Upcoming surgery

Skbr Member Posts: 31
I’m going for a single mastectomy of my right breast, with an over the muscle expander, on Friday and was wondering if anyone has any recovery tips? I’ll be in hospital for 7 days. 

Also, did anyone else feel completely panicked in the lead up to surgery?? I’ve heard people say they felt calm and comfortable with their decision but the thought of someone removing my breast in a few days has me emotionally all over the place. I’m 36 & had the choice between a large lumpectomy (with a smaller/slightly distorted shape) or a mastectomy with implant. How did you know you made the right choice? I almost wish I wasn’t given one.


  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,388
    I didn’t have any reconstruction so my experience is different but I certainly had a very strong sense of disbelief prior to my surgery - how could this be happening? How could I be agreeing? Short answer because I wanted my cancer gone. Not so much wanting to be well (I had never felt sick up
    to that point!) but cancer free. I’d have possibly gone for a lumpectomy had it been offered, but with eight years hindsight, I am glad I didn’t. No issues about margins. Best wishes for a rapid recovery and feeling good about your choices. 
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,153
    Sorry I forgot to say I found a specialist physio , exercise physiologist and acupuncturist through the Kinghorn cancer wellness centre in Darlinghurst very helpful in my recovery.

  • NewBoobsPLS
    NewBoobsPLS Member Posts: 87
    Hi @Skbr I'm 37 and had a double mastectomy with expander under muscle in Feb 2020.
    Agree with @Julez1958 get a good physio and exercise physiologist.
    Try be positive and confident in your decisions. Everyone has a different experience. You may or may not bounce back but take help when offered follow doctors orders and run your own recovery.
    Thinking of you and sending good vibes.
  • Mazbeth
    Mazbeth Member Posts: 199
    Hi @Skbr, what you are feeling is very normal. Everything moves so quickly and it is difficult to process everything. I totally agree with the comments so far - this network is such a great support and wealth of knowledge. I had a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with ILC in my left breast. I knew from the start that I wanted a double mastectomy because I had dense breasts. I had chemo before my surgery which was in June 2020. At the time of surgery I had expanders put in under the muscle. I was anxious about how I would look when I woke up and I can honestly say I was simply relieved. ILC is a bit tricky, so that helped to make my decision.

    Now, everyone’s experience is very individual, so I can only give my perspective and how things were for me, but I hope it may help you in some way. I had drains in for almost 7 days, as soon as they were removed, I came home. When I came home, I was taking paracetamol as the pain was under control. I agree, take the pain meds - you cannot recover properly when you are in pain, you need to sleep etc so you recover well. My sister is a nurse and she drummed it into me to ‘manage the pain properly as this helps the recovery.’ (Best advice) When I checked my surgery sites, yes I was quite flat as I was a dd cup, but the expanders already had a small amount of saline and the surgery line was a curved single line - very neat. I really didn’t know what to expect, I thought I would have lots of bandages and that was not the case at all - just a strip of surgical tape which I could get wet etc but stayed in place for quite a long time - maybe a couple of weeks. 

    The exercises the physio will give you are really important to do, but don’t overdo it. I also found a hairdryer was excellent in gently drying the area. As mentioned, the cushion for under your arm is excellent. The breast care nurse gave me mine as the group Zonta kindly makes them and donates them. I also had a bag to put my drain in and this enabled me to walk around and grab a coffee and just generally gave me better mobility. Some hospitals may have them, but if not, just use a tote bag that has handles long enough to put over your shoulder. I took in packing cubes - get them at Kmart - and I put in all the things that I needed handy - lip balm, tissues, book/reader, phone etc. Button up shirts make life easier too as do slip on shoes. 

    Your decision will be the right decision for you. Your medical team will be doing their absolute best for you. Don’t forget, you can ask them as many questions as you need to, don’t hold back. On Friday, they will remove the cancer and you will begin your recovery. Take care, be kind to yourself. M x
  • FLClover
    FLClover Member Posts: 1,548
    I really wanted the surgery so they could finally take the lumps out, as I could feel my whole body rejecting them. But once I got a date I felt relief, then total panic. Total. It was horrible. And I also cried a lot in the waiting room the day before, when I had to get a million tests and scans and markings done for the surgery and the sentinel node removal for the biopsies. When I was driving home I felt empty and anxious and like crying again. I couldn’t believe what was happening. But then I got a wonderful sign from the Universe, and i felt better. The surgery went well and I didn’t regret having a DMX with expanders inserted. I stayed in hospital 3 days and recovered really well. I did all the exercises the physio gave me and also qi gong. After about 2 weeks I didn’t need pain killers anymore, not even Panadol. Trust your instinct. 
    Good luck 💕
  • Skbr
    Skbr Member Posts: 31
    Thank you so much for your responses, I really appreciate it x