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All TopicsForum: Surgery - Before, During, and After → Topic: How long does it take after mastectomy?

Topic: How long does it take after mastectomy?

Forum: Surgery - Before, During, and After — Surgical options and helpful tips for recovery and side effects.

Posted on: Sep 17, 2011 02:45AM

becmag wrote:

I had a unilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction over 3 weeks ago. Had my first fill last Tuesday.  I'm stil taking pain medication and I've tried weaning off but still feel pain and discomfort.  I thought I would be off the meds by now and feeling more like myself but my body has a different agenda.

How did you guys feel after surgery and how long did it take you to recover?

Becca

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Posts 1 - 26 (26 total)

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Sep 17, 2011 03:02AM debbie6122 wrote:

Hi Becca, I didnt have recon but it took me at least 2 months to not have much pain i think 3 weeks is normal plus you had reconstruction so give it some time it will get better, im sure someone will come along that has had bone and give you some better advice

Hugs,

Debbie

masectomy, chemo, node positive

Dx 12/20/2009, IDC, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 17, 2011 11:06PM Denise2730 wrote:

By 3 weeks I was only taking vicodin on occasion. Sometimes after a fill I will need to take one or a muscle relaxer. Everyone is different as far as their pain threshold so what might work for you might not for me and vice versa.

DMX 8/11/11 - TE's put in. Exchange date was December 16th. Hate them and had them redone by a different PS in June, 2012. They look so much better. Still waiting for nips & areolas.

Dx 4/29/2011, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 1/7 nodes, ER+, HER2-
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Sep 18, 2011 05:01AM ma111 wrote:

Becca,

You are only 3 weeks out, give it more time. Do you still have drains in?

After a fill, allow yourself more pain meds and do not expect too much of yourself. Take pain meds as you need them to be comfortable, especially only being 3 weeks out.

Dx 8/4/2009, IBC, <1cm, Stage IV, 19/19 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 18, 2011 04:41PM mdg wrote:

Becca the post surgery rehab exercises and stretches helped me a lot.  I was off pain meds for my bmx within a week but started doing the exercises/stretches about 2 weeks post op.  I think it helped a ton.  Did your dr give you any rehab exercises to do?

Maria Visit my BC Blog at http://breastcancerwontdefineme.blogspot.com/

Dx 12/13/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 12/23/2010 Lumpectomy (Right)Surgery 01/27/2011 Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 03/03/2011 Cytoxan, TaxotereHormonal Therapy 05/19/2011 TamoxifenSurgery 06/22/2011 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Surgery 12/10/2011 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
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Sep 22, 2011 10:13PM becmag wrote:

It's been four weeks since my mastectomy and I no longer need the pain meds. Today is the first day without any pain meds and no pain! There is some discomfort but it's manageable. I will continue to keep my pain meds close in case I need them for future fills.  I'm still tired and I nap (something I didn't do before B.C.) practically every day.  It's really strange: I look forward to being and feeling healthy but then I feel anxious and nervous about things being "back to normal."  What will normal be?  

My drain came out two weeks ago.    I did have my first fill, 120cc's, over two weeks ago and I didn't feel much pain but I was still on my pain meds. 

Thank you ladies for your posts and encouragement.

Becca

Dx 4/2011, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Sep 24, 2011 08:17AM, edited Sep 24, 2011 08:19AM by gkodad

I took the prescription meds for just one day...they made me feel worse than the surgery.  However, at almost seven weeks, I still have some soreness and pain, especially at night, so I'm taking extra-strength tylenol pretty regularly before bed.  Not much during the day, but every now and then, I need it.  The pain changes...as some things get better, like the feeling starts coming back to an area, you realize it was probably hurting all along, but you simply didn't notice. 

I have pretty good pain tolerance, so I think it justs takes some time to recover.  My doctor says 12 weeks.   

2001 - IDC/DCIS Stage 1, grade 2 1.5cm, ER+ PR+; 0/3 nodes, radiation, tamoxifen/aromison for 5 years. Recurrence 2011 - UMX DCIS, Stage 0 grade 3

Dx 7/1/2011, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes
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Sep 24, 2011 08:30AM fredntan wrote:

Its been two weeks for me. My pain meds.didnt do much good, the y gave me lorcet wasn't worth the constipation it gave me. And I was afraid if I asked for more pain meds they wouldn't take my drains out.. I really think percocets would have helped my pain more.had to cry and put up hissey fit to get 2 lorcets ever y for hours.
But yes I still have pain.pain on my new Breast that is rising from the ashes.then there's that neve pain in my arm. I take xanax, and it makes me not care so much.am also trying to to do my exercizes more.

