Advice - how to help my wife?

My wife is about to have a mastectomy in two weeks time. It has been a shock as diagnosis was just on Friday.  


I am really wondering what kind of things I should be sensitive to after the surgery and what is the best thing I can do to support her?   We have no family or close friends nearby, so it will just be me. I am taking a couple of weeks off work - so I can look after her and do school runs for our son (11 years old). 


Also, three months ago we bought tickets for a west end show, we are supposed to go 10 days after her surgery. She is insisting she still wants to go. Is this realistic?









Hello and welcome.  I have not had the same as your wife, but I have replied to acknowledge your post and to bump your post up a bit so that one of the ladies who has had the same as your wife is having will reply to you.


Helena xx


l had a mastectomy without reconstruction a year ago.l was home from hospital the same day and mobile.Obviously you take it easy, no heavy housecwork, do the exercises and take pain killers if needed.

There may be a drain, depends on the surgeon but this is easily concealed under a tunic or long shirt. My drain stayed in for 10 days but didn’t stop me shopping or going out for a meal. I did not require any help looking after myself. I was driving after 2 weeks.

l wouid say your wife has every chance of being at the show. Unless she is having reconstruction.

Best of luck to her, tell her it’s not as bad as you think and it’s good to know that there is no chance of any cancer being left behind.

All the best.

Hi John,


i had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction  in December. I was in the operating room at 10,30 then home by 8.30 that night. The worst bit for me was when the drains were in as they were a constant reminder and got caught on everything, on a practical note some tote type bags for the drains were very helpful as were buttoned pj’s but luckily the drains were removed after 5 days in my case. My husband took a couple of days at home to provide tea and toast with me then went back to work which turned out for the best as I have needed further treatment- it was all a bit of a whirlwind as it was so quick and still is to be honest.


Emotionally waiting for the results following surgery is really difficult, something I wasn’t really prepared for looking back but then I’m not sure how you can prepare for that.


It may be worth a call to the box office to see if you could delay by a little while but if you can’t move the date for your show then wait and see - I was up and about within a few days but tired very easily and avoided busy places for a few weeks for fear of being knocked but everyone is different.


good luck with the surgery.


Hi John - sorry to hear your wife is going through this at the moment.

I had a right mastectomy and 17 lymphs removed from the same side in September with no reconstruction. I was down the op theatre for a couple of hours. Stayed in hospital one night. Had district nurse visit for 5 days - I had two drains and these were removed on the 5th day. Husband went back to work on day 7 and all was well. I was advised not to do ironing and hoovering for 6 weeks. I didn’t drive for 4 weeks. It was the lymph part of the op which was the worse bit.

So as long as op goes well, there is no real reason to cancel the show.

Hoping all goes well for you both

Hi John

I had a mastectomy without reconstruction in December. My surgery was in the morning and I was home by 5pm. If your wife is having immediate  reconstruction, she will be in hospital for a few days. My surgeon did not insert any drains but a few days after surgery I developed a seroma - a build up of fluid in the surgery site. This is common post surgery but does not happen to everyone.


I was up and walking about within a few days and took my time to do simple things and didn’t do any heavy lifting etc for several weeks. It’s a good idea if possible  to prepare light meals in advance and freeze. This really helped when my hubby went back to work as I didn’t have to worry about cooking. Lots of tea and toast will be appreciated.


I found that I didn’t want to go to busy places as I felt weak and tired but this only lasted a few weeks and everyone is different.


I wish your wife well with her surgery.

Best wishes

Hi All, 


Thanks for the messages. My wife is having the Lymph nodes done too. That is the bit she is worried about. She is categorical about not having any reconstruction. Its the whole idea of more surgery I think. 


I decided to change the ticket date - thankfully I had booked directly with the theatre at full price, so it was fully exchangeable for a later date - no problem. 


I am really keen to know what little (or big things) I can do when she comes out of surgery. She is not the type to ask for help!


I am finding quite a bit of comfort in these forums and seeing that other ladies have been through it.