a bit of advice on mastectomy wear please....

Hello everyone - I am new here, so please do forgive me if I make a hash of this post, or if the answers to my questions are somewhere already and I just haven’t spotted them…

I’ve recently been diagnosed with DCIS - I have a 5cm lump and have been told I must have a mastectomy - I’m not an expert on the various reconstruction options, but they will be using my stomach to do it because I am a private chef and my consultant feels that it will be the better option for the many days I find myself slinging pots and pans above shoulder height.

My op is due to happen in a couple of weeks time, and I’ve been given a leaflet with some serious industrial strength medical corseting on, that I am supposed to buy for afterwards.  Not only does it look downright painful to wear, it is going to prove incredibly painful to my bank balance as I am self employed and I haven’t been able to work much since diagnosis as every time I have accepted a contract, I’ve ended up with appointments for various things and had to bow out (and my lymph node op too).  Am not knocking the NHS, by the way - they have been fab, I know it’s part and parcel of having the diagnosis and I appreciate everything they have done so far.

5 years ago, I had quite bad 3rd degree burns and had to have a skingraft - after which I was supposed to wear a skin-tight zippered vest.  I couldn’t bear it - I’m just not very good at wearing tight stuff at all.  

Does anyone have any advice about these corsets and what they found comfortable?  Do they wsh quickly and easily?

Also - I have no help at home afterwards really.  My 25 year old son will come to stay with me and will be happy to make me a cuppa and something to eat when he is not at work or asleep (he works nights) - will there be any personal stuff I will need help with?  I’m a stubborn old whatsit - I’ve had to manage on my own and I would want to expect my son to have to do anything that might embarrass him (I’ve read stuff about drains and such but have been a bit woolly brained and ostrich-like since all this happened.

Sorry for rambling.


Thank you


Hi Lizzf
I can’t help on the corset front I’m afraid because I didn’t have a reconstruction. With regards to help after the op my biggest struggle was washing my hair in the shower. Don’t get me wrong if I’d been on my own I would have found a way but as my husband was here he used to help because for the first few days it was tiring. With regards to the drain make sure you’ve got one of those canvas bags for life with the long handles. Mine was a god send. Thankfully we didn’t have to do any drain maintenance. Having someone make you the occasional cups and a snack will be helpful. I was surprised how quickly I was able to be self sufficient though. But it is so important to listen to your body. By the end of the day I know if I’d over done it. Good luck.

Hi I’ve only just spotted this, sorry cant help you on the corset as I had a silicon implant.The breast cancer nurse may be able to suggest alternatives or have some that have been donated, I know my clinic has bras etc. As has been said before it’s surprising how quickly you are able to do things for yourself. I would say  the first week or two are the most needy, in that you will need a hand lifting things as the muscle is repairing, but I found filling the kettle with just enough water and   keeping things on the work surface rather than in the cupboards helped me have a bit of independence.I would suggest investing in some dry shampoo as washing hair was an issue, also had to keep the wound dry for two weeks so decided to have a bath - well once in I couldnt get out, funny now, but at the time just so frustrating - like a beached whale, but with no strength in my arm I couldn’t pull myself up, didnt help that I had used bath oil, I had to get assistance and even then it was a major operation :slight_smile:

I had a drain in for a week and my clinic have a supply of bags made by volunteers that hold the drain bottle, covering it up and it means that you have 2 hands free. I have made several to donate and am happy to send you one if you would like to message me your address. 

I have also found some great post op bras from Asda online only - 2 for £12 and my consultant was very impressed with their suitability. 

good luck with the op - never say no to any offer of help, it helps those that are offering too, do your excercises,it may hurt a little, but really does help and is so important to get the use of your arm back to normal