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Recovering From a Double Mastectomy: What You Need to Know

I currently am 2 months out of surgery , I have expanders until my second surgery most surgeons would do the entire process with implants but me an my surgeon decided it would be best if we do this in a two phase surgery just because we didn't know if I would need radiation an sometimes radiation can mess up the implants an I just didn't want to go through that , I am in active treatment I have a lot of time now to have an get use to these expanders 9 months to exact. I am still healing still not okayed to work out still not okayed to start physical therapy but I am alive an CANCER FREE 7 nodes an all was negative !!! the breast where the cancer was , that arm was hard for me to lift above my head but after week 5 an me just keep going against grain lifting my arms moving my shoulders (you dont want frozen shoulders) I am able to do most things !! I cant really carry heavy items still but, who cares for that when you got a man lol. After a double mastectomy, proper recovery is key. Arm mobility will be limited, so ask for help and give yourself time to heal. Pillows, especially a wedge pillow, can make a big difference in your comfort. Let's explore some tips and tricks for a successful recovery.

Mastectomy Bras: Finding the Right Fit

Why Wear a Mastectomy Bra?

Following surgery, a mastectomy bra offers the support and comfort needed during recovery. They are specifically designed with pockets to hold breast forms and medical devices.

Finding the Right Fit

It's important to be properly measured for a mastectomy bra post-surgery. An ill-fitting bra can cause discomfort and even additional health problems. Mastectomy bras come in a wide variety of styles, so take the time to find what works best for you.

Where to Find Mastectomy Bras

Many retailers carry mastectomy bras, including specialty lingerie stores and medical supply shops. Some insurance plans may even cover the cost, so be sure to check with your provider.

Trying Mastectomy Swimwear

If you're planning a trip to the beach or pool, there are mastectomy swimwear options available. These suits provide added support and comfort, as well as a flattering fit.

Helpful Items for a Successful Recovery

Pillows

  • Wedge pillow
  • Body pillow
  • Arm pillow

Button-Up Shirts

  • Easier to put on and take off
  • Won't irritate incision sites

Drain Management Items

  • Shower lanyard
  • Belted robe
  • Drain pouch

Nutrition for Recovery

Healthy Eating

A healthy diet will give your body the nutrients it needs to heal. Incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains into your meals.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water is essential for recovery. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water a day, and add in some herbal tea for added hydration.

Supplements to Consider

Talk to your doctor about whether you could benefit from taking supplements such as vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3s. These nutrients are important for bone health, mood regulation, and overall wellbeing.

Exercises for Improved Mobility

Range-of-Motion Exercises

These gentle exercises can help improve arm mobility and prevent stiffness or lymphedema. Your doctor or physical therapist can provide recommendations for exercises that are safe for you.

Walking

Getting up and moving around is important for overall health and wellbeing. Start with short walks and gradually increase the duration and intensity.

Yoga

Yoga can be a great way to improve flexibility and relieve stress. Look for gentle yoga classes or videos, and always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises can help relieve anxiety and promote relaxation. Try taking deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, slowly and steadily.

Caring for Your Mental Health

Support Groups

Talking with others who have been through similar experiences can be comforting and validating. Look for online or in-person support groups in your area.

Journaling

Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a helpful way to process emotions and track your progress. Try spending a few minutes each day journaling.

Self-Care

Prioritizing self-care activities, such as taking a warm bath or reading a book, can help alleviate stress and boost overall wellbeing.

Therapy

Talking with a mental health professional can be especially helpful during times of stress or upheaval. Look for therapists who specialize in trauma or illness.

Returning to Work After a Mastectomy

Timing

  • Wait until you feel physically and mentally ready
  • Consider gradually easing back into work

Talking to Your Employer

  • Share any necessary medical information with HR
  • Ask about accommodations or adjustments you may need

Self-Care at Work

  • Take frequent breaks to stretch and move around
  • Designate a private space for medical needs, such as changing dressings or using a breast pump

Staying Positive During Recovery

Meditation

Meditation can help reduce anxiety and boost feelings of wellbeing. Try setting aside a few minutes each day for a meditation practice.

Flower Power

Studies have shown that having fresh flowers in your recovery space can help reduce anxiety and improve mood.






Furry Friends

Pets can be comforting and provide a joyful distraction during recovery. Spend time with your furry friend or consider adopting a new pet.

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Before my breast cancer diagnosis, I was incredibly shallow. I was obsessed with my appearance and always striving to live up to the model image I had created for myself. I even dreamed of posing for Playboy one day. But after a double mastectomy, I am now so self-conscious that I can hardly recognize myself. It took me almost a month to look down at my chest after the surgery. I cried and cried for hours in the bathroom, wondering how this could be happening to me. I had always been so confident in my body, and now I felt like a stranger in my own skin. As a mother, I struggled with how to teach my daughter to be confident when I was struggling so much myself. How could I tell her to love herself when I didn't even recognize myself anymore? I was grateful for my surgeon's skilled hands and for getting the cancer out, but I hated the results. When people say that a mastectomy is not a boob job, they are right. The scars and the fact that I will never have sensation again at 34

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