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After the Mastectomy

IE_Hope's picture
IE_Hope
Posts: 42
Joined: May 2013

July 5th I will have a mastectomy on my left breast.  I was wondering what did others feel? or how did they cope with this?

de

Doe1504
Posts: 94
Joined: May 2013

De, I had a bilateral on 5-15-13 and did well. I am 50 yr old. I was on a morphine drip for the 24 hrs I was in the hosp., came home and did fine. Did not need any more pain meds, no pain. My chest has numb spots and feels "full" due to the expanders, but no pain. I felt that my breast being gone was good, I would have new perkier ones, lol. Seriously I did/do not miss them! You will do great. Do you need chemo? I just have my first of 16 treatments last Thurs. and so far, so good.  Will keep you in my prayers. Good luck :)

Dolores

IE_Hope's picture
IE_Hope
Posts: 42
Joined: May 2013

Good Morning Dolores,

 

When I saw you name I thought to myself, huh I always sign my name de.  My name is also Dolores and spelled the same way Smile  Do not know about Chemo yet.  Drs say they will see after the surgery.

How did you do with your first treatment?  

 

Sending lots of prayers and hugs

de

Doe1504
Posts: 94
Joined: May 2013

So far so good. had it last Thurs. and was filled with nausea meds before and have not been sick yet. Thank God! I got the neulasta shot on Fri. it stimulates the bone marrow to make more white cells and they say it can make your bones hurt. The dr. put me on claritan for 3 days and the only bone pain so far is a little in my left hip joint. I felt a little "strange" or "different" yesterday, but seem ok today. No hair or taste loss as of yet. If all the treatments go this well maybe I will be fine. I am drinking LOTS! Hydration is apparently the key. They want you to wash out your system after chemo. Thanks for the prayers and hugs and please keep me posted :)

desertgirl947's picture
desertgirl947
Posts: 447
Joined: Oct 2012

I had a bi-lateral 2/21/12.  I had no ill effects from the surgery, as I do remember eating at least a hamburger afterwards.  Yes, there was soreness, but that was manageable.  I think I had Percoset or something. 

My pathology reports were such that I ended up doing chemo (eight times, every other week; adriamycin/cytoxin the first half and taxol the second).  My hair began to "flee" the week I had my second infusion.  I chose to get a buzz cut because (1) I did not like  how I was shedding; and (2) I thought it would just be easier to lose bristles than clumps of hair.  My anti-puke meds worked, and I only dealt with maybe 2-3 days of queasiness the weeks I had chemo, just during the A/C segment.  I had a few challenges, but manageable, when I was on the taxol; I did get some relief with allergy meds (like Clariton). 

My numbers were good, and so I stayed on schedule the entire time I was doing chemo.  I did not have to get my final neulasta shot.  About 10 days after I finished chemo, my husband and I went on a four-day vacation.  I did well.

About three weeks after I finished chemo, I did radiation therapy.  I had a little problem with burns, but it was manageable and did not get me off schedule.  I did heal quickly from that.

To make a long story short, I did a part-time work schedule when school started last year (because I will still doing rads); by mid-October, I was back to work full time. 

By the end of September, I decided I had enough hair back that I gave up wearing hats/hair pieces when I was out of the house.  Because I wear my hair somewhat short, it did not take things long for it to be back to normal length.  The texture is softer and straighter, which is all right with me.

I will say, though, that not everyone has the same reaction to chemo and to rads.  We can share our experiences and know that it does help give people like you an idea of what to expect.  I think I was very fortunate in a lot of ways with how chemo and rads went for me.  In comparing my experience with that of others, some of whom I know, I think that my experience did not match any of theirs; HOWEVER, what they shared with me helped me know what I could maybe expect, which was helpful.

Hope this helps.

e

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4010
Joined: Oct 2009

I don't know if you have had other surgeries?  This is not one of the more painful ones, but most need pain meds for a few days.  Don't let your pain get out of control because pain meds work better on mild to moderate pain and you will be taking more with less effect if you wait too long.

If you need something for nausea, be sure and ask your nurse.  If there is nothing ordered, they can call oncall doc and get you something quickly.

