Home Health and wellbeing

Mastectomy and Auxillary Node Clearance

PeacefuldovePeacefuldove Member Posts: 6
edited December 2018 in Health and wellbeing
Good morning Ladies, 

I am having a left mastectomy and auxiliary node clearance today at the QEH in Adelaide. 

I am just wondering if anyone can give me any tips or advice following surgery for the best way to move forward physically and emotionally. 

How did you cope moving forward emotionally? 

How did you dress, shower, sleep etc? 

Thank you in advance for any information or support you give, I really appreciate it. 

Sorry if it is a sensitive issue to some. . 

Much love, 


  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 4,118
    Hi and welcome to the forum and BCNA website - a wealth of information and help

    From the BCNA website


    I have copied here the Reclaim Your Curves website link - that has information sheets on various topics as well as and hopefully a starting point for you to do some research


    Take care
  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 629
    Good morning @Peacefuldove...best of my wishes for your surgery today. I had a bilateral mastectomy with full node clearance of the left and sentinal node on the right two years ago. On the phisical and practical side, these things helped me. Open down the front pyjamas (getting your arms up to take off a nightie without buttons difficult). Easy to get on dressing gown with wide sleeves, same reason, easy to get arms in and out. I used both the cushions I received from my breastcare nurse (zonta pillows) and supported my upper arms away from my torso with them. I also used their drain bags to carry the drains when walking about. I had the nurses leave one bedside rail up and used it to help myself into a sitting position, turning over and also lying down. Surprising how strong your hands and lower arms can be. Used bendy straws to drink, so I didn't have to sit up and lie down every time I wanted a sip. Emotionally, I was just glad to be rid of these traitors which were trying to kill me. Afterwards, like weeks later, the permanence of breast loss for me, was more of a thing. I was 58 at the time, and very soon adjusted, and now, two years later, I'm just glad to be sitll well and eager to welcome a new granddaughter in eight weeks time. Life moves on.
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 2,951
    Hi, I had a left mastectomy and axillary clearance six years ago. I had very little pain and good mobility pretty well straight away. Keep up the exercises you will be given, it helps mobility and gives some protection against the possibility of lymphoedema. I had drains removed before I went home, I found putting them in my dressing gown pocket while in hospital was the easiest way to avoid tripping over them. The first shower in hospital was a bit tricky, nearly yanked the drains out! But once they were gone, I was mobile and pretty independent. I didn't harbour any resentment against my breast, was somewhat sorry to lose it but much more keen to get rid of the tumour! Had a good hard look at the site the day after, it was fine (well, very lopsided of course but nothing awful) and I have felt much the same since (I chose no reconstruction). I had a few long term side effects, mainly from chemo but with a bit of professional help, sorted out some long term "I can do anything" stuff (I was 68 and expecting to live/work like a workaholic 25 year old).  Cancer can often throw up old foibles!! So far, so good. No evidence of disease, still working, travelling, enjoying my two grandsons I may never have known. We would all prefer not to go through bc, but life's for living, and mono-boobed is OK by me!!  Best wishes. 
  • Blossom1961Blossom1961 Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,552
    I had right side mastectomy and anxillery node clearance three weeks ago. I was sent home from hospital after two days, had first drain removed on day eight and second on day twelve. I have been focusing on my physical healing rather than my emotional. My dressings came off yesterday which is when I had a good look at the surgery site. My first thought was that I was lopsided, but that doesn’t make me imperfect. My BC nurse is all about how to look ‘normal’. This is my normal now and at the moment I choose comfort over being symmetrical thank you very much. Perhaps I should add here, I am a bit of a rebel. All the best for today.
  • PeacefuldovePeacefuldove Member Posts: 6
    Thank you everyone for you messages of support. I appreciate all your support and guidance moving forward. Everyone is different and everyone reacts differently. The information you have provided has really given me an insight into how I could feel after my operation and what other have experienced and felt themselves. 
    Thankyou x 
  • JulieVT11JulieVT11 Chermside, BrisbaneMember Posts: 78
    Hi I had left side mastectomy and sentinel node biopsy done 3 weeks ago.  As the comments above button up stuff makes life so much easier.  Physically and emotionally the first few days are very overwhelming, I think the stress of the build up from diagnosis to surgery are just exhausting so all I did for the first week was sleep.  Pain was very manageable but of course everyone’s different.  I was very fortunate to get great results and am now on hormone treatment but I’m still very emotional about it all, it is just such a roller coaster through each step and so hard to plan anything as you just don’t know what lies ahead so just take one day at a time knowing you are heading to being cancer free. Good luck with your surgery and fingers crossed for good results
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,580
    Hi @peacefuldove I'm guessing that you're recovering in your hospital room this morning.  I hope that you're not feeling too knocked around.  The ladies here have given you some good advice.  Take your painkillers (but watch out for constipation - it can be a bugger) and follow the doctor's instructions about rest - your body and mind has been through a lot.  Make sure you do the exercises and check before you leave that you know how to do them correctly.  I wore front-buttoning shirts for the first few days or loose t-shirts if there was someone to help my get them over my head (my poor 15 yo son had to come to my rescue one day when I got stuck halfway).  I also had low baths to wash while the dressings were on as it was much easier than trying to keep them dry in the shower.  If you haven't been given a Zonta pillow, ask about one.  They're so good for sleeping and for keeping the seatbelt off the wound in the car.
  • FlaneuseFlaneuse BrisbaneMember Posts: 878
    @Peacefuldove I hope you're blissed out on the painkillers. Be sure to do the leg and foot wriggling exercises, and have a walk around every now and then, when you feel able, to ward off clots . Get plenty of rest, as others have said. I found Movicol best for constipation. The Zonta pillow will be your "blankie". xox
  • Riki_BCNARiki_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 317
    Hello @Peacefuldove  hoping the surgery went well. Time to let the health care team take care of you. Rest well.
  • Beryl C.Beryl C. Member Posts: 238
    Peacefuldove - if you receive offers of help in the next few weeks accept what you want and refuse the rest. Staying in bed all day is ok, refusing a visitor is ok, a picnic on your bed with a friend or two is ok, feeling a bit overwhelmed is ok, wanting to throw the cat at the wall is ok. If you feel as though your world has tipped upside down post something here and you will receive the most practical, caring and compassionate support, this will be your support. xBeryl
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,346
    Hopefully you have some exercises already and do follow them as they suggest. A breast care nurse will visit you in hospital tomorrow and probably a lady to fit you with a comfy bra you can put a soft form in also. 

    I had reconstruction started at the time. But my nipples were gone. For me, checking out my scars and once  able lovelingly moisturising them twice a day helped  me accept the changes. Once able ...about 3 weeks on...I headed off to the pool and did the same exercises in there. It really helped my recovery and regained my strength. 
    Kath x
  • SoldierCrabSoldierCrab Bathurst NSW Member Posts: 3,265

    Below are a couple of links to help you find your way around the forum and also how to find a breast care nurse and how to order a MY journey Kit if you haven't got one yet. 

    It can be a whirlwind when we first get a diagnosed.... Breathe and take it one step at a time. 

    How to post on the main forum – use this link to get to the main forum and begin a new post. https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/post/discussion


    Navigating the online community formerly the what and how thread.


    Breast Care Nurses


    My Journey online tool and other resources. 

    My Journey Online Tool resources


    BCNA Helpline 1800 500 258

    If you have any questions, concerns or require any further information or support please call 1800 500 258. BCNA’s helpline will now be open from 9am-6pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 5pm Fridays.  


    How to understand your pathology reports


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