1. Give yourself a massive pat on the back.
2. Don't overdo anything, rest more than you would normally; you have undergone serious surgery and not-to-be- underestimated, emotional situation.
3. Do the exercises hospital recommends, to keep you from seizing up.
4. Put a tiny drop of Dettol/TCP or similar in bath water to keep wounds clean.
5. Be very careful with lifting etc if hospital has warned you of a risk if lymphodema.
I live alone. I am supported by my partner who comes down for my appointments and stays a couple of days.
We stocked up on food prior to surgery. Easy stuff, ready meals, healthy snacks and drinks. Bulk buys on fresh foods that you can freeze in single portions like fresh meat and fish. Friends pop round with soups and snacks that either get eaten then or frozen for later.
Reach out for and accept all the help you can get, even if you have never done it before. Make a list that any visitors can see. Keep people informed. It stops them feeling useless (not my words) and gives them the chance of helping you. Talk talk talk.
Post-surgery exercises. Do them, but don't over do them. As you recover, look at gentle basic yoga poses and stretches.
Skin care. Vitamin E oil is good for scars to help them be less tight and to fade. You are likely to be told after a few weeks to massage booby to help the seroma and swelling disperse. Use moisturiser, the more natural the better. I use a homemade one containing natural oils and beeswax that I have been using this for a number of years anyway. It nourishes my skin and hopefully reduce any of the skin damage from radiotherapy next year. Keep things simple and natural.
Fresh air and sunshine. A remarkable tonic whatever the season, just wrap up well and don't over do it. Try and get out every day. Post a letter, walk round the block, smile at someone, notice the changes of the seasons/sights/smells/sounds.
I had my op back in August. My tips are:
1. Prepare in advance - change beds, do laundry, get in supplies, Buy at least 4 new bras (Asda has a great front opening one)
2. Accept any offers of help/assistance.
3. Driving - don't rush getting back behind the wheel. Get a small cushion to put between you and the seatbelt and take it wherever you go (even as a passenger)
4. Do the exercises religiously
5. Bio Oil for the scars, and moisturiser for your arms (to combat lymphodema)
6 (I know you only asked for 5 but....) Stay positive
I found Boots own scar reduction serum helped afterwards, can barely see op scar now (2 years post op in February) didnt use until wound site healed but every day after that until redness disappeared it was a psychological thing for me partly, the need to take control of my healing i guess, hope sll goes well xx
Not strange at all. I think you were very very lucky , Edwaccess,that you didn’t need to brake quickly , or indeed manoeuvre tightly and pull your stitches. That’s why I was told not to drive for 6 weeks. The fact that we are given a cushion to place on the chest is the first indication that care needs to be taken in that area .
I loved baby washcloths , cotton pjs, Neal’s Yard toiletries, my v-shaped pillow and hand held fan!
We should write a book. There are more tips on here than you can shake a stick at! 😂 x
Thanks Pickles and everyone, I had trouble getting on the forum for a bit but things seem ok now.
Hope you are all doing ok.
Not to drive for 6 weeks?
Never heard that before , how strange
I had bi-lateral WLE lumpectomies with SNBs both sides and was driving in 4 days and had full arm mobility and no problems whatsoever
Tesco/Sainsbury sell crop tops with support which I found invaluable for the first 2/3 weeks (and through rads)
Oh, and Bio Oil for your scars after a couple of weeks if they're healing ok, and arnica for your bruises.
I've had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy three weeks ago. Things that might help:
·Frozen meals - even if you can, you may not feel like cooking.
·Get food delivered rather than going out to shop.
·Say yes to every offer of help.
·Lots of comfy bras, for day and night. My DH had to do a couple of mercy dashes to Asda to buy more bras, haha! I was washing them everyday as it was a hot spell after my op and I was feeling rather a sweaty betty! They do seamless ones that you can step into and pull up, no fastening. Even a very pretty lacy one which made me feel feminine when I was feeling anything but. M&S also do comfy non wired bras and I got a couple of front fastening sports bras from Amazon.
·Tops that fasten up the front, such as shirts, blouses. Asda to the rescue again! You will not want to try manoeuvring into t shirts to begin with.
Hoping all goes well.
