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Exercise after bilateral mastectomy

kimberlyrose's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi. I'm new to this website. I had a bilateral mastectomy in November because of extensive DCIS. I had a number of complications after surgery that slowed down my recovery considerably. Thankfully none of the DCIS had become invasive and I'm not scheduled for any additional cancer treatment at this time. I am getting ready to start my expander fills for reconstruction though. I'm interested in learning more about exercises that can help me get back into shape. I'm afraid to push myself for fear of doing damage, but I'm also gaining weight by the day. Ideas, suggestions?

Jeanne D's picture
Jeanne D
Posts: 1867
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi Kimberly! You have found the best site for support and encouragement! I didn't have a mastectomy, I had a lumpectomy, so, I can't really offer you help about exercises for your situation. Your oncologist and plastic surgeon should be able to offer you help about what exercises you can or should be doing. Have you talked to them? And, I am sure that the other bc ladies on here will chime in with help for you. Once again, welcome and good luck to you!

Love, Jeanne ♥

DebbyM's picture
Posts: 3293
Joined: Oct 2009

Just want to welcome you too Kim. I don't know what I would do without this site and my bc sisters to help me. Sending you cyber hugs!


Tinabug's picture
Posts: 158
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Kimberly,

I am also fairly new to this site. I had a bilateral mastectomy on Nov 23 with expanders inserted. Monday marked my 6th week & today my plastic surgeon told me I can start exercising but to ease into it. He & my oncologist, suggested walking. The only complication I had was fluid build up which delayed my first expander fill. At this point, I only have (2) more expander fills & I will be finshed with that part of reconstruction. I have also gained weight...10 lbs to be exact. However, I was told not to do anything until now, because my expanders would rub against my chest wall & could cause calluses or make the scar tissue worse, cause bleeding, or cause the expanders to move downward. As I am sure you have been told, everyone is different. Your best bet is, to call your plastic surgeon's office & ask them. I know it's hard...losing our breasts & gaining weight on top of it has been a drag to say the least & I'm about to lose my hair. However, we are cancer free & that is more important than anything.

Hooray for you...no more cancer treatment!!!! It is such wonderful news to hear.


MyTurnNow's picture
Posts: 2690
Joined: Aug 2009

Kimberly, I just wanted to welcome you to this amazing site. You'll find plenty of friendship, support, knowledge and just plain caring from this wonderful group of survivors. Ask anything you want and there will be someone that has experience in the matter. Glad you found us. Take care.

tommaseena's picture
Posts: 1771
Joined: Feb 2009

I had a double mastectomy on Feb. 2, 2009 and at my 6 weeks check up I was told by my plastic surgeon that easy exercise-like walking, very low aerobics were good. I have a WII fit and did the programs on that. In the spring I still had my expanders in and I play golf and was able to play golf and walk the course -- the only thing is that I had to change my swing after each fill.

I had my expanders taken out 11/10/09 and silicone implants put in and hopefully I will be able to golf again--different swing now since silicone is a lot softer than the saline expanders which were hard like a rock.


New Flower
Posts: 4299
Joined: Aug 2009

to the site.Your breast and plastic surgeon are the ones who can give you directions. As others already said you need to star very slowly and listen to your body. If your lymph nodes were taken probably you need see a physical therapist.
I had mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and 21 lymph nodes removed. I started stretching exercises 4 weeks after my surgery under supervision of physical therapist. 14 months after I am still doing stretching every day.
My physical therapist was recommended by my breast surgeon. I trust her very much and always consult with her before increasing the intensity of my physical activity.
New Flower

kimberlyrose's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks, everyone! It's great to hear from "friends" who can share their experience. I have my first expander fill next week, so I'll talk with the plastic surgeon then about specific exercises I can do. I also found a yoga class for breast cancer survivors (I'm still not used to saying that...). Hopefully the grant will be funded and I'll be able to start that in Feb, with surgeon's approval as you all advise.

Thanks again. It feels good to be here.

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