Fran

Dx 8/3/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 13/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 10/2013, Stage IV, metsHormonal Therapy TamoxifenSurgery 09/09/2011 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 10/20/2011 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolRadiation Therapy 03/29/2012 ExternalSurgery 10/08/2012 Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)Surgery 04/03/2013 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)Chemotherapy 10/23/2013 fluorouracil, MitomycinChemotherapy 11/20/2013 Abraxane, fluorouracil
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Sep 24, 2011 01:14PM becmag wrote:

A few days ago, I posted that I had stopped taking my pain meds.  The following day, at 4AM, I woke up to pain, especially under my arm pit, and achiness all over.  Ended up taking another Norco. Three steps forward, two steps back.

It never occurred to me that the pain can change.  What was I thinking?  I was naive to think that I would be fine within 4 weeks.  I am taking my meds as needed and allowing the healing process to take its own course.  

A few of you have mentioned exercises...at my next fill I will ask my PS about it.  

Dx 4/2011, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Sep 24, 2011 01:21PM sundermom wrote:

Becca,

I had a BMX in December and did tissue expansion all the way through chemo. I found the days after each fill quite painful. I noticed as I got fuller though the less each expansion hurt, which seems like the exact opposite of what you would think! Aleve worked better for me than any prescription pain medication.

Dx 11/8/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, 2/32 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 26, 2011 09:01AM DocBabs wrote:

I had a BMX  with TEs in May and 6 weeks later I was playing in a USTA tennis match.I took no pain med after the first 2 weeks.I give a lot of credit to the PT that I started as soon as my drains came out , about 10 days post-op.My Tes were uncomfortable and I had a bit of spasm ,especially with the fills. A little valium on those days helped.

DocBabs

Dx 4/28/2011, IDC, Stage Ia, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 05/13/2011 Mastectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement, Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Hormonal Therapy 07/15/2011 Aromasin
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Oct 9, 2011 03:50PM Nell2109 wrote:

Hi ladies.  I am 2 days post-op having had a bilateral mastectomy.  Not to bad but still...

Nell2109

Dx 8/24/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 10, 2011 06:19PM Fearless_One wrote:

I was back to work full-time at 3 weeks.

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants

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Oct 12, 2011 09:47PM Nell2109 wrote:

Ok so...minor set back.  I was released on Sunday and readmitted Monday evening.  Apparently, my kidney function was off and I was dehydrated.  I got home (again) today.  Still no SEVERE pain after bilateral mx. Just EXTREME swelling and tightness. Well luckily, I was able to get my permanent implants.  Yippee...happy about that.  The scars don't look as bad as I thought..;-)  And I can not stress this enough...be mindful that if you go with reconstruction...these suckers go NO WHERE...they are rght there so choose your size wisely.  GOOD LUCK GIRLS!!!!

Nell2109

Dx 8/24/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 12, 2011 09:49PM Nell2109 wrote:

Thank you

Nell2109

Dx 8/24/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 14, 2011 10:58AM amsk wrote:

Nell 2109

Hello Nell.  Good luck with your post-op.  Sounds like you have a great attitude!  

I was diagnosed last week and am likely going to have a BMX with implants.  Your comment about "choose a size carefully as these aren't going anywhere" really impacted me.  I am on the small side - B cup.  I might want to go a bit larger but probably not too much.  I am wondering how you are deciding on size.  Are you doing so as the TEs are being filled with saline?  Do you expect that you will reach a point in the process when you say "this is it - this is the size I want - stop"?  Or did you have a set size in mind to start out with?

I have a friend who had a uni-MX and decided to go larger, and had augmentation of her other breast.  She now regrets going bigger, as she says they just "get in the way". 

I have some back issues and don't want to put additional strain there - so that is a consideration also.  I am not interested in going with no recon however, as appearance does matter to me. 