I had my op last Monday and I was extremely shocked at how well I actually felt afterwards. I was very sleepy though and slept the first 3 days. I’m a little sore but have been able to get dressed easily, take a shower and do my hair (of a fashion). Lifting pans and the kettle has been difficult but I had prepared meals and put in the freezer. I have managed a trip to my local shop today, washed dishes and done some laundry. Hope you’re okay x
M&S, Damart, Miss Mary of Sweden - and some other brands which I've not tried - do front fastening, non-wired bras ideal for the time when you can't stretch back to do up hooks. Of the ones I tried, M&S & Miss Mary of Sweden were the comfiest, even for sleeping in, and you can order via the internet and get them delivered rather than going to a shop to try them. I found zip-ups most useful. Afterwards, when you've healed, M&S do a fitting service with a selection of post-surgery bras, some of which are very soft and comfy - though no match in prettiness for the wired variety!
Good luck with the search.
PS the hospital gave me a load of dressings and the nurse at the surgery supplied some after I'd healed a bit and she took over the checks.
Wow that's great information many thanks Naid x x
The breast nurse today gave me a shrimp soft cushion to put under arm for sleeping so that the lymph wound has some support.
Just looking at the microfibre cloths now 🙂
Thanks Dogwalker, I shall aim to do that.
I am also 66 but have 2 other chronic illnesses to manage but thankfully at this time both are stable.
All good wishes for your radiotherapy sessions. I am not looking forward to the travelling involved if I have to have radiotherapy, its means 1hour 40 mins each way travel on public transport for me, but will cross that bridge when it happens. Keep up the good work and good healing. Rest when your body says to I guess.
My tip is to keep as active as you can, both prior to the op and as soon as you feel able afterwards. The fitter you are the more able your body is to recover quickly. I did lots of walking in the week before my surgery, but do whatever suits you according to your own level of health and general fitness. I was more or less back to normal the day after surgery (which was in May) and did not have any problems with arm movement. I am now going through radiotherapy and again trying to keep really active. It seems to be working as I have not suffered from fatigue or any other side effects. (Just for background, I am 66 with no other medical problems)
Hi Astra, yes, I bought a microfibre towel. It was from the amazon basics range - they are listed as cleaning cloths. The Castile soap is very gentle, I dilute it with water before use (I've also found it's brilliant for my sons eczema).
Sleeping was quite a challenge post surgery. Mine was on my left breast and I got really fed up sleeping on my right side, but it eased up eventually. xx
Hi Astra, glad of help. As regards raising arms, the nurses advice you have been given will be tailored to you and maybe totally different to the advice for me, but I was encouraged to do the exercises designed to make sure I could raise my arms above my head, so they could get me started on rads asap. Luckily I naturally sleep in this position so they were really pleased with my arm mobility. But check with your nurse rather than following casual advice. Hope preparations are going well. I'm starting to get very tired now, half way through rads, so just stocked up on tasty food, healthy food and naughty food at M&S to tide me over if I 'crash'. Full time job having cancer, lol. Hug W
Thanks so much Naid
The high absorbancy towel sounds great, where did you get yours? Was it a microfibre one?
I shall look out for the liquid Castile soap too.
Its my right breast and lympth they are taking and I sleep on my right side usually, I was wander how I am going to work that. Maybe with another pillow support.
Yes I am definitely changing sheets and having everything clean before op day. Its ironic I have to take the car for service the day before so that is going to take up some time, but hopefully I can get everything sorted before then.
The breast nurse did tell me yesterday I would be able to take arnica tablets so that should help with the bruising swelling and healing of the wound I hope.
Thanks again so much for you help and other ladies thank you also.
Love to all xoxox
Thanks so much for your tips Wonky, so helpful, I can't get to Asda now, its a 30 min drive away and my days are pretty much taken till op date next Wednesday.
Does the hospital supply wound dressing or am I going to have to get that in myself I wonder.
I didn't realise had to sleep in bra for 2 weeks, but I guess will want to while the wound heals for the support. I think I will have another look today to see if I can get more suitable soft sleep bra.
How did you managed not raising arms with sleep bra? was that ok?
Thanks Kathy, wow I suspect it could be an individual things depending on what has to be done. Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂
I've been told:
Definitely general anaesthetic, no driving for 2 weeks after, initially no raising arms above head and no carrying heavy items until wound healed, also exercises to do given - but I guess I am going to learn more tomorrow.
