General Question

cak's avatar

Thursday, I'm going in for a double mastetcomy. What can I expect after the surgery?

Asked by cak (15819points) August 18th, 2009

I know what the surgeon has told me; however, I’m looking (hoping) for personal experience or from those that have cared for someone after the surgery. I guess I’m looking for answers about pain, emotions, and just need to know that the fact that I can’t concentrate on anything – right now, is normal. Any advice, suggestions or information is welcome. Thank you.

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58 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

My thoughts are with you during this trying time. I wish you the very best.

My cousin went through that procedure, and she did fine at first, but had some complications. What she did wrong was try to “tough it out” instead of seeing her doctor right away. Be a baby, call your doctor for every little thing, and take really good care of yourself.

marinelife's avatar

Dearest cak. you have been through so much, and now this. I am so sorry that you are having yet another ordeal. I will keep you in my heart this week and afterward.

Our neighbor went through this a few years ago. We got together to alternate making her meals and doing her gardening. (She had spectacular dahlias that she sold at the farmers market.) It took her several weeks (threeish, I think) to be more or less herself, but she was older than you are.

JLeslie's avatar

So sorry to here you are facing this.

I know one woman that had it done and I know it was painful afterwards like all surgery. Line up people to wait on you hand and foot, not only because you are in pain, but also because this is a time to let people care for you. From what I understand the woman I know went through most of her toughest emotions before the surgery. She had the gene, many in her family had cancer and she had thought about removing her breasts before she even got the diagnosis that she had cancer. Even with the diagnosis she had the option to do a lumpectomy, but she in the end opted for the double mastectomy. The decision to finally go ahead and do the surgery caused a tremendous amount of anxiety for her, even with all the indicators telling her it was a good idea. I know she was afraid of her husbands reaction, but of course he was wonderful. She had her chest augmented to create new breasts and that was uncomfortable when they stretch the skin, but she is happy overall with the results and glad to be cancer free, and in some ways feels freer than she has in a long time.

Grisaille's avatar


My heart goes out to you. I unfortunately don’t have much else to share, but I just wanted to tell you that. Remember that we’re here for support, darling. We all love you.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have an old friend who was diagnosed when she was in her early 40’s. She had a double and restoration afterwards. That was a long time ago and now in her mid 60’s she jokes that her breasts are the only part of her body that are still “perky.”

Just remember “Be brave and mighty forces will come to your aid” but as Yarnlady said, not too brave! And know that the positive thoughts and wishes of all Flutherites are with you at all times.

FlutherMother's avatar

This is the time to lean on your friends and to not be afraid to ask them to toss in a load of laundry or to bring over an easy to heat meal or help you with light housework. Trust me that most of your friends want to help but they may not be sure exactly what you want or need.

You are in my thoughts! Please take really good care of yourself.

janbb's avatar


I don’t have much to add besides my love and best wishes. My mother had a mastectomy at age 85 and has done really well. I wasn’t around during her immediate recovery but I know it wasn’t horrendous. She was sent home with a drain.

Sending you a virtual bouquet of wildflowers and many hugs.


filmfann's avatar

Focus on you being Cancer free. Focus on how many more years you can now spend with your loved ones.
Your pain now will be less than the pain of those you love if they lost you.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I don’t have any words of widsom for you, honey. You know I love you to pieces & I’ll be praying for you. I wish you the very best. Grisaille said it all. Write when you’re able. (((CAK)))

Darwin's avatar

I am sorry to hear about yet another procedure in your near future. While I have known people who have had mastectomies, I really don’t know the details of their recoveries. I just know that they did indeed recover and go back to normal life surprisingly quickly.

I will be thinking of you on Thursday and wishing you the best.

Jack79's avatar

I don’t know that much about it, except that my mother did it over 20 years ago and is still around and kicking (though with a variety of cocktails over the years). She came back to work a week later. She’s too tough to talk about it though. If there was ever any pain, even my father wouldn’t know about it.

All I want to do is wish you good luck, strength and a fast recovery. Oh and don’t forget to take a laptop along so you can talk to us here on fluther! :)

flameboi's avatar

Good luck with it! my thoughts are with you, I’m sure everything will be fine!
You will feel bad after the surgery, but as soon as you get out of the hospital, you will start feeling better, a big hug and an out-loud I love you will work out like magic :D

jlm11f's avatar

Like many others here, I just wanted to wish you a safe and quick recovery! You have been an amazing friend, and have taught us all so much by your constant fighting spirit and your cheerful nature regardless of what life is throwing at you. Knowing you since the AV days, I’ve “seen” you go through just so much and it breaks my heart that the trials seem never ending in your case. I will keep you in my prayers and I know you will come out of this surgery stronger willed than ever before. Much love to you cak!

