Lumpectomy done. Now proceeding to mastectomy...

Hi all
I was advised to look at this website by my BC nurse. I have been reading the newly diagnosed threads for a week or so & have found some of your stories amazing - very uplifting which was a surprise. I can feel the support you are giving each other so decided to ‘take the plunge’.
I am 46yrs old and live in Hertfordshire with OH and 7yr old daughter. I was diagnosed on 12/1/09 with a grade 2 tumour in my left breast. I had wide local exision and sentinnel nodes removed on 5/2/09.
Then came the second shock which was almost worse than the diagnosis. One of the sentinnel nodes had a tiny spot of malignant cells -so need full clearence. Plus, there were pre-cancerous cells (DCIS) in the margin of the lumpectomy. I was given the option of further excision or mastectomy.
I have surprised myself by deciding to have the mastectomy - really I want to give myself the very best chance for the future and reduce all the risks as much as possible. Plus the fear of it coming back in that breast is now very high in my mind. Mastecomy will be on Monday 2/3/09
You will all understand the terrible turmoil that has been my life for the last couple of months and that burning desire to just ‘wake up’ from this nightmare.

I have loads of support which is lovely but just wanted to ask if anybody could let me know…

  1. How long will it take for me to be back to normal after the mastectomy e.g. walking to school, doing shopping and washing etc?
  2. How long has it taken people to get used to the mastectomy scar - this is a biggie for me?
  3. Has anybody been through this with a seven year old daughter? Mine has taken the news of the mastectomy quite well …so far.

If anybody wants to know about the physical recovery from lumpectomy - mine has been great apart from a little bit of cording.Much easier physically than I imagined.
Thank you

Hi JuliaB,

Sorry you have to join us and welcome.
It is 6 months since my mastectomy and the best advice I can give is take one day at a time.
Don’t try and be super mum and say yes to all the help that is offered.
The M&S jogging bra worked a treat for me, I found the post surgery bras too high under the arm. Make sure you have loads of pillows.
I didn’t really walk, it was more like a glide for some time. Driving was tricky even with power steering and I can still feel it.
Daughters, mine is 10yrs. old and we read “Mummy’s Lump” it is aimed at a younger age group, but it is gentle and amusing whilst also being honest.
Kat x

Hi Kat and huge thank you for your post!
I am so ridiculously pleased that you have read and responded to my post that I have just had a little cry. Emotions all over the place!
Thanks for the tips it is all so useful. My surgeon has told me today that I should be almost back to normal by 4 weeks which seemed a bit unrealistic!
He has postponed my op to next Thurs so I am going to use the time to follow up on all your tips. I had seen the book but discounted it as too ‘young’ so that is really useful.
The BC nurse has loaned me a couple of prosthesis today and daughter has been trying them on with my bra (parading round the sitting room!!)- so humour prevailed and she said it is not as scary now!
Many, many thanks again

Hi Julia,

Welcome to the forums. As has already started you will get lots of support from the many informed users of this site, they have a wealth of knowledge between them.

I noticed that you say you have a young daughter. One of BCC’s publications is aimed at helping you to talk to your children about BC and what treatment you may have. The booklet is called ‘Mummy’s lump’, I have put you the link to the booket below and hope it is helpful. If you feel you need to talk to someone in confidence then the helpline staff will be only too happy to talk to you. Calls to the helpline are free 0808 800 6000, open Mon to Fri 9am -5pm and Sat 9am - 2pm.

Publication link:

I hope this is helpful to you. Kind regards,
Jo, Facilitator

Hi Julia - will be thinking of you on monday…I too had a wle and nodes on 28th jan after diagnosis days before you on 7th jan - cons did a clearance of my nodes ans 1 was involved - so I start chemo next week…me too re the cording! I’m 43 with 2 kids - 10 and nearly 16…take care & look after yourself, mary x

Hi Julie,

I am 5 weeks on from my mastectomy op for DCIS and doing most daily chores now but still with care(hoovering and ironing the worst) it is easy to forget but you will soon get a twinge if you are overdoing something.I was told 4-6 weeks It is really one day at a time.

I was grateful for the help offered to me by family and friends for the first few weeks, I thought I would be o.k but it was not as easy as I thought it would be and I have not got a young family to look after so you must take things easy as you will tire quickly.

As for the scar, was upsetting at first took a few days before I could look in the mirror but now It does not bother me fadeing a bit, may be because I was superglued together had no external. stitches.

Best wishes
Maggie x

Hi Julia
Sorry you’ve had to join us here. My background is almost identical to yours except I am exactly 1 year ahead of you. I was diagnosed Jan 2008 and had lumpectomy same day as yours except 2008 and proceeded to Mastectomy for the same reasons as you. I’m not that far from you (home counties also). I’m 39 now and my kids are 9, 7 & 6. I remember the turmoil of those early days so vivdly. I’d like to offer you some support and reassurance that now 1 year on my life is so different to those dark early days and I feel like I’m picking up all the pieces again. These forums were my lifeline throughout treatment.
when I had my mast I had reconstruction at the same time so my op was a bit different. but like the others have commented definitely take up all offers of help/play dates from school friends etc. Do the other school mums know? Everyone deals with this differently and you have to do what works for you but if it helps you to know my approach was to tell people and be open and I was absolutley overwhelmed by the support and help that was offered to us at such a difficult time. Since then lots of my friends have commented that the fact I was open about it made it easy for them to offer their help. I used the mummy’s lump book with the kids. It is really aimed at under 5’s but it takes them through the process of surgery, chemo, rads & hair loss so it helped them to understand what was going to happen in the following months. It was particularly helpful to use to discuss hair loss as I Knew I was to have chemo and they at first couldn’t understand the concept.
Anyway I seem to have rattled on for an age! Good luck with everything, I’ll be thinking of you and the ladies on this forum are such a great source of friendship and information there will always be someone to help you through.
Take care

Hi all
Thank you all so much for your posts, hints and tips.
I have ordered ‘Mummy’s lump’ so am waiting for that to arrive. Daughter is doing really well so far re: mastectomy. Have only mentioned ‘strong medicine’ (chemo)in passing so have that hurdle to climb yet.
We have received the most amazing and overwhelming response from our family and friends. OH and I both feel so supported and cared for it is wonderful. We have been very open with all friends although it is not common knowledge at school. We now feel that we have a real ‘team effort’ going on to get me through this. We are accepting all offers for play dates/sleepovers etc plus weekends away with friends who live in the country etc. I know it sounds mad but I feel so lucky and blessed when I think about our friends and family.
Saw the surgeon yesterday and he has delayed mastectomy to next Thurs just for practical reasons. This was disappointing (my lumpectomy was delayed because of the snow!!!)but am OK with it.
I am finding the forums really helpful as I can really get a feel for how other people have got on and very often it seems to be so much better than your imagination would have you believe.
Looking at the scar for the first few days is till my biggest fear so if anybody else can share their experience of this I would be very grateful?
Am off to wash all spare pillows now ready for when I come home.
Thanks again ladies.