How much will I be able to do after mastectomy?

I’m due to have a preventative double mastectomy (as I have the brca1 mutation) with immediate reconstruction (implants) in 5 weeks. Apparently I’ll probably only be in hospital one night, but I’m starting to worry about how I’ll be able to cope when I get back home. My husband will be out at work during the day, and I was planning to be alone, rest lots etc. But do I need someone around? And one of my biggest concerns is will I be able to cook, and prepare food for myself? Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thank you!
Bel x

Hello Bel,


i had a single mx with LD flap recon and small implant in July. Was in hospital for 3 days. Was expecting to have various people at home most of the day helping but in the event it seemed like a waste of their time as I was dressing, washing etc independently, making tea/coffee no trouble at all and cooked a simple meal for myself when hungry on my first day home. In between doing ‘stuff’ I slept a lot on the sofa. So I just had people pop in once or twice a day, and phone to check if I needed anything. District nurses came in daily to check drains etc.i walked to the shops a week after the op ( with my drains in a bag). I tried to just get on with normal things so long as it felt comfortable. Getting in and out of the bath was the only thing I needed help with as I just could not get enough leverage on either arm to pull myself up and as I could not shower for a couple of weeks due to the drains that was a frustration.


i think everyone is different though. I am fiercely independent and resent being unable to do things for myself so it was no surprise to friends and family that life went back to normal pretty quickly for me.


don’t know if this helps you? I’d suggest you need to have someone around at night time as getting in and out of bed with drains in can be tricky. Sleeping in bed was uncomfortable for me so I sent my other half off to the spare bed until after the drains were our. 


Good luck with your op and wishing you a speedy recovery afterwards.



I hade a single mastectomy 2 weeks ago and got home the day after.  The only thing I really needed help with was with my wash in the morning, but otherwise I was able to make drinks and simple meals for myself.  I slept a lot and went on increasingly longer walks every day, but also gave myself some slack on the not so good days. Being out in nature gives me such a boost. Hope you are coping well and that you feel better soon! xxx

Hi, just dont push yourself. As everyone has said, we all respond differently to anaesthetics and surgery. Manage pain control carefully. I always take regular pain meds post op rather than just taking them when the pain comes back. If you do that you’re just playing “catch up” with the pain. I was advised to be careful about lifting and followed the advice carefully. Ive had a number of ops and have recovered well from them all. Dont try any major cooking- be kind to yourself .

Thanks so much everyone for your replies and helpful advice. I’m feeling inspired that recovery can, fingers crossed, be less daunting than I was imagining. And also definitely going to give myself lots of time to rest and take it easy. Xx