When to go back to work!

Can anyone tell me how long you should take off from work following a DIEP, I have a desk job but it does involve quite a lot of lifting (boxes, mail bags etc) there is no one else in the office to ask for help so am reluctant to rush back as I know I will be lifting as soon as I return. Currently I have been off for 7 weeks and intend to go back after 12 weeks. I look and feel fine, I feel under pressure from a work colleague to go back now, the management are fine and say go back when I feel happy.

Any advice would be useful, and does anyone else feel guilty about being off of work, I had 8 months off 2006/07 after mastectomy/chemo and felt ok about that but this time I feel bad for being off.

Clare (S)

Hi Clare. Its not very clearcut is it? My surgeon said 4 months off, but I am considering going back next week which will be 2 months. However, I wont go back 5 days a week and am not alone there so definitely wont lift heavy items. I too feel fine, not tired and also have an office job. I currently have left boob still open underneath but its dressed, I dressed it myself today for 1st time and it wasnt as fiddly as I had thought.
The only problem is if you go back and then realise it was a bit soon, it looks a bit odd if you revert back to sick leave again.
By the way, how is your open wound now? Hopefully getting better? I have weeks I have been told now before mine heals. By the summer though, a proper bra!!

Hi Jackie

Glad your wound seems a little better and your able to dress yourself, my boob one is ok and able to go without dressings the tummy ones are much better with just one small place left to heel but no more practice nurse appts which is great as was fed up with going every other day!!!

With regard to work I think I will go back on 18th Feb which is exactly 3-months and also a few days after we get back from Las Vegas, I’m not sure they would give me annual leave after just returning. Am seeing my GP next week for more tamoxifen and a sick note - will ask his advice.

I’m still getting a very tight tummy if I do to much - how about you? its rock hard and at other times soft!!!

The new boob is still looking good and has dropped a little although not enough to match the other old one!!! I still have a lot of hard lumps underneath which Mr Signh didn’t seem bothered about.

Are you rubbing anything in to help the scars fade - not sure when to start.

Take Care


Hi Clares,
I had TRAM recon mid Sept 07 and I went back to work in a part time capacity last week. My surgeon said for me in my job, which is quite physically and mentally demanding, to take 3 months off. At 3 months, I didn’t feel ready as I was still quite tired and had fat tissue necrosis on the breast scar. The fat tissue necrosis has now gone and I felt great going back and just doing a little. I decided that I would probably give myself less stress if I started doing a little to build up, rather than doing too much too soon and stepping backwards. For some reason, its very easy to feel guilty at not working. My tummy feels tight, some days more than others and I can’t work out why.


To clare

I asked my GP for a prescription for Dermatix and they gave me one for a 15gram tube. It was reccomended by the breast care nurse for scar reduction and also a lady in our ward was telling us how brilliant it was for her scars. Its very expensive but is on their prescribing list so we were told.
I am only using it on the upper breasts scars as if I used it on tum and lower breasts it would be gone in a trice! You have to use it twice a day and a minimum of 2 months.

Hi Jackie

I was also recommended Dermatix by another recon lady, I asked my Gp who said he had not heard of it, he reluctantly gave me a prescription for the 15mg tube so will have to use sparingly!!! hopefully will work and help the scars fade.

Hope you are continuing to improve how is the new graft?


Hi Clare,
I never had another graft as the surgoen reckoned some of it had worked, but it will take weeks to heal properly. I am dressing it myself now so not so restrictive, going back to hospital this Thursday to see surgeon again, hopefully they will see an improvement as I cant. I never did find out why you moved wards though I think I may have a sneaking suspicion why :slight_smile: