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Post surgery

MarycipkMarycipk Member Posts: 16
edited May 5 in Newly diagnosed
I’m 66 and a paraplegic. Just been diagnosed and having a mastectomy in 2 days time. I’ve decided to go for bilateral if she agrees and there’s enough time in the theatre but I want to know how much can you use your arms after surgery? I’ve got good support and want to get it over and done with. Love to hear from anyone how much you are allowed to move your arms 


  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,359
    So sorry to see you here @Marycipk, joining our exclusive little club - I had a lumpectomy, so can't really comment on the mastectomy side of things - so I wish you all the best. 

    I have read that members with mastectomies have had less pain and discomfort than they had imagined it to be, so hope that is true for you too xx. As with any surgery - take it easy afterwards & all should be good xx

    take care and all the best xx
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 4,019
    I can’t comment about bilateral
    mastectomies, I only had one. But as @arpie says, there was remarkably little pain or discomfort. Arm mobility depends to a large extent on the removal of lymph nodes - digging about the axilla can upset nerves, cause discomfort and, often, temporary loss of sensation. But even then, it varies. I had 17 lymph nodes removed and had normal arm movement within 48 hours. Couldn’t tell cold from hot in my armpit for months though! Exercises will be recommended and are really worth doing. However the issues are different if you are having immediate reconstruction. I had none so others are better placed to advise in that case. Very best wishes for your surgery. 
  • TonyaMTonyaM Member Posts: 2,745
    Hi @Marycipk,
    My first bc surgery was 19 yrs ago and I had a lumpectomy and full node clearance (17 nodes). That’s the difficult bit to recover from- the underarm cut. I could barely lift my arm and needed a lot of physio. It’ll be different if you only have one or two nodes taken. So 12 yrs ago I had a mastectomy(same breast) and my arm movements were fine.You’ll probably have a numbness and tight sensation across your chest but you’ll recover in about 2 to 3 weeks with pain only for 3 days or so. Don’t be alarmed if you develop a seroma which is a colllection of fluid near the op site. I had one that needed syringing off for a few weeks. I actually think you are doing the right thing having a double. I’m sick of the lopsided thing and am thinking of removing my remaining breast.Best wishes and hugs.xx
  • June1952June1952 Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,523
    Hello @Marycipk - I agree with @TonyaM (above) that going for the double is the best decision - like her, I am wanting number 2 removed as the lopsided issue can be a nuisance.
    Before surgery, make sure you have as much as possible at a height where you don't need to lift your arms or stretch too far.  Things like your coffee/tea making supplies, cooking, clothes etc.  If you have a clothes airer this is better than stretching for a clothes line - but you probably have most of this in place all the time anyway.  Just think about minimizing the need to have a pull on the stitches.  There is little pain really and the hospital will provide medications - don't be a martyr, take them when needs be.
    Sort out easy to wear clothing and pillows for comfort.  Take any assistance offered to you !
    You will be provided with gentle stretching exercises to minimize issues so make sure you keep up with them.
    Take care, all the best and we will hear from you when you are home again.  💖
  • TonyaMTonyaM Member Posts: 2,745
    All good advice @June1952! I remember just lifting the kettle to pour a cuppa was abit of a challenge that first week.Button down the front pjs and shirts are a good option for the first few weeks. A stretchy singlet or cami works until you can get into a bra(that’s if you want to)
    If you want to get fitted for prosthesis x2 then wait till 4-6wks when your chest has ‘settled down’.This is covered by Medicare.
  • MarycipkMarycipk Member Posts: 16
    I've been told I have to wear a post surgery bra day and night for weeks 
  • MarycipkMarycipk Member Posts: 16
    Having both off tomorrow my breasts are fibrous and the mammogram done after the diagnosis didn't show the cancer at all! Self examination is the way to go. Then chemo. Apparently the risks for me are too high as mammograms on the other one wouldn't detect anything anyway. It's also hormone negative so worse in some ways but having already done menopause I'm glad not to have to take the hormone blocking drugs.  May even go back on HRT as my bone density is critical 
  • MarycipkMarycipk Member Posts: 16
    Well I'm now flat chested and home. No pain and able to transfer on and off bed chair and toilet. Such a relief. Now the wait for the biopsy. Only one node removed which I hope is a good sign. I see my wonderful surgeon next Wednesday after which chemo will be worked out. I'm hormone negative so waiting to see if I'm HER negative. It's frightening and the waiting is hard. I was excited yesterday to be home after one night in hospital but the dark thoughts keep coming into my head 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 4,019
    Good result, well done. Only one node removed is usually a good sign, the tendency is to err more on more than less! Think positive, trust your surgeon, best wishes for the next stage. 
  • Keeping_positive1Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 434
    Pleased to hear you are home and not experiencing any pain @Marycipk .  Understand the waiting is hard to get the results.  Hopefully just needing to have one node removed is a good sign and that you will be HER2 negative.  The wait is tough, totally!  For me I was rather exhausted keeping up with everything at home, and attending to my drains, so that helped me keep my mind a little distracted somewhat.  All the best for good results. xx
  • MarycipkMarycipk Member Posts: 16
    That's reassuring. I'm confused by the HER bit. I'm hormone negative 
  • MarycipkMarycipk Member Posts: 16
    Amazing. I was diagnosed 2 weeks ago today 
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,359
    Terrific that you are home and not in pain @Marycipk!  Well done YOU xx  Make haste slowly .....   

    All the best for your pathology results - the waiting really sucks!   :(    My Her2 results were the last to come back in - negative.  Try not to get ahead of yourself .... and DON'T use Dr Google!  A lot of the info is old & obsolete & isn't relative to your diagnosis!  Plus it can scare the pants off you!  xx

    Have they assigned a Breast Care Nurse to you yet - you can put ANY question past them including chatting about dark thoughts, if they become a problem? xx  Do you have a buddy to attend your appointments with you, as a 2nd set of ears (and support?) 

    take care
  • Cath62Cath62 Brisbane Member Posts: 931
    Well done @Marycipk. It does all happen quickly. I had surgery 2 weeks after my diagnosis, 2 weeks later chemo and 3 wks after chemo I had radium and then hormone suppression.

    Pathology is helpful for determining treatment so it will be good to get those results. Remember treatment is so good now. Sounds like you have a good surgeon and oncologist. Wishing you a very speedy recovery. Take it easy and be kind to yourself. 
  • June1952June1952 Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,523
    Good to hear that you are home and pain-free @Marycipk.  Take things easy and accept any help offered.  This time is all about YOU.  The waiting is awful but the comments above are spot-on - access the BC nurse and don't wait to attend to the dark thoughts.  Thinking of you.  💖💜💖
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