Recovery after Masectomy need feedback - Breast Cancer Haven

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Recovery after Masectomy need feedback


I live alone and have a very ill cat. Do you think that I can recover at home so I can take care of my cat. My friend is expecting me at her home for several days to recover. I think I should be okay at home. Any ideas?

11 Replies

My worry would be about your own immune system. If you have had chemo you are not supposed to go near animal faeces etc e.g. Cleaning a littler tray. I would be even more concerned that your cat is ill. I had a cat and dog. My sister adopted my dog and he is so happy and I get to see him. Unfortunately my cat died a year after my treatment stopped of cancer ironically enough. I would definitely check with your care team before making a rash decision. Do you have anyone who could care for your cat for you? All the best with your recovery x

Could your friend come and stay with you ? I had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and my two drains were in for nine days . This really limited my movements and I needed help getting out of bed for the first week at least . The things you take for granted - going to the loo , washing and making meals became very difficult initially and I would have found it very difficult physically and mentally doing it on my own . Hope all goes well for you

I had a mastectomy and reconstruction, radiotherapy and chemotherapy whilst having a cat admittedly she wasn't ill and didn't have a litter tray.

I was in hospital for a week but then returned home to look after my cat.

For a few days it was difficult to bend over and pick up things from floor but not impossible. Also lifting anything heavy was difficult.

Could you ask somebody to help you clean litter tray etc.

I'd also ask the doctor or breadt cancer nurse.

All the best.

Is there a cattery near you? If yes, you could home him on the days you are at your friend. It's really important to rest after surgery. I had breast conserving surgery (day surgery) and I went away for a few days just to rest, So yes, you really should take advantage of the help. I also have a cat and he was fed every day and went about his daily business using his cat flap.

All the best for your recovery


Hi there

I do understand how difficult it will be to think about something like 'boarding' your cat for a few days in the light of your cat's own ill health. The ladies have identified the need for help and rest immediately after your surgery.

The only other suggestion I can make is trying the cinnamon trust - its a charity who can help people with their pets over difficult periods eg by short term fostering or coming into your home to help with feeding, grooming, litter tray, visits to vet etc.

I wish you all the best with your surgery and hope your cat's health improves

Love Caroline xxx

Thank you so much. This is very helpful. God bless you!


I am in agreement with Dragonbear, that it would be best if your friend could stay at your place to assist you. You will need assistance for all sorts of things, besides to watch out for your safety, at least for your first several days following your surgery. Another possibility is having your Doctor order Nursing or other home health care service to look after you through the first several days and nights.

Clearly, it would be best for your cat if you were able to recover at home. Familiar (home) environment and familiar caregiver/s make for much lower stress for a cat. And of course it would be best for you to to have the comforts of home and the companionship of your cat, besides knowing that your cat is as comfortable as circumstances permit.

The situation would pose some serious possible hazards for you, though. As Lainey writes, the cat's droppings can be dangerous to you if you are immuno-compromised -- also your cat's coat may present an infection risk. If your cat tends to get very close or underfoot when you are up and about, that could be dangerous for both of you. It is absolutely essential that you not fall in your wounded condition! Also, you will not be able to lift your cat for some time -- maybe a couple of months. In the first few days following your surgery, you will probably not be able to manage feeding unless it is only to cut open small pouched serving portion cat food packages with easy-to-use scissors. Your arm use will be severely limited -- by chest injury and pain, and in terms of reach -- just after your surgery.

Another realistic hazard is the Pasteurella germs that are in cat saliva, even in dried cat saliva. You can fairly assume that your cat's coat is completely covered in Pasteurella germs. So you need to take care to keep cat hair from your surgery site and dressings. Cotton balls and rubbing alcohol (try to get it with a flip-top cap) will be very helpful in your maintenance of your drains. They would also make it easy to keep clean the areas around your wounds or wound dressings. Keep those areas covered -- under clean clothing -- except when you are doing drain maintenance or cleaning the areas around your wounds or wound dressings.

You will be on strong pain medicine. Have that medicine supplied in an easy-to-open container. Get your other pills put into easy-to-open containers or dispensers. Eat something -- have at least a little something on your stomach -- and also go to the bathroom before you take the pain medicine. Once you take the pain medicine, you need to stay down and still for at least the next hour following your dosing.

You must not fall! You will be at more than the usual risk of falling because of the pain medicine. Your arm use will be severely limited already, and your chest will be seriously injured already. You must not fall! Please have your Doctor order the Hospital to supply you with a walker/ walking frame to take home with you. You want an ordinary walker / walking frame (not a four-wheeled rollator type appliance) having a pair of wheels at its front/leading feet. The Hospital personnel should make any necessary adjustments to its height for you. Then you must use it whenever you are to be up and about!

Go ahead and change out batteries in overhead smoke/CO alarms. If their batteries should fail over the next few months, that could be a big problem. Head it off by installing fresh batteries now.

Best wishes for a smooth, great recovery -- for you and your Little One.

blessedmother in reply to Hidden

Thank you for your very helpful information.

Oh dear 'blessed mother', I'm going to put a totally different perspective on this! If you are having surgery I assume your immune system is OK. If you were at serious risk of infection you wouldn't be able to have surgery.

I had six cycles of chemo. Six weeks after my last chemo, I had a double mastectomy with lymph node clearance on my left side. I stayed in hospital one night after surgery and went home the next day. I live alone but I am in a bungalow, so no stairs to fall down and I have a very kind neighbour who kept an eye on me. I own a very boisterous long haired collie. He stayed with friends for about three nights then came home. I had three drains to deal with which were a nuisance but I coped perfectly well. I was of course careful about hygiene and checked my temperature from time to time. I had some pain a few weeks after surgery when everything started to heal. I dealt with that by taking ibuprofen and paracetamol. Other than that, I had no problems. I did as I was told as respects exercise but I made sure I did the exercises I was given. The result was I had full movement in both arms within a few weeks of surgery. It took a long time to get my strength back and I am still not as strong as I was pre cancer but that is to be expected. I am 57 and work in an office. I wouldn't say I am particularly fit but I do keep a pony so am used to fairly heavy work. Maybe that helped, I don't know. I did send the pony to a friend for a couple of months post surgery, mainly because of not wanting to lift full buckets of water, mucking out a stable etc., until I was properly healed There is a limit and I was warned about lymphoedema if I put too much strain on my left arm. Of course I am also left handed!

We are all different and you must do what you feel is best for you but I hope this somewhat different view helps and doesn't make deciding what to do even more difficult! That is definitely not my intention.

All the very best. I hope you are soon mended and of course that your elderly cat is OK.

Hi, so happy you are doing so well. You put a smile on my face when you shared about your dog and pony! God gives us such gifts inn The unconditional love of our animals. God also took care of me. My cat Kolbe, declined rapidly. I knew I could not let him suffer so I asked my friend Theresa to drop me at The hospital and take him to my vet. I am at my friend Carrie's to recuperate. They are spoiling me! She made the call on Wednesday to my vet who told her he passed away naturally on Monday. An autopsy was done and he had bladder cancer. Poor baby. God took care of both of us. Hope you continue to do well and enjoy your buddies. I have one cat waiting at home for me so I will likely go home tomorrow so she is not lonely! God bless you!

I'm so sorry about your cat passing. God bless you.

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