A mastectomy is not a surgery you will ever feel ready for, but this guide will help make your recovery a little easier to handle. The recovery period is generally 4-6 weeks. It will take longer to heal emotionally. The list below includes both essential items and some tips that helped me personally- both physically and emotionally.
A mastectomy pillow
This is a pillow that goes over the breasts and under the arms with a buckle at the back. I wore it all the time. It made me feel safe because it protected my chest from any possible injury. I loved it. It was perfect for trips in the car, so the seatbelt did not bother me. I also found it helped with pain around the incisions.
A drain belt
Post mastectomy, you get tubes coming out of your breasts draining serous fluid into a bulb. My drains were my enemy. I did not even like looking at them so the drain belt helped hide them. It also helped keep them in place. It made me more confident going out in public because I avoided unwanted stares and questions from strangers.
A wedge pillow
After the mastectomy, I had to sleep on my back, and at an angle. I used a wedge pillow behind my back and a bunch of regular pillows all around me. A recliner would be a good option too. I always had a pillow behind me even when resting on the couch or sitting on a chair. It made it easier to sit down and get back up again.
Accept the help
I consider myself to be a very independent person so realising that I needed so much help post surgery was not something I was fond of. Getting in and out of bed was a challenge. I could not reach for things high up because I could not lift my arms. I remember wanting to pass my kids the ketchup bottle one day, only to hear a bang. It was one of these huge bottles and it was too heavy for me to carry. It is ok to ask for help, and keeping your phone next to you all the time will make it easier to do so if no one is next to you.
Wipes, dry shampoo, hair dressers
One of the milestones I celebrated was when I got the all clear to have a proper shower. The first few weeks, I was not allowed to get the incision sites wet, so my showers consisted of washing my hair in the sink, using wipes on my upper body (but never feeling like I was clean enough) and jumping into the shower for my lower body. When you are strong enough, spoiling yourself with a trip to the hairdressers for a proper wash and blow dry is definitely worth it.
You need to use something that offers compression to the chest area. There are post mastectomy bras but sports bras work too. After surgery, it will be hard to lift your arms and you will probably be quite swollen (your chest, your abdomen, your arms) so it would be easier to wear loose clothes and preferably tops with buttons or zippers.
I truly believe that music is a form of therapy. I had many playlists. I had one for my happy moods where I would dance and sing out loud. I had one for the days where I just needed to cry and let out all my frustrations. I had one that reminded me I was strong and helped me find the will to fight when I felt defeated.
“A scar is your battle wound. It tells your story.”
A mastectomy will leave you with many scars. Somedays you will look at the scars and break down. It’s ok. Let out all the tears and then get yourself back up again. Somedays you will look at the scars and you will remember your fight with a smile. Take it one day at a time. You will be ok and you will feel like you again.
7 responses to “A Guide To Recovery Post Mastectomy – Essentials & Tips”
How powerful of you sandy to be able to overcome your own wounds and help others along the way! I can imagine many brave women benefiting from this information:)
I just love your blogs and may God give you the strength you’re giving to others in need 🙏🏻
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Thank you! Your message actually means so much to me 💕
Sandy, u’re such a brave woman! May God always be with you ! 🥰🥰😚😚
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Thank you!!! Means a lot!
Wow, you are certainly something else! You are one strong woman 🙏 Thank you for sharing
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Thank you for your sweet words 💕
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