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Recovering Normally?

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Recovering Normally?

I just had a double mastectomy on Monday; it's almost been a week. I am very fortunate that I won't have any other treatment such as chemo or radiation. I had a sentinel lymph node dissection. I have tissue expanders and the plastic surgeon seems to think I will only need to go a few times to get them filled.
Naturally, I still am very emotional and worried about what to expect in my recovery. I was a smoker for 20 years and my plastic surgeon has me scared to death about what is going to happen. Thankfully, I managed to quit smoking about 2 months before surgery and haven't gone back.
I took 3 weeks off of work because the oncologist seemed to think that was adequate. Plastic surgeon makes feel so bad though about the smoking to the point that I'm kind of freaking out about whether I'm going to recover normally or not. Again, I realize it's only been a week.
I'm relatively pain free. Mostly only taking pain pills to help sleep and when I wake up. The plastic surgeon told me not to do any arm exercises until he sees me again this upcoming Friday. I feel a lot of pressure in my chest area, almost as if someone is sitting on my chest. I'm doing deep breathing exercises but sometimes it feels like I can't catch my breath. I feel tingly and numb on my entire chest and of course, get some pain at times in the incision sites, especially the under arm where they did the lymph node dissection. It's all manageable. Sometimes if I move weird on either side it feels like the incision cites are tearing open, although they definitely aren't. To me it looks like it's all healing pretty nicely but I'm no doctor. The drain tubes came out 4 days after surgery. I had pain pumps and so my back is very achy from those catheters being in my back. I sleep pretty good but once I wake up, it feels like everything is so tight and sore I'm often taking a pain pill as soon as I wake up but then don't seem to need one all day.
Someone please - does this seem and sound normal?? I'm 35 years old and terrified that I'm never going to feel normal again. I've never had so much as stitches before this so all this is so foreign to me and I'm scared about the road ahead.
Thanks for whomever takes the time to read this novel and especially those that respond.
2 REPLIES 2
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Hi//thought would share my journey to compare

i had double and reconstructive surgery,plus various underarm surgery and chemo/not expander but implant straight away

i started jan 2013 and have taken 2 years off work,i think it is your choice on returning to work and whether ready for it not anybody else's.I have been though a lot and my body and mind needs to recover,personal choice./but suppose depends on your job and the time off allowed,I quit my job/money has been tight

  I rested for 4-6 weeks and slowly started exercises,moved on to yoga 3 moths down the line to improve cord,flexibility and judged my improvement with my very well experienced and qualified yoga teacher.i think it took a good 4 months or so before any relax with cords and tightness the body cannot be rushed to recover.

My body had recovered well , chemo finished and the only thing I struggle with is the medication long term ,this has real knocked me and the main reason have took so long to adjust.

Remember you have been though a lot and give yourself a bit of credit for coping this far.

I have now volunteering,set my own business and training for marathon

all the best xxWith regards to pain in chest and other concerns check in with a good /your breast care nurse

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Yes this all sounds pretty normal. I only had single mx with reconstruction but remember well the feeling of pain in the middle of my chest which lasted for some weeks whenever I was upright. I had a lot of stiffness under arm too so when they give you the all clear for doing exercises, do them thoroughly as it really helps. I think 3 wks off work may be optimistic, I had 8 but I suppose it depends what your job is. Remember you have had a major operation and you need to take time to recover! 

I am almost a year post surgery now and back to badminton,running and a generally normal life so yes you will get there but it takes time ! All the best xx