suzyq2463's avatar

Cak, this has to be so scary. Like others, I have not had the procedure, but a good friend just had a double mastectomy a few weeks ago. One thing that she experienced (that I wouldn’t have thought about) is difficulty using her arms. Apparently they are weakened and, of course, the pain affects your ability to use them. That’s one reason why you’ll definitely want some help around the house. The other thing my friend (and her hubby said), is that they had a hard time telling people when they needed them to leave. Don’t be shy about telling well-meaning visitors that you’re tired and need your rest. I hope you’re surrounded by lots of loving friends and family as you go through all of this. You must know that everyone here on Fluther cares—just wish there was a way to digitally help out around the house!

loser's avatar

You can expect a lot of love from your fellow Flutherites.

nikipedia's avatar

You have given me so much good advice and taught me so many important lessons, I wish I could return the favor. All I can say is lots of love, best wishes for a speedy recovery, keep us posted, you’ll be in all our thoughts.

chelseababyy's avatar

You’re an amazing person! You’re so wise and generous, thoughtful as well. I wish you all the best and more!!!! I’ll keep you in my thoughts as you go through your whole process. You’re such an inspiration to everyone, honestly. Much love to you.

ubersiren's avatar

First, you can expect love and support from your fellow Flutherites!

I only have vague advice, as I’ve never had to go through anything so trying. I’d first like to tell you that I’m so sorry that such a great gal has to be going through this.

Take advantage of everyone around you. Just as with any major surgery, you’re going to be hurting, tired, and emotional. If someone offers to help, take them up on it. Even if you don’t know them very well and they were just trying to be nice- take advantage. You can always pay them back once you’re back on your feet.

I’m sure you’ve already looked into this, but there are breast cancer support groups out there. I don’t know if such a thing would help or hinder you. Just do anything it takes to feel like you again.

I hope you’ll keep us posted. We’re all thinking of you. Much love.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I have no idea but my thoughts will be with you Thursday.

accusedofprofanity's avatar

I will ask God to carry you through this trying time in your life. Please know that many Saints are praying for you. I believe you have made a very wise and courageous decision. Always know that the Angels are with you. Love and God Bless You!

janbb's avatar

When I had fibroid tumor problems a few years ago, there was some great info in an online support group. I imagine you’ve checked into this, but perhaps there are some web support groups that will give you the practical tips you can use in addition to all of the love you are getting from us – your Fluther family.

rooeytoo's avatar

If you want extra inspiration, follow Lance Armstrong on Twitter, he is amazing and I think you have the same sort of spirit.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

best wishes cak, and lots of hugs and lurve<33

cak's avatar

@everyone – Thank you for all the well wishes. I appreciate the thoughts and prayers, I just wish it helped calm me down, a bit! Evidently, I cannot cram 28 hours into 24 hour days. I just keep finding more and more to do before I go in.

The info on the recovery has helped and the weakening in the arms is something I’ll look out for. I am very fortunate to have help and have friends and family that understand when enough is enough. My mother just retired, so she will be helping with my youngest (and my older daughter), a lot. This isn’t the best timing, as school starts next week. Like I could schedule when this would happen.

I think the thing that scares me the most is the fact that there was no lump. I have a form of breast cancer that is called Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It’s aggressive and a pretty pissy form of cancer. Just know, when you have a mammogram, not all cancers are picked up on the images. I should have been more vocal in my symptoms. I might have caught this a bit earlier, had I spoken up and been a little more insistent on someone looking a little further.

Thank you all very much – I appreciate your support. :)

casheroo's avatar

@cak I am quite familiar with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I am so glad they caught it, and you were vocal. You are so strong, and I know you will be okay.
My mother has a friend who had a double mastectomy, as preventative, because of how prevalent breast cancer was (sisters, mother, grandmother, aunts) she was young (30s) but felt it was her best shot. My mother says she was back at work in I believe six weeks. She did not have children though, so I know being a mother makes you feel guilty for not doing even the littlest things, but don’t let that get to you! This is your time to recuperate. Listen to your body, I’m sure the doctor went over what to watch out for…make sure your husband knows too. I always give my husband a list of “big no-nos” when I know I’m ill, so he knows “crap, this is an emergency!” because men aren’t usually as intuitive.
My heart goes out to you and your family. And your Fluther family cares for you deeply, and we’ll be waiting to hear how your healing is going. (((hugs)))

AstroChuck's avatar

All my best wishes for you. My friend’s mother had a double mastectomy about twenty five years ago and has been great ever since. I know you’ll do great. Good luck.

Bri_L's avatar

My thoughts are with you. When you need to laugh, or listen or anything let us know!!! We are all here for you!

MissAusten's avatar

Well shit. This kind of thing doesn’t come easy for me, but I typed something great, accidentaly hit something that made it go away, and now it won’t come back.