I had a general anaesthetic because I had other stuff done at the same time so was kept overnight but could do most things very quickly. I wasn't told not to drive (except immediately after GA!) so I was driving a couple of days later, although I drive an automatic, which is easier.
I thought raising my hands over head might be difficult so got essentials down from top kitchen cupboards but put them all back when I found it wasn't a problem for me, although it might be for others! I was told to wear a non wired sports bra 24/7 for a fortnight after the op but swiched to the stretchy pull on ones at night after a week. Don't rely on these generally as they don't have enough support for the daytime and you might find pulling them on a problem - generally front fastening clothes are the best for a while.
I agree with getting the bed made and everything super clean before your op and simplifying your cooking, If you're having a local it's normally very straightforward and nothing to worry about - I'm amazed you've been told not to drive for 6 weeks - I've never come across that before.
Hi Astra, I had lumpectony and sentinal lymph nodes removed. Like you live alone and wondered what I was facing post op. Found I was far more capable than I had expected, but bear in mind they may not explain the risk of lympodema to you until discharge from op, so no straining, cutting yourself or bruising. It's common sense really, you need to rest and go easy. Agree a good idea is change bed before you go into Hosp, wrestling with duvet cover change would be too much for you. Food - I have found I have odd cravings now and 'off' things I used to like, so variety. No car is a nuisance - I was forbidden driving for 6 weeks, so did have willing people lined up to help with shopping, fresh milk etc; you won't probably be up to walking to /from shops for a week. Stock up on pet food if applies. I slept loads so not bored, but plenty of books stocked up and went through the lot. They say not to use creams etc on wound, but once it looked OK I gently applied savlon cream every night which I found soothing. Agree you may feel need to support the breast, partly for comfort, partly I think its a physiological response. Asda sell stretchy crop top bras, no seams or wires, packs of 2, and they were my saviour as very soft and I just put lint between them and wounds. Slept in them too. Wet wipes! With no deodorant allowed, you may find very handy to have plenty in stock. Best of luck.
I can't help with lymph removal advice but I had a lumpectomy back in March (I had approx. half of my breast removed, plus a major duct excision)
After the surgery, I found I recovered from the anaesthetic quite quickly and was able to return home the same day. I found I was able to do basic tasks, easy cooking, showering, dressing etc the next day, but I got tired very quickly (this happened for 2-3 weeks or so) Because you live alone, I think preparing/buying meals before hand is a really great idea. I'd also get plenty of juice and fruit (nice healthy snacks that promote healing)
I bought a really soft bra with no cup seams that helped support my surgery breast. I also found I preferred loose fitting clothes because I couldn't tolerate anything compressing my breast. I sleep on my side and found tucking a soft teddy bear between my boobs helped support my sore breast!
I think my best investment was a high absorbency towel (doesn't need to be huge or fancy - mine was about half the size of a tea towel!) I found it was perfect for drying my scar, nipple and sore breast after showering (I could just place it gently over the scar and it instantly absorbed all the water without the need for rubbing or patting)
Regarding healing creams - I was advised not to use any creams on my scar for at least 6 weeks. For showering I bought liquid Castile soap which is super gentle and 100% natural.
I also tried to get my laundry out of the way before the surgery, so I wouldn't run out of anything I needed for a couple of weeks (and I changed my bedding the night before in case I wasn't up to it for a while!)
In hindsight, I think the most important thing is to really look after yourself (not just physically, but emotionally) Stock up on the things that comfort you the most (favourite treats, films, books etc etc) Anything that makes you feel good. Breast surgery is tough so you need to balance with lots of things that bring you comfort and pleasure.
Big hugs, Naid xx
After a lumpectomy and lymph removal. Can I ask people if they would share their top 5 tips which helped them?
I live on my own so I am thinking get some healthy ready meals M&S someone said have meals suitable for people with Diabetes type 2. I am really not sure how difficult it is going to be, dressing, washing myself, dishes, how long before I feel more able to do every day things. I know I can't drive for 2 weeks after and not lift anything heavy for several days.
So I would very much appreciate what people thought were the most important things to have to hand.
What did people feel able to do the first few days after the op?
Many thanks for any advice offered.
Best wishes to all.
My post op Wednesday, the op is a week on Wednesday.
Oh yes the wire inserted on day of op anyone familiar with that experience? I expect my body will be in shock for 2-3 days after and in great need of nurturing.