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Topic: What to expect after lumpectomy

Forum: Not Diagnosed but Worried — Meet others worried about developing breast cancer for the first time.

Posted on: Nov 16, 2008 11:29PM

redjenn wrote:

I was curious what I should expect after my lumpectomy as far as recovery goes.  I am having an incision on my areola and a 3 cm lump removed plus a clean margin.  It seems pretty straight forward, will I be up and about quickly? Thanks!

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Nov 17, 2008 06:19AM, edited Nov 17, 2008 06:25AM by leaf

My excision wasn't that big, though I later found they checked out inches away from the 'area of concern'. 

I had twilight anesthesia. Due to unexpected delays, I was up (except for the  time I was under anesthesia) for 24 hours straight.  I work the graveyard shift (computer entry, carrying up to about 5 pounds). I went to work 24 hours after I got out of the recovery room.   If I did it over again, I would probably want another day off.  I was required to be off for 24 hours due to the anesthesia.

I think some people take a few days off.

For me, the best things to have post-op are a jog bra (especially one that opens in the front), and TINY ice packs that can fit into your bra.  I found ice packs usually were better than pain meds (for me.)  I am lucky because there's a freezer where I work, and so I could re-freeze the ice packs.  I would get the pain med prescription filled, though.  You don't want to need them in the middle of the night when you can't get the prescription filled.  I mainly used them to get to sleep.

At surgery, they put on an Amazon-looking breast support.  Breast jiggling caused pain for the first week or so.  I didn't return to jogging for a few weeks. I wore the sports bra after the Amazonian breast support came off in a few days.  I used plastic bags and tape to keep the breast support dry during showering. After the Amazon-breast support came off, I used my jog bra 24/7 for several weeks (except for showering.) 

Most of the uncomfortable feelings for me were 'zinging' pains, which continued with decreasing frequency over time.  If your breast looks horrible (swelling, colors) a few weeks after surgery, it will improve, just give it time.  My breast turned all sorts of autumnal colors due to the different colors of the hemoglobin getting metabolized and re-absorbed. By 6-9 months, it looked completely normal except a faint pink scar.

If you're going through hell, keep going-Winston Churchill

Dx 12/8/2005, LCIS, Stage 0, ER+/PR-Hormonal Therapy 07/15/2006 Tamoxifen
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Nov 17, 2008 01:31PM PSK07 wrote:

For both of mine I took several days off. I had general both times, used a few Darvocet, and rested.  I second the sports bra for after the compression bandage comes off (my doc likes the 40-ft long ace bandage) - I kept it on 24 hrs/day til the day I went back to work.  Because I have relatively-low BP and anesthesia seems to make it worse, I held off work until I felt ok driving. That, and I'm a wuss with a lot of sick leave saved up.

I was able to shower within 48 hours the first time and 24 hours the second. Steri-strips stayed on for about 10 days.  No heavy lifting for a bit, but walking was highly encouraged. Take it easy and you should be fine.

Pam - adding LCIS & ALH to the mix, 8/25/08

Dx 8/3/2007, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Nov 17, 2008 01:46PM 1Cathi wrote:

My llumpectomy was in upper-outer quadrant of L breast, I also had excisional node removal at the same time, so I was under general anesthesia, however I did go home the same day -  the node removal recovery was worse than the actually lumpectomy area,  and much to my dismay I was extremely ill from the anesthesia for days.

My BS insisted I wear either the post/mast bra supplied or a front closure sports bra for 2weeks.

Minus the illness from anesthesia and the inability to raise my arm for several weeks it was not that bad.  Rest, follow DR's orders, no heavy lifting you will be fine. 

Also if you have ever had nausea from anesthesia in the past - mention it, they can give a pre-op drug to help,  I have been given so since that time and all has been well.

Cancer may cause my death. But it WILL NOT take my life. **** Bilat Mastectomy 10/17/08 No Recon

Dx 6/25/2006, ILC
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Nov 17, 2008 04:26PM klp wrote:

I had my lumpectomy after the SNB, 2 nodes removed that tested negative. I went in to surgery in the morning after the wire locator was put in. Surgery was about an hour. I was in "twilight sleep" and once I awoke that afternoon, went home. First thing I had was a 1/2 Subway sandwich and a beer. Went shopping at Walmart the next day. I never did have a problem with the anesthesia or any pain to speak of. Was able to shower 2 days later and remove the bandages except for the steri-strips. To me all was easy. I'll be starting radiation in December, no chemo.

Lumpectomy,SNB, 33 rads Oncotype DX 5...no chemo!!!! Started Tamoxifen and stopped almost 3 years later..

Dx 10/10/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-