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Mastectomy op booked 16th July

Ange7Ange7 Posts: 4

as a widow living alone I’m concerned about how long the recovery period will be & how much pain to expect. I’m having sentinel node remov E but hop Efully no other treatment other than tablets forfive Yeárs. I’m 67. Grateful for any advice 🤔🤔


  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 771 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good morning @Ange7 ,

    Welcome to our lovely community, I am sorry to hear of your diagnosis, but it is good that the surgery and following meds will be sufficient to remove the cancer.

    You mentioned having a mastectomy and the lymph nodes removed also, I am sure that the dr's and nurses will give you detailed information regarding post-surgery etc. Do you have family or friends who will be able to help you afterwards? Post-surgery you will have limited movement and may require help with activities like dressing and other usual daily activities, as well as changing dressings, and changing the drains.

    After having a mastectomy, you will have some drains attached (tubes), these are to help drain away any fluid that collects. The bags will need to be changed and the amount of fluid collected recorded. The nurse will advise you when it is time to have them removed, based on how much fluid is draining.

    You should be given or you can get some strong pain relief to help ease the discomfort you will be feeling. I would suggest, you follow any advice the nurses give you, but also, it is much better to stay on top of the pain taking the meds regularly rather than only taking them sporadically.

    The physiotherapist should visit you while you are still in hospital, to talk through the exercises you will need to do to restore movement and strength in the arm and chest area. At first you may find it very difficult to do these, but it is best to try moving even a little each day.

    Everyone reacts differently to surgery, giving a timeline of recovery would be a very rough guess. I had complications after surgery so my recovery took a lot longer than anticipated.

    If you still have questions regarding surgery and everything, definitely speak with your surgeon and medical team before the 16th.

    There are many of us here who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, if you would like to know anything else or just chat generally about things, please don't hesitate to make contact. Everyone here is very friendly and understands what you are going through.

    Please keep in touch with how you are getting on,

    Chat soon,

    Lou x

  • Ange7Ange7 Posts: 4

    Thank you Lou, your reply is really helpful- I think I’ve been ‘burying my head a little’ I’ve got to accept the help & accept its not an overnight fix. Neither of my kids live local but they Will stay the first few days - I have two very demanding small dogs as well! I naively hoped I’d be ok after a a few days. I have my pre op & breast nurse appointment On Tuesday so will make a list of questions. Xx

  • JerseyBobJerseyBob Posts: 104 ✭✭✭


    Hi Ange

    Welcome to our friendly community.

    Unfortunately, cancer of any type is rarely a quick fix but it will be brilliant to hear that your cancer has been removed following your procedure.

    Do you have a MacMillan Cancer Support near you?They are so helpful and supportive and especially since you are living alone (with the dogs of course) they may be able to give you some help.

    Rob x

  • Ange7Ange7 Posts: 4

    Hi rob

    I’m sure there’s a Macmillan centre near here. I will check it out. Thank you for the advice. I think I’m still in denial at the moment perhaps things will get more ‘real ‘ after my pre op etc next week. It all happens so fast it’s a bit like watching it happening to someone else if that makes any sense? X

  • JerseyBobJerseyBob Posts: 104 ✭✭✭

    Hi @Ange

    Yes it does. I remember when I was diagnosed I felt just the same. You do get used to it though and we will be here to chat and support you whenever you want.

    Rob x

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,409 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Ange7

    I am glad to hear you will have some assistance after surgery.

    As Rob has already suggested making contact with the Macmillan Cancer Support Group is a good idea. They can provide very valuable practical help and emotional support too. Don't be put off if you find there is a waiting list before you get to see someone.

    Two dogs! Wonderful company and support for you, pets provide so much love and comfort to us.

    It will seem like a whirlwind for you, especially at the beginning, it takes a long time to process everything after diagnosis. I am sure you must be very shocked still.

    You can come and chat through things here anytime, we are here to support you.

    Chat soon,

    Lou xx

  • Ange7Ange7 Posts: 4

    Hi lou

    thank you for your kind words, I know I should feel grateful the cancer was found early & can be cut away & perhaps that will come, at the moment it feels like the earth is moving beneath me and I have no control over it. Very much how i felt when my husband died. He wasn’t ill but had a massive & fatal heart attack. Perhaps I’ll feel calmer after my pre op and breast nurse meeting tomorrow- working on the principle the unknown is scarier than reality 🤞


  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,409 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good morning @Ange7 ,

    Oh most definitely I think these 'unknown' days waiting for results, scans etc are some of the worst days. Once you have more information and the operation goes ahead, you will feel more in control.

    That is a good analogy about the ground moving beneath your feet, it does feel like that.

    I am so sorry to hear about your husband, and times like these must make him not being here with you much harder to bear.

    It is really good the cancer was found early and is treatable, hold onto that. It will give you hope and strength to see you through this.

    Don't feel like you 'should' be feeling and thinking in a particular way. There is no right or wrong way, each of us has to find a way through that is best for us.

    For me, I just knew I wasn't going to allow cancer to steal my life, how dare it!! I had had enough of cancer in my life with my family, I wasn't going to let it do the same to me.

