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Topic: Care after double mastectomy

Forum: Caring for Someone with Breast cancer —

A place to share your struggles and concerns about supporting and caring for a person you love diagnosed with breast cancer with others who understand.

Posted on: Oct 18, 2015 12:33AM - edited Oct 18, 2015 06:44AM by smkmrn

smkmrn wrote:

My mom was diagnosed with stage II invasive lobular carcinoma, and she is scheduled for double mastectomy in a couple of weeks.

My question is, how much care did your loved one need after such a procedure? I know it is different for each person, but some general idea could really help. I work full time and I'm enrolled in a part-time MBA program. I'm pretty sure I can convince my boss to let me work from home for a few days, but school is a different story. I need to know how much care my mother needs, if it's likely I'll miss some classss and thing like that to prepare to be bald to care for her after the surgery.

Thank you

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Oct 18, 2015 06:39AM Alirena wrote:

I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and was pretty steady on my feet right after surgery. Hard to tell what care your mother might need but I could take care of myself pretty well after I came home. I did need some help with lifting for the first 30 days and I had a friend stay with me at night for a while although that was not necessary. If you and your mother live in the same house you should be able to leave for work and school within a day or so after she gets out of the hospital. A lot depends on how she can function while on pain medication. You said she was having a double lumpectomy. Did you mean double mastectomy? I've been told a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction is more painful than a lumpectomy or a double mastectomy without reconstruction. I had a lot of pain after my surgery and was on pain medication for a few weeks. Sleeping on my back was difficult and sometimes the pain in my back was worse than the pain in my chest. Like you said, each person is different when it comes to his/her post op needs. Hope I was able to help a little bit.

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Oct 18, 2015 06:52AM smkmrn wrote:

Hi Alirena,

Thanks for replying back to me, and I hope you are fine.

My mom is actually having a double mastectomy, I think the auto correct on my cell phone somehow changed that to double lumpectomy. I have corrected the problem now.

I'm probably just a little stressed out. I want to be there for my mom, and I'm worried that work and school might get in the way of that.

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Oct 18, 2015 10:35AM Nomatterwhat wrote:

I had my BMX with no recon in August 2014. I came home from surgery and my husband had all my pillows and blankets ready for me on the recliner. I pretty much was in the recliner for the next 48 hours. I didn't move much, slept a lot and watched a lot of TV. When I did move off the recliner it was to take a shower or go to the bathroom or to an appointment. However, I was up and moving by the 4th day after surgery, but I still had trouble putting my arms over my head and getting dressed by myself. I went back to work part-time after two weeks and full time 4 weeks after surgery.

Dx 5/6/2014, DCIS, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/1/2014 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 7/2/2014, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/4/2014 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 8/20/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 11/16/2014 Whole-breast: Breast, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 1/11/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 2/17/2015 Femara (letrozole)
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Oct 18, 2015 11:18AM MelanieBC wrote:

My mom didn't have a double but had a single. The pain was manageable and she didn't need much assistance, however, the drains did need to be drained every 3-4 hours initially. Do you have someone coming to do the drains for her

Caregiver to my Mother who was diagnosed on August 27, 2015. Together, we will fight the battle against Breast Cancer! Dx 8/27/2015, ILC/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 22/33 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/11/2015 Chemotherapy 11/6/2015 Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 4/1/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 5/1/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Oct 18, 2015 11:36AM ALittleBitBritish wrote:

Hubby took a week off work...and I had hubby note what time I had to take my meds on a sheet of paper, I was drugged up on painkillers and antibiotics, very sleepy and just needed to rest and take it easy, plus drink fluids and light meals.

Have a pillow for after surgery to place between seat belt and her chest..when driving her home.

What you do want to ensure is that you mum doesn't get constipated 😨 because the long surgery and drugs block up that part of your plumbing...And can be a painful issue....just sayin!!!!

Hubby emptied my drains (all five of them) and measured the contents....I am squeamish so not something I wanted to deal with!

Within a week I was fine, perhaps some folks could bring meals round or have a light bite prepared for her?

Hope that helps!


- Feb 14 2011 - LCIS / DCIS right breast, March 2011 Left breast ILC one node +, 1/13, BLM, NSM, TE's, Oncotype score 9, No rads, No chemo, Tamox 5 years Hormonal Therapy 5/21/2011
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Oct 18, 2015 10:04PM farmerlucy wrote:

My daughter, who was in nursing school at the time, helped with the drains and changing the dressings twice a day for about two weeks. I had a station set up beforehand in our big bathroom. DH helped wash my hair. Other than that I was pretty self sufficient. I slept in a lazyboy for three weeks, kicked a plastic stool around the kitchen to get to the higher cupboards and used a grabber to get the clothes out of the washer. I had lifting restrictions and had to keep my arms to my side for about four weeks.
Dx at 51 after a preventive mx that wasn't. Oncotype dx 3. 3D tattoos from Vinnie! PTSD?? You are not alone! Surgery 2/20/2012 Prophylactic mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Dx 2/24/2012, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/10/2012 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 7/21/2012 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 4/9/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 4/13/2015 Prophylactic ovary removal
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Oct 18, 2015 10:25PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

I think being prepared, as many mentioned, will be very helpful to you and your mom. My bed was set up with a wedge pillow and side pillows to support my arms (looked like a pillow throne). My bed is very high so I had a stool placed bedside since I couldn't push off with my arms. I took care of my drains myself but dd's helped with bathing and household chores as well as taking care of my dogs. They also accompanied me on my first few walks around the block and drove me to my doctors appointments. My school community set up meal deliveries which fed not only me, but anyone who helped care for me. After the first few days at home, when it was clear that I was doing we well, family would make sure that I had food/drinks within easy reach and they went back to work but came by each evening for dinner, to help with chores and to keep me company. All the best to you and your mom.

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, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Oct 24, 2015 08:15AM pajim wrote:

smkmrn, you didn't say whether she was having reconstruction. If not, this should be "relatively" easy. She won't be allowed to lift anything, and she'll need pillows to sleep with.

The other thing she'll need is tops that zip up rather than go on over her head.

Someone will need to empty the drains.

My Mom had a single. We got home from the hospital the next morning and went out to lunch with her friends. Seriously. A double would be harder because you can't lift either arm. She didn't take so much as a single Percocet.

Reconstruction is another thing altogether. That can hurt for a very long time (I hear)

Dx 4/20/2008, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 1/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2/1/2013, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 2/26/2013 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 4/21/2013 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Targeted Therapy 2/24/2016 Ibrance (palbociclib) Chemotherapy 6/18/2017 Xeloda (capecitabine) Targeted Therapy 8/14/2018 Verzenio Chemotherapy 1/1/2019 Halaven (eribulin) Chemotherapy 12/29/2019 CMF
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Oct 24, 2015 08:34AM Spookiesmom wrote:

I had bmx 3 years ago. I had a small pillow for under the seat belt. Wore zip up hoodies for a few days. Slept in recliner a few days. Home nurse checked for infection, did my drains by my self. Didn't need pain meds, it was all numb. No recon, ever. No hair to wash. Got a new dog during last chemo, handled both by myself if DH wasn't around.

First time IDGgrade 3, stage 3. Second time, found lump myself. That made me stage 4. Dx IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3
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Oct 24, 2015 09:29AM smkmrn wrote:

I'm sorry, I forgot to mention. She is having reconstruction, and she will probably have surgery on one breast only. I don't think the insurance has approved a double mastectomy. She will have the surgery next Friday

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