This is all so surreal.  I go from being stoic and matter-of-fact about this, to disbelief and shock. A natural part of the grieving/acceptance process I assume.  I am also well aware that so many women have gone through this and much worse.  Your upbeat tone is inspiring!  Amsk. 

Dx 10/4/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 14, 2011 12:39PM becmag wrote:

Amsk,

I'm sorry about your recent diagnosis.  I was diagnosed back in April and for a long time I was in shock and it felt surreal. Many of my friends and family mistook that for me being strong.   I totally understand when you say you are "well aware that so many women have gone through this and much worse."  Because I shouldn't complain about my diagnosis, in comparison to others, I felt like I did have to be strong.  I am so fortunate to have found this place where I can share my fears, vent, and not be judged.  (Thank you ladies for sharing your stories and for your support!)

In June,  had a lumpectomy with sentinel lymph node removal and in late August I had a Uni-MX.  I have a tissue expander that is being filled and I am scheduled for two more fills within the next month.  I went in thinking that I would stay the same or close to it (cup size B) and only do a lift on my healthy breast.  Now, I may have the option to go a little bigger and augment the healthy breast.  I still don't know what to do and I'm afraid I may not like going bigger.  For me, I've never had a desire to be bigger. Before BC, I did take them for granted and when I had to decide on my MX I realized how much I liked them and  didn't want to lose them.  Now I will have to decide and I'm still not sure what that will be.

Update:  I would say that it took me a good 4 weeks to feel like myself after the mastectomy.  I'm 8 wks post op and at week 4 I began to exercise.  I've been doing great and I can feel myself gaining my strength and being more active.  I guess it took me a little longer than most women.

Becca

Dx 4/2011, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Oct 15, 2011 10:35AM amsk wrote:

Becca 

I am so glad to hear you are doing well after your MX.  Sounds like you are on a good path to full recovery.  I am sure that the grieving/acceptance process is different for everyone.  And while there are many worse diagnoses than what you and I received, we still have cancer which is causing us to lose a breast, and that is scary and sad.  Like you -- I liked my breasts even though they are on the small side.  

I will be interested to hear what you decide on the "size" issue.  It is sort of nice that with tissue expanders, one gets to see the expansion incrementally (at least that is what I understand right now).   Probably preferable to have to make the final decision on size upfront, at the same time we are dealing with so many other hard decisions.

Keep us posted on your progress.  Best, Amsk. 

Dx 10/4/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 19, 2011 08:34PM Nell2109 wrote:

amsk,

I am now a week post-op and feel better dern good.  No pain...just some tightness.  Not too bad.  I tried on different implants in my PS office.  I took three shirts with me just to see what the new girls would look like.  I had somewhat of a larger chest to start with.  I am 5'3, 32C, and weighed 100 lbs.  So my implants could only be but so much larger.  I too have back problems.  Mine from giving birth so I would not suggest going too much large.  I was also lucky enough to have skin-sparring MX.  My BS made the executive decision to put my permanents in because he new I would be happier leaving with breasts than TE.  That is the only reason I was able to leave with my permanent implants.  I opted for 350 cc's.  There is no give, no shifting, no falling over to the side, no nothing.   However, you have to do what is comfortable for you.   Good luck to you deary and feel free to email me with anymore questions.

Nell2109

Dx 8/24/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 22, 2011 05:41PM Nell2109 wrote:

Sorry...my prior post was incorrect.  I am two weeks post-op.  

Nell2109

Dx 8/24/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 23, 2011 11:00PM amsk wrote:

Hello Nell2109 -

Congratulations on your good post-op progress.  It is encouraging to read such an upbeat and positive post.

 I was surprised however to read that you received your implants immediately following the MX.  I didn't even know that was option!  Did the BS do our recon rather than a PS?  Were the implants placed over or under the muscle?

I am also going to have skin sparring MX.  Actually, nipple sparring as well as apparently I am a candidate for that -- which I was a bit surprised to hear bec I have two tumors and one is only 1.3 cm from nipple.  But if it can be saved - I would be very pleased.  I guess the dr will scrap tissue from the nipple at the time of the MX and send it to path.  If cancer cells are found then the nipple will have to come off.

Why do people have TEs if they can get implants immediately?  I don't understand that and, as I say, had never heard before of this option so would love to be enlightened!

