How long to recover from mastectomy?

Hi everyone. I had a mastectomy 2 weeks ago and was just wondering how long it took people to recover from this op? I had a mastectomy and sentinel node removal. I still have the burning, tingling, needles in the skin sensation and am still taking paracetomol 3 times a day. I’m pretty active otherwise, back to around 9000 steps a day, but I’m getting really fed up of feeling sore and uncomfortable and would love to know if the end is in sight! Any advice on other people’s experience would be massively appreciated. Thanks so much xxx

Hi Katrina

Well done for getting through the surgery and up to 9000 steps - I’m impressed. I think recovery depends entirely on the individual. I had a mastectomy and full axillary clearance but I took arnica before and after surgery to reduce bruising so I can’t compare notes. I’m guessing you are recovering at a faster rate, given your physical fitness. However, it is very early days - you have had major surgery.

I did want to alert you to the fact that it may be months, even longer, before the tingling sensation goes as it’s the result of unavoidable nerve damage. My outer upper arm is still numb 20 months after surgery. The mild tingling pain in my elbow skin is now only intermittent but the numb sensation is still there and I’m told it’s likely to be permanent. The breast exercises will definitely help as the more movement you have in your arm and shoulder, the better. You can also help things along by massaging your arm in firm sweeping movements from elbow to shoulder and then across to your spine (where there’s a fully active lymph system). 

I’m sorry I can’t offer that ‘end in sight.’ It really is different from person to person, as is everything else in the world of breast cancer. I wish you well with whatever your treatment plan offers next!

Jan x

Hi Katbee, 

I had the same op as you at the beginning of April and what you are describing sounds just like mine! I still get tender and have the burning in the armpit but not as often and recently not as bad as before. Do you have a heart shaped pillow from your BCN? I found that really helped! 
Like you I tried to do lots of walking and from about two weeks post op I was getting out most days for a walk even if a short one. This was mainly because I was so anxious about my biopsy And operation results and walking helped me to rationalise and calm down a bit. Just listen to your body and don’t feel bad if you have a lazy day here and there just to rest up. I still find I get tired quicker than I used too and I also find that my affected arm feels achey through the day. Just opening fire doors in work has caused it to ache a bit today! 
sending lots of good luck vibes for the next step of your treatment :two_hearts:  

Becky xx