I know what you mean about bumps in the road, and the effects of gravity when bending forward. Although I had a full bilateral mastectomy, with all the fluid I have with the seroma it's as though my right breast is growing back (fortunately my surgeon warned me about the possibility of it before my op), and with all the fluid sloshing around it definitely has a gravitational pull. I think generally the ends of wounds take the longest to heal, and though the ends of mine at the front are healed, my underarm ones aren't quite there yet and are much more raised. I guess it's because your arms are moving more, putting more stress on these wounds.
I've been massaging my scars (apart from the underarm ends where there are still a few small scabs) when I got to 2 weeks post-op. The guidance I read online said after the first couple of weeks and once the wound is healed and any scabs have come off naturally (it said not to try and pick them off) that you can massage the area. I've already found some areas of the scars that seem flatter. It's also supposed to help with seroma and help to prevent lymphodoema, not that I'm noticing any change with the seroma, infact I think I'm going to have to give the breast care nurses a call about possibly getting it drained. It's been almost a week now that it's been very painful. The wounds themselves are fine, with only the occasional twinge, and I have a number of numb patches, but where the seroma is at its worst the skin's stretched really taut and it's really painful to touch. I'm signed off work until mid September, but I can't contemplate going back to work with this level of pain.
Regarding your now differently sized breasts Astra, once everything's healed you may be suitable for a partial breast form/prosthesis. Might be something to ask your breast care nurse about. I'm lucky that I don't have such problems. Mind you, the morning of my op when the breast care nurse came to see me with a selection of sizes of "softies" (Amoena priform breast forms which are simple cotton fabric breast forms filled with staffing), it was a rather surreal experience choosing what size breasts I wanted! Prior to my surgery I was a D cup, but due to gravitational pull without a bra on, most of it was rapidly approaching my waist! The breast forms I've got, which are in proportion to the rest of me, when I came to measure myself to buy a mastectomy bra give me a B/C cup size.
Love to all ❤
Hi Astra, on google images the cording looks exactly like mine. It's somehow related to the lymph nodes and starts in the armpit and runs down the arm. I rang the BCN and she is referring me to physio, meanwhile she said massage with none perfumed cream. I'm using diprobase. It's very painful. Ironic really as the two incisions have healed beautifully.
I won't know whether the margins were clear or the lymph nodes until my follow up appointment which is next week. I have already been told though that I will have chemo + herceptin and radiotherapy. So next week I am just hoping I won't have to have more surgery. It does seem like very often they don't get clear margins although my surgeon told me after the OP that she thought she had.
I had same op as you just the day before on 21st August, there is some cording happening on the breast wound, I've not put anything directly on the wounds as yet, want to be sure they are properly ok, but I am putting healing creams and oils around the wounds.
I read somewhere that once the wound is healed and if cording happens you can gentle massage in oil or cream on the scar and in time it smoothes out, I bought the NHS recommended oil and cream for the purpose but not started using it on the scar tissue yet. However I am seeing the consultant and nurse on follow up tomorrow so I will ask them more about when its ok to start using that. Maybe call your Specialist Breast nurses and see what they advise you.
Let us know what you find out. I just have to remember to ask everything at my appointment on Friday.
Did you have clear margins do you know? And if they are clear does that mean we don't have to have radiotherapy, when its not in the lymph? Guess I should make that another question.
Hope you find the cording uncords itself in due course.
Hi Bliss we must have surgery at the same time, I am 2 weeks to the day and took my first drive out today since the op.
I think my wounds are healing ok, the underarm one is definitely slower and I look a bit like frankinsteins bride with my 2 wounds, not pretty.
I have been getting twinges in both breast and still my wounds don't like bumps in the road or too much bouncing around ha ha, its getting better and gravitational pull when bending forward now. I was D cup before surgery but to be honest that size was too small so bought DD cup and E cup, DD is too small for left breast but ok for surgery breast. The E cup is good for left breast but a little big for surgery breast. ho hum...
Sounds weird your ripple effect, my breast is still very sensitive and so I've not proded, but just have the hard bits in the breast and around the underarm scar. I have had some twinges and tender spots in the back since surgery, but nothing major.
