post op symptoms of a mastectomy how long for ?

Hi everyone.  I have had three surgeries since begining of July. WLE and sentinal node was the first.  Second lumpectomy and Lymph node clearance last was completion masectomy.  I have spoken to the BCN about my post op symptoms and she said I have to realise I will feel like this after three surgeries.  I had the MX at the beginning of Sept but feel worse now than at the start.  I do the excercies but feel so sore the scar is tight and there is some swelling but not enough to drain.  The pulling and weird sensation across my chest is horrible and I cant bear anything touching it making dressing difficult.  The pain around my rib is sometimes unbareable just where you bra sits.  I know we are told about nerve damage pain etc… but is this permanent or will it get better?  I was unable to have reconsruction at same time and am now wondering whether or not to go through it in the future.  Get results today and appointment for onco in 2 weeks.  Generally feeling emotional and like a burden on my family (who have been very supportive).  I was an independant woman before all of this I feel lucky to be alive but feeling apprehensive about the future. I know everyone is different but will these symptoms ease and when will I start to feel confident again?


Love and gentle hugs to all you ladies on this journey Xx

Hi there, sorry you are having a rough time. Its early days post your last surgery. I had a completion mastectomy after a reconstruction went wrong on a breast which had previously had surgery (long story). It was ever so painful afterwards. I couldn’t wear a bra at all for months due to poor healing. I am sure the nerves are all jangling. I found wearing a silk camisole helped. Use a feather to softly stroke the skin if you can. It helps desensitize the area. Bio oil or moo goo do a product when the skin is healed up. Keep going with the exercises. It will improve. I don’t post often so pm me if you need any help.


You need to remember three ops is a lot to cope with. Try to be kind and patient. You will regain your independence.


Rattles, x













Hi, i had mx and auxillary clearance 9 weeks ago. However, 7 weeks prior to this i had wle, and 6 years earlier i had wle and snb followed by radiotherapy, zoladex, tamoxifen, oopherectomy and exemestane.

I am just starting to see improvement with arm movements. Still have bad nerve pain and awful tightness and pulling and swelling. Scar is also still open and leaking in parts. Ive been told due to previous rads and surgeries, i have damaged skin and knotted scar tissue causing healing probs. nurse said 6-12 months to heal!! Couldnt even be fitted for prosthesis yet.

I hoped for a recovery in 6 weeks but its not the case if uve had prior surgeries to that area. Very frustrating but got to b patient i guess. Im finding it very frustrating, but keep doing exercises and hope for a full recovery soon.

What happened at ur results today? X

Thank you lolloy and rattles will try the tips you have advised.  Part of my problem is that I was so independent before and I am very impatient.  Consultant said it was healing well.  There is a swelling but not enough to drain. The advice was to keep doing the excercises.  Feeling quite low at the moment everyone seems to go through so much, I been told today that I will need Chemo and Rads feel like I have not got away with anything!  Still the alternative is unthinkable so will press on !  Seeing onco Monday week will know more have to see an Urologist as well beause of reoccuring water infections, feeling tired of it all but have to find the strength to keep going.  Love and gentle hugs to you both thanks again for advice Xx

Oh wow I feel for you all !  Is it because the medical staff make everything sound so straight forward? Then afterwards it is so matter of fact!  As it has been said it is such a roller coaster! I hope this sounds right but it does make me feel better knowing I am not on my own and although every case is different this is ’ normal’ what I am experiencing.  Thank you again for your posts it means such a lot this forum is what keeps me going!


Love to you all gentle hugs and hoping all our recoveries will be speedy Xx

I have sent you a Private message Anx56


I feel for you! The post op symptoms are depressing. I have an enormous build up of fluid that feels like it could burst! i had a mastectomy 2 weeks ago and also had 15 nodes taken out.  Now,  feel sore, sweaty, swollen, fatigued and depressed! I am due to have chemo shortly and herceptin. Having to function day to day feeling like this is almost umbearable.However,  knowing that this is not unusual takes the panic out of the situation.

A gentle hug from me aso to you with a soft squeeze.

All I can say is stop being so down on yourself, you have been through so much. I have had 2 lumpectomys and 6 weeks ago mastectomy with reconstruction and DIEP flap, some days are harder than others And sometimes the pain was terrible but I am now seeing the light and coming out the other side, hope you are too x

Hi ladies, I’ve been reading your posts with interest as I’m half way through chemo (previously had 2 surgeries but still DCIS) and am due to have a mastectomy once my treatment is finished. I’ve been considering a double mastectomy as I don’t want to risk going through all this again later in life - I’m 41 with 2 young kids. The recovery does concern me. My surgeon is speaking about reconstruction at the same time. It’s so hard to know what to do - I know everyone’s experience is different. It’s comforting to know that others have been through and are going through the same experiences and coming out the other side stronger and confident. We are fighters. Stay positive. Love and hugs to you

The whole journey is emotional and mentally exhausting. It varies for different folk at different times.
i went into shock after diagnosis, tearful but coasting with family support. But 8 weeks after - when things were not improving, i fell apart in costas. I was 50 and usually a manager at work in education, yet here i was unable to carry a tray with one cup , still unable to drive, not able to cut anything etc etc.
i rang my bc nurse who put me in touch with macmillan
that was a turning point mentally and took some of the pressure off my family - who were all wondering why i wasn’t getting better. Over the next few weeks i realised that the shock was wearing off, reality kicking in and also all that stuff about “grief”. I hadn’t realised how angry i was.
do use this site and any local support networks to talk it out. It does get easier. A year on, i am still doing physio or i get really tight but i don’t swell so often

So many of these posts could have been written by me. It’s good to know I’m not alone with these experiences and that it will get better. Thank you

Wow, here I am 2.45 am finding so many women with similar experiences. Although medical staff warn about the pitfalls they somehow reassure that is unusual and give the impression most women breeze through. I am beginning to realise that we are probably the norm. Earlier i read there are problems in 25-30% expanders!

I had two mastectomies two years ago with expanders. I still have tight chest muscles despite the physio I did. Luckily no pain. I still feel bras are really uncomfortable- I strip them off as soon as I get home. At work I am always fiddling with them to try to get more comfortable. 

I massge in Vit E cream daily to keep the scars supple. And I still have to stretch my arms a bit to keep muscles less tight. 

Three months ago I decided"hang it I don’t have any boobs yet why I am bothering with a bra?" So I started wearing crop tops from M and S. They were so comfortable I forgot I had them on. I didn’t even have to sow a pcoket as they keep my softies in place. 

I always used to be large breasted but as I am now going to be much smaller however it ends up, I have to think differently. 

Unfortunately reconstruction is proving a long drawn out process with lots of twists and turns.  One side expanded well, other had to be replaced but now looks like will have to be removed a second time- not sure what will happen next. 

Its a long journey so be kind to yourself. There are women who have got through it can tell us its worth it. But when you are in the middle of it all this can be hard to remember. 

Best of luck to you all. 

My implant has settled, and one year on, have just been discharged from reconstruction