Thank you for posting all of this. I’m booked in for a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction next Tuesday and am starting to feel very jittery indeed. Understanding how I may feel afterwards really helps, and there’s some brilliant advice on here which I plan to follow too. I really hope you’re feeling a bit better now, and that the complementary therapies restart soon.
Gentle hugs xxx
Thank you scientistsamafier for your good advice - I think I’m going to just give myself the time to heal without thinking about work until I have to and deal with it then. My GP has been very good and signed me off with plenty of time for my treatment with the option of longer if needed 👍
For now I think I will just concentrate on me and getting well - such a pity that all complimentary therapies and support groups have ceased at present at my hospital! At this time it would be so lovely to feel nurtured by professionals - but I’m sure that will all come back soon.
best of luck to you, hope you’re well now XX
Others here have given lots of great advice about looking after yourself, and reminding you that it has only been two weeks since you’ve had major surgery.
You asked about going back to work. I had a mastectomy towards the end of August last year and didn’t need any further treatment such as radiotherapy. I went back to work at the end of October. I work in a school as a science technician, so I did one week part time to see how it went before October half term. My GP said she would sign me off again if necessary, and HR also said I could contact them after the first week if I didn’t feel ready to go full time. My job has some physical aspects to it (carrying equipment and pushing heavy trolleys about). Luckily I work with a great team, so if I couldn’t manage a particular task then someone else would do it for me. It took a while to get back to normal, but I don’t know how much of that was the operation and how much was being on furlough for several months beforehand.
I guess it depends on your work environment and other colleagues as to how you will manage when you go back to work. Is it the sort of thing you could do part time at first? Or work from home some or all of the time? HR have to make an effort to accommodate your requests so it is worth speaking to them.
thank you for you lovely reply and good advice.
I’m trying to do as little physically as possible over last couple days (I think I was pushing myself and doing too much) and discomfort has eased a bit so I’m feeling a little better and a bit brighter 🙂
I have a long hard lump (swelling) above breast ( which draws and aches) - did your post op swelling go up that high (my scar is top of breast)?
Also can I ask how long after surgery, and radiotherapy was over, did you return to work as I’m worried about returning as I have a stressful job. Was considering not returning but I’m sure I will want to at some point and unfortunately can’t afford to give up work yet!
Thank you for your time - this forum (and you ladies) is such a support 🙂 XXX
I would echo what LouJP and Evie have said, especially about being kind to yourself and the exercises.
You are ONLY 2 weeks post op for breast cancer. So your body is still healing. Emotionally, it is quite normal to feel like you are on a rollercoaster. Just try and go with it, and under no circumstances beat yourself up about it. Cancer sucks, and as my oncologist said, as she passed me the box of tissues due to my blubbing, to be told you have cancer is one of the worst things to hear. For me, going through treatment, appointments, covid tests, self isolation kept me busy. It was definitely afterwards, that I thought, "what the hell just happened??". I want to reassure you though, that it does get easier. I am now 6 months post op, and I can now talk about my breast cancer without being emotional. I think my message is - give yourself time - time to heal, time to recover both physically and mentally. And in the meantime, be kind to yourself.
Do let us know how you are getting on.
Big (gentle!) hugs x
PJWWOO - thank you for such lovely and kind words to everyone 😊.
I think it really is hard for others who haven’t been through this to understand. I know when I have a wobble my husband tries to reassure me, but he doesn’t get that the worry doesn’t just go once treatment finishes. And I definitely sympathise with your comment about relying on others to do jobs we usually do - honestly you would have thought the washing machine was some sort of new age invention 😂
We really are here any time you want to chat. Keep in touch and let us know how you get on. Evie xx
thank you see much for your really helpful advice - I will definitely read the article.
yes so true you rely on family to get you through and my husband has been so good- but his patience is starting to wane I fear.............. He also was so stressed at the diagnosis and 2 month wait for surgery but now it’s done he is finding it hard that I’ve not bounced back and can’t understand why I’m not being happy and positive. I know that will come.
it is also just to add sooo frustrating to rely on people all the time. He really doesn’t do things quite as quickly as I’d like!!!! 😉
thanks again x so nice that you take the time to send lovely helpful advice - All you ladies are amazing XXXX
@PJWWOO - I’ve just read your messages and also wanted to send you a gentle hug and get well wishes. LouJP has already sent you some wise advice which I agree with.
I had a mastectomy and full node clearance about 4 years ago. I do remember the early days were tough. First of all the general anaesthetic knocks you and makes you more emotional, then you have to deal with the physical recovery but also the mental side of things. You are spot on when you say you feel under pressure to be happy now the cancer is gone - that is such a common feeling. All of a sudden you are no longer having regular medical appointments and people assume you are “fixed” a bit like when a broken leg mends, but it’s not the same at all. I wonder if you have seen this article by Dr Harvey - http://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-what... (I hope this link works)?
I really do agree with the arm exercises advice, I still do some now, not as often, but just to keep things mobile. Try to do little and often, so it doesn’t feel like a chore. To start with you might feel like you aren’t making much progress, but you are. Take it one day at a time and suddenly you will find you are almost back to normal. I did have to have some physio too to help it along so do speak to your team if you think you might also need some physio.
In terms of your mental side, this really is a time for extra kindness to yourself. You need to allow yourself time to process what the heck just happened to you, don’t beat yourself up if you feel tearful. Go with it and chat on here if that helps. Friends/family mean well but sometimes just don’t quite say what we want to hear.
My very best wishes to you, Evie xx
Thank you so much for your message.
It’s really helpful to know that it’s normal to feel this way.
Yes the stretches do feel uncomfortable but I’m glad to know that I should keep on doing them as I was starting to worry I was harming something.
the emotional side is very much a rollercoaster- I feel under pressure to be happy as the cancer is gone but I feel like all the stress and worry is now surfacing and I feel so low and tearful. I’m sure, again that it’s normal, anaesthesia etc plays a part.
thank you for your time and hope you are well other than the twinges.
i had a lumpectomy and full node clearance in july last year.
i still get twinges now although very minimal.
it felt it took months to heal and that i was told was normal.
keep up with the exercises they do help although sometimes the stretching bought tears to my eyes.
enotionally too you have been through alot so i think thats understandable too
be kind to yourself too
I’m wondering how others felt 2 weeks post op. I am feel bit low and tearful (expected I suppose) but also still sore and very tender. My breast seems quite hard and armpit scar is sore. Is this all normal? Thanks 😊