    This community is brilliant for finding help, support, strength especially when the days are so tough and seemingly unbearable.

    Here for you anytime,

    Chat soon,

    Lou xx

  • GJ124GJ124 Posts: 2
    I’m also booked for a mastectomy in Sept. I having a few biopsies on 22nd of this month to confirm if another lump on the same breast is also cancerous and this will confirm the mastectomy

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 771 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi @GJ124,

    Welcome to the community, I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis. You have found a good place to get support and understanding to help you through this time. Even though you may have great support from family and friends, sometimes it is helpful to be able to chat to others who are not directly connected to you. You don't have to be mindful of what you say in case of upsetting anyone. 
    I hope the biopsies go ok, would the operation be the first part of treatment for you? 
    It is very scary and traumatic when first diagnosed and everything seems to move at breakneck speed, you feel like you are being tossed and turned every which way. 
    Any time you feel like chatting about anything, there will always be someone here to chat with. Even if it is a different cancer, the thoughts, feelings, side effects of treatments can be very similar. You are not alone here, everyone is very friendly.

    Keep in touch with how you are getting on. Chat soon,

    Lou x
  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,409 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi @Ange7

     I hope that you were able to get all the information you needed before yesterday's operation. I hope that went ahead as planned and was successful for you. Just to let you know we are thinking of you, hope your recovery will be swift and free of difficulties. 

    Chat when you feel ready, sending gentle hugs, 

    Lou x

  • MrsMorencyMrsMorency Posts: 2
    edited July 2019
    Good Morning everyone!!

    Reading all your post made me remember when I was just finding out about my breast cancer. I dont have it anymore - I finished my 12 rounds of chemo and have done my double mastectomy last February 27th of this year - double mastectomy was my choice - though i only had the cancer on my right breast, the doctors refused to remove my left breast at first but because it was my choice for them to remove it both - he went on and did it and did my reconstruction during surgery) I just did not want to deal with it anymore -breast cancer runs in my family, mother and sister passed away from it when i was 13 years old. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on my right breast, my doctors performed biopsy on me for those 2 cancer cells they found all on my right breast, during the biopsy procedure they found another lump that they performed biopsy in addition to my first two lump. the next day on (October 25th of 2018) they called me to confirm i have all 3 lumps they did biopsies on - came back ALL positive. Of course that depressing to hear - I remember I was depressed for at least 1 week... and right after that week, I started holistic regimen myself. My husband is a Haitian and his mother is another breast cancer survivor as well who takes herbal and stuff everyday for her cancer not to come back anymore - shes been a survivor for at least 17 years now and all her tests always cleared and negative from cancer but she stays on her natural herbal stuff. 

    I have heard so much about natural stuff - I took EVERY one of them including the one that my mother in law makes for me - I had drink and consumed all of them every single day . My doctor scheduled me for surgery on Feb 27th for double mastectomy - by the time my surgery comes, I only had 1 cancer cell in my right breast, they performed sentinel node biopsy and it all came back negative. I knew, all the natural drink i was consuming helped me a lot and I also changed my diet. I asked my surgeon then where the other 2 cancer cells went and he dont know what to tell me because he stated that thats all they find and had removed and they even made sure that they remove the healthy cells around my breast to make sure theres no cancer cells left. My oncology on the other hand laid a treatment plan for me that involves chemo even after my sentinel node biopsy came back negative - she stated she recommend it for me just for "prevention". I was hesitant because i didn't not want to lose my hair. She recommend me the cold caps for my 12 round of chemo. Fortunately, the whole time I went through my chemo - I have had no side effects whatsoever :) I kept all my hair! and last Friday 07/19 was my last session!! 

    Overall, I know its not easy to go through this illness and keep yourself with positive attitude but it helps a LOT and have people who care and love you around throughout your treatment. Stay positive - you can do it!!! 

    God Bless you all!!
    Jona :)
  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,409 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good morning Jona, 

    It is lovely to 'meet' you, thank you so much for sharing your story with us, it is wonderful to hear your good news.
    To be given an all-clear or NED, is such an enormous event, knowing you have been through so much to bring you to that place. But it is worth it to hear those words. 
    I think a lot of people find some natural things are helpful and contribute alongside medical treatments to help treat cancer. One of our experts @Lucy_ODonnell, has some great insight and experience from her own cancer journey, which is ongoing. I am glad you found something that helped you too. 
    I was also very blessed not to suffer from certain side-effects although I did lose my hair, but I considered that a small price to pay for not having cancer anymore.  
    I understand what it is like to have cancer run riot in families, and when it arrived for me I was determined not to go the same way as my family members. Having a positive mental attitude dealing with cancer can reap huge benefits, it doesn't mean it is easy by any means. It isn't, it is extremely tough and gruelling, and we do undergo huge battles in our minds, if we can conquer those it can make a huge difference. 

    I wish you continued success in your recovery, you are very welcome here, and I am sure others here will be greatly encouraged by your experiences, and you will be a great support to others.

    I hope you have a great day, 

    Lou x

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