I was so good with my diet before the op having type 2 diabetes, since the op I don't want to deprive myself of anything, so even had some M&S mini sausage rolls made with all butter 😛 delicious. Going to have to restrict the carbs again as blood glucose went from in the 5s on waking and now creeping up to 6s again.
Good Chatting with you Bliss and all the ladies, so good to talk xox
Love to all
Hello ladies, just found this forum.
I'm 61 and found a lump in June, was diagnosed on 23rd July and had wide local excision and sentinal node biopsy on 22nd August. So two weeks post surgery my wounds are healing well. I'm still feeling more tired than usual and not sure whether to give in or push myself harder. I've been doing the exercises religiously but have now developed cording. Not sure what if anything to do about that.
No, on the grounds that chocolate comes from cocoa beans, beans are vegetables, and vegetables are part of a healthy diet, chocolate is definitely an important part of recovery!
Not so much puffiness but the full-blown water bed effect! Before my op my surgeon described seroma as looking as though your breasts are growing back (I'm currently an A cup! ). If I prod one side of my chest with a finger, there's a ripple effect that goes all the way across my chest rather like a moving water bed. A bit weird to see! When I went to my follow-up appointment on Thursday the breast care nurse said she didn't want to drain it because it's not pulling on my wounds and is moving freely. Any procedure carries a small risk of infection, so she'd rather let nature take its course, but to contact them if it gets worse or becomes very painful. My body should re-absorb the fluid over the next 4-6 weeks.
The past couple of days I've been battling muscle spasms across my upper chest and around into my upper back, which are very painful. How much is due to the surgery though I'm not sure. I remember my mum getting muscle spasms after her mastectomy, though much further down the line, but I get muscle spasms all over my body anyway due to my other conditions, including in those areas, which I take muscle relaxants for. A little local heat helps to unlock the muscles a bit, as does gently doing some arm/shoulder exercises.
I guess it is only still 2 weeks since my op, so it's still only very early days, and sometimes I do expect a bit too much of my body!
Sure hope your wounds and puffiness improves soon.
I think I may need to eat some chocolate, although that's probably listening to my mind more than my body 😄
Love to all and wishing all good healing xoxox
I'm 2 weeks post-op following my bilateral mastectomies now. I too had the post-op "high" - for the first few days I couldn't believe how well I felt considering what I'd had done! In my experience (prior to this I've had numerous neurosurgeries (brain and spinal surgery) and a previous breast surgery) I've always found there's a post-op "high". I think this is partly an adrenaline thing and partly a relief thing that you've got the big scary operation that's been looming large in your consciousness out of the way. You've done it! If you're anything like me there's also the "I'm fine - no need to keep me here" act you put on for hospital staff to persuade them to let you go home as soon as possible.
Once you're home though and you start to do normal things, even if it's just pottering or reaching for things on shelves, you start to feel the effects of what you've had done. If you're taking painkillers, take them regularly and don't wait until you have severe pain before having them. There's nothing like pain to make you feel low, and
tired exhausted. With me it's partly that I'm not sleeping very well because I can't find a comfortable position to sleep in, so apart from the physical 'shock' to your body making you tired, the not sleeping properly doesn't help at all. I've also developed a seroma (collection of fluid under and around the wounds) which is making the whole of my chest area and upper back uncomfortable and painful in places (strangely the actual wounds aren't painful at all).
I've always found that if you behave yourself and rest like you're supposed to following surgery, that the post-op crash isn't normally too large. Rushing into doing things and getting back to normal is the temptation you need to avoid, even though you feel as though you can do it. You've had both the emotional impact of the diagnosis and the physical effect of the operation to contend with, and it will take some time to get over. Listen to your body, and take things easy.
So glad you are feeling great after your surgery of yesterday. You are tolerating the anaesthetic well. I was very sleepy for the 1st 3 days but was able to go out for short walks. Actually I am still doing that as I am finding I tire easily. My wounds still healing and only on week 2 of exercises. Perhaps its my age who knows 🙂 😉
I think its a good idea not to overdo it, as the body does need healing time / rest to do so.
