Mastectomy on 17th May



I’ve been avoiding this forum for the last few weeks whilst processing what is ahead of me, and avoiding reality if course too. However with surgery day drawing ever closer I felt it a good time to reach out to others. I am booked in for a mastectomy on 17th May on the left hand side. I am petrified.


I was diagnosed on 9th April and have both DCIS and another mass which is high grade and very “busy” (the consultants words not mine), this along with a random lump that is benign but could become cancerous so that needs to be removed too, and a whole host of calcifcation… Based on this a mastectomy was deemed necessary. I had requested a lumpectomy but not possible in my situation unfortunately. Treatment afterwards is looking likely to be chemo but not certain until the tumour is tested further in USA??? I’m desperately hoping that I get to avoid this but i don’t feel luck is on my side at present.


I requested immediate reconstruction but there is a 2 year waiting list for my preferred choice so I have opted for an implant which can easily be removed and other surgery undertaken later down the line, if at all.


I’m not really sure what I need to hear to get me through this, however any stories good and bad will be useful to help navigate this minefield of information and emotions. I’m also looking for practical advice regarding the procedure and recovery.


Thank you; every single one of you on this forum. You are an amazing source of information, encouragement and care. 

Hi Choops,

Sorry that you find yourself on this forum, but you will get lots of support. 

I had a left sided mastectomy last October. I was so traumatised at the thought of having it done, but I had no choice, due to a large area of DCIS ( although all my invasive tumour had gone with chemo prior to the operation). 

I am having a delayed reconstruction, so, unlike you I had to come to terms with being flat on one side, but the prosthesis looks amazing and you’d never know.

Regarding the operation, I felt in much less pain afterwards than I thought I would be. I only needed painkillers for a few days. Make sure you do all the exercises advised. I used bio-oil on the scar and this has reduced considerably.

 I wish you lots of luck with the operation and reconstruction.

Love Jane xxx

Hi Choops,


Sorry you find yourself visiting the forum.


The fear is worse than the reality. You will come through this, I was 62 when I was originally diagnosed and had never had surgery before, my first op ended up being a breast reduction rather than a lumpectomy as they found more suspect areas that had not shown up on the mammogram and I was so scared not knowing what to expect. I was worried that I wasn’t going to wake up again, whereas I found I woke up feeling really refreshed. Due to the margins not being clear I had a wide local excision and then a simple mastectomy with no reconstruction in November 2017.


Being large busted I couldn’t really get away with not wearing my prosthetic which has caused problems with eczema so I had another mastectomy for symmetry last week on 2nd May which will hopefully resolve the dermatology issues. 


I didn’t have reconstruction so can only comment on what I have done for my recovery. I found it worked for me the first time and haven’t really changed anything this time round.

I followed the instructions I had been given, I did the exercises three to four times a day (more beneficial if you do them slowly), and if it said don’t do something it I didn’t.


I took Arnica 30C following my ops, I find it helps with the bruising and the pain.

I went out for a walk every day, just a short walk initially but then built it up, it was nice to get out in the fresh air. I took it really easy for the first week and just relaxed. Watch a film or read a book, if you feel tired go for a nap, don’t overdo it. You will feel fatigued. I found it very frustrating that I hadn’t got the strength to do even simple things like taking the top off a bottle of milk.

Most of the pain has been in my ribs and underarm with very little from the mastectomy site itself. I found I didn’t need to take as many painkillers as I did for my very first op, I have only been taking paracetamol in the morning and evening but have made sure I take the Arnica regularly. 

As everyone is different, I suggest you make a note of when you take your pain meds, so you take them at the right time and don’t overdose, your brain takes time to recover from the anaesthetic. Take them regularly, to avoid the pain and then feeling miserable while you wait for them to kick in until you gauge how much you need.

I slept on my back for the first few weeks and used pillows for support before managing to sleep on my side using the edge of the duvet to make it more comfortable. The skin around my surgery site felt strange, a bit numb but sensitive at the same time, when you think all the nerves have been cut it’s not surprising. 

I ate a well balanced diet and drank plenty of fluids.


Thats all I can think of at the moment, l hope it helps, let me know if you have any further questions.


Best wishes for your forthcoming operation.