I decided to split my mastectomy posts into two. This one is focusing on the mastectomy without the emotional of psychological stuff. Also I have included some pics post op, so beware if your squeamish although I think I look great and they are not gross or anything.
In my opinion I would say all in all the experience was not that bad. Pain was really bad on the bad days but mostly I felt really good. I really did not get much after care instructions or any lead on what to buy or expect, I have basically figured it all out on my own. As with any advice, please check with your doc ok 😉
I wont get into details about my horrible hospital stay, I was disgusted and really disappointed in the “care” I was given, but here are my recommendations to help make your hospital stay it’s best: Lipbalm, COMFY COMFY COMFY pants you are able to pull up with one hand (my best friends were a size too big for me track pants, they were the best, I had 2 pairs) or a nightie you can step into, stretchy tank top (loved the tanks, another bestie) or zip up sweaters but the hospital gown and pj pants are just fine too while you are there, wet wipes to help you feel fresher (no shower), an airplane pillow or mastectomy heart pillow to help prop your arm (I found my underarm was too tender for these but most other people find it useful) but a really well placed pillow works great, your favorite blanket that brings you coziness, step in slippers or flip flops. Oh yeah, my throat hurt badly so maybe some throat lozenges or spray to help with that.
Watch the seat belt on your way home, oh and you prob wont be able to close the car door depending on what side your mastectomy was on.
At Home: you will need lots of pillows to prop you up, baby wipes to help keep you fresh (yes, still no shower babe!), lipbalm, dry shampoo, airplane pillow helps with keeping your neck comfortable as you can’t sleep in any position except for on your back propped up! It has been 3 weeks and I still have trouble on both sides. Be prepared to feel gravity when you stand up, I was not expecting that, especially since there is no boob there, I still don’t get it but it feels weird nonetheless.
One week out of surgery and I had not yet worn a bra, the area was still so tender but I plan on wearing a front closure non underwire.
During my recovery I did daily movements and stretches to help keep my arm from seizing and my muscles getting too tight.
After a mastectomy a drain (sometimes more than 1) will be put in place. I found this somewhat annoying but it really helps getting all the blood and gunk out and is important for the healing process. Some women buy a post surgical mastectomy camisole/bra to wear after, these have little pockets to hold your drains, this I defo recommend for anyone with 2 or more drains. Don’t be alarmed if you see clots or tissue of sorts in your drain bulb, it is totally normal! Learn to “milk” your drain. You will have to empty and measure your drain for about a week, so easy but very important as your measurements will determine when the drain(s) can be removed. This is most important because when the drain is removed, you can finally SHOWER!!!! One of the best showers of my life, just sayin’!
When my drain finally was removed it felt so much easier to move and much more comfortable also, I felt so free! The removal was wicked painful, I suggest taking your meds before you go, I did not and ended up crying like a baby and muttering profanities between taking my deep breaths lol
I will be honest, this surgery hurt like a bitch! But we all do what we have to because there is no choice, the pain is there so just take a deep breath and go with it.
A description of my breast before surgery: there was a dent on the side and my nipple used to be pulled to one side and because of the tumor growth it had been pulled right in so the nipple had basically disappeared. (I forgot to take a pic, too late now lol)
So here are a couple of pics after my surgery. I still have quite a bit of swelling but all in all my healing is going well.
So there we go, my mastectomy in a nut shell. I hope I was able to ease anyone’s fears and wish well to all my brave ladies out there who will end up having this surgery. The mental part of this will be in a post that follows.