Hands up: who wants surgery? ...Not me.
Hands up: who needs surgery? ...Erm, yes, apparently.
This is quite a daunting time to get your head around but you get on with it and you get through it. Rest, be kind to yourself and let people help out. I recommend getting a couple of good books in to give yourself something to indulge in whilst you are resting. Give yourself time to heal mentally as well as physically. Buy an expensive perfume, you deserve it. After all of the de-feminising treatment I'd been through I didn't feel as if I deserved nice things any more or they were a waste of time, somehow. If the truth be told, I really needed treats more than ever so my advice is: go and buy those nice treats if they make you feel good.
The world of post-surgery bras is very interesting. Suddenly you are catapulted into a world of the weird and not-so-wonderful sports, nursing, cross-dressing or dull-but-practical bra selection. The full cleavaged models of these bras have clearly not had breast surgery which begs the question "are they actually fit-for-purpose?". If you find a good bra that you like buy several in case they go out of stock because you may not see one again for some time. --That's how I felt at the time of my surgery but I'm really pleased to see that influential retailers such as Debenhams are responding by publicly inviting women who have been through breast cancer treatment to model their specialist bras. As more younger women are now affected by breast cancer this is important.
These have been my favourite bras so far (all have pockets):
Post surgery bra
Day-wear feminine bra
I started to take daily low dose aspirin soon after surgery. If you intend to do this check with your consultant first.
Hospital bag: post-surgery front-fastening bra, front-fastening pyjamas, a bag for your drain bottle, lip balm, a small cushion to protect you from the seat belt on the journey home
I looked here for further information on breast surgery:
I downloaded this app which is really informative on breast surgery:
and here for information on nipple reconstruction surgery:
Here's an emerging reconstruction technique which may be worth asking about.
Here's a great website supporting those who decide against reconstruction:
I donated most of my old bras to:
I liked the idea of this charity; donating bras to developing countries to fund breast cancer research.
Now, as if surgery isn't enough, you have to start your physiotherapy exercises straight after. This is the surprise assault course thrown into the triathalon. Can someone please give me a break! You will need to do these exercises daily - even if you don't think you need them, you do. You will need to get your arm out to the side ready for radiotherapy. I didn't put too much effort into the exercises in the first week to avoid over-stretching the surgery area which was draining. Your Physiotherapist should prompt you to push harder if you need it. Take it steady, little and often.
Here are the standard exercises recommended: https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/information-support/publication/exercises-after-breast-cancer-surgery-bcc6
Here's some information on Lymphodema and a good article with exercises to reduce lymphodema/risks
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Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I do not claim that anything which worked for me would work the same for you. This blog is no substitute for the advice of your doctor. Always seek medical advice if you have any concerns. Always check with your consultant before taking any supplements. This blog is my personal journey and a journal of how I coped. I do not take any financial incentives from any products mentioned.