New here, with some questions

Hello, new here, with some a practical questions.


Sorry if this is answered elsewhere but I am having difficulties reading everyone else’s posts at the moment as I am still very emotional (Op only last week) and I can’t get though a post without crying - I know it is daft but I am constantly weeping at the moment.


I know I am lucky really, the Op went well and my lovely husband has been a star - I have no idea how any of you survive leaving hospital by yourself my heart really goes out to you.


Anyway my practical questions - I am now getting to the point of wanting to dressing normally and trying to act normally but I cannot work out how I am going to wash my hair and keep the dressings dry. I have thought about going to the hair dressers but I’m not sure I can lean my head back into the basin with the tightness in my chest. But if I lean forward over the bath I’m not sure I will be able to maintain that position, leaning forward seems to pull the most on the surgery area, and I definitely won’t be able to reach around to the back of my head… anyone found a simple solution?


The other one is again washing, and I apologise for this, it is my underarm. Where it is numb I really don’t know how much pressure to apply but I am really not managing to wash effectively at the moment, again any top tips…?


The last thing is less of a practical question, but a query as to how others have felt. My mastectomy last week is meant to be a first step to be followed by a DIEP reconstruction (temp implant in for now) but post my surgery I am feeling like a coward at this point in time, in that at the moment I feel I cannot face another Op by choice and the thought of being in pain in two places now seems like a nightmare, is this a reasonable response? I fear the DIEP surgery is going to be twice as worse as it covers two areas? Am I judging too quickly, I know I have been lucky and my recovery is going ok but I reacted badly to the morphine drugs which made me feel so sick for a bit and again I fear any surgery will need me to take similar drugs again? 


Thanks for any thoughts and tips

Hi Paula


Welcome to the forum.


It’s still early days for you, so it’s perfectly normal to feel emotional. Give yourself time to heal.


I had a lumpectomy, so my experience was different, but I do remember washing my hair was a nightmare! In the end, my daughter did it for me, as I leaned over the bath. If your husband could help, it might work and then you could protect the tender areas. Alternatively, it might work with the hairdressers. Last time I went, I didn’t lean back that much. Or have you thought about dry shampoo?

With other areas, just be gentle . How long is it til you get the dressing removed?

I can’t help with your surgery questions but it is a good idea to put this post in the surgery section. If you start a new thread, like you’ve done here, you won’t need to read all the others.

Sending a gentle hug xx

Hi paulam, I had mastectomy and lymph clearance on 30th June, washing hairdressar was difficult, I just used dry shampoo for a week then washed my hair over bath using good arm (it was a triumph when I did it) as I had long thick hair blow drying and straightening were also a nightmare for about 10 days but you will soon be back to full strength. As for washing, the numb armpit is so weird (and it’s not totally gone for me yet) I used baby wipes and a soft cloth with unperfumed soap and just dabbed!! I was sure I smelled but I was assured by friends family that I didn’t!. Just take it easy .
S xx

Hi Paula, I really feel for you, but it is quite natural to be emotional at this time. After all, you have had major surgery and you are facing further treatments. It will get better, I promise , as you recover you will feel stronger and more able to cope. Re washing. I was SO pleased to get into the bath, with help from hubby, and relax in a couple of inches of warm water. I had my drain on the floor, and hubby hovering anxiously. I had a WLE, so not a huge dressing. I was able to bend over the sink while hubby washed my hair. I washed my underarms in front of the mirror in the bathroom using baby washcloths and non perfumed gel. Very peculiar when you can feel nothing! Still peculiar months later applying roll on deodorant as it is still numb! Can’t help with advice re diep , but as for anaesthetics, I too react very badly and it takes me a long time to come round, usually being sick. However, when I did my pre op assessment with my BC nurse I was very clear how worried I was and why.  After a meeting with the anaesthetist, who had checked my records and agreed with me, I was first down, had a wonderful cocktail of drugs, wasn’t sick, and woke up demanding tea and toast. Message is - be firm about what you need, and be very open with your medical team about how distressing you found the drugs. This is the first big step, Paula, and the cancer is gone now. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and be good to yourself . X

Hi Paula,


Not sure if you have seen this thread but there are some very positive recent comments about recovery from a DEIP by one of the community champions Claire:


Give yourself time to get over this first lot of surgery. I’m sure you will feel more up for it once you’ve got over this period when you are not only recovering from surgery but the shock of initial diagnosis as well.


Ruth xx