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What to expect after mastectomy and slnb


Re: What to expect after mastectomy and slnb

Thanks so much Jan, that's super helpful.

I had heard that I may need a drain but it was all a bit vague on that front. I thought it was something I may or may not need.

It's a good point about putting weight through the arm for cycling. I will try not to be impatient and just make sure I can give the area the best chance to heal.

Knitted Knockers sounds so cool 😍 thanks for the tip.

Virtual hugs to you! x




Re: What to expect after mastectomy and slnb


I’m definitely not an exerciser but I can answer a few of your questions.

You may well find yourself attached to a drain for several days. This is particularly cumbersome if your hospital doesn't provide you with some kind of carrying ‘bag’ and you’ll need to work out how to deal with it in practical things like the bathroom and toilet! It’s great fun. I created a sling/papoose out of a long wide scarf. Your hospital will decide when it’s removed. That can take a week at the best of times, often 5 days, sometimes longer.

It means you’ll need button fronted pjs and tops - I nicked a couple of my husband’s shirts which proved prefect. You’ll be expected to carry out a series of exercises of the affected arm and shoulder several times a day to prevent frozen shoulder, but also to keep your scar and breast muscle flexible. This will be your first big test. The biopsy shouldn’t affect your arm to any great extent, whereas axillary clearance often results in some nerve damage that takes a while to heal. I’d say cycling will be out of the question until you can realistically put weight on and rely on that breast muscle - and how soon is as long as the proverbial piece of string. 

You’ll need to experiment with bras If you need support for your boob. Some people are happy with simple comfort/sports bras. I preferred something very tight and seamless in the first couple of months. You’ll be provided with a softie (ask if you aren’t) but they are a vague fit and can rub your scar unless you but a post-surgery bra (George at Asda has a good range of cheap ones you can experiment with till you know what you need and can invest in proper bras from Amoena and firms like that). Much more comfortable initially are the knitted softies you can order free of charge from www.knittedknockersuk.com in specific sizes (and also for swimming) which are great until your prosthesis is ready or you have a reconstruction.

You’re right about the general anaesthesia - it has a habit of hitting you suddenly when you thought it was all over so be careful and listen to your body - maybe go with someone if you're desperate for a run? I didn;t need pain relief but I know a lot of women do so make sure you leave the hospital with supplies or get stocked up this weekend. After that a lot will depend on your biopsy results. Hormone therapy shouldn’t be any impediment but if you need chemo, you're entering different territory. But lets hope you’re diagnosis is good 🙂 

Best of luck on Monday. Hopefully you’ll be home same day. Hope some of this helps and someone who has a better idea about actual exercise replies to you.

Jan x


What to expect after mastectomy and slnb

Hello out there,

I'm going for a mastectomy and slnb on Monday, after which I'll be on Tamoxifen.

I'm quite an active person and I'm wondering when I'll realistically be able to get back out jogging and cycling. I understand the GA will stay in my system for a couple of days and that it's probably sensible to write the first week off.

I'm wondering about others out there who've been through this and are used to jogging and cycling 4-5 times a week. How long did it take before you could start exercising like you used to?

I realise this may not be my primary concern after the operation but it feels important to me now. I'd be grateful to hear any experiences.