• How long did it take to regain the use of your arm after a mastectomy? How high could you lift your arms to reach items in the upper cabinet

    Asked by Rose on Saturday, May 26, 2012

    How long did it take to regain the use of your arm after a mastectomy? How high could you lift your arms to reach items in the upper cabinet

    What is the first week like? Second?... I'm trying to think of things ahead of time. Things that I might need like bending a wire hanger in a way to help me pick up things off of the floor. A nurse said that they will supply me with a "grabber" and that they work great. Has anyone else used the grabber?

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I had pretty extensive surgery for inflamatory breast cancer that required 5 surgeries over the course of a little over a week. I had a bilateral mastectomy with 3 additional re-excisions on the left side until there were clean margins in the skin. Because that required so much skin removal that the wound could no longer be closed, I had to have plastic surgery to remove skin and tissue from my belly area to create a flap for the left side of my chest. All of that was 5-6 weeks ago. I agree with Leepenn...the most annoying and inconvenient thing for the first week or two was having the drains hanging out. I pretty much had full range of motion on both arms right after surgery, but was restricted from lifting and stretching during that time so as not to affect wound healing. After that, I still had to be a little careful when stretching and lifting heavy stuff, but was basically back to all normal activity. At this point, I have no limitations in range of motion. If I have to stretch really high with my right arm, I can still feel a little tightness on the left side of my chest, but it is no way painful or harmful to healing.

      over 7 years ago
    • Rose's Avatar

      Thank you all for your responses. I have had a few c-sections, but I'm thinking that this is going to be a bit different, not having the use of my arms. Like going to the bath room. I guess I should just wear a night gown and go commando. ;)
      *jamrck- The grabber! ;) Yes, I was told about that one. At first I pictured a man hiding in the bushes as a "Grabber". 0-o Just kidding. Between the grabber and fashioning a wire clothes hanger with a hook to pick up ??? socks ??? I think I'll be OK.

      over 7 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar

      Thank you for your question. I hope all is well.

      Your comments reminded me of some content we have on the site about mastectomy and double mastectomy.


      There are also some pages on experiences with breast reconstruction:


      One last thing, I wanted to let other WhatNexters know about our Beginner's Guide to Cancer, which includes a guide on how women chose between a lumpectomy and mastectomy.


      Best of luck to all,

      about 6 years ago

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