Hello ladies,
I’m due to have a lumpectomy and ? Wide local excision a week on Tues. I’m trying to find out about the recovery? I have a 19 month old son - do you think i’ll need to get help with him? He’s a really good boy but pretty heavy!
Also - we were hoping to go on holiday the following week - just to Centre Parcs. Will i be able to swim?
Thanks very much,
Lucy x

Hi Tinks

Whilst you are waiting for the other users to reply with their experience and advice you may find it useful to have a look at the BCC booklet ‘Your operation and recovery’ It explains what to expect before, during and after surgery and includes information on breast cancer operations and recovery times. If you would like a copy just follow this link:-

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

I had a lumpectomy and all my nodes removed at beginning of June and have 2 children aged 3 and 5. I was sent home day after with a drain in (which is a tube and bag attached to catch the blood). Had to tie it round my waist and hide it under a wrap round skirt so as not to freak out the children. I had hardly any pain, but sleeping was awkward with the drain in (which was in for 5 days till the district nurses took it out). The kids stopped with my sister for the weekend to give me a break. I had a week off work, but we went to safari park and legoland etc and I felt OK. It had healed up enough to take all the dressings off after about 10 days, but I have had seroma since (keeps filling up with fluid). Arm was stiff for first week (they give you exercises to do), and I would avoid lifting for first week. You won’t be able to swim until your wound has healed (10 days ish). Good luck

Hi Lucy, Sorry to hear this news, but you are about to embark on is doable.

Firstly, you must not under any circumstances LIFT… This will cause you problems and not aid recovery…

As far as I can remember you are not allowed to swim but do verify this…
You wont know at the moment if any lymph node removal is being done, if so they will put you on a drain for a few days…

The recovery really depends on the individual circumstances, I had my operation in December with full lymph removal and to be honest still suffering the side effects, other women seem to breeze through, want of a better word.

They will give you light exersises to do, make sure you do them, they are important.

Keep in touch, and let us know how you get on on Tuesday, Good luck…
Love Teresa xxx

Hi Tinks39

I agree with all dibskelly has said. you will be asked to avoid lifting with the affected arm for some time and will always have to be careful with it. If not, you run the risk of lymphodema, which is arm swelling that can be difficult to shift. I had the same surgery as you but that was last year. I have now finished active treatment.

Julia xx


I read post wrong and thought you were defo having lymph nodes out. If you’re not, then ignore the lymphodema bit!!

Julia xx

I was told no swimming for at least 2 weeks and no lifting for 6 weeks

hav4e just had mine yesterday. also hd lymph nodes removed am not allowed to lift anything heavier than full kettle but most importantly do your exercises. i aim to go to scotland butt have been told to look for breast clinic near aberdeen in case of seroma drainage. i have 5 aqnd 2 yo and they are staying at my mum and dads

Thanks very much everyone for all your helpful advice.
Lucy xxxx

I had WLE and axillary clearance in Jan. my surgeon doesn’t use drains, so I didn’t have one, so that isn’t a given.

Hi Lucy

I had WLE 5.5yrs ago and found recovery not too bad. No drain usually necessary for lymph sampling. However, I would say if you have friends or family who could look after your son at least overnight, you’ll appreciate the rest. It takes a lot of energy to heal, even if you don’t feel too bad.

Last month I had mastectomy and full node clearance. Although it’s taking a while to heal and I’m still stiff, I have been able to look after my two year old - lift her into the cot, take her into town in the buggy etc after the first week. The only thing I feel I really can’t do still is bump the buggy up a flight of stairs!

No swimming or baths until the dressing comes off, 10 days, is what I was told. Wishing you lots of luck. xxxxx Jane

Hi Lucy, I had a WLE and node biopsy in June and didn’t have a drain either. Was told I could shower from the next day (but don’t think I’d have fancied swimming). Didn’t lift anything for two weeks but was fine after that. Still a bit sore and numb under and at the back of my arm but luckily no other side-effects.

Good luck with the surgery - and have a fab holiday.

Ps hello jane72 - hope you are feeling ok and the pregnancy Is going well. X

i ws told not to swim until i had my 6 week check up i would avoid it due to the infection risk anyway

Hi, I had two WLE (lumpectomies), one with a sentinel node biopsy where they removed four nodes a year ago. I had no drains put in and they shouldn’t give you drains for a WLE unless they remove many nodes. The first WLE was a problem with a vein left bleeding inside which caused a haematoma (big bruise inside) which was painful and meant it didn’t heal. The second WLE two weeks later resolved this and it recovered very quickly.

I wasn’t warned against lifting but found it difficult to lift the washing basket or to hang up washing so I think you will find it difficult to lift your son. Your breast will be sore so running will be out for quite some time! You won’t be able to swim until the scar has healed - takes 10 days or so. If I were you I’d delay center parcs for a couple of weeks - it’s a shame not to be able to swim while you are there.

Hope it all goes well.