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Bilateral Mastectomy surgery coming this week

Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2013

sschedule for bilateral mastectomy on Wednesday. Not looking forward to it, but have come to terms with it. Hopefully pathology comes back good, then I will be on my home stretch. I finished chemo in July. I don't like surprises, so if there ua anything that anyone has experienced that u think it might be useful for me to know, would appreciate the feedback.

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009


Multiple pillows in various, sizes help with sleeping on your back -

Some Sister in Pink find sleeping on recliner for the first 3 to 5 nights is also a comfortable alternative

Please make sure you know how 'to' milk your drains - which will be in for several weeks after bilateral surgery

Prepare meals in advance and freeze 

Run all your errands - I was instructed NOT to DRIVE for 5 days

Please have cups, saucers, plates at arm level - as well as re-arranging your
fridge for more commonly used items at arm levels. Tide/Downy small container
sizes - also at arm level. Reaching up and grabbing heavy items -- will tear
your stitches, as well as hurt your arms. Muscles and tissue in breast, as well
as arm areas will be cut,moved and sewn back together.

My husband installed a flex shower head & hose so I could shower.  No sponge baths for this Sister in Pink ...  nope, no, no. 
 I was able to maneuvering the flex hose from waist down, as well as place shower water under
my arm pitts without wetting my stitches - just changed my gauge and wrappings after each and every shower.

Lastly, please make sure you do your exercises as prescribed by Plastic Surgeon,
and Physical Therapist.

Strength, Courage, Hope and Speedy recovery.

Vicki Sam 

Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2013

Good advice! Thanks for your response.


coco2008's picture
Posts: 420
Joined: May 2013

Good luck with your surgery. I will be keeping you in prayer.  Keep us updated.  We care.

No advise or suggestions as my BMX is not scheduled until the end of next month.


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2013

I had a double mastectomy, ovaries and tubes removed one week ago. My reconstructive surgeon saved my nipples which was a miracle since I had a lumpectomy in May. pathology came back with more cancer - hence the double mastectomy. I am super sore, on pain meds and have drains in until next week. Is it unreasonable to think I will still need help support next week?

Posts: 382
Joined: Nov 2012

The biggest thing to remember is to do your exercises.  You want your range of motion back. I could not believe how fast they got me out of that bed to walk around the next day.  I pray your pathology comes out good.  You can do this for sure!!  



Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3691
Joined: Apr 2009

... for your surgery to go well, and for good recovery. And I hope your pathology results will be encouraging.

Excellent tips & advice already shared here. Adding one more: button-front tops. Pullovers too strenuous. Take good care of yourself, allow others to help when needed. And, yes - do follow all doctor/nurse/etc. orders & recommendations. The post-surgery exercises are critical, not optional, to regain range of motion.

Kind regards, Susan

Susi F
Posts: 5
Joined: Aug 2013

My surgery was August 15...so not quite 2 weeks ago.  Here are a few things I would have known...

Ask a lot of quetions about the drains...they not only need to be emptied but you should keep track of the fluid levels (date, time, and amount of fluid).  The doctor uses this info to gauge when the drains come out.

The drain bulbs need to be supported.  My hospital had a department that brought me a cami with pockets for the drains.  Check with your doctor/hospital if they don't provide anything they may be able to tell you where you can purchase something.  This support keeps the drains close and prevents them from pulling.

A small cushion to put under your arm is a life saver.  My armpit where they removed the lymph node became very sore so I held my arm my from my body which was uncomfortable.  The cushion allowed my arm to be at a more normal angle.

Make certain there is a table beside your bed so you can reach over NOT up.  Lay on your bed and make sure you can move your arm out to the side and reach stuff...it's nice to have water and your phone close. 

On a more personal note....I expected my chest to be flat after surgery.  I was shocked to see places that were actually sunken in!  It was so unexpected that I fell apart before hubby could remind me that reconstruction would correct the whole thing.

I hope you have women you can talk to face-to-face but remember that you have this forum to remind you that you can get through this and you don't have to feel alone!!! 

Good luck and I pray that your pathology comes back with great results! 



Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2013

thank you everyone. And thanks for the heads up on being 'sunken in' Susan. It helps knowing what to expect.



Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

I don't recall seeing anyone mention this.  A friend of mine mailed me a small heart-shaped pillow she had made.  Someone had made her one when she was having bc surgery (one side).  It fit nicely under her arm, and she found that it felt good.  She had decided then that she would make these for others she knew who were dealing with bc surgery.  I could have used two, as I did find them helpful.  I also used it between my seatbelt and me when I was in the car.

A friend of mine asked me what would be something she could get for an acquaintance of hers having bc surgery.  I suggested the pillow.  Not only was it unique, it was practical, I found.

Here are a few links FYI:


Posts: 579
Joined: Dec 2010

has covered most everything well.


Look at each point as she did a lot of what I did.


i wrapped the drains around my neck while bathing.  


Sleep, rest, sleep, rest when your body tells you.


look closely at milking the drains - sleeping advice first four days or so is a must, let others bring food if they offer 


soft comfy night ware that buttons up the front, I wore all day for a while, dont use deodorant or perfumed products, nor shave under arms.  You key I know but you will appreciate it more when you can.


take care - good luck









sandra4611's picture
Posts: 121
Joined: Sep 2013

I just got home after 7 days in hospital for bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. Support of drains is critical. Ask if they will be giving you a bra with attached pockets to hold drains. If not, create your own. Get a stretchy summer bandeau at Walmart sale rack, two pair of cheap sox, and four big safety pins. Cut the toes off the sox to make pockets...3 or 4 inches should be fine. Attach to bandeau with safety pins. Another option is to loop a long piece of dental floss around your neck and extending down to above your waist. Hook drains via safety pins to dental floss loop. A long piece of flat elastic will work as a loop too. You can pin the drains wherever you want them along the loop of elastic.

Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2013

I was told to not sleep flat on my back. Anyone else told this? If so, for how long. I am two weeks out from bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction.

RE's picture
Posts: 4644
Joined: Feb 2004

You probably will not want to sleep on your back for the first several days as it is not the most comfortable position.  I agree the small pillow under the arm is a great help, if someone happens to bump you it cushions things and it keeps your arm from rubbing against the surgical site.  We kept walkie talkies charged and I had one and my hubby had one so he could easily check on me while out in the yard or in the garage or well he was upstairs well I was downstairs.  In the age of cell phones you may not wish to do this but it was really helpful for us. 

Be kind to yourself adn do not hesitate to ask for help when you need it.  Try to stay uplifted emotionally as much as possible, my mom got really derpessed after her's so I learned from her not to allow it to sink me!  Open those windows and let the light in, watch funny or uplifting movies, read some good novels....if you have someone who can take you out when you are up to it go for short drives.  Once I had healed enough to want to get out I was still not healed enough to drive so my hubby would take me on short drives in the foothills, to a local park just something to get you out and about!  Your mental health helps with your physical heath so take care of yourself! 

Remember not to overdo when you start feeling better, do no sweep, vaccum, mop, dust and remember do not pull clothes our of the washing machine or dryer because the pulling pushing motion will hurt your (I had a hard time not doing things sooner than I was supposed to) . 

I may have reposted things other's mentioned as I did not read them all.  I wish all the best, your are a survvior and you will survive and thrive after this!







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