Breast cancer for the under-50s

Breast cancer is far less common in the under-50s, but this can leave younger people with a diagnosis feeling isolated. This group is a place for them to come together, share experiences and support each other.

Mastectomy

buddy401
Posted by

Good morning all, I’m nearly at the end of chemo, thank goodness Docetaxel has not been pleasant.

I’m due to have my mastectomy and stomach flap reconstruction in November.

Would love any advice, as feeling pretty nervous about the op.

Have a lovely day xxx 

Beachwalker19
Posted by

Hi

Firstly, Welcome, So sorry you have found yourself here, however you are definitely in the right place.

I had mastectomy first, then chemo and radiotherapy.

Tbh the mastectomy wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. I had immediate reconstruction and everything went well.

I had plenty of meds, however I didn’t really have any pain, so just had paracetamol if I needed it.

I batch cooked some meals as I did before chemo so at least there was some meals available.

Nurse came in everyday for 2 weeks as I had 2 drains in, so they would empty drains, check wound if needed.

Id say get some dry shampoo, I couldn’t shower with the drains in,  I could only have shallow baths. Washing hair was a bit awkward as you can’t really raise your arm above shoulder high. Im right handed, surgery was left side, so I could fill the kettle, lift pans etc.

I only felt ill from taking the antibiotics, they made me sick, apart from that it wasn’t too bad.

If you want to know anything else, you can friends request me and I’ll be happy to send you a private message.

Take care and let us know how you are getting on.

Shellian
Posted by

Hi good that you are near the end of chemo buddy401. I had my mastectomy dec 2015 then my diep flap feb 17. I was terrified of this OP but new i had to do it. They are so kind to you and talk you through everything. It's a big op but the results are amazing. The best thing I ever did. Feel like I got my life back as I got so depressed after mastectomy. The first few days are the worst but it's for a short time and they will always be on top of the pain relief. No driving or lifting for 6 weeks you have to be so careful. It's the fear of the unknown and I think everyone is a little scared of any type of surgery but the surgeons are brilliant and so skilled. If you could try to get lots of supplies in as you wont be shopping for a while. If anyone offers to help say yes. Try and rest up and eat well before OP you need all your strength but you will be ok I know you will. Take care. Xxx

Peace and plenty. Xx

Sukki17
Posted by

Hi. 

Just thought I would drop you a line as we might be able to swop advice.  I had a bilateral mastectomy 4 weeks ago with diep reconstruction.  As Beachwalker said, I think,- It really was not as bad as I had been expecting. 

Few things to watch out for:

You might find it hard to sit in the chair afterwards.  I was fine standing up, but sitting down, made my blood pressure go really low.  Apparently, this is really common for stomach flap reconstructions, and nobody really knows why.  It does not last so don't panic ( like I did!)  Like Beachwalker said, any sickness I felt was from the anti-biotics.

They will tell you, " You will be walking up and down the ward tomorrow.. " - and you will think to yourself, NO WAY, but you will do it.  Once you have started walking the recovery is really quite quick.  Much quicker than expected.  All my pain was from the tummy area, the breast area does not hurt much at all.  The first few nights, they have to wake you every 2 - 4 hours, to make sure that the reconstruction has worked.  That is quite unnerving. 

Dry Shampoo, was a bit of a godsend, as you can't wash your hair.  Loose baggy trousers like harem pants were also really useful. 

Once at home, try to walk as much as you can, slowly and very carefully.  Each day, a little further.  It really helped me.  Also what really helped me was huge support knickers from a company called lipoplastsic.  I can give you the code if you are interested.  They helped support my tummy massively and really helped with the pain relief.  I still have them on now, sleep in them and they make me feel much more confident about my tummy scar ( NOT sexy - at all.  You feel like an 80 year old.. but hey.. )

Take up ALL offers of help.  If anyone asks what they can do for you, food for your freezer is really useful.  Homemade soup.  Rest as much as you can.  Watch films that make you laugh. 

