Things You SHOULD Do After a Mastectomy

Things You SHOULD do After a Mastectomy

From my own experience with breast cancer, and having a mastectomy, there are a few quick tips I would like to share with others starting their journey. If they ideas below spark some additional questions, please feel free to email me! I would be happy to help.

  • REVIEW ALL PAPERWORK FROM YOUR SURGEON!!! I cannot stress this enough. You will be send home with details and instructions of what to do and not to do regarding all physical activity, how to care for the surgery site and drains, and medication information and warnings. Although they will go over all of this before you leave the hospital, there is a chance you will not remember, or they will forget to tell you something. So hang on to that paperwork and review it often to make sure you are following all the surgeons instructions.


  • Check the paperwork, or call your surgeon before you use ice or a cold pack on the surgery area. My surgeon was very clear to never use ice after this type of surgery. The skin around the area is very weak, and they want to encourage blood flow. You will be numb in that area from the nerves being cut. Ice can not only damage the skin, but hurt you as well, and you won’t be able to feel it until it is too late. Same rule applies to a heat pack.


  • Avoid any vigorous or strenuous movements of your arms. This includes any scrubbing motions, vacuuming, and things like that. Doing dishes may have to wait a week or two. The perfect excuse to be pampered a bit by a friend or family member.


  • Keep the surgery area very clean. You will want to wear clean clothes every day. Some even change their top twice a day to make sure everything that touches your skin is very clean. The surgeon will give you instructions on whether or not you can shower, and how to keep the drain tube incision area clean as well. Each surgeon is a little bit different so again, make sure you have all the paperwork and instructions from them before you leave the hospital. 


  • Prepare ahead of time for limited movement. I have talked to hundreds of women about their personal recovery after a mastectomy. I found they all experience varying degrees of limited movement. It really depends on your overall health and the type of mastectomy you will have. A single mastectomy will have a lot less restrictions than a double. Also, whether you decide to have immediate reconstruction started at the same time as your mastectomy will also greatly effect the range of movement you will have. For example, let's use my own mastectomy as a basic guide. I had a double (bilateral) mastectomy, with no reconstruction (simple mastectomy). However, I also have fibromyalgia. So my recovery may have taken a bit longer than someone without any other underlying health issues. I could not start working on mobility exercises until I had my drains out. So while I had the JP drains, I could not lift my arms past my waist, and could not reach out more than elbow length. Once I was able to start the mobility exercises, it took me about 2 months to get my arms completely over my head. Even after that, it was still quite a while before I could easily raise my arm. Make sure you check with your surgeon before starting any exercises. 

What did I miss? Share your ideas below!!!

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  • Inna Bespalov on

    Hello Girls,
    I just had double mastectomy with 7 lymph nodes removed from one side of the breast. I have no reconstruction at this point. I decided to focus on my body complete recovery and become cancer free. I was diagnosed with Invasive ductal carcinoma, grade 2 about 16 month ago. I was offered 18 chemo, radiation and surgery – standard package. I refused to have a treatment and went on the diet and non traditional treatment. I use Gerson’s diet in my case, exercise, energy work. I was able to prove the healing results just in 3 month – all the masses ( MRI identified 12 masses in one breast) reduced in size 3 to 4 times. I also tried one day chemo ( convinced by physicians friends) – but it turned into disaster for my whole being; the recovery took time. I went back to diet, work out, energy work and another MRI was able to identify just 6 of 12 masses. I believe that our body with beautiful care, respect, love is able to recover from such a terrifying disease like cancer. Our body saturated with all necessary chemicals to stay healthy and live long healthy life. We are who provoke this condition, to start this program of destruction, we are the one who can stop it and restore the health. There are lots of different techniques, but everyone should look for the one that right for them, whether it is traditional or nontraditional.
    With regard to KETO diet, it didn’t work for me personally. I watch the introductory movie about keto diet, i bought two books to follow the direction, but felt sluggish, heavy, and sometimes constipated (despite plenty of salads I ate). Plus, I was reading that fat is a great and healthy to consume, but in keto diet fat comes with meat that increase acidity in the body that cancer cells would love to dwell. Alkaline diet worked for me. However, my best friend and her entire family LOVES the keto diet. She personally lost 65 lb, feels great, gained lots of energy , and the only regret she mentioned is why she didn’t know about this miracle diet earlier.

  • Karen Schopper on

    @ Carol Walker. I had a double mastectomy with Diep flap reconstruction August 2020. I was fortunate that I didn’t have any issues raising my arms. It was slow going but I could do it. I slept in a recliner for a couple weeks until I felt like I could stretch my abdomen a little further to lay in bed (loaded with pillows of course). Looking back, it was easy. In the midst of it all, I didn’t think there was an end in sight. I was still recovering from the effects of chemo and was still loosing hair. I was was hunched over when I walked and looked older than my grandma, lol. It wasn’t be fun but it was worth it.

  • Carol Walker on

    I’m having bilateral mastectomies with DIEP reconstruction at the same time on April 30th. I’ve never had a surgery like this and, even though I’m a nurse, I’m a little bit terrified. I’d love to hear from someone who’s gone through something similar. I’m curious, too, about feeding myself, and getting out of bed, up and down stairs…

  • Hazel Anderson on

    My daughter in law found your website and ordered me the pillow as a gift. I ordered blouse so I will have it before my surgery. I will be having a double mastectomy. We’re you able to feed yourself right away and maybe drink your tea? How about putting on your own pants? Thanks

  • Mary Ponton on

    This information I would like to pass on to my dear friend, Mary Ann. Her surgery is not scheduled yet. Is it too early? Will this just scare her? Thank you for your response.

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