn't had a chance to speak to anyone and was feeling very overwhelmed and lost."

Day 2: The Day Of Surgery

"The surgery went on for roughly five hours, but I ended up in recovery for an hour or so, so I went in at 8.30am and got to my ward at roughly 2.45pm.

"The pain I'm feeling currently is mainly in the centre of my chest, as thats where they start to scrape/cut/laser away the breast tissue.

"So besides the circle of anaesthetic dot points surrounding both breasts, they made each incision to the side of my breast towards my armpit. It starts about 2.5cm down from my armpit and finishes roughly inline with my nipple under the crease.

"The second incision was to each arm pit, which is where they took out my sentinel lymph nodes. I have two drainage tubes running across the top of my breasts, into my armpit and they exit my body about 10cm below my armpit. These are visible in the photos."

Photos taken from day 2

Day 3: The Day After Surgery

"I had a horrible sleep last night.. the earlier in the morning it became the more the anaesthetic wore off and the more painful my chest became. I woke up firstly around 2am, had my obs taken but couldn’t get back to sleep..

"By 8am I had all four surgeons visit me and check everything was looking a-ok, and everything was looking quite perfect except for my left nipple which had bruised up a bit more overnight.

"I had my nurse come in and inject my thigh to help prevent blood clots but after my first round of tramadol I was able to get up a bit easier and move around. Throughout the day the pain along the draining tubes increased which become quite uncomfortable and also the areas where the drain tubes exit my body were particularly tender and sore.

"Im feeling pretty smelly because I can’t shower, Im oh so tired because I haven’t being able to sleep, and I have been incredibly annoyed at the love across the way who has no issue inviting her family of 80 to come and yell and scream around her bedside - take it outside people!"

Photos taken from day 3

Day 4: Two Days After Surgery

"My plastic surgeon popped in at 6.45am this morning to check on everything, obviously I was panicking when he came in because I’d been so worried the drainage tube was damaging my nipple because it had moved.

"But, alas, my fears were for nothing as per usual. He said it wasn’t a problem and they are expected to slide around under the skin a bit, considering they aren’t fixed in place (except for the suture when they exit my body).

"The fentanyl drip has been removed - I’m free! Im now on Oxycontin tablets and Lyrica (better known as Pregablin) morning and night and to top up during the day.

"I also wanted to mention how difficult keeping a journal is right now. Im so exhausted and my brain is so foggy and all over the place because of the meds. It's actually incredibly difficult and without help from my partner and a lot of stopping and starting and re-reading and re-writing I wouldn't be able to post anything."

Photos taken from day 4

Read the full entries here.

SEE ALSO:

This Woman Tattoos Nipples On Breast Cancer Patients After Mastectomy

8 Tips For Choosing The Best Bra After A Mastectomy

Breast Cancer Signs And Treatment