I am 48 year old a physical therapist by profession. I am going to undergo a mastectomy on my right breast leaving the lymph nodes out next month and I am just worried about the outcome. How long will the recovery be and will the surgery affect the strength on my right arm. Will I be able to handle lifting heavy patients to walk or transfer as part of therapy? Will I be effective as a therapist since I am the breadwinner in my family. Just need some input on what to expect. Thanks

Hi Charina, I had a left sided mastectomy in November 17 and was off work for a month afterwards.  I’d say heavy lifting is a no no for some time but you can get on with light weight activities fairly quickly.  Here’s my blog with lots of tips on how I coped

im pretty much back to normal now except for some numbness in the armpit and slight stiffness/pulling when I raise my arm to 10 o’clock position.  Xxx

Hi Charina

I had a mx 3 weeks ago. I’m back driving, doing normal housework stuff, good range of movement, keeping up with exercises, just not lifting anything heavy yet. I’m not working but if I was, in my old job… paed nurse, I probably would have expected to be off for at least a couple of months. You might look at a phased return to work when you are ready to go back… get occupational health involvement? Xx

Hi Charina

Can I just check whether you are having the nodes removed at the same time as your mastectomy as that will make a bit of a difference in the advice you will be given.


I had a right side mastectomy and nodes removed at the same time just over a year ago. I was warned not to lift heavy objects at all in the future and not to grip things for long periods of time - as both of these things can increase your risk of lymphoedema. However it does seem that different surgeons/consultants advise different things so do speak to your team about how to limit your risk of lymphoedema. I let others lift heavy suitcases for me but I do lift shopping bags. I was told not to carry heavy shopping bags for any length of time but to and from the car is fine (I hope). I also understand that it depends what your body was used to lifting before the op, so you may well find that you are fine to carry on lifting patients as that is what your body was used to lifting. I hope that makes some sense.


Happy to answer anything else, but I would chat to your team about your specific circumstances.

Wishing you all the best for your operation and recovery.

Evie xx



Hi Im 31 and just had a mastectomy on my right breast and had 37 lymph nodes removed. I had this 3 weeks ago. And my right arm is still sore still a little numb. My advice keep doing your physio to help that arm mine is coming along great still hurts but every day I can lift it that little bit higher. X