Wendy’s DIEP Flap Surgery Experience
Hi, I’m Wendy Godinez and I am originally from Michigan. I moved to San Antonio, Texas 12 years ago. In February of this year, I was diagnosed with estrogen and progesterone receptor-positive cancer. In March, I had a bilateral nipple-sparing mastectomy with an immediate DIEP Flap Reconstruction. I made this decision, based on the simple fact that I wasn’t comfortable having implants and the thought of being able to use my own body for reconstruction was incredibly appealing. Not to mention the fact that you get a little Tummy Tuck out of the surgery. When you’re 51, you got a little gut here, so it was great.
My doctor here at PRMA was Dr. Gasman and my nurse was named Lauren, and I couldn’t have asked for better support through this process. They walked me through step by step and were there for me for my before and after care whenever I needed them. I know a lot of people when they go to make these decisions, they’re concerned about the type of recovery that they’ll face. For me, immediately in the hospital, I have to say my pain level was truly at a minimum, the discomfort of everything was probably more of what I experienced.
You wake up after an 8 to 10 hour surgery, and you’re pretty much hooked up. I had an IV, a catheter, 4 drains, and an abdominal wound back. Trying to move was near impossible, but my nursing staff at the hospital were incredible. I had the same nurses for all three days. It was very comforting to have their familiar faces. They were with me all the way from my medication to giving me a shower before I left because that was impossible to accomplish on my own.
When I went home, I was on a pretty strict pain regimen. I kept a spreadsheet so my husband could check off all the medications that I took. I had another spreadsheet to label my drains. It was all very well managed. There’s all different things that you can do to help make yourself more comfortable. For me, it was a lot of pillows and a lot of feet up time watching Netflix. I also had a recliner that helped me get up and down for the first couple of weeks because you can’t use your arms. That part really was helpful.
As far as pain goes, I was surprised at how little I had. You have a little pain here and there, as your nerves start to regrow, and your incisions heal, but it’s nothing that isn’t manageable. I am so happy with my results. You don’t really know what to expect going into this, all you hear are the words “cancer” and “surgery” and you’re not sure what’s going to happen. But the end results are worth it. PRMA has been so good to me. My doctor was so skilled that I have a few scars and they’re healing. Even if they don’t all go away, they’re my battle wounds. They’re my cancer battle wounds and that’s okay.
My breasts look better than before, in my opinion, with just a little bit of scarring. I have a little bit of weight loss in my belly and it looks great. The scarring is healing. Anyone who is considering PRMA and making the decision to have reconstruction surgery, I highly recommend both! It’s a very personal decision when you hear the word “cancer” and are told that you need to make some choices at the last minute. Do your research and talk to people. I spent a lot of time on YouTube, watching the videos that PRMA had made just like this one. You have to make the decision that’s right for you. I’ve made the decision that is right for me. PRMA is one of the premier surgeons in this area of expertise. And if you have the ability to come here and be a part of this team, I promise you won’t regret it!
I am so happy with my results. You don’t know what to expect going into this. PRMA has been so good to me and my doctor was so skilled. I have a few scars that are healing but they are my battle wounds!
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