Pain meds make you constipated, so if you know what works for you, have it on hand (prunes, stool softener, etc).

You will probably have two drains for a week or two.  Everyone wants them out because they are awkward, but remember that whatever they are draining will accumulate in your chest if pulled too soon.  Don't be in a rush.

Having said that, after one drain was removed, I did have a reaccumulation and had to have my chest tapped.  It sounds scary and they use a big syringe with a needle, but, if that happens, don't worry because it doesn't hurt.  Apparently, swelling keeps you from feeling it.

I would plan on being out of work (if you work) for  about 2-3 weeks.  Everyone heals differently so this is hard to predict.

3 out of 4 of my sisters have had breast cancer and the unaffected sister just had a bilateral preventive mastectomy on June 18th.  She had the last of her drains removed today.  She thought she would be back to work, but I have a feeling she will probably go back next week as she still has pain if she sits too long.

Hope some of this helps!  Good luck and hope it goes well and you have a speedy recovery.

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4010
Joined: Oct 2009

P.S. My sister has a stronger stomach than me and so she had her daughter get her a milkshake after surgery.  That really set her back and she ended up having to get a couple of nausea meds before she stopped vomiting.  I do NOT recommend a hamburger.  Start with ice chips, progress to clear fluids and then to food as tolerated. 

IE_Hope's picture
IE_Hope
Posts: 42
Joined: May 2013

Thank you everyone for your input,  they really do help.  I went today for my the pre-op, sign papers all that good stuff.  Was hoping I would be in and out the same day, guess that was a joke.  They said I would be there about 3 days, hope they give me some good stuff for pain lol

It did hit me hard today. Guess I have been trying to keep it out of my mind but today made me realize this is real.   

Again thanks for your info you shared with me.

hugs,

de

andi44's picture
andi44
Posts: 155
Joined: Jun 2013

Hey there,

I had a left breast mastectomy.  The surgery went well - though I did have an expander put in - so that took additional time for the doctors. I was in the hospital only for one night.  I was thinking I could do this procedure on a Thursday and be back to work the following Monday - I was wrong.  I also had to have a 2nd surgery two weeks later because they didn't get 'clear margins'. So, they had to 'pump' up my expander as far as the doctor could to stretch my skin for more tissue & skin removal - that is what hurt. The original mastectomy itself was not too painful.  However, you will have to deal with a drainage tube for a week or more.  I do wish you luck with your procedure...

 

Andi

 

LoveBabyJesus's picture
LoveBabyJesus
Posts: 1654
Joined: Jan 2011

I did not have a matectomy but I want to wish you good luck tomorrow. I will pray for a smooth surgery, with no complications and quick healing. Most importantly, I will pray for clear margins. Remember to keep positive and have faith. We'll be thinking of you tomorrow. You will do great. Believe it.

Hugs to you.

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4010
Joined: Oct 2009

Sending hugs and prayers, hoping it all goes well today!! 

jnl's picture
jnl
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

Lots of prayers and gentle hugs!

Leeza

Doe1504
Posts: 94
Joined: May 2013

De, wondering how your mastectomy went yesterday. Hope all is well and you feel better than you thought. Update as soon as you can. Prayers for you.

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

De, hoping you're doing well.  Praying for you!

andi44's picture
andi44
Posts: 155
Joined: Jun 2013

Wondering how your surgery went...hope all went well.

Kobias
Posts: 115
Joined: Jun 2013

Thinking of you too and hoping your surgery went well for you.

Kathy

Lynne P
Posts: 165
Joined: May 2013

Post an update on how you are when you can.

Lynne

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

Sending gentle hugs and positive thoughts!  I hope you will check in to update us.

Megan

Cheryl S
Posts: 82
Joined: Jun 2013

Thinking of you and thought I would check for an update.  Hoping you post something soon for us.

Hugs, Cheryl

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5433
Joined: Oct 2010

I have no advice-since I have had two lumpectomies (same side) but just wanted to say "thinking of you" and I know you will get many comments/advice from others.