Cak, it kind of broke my heart when I saw who had asked this question. It made me think of that wonderful family you are so proud of, the way you are always hopeful and resilient, and the way you can apply your awesome sense of humor to even the most difficult circumstances. Then I realized those are the things that are going to see you through with shining colors. You and your family will be in my thoughts, and I wish you a speedy recovery surrounded by those you love. Then, get back here and tell us the nurses’ gossip and which flavor of Jell-O they chose to torture you with.

Supacase's avatar

Cak, I know someone with inflammatory breast cancer and it certainly is pissy. I will keep you in my thoughts Thursday. Best of all wishes for everything to turn out well.

marinelife's avatar

@cak I met Owen Johnson, the president of the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation on a business trip when we sat next to one another on a plane. He is a wonderful man who has dedicated his life to helping defeat this disease and founded this organization after it took his wife (at that time doctors did not know enough to diagnose it correctly). I think you should take a look at the organization, and its resources if you have time. XXOO M

SuperMouse's avatar

My thoughts and prayers are with you and will be with you all day Thursday. Big, big hugs!

IBERnineD's avatar

I just listened to a story about a woman who had a double mastectomy. She said it was the best decision she ever made in her life. I think you are brave and I commend you for that. You will be in my thoughts. I can’t imagine having to make such an important and big decision. Be well and keep us updated!!!

bythebay's avatar

Ok, this just sucks! :) We’ve had lots of chats about survival and determination; and judging from the great insight and advice you’ve given me, I know you’ve got all the tools you need. I’ll be thinking of you and praying for you. Get a good soft squishy pillow to hug when you need to deep breathe and cough. Be good to yourself, take time for you, know that you are loved. xo

augustlan's avatar

Cak, it’s so unfair that you have yet another hurdle to overcome… but I know you can do it! You are a wonderful human being, and a huge inspiration to me. I am sending good thoughts your way, and hope you have a quick recovery.

My aunt had a double done when she was in her 30s. She also had the trouble with weakened arms, which I think was due to them removing some lymph nodes in the underarm area. In addition she had some trouble with her skin healing properly, and had to use a hyperbaric (sp?) chamber for a while to help it along. At the first sign of any trouble, call your doc. Don’t be too tough for your own good. Love and lurve to you my friend.

YARNLADY's avatar

May I suggest you could access a recovery group online for further support, tips, and ideas.

cdwccrn's avatar

My prayers are with you. Be patient with yourself. You are in for a long and uncomfortable recovery time. Do your exercises, eat well, take your pain meds and know your are held in the hearts of all your fluther friends. I will keep you in prayer.

asmonet's avatar

I left you a pm, hopefully you’ll get it soon. :)

MissAnthrope's avatar

I’m so sorry to hear this. I wish you the easiest experience possible and a speedy recovery. Hang in there, we’re rooting for you!

Les's avatar

Sorry to not have been around lately, I just heard about your surgery. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I wish you the best and hope you have a quick and easy recovery. We’re all thinking about you, and wishing you well.

JLeslie's avatar

Has anyone heard from Cak? Is she ok?

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie Did you read the update on one of the other threads? She is having some major setbacks – a stroke and falling out of bed.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb No, I missed those. I was on vacation this past weekend and was only on Fluther for a few minutes each day, mostly I only looked at my own questions that were getting activity. Cak has been weighing on my mind. This is just awful news. Do they believe she will recover totally from the stroke? I assume the stroke was caused by the surgery?

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie I haven’t read a recent update – don’t think there’s been one. I imagine they may not know yet.

marinelife's avatar

There are new updates on the other two threads. I will copy to here.

“as of 1:50pm EST 8/24/2009:

Big improvement today! Temp is normal, bp is normal and she had broth and it stayed down. The pain meds seem to be helping more, but they make her feel a bit sick. She refused to eat the jello. It was yellow.”

Darwin's avatar

Cak and others had looooonnngggg discussions about the evils of yellow jello the last time she was hospitalized. Here is one of them, and here are a couple of them.

I am glad to see Cak has regain herself enough that she can recognize and refuse yellow jello when the nurses try to force it on her.

augustlan's avatar

I think we can confidently say, Chris, that you can expect a ton of love, prayer, positive energy, and orangeness. ;-)

asmonet's avatar

Can someone link the other threads?
Or did I miss them somewhere?

asmonet's avatar

Thank you, ladies. Now can someone explain the orange icons?

asmonet's avatar

… Never mind.

casheroo's avatar

@asmonet This is what happens when you ditch your fluther loves. :p

marinelife's avatar

@asmonet Missed you, sweetie!

casheroo's avatar

@asmonet check twitter please??

SeventhSense's avatar

Sending you warmth and comfort for your bones and strength for your aura.
May wellness, wholeness and peace permeate your being.

mcbealer's avatar

@cak ~ just found out today… glad to hear you’re out of surgery!
May your recovery be full so full of love and so bright with light that you feel no pain.

EmpressPixie's avatar

We have all gathered on this thread to send good wishes and get well thoughts to @cak. All updates can be found there as well.

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