May your recovery continue to be a breeze 🙂
I'm not sure how long its going to take me to be back where I was before the op, but I am improving day by day.
Special good recovery wishes to all the ladies recovering.
I had my surgery yesterday so just about in August.😊
Diagnosed with invasive ductual carcenoma in July two weeks before my son's wedding 🙁
Tumour was highly hormone receptive so was given the choice to start hormone therapy (letrozole) and delay surgery.
so yesterday I finally had the little critter removed aswell as therapeutic mammoplasty ( breast reduction)!
it all went well and today I feel great! Little pain and my boob looks so much better than I expected!
Question: have I been lucky or is this a post op "high" with potential of big crash coming?
Wishing all you ladies a speedy recovery 💕💕💕
Hi again Astra,
I've just noticed on your opening post that one of your concerns is the wound healing. I just wanted to say that in my experience, healing after breast surgery tends to be fairly quick and relatively problem free for most people.
I'm 46, but I've had breast problems since my mid-thirties, and annual mammograms since I hit 40 because of my family history. I had a ductal excision (where all the milk ducts are removed) of my right breast due to regular blood-stained nipple discharges around 10 years ago (fortunately the histology showed nothing abnormal except some internal inflammation). I did have a fair amount of bruising, but was surprised how quickly the actual wound healed. The worst thing, I found, was that as I had fairly large breasts and due to the placement of the wound under the nipple, with the natural effects of gravity, I got some 'pulling' of the wound. I was advised to start wearing a well fitting but soft support bra as soon as possible after the op to reduce the pulling on the wound, even though it was a bit uncomfortable.
My mum, who sadly died earlier this year, was first diagnosed with breast cancer 20 years ago and had mastectomy of her left breast, followed by a course of radiotherapy. She too healed very quickly, and it was the radiotherapy she had more problems with, though even since then radiotherapy practices have improved to reduce some potential complications. For almost the 20 years my mum and I were also on the local hospital's cancer patients' 'action' group (which advised the hospital on issues to do with cancer diagnosis, treatment, etc., from a patient's point of view), and through that, and being honorarily accepted into the group of 'breast cancer friends' my mum met during her treatment, I met a number of ladies with breast cancer who all said that wound healing was the 'easy' bit.
As I said before, I've had a different op and due my other medical problems I can't have a reconstruction, so I've just got the mastectomy wounds so no effects of gravity this time, but painkiller-wise I'm only taking what I'd normally take for my other medical issues. Though occasionally I get a sharp pain, on the whole I've had very little pain, and it's probably doing the arm/shoulder exercises that's most uncomfortable, although I very quickly after the op got my arms moving again. The morning after the op in my manual wheelchair because it wasn't practical to get my powered wheelchair up to the hospital, wheeling myself around the ward and escaping the ward to go to the nearest vending machine (probably not recommended so soon after the op!!).
I'm not sure if this is true, but one of the nurses on the ward said that because breast surgery isn't too invasive, in that it's not going into a body cavity, and that it doesn't restrict movement and mobility in the same way that abdominal surgery does, and that it's 'just' breast tissue that has to heal rather than other organs and structures that also get damaged or disrupted during surgery, it's less of a stress on the body so it finds it easier to heal.
Anyways, I hope everything goes well tomorrow, and keep us posted on how you're doing.
Hi Astra. I just wanted to wish you all of the best for tomorrow and a speedy recovery. Take care of yourself xx
Thanks so much for your support and feedback on your experience after the op. My goodness you have had a lot to deal with, I am wishing you continued feeling better and better each day. Loads of love and hugs for a good recovery and better health in future months too.
I've not had the same surgery as you're having (I'm 3 days post-surgery after bilateral mastectomies - risk reducing - I don't have breast cancer, I have a genetic mutation of the PALB2 gene which increases my risk of developing it, so due to a multitude of complicating factors I opted for mastectomy), but I just wanted to wish you good luck for your op.
If your hospital's anything like the breast care team at my local hospital, who've been fantastic, I'm sure they'll look after you well.
