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...

January 2024 Surgery? Gather here.

Join and share here to get and give support if you're planning surgery for this month. It would be helpful if you could share your diagnosis, surgery plan, and date so that we can all provide support during this time — we're all here for you!


  • princesstina
    princesstina Member Posts: 129

    Hello - anyone else in the January boat!?

  • wishinguswell
    wishinguswell Member Posts: 2

    Wishing you, princesstina, and all well with January surgeries. I had TE placement yesterday following BMX a month prior (delayed placement to give thin skin healing time). Reaching out here with my experience thus far in the hope that it can help others.
    I learned a lot from previous surgery threads, particularly from several from 2019-2021. Grateful and rooting for all those contributors.
    Preparing for my initial surgery, these were items that I found very helpful:
    -two robes with pocket for drains. Chose “Gownies Post Surgery Mastectomy, Breast Cancer Recovery Robe with Internal Pockets” from Amazon and found them just right. Slept and pretty much lived in them the first week or two post-op and back to them now. I like them enough to expect to continue to wear just for regular use
    -wedge bed pillow. I got a 4-piece product and though I didn’t use the under-leg wedge, the rest proved to be a fantastic investment. I slept pretty propped up initially and eased my way flatter over time, and this allowed for great flexibility of configurations. Others have endorsed recliner chairs and/or hospital beds, but the wedge in my bed worked for me
    -rinse-free wipes. I didn’t shower while drains were in the first time (9 days) and won’t again now, and these wipes are great
    -zip jackets with drain pockets. A lovely close friend who had a BMX gifted me a couple and then I also realized that a number of the zip jackets I already owned have inside pockets (who knew), so worth checking 
    -bed desk (already had this). Very helpful to keep a lot of items within close reach
    -two giant safety pins to pin drains to clothes when pockets are not available (sent home with these; did not need any extra apparatus for carrying them)
    -lots of books
    I will post separately with surgery/recovery experiences.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    Welcome All, and thank you @wishinguswell for sharing all of this! Please keep the feedback coming, and congratulations on getting through the surgery yesterday! ❤️

  • susieq31
    susieq31 Member Posts: 1
    edited January 7

    I have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction in about 2 weeks. The expanders will be place at the same time of the mastectomy. I was diagnosed with noninvasive DCIS in 2017 and had a partial mastectomy to remove the area and no other treatment but just mammogram every 6 months. DCIS came back in the same left breast in 2023 and I had a partial lumpectomy done last Nov but I was informed that the margin wasn’t clear this time, I was given an option of another lumpectomy to get the margin clear with a short radiation and cancel drug treatment for 5 years or mastectomy. I decided to go for bilateral mastectomy. I was told no radiation and cancer drug treatment are required if I opt for mastectomy. I have what people call busy breasts as I had a handful of lumpectomies in both breasts for the last 15 years even though they were non cancerous lumps - hard lumps that grows over the years if left alone and they may turn into cancerous cells.

    I had relatively quick recoveries with all of my lumpectomies in the past but this time I am a bit overwhelmed with a thought of getting mastectomy and what to expect post surgery. Although I think that I made a good decision re treatment option but at times I worry whether I made a good decision.

  • princesstina
    princesstina Member Posts: 129

    hey wishinguswell! thank you that is tremendously helpful and i've added the pillow set to my amazon cart! Anything else? I'm on Jan 22 and counting the days.

    The surgeon's nurse said you have full use of arms immediately, and i questioned her about it and she's like "you'll be fine, just sore" which NO ONE seems to agree with LOL.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    Welcome @susieq31, and thanks for chiming in here about your lumpectomies. Sorry you've been through so much surgery. We understand how daunting it is to have a mastectomy. It sounds like you've made a good decision for where you are though.

    Glad you All have found us here. ❤️

  • wishinguswell
    wishinguswell Member Posts: 2

    Princesstina: My arms were definitely impacted, more so with the BMX than the TE placement, I figure because the first included the sentinel node biopsy (clear, yay). I really depended on my core and scooting around between lying/sitting/standing for most of the first week—and also kept my upper arms at my sides and operated in a T.rex manner generally. I put frequently used items, like mugs and tea, down counter-height in advance. Funny, I did think that the surgeons downplayed effect on arms vs what posters here have experienced and reported. Oh yeah, also helpful right after surgery were lozenges for the sore throat from the tube. 

    Susieq31: Mastectomy is a big deal, but you should feel good about your decision and the projection of no other treatment needed. From what I understand, busy breasts tend to stay busy. In your case, will no lymph nodes be taken? If not, hoping that will ease/hasten your recovery.

    Here’s a bit about my process: I stayed one night in the hospital post mastectomy. Glad to be monitored, though I wouldn’t say it was at all comfortable. I was able to get up and use the bathroom on my own (flushing with my foot, which probably isn’t recommended) even while still in the recovery area. Had pain, but tolerable. I had a nerve block, which I think helped. At home, used Tylenol and ibuprofen (prescription and then OTC). And Colace, lol. Did not use the narcotics (I’m sure the right choice for some, I just think I was more fearful of them than the pain) but did take Gabapentin for the first several nights and give that a big thumbs up. Made me drowsy and resulted in decent sleep that left me reasonably refreshed. 

    First week was hard. Despite managed pain, I felt significant discomfort with so much weirdness—numbness combined with stinging/electrical charges and burning pressure. Cold drinks were actually uncomfortable. My big recommendations are to take deep breaths regularly (another weirdness is that I kept feeling like I was forgetting to breathe properly) and be conscious about trying to stand straighter, rolling shoulders back and down (totally had the tendency to keep hunching). Drains are icky, but a necessary evil. I had a leak from one insertion site, which freaked me out, but turned out fine and got me a check-in with the PA right away, so kind of worked out. My husband did the emptying for me and it was nice to “outsource” that. I came home just taped up rather than in a surgical bra since TEs delayed and was a big baby about fiddling with the dressings, so was probably in more discomfort from ending up with twisted wads of tape all over.

    It got better. This is super long, so I’ll continue in another post.

    Also, thank you, Moderators, for providing and encouraging support for posters.

  • princesstina
    princesstina Member Posts: 129

    wishinguswell, thank you!! getting closer now!

  • ohionana1605
    ohionana1605 Member Posts: 65

    I just had a single “simple” mastectomy 3 days ago and not much pain so no pain med after that first day. My biggest problem was constipation. I took stool softeners before trying to head that off but still was. After 2 days I took laxative and nothing. Then drank lax tea; Smooth Move tea, nothing. Finally a suppository and started going. I will continue miralax. I do have some soreness at drain site. I showered 2nd day holding drain with one hand and shampooing and soaping with other. Drain is not fun but tolerable. I get it out 7 days post surgery. Tried a zip front sports bra and was good for pinning drain to but hurt on stitches under arm so just wearing zip up sweatshirt with drain pinned inside. Brace yourself for that first look in mirror. I’m old so not as jarring. Good luck to everyone. I’m a Christian and the love and support and prayers by family and friends and food deliveries mean so much. Bev