4 weeks post masectomy and screaming kids


It seems to be a regular occurrence, me laying in bed, writing my next blog. But today is different, the sun is shining and there is a hint of spring in the air! Although I’m full up with a stinking cold, all in all I feel very well.

When I was told I would be having a masectomy and allixary node clearance I would frantically search the web for real life stories of what to expect. Most would say the same, but I never come across any that would juggle the real life into post op recovery with two screaming kids and a hubby that has to go back to work. So I’m going to try and wittle it down into sub categories so you can scroll through the boring bits, well to be fair there’s nothing ‘exciting’ Anyway…

so, I had my operation on the 12th Jan, I’ve already done a post about being under the knife and life a day or so after, but now I am nearly 4 weeks on (Tuesday 9th is the milestone) and things have been on the whole very good.

Pain This was my biggest worry, not because I don’t like pain, I mean we all don’t like pain, but I think I can handle it pretty well, I had visions of me coming home with a whole new pharmacy, full up with opiate based medication, trying to juggle nausea, dizziness and the two kids. I was wrong. I was sent home with good old paracetamol and ibruprofen. For the first few days, you would know that you were due the medication soon, you could feel the niggles. By day 10 I was completely pain killer tablets free!

Wound we’ve probably all seen the soaps in the past were the woman has her breast removed, there’s the whole scene of her looking in the mirror and seeing her wound for the first time. I can imagine for most women, this must be very difficult, looking at your wound for the first time and taking in what’s happened. I didn’t want that to happen to me, I mean it might of done, who knows when you first look? But if I was scared and upset, my kids would be too. We are quite an open family in our home, I walk from the bedroom to the bathroom naked, no one blinks an eye, the kids have a poo on the loo with the door open, shouting down the stairs ‘what’s for tea?’ We just have that kind of thing going on in our house. I didn’t want to hide my scar, but I didn’t want to scare them either. I would say when I had the drain in for the first 5 days that was the worse, as my then 4 year old (he had a birthday 2nd feb) wouldn’t go near me with the drain, especially if he could see the tube and the blood stained fluid. So I used the canvas bag they give you in the hospital to cover the majority, then wore cardigans to cover the tube. I always looked down at the wound everyday, you can’t see much when the white op site dressing is on. My dressing was removed day 6, my wound had healed nicely and drains were out. The only trouble I am having with the area it self is I keep getting a Seroma forming, this is because 33 of my lymph nodes were removed and my body needs to learn to deal with the fluid by not relying on the usual route of lymph drainage. I’ve had to have it drained 4 times in 4 weeks, the last volume to come out was a whopping 800mls!! It’s being drained again tomorrow, I’ve got a little B cup going on at the moment!!

Image half of your chest is big, the other half is flat. If I was at slimming world I probably would have got slimmer of the week! I wonder how much a D cup breast weighs? It is weird having one boob and the other side flat, it almost looks like he other one should be off. My daughter said I look like half a child, half a woman! You get given a softie from the hospital, my wonderful breast care nurse gave me all mine before the op, I could then have a play with it and take out the stuffing from the inside to mirror my real breast size, you just pin it to your bra and no one will ever know! I just purchased T Shirt bras from Asda for £4 each, they are nice and comfy and excellent value for money while your still recovering. You usually get a prothesis fitting 6 weeks post op, I’m going bra shopping on Wednesday to buy my pretty little numbers. I will be having a reconstruction but not until the Autumn/winter time. As the weeks go on, you do get used to wearing the softie, I promise it does get easier!!

Excercise Ok so this is a double wammy, there is the usual excercising, you know walking, running, gym and there’s the prescribed physio excercises you get given to do post op. I would 100% recommended you do these, by week 4 I have almost got my arm movements back to what they were before, this would not have happened if I didn’t do my excercises from the physio 4 times a day. You gradually move up from very simple ones to bigger ones, depending on wether you have the drain in. In regards to normal excercising, I would say take it slow for the first 3 weeks, I found walking to the school which Is less than a mile a way ok, I wouldn’t recommend going back to your usual fitness regime until you’ve cleared it with your breast care nurse. Saying that, don’t lay in bed either or stay in the house, It does your mind really good to get some air in your lungs and a slow brisk walk if that’s all you can manage, will do you wonders.

Socializing  I’ve blogged before about all the lunch dates Ive been going on. They are lovely, but know your limits. If one day perhaps you think I don’t fancy wearing a bra today, then don’t. Your friends and family will understand. I must admit for me I do like to get out, even if I am feeling tired, I just compensate by going to bed early that night. The first two weeks I was in bed by 8pm. Things like washing your hair and trying to do the laundry really tired me out, but it does get easier, by week 3, John and I went to London. The picture at the top is me week 3 sipping a Mocktail in a restaurant. We went to see the show Billy Elliot, the Willow foundation payed for us to go to London and stay in a swanky hotel, watch the show and our travel there and back. I will do another blog post on this as the willow foundation deserve so much more than a few lines in the socializing category.

The screaming kids bit, their life still goes on, my son still has his night terrors, my daughter still throws her tantrums and my husband is only human. I can’t expect him to get in from work, do all the things I can’t do (hoovering, ironing) and still sort the kids out. Don’t push yourself….

And lastly but no means least is stop saying ‘No’ or ‘I’m fine’. I’ve had everyone rally round me offering to do housework, watch kids, etc etc. Most of the time I said no thank you and when asked how I was, always said “I’m fine”. Most of the time I was fine, but looking back over the last 4 weeks I probably should had taken everyone’s help when offered. It’s just a pride/mum/30something thing!!

Thanks for reading

Michelle x


4 thoughts on “4 weeks post masectomy and screaming kids”

  1. So upbeat so proud of you your such an inspiration and I hope that other cancer suffers read this and gives them Hope and positive vibes. … keep strong doris xxxx


    1. You are truly a real star in this ‘show’ Michelle – you are such an inspiration and a comfort to others… Thank you for sharing … Xx


  2. Lots of love to you Michelle. Really hoping you’ll be back to fighting fit soon. So sorry you’ve had to go through all of this. Xxxx


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