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All TopicsForum: Surgery - Before, During, and After → Topic: Exercise after Lumpectomy and SNB

Topic: Exercise after Lumpectomy and SNB

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

Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 02:56PM

mamglam wrote:

I have had my surgery just over two weeks ago and the surgeon has cleared me to start my gym workouts with small weights.  However, I do not have the energy or the strength to start.  My emotions are still high and very weepy at all times.  I have not seen an oncologist and do not have a full path report as yet.  When did you feel strong enough to start your workouts?

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Feb 13, 2012 06:17PM DocBabs wrote:

I had a BMX and was extremely fatigued for at least 6 weeks however it didn't stop me from going to Texas, alone, to withdraw from a tennis tournament that i had qualified for.I was in bed very early every night but it felt good to be back in the swing of things. I was back playing competetivel tennis at 7 weeks but I rested a lot before the match and slept like a log afterwards.I think the emotional component takes a great toll on all of us so our energy level is slow to return. I went back to the gym at around 7 weeks also but my workouts were much shorter for several weeks. Give it a try and stop when you feel fatigued.

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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Feb 13, 2012 06:31PM pheno wrote:

I had lumpectomy w/SNB on Dec. 19.  Friends told me to make an effort to get some activity early on, so I started taking brisk walks the next day, felt up to a serious workout about a week after surgery.  I did mostly aerobic stuff for the first week, then picked up some light weights after that.  The most important thing is to get a little something done -- even if it's not what your pre-BC self would think of as a workout -- just to help get away from feeling sad (or in my case, worrying all the time about what's next). 

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Feb 13, 2012 07:41PM onvacation wrote:

I had my surgery on Jan 30th and I was feeling great until the weekend, I think I over did it, and now feeling some pain.  Nothing I can't handle, but don't want to do anymore workouts till I go to the doc tomorrow.  I mostly was walking and doing some yoga. 

I think you have to listen to your body, and a little exercise usually makes you feel better if you are up to it. 

Kim

Dx 1/30/2012, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 13, 2012 08:09PM, edited Feb 13, 2012 08:54PM by NatsFan

Mam - I noticed in your sig that you had 3 lymph nodes removed.  That puts you at an increased risk for lymphedema.  The first few weeks after surgery are critical to recovery of the damaged lymphatic system.  If you push yourself too hard now, you could set yourself back and if you try to do too much with your upper body, you risk triggering LE - something you definitely do not want. 

Unfortunately, surgeons know very little about lymphedema, and too often do not provide us with the education we need to reduce our risk of developing LE.  You may want to ask your surgeon for a referral to a Certified Lymphedema Therapist.  The CLT can take baseline measurements, evaluate your risk, and help you develop a safe, effective workout program.  My surgeon gave me no info about LE precautions when I was cleared for activity.  Unfortunately I did way too much upper body work too soon, and now I have LE.  Any weights should be done slowly with light weights (like one pound) or even no weights, and very few reps.  Build up very very gradually. Your upper body and lymphatic system have had quite a shock - give them time to recover. 

Check out the Lymphedema section on BCO for more info.  There's also a great website written by LE women for LE women - http://www.stepup-speakout.org/  It has great info about the precautions you need to take about LE and what to look for.   It also tells you how to find a Certified Lymphedema Therapist near you.

All that said, you've been through a lot.  I promise you that it does get better, physically and mentally.  I'm almost exactly 4 years ahead of you  (I was dx 12/31/07), and I currently do yoga, weight training, swimming, mountain hikes (I just climbed a volcano in the Caribbean last week) and I recently signed up to run a 10K in April.   But you can't expect to do all that just 2 weeks out of surgery! Cool  Listen to your body, rest when you need to, and take care of yourself.  As Kim says, walking is great exercise.  It doesn't strain the upper body, and yet gets you moving.

Hang in there! 

Edited to add:  You may want to check out the Let's Post Our Daily Exercise thread over in the Exercise section.  That's all we do - post whatever exercise we've done that day. We're in all phases of b/c treatment - some finished active treatment years ago, some just finished surgery, and some are currently going through chemo or rads.  It's a supportive group - we've all been there and know the frustration of dealing with the after effects b/c surgery and treatment. 

Mary

Dx 12/31/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 1/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 01/30/2008 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 03/04/2008 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxotereHormonal Therapy 07/01/2008 FemaraSurgery 10/09/2008 Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)
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Feb 13, 2012 10:30PM mamglam wrote:

Thank you ladies for your kind words.  I have been walking but not been to the gym as yet.  I will try and go to the gym and use just the cardio equipment and work up from there very slowly.  NatsFan thanks for mentioning the lymph node removal - I will have to find a Certified LE Therapist in my area.  The website does not state one in my city and therefore, I will have to ask around.  I did notice that thread today and will keep checking for motivation.

Dx 12/29/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 13, 2012 11:03PM crazypenguinsfan wrote:

Hi! I have not had the lymph node removal yet like you did, so I am sure that may be a factor in how you feel, but I did have a lumpectomy just over three weeks ago. You mention you are walking and that is great!! I have to say that this past week (third week) I have felt better and better and better each day, I think part of it is psychological, feeling that the incision isn't quite so raw.. I even got to scrape my steri strips off at the 3 week mark, which I am glad I did because they had actually adhered to skin under my armpit, upper layer of skin pulled off where my shirts dug in.

I am sure that you are exhausted in part from worry about your pathology. It sounds like you have a good plan to gradually work your way back workouts - wise. That is wise! You will feel better and better, just be patient with yourself. You will feel gradually stronger! And, glad to hear you are watching for LE. When I have my mastectomy, I will need to be reading up on that as I will have a SNB.

As an aside... I can attest to not pushing yourself to hard too soon. I kind of made a mistake and pushed myself too hard a week in, my incision was still fresh! don't know what I was thinking!. Well, I went on the recumbent bike and did 30 minutes, pushed REALLY hard. Felt good, got home did some laundry, then wham, I got so sleepy I couldn't even keep my eyes open - it hit so hard and so fast!  I wound up taking over a 3 hour nap!  It almost felt like I was under anesthesia again. 

Take care of yourself :)

Steph

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Feb 14, 2012 01:38PM mdg wrote:

After lumpectomy - I was back to the gym in a week or so.  I taught aerobics 10 days post surgery.  After BMX I started walking 40 min a day about 2 1/2 weeks post op and was back to the gym 1 month post OP.

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)