Any advice pre mastectomy?


I'm 38 and diagnosed with breast cancer in Sept 2015. Began chemo in November as I was pregnant when diagnosed so had to wait for baby to be born+ recover a little. Not the ideal way to start motherhood but she got me through some tough days.

I'm just finished chemo+ getting node removal 26/02 then single mastectomy 25/03. Has anyone some tips/advice before mastectomy? Things the doctors might not think important. How long before I can lift+ cuddle my baby? She's only 20 weeks- it's going to be so hard not to care for her!!

9 Replies

  • Hello I was diagnosed when my baby was four months old . Misdiagnosed at first I was told I had mastisis as I was breastfeeding . I went through the same as you chemotherapy then a Mascetomy and auxiliary clearance. You will need help with lifting the baby for the first couple of weeks following the operation. If you can get someone to stay over and help you out I'd recommend that. Or if your partner can take a couple of weeks off work. You can still sit and cuddle her with her on your lap and feed her. The painkillers they give you after the operation are great.

    You will get through this I managed with three children six years and under!

  • i have had double mastectomy and would advise you to get as much help as possible with housework and stock up your freezer etc before hand. the first week you will probably need the most help and painkillers. sleep was disturbed for me. you should be able to hold and cuddle your baby. but not mess with prams and car seats etc.. no lifting for 4 weeks at least. you may have drains coming out of your chest but if you get a pump bag with drawstrings on you can hide these away. in wigan we have silky pillows to put under arm pit to stop arm rubbing your chest and you can sleep in these. ask your friends and neighbours and family if they can help. but you will be surprised how strong you will be. you will be in hospital for 1 or 2 nights.

    if you can cook and freeze healthy meals beforehand. you will have district nurses visiting to empty your chest drains on a daily basis but then they may ask you to go to the clinic... if this is too hard for you say so.

    hopefully you will have the support in place prior to your surgery. good luck.

  • also sort out some easy to wear clothing.. pyjamas and leggings and vests. i couldnt wear bras. my drains leaked a bit and i needed to change my clothes and bedding during the night. i found putting a cotton blanket under me was a good idea as you can just whip it off and replace easier. lots of loose fitting cotton vests are ideal.

  • Yes, agree with all of the above, sort out a top that is easy to get on for when you leave hospital, a button fastening is easier to avoid lifting your arms, oh and for axillary clearance don't put any deodorant or spray on as this will sting when having op!

    All the best. Yes, what you are going through is big, but it isn't bigger than you x

    (6 weeks on from mastectomy and axillary clearance).

  • Thank you all. It actually doesn't sound as bad as I expected. I've been lucky. They told me if I hadn't caught it pre delivery+ was breastfeeding it'd be beyond treating, it's very aggressive. I did manage to breastfeed for 3 or 4 weeks and I'm so glad for that.

    So I'll stock up on vests + cardis, stock the freezer+ get some comfy pillows. Delighted to hear it might not be as long before I can be back to normal. I'm having reconstruction on same day (implant). I think this is the easier option for me. I'm not very big on top, no excess tummy after baby+ was hoping I might have one more baby so flap wasn't the best choice for me

    So glad ill be able to cuddle+ hold her!!

  • Hi, I had mastectomy, Tram flap reconstruction done end of October 15. You'll be surprised at how good you feel after..They give you super meds. You'll still be able to cuddle your baby which will be fantastic in keeping you going. I found vest tops helpful in the hospital, as it allowed easy access for Dr and nurses.. I also had a heart shaped pillow (my boobie pillow) that sat under my arm, which was such a comfort.. I wish you a speedy recovery so you can get back to the joy of being a new mum. Let us know how you go. Xxx

  • Thank you. All I want is to be able to care for her+ cuddle her. She is so small :-(

    I might dig out my pillows from pregnancy+ breastfeeding. Glad I did not throw them out :-)

  • Can't imagine what you must be going through but you WILL get through it just keep looking at your little one she,ll give you all the strength you need

  • Well I had my mastectomy on good Fri so just over a week ago. It has been nothingne compared to what I feared!! I was up+ showered+ dressed the next day+ every day since. I am wearing my normal clothes (drains permitting)+ I feel pretty normal.  I'm on plenty of pain relief which I'm been told I need to keep on top of, not try to be a hero+ do without. I've been out for dinner, at the salon + had hair+ nails done. Once I got the bra+ soft insert I felt more confident.

    I must say the team in Vincent's are just amazing. I am really pleased with my scar + even the "boob" isn't awful to look at.  With reconstruction it really will be ok.  

    I can't say it enough- it's really not as bad as I feared+ I finally feel good again. The cancer is gone, the wound is healing very well, my clothes look pretty good on still+ best of all- I can hold my baby!! Ok I can't lift or change her but I can cuddle her+ feed her a bit.  I have a bit more to do (reconstruction+ probably radiotherapy) but I'm past the hardest treatments+ on the mend.

    F**k you cancer, I'm winning :-)

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