Come join others currently navigating treatment in our weekly Zoom Meetup! Register here: Tuesdays, 1pm ET.
Fill Out Your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...

Exercise after Lumpectomy

veeder14
veeder14 Member Posts: 267

Just wondering how soon those of you who work out regularly, went back to your work out/gym? Although I didn't get to speak with the surgeon this morning, I asked the nurse when I could go back to the gym. She said 6 weeks after surgery. I just walk on the treadmill, don't lift weights or use other machines. She still said 6 WEEKS! It sound like forever to me, usually never skip a day. Does this sound right?

Comments

  • arkansasgal
    arkansasgal Member Posts: 15

    I had a lumpectomy with one sentinel node removed (no arm issues) on Jan 12. I was cleared to walk outside or use treadmill, recumbent bikes at gym one week after lumpectomy. Walked 2.5 miles yesterday, and treadmill/bike for 40 min today. Can start upper body workout at gym after 2 weeks, starting out easy.


  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 267

    Thanks for your reply arkansasgal. Sounds like you had a good workout! I think that nurse I talked to was crazy. I can't do upper body anyways because of my spine problems. I'll speak directly with the surgeon about exercising when he comes in the post op area.

  • arkansasgal
    arkansasgal Member Posts: 15

    Yes, talk with the surgeon.

  • gb2115
    gb2115 Member Posts: 551

    Did you tell the nurse you only use the treadmill?

    I couldn't manage any activity that would be considered exercise until after radiation was done. At first my snb area hurt too bad, then my skin went nuts from surgical glue allergy, then radiation skin you know, couldn't wear a bra...

    I used to be a never skip a workout kind of girl (obsessively) but cancer showed me it's ok to take some time off if needed. I think you're ok walking after a couple weeks, see what the surgeon says, but if your body says to slow down definitely listen!! It needs to recover from major surgery.

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 267

    Thanks for writing in gb2115. I told the nurse I only walk on the treadmill, no upper body exercise or other machines. Because it's winter I need to walk inside. In my experience there's lots of staff (large Univ. Hospital facility) that just don't listen to what the patient is saying. I've had more misinformation about this surgery that I've had to straighten out myself. I would have to see how much pain I was having, etc., before going back to the gym as long as the surgeon agrees it's ok.

  • claireinaz
    claireinaz Member Posts: 662


    I went back to my every day exercise routine the next day. I had quite a lot of drainage because I told my surgeon to "go big" with the lumpectomy--I wanted it all out--and so he did. I had to have a drain in for 3 weeks--he put it in about a week after surgery. But it was fine. Before the drain, no curtailment of activity and afterwards, none either (see below).

    I lead a 3 mile hike for university students the day he put the drain in and got my other hikes in regularly. I went to bikram style yoga 2x a week with my drain tucked into my yoga shorts. Did my weight machine routine the same way.

    I was just a bit more careful when I was doing any kind of activity that required an over the head arm movement, but I knew my surgeon had made sure the tubing was in there tight, so I didn't worry.

    In short, surgery from lumpectomy didn't slow me down at all.

  • claireinaz
    claireinaz Member Posts: 662

    PS don't forget that medical people have a standard answer for everyone--because they don't know each individual personally. Six weeks seems to the standard answer for ALL post surgery activity, from lumpectomy to having an organ out.

    Use your own best judgement; you know what you are capable of and what you can do safely. If something feels "wrong', don't do it and do something else or back it off a bit. I am so active, and since I was a nervous worried wreck from the dx, I HAD to be able to run, hike, and lift weights at the gym--otherwise I would have gone crazy from all the built up energy.

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 267

    Hi clareinaz,

    Yeah, I know what you mean, I'm really active too. I've been in constant motion ever since the dx, walking outside and on the treadmill, and riding my bike. Plus, cleaning house, I sure have a clean house now! I never could have made it this far without the exercise. That makes sense the nurse would give me a standard answer, and she wasn't the surgeon's nurse I found out this morning, just a nurse in the pre-op area that sees the patients for all of the cancer surgeons. I'll get this exercise concern clarified with the surgeon.

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 267

    Spoke with my surgeon right before going into surgery to get clarification. My instructions are no strenuous exercise for 4-6 weeks. I'll have to wait to ride my outdoor bike. Walking/short hikes ok and can start day one after surgery. I can walk outside and/or use the treadmill at the gym. No weights or other equipment where you use your arms to lift.

  • illimae
    illimae Member Posts: 5,517

    I had to wait for what felt like forever. My body produced too much fluid to remove the drains, after a few weeks I was advised to basically sit in a chair, no dishes, no walking, nothing. Then it still took 2 more weeks to reach to low output level, 5 1/2 weeks total for me, it sucked!