I found the hardest thing on the day was waiting to go to theatre, which really seemed to drag. I was half asleep because I'd had to get up at 5.30am so I could get myself organised and have my medication no later than 6.30am with the last water I was allowed (I have a number of long-term health problems and I'm on loads of medication for different things), and had to be at the hospital for 7.30am. I don't do two 7.30's in a day!!! 🙂 I had plenty of visitors while I was waiting though - my surgeon and her registrar, anaesthetist, pharmacist to log all my medication, and one of the specialist breast care nurses.
I should have been first on the theatre list, but got bumped to 2nd place because they didn't want to take me to theatre until they knew where they'd got a bed for me for afterwards (because of my medical history my surgeon wanted me to stay overnight), but I went off to theatre around 10.30am.
All the staff couldn't have been more caring and professional. The anaesthetist decided that in addition to the general anaesthetic (and my surgeon said she always uses plenty of local anaesthetic as well to make you comfortable when you come round) she was going to do a nerve block as well because she was a bit worried about pain control for me afterwards because I'm already on painkillers. I've had surprisingly little pain though, and I'm surprised how well I'm feeling after just 3 days (although I've quickly discovered I need to rest and can't keep trying to do bits around the house just yet!!)
Anyway, best wishes for Wednesday. I hope it goes well. 🙂 xx
Hello again Astra
I removed my dressing on the 6th day. I was told to keep it dry until then so had to be careful bathing. I was dreading looking at the wound site, but it was a lot less inflamed than I expected - just red, very slightly puffy and not much bruising. I then had my check up at the breast clinic 5 days after that and the wound was healing well. Now all that is visible is a red line. I was given paracetamol to bring home but only took them for the first day. I don't know if I am tough or just lucky, but I never had any pain to speak of.
Don't worry about your blood glucose levels. They will monitor everything during the op. My husband (Type 2) had a kidney transplant just over two years ago. This was a longer operation and he was fine. The anaesthetist makes sure everything is under control.
From my own experience, you should be fine on your own. I didn't need any help with anything after my op. I was able to just get on with my usual routine.
Oh goodness you have to do the radiotherapy and the homone therapy, keeping everything crossed for you on 29th when you get your results.
They tell me different things about the pain meds and I am not sure I can take the codeine one as it intereferes with the metformin for diabetes and I am not sure about the ibuprofen either with the respiratory issue I have, I can do paracetamol ok. Some say can manage just on paracetamol, I am seeing GP tomorrow to discuss this after care situation although I will have contact with the breast care clinic too.
I don't have anyone at home but my neighbour has given me his number if I need anything getting like milk etc, so that's good.
I am wondering about wound dressing. I think initially you don't touch it for first 5 days, and I think I go back to breast clinic a week later for them to check the wound, I will have to read the paperwork again. So much to remember.
Thanks again Firecracker I will keep in touch and hope you will too 🙂 x x
Hi Astra. Thank you so much for your good wishes. I should be receiving the results around 29th. If everything goes to plan I should then have radiotherapy and then hormone therapy for 5 yrs as my cancer tested ER and PR positive but HER2 negative.
To be honest, since I got home yesterday ( stayed in overnight) I haven’t done much at all and am being looked after by my lovely daughters and husband. I will probably try and go for a walk tomorrow to get some air and start to up my activity.
The pain meds they gave me are codeine based and I have these along side paracetamol and ibuprofen.
Do do you have someone at home to help while you are recovering?
I hope your recovery goes as smoothly as mine is currently going x
Thanks so much Dogwalker for your encouraging reply.
Yes I did check with the breast nurse if it was ok to take the arnica tablets, the nurse checked with someone else.
Yes I have been telling everyone I have diabetes and COPD and I am concerned about the blood glucose going up under the stress of the operations and also respiratory reacting so hopefully I will be ok, both are stable at the moment, but I know from experience the blood glucose can sky rocket under stress, emotional and physical.
How long did your wounds from surgery take to heal ?
Very best wishes to you with you last 3 radiotherapy sessions and for the future years too.
Hi Firecracker, thanks so much for your reply.
OMG they really need to start screening at an earlier age, thank goodness you had symptoms to catch it fairly early. Poor You, I hope you have support at home.