When you say "there is no give, no shifting, no falling over the the side, nothing...."  what does that mean exactly?  Isn't that the case with all implants - whether you go with TEs initially and then get those replaced with silicone implants, or go another way?  Also as I say - I didn't even know there was another option besides TEs!

Look forward to reading more from you.  Wish you continued success with your healing.  Best, amsk. 

Dx 10/4/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 23, 2011 11:21PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

I also had one step reconstruction. My PS said it would be possible because I was a large B and wanted to remain that size. I had skin/nipple sparing. He did warn me that he would see what worked best during the actual surgery and that if one step did not create a good cosmetic result, he'd use TE's. A breast surgeon did the bmx and then the ps did the implants. They are under the muscle with Alloderm slings. As to why more people don't do this, it is not always possible because of skin considerations and my ps said it is also difficult if you want to be larger than a C cup. This may not be the entire explanation but this is what the ps explained in my case. As for shifting and moving, they just don't!
Caryn

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur

Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 09/07/2011 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal (Left); Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Radiation Therapy 11/15/2011 ExternalHormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex
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Oct 23, 2011 11:34PM Emaline wrote:

I was surprised by the amount of pain that I had.  I had read so many stories, and considering my c/s and VBAC, I thought I was prepared.  I had pain issues after my uni-MX. I wasn't prepared for it...I don't think anyone ever prepared me for it. I think I handled the c/s and VBAC because I was prepped to handle it.  When I woke up from my MX, I thought I was having a heart attack.  The pain and pressure was so great on my chest.  To this day, I don't understand it.

Honestly, it was at 2 weeks that I started tapering off the drugs, 3 weeks that I was at the point of taking more OTC then prescriptions and when I went back to work after 4 weeks, I was still taking them at night.  

Pain is individual. I made the mistake of believing the posts that a MX is nothing.  For many, it isn't.  For me, pain wise, it was more then I thought.  

Dx 4/4/2011, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Oct 23, 2011 11:42PM iLUV2knit wrote:

I had my BMX on October 13th, so just a week and a few days ago.  I have been taking my pain meds pretty 'round the clock' and sleep in the recliner chair.  I have dealt with extreme fatigue and find myself just dozing off and on alot during the day.

My Dad called today to 'check in' and see how I am doing.  He actually woke me up as I was dozing off this afternoon.  He asked how I was and I replied that I was okay but feeling pretty tired.   He said, "oh really??  why??"  I responded with "well because I just had major surgery a week ago!"  He said,"I thought you would be over that by now"  REALLLLLY????? 

I had a 5 hour surgery, lost alot of blood, spent 4 hours in recovery, two days in the hospital and this was supposed to be a cake walk???  What do people expect??   Should I really be ready to go ride my horses, clean the stalls, go back to work, clean the house, etc....you get the picture.  I just can't believe the insensitivity of some people but never expected it from my own father! ARGH!!!!! thank goodness my husband does not think this way.

Your life is now~ John Cougar Mellencamp

Dx 8/18/2011, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Oct 23, 2011 11:52PM Patriotic wrote:

To answer your questions about TE's vs. Implants, I need a TE because rads have been recommended, due to my age and other factors. My PS says immediate recon is possible but not if the breast are on the smaller size. They claim the under the muscle implant looks and feels more natural and so, time is needed to stretch the muscle and skin, in some women. I have large breasts to start with, so, I had plenty of skin. But, the PS's seem to dissuade doing immediate recon if you needs to have rads. I got 3 opinions and they all said they would strongly dissuade DIEP or implant recon because of a fairly significant chance of tissue damage with rads afterward.

Get busy living or get busy dying~Shawshank Redemption

Dx 3/23/2011, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 3/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Oct 23, 2011 11:52PM BikerBabe1 wrote:

 I had a unliateral MX with TEs.  I had a lot of pain post op with the TEs . . . leaning back, lying down in bed, anything that moved or shifted the TEs or the fluid inside.  I ended up taking pain medication for most of the time I was getting fills.  But the fatigue wore off within a few weeks.  

Dx 11/10/2010, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Nov 3, 2011 02:02PM, edited Nov 3, 2011 02:05PM by Nell2109

This Post was deleted by Nell2109.

Nell2109

Dx 8/24/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-