Planning the practicalities...

I am living alone, also I am right-handed and that side is the one affected, so I need to set up in advance anything I can to help me look after myself. Each of us is different in the extent of after-effects of surgery, so all I ask is that you tell me your experience.


FOOD - Preparing food should be OK - I am making cottage pies, pasta sauce, maybe fish pies to go in the freezer, and I guess I ought to be able to prepare some veg (only one portion, so no heavy pans). I can get my shopping online.


CLOTHES - I live in t-shirts and trousers, but I can see that I will have difficulty getting a T-shirt on for at least a week or two after surgery, so shirts/blouses buttoned all the way down the front. My nightwear is all T-shirty type stuff too - is a nightshirt the answer?

I have seen Genie bras mentioned here, they look online just like ones I bought from my local supermarket - am I missing something? I have been trying to work out how to get one on without raising my right arm very much, and not pulling it under that arm as I get the left side on - clues from those with practice, please?


My laundry baskets that need both hands to lift down from the top of the tumble drier will have to have a temporary home lower down - what else can I do to prepare the house? What did you wish you had done before the day?


I shall be grateful for helpful ideas. Now I am off to my pre-op assessment, surgery is next Friday (4th July).

Are you having a mastectomy? For me personally i had no problems from it and could get on well. The tops that open from front are a good idea although i could get vest tops up from my feet and put them on that way rather than over the head. I was little stiff first couple days but it was due to lymph node removal more than the mastectomy. I didnt even need pain relief so hoping this is how it goes for you also. You seem to have pretty much in place in being prepared. I dont know what a Genie bra is but i bought some mastectomy bras from marks and sparks and had no problems doing them up,putting them on after op etc. Hope this is of some help as im not sure what your op is…If it is a mastectomy your having loose tops maybe a size bigger are a good idea too incase you need to wear a drain under it but dont go too over board buying new things. All the Best :-D…Ps any stiffness i did get and trouble in raising arms only lasted 2days anyway…

Hi LuckyLass


Looking back through your posts, I presume you are having a lumpectomy? My experience was that it wasn’t nearly as painful as I was expecting. For me the worst bit was getting over the anaesthetic (I felt wiped out for days) and not being able to drive for two weeks.


It’s good to get organised beforehand as the less you need to do afterwards the better. Lifting heavy things is obviously a no no. I didn’t find cooking a problem but if you can prepare meals in advance for the freezer then that’s great.


It’s important to do the exercises they give you for after surgery - they really help to get the movement back quickly.


I bought some really stretchy crop tops from M&S - they were stretchy enough that I could get my arm in without stretching it above me head and I lived in them night and day (obviously, I did remove them to wash!). I would put my good arm through first, then head, then bend my surgery arm and lift it as much as I could and stretch it over to get it on. I also bought a post surgery bra from amoena that has hook and eye fastennings up the front as I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get the crop tops on - I shouldn’t have bothered, it was expensive and unnecessary for me.


Clothing wise, I wore a pair of joggers and a vest top with a zip up hoody over the top for the first few days. I found pulling up jeans hurt and was difficult to do one handed. I HATE joggers but they did become my best friend for a few days!


I found trying to sleep was uncomfortable so I banished hubby to the spare room and used pillows to prop me into a comfy position - for me, lying on my back with a couple of pillows under my bad shoulder was the most comfy.


As you live alone, it might be an idea for you to try to do your normal activities one handed for a day and see what things you have difficulty with.


Make sure you have a stock of painkillers in as hospitals don’t always send you home with any - I found over the counter ones to be more than adequate but my GP gave me a prescription for some stronger ones in case I needed them.


Take a towel or a cushion with you for the trip home from hospital to give you some padding from the seatbelt as these can hurt at first.


As your surgery is on a Friday, make sure you have the phone number of who to contact over the weekend if you are worried about anything.


And the most important thing is to make sure you have a HUGE supply of chocolate, crisps, cake or whatever floats your boat, put your feet up on the sofa and relax for a few days!


Lu xx


No one to help ask your docter my docter asked me if I need help because my husband has ms they would send a nurse please ask you never know maybe help out there xxx

Hi LuckyLass,


One thing I did several days before my op was to change the side of the bed I sleep on - as a single maybe that could apply to you too, depending on the side you sleep on.


I didn’t need the jamas with buttons down the front that I bought for hospital as I was in hospital gowns for the two days I was in there. Since then I’ve worn a couple of old, loose  jama tops with just pants - I found wearing jama bottoms took a toll on me when trying to move in bed. In fact I came home from hospital with a sore elbow already, as I was using that to heave myself up the very copmfy hospital bed and it was caused by friction on the cooton cellular blanket. I haven’t even thought about wearing a bra yet, but didn’t for months when I had WLEs a few years ago.


I also propped myself up on extra pillows like when I was in hospital, but have returned to my customary 2 pillows and sleep only on my other side or back.


Other things, lots of meals frozen beforehand, which you’re already doing, and to ease the stress as much as anything else, I did loads of cleaning and tidying; this has had benefits, as both my husband and I have been able to find things I want much more easily.


Things I can’t do easily - unseal bottles and jars, wrap parcels, carry shopping, take heavy washing out of the washing machine, light things not a problem, all that sort of thing. And of course, driving is out totally, I’m told by the medics until 3 weeks after the mx - even in my automatic car. So your idea of internet shopping for food etc is a good idea, but lifts to hospital from friends or having a taxi company number handy might be a good idea.


Actually, I’ve realised while I’m typing this, that when I had my 3 WLEs on my right breast (I’m right-handed too) that I didn’t need to do many of these things - and the worst hurt then was after my second WLE when I had a nasty infection - caused by the surgeon when cauterising me. This time I had an mx of my left breast, and the worst hurt is caused by the lymph gland removal and also when it is all filled up and huge with fluid until after it’s drained.


I think a day spent trying to act as though one-handed is an excellent idea - maybe put a sling on, as it’s so easy to act as normal without thinking.


Good luck with this and for your op on 5th July.


Gentle hugs, Jo x

Hi lucky lass, you are well organised by the sound of thing.I had a lumpectomy and SNB on the 27th may.,The genie bras can be pulled from your feet up as they will stretch over your body , so I just stepped into them and pulled them up , no lifting arms so no prob , wear them day and night , good but soft support ,hope this helps ,I would advise buying a bigger size than you would do normally as you will initially have some swelling if you have a WLE .I did see bras like this for sale in Asda last week i don’t know how good they are ,i would recommend the bhs ones as those are the ones i had but i would imagine they are all similar, if you are having a SNB they will encourage you to start moving your arm post op and as they will only initially remove a couple of nodes to check them , I did not find this too much of a problem , in fact i did not experience much pain at all post op and managed on paracetamol and brufen , not many i might add, obviously things like lifting kettles , hoovering ,ironing ,driving , lifting anything heavy they advise you not to do for a couple of weeks and don’t be tempted to once you start feeling better! , hope this helps you . Good luck for next week , sending lots of hugs xx

Hi you can put on from feet up much better

My op is 3rd July had pre op was told I was fit all the swimming I do but still got nerves all the best we can do it