So glad you are managing ok, I hope you continue to heal and improve well hour by hour day by day.
What pain meds are you taking?
Are you managing to walk out or are you not up to doing that?
I am keeping fingers crossed for your results, for best case scenario. When will you hear?
Wishing you a positive way forward do keep in touch.
The very Best wishes x x
Your diagnosis sounds very similar to mine, and we are the same age. I had my surgery in May, and my only problem was feeling sick after the general anaesthetic. You are bound to be anxious in advance, but once you get there the hospital routine takes over and I’m sure you’ll be well looked after. I was told before I was discharged that my lymph nodes were clear. I recovered really quickly with very little bruising. At the follow up appointment the surgeon was pleased with the outcome and was fairly confident all the cancerous cells had been removed. My pathology report was good with clear margins. However, he still recommended a course of 15 sessions of radiotherapy as a precaution. This seems to be automatic after breast surgery in Sheffield, but may differ at other hospitals. It does seem a wise course of action, so please don’t worry about facing this. It is better to be safe.
Do make sure that the hospital staff looking after you while you wait for your op know that you have diabetes. From past experience with my husband, who has Type 2, people with diabetes get priority if there is any delay. Don’t forget to take any medication you may need with you. I presume you’ve checked with the medical people that it’s OK to take arnica. Even herbal remedies can interact with other medication.
As for the radiotherapy, it is by no means unpleasant. I’ve only 3 more sessions to go and the only side effect is a reddening of the skin in the fold below my breast. I’m lucky in that the hospital is only a 20 minute bus ride for me, but I’ve been taking crossword puzzles to do on the bus and in the waiting area.
Best wishes for Wednesday.
Hi Astra. I was also diagnosed recently. I originally went to the GP after noticing some inversion and dryness on my nipple. I was referred to the breast clinic under the 2WW and both ultrasound and mammogram showed nothing but invasive breast cancer was diagnosed after a biopsy. An MRI confirmed a 22mm tumour so I underwent a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy on Friday and now have to wait for the results of this before we can get a firm plan in place going forward. The surgeon said he removed 4 nodes.
I’m not feeling too bad today, just a bit tired and everything seems to take much more effort but pain wise it’s ok. The nurses advised keeping on top of pain meds and not to wait until I was in discomfort before taking.
I actually slept more last night than I have for weeks due to the anxiety of waiting for test results ect. I’m sure the anxiety will kick in again when it gets closer to result time but for now the pain meds are doing their job.
Its only 4 weeks since I originally went to the GP so its been a pretty stressful few weeks! The hardest part is definitely the waiting in between tests for results.
I’m 48 so wouldn’t have been called for a mammogram for another couple of years.
My surgery dated is on Wednesday 21st at 12.30pm, I have to attend hospital at 10 am for starters. The paperworks says I can have breakfast before 7.30am and can drink / sip coffee, tea or water up to 10 am (I have diabetes type 2)
My initial diagnosis was DCIS then the tissue was looked at further and it was found some invasive cancer cells but my understanding was they had not become active yet.
The consultant told me that I have DCIS and invasive cancer, but the nurse said they won't know for sure until they have removed the lump and taken some lymph nodes to analyze after that the best course of treatment will be advised.
Apparently I am having wire inserted die to link tumour to lymph and seeing anaethetist before op time.
Just wanting to hook up with anyone who is having surgery this month.
My surgery is in Salisbury hospital.
if I have to have the radiotherapy afterward I will have to travel to southampton hospital travel time of 1hr 40 mins for me. But I am really hoping I don't have to have radiotherapy.
I am worried of course but trying to keep calm.
Dealing with the anaesthetic is one thing the wound healing is another, then there is the following diagnosis and treatment.
I am going to take arnica tablets starting today, it says can only take up to 7 days, so hopefully the tablets will help with the healing, bruising, any swelling.
I am 66 and the abnormality was picked up on mammogram in July, it was a shock as it wasn't there 3 years ago on the last mammogram and I had not felt any lump, discomfort or breast puckering etc and felt well.
Any tips and encouragement also gratefully received.
Best wishes to all.