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How soon did you go back to work after surgery?

Rosie24355
Rosie24355 Member Posts: 46

Brand new member today. I was diagnosed about 4 weeks ago with IDC. They were going to do a lumpectomy but I'm not a candidate for radiation so am going with a single mastectomy. My surgery is tentatively scheduled for Friday Jan 20 going home the next day. I am self employed with a home based Internet sales business so I do nearly all my work on the computer at home. Is it unreasonable to hope to be able to work on Monday following surgery? Thanks in advance for any input and your experiences.

Comments

  • puce
    puce Member Posts: 26
    edited January 2012

    It depends...are you just having a mastectomy and no reconstruction?  What did the doctors say?

  • ma111
    ma111 Member Posts: 167
    edited January 2012

    Until the drains are out you will probably be on narcotics. Can you work on them?

  • puce
    puce Member Posts: 26
    edited January 2012

    Also are you having any nodes taken out?

  • J9W
    J9W Member Posts: 10
    edited January 2012

    Hi Rosie,  I was working on my computer a week after my mastectomy. However, it was for only a few hours a day but broken up quite a bit. I was surprised how tired I was. I had to take pain meds so didn't work the first few days - but I don't like any meds so after 5 days at home I was on motrin instead. Good luck with your surgery.

  • encoremom
    encoremom Member Posts: 37
    edited January 2012

    I worked from home about a week after my mastectomy and like J9W, broke it up in short time periods.  I didn't work sooner but it was more because I was tired (I think from the surgery and anesthesia) than from the pain.  I wouldn't rush into working but ease into it when you feel you are ready.  Best wishes.

  • Rosie24355
    Rosie24355 Member Posts: 46
    edited January 2012

    Thanks for all the quick replys!  They are planning to put in a tissue expander.  They'll check the sentinel node during surgery and decide then whether or not to take nodes.  I usually have a pretty high pain tolerence and really dislike pain meds.  Never having gone through anything like this before I don't know how much pain I'll be in.  I keep thinking goofy things like, "I don't have time to be sick!"

  • ma111
    ma111 Member Posts: 167
    edited January 2012

    Nobody really has time to be sick or plans to be knocked down so hard as cancer treatment can lead to. However, I think that with you working on computers at home you have a good chance to stay financially on top of things.

     Don't try being a hero, take pain meds when you need them. When people offer help, let them! Let them cook some meals or clean. It makes them feel better that they are helping. That is one mistake I made is not letting people help. Then I was cranky with my teenage daughter that the house and.or yard were not cared for.

  • Myleftboob
    Myleftboob Member Posts: 983
    edited January 2012

    I had MX on December 14.  I too mostly work from and and thankfully it is my slowest time of year BUT then it was also holiday time. Your going to need a couple of days to really rest, take the meds.  Your diagnosis is really similar too. Happy Note, just got word that my margins are really clear and nothing in the nodes!! I've been only now OCT and am healing very well.  MAKE SURE and elevate your arm ALOT.  No one told me this!!!  It feels like a pinched nerve if you don't. Stay positive and this site is loaded with information.  Best of luck to you!

  • gutsy
    gutsy Member Posts: 26
    edited January 2012

    I went back to work 3 weeks after surgery. Pretty much worked through chemo, took the day of the infusion off. I would walk 1 hour to chemo and than walk home after treatment. Someone even called me a role model. Yes Right. Do, I recommend it, Hell No. I think with a cancer diagnosis, one needs to grieve the associated losses. It is the emotional healing that takes a lot more time than the physical healing.

    If you work for yourself it is a bit different. You can certainly do some work but cut yourself some slack.

  • Rosie24355
    Rosie24355 Member Posts: 46
    edited January 2012

    Thanks for the advice. Good to know about elevating your arm. Reading some of the other threads I see if you don't take it slow enough your drains stay in longer. I think I need to work some 16 hour days now so I can feel ok about taking some more days off.

    You are all such an encouragement!

  • giddles
    giddles Member Posts: 4
    edited January 2012

    I had surgery on November 1 and went back to work December 1.  I do alot of driving, but the doctor felt that I was able as long as I took it slowly.

  • SheChirple
    SheChirple Member Posts: 95
    edited January 2012

    Careful, Rosie.  I had BMX with TEs implanted.  I planned 3 wks off.  I started working on-line and just doing my email and computer work.  I over did it, had to have a stitch redone. Really just wore myself out.  They had to leave my drains in because so much drainage, due to overuse.  So, for best results DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.

    Once the drains are out, you are still going to take it easy.  I did go back to work w/in a week of drains coming out, but it was 5 wks post op.

    Good luck to you.  DO NOTHING AT ALL for that first week or two and hope for the best.

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
    edited January 2012

    I was tapping away on my computer in the hospital, a few hours after coming out of recovery. HOWEVER, those drains get old real fast, although with any luck you will just have one (I had 4). It can also be hard to sleep, because of the bandages, drains and general discomfort.

    So, go easy on yourself. I am sure you can get some work done, but expect to take many breaks. Make sure to take your pain meds and make sure to rest. It is major surgery and it throws your system for a loop.

  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited January 2012

    I thought I would bounce back quickly because I did with the lumpectomies. I had a uni (just one breast removed), I had no idea even with a uni how much recovery time it would take. Maybe the reason, I'm having drain problems...past the two week mark is because I'm on my laptop a lot. The first week, I slept more than I did anything else. I'm taking less pain pills right now, but my goal is to get the drain thing out because I heard today that is whats causing my nerve pain. I have to go to work Thursday so I'm hoping for better or worse I'll do ok...just not lift, and make sure I take time outs. After two weeks I spent the day out today and couldn't believe how tired I got.

  • Linda1966
    Linda1966 Member Posts: 441
    edited January 2012

    I wouldnt put yourself under the stress to be on a schedule to get back to work on the Monday Rosie. While I found the op itself not particularly painful, its still a huge shock to the system and only rest and following the instructions given to you by the nurse about exercises (if nodes are taken) will aid your recovery. After 2 or 3 nights in hospital you will be very tired when you get home. Doing too much too soon may slow down your recovery and drain removal and I believe the others would agree that getting the drain out asap becomes a high priority. .

    If you absolutely have to work on the computer, can you make it a lappy and just lie back in a recliner and work in short intervals?

  • JGore
    JGore Member Posts: 2
    edited December 2021

    I have DCIS. My Surgeon is real confident he can do a lumpectomy and remove all affected tissue. I read the path and have done my research. The path notes ductal carcinoma insitu cribriform type, high grade nuclear with focal comdeonecrosis. I found on the internet that high grade and comedo type is likely to be more aggressive and Dr may recommend more agressive treatment. My Dr says lumpectomy and radiation would more than likely do the trick. He also says its my decision. I have a work from home job and am on my computer for about 12 hrs a day. I have a 11 yr old and a 14 yr old that need me. I have a great support system and am not worried about anything except working. What opinions do you ladies have? Thank you

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,730
    edited December 2021

    JGore,

    This thread has been inactive for almost 10 years. You could start a new thread or find an active thread. Take care.

    Here is a lumpectomy thread that you might find helpful:

    https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/91/topics/800729?page=945#post_5724848