  • Blissful1
    Blissful1 Member Posts: 1

    Hi! I had a lumpectomy on January 3 (a Wednesday) and went back to work at the gym I own on Monday!!! Obviously I was not doing any heavy lifting but I was definitely moving doing some light aerobic activity, etc. I feel lost when I don’t exercise so I was back to walking 3-4 Miles the first two weeks and have been doing lower body strength training and 3-4 mile runs for the last 2 weeks. Listen to your body, stretch and massage your scar area and do what feels good

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 267

    Thanks for your comments Blissful, good to hear you were back at your gym in 5 days post surgery. That's cool that you own a gym. I feel the same way as you about missing my exercise plus my friends hang out at the gym so it's a social thing. How long do you think it will be before you can do upper body exercise? I think it's going to be awhile before I can ride my outside bike, the roads are really bumpy here, and also just the position of leaning forward and holding on to the handlebars.

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 267

    Hi illimae,

    I'm sorry to hear you had so much trouble with the excess fluid. 5 1/2 weeks is a long time to deal with that. With my melanoma leg surgery I didn't have drains but I had 3 seromas that appeared a few days after lymph node removal. My doctor told me to walk around and move in hopes that these would resolve. It didn't resolve, these were drained several times but kept filling up again. 2 months later they became seriously infected and I had a second surgery which ended the seromas.

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845

    The nurse may not have understood properly. I can't possibly see how walking should be off limits. I had BMX with a bunch of nodes removed and I was walking the hallways of the hospital from the get-go.

  • gb2115
    gb2115 Member Posts: 551

    Wow, I honestly think it amazing that so many women bounced back so fast after surgery. It honestly knocked me on my feet, and I was very fit with daily exercise (aerobics and weights) prior, plus used to teach aerobics (that ship has sailed unfortunately). Maybe snb hurts some people more than others? The lumpectomy part was ok, but that snb, jeez. It took a long time for my nerve pain to abate, and we're not talking a little ache. I remember being back at work 10 days after surgery and being weak and shaky from pain, couldn't get my shirts on and off by myself and could barely put my seatbelt on. But even the fatigue after surgery was intense... going back to work wiped me out. I wonder if general anesthesia affects some more than others? I don't know?!

    I'm just truly amazed because bouncing back quickly was not my post surgical experience at all!!


  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 267

    Thanks gb2115, KB870, Momine,

    Yeah, I think nurses just tell you stuff that isn't accurate and that should be corrected. If I had to go to work as I had to after other surgeries (back, arm, hand), I'd be exhausted now but luckily I'm retired. This is day 2 post surgery and I'm really sore from both areas snb and lumpectomy. I actually have the nerve pain in both underarms that I'm sure is from my neck/shoulders being out of alignment from the MRI's prone position. Looking forward to PT on Friday although I wish I could go Monday and straighten this out earlier. Anesthesia greatly affects me with nausea but today my stomach feels a little better.

    KB870, that's amazing you could exercise through all your treatments!

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 267

    It makes perfect sense.

  • jkl2017
    jkl2017 Member Posts: 279

    Veeder, I'm a little late to this discussion but want to add my experience to those above. My BS & RO both wanted me to walk everyday after my lumpectomy & during radiation. I was also encouraged to do lower body exercises when I felt up to it. My BS also recommended gentle stretching & strength exercises that I began the day after surgery. Because I had a SAVI device inserted before radiation, I was unable to start upper body exercises until the insertion site had sufficiently healed (about 6 weeks after the SAVI was removed) but the PT exercises my physical therapist had me doing during that period made it easy to return to weightlifting despite the time off. (Just take it easy so as to avoid triggering lymphedema.) Exercise will make you feel a lot better - just don't overdo it!

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 267

    Thanks for your experience JKL2017. I wonder if pedaling a stationary bike is ok. It's lower body but I have to hold on to the handle bars. I will go crazy just sitting around the house.

  • kokoro
    kokoro Member Posts: 1

    Hi All,

    I am writing from France (I am Italian but I live in France right now).

    I had surgery in december and I started RADS on Monday... I used to run, but I didn't do any exercise after Lumpectomy. I really need to start again... When do you start after surgery? Do you have any suggestions? Any contraindication about running during rads?

    Thank you in advance for your suggestion and forgive my english ;-)

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 267

    Hi Kokoro,

    I started walking the next day after lumpectomy and then began going on hikes at our local parks. Today is Day 4 after surgery. Yesterday I also started riding my stationary bike without using my left arm and wearing a sports bra. I could see why you wouldn't want to run right after surgery.

    I haven't had RADS so can't answer your question about exercise but hopefully someone will come along and give you an answer.