• IDC - opted for a double mastectomy. Any personal info on recovery time? So scared but I'm going for it.

    Asked by Jserenityb on Saturday, June 1, 2013

    IDC - opted for a double mastectomy. Any personal info on recovery time? So scared but I'm going for it.

    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • HearMeRoar's Avatar
      HearMeRoar

      It is a very scary time right now. I am 36 and had a double mastectomy in Feb. I considered other options but it soon became clear this was best. I felt back to normal in a week. The pesky drains and being sore under the arms and tired became bearable at a week and that is also when I started driving. It isn't easy bit it is definitely doable!! I was back full time at work 3 weeks later. Back to 100 percent pain wise at 8 weeks.

      over 4 years ago
    • PrettyToes' Avatar
      PrettyToes

      I had mastectomy in cancer breast. Took off work 2 weeks. Could have gone back to work in one week, but did not know what to expect. Yes, biggest problems are drains. Inconvenient.. A hassle. After chemo, radiation, opted for prophylactic mastectomy in other breast. Took one week off. Hardly took any pain meds either time. I chose not to have reconstruction. Ever. If you choose reconstruction, recovery can be longer, more complicated,and more painful. Many women go that route, and are extremely happy with end result. I just chose not to do that, and don't regret my decision. So, ultimately, a lot depends on you, your cancer type, your physical habitus, your overall health, and your doctors. There is no going back, so get second opinion if not sure! Good luck!

      over 4 years ago
    • Julie99's Avatar
      Julie99

      I had a bilateral with expanders on Jan 10th. The first week was more than I had expected but by asking questions & doing research I felt okay. My plastic surgeon is VERY conservative & wanted me out of work for at least 6 weeks but I did feel better after just one. One book I found very helpful was "What Now? A Patients Guide to Recovery After Mastectomy".
      Choose your team so you feel comfortable. Other types of reconstruction have longer recovery. And yes, the drains are a pain but short term. Check out whatever resources you can so you feel prepared.

      over 4 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar
      JennyMiller

      I personally feel that you made a good choice. I wanted to be aggressive against this evil and elusive enemy so I also chose the bilateral mastectomy -- then chemo, radiation and Arimidex.
      I came home from the hospital the day after surgery. The drains and some limited mobility of arms was the most bothersome and I did not like sleeping on my back -- other than that, my recovery went quite well. Staying strong and maintaining a positive attitude was conducive to my recovery and to giving the battle my very best. In no time, you will have it all behind you and you will go on with your life as a "Survivor"!! I wish you the best.

      over 4 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar
      debco148

      Surprisingly recovery from a mastectomy is short. There is not much pain, bearable..just for a few days, then more sore. The key is to not lift anything for a bit or be careful riding in a car. They have these little pillows in a cresent moon shape that if you put under your arm is quite comforting. Do not try to lift things over your head. The drains will come within a week to 2 weeks depending on fluid collection and healing. Removal of them is nothing, I was all set to feel it and 1-2-3 it was done before I even knew it. Expect some numbness across the back muscle near shoulder blades. Some nerves may be cut and most will reconnect in time. After a year I have only slight numbness. Figure 2 weeks for safe recovery, hospital stay only 2 days. Best of luck to you!

      over 4 years ago
    • SoccerLisaMom's Avatar
      SoccerLisaMom

      I decided to do the same thing and I also have IDC. After my surgery my surgeon said I had opted for the right decision. They were only going to do a lumpectomy on my left side. I opted for a double mastectomy. I found out after surgery that I had 6 nodes removed from my left side four were positive and two removed from my right side. I questioned why nodes were removed from the rifght also (they were not positive), but surgeon said the day of surgery during the nuclear test I also lit up there and she assured me I had made the right decision. I also had the right breast reconstucted at that time. They did not do my left breast reconstruction due to the positive nodes and I would need to do radiation. I was in the hospital over night and sent home with three drains in. Two were in for a week and one was in for two weeks. I was able to return to work in 6 weeks...full time....normal duties. I have no regrets with my decision and know I made the right choice for me. Everyone is different and you need to do what is right for you. Good luck to you. Bless you.