 

Denise

Jobi's picture
Jobi
Posts: 211
Joined: Jan 2012

I was 38 when I had my mastectomy.  No matter what age, it was a loss for me.  To handle it, I had my mother, sister, and then husband surrounding me when I looked at my new body.  I couldn't have done that alone.  They talked me through it and I am forever grateful.  The first weeks will be tough, but as time moves on, it will really become your new normal with good days and bad. 

Prayers your way. 

Lynne P
Posts: 165
Joined: May 2013

Just checking for any update that you might have posted.  I hope you post soon to tell us how you are doing.

jen dw
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2013

Hi De, I hope you are recovering well. i had my double mastectomy in January. I am almost done with the reconstructions, which are a peice of cake after the double mx. I like my new breasts, they are really nice looking and feel very real. The expanders, what you might typically have in the meantime immediately post surgery, are kind of hard and a little uncomfortable, but don't despair, the mor permanent implants are much softer and more real feeling. I'm struggling now (6 months later) with some anxiety, etc. that I think I blocked out during the whole process and now it is finally bubbling up for me. Just hoping to keep working at it and get some support from my peers here on the network. Any one else have a lot of anxiety post surgeries, once things started settling donw?

 

Keep feeling better every day De!

 

Thank you!

 

Jen DW

IE_Hope's picture
IE_Hope
Posts: 42
Joined: May 2013

Sorry, I have not been online.  I had my surgery on July 5th stayed in hospital for 3 days. Yes I hated the drain,  I even gave it a name JP"  lol.  They finally took the drain out w weeks later and was told that I will not need Radiation and more then likely no Chemo Yay,  Thank you God.  My Dr wanted to do some more tests to make sure about the Chemo,  not sure why but maybe he wants to make sure.  I was also told that I was Stage 2A.

Trying to keep a positive attitude but sometimes that is hard especially when I look at my chest, even though I am happy the cancer is gone.  May be I can ask you girls. . . . after the surgery is it over?  I mean, is it like going back to normal before the cancer was found?  or is this something I will have to deal with or live with the rest of my life?  Sorry for the questions I am sure many of them are silly but just gotta ask.

Love and hugs to all

de

 

Lynne P
Posts: 165
Joined: May 2013

Congrats on no chemo and no rads!  That is really good news De! 

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8314
Joined: Aug 2009

I am happy to see a post from you . . Glad all went well - that JP drain tube (s) is annoying, but necessary as I had been told over, and over again. LOL

I was devastated at the way my new chest looked after my bilateral mastectomy - I am not going to sugar coat it,  My disposition and attitude did soften as time went on.  Please note that I had tissue expanders inserted at the time of surgery...

Fast forward several months - felt good, TE fully filled - exchange surgery scheduled .. we went on vacation - I contacted a staph infection - hospitalized for 5 days, emergency surgery followed.   I walked around around for several months - lopsided - 1 fully expanded breast, 1 flat -- funny thing,  I got used to it - choosing to wear larger shirts, nothing form fitting. 

Do 'we' get used to our new look - yes, in time.  Is it difficult on most days, yes.  Do we live to tell our story, yes.

Strength, Courage and HOPE for a Cure.

Vicki Sam

 

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

Wanting to say that I am glad your surgery is over and I wish you all the best de!

Jan

Carlee
Posts: 100
Joined: Jul 2013

That is great that you won't have to take chemo.  I hope you heal quickly. 

Ritzy's picture
Ritzy
Posts: 4384
Joined: Aug 2009

Checking on you De to see how you are.  Post an update for us when you're feeling stronger.

Sue :)

MLToad
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2013

De,

I had an unilateral mastectomy in Feb. I am still adapting to how I feel/look. though I am not vain about looks, it's more about how clothes fit. Right now I am looking into a prophylactic mastectomy and reconstruction. Yes, Cancer is always in the back of your mind, altho not cosuming my life. It's especially hard when it's time for any kind of tests.  But then you get past it, and thank God for your life and continue on.

I'm sure you've found that it was not a painful surgery. That's b/c you don't have very many nerves in your breasts. I had more discomfort with lumpectomy and axillary dissection 4 yrs ago.

I hope you have a very supportive network of friends and family. Mine have been wonderful and step up to help me every time I need them. Support groups can be helpful, too. Praying you have some peace of mind and are healing well.  

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