Tips for after surgery care

4Coco Member Posts: 48
Hi everyone

I have surgery for lumpectomy in a few days time and would love any tips and advice on how to cope especially with sleep and comfort at night following surgery.


  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,370

    Fingers crossed, you may need very little. I had a mastectomy and had virtually no pain. I didn’t need any painkillers and just avoided lying on the relevant side for a while - more to guard against pulling any stitches rather than discomfort. But I’m sure others will have some useful tips! Best wishes for a speedy recovery. 
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,274
    Hi @4Coco,

    I had a lumpectomy. The hospital breast nurse gave me a little donut type pillow which was great under the armpit. I also found one of those boomerang pillows helpful too because you can't sleep on that side for awhile. I didn't have much pain but was uncomfortable.  

    Shirts were great to wear. Also anything like a boobtube or firm camisoles were good to have a break from the surgical bras that hook up at the front. The hospital gave me a couple of those. You may need a dressing over any scar but depends where they cut you. 

    I slept ok the first night because of all the anaesthetic. After that it was a bit off and on because of the swelling and discomfort. After a couple of weeks it was easier and within the month I could sleep on that side.

    Take it easy for a few days and then gentle walks help. The breast care nurse gave me little exercises to do to help recovery.  Get a couple books of that appeals. Have a couple of meals ready. If you like music that's nice to listen to in hospital bring that if it helps you sleep or even a podcast or guided meditation. 

    Wishing you all the best.
  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,552

    We are all different in how surgery and recovery affects us

    BCNA website is a wealth of information and this link should help you

    "Surgery | Breast Cancer Network Australia"
  • 4Coco
    4Coco Member Posts: 48
    Many thanks for your responses  @Afraser  @Cath62  @iserbrown
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,114
    Hi I had a mastectomy not lumpectomy but my top tips are:
    1. take it easy both mentally and physically, you have had surgery and are having to wrap your head around the whole situation.
    2. if anyone offers help, accept it.
    3. Ask any questions on here , no question is too silly , we have all been there one way or another.
    best wishes for your journey.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,567
    @4Coco - all the best for your surgery ..... lots of little things will make your recovery a lot easier ..... 

    Yep - TOTALLY accept any help that is offered!! Before & after (frozen meals, walking the dog, picking up the kids etc)

    Yep, be kind to yourself .... it takes a while to get over this train wreck since detection & diagnosis!  

    Check out this post for lots of good tips ....

    The little support pillow is VERY important, for driving home too (hug it to prevent jarring of your surgery areas.). Even driving over the gutter into your driveway will give you a shock!

    Hospitals are well lit, noisy places .... take an 'airline' eye mask & earplugs!!  You'll need them for night!  Plus all the cords for your phone, iPad etc .... longish ones if you can ... the PowerPoints aren't always 'handy'!!    Front opening pyjamas .... you may not be able to put your arms up over your head for a day or so ..... AND TAKE ANY PAIN MEDS THAT THEY OFFER!!   Do NOT wait for the pain to kick in!!

    Take care xx

  • 4Coco
    4Coco Member Posts: 48
    @Julez1958   @arpie    Thank you, appreciate your tips and suggestions.
  • jennyss
    jennyss Member Posts: 1,959
    Dear @4Coco,

    from jennyss in Western NSW
  • Jodraper27
    Jodraper27 Member Posts: 4
    Sending hugs and love for your surgery xx
  • 4Coco
    4Coco Member Posts: 48
    Smiles & Thanks  @jennyss  @Jodraper27
  • Mez_BCNA
    Mez_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 870
    Hi @4Coco you have already had such wonderful support and tips from members. I thought I would also share the link to 'Strengthening your recovery' on our website

    Also if you are after a post surgery bra, the My Care Kit is for women who have recently had breast surgery. It contains a specially designed Berlei bra, provided through a partnership between BCNA and Berlei. Please call 1800 500 258 and we will happily assist you.
  • 4Coco
    4Coco Member Posts: 48
    Hi @Mez_BCNA    Thank you for the link and info re the care kit  ...and yes, the ladies here have been very kind and helpful with their tips and suggestions. 
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,567
    All the best for your surgery, @4Coco xx  I hope you won't be in too much pain or discomfort & that you feel as relieved afterwards, as I was xx

  • 4Coco
    4Coco Member Posts: 48
    Thank you @arpie
  • 4Coco
    4Coco Member Posts: 48
    @Cath62  @arpie  @Julez1958     Hi ladies  Just wanted to let you know my surgery went well  -  feeling some discomfort at night but really nowhere near the level I'd expected.   The waterproof dressing  -  do I keep it in place until the follow up - I remember the nurse telling me ok to have light shower but can't recall how long it has to remain covering the wound?