I had a left mastectomy, removal of sentinal lymph node and DIEP reconstruction last November. I was able to carry light objects in left hand after 8 weeks and heavier items by 12 weeks. Because I had a large abdominal wound I avoided heavy lifitng with right arm for a few weeks. I found that my left arm was less flexible after the operation but the physio exercises did help ease it and by 12 weeks I had full mobility and no pain. You will be advised by a physio probably before the operation and definaitley afterwards and also given a leaflet with suggested exercises; I still do the stretching exercises as my left armpit area can get a bit tighter if I dont. Take as much advice as you can from the professionals and if you can find a massage therapist who specialises in helping with scar tissue then you could try that.
The most important thing is to look after yourself and to ask other people for help, although I thought that perhaps I would be back working after 2/3 weeks it did take longer and looking back I would say listen to your body and if in doubt think about how you would advise somebody else in your position.
All the very best for the operation and recovery.
Can I just check whether you are having the nodes removed at the same time as your mastectomy as that will make a bit of a difference in the advice you will be given.
I had a right side mastectomy and nodes removed at the same time just over a year ago. I was warned not to lift heavy objects at all in the future and not to grip things for long periods of time - as both of these things can increase your risk of lymphoedema. However it does seem that different surgeons/consultants advise different things so do speak to your team about how to limit your risk of lymphoedema. I let others lift heavy suitcases for me but I do lift shopping bags. I was told not to carry heavy shopping bags for any length of time but to and from the car is fine (I hope). I also understand that it depends what your body was used to lifting before the op, so you may well find that you are fine to carry on lifting patients as that is what your body was used to lifting. I hope that makes some sense.
Happy to answer anything else, but I would chat to your team about your specific circumstances.
Wishing you all the best for your operation and recovery.
I had a mx 3 weeks ago. I’m back driving, doing normal housework stuff, good range of movement, keeping up with exercises, just not lifting anything heavy yet. I’m not working but if I was, in my old job... paed nurse, I probably would have expected to be off for at least a couple of months. You might look at a phased return to work when you are ready to go back... get occupational health involvement? Xx
Hi Charina, I had a left sided mastectomy in November 17 and was off work for a month afterwards. I'd say heavy lifting is a no no for some time but you can get on with light weight activities fairly quickly. Here's my blog with lots of tips on how I coped http://Lifeafterlola.com
im pretty much back to normal now except for some numbness in the armpit and slight stiffness/pulling when I raise my arm to 10 o'clock position. Xxx