Will I ever feel normal again?

Hi I had my surgery on 24th May, keep having mini break downs and feeling sorry for myself. I think it’s mostly being uncomfortable, nauseous and tired as well as the unknown. I had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and node clearance. I’m absolutely petrified to move with the drains and don’t get me started at the thought of them being removed as I feel I may faint. I have to wait until the 12th June to check if the cancer was in my nodes. I feel nauseous most of the day with little energy. I over think every single thing and google is becoming my own worse enemy. Does it get better? I feel I’m sinking at the minute 

None of us want to be on here & we’re all facing our own issues, but I promise you it does get easier.  You’ll get used to having drains in & it gets so much easier to manage them.  I originally had surgery last June & have just had another op on 24th May like you.  I’ve got 1 drain this time, but last year I had 2 & getting them taken out was easy and pain free.  If you turn your head the other way, you probably won’t even realise what’s happening.  

Dealing with the unknown is one of the worst parts of it.  I would recommend staying away from google but carry on talking on here as we’re all in similar positions and are there to support each other.  You could also try some meditation to keep you calm.

Its tough waiting on the results - will be thinking of you & sending positive thoughts your way.

Till then, you need lots of rest so look after yourself and take it easy xx

Hi LMC88


Your surgery was only very recent…you’re bound to feel a bit fragile… I imagine we were all pretty fragile at a week post-op…I certainly was! Try and be kind to yourself… ???


i had a single MX and node clearance in March of this year… I was seriously petrified of having my drains removed…when the District Nurse was taking them out she said Right, take a deep breath!

I even said “I can’t remember how to breathe…” (Sounds ludicrous now but I was in such a tiz!!)

-I never felt a thing…I couldn’t believe she’d removed them!! I could have kissed her! 


Like Jacqs said…stay away from Google! If you need to know anything give your Breast Care nurse a call or come onto the forum…we’re all happy to help and here if you need a shoulder! ?


Thinking of you… Hope your recovery goes well x ???





Hi LMC88 - first of all a big hug from me too. What you are feeling is very normal - I certainly felt exactly like you describe after I had the same surgery as you 2 years ago. One thing to remember is that it takes a while for the anaesthetic to leave your system and that can make you feel very low. At the same time you are coping with tiredness, pain, nausea, fear of the unknown - that’s a lot to cope with. I was told to take one day at a time or even one hour at a time when times were tough. Things will improve.

The drains are a nuisance - do you have a bag to hold them in when you are walking around? 

I’d agree with the others - do try to stay away from google or you will scare yourself. Come on here and chat things over, or speak to your BCN.

This is the time you need to be gentle on yourself and kind to yourself. Plenty of treats. Waiting for results is hard, so keep yourself occupied with films/dvds etc. And focus on the fact that you are now cancer free.

Wishing you all the best for your recovery - and finally, do make sure that you keep doing the arm exercises you were given, even if you don’t feel like it.

Evie xx

We each react to surgery in different ways. I am 2 weeks post op after having a mastectomy of my left breast, but I could have got out of the bed and danced. Allow yourself time to recover and if you feel like a little cry then do it. It’s your body so don’t let people tell you what to do. As for your results, again we are all different, but try to just live for today or you will waste precious time worrying. Indulge yourself and let other people help you. As for the drains, mine slid out after 2 weeks. The nurse told me to take a deep breath and then breathe slowly out. It was only seconds and it was gone. I got my results yesterday and I’m clear, so not everything is doom and gloom. I wish you well and hope you will start to feel better soon.

Hi LMC88 , and everyone else who’s posted. 


I had mastectomies 2006 and 2007, both with full node clearance (standard, before SNB) without reconstruction, though I’d wanted immediate recon, but for various reasons it didn’t happen. So I’m sooo glad you opted to have immediate recon, although it has a lengthier recovery time, being a far more complicated op. I’d have coped far better with the mental effect that the “loss” of both boobs had on my personal confidence, had I had an immediate replacement. 

Be “gentle” on yourself girl, and take it easy. You’ve not only just had a major op, which is a huge, massive trauma to your body, but as Evie (Hello again darlin’ girl) quite rightly mentioned, the anaesthetic has its own effect on your body as well, can take a while to work out of your system. I’ve known big strong fellas in tears, following operations, not because they felt sorry for themselves, but due to weird effects anaesthetic can have.

So, naturally, your poor bod needs time to recover from this. And Yeh, its paramount you do your exercises. Be very disciplined with yourself, because the sooner you get full mobility back, the better you’ll feel.


All of this is coupled with the horrible, nasty “shock” to your mental state, that of a diagnosis of cancer. So it isn’t at all surprising to me, that you’ve been having “mini breakdowns”. It’s ALL a huge amount to deal and cope with, so you are entitled to feel sorry for yourself. For a bit, that is, but then you’ve got to get some “kick cancer in the butt” attitude, my darlin’. :smileymad: Some Grrrrr attitude


Sending lots of love, healing thoughts, and strength to you. Keep us informed of how you’re doing. When do you have your drains removed? That’ll be a good step forward, give you a bit more freedom and normality back.

Delly xxxxxx    



I just want to reassure you.  In answer to your question, Will I ever feel normal again? - the answer is "Yes you will!  You will find a new “normal” but this will take time - try not to rush yourself.


I am just over 2 year on from diagnosis of HER2+ breast cancer with an area of high risk DCIS.  I had 3 months of chemotherapy and targetted therapy followed by a right side MX and complete node removal and then 15 sessions of radiotherapy with a further 10 months of Herceptin injections which all came to an end in June 2018.


I do have a few niggles from the side effects of chemo and rads but each and every day I’m grateful to be here - I’m a far stronger person now than I ever was… I try not to let pointless problems get me down and I try very hard to not complain! 


I’ve just had my 2nd clear mammogram of my healthy breast and yesterday completed a 5K Race for Life.  


My motto is stay positive and be happy!



What a lot of responses! I’ll just add two things. First, your GP can offer support. Mine arranged for a community nurse to visit every couple of days to check on the wound, the drain and healing and also offered me a mild sedative to get me through a tough patch. The drains are awkward, especially if you’re not provided with a carrying bag, but removal is almost painless (mine felt like someone running a finger along my skin). Get doing your exercises and you’ll soon forget the initial horror. Mind you, I’ll never drink a raspberry smoothie again!


Second, even if the cancer has spread to your lymph nodes, it’s not as bad as it sounds. 19 of the 21 lymph nodes removed from my armpit were cancerous but they’d done a bloody good job because every test has confirmed there’s no sign of it having spread beyond the breast area. What that result will do is determine what forms of treatment you may need. In my case, I was offered everything they “could throw at it” to quote my oncologist and, terrified though I was of side effects, I’ve been through it all, with just 8 days of radiotherapy left to go now. Fear is a perfectly normal response. I had a mini meltdown during chemo and the oncology nurse cancelled my chemo session to give me a break. Everyone wants the best outcome for you so make sure the hospital team and your GP know if you feel you’re not coping. You won’t be the first and they’ll probably have a solution. 


I hope it goes smoothly for you and you get good news on the 12th. But even ‘bad’ news isn’t as scary as it would have been a few decades ago. Treatments are so much better and there’s so much they can do for anxious patients (or I’d never have got through it). Most important, go easy on yourself. You’re in a traumatic time - be gentle with yourself and don’t judge yourself by anyone else’s experiences.