Knitting a no no? What crafts possible recovering from op?

Knitting and crochet are two of my favourite hobbies. When I asked my breast care nurse about whether I’ll be able to go them after my (L) lumpectomy she looked horrified and said no, and then we were interrupted and I haven’t had the chance to bring it up again! I can tell it will be a challenge immediately after the op, and there is also the issue of RSI- but I knit continental fashion, holding the wool mainly in my left hand, though I crochet right-handed. I’d love to hear the experiences of others having lumpectomies and mastectomies and if and how you were able to return to crafting?

I had a mastectomy and ANC, and was quite keen to continue with as much as possible. I have baked and sewn since my op and also spent three hours on Saturday playing mandolin (although struggled with this). My op was on 11th March. I would say that you should do whatever feels comfortable for you. If your wound snags, stop whatever you are doing. Same goes for any exercises. You will feel when your wound gets tight, and should only press a tiny bit more than that because you don’t want to damage yourself.

I had a lumpectomy 21 years ago, and don’t remember it having much of an effect apart from the few days when I wasn’t able to drive. I didn’t pick up my toddlers either, but apart from that it was life as usual. You know your body. Do as much as you can, and stop when your body tells you to.

Knitting has kept me calm during treatments, chemo, its kept me busy in the waiting room. I have read using circulars, for straight knitting projects too, is helpful to alleviate, lessen any RSI symptoms and I guess the same might apply for knitting after a lumpectomy op. With circulars the weight of your knitting is in your lap rather than with your hands, wrists as it is with straight needles.
Happy knitting.

Wow, that’s a new one on me. I had a full mastectomy over 3 years ago and no activites were ‘banned’ (apart from the obvious heavy lifting for a short while). Go ahead, do what you feel comfortable with and stop if it hurts.

I second PuffyWhiteClouds, and if you are a dedicated knitter you might want to invest in some KnitPro knitting needles. They are the Rolls-Royce of knitting needles and so light and flexible that you will never want to use ordinary metal needles again.
Happy knitting!

Thanks for that Mazzalou- good needles should make a difference! I wonder if circular needles would do the trick; easier to turn after each row if you are straight knitting or if you are knitting in the round it is so soothing. I will definitely invest in a pair of each.

You must be very determined to tackle mandoline so soon! However I find making music so inspiring it must make up for the strain a bit. Thanks for your encouragement sdfmeg!

Just had a chance to talk to my BC nurse at clinic today- her concern about knitting was as I suspected simply the effect of RSI and heavy fabrics,especially in the early stages of recovery! So I feel free to choose my activity!

Mazzalou-just bought some knitpro- they weren’t cheap! But they are so brilliant! I understand why some people say they never use anything else. Obviously the thing to do is to buy circular needles and several of the nylon middle bits so you can store stuff easily (like sleeves) before you knit up. I can see with these light and easy to poke needles I am going to get on well with my cotton sleep cap project! Thanks!

Hi Penny
Glad that you are pleased with your KnitPro needles despite the cost!!! Look on them as an investment and may you have many years of knitting pleasure using them.
Happy knitting
Mazzalou xxx

I just thought I would wind up this thread.  I had my mastectomy with SNB at the end of October after six months chemo.  I retained a lot of arm movement after the op and there was no need for ANC, so I was able to go back to needle crafts the week I returned home.  I finished quilting a cot cover I’d been working on for weeks, and then started knitting a scarf.  I’ m slower than normal, but this is partly due to phlebitis in my right (unaffected and chemo) arm, and partly from not being able to sit still for very long as I get stiff thnks to the tablets (Anastrozole).  It’s such a blessing to be able to knit still!  I can see how it would be difficult and not advisable if I had worse phlebitis and/or Lymphoedema.  Thanks for all who gave me hope six months ago!