I am wondering if someone can give me kind of a description of what to expect after mastectomy surgery. I am considering a bilateral mastectomy, and I want to know what comes after the surgery, as far as time in the hospital, time in bed, how much I will be able to move around, and move my arms and such. I am still considering not having reconstruction, that is the way I am leaning. But I am still not sure. So many questions, so little answers!
Thanks in advance for any help you can give. If you want to know my whole story - it is posted here under another post, just look me up.
Things are going ok... as you can see (from my previous post) I am still debating the final outcome of this journey! Like everyone else, some days good, some days bad! How is everything with you?
I was asked to do a talk at on of the local breast cancer walks.... I am so nervous that I will say the wrong thing, but I think it will be good to do, and it will be a fun thing to do!
I am 48 and had one mastectomy for stage 1 breast cancer in October 2009 and a second preventative mastectomy in December 2010 (after completing chemo and Herceptin.)
My first mastectomy also removed 19 nodes. I was in the hospital 1 day, off work for one week (I bargained with the surgeon with work ok, but no lifting.) Took 5 doses of 600 milligrams of ibuprofen, got 26 staples removed and tubes out a week later and had fluid drained 4 times and went back to all normal activities about a month later. Cantored at mass at the Cathedral a week after surgery.
My second mastectomy had no nodes removed. Took two does of 600 milligrams of ibuprofen, went back to work 3 days later (I bargained - little lifting.) and was back to normal activity within two weeks. Cantored at mass 3 days after surgery.
Everyone is different. Ease of recovery is largely based on how smoothly the surgery goes, presence or absence of complications, your perception of pain and especially your attitude. I have a high pain threshhold and work at just doing my everyday things in a matter-of-fact way. My surgeries were pretty smooth, so I just coasted through the recovery. Chemo was a different story, but, well, it is largely behind me now! Blessing to you and good luck.
Oh thank you for your information..... I have a very high tolerance for pain, and a very matter of fact kind of attitude in everything I do..... you sound just lie me. I was so worried that I would be out for weeks....... but actually I kind of hope that I am , because I would LOVE to have the summer off!!!!! (just like in school!!) But really I would go stir crazy if I was confined to a bed for more than a few days. I have become president of our womens club in my village, I supervise the guards at our swim facility, and I am the go to person for our swim team, along with working 2 days a week, and helping my husband at our business 3 days a week, along with all of the Mommy and wife chores! My husband says I have to quit it all and take care of me, but I think that if I quit everything, I would begin to feel sorry for myself, and end up eating chocolate all day!!
I am so glad that you posted that my down time may be very minimal. That is what I am hoping for, my a little longer than yours, but not as long as others!
I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon and the other surgeon next Tuesday (the 14th) one in the a.m. one in the p.m. to discuss all of my options.
I don't recall... did you have reconstruction? I plan on having reconstruction, which I know will alter my recovery some, but I am not sure how much.
I also don't know about -- I would prefer to wake up with new breasts, but I am not sure what makes someone a candidate for that as opposed to waking up with expanders. Do you know why the difference? Or is that something that is determined during surgery?
Thanks for your help,
Just to update this post.....
I had my surgery on July 18th.... I was in the hospital a total of maybe 26 hours, including the surgery! I was up and moving the next day.... I had the drains out at my first check up appointment. I took 2 weeks off from work, because I had babied my arms a little too much, and really couldn't hold them up for haircuts. But I did take 1 extra week off because I had tickets to see Joel Osteen during that 3rd week. I went back to work on a limited basis last week....... But this week I am full steam ahead........ I just got my second fill this morning, and "the girls" are starting to take shape! I am looking forward to finishing the fill, the next surgery, and being ALL DONE with everything by Halloween!!!!!
I'm SO happy to hear your surgery went so well and you're recovering at the pace you had hoped for. You sound like a pretty remarkable woman and I'm sure your reconstruction will go well, too. If I ever decide on BPM and reconstruction, I hope I can be as positive and strong as you are!
Take care and I'm wishing you all the very best,
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