      over 4 years ago
    • SoccerLisaMom's Avatar
      SoccerLisaMom

      I decided to do the same thing and I also have IDC. After my surgery my surgeon said I had opted for the right decision. They were only going to do a lumpectomy on my left side. I opted for a double mastectomy. I found out after surgery that I had 6 nodes removed from my left side four were positive and two removed from my right side. I questioned why nodes were removed from the rifght also (they were not positive), but surgeon said the day of surgery during the nuclear test I also lit up there and she assured me I had made the right decision. I also had the right breast reconstucted at that time. They did not do my left breast reconstruction due to the positive nodes and I would need to do radiation. I was in the hospital over night and sent home with three drains in. Two were in for a week and one was in for two weeks. I was able to return to work in 6 weeks...full time....normal duties. I have no regrets with my decision and know I made the right choice for me. Everyone is different and you need to do what is right for you. Good luck to you. Bless you.

      over 4 years ago
    • peachpoppy's Avatar
      peachpoppy

      I had a bilateral mastectomy on 5/22 and was able to watch my daughter march in a memorial day parade last Monday (5 days later). I got my drains out yesterday (9 days later) and am headed out to a soccer game. Showering, feeling pretty good. Still taking some pain meds tho.

      over 4 years ago
    • Nonnie917's Avatar
      Nonnie917

      I had a double mastectomy and because each person is different my recovery time may not be yours. I had a TRAM of DIEP flap (get the two confused) done on my second operation and that is the one that had the longest recovery time. Two months, but then I am a diabetic so that has a lot to do with it. I would say probably 4 weeks is the norm. The hardest part is the emotional part when you see yourself in the mirror for the first time. That knocked me on my butt. I was not prepared for what I saw. Two empty spots with excess skin where my breasts use to be. It was not a pretty sight so be prepared so you don't freak out. If I have scared you, I apologize, but that was my experience with my operation and I figure if you know the worst going in then it won't be so bad for you if it turns out different. Hope this helped some?

      over 4 years ago
    • DianaL's Avatar
      DianaL

      I had my bilateral on June 14, 2012 and went back to work on July 28, 2012. I had three drains and spent two nights in the hospital. The last drain came out in about two weeks. Your first look will shock you--no one warned me what it would look like. I think I cried more then than when I got my diagnosis. On February15, 2013 I started reconstruction. I am glad I did but the pain was worse than the mastectomy. The tissue expanders are not comfortable but doable. I get my implants on July 18th. I started this journey in April of 2012 and I still will have another surgery after the one in July. Try to keep a positive attitude and positive people around you! You can do this.

      over 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar
      karen1956

      Bilat.....one side prophy and simple mastectomy....breast cancer side modified radical mastectomy with axillary dissection...by 2 1/2 weeks post bilat, I was feeling good going out to lunch with friends

      over 4 years ago
    • mistyb's Avatar
      mistyb

      I too was scared silly of the surgery-- I had a bilateral mastectomy on 5/22 and had expanders placed for reconstruction. I ended up with 14 lymph nodes removed for further testing. My hospital stay was for 3 days only due to the distance I had to travel home.
      I had 3 drains, 2 of which were removed this last week.
      I think I underestimated recovery time on my end-- but every day you will notice it is easier and easier to do things. 12 days out and I am feeling like I could do things other than take a nap (now hits the frustration at all of the restrictions)
      When you are not able to raise your arms to wash you hair..you might consider a couple of trips to your salon to have them wash it for you. So much easier than trying to figure out the logistics of how to do it at home and your caregiver will like it also! :)

      over 4 years ago
    • jvbaseballmom2's Avatar
      jvbaseballmom2

      I also opted for a bilateral mastectomy. I was feeling better in about 2 weeks. The hardest part for me were the drains, and getting up and down when sitting in a chair (upper arm strength probably more from lymph nodes being removed). Best of luck to you!

      over 4 years ago

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