All will be well and the relief when it is all over is sublime.. 

I am about to start chemo in November, and I am completely petrified of that.  It was not something that I was really expecting.  Do you have any advice about that.. 6 months of feeling sick, losing your hair, feeling sad, getting fat,... It just all sounds grim and depressing and I am worried, that having been so up-beat so far, chemo is going to push me right over the edge.... 

Keep me posted about your op, and please ask anything that you feel you might like to know. 

Lots of love,

Sukki xxx

Baligirl
Posted by

Hi Sukki

wel done for getting through the surgery so well 

i had the same (but only one breast) in May. 

My tummy is lovely and flat now which is great! 

 I am now doing the chemo EC and Taxol 

only 2 rounds to go and honestly it’s ok. The odd day 

I feel a bit down and flu ish.. at times really 

tired so I go to bed early but overall I sort of 

waited to get sick but never did terribly. No mouth sours 

Or split fingernails. I’m doing cold cap and freezing  

fingers and toes . I’ve kept 50% of my hair which 

is fine and it has allowed me to go about my life 

and often not think about the cancer at all. So 

in the end it’s manageable. I hope this reassures 

you that actually for a lot of people it’s OK. We’ve seen too 

many ‘sad cancer films’ but things are very different 

These days. Remember the aids thing in the 

80s which was so deadly and awful? Now they take a pill. 

We’ll get there to and we are lucky enough to get 

great drugs and treatment now. 

Good luck, speedy recovery and with your positive 

attitude you’ll be fine. 

buddy401
Posted by

Thank you for your lovely message.

buddy401
Posted by

Thank you for your message, I would love the code for the knickers. All your advice has been great.  

Do you know what chemo your having? 

My advice for chemo is to stay positive, some days are hard but they pass and the next day will be better. 

Just be prepared for the hair loss, tough but I quite like the buzz cut now lol. Hence I want be needing dry shampoo

Taste can be awful but find something you can tolerate and stick with that. 

They give you so many anti sickness tablets that I never felt sick. 

If there’s any other bit of advice you would like please just ask. 

Love Buddy401 xxxx

Londonmumof2
Posted by

Hi there, I'm glad that the chemo is going well, and congrats on the hair and nails! I'm about to start Paclitaxel, and have ordered boots with cool packs, and single use Kool Pax for when the originals warm up, but apart from wrapping them in something and holding them have nothing for my hands. Can I ask what you bought for your hands?

Thank you! x

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the Universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up.' Stephen Hawking,
Sukki17
Posted by

Hi Buddy401, 

Thank you so much for getting back to me.  When I know my "cocktail" - I might get back to you if that is OK.  I will try to stay positive. I tried to send the link for the knickers, but it would not let me. 

Go to lipoelastic web site.  Then to compression garments, - then to female post-operative pants.-  VH varient. 

Need the one with clips down both sides.  They are expensive £64.90.. bit ouch.  And I did get 2 pairs.  They have been invaluable though and I have them on now 5 weeks later, without them I feel much more vulnerable.  You have to be careful about getting the right size.  They need to be tight, but if you follow the chart thing, it was very accurate for me.. 

Good Luck...!  When do you go in??

I also took my own blanket, that was  nice to have around me in recovery.. Also lip slave, lips get very dry ( cant remember if I mentioned that ) - 

Sukki17 xx

Sukki17
Posted by

Dear Baligirl

Thank you so so much for getting back to me.  Made me feel better.  Good luck with the last few rounds.. xxx

Sukki17
Posted by

Dear Baligirl

Thank you so so much for getting back to me.  Made me feel better.  Good luck with the last few rounds.. xxx

buddy401
Posted by

Good morning Sukki17, 

thank you for your advice on the underwear. 

My last chemo is this Friday yipeee, then op is 3 weeks after 13 November. I have lots of lip balms, I found through chemo my lips got dry. 

Also stock up on water, the first couple of days after chemo you get a dry mouth and very thirsty. 

When you get your plan let me know

Buddy401 xxx