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What kind of help will I need after bilateral mastectomy, SNB and reconstruction?

Posts: 26
Joined: Oct 2012

I live alone and am very independent. However I care for two loving big dogs and have been told that I will need help the first few weeks. I have rides to and from hospital but what else will I need?

DebbyM's picture
Posts: 3293
Joined: Oct 2009

Jennifer, I had a lumpectomy, so, I can't offer a lot of help to you. I want to be sure that the pink sisters that have had a mastectomy, see this post, and, will post some good information for you.

I do wish you the best!

Hugs, Debby

laughs_a_lot's picture
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mar 2011

But I think you will need someone to walk the dogs unless you have a fenced in back yard. I think it would be hard on your body if they were the kind to try and lead you down the sidewalk. I have also heard that you should put all heavy things down low. Laundry soap, dog food, milk on the low shelf of fridge or maybe buy a half galon of milk. Also perhaps you can make some meals ahead. I wonder about pulling wet clothes out of the washer? Do you belong to a church? Perhaps you can get some help from them for some of the tasks. I had my grandaughter who was twelve over for 3 weeks. Not so much that I needed her as much as she needed a break from mom and it was summer. She did a lot of the heavy duty stuff. Welcome to the website.

laughs_a_lot's picture
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mar 2011

so you get more replies.

Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

It is good you have rides -- and it would be good to have ones set for when you have to do follow-up visits with your surgeon. I do not have dogs, but I did have a bi-lateral. Your arms will not be up to caring for your dogs. It will be an effort for you to even get them watered and fed. That's not to say you will be stuck in your recliner or bed all day. It's just to say that a lot of regular tasks will become a real effort. Some things you opt to try you will be able to do, but slowly. Most things, though, you will benefit from help.

Do you have friends, family, groups that can help devise a volunteer roster? I had a lot of help with rides (and meals) for everything from surgery follow up through chemo and rads from friends, church family, and relatives. My sister came and stayed a week to help. She made some entrees and froze them up for later use. My cousin came over two different days to help with cleaning the house a bit and with my switching out seasonal things.

I lived alone and was very independent for a good part of my life. I can still be rather independent -- and am -- but I learned to be reasonable in dealing with this disease. It did help that I had so many willing people. If you have that, take advantage of it. I will speed the healing process along, both physically as well as mentally.

A friend of mine is going on to the reconstruction. I'm not. She has more at-home help than you (and than me); but she is grateful for her circle of friends who help ease the burden on her family. They give her rides. Take her here and there (as she feels up to it). They help in ways they can.

camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

but did need some help. 2 of my sisters came and stayed 2 days after surgery. That was a help. My boys were 15 and 17 couldn't ask them for help dressing:) By the third day I was got around pretty well. I did accept friends offers to/from appointments. Physically the surgery was much easier than I had anticipated. Mentally, not so much! The boys took care of the dogs, there is no way I could have cared for them!

Make sure you have pj's and tops that button, and I made sure that the house was clean and I made some dishes and froze them before the surgery.

Best of luck with your surgery,

Posts: 4376
Joined: Jun 2009

Bumping up for you also so more can give you information.

laughs_a_lot's picture
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mar 2011

from some of the single and independent women. I still am going to bump this up again in the hopes that you will get a bit more advice. I am not sure when your surgery is. I just now figured out what an SNB is. I had to have all my lymph nodes taken out on my right side because two of them were positive for mets. The arm is numb when they have to remove lymph nodes. It feels like it is swollen even though it is not. However, you will need to look for swelling and changes in an arm where they take the lymph nodes from. I hope you can keep yours.

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