Newly diagnosed - and worried about surgery - as asthmatic

I have just been diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma 5cm, grade 1 tumor - and positive sentinel node. Going in for single mastectomy and recon with expander on 16th - followed by chemo and radiotherapy. I am really worried about the surgery as asthmatic and when I have had surgery before (not for bc) I wake up really short of breath - and needing to use my inhalers. I have read here that people take a long time to wake up properly and only half awake - so worried I may just be lying there kind of paralysed and suffocating - without anyone knowing. Just wondered if any others with asthma or breathing difficulty have had surgery and how they got on??

Sorry to hear you have been diagonsed with BC.

I have had surgery a few times and im asthmatic and have been fine. Make sure the hosptial knows you are asthmatic and what happened the last time you woke up from surgery and they will take it into account.

Take care will be thinking about you (((((((((((((((HUG)))))))))))))))


I have just had wle done and im asthmatic have cronic asthma you will be watched the whole time untill you are wide awake you will have your pump taked to you pillow so you wont be wouldering where it is. i wasn`t to bad but was very sick after it but you have to tell them how you are i was in pain so they gave me stuf to stop me being sick and something for the pain. as i say there will be someone with you the whole time i have had lots of ops and that has been the way every time but you have to tell them how you are when you wake up i told them i was going to be sick so they had a bowl on hand. Good luck with it all whish you well. try to do what you are told and do nothing after take to time to be pampered. good luck.

Tracy x x

Hi there -
I had a mastectomy and lymph nodes removed and I was told by the anaethetist to take my inhaler just before they put me under and I was fine when I woke up. As long as the anaesthetist is aware of this, all will be ok and you will be well looked after.

Best wishes

Thank you all for your insight - it is much appreciated. The thought of surgery has been keeping me awake at night. Were you able to take your inhaler when you woke up - i.e. could you sit up enough and move your arm in order to use your spray.

I have been at work all day - just thinking about the surgery on Tuesday. Seems strange that I feel just fine now and yet going in to hospital and enduring pain. And just wondering if I will be out for xmas…


Hi Brightlight
I didn’t need it when I woke up - i had been placed on oxygen and stayed on it for the rest of the day - don’t know whether this had anything to do with my chest but apparently they said I was very sleepy and maybe wasn’t taking in enough oxygen. I had my inhaler with me the whole time and I don’t remember taking it after surgery only before. By the way, I have to let you know that it’s not particularly painful just uncomfortable and yes you can move your arms after. I do remember my arm hurting a bit immediately after surgery in recovery and I was given painkillers and the pain never came back.

I am asthmatic too and asked for the bed head to be raised before I came rond-this was done and I was absolutely fine.I panic if I have to lie flat.I had oxygen for a little while post surgery but didnt need inhaler at all.Good Luck Vxx

Thank you so much Horace and Ruby. What surgery did you have - and how long did you have to stay in. Iam having single mastectomy, fitting expander and axillary clearance…

I only had WLE with node sampling and was in hospital 48hours

Hi Brightlight
I had a mastectomy and lymph nodes removed. Stayed in for just under a week i.e. Tues to the following Monday and the time went fast. I felt relatively ok when i came home, just had very sensitive skin on the arm that was effected and couldn’t have anything touching it for a while after but that soon wore off.



Sounds very encouraging thank you.

Did you have reconstruction at the same time? I am going to have an expander fitted.

It is all getting so close now… strange time of year, to see everyone looking forward to xmas - and I have to go to hospital.

Hope you have a nice season. Are you on chemo now?


i am asthmatic came home from hospital yesterday still raving on about how things have progressed over the years dont worry they cover all bases.
i cant praise them enough just keep them informed nothing sounds silly to them they have heard it all before

Hi Brightlight
Yes all was fine with the operation and afterwards. I had no problems and all went very smoothly. The scar was so neat - I was a bit scared to look at first but when the dressings came off I couldn’t believe how neat it looked. I didn’t have reconstruction as I wasn’t allowed. Think I have to wait for 2 years before I’m allowed and the reasons being that in case anything comes back it’s easier to treat; radiotherapy may damage the tissue and also it’s a very long operation and I don’t think they wanted me to have such a long operation so close to chemotherapy (it was exactly 3 weeks after my last lot of chemo). I had my chemotherapy from last July to end of Oct 07 and then the operation, then radiotherapy and continued with Herceptin until this November when it finished completely.

