tips from 2 weeks post op ( bilateral mastectomy)

Afternoon all, just thought I’d share stuff that seems to have helped since my bilateral mastectomy and Right LNS!
Found the advice from pre op nurse interesting as I tend to use homeopathic tabs to support me at times of stress. She asked me to avoid arnica and hypericum pre op along with valerium, garlic and echinacea. i wasn’t too difficult and ask for the evidence behind this and carried on with the arnica and hypericum. Have not go that much bruising so I think the arnica has helped.
No nerve pain, burning, tingling etc which I put down to the hypericum and wound has healed well, which i put down to calendula.
Bottom line- check out a good homeopath!
Also have regular acupuncture (Five elements style) which seemed to help me feel calmer pre op and well generally.
Slept well the night before I went in to hospital thanks to small dose of Zopiclone from GP.
Wished I’d taken more button up short sleeve pj’s to wear in hospital as it was hot and button up easier to get on by myself.
Found it great to have a couple of pashmina style wraps to drap round me in an "artful’ style just to cover chest area which made me feel less self conscious when I was walking around the ward area after op.
Didn’t get much in the way of emotional support in hospital from staff, luckily friends and family did that bit but I think you need to be really clear about what you want and not be frighten to ask for more/different help.
I had op dressings over wounds for 48 hours, and felt more comfortable when they were removed although I was not offered any support to have a nurse or any one with me when I first looked at my chest either with or without the dressings. Since coming home I have had a couple of short soaks in bath and then removed the steri strips from the wounds which also feels a lot more comfortable once removed. ( check when your Dr happy for you to get in bath)
I had 2 drains, one in each side. First drain came out day 3 post op and was painful, so I asked nurse to stop and get me morphine based painkiller before carrying on! Had painkiller before attempting drain removal on day 4, this drain came out more easily and was less uncomfortable.
I have not got a high pain threshold! and was grateful for all painkillers offered, I think some health professionals forget that we all experience pain and discomfort differently so have different needs for pain killers. I think it is good to take painkillers for a few days or weeks to allow out bodies to use our energy to heal rather than to deal with discomfort.
But if you are taking regular painkiller with a morphine or codiene component you MUST remember they have very constipating effect and it is highly likely you will need laxatives to counteract this! Dr’s can prescribe drugs like Movicol (cheaper over the counter if you are at home) or try Ortisan Fruit cubes (from health food shop or alternative remedy section of chemist) start with 1/4 quarter at night only as some find them very effective.
Now I will follow my own advice and have a rest before my family descend again but will continue to post my top tips as I go, what are your tips for this phase!

I was warned about the consipation and had a load of dried figs ready, kept everything perfect.

My mum suggested that I used Arnica and Hypercium post op and not before as she personally believes that they could interfere with what the surgeons trying to do if taken in advance (she’s a homeopath) so I actually took Helios’ post surgery mix afterwards and recovered at great speed… was touching the ceiling within a week which seemed to shock my nurse… I was bilat too. nearly a year on now and getting back to normal things… am moving house in a month now thats a good test for seeing how well everythings recovered.

I know what you mean about lack of emotional support, this is something I’m going to mention to the BC nurses at my hospital.

happy Healing (and new year)

Angie