Very best wishes and hugs
Ruby xx

Thanks Andie and Ruby,

I am much encouraged by your experiences - I am only really scared of waking up, less worried about the scarring, as I know there is bound to be some. Good to read that neither of you felt like you had a truck ridden over your chest… I was just thinking if that was the case, how much harder it would be to breath!

Are you both back to normal in terms of walking about, could you bear to go into town at the moment, or would that just seem too much?

Ruby, I’m sure that when the reconstruction comes a couple of years down the line, it will be just amazing. Are you wearing a prosthesis until then - does it go inside a normal bra?

bright x

Hi Brightlight
I’m pleased we’ve been able to make you feel better about things and reassure you. i can honestly say that i didn’t feel any pain just discomfort and it certainly didn’t effect my breathing. In terms of walking around etc I was quite protective of myself for quite a while after i.e. getting pushed and shoved on trains/crowds etc. In fact I wasn’t working during all of this anyway so didn’t have too much of a problem. Now though a year later, I’m not worried although I picked up my little nephew today and he put his hand right on the area and it was a bit sore or should I say uncomfortable. Anyway the prothesis is absolutely fine and even when I wear tight fitting tops, you cannot tell the difference. I got to chose between about 3 or 4 different brands of prothesis until I found the one I was happy with in terms of size as well. I put it inside my normal bras although warning - if you bend down and are wearing a low/loose top, it will come away from your chest so people can peer down and see it (if they’re looking!) Some people have pockets made for their bras but I haven’t bothered with that. The only thing I haven’t tried yet is a bikini - not quite sure how I’ll deal with that one yet.

Ruby xx


Thanks so much for this. I am trying not to think too much about Tuesday - so close now. I know the chemo will last longer and some people have bad experiences, for me personally I think I will be much happier once I wake up on Tuesday and know that at least the first part is over. I went shopping for night clothes today, and bought dressing gown and slippers etc. I wasn’t feeling very festive, but still bought one or two new baubles for the tree and some crackers - as trying to be optimistic that I’ll feel like celebrating even to a small extent on xmas day. Hope you are feeling well know.

Bright xx

Hi Brightlight
I’ll be thinking of you for next week and please do let me know how you get on.

Some people find chemo hard and others get through it with relatively no problems and we’re all different and nobody knows beforehand how their body will react. There are all kinds of medications you can be given to counteract your symptoms though so please don’t suffer in silence. By the way in the begining I bought a pre-payment card for my prescriptions which was great as there were things I needed from my doctor and I saved money this way. Some of the drugs were given to me at the hospital so I didn’t have to pay for them.

I also went shopping like you have and bought pyjamas, slippers etc it all made it a bit more bearable.

I am feeling good thanks. In fact I cycle to work most days (it’s an electric bike which acts like a cycle bike but it helps you so isn’t as difficult).

Big hugs
Ruby xx

Thanks Ruby - I need to go to be now as have to be up at 5am - but will write just as soon as I can. x
ps just picturing you on the electric bike!


Gool luck, Bright. I did wish you luck on my ‘bit’, but don’t think you saw it. Best wishes, you really will be fine. Much love, Jackie. xxx

Ruby, just saw your note re: the pre-payment prescription charge. Funnily enough I was told about that today, and got one. Had never, ever heard of it before! It must be well worth it, 'cos currently need tons of dressings for back wound. I really don’t mind paying for them, but I thought the District Nurse would have/should have provided all the dressings, but each day they turn up with nothing!?! What’s that all about?