• Police academy after bilateral mastectomy & reconstruction?

    Asked by unowhoandwhy on Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Police academy after bilateral mastectomy & reconstruction?

    I was very close to getting a job as a Police Officer just before I was diagnosed. Obviously I've put that on hold while I go through treatment. My question is, is it realistic of me to think that my dream is only on hold? Will I be able to get back to the physical condition I was in before having a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction (I'm getting silicone implants), or at least close enough that I will be able to take the required agility test (pushups, situps, bench press and a 1.5 mile run) and then make it through a 14 week academy that will include a lot of running & crossfit type exercises?

    My plastic surgeon has told me I'll be out of work for 2-3 weeks after the mastectomy (he's putting tissue expanders in at that time) and then out for about another two weeks when the final implants are put in about 4 months later. I know I won't be able to do it in the weeks after my surgery, but could I do it in months? A year? Does anyone have a similar experience?

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • leepenn's Avatar

      YES! I race bikes, and I finished chemo in Jan and had bmx in Feb. I have returned to racing. Am I at 100%? No. But, I can push darn hard and am racing in the middle of the pack, which is pretty awesome.... Next year, baby... next year!!!!!

      Anyway, I think a timeline of a couple or a few months before starting the academy is totally doable. The implant placement will be loads easier than the bmx plus explanders placement.

      Did you have to have chemo?

      Keep moving... Or get moving if you haven't started yet... And build your strength so that you go into the agility test able to do 50% more than what's required. You already know how to do that. It'll just take a little more patience... and no time like the present to get started. You can walk the day after your bmx.... just start slow... and then work your way up.

      Good luck!


      over 8 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      PS - if you even have a hint of trouble with range of motion etc... GET TO THE PHYSICAL THERAPIST!!!!

      over 8 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      Ah - I just read that you were diagnosed a month ago... That means you're going into surgery with good fitness, yes? That will only make it easier....

      So, since you did not have chemo (hopefully, won't have to have chemo), then your recovery to STRONG will be FASTER than mine!!!!

      Hope that helps...


      PS - I rode my bike 6 days after surgery, but I had no implants. I've just gone with flat....

      over 8 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I think realistically you are going to have a lot of competition due to your age. In today's job market, you are going to have a lot of competition from folks that are younger. Even if you are able to go toe to toe with them physically now (or whenever you apply), you may not be able to when you are 50 or 55 and they are 30 or 35.

      over 8 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction with gel implants. I work for Parks and Recreation as a Community Center Coordinator so I am pretty active, but I was off of work for 9 weeks. Part of that was for port implantation for chemo. I had chemo all summer, April-August and ran a summer camp throughout the chemo. I started going back to my spin classes but not 5 days a week like before. Everything was gradual, but I was able to start working out again which made me happy.
      If you are in good physical condition now, you should be able to fulfill your dream, it just may take a little longer.
      P.S.- I was a LEO and taught in the Police Academy down here in Florida for 9 years. You'll be fine!

      over 8 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I know a couple gals who are in better shape post BC and Tx than before...they now run marathons and were not runners before Dx....I know another gal who skiied and rode her bike during chemo and does long distance bike ride...SO yes, there are lots of gals quite active post Tx....so I say go for it!!!
      Regarding surgery....I had bilat with expanders and was off work for 3 weeks then started chemo...I felt pretty good about 2 1/2 weeks post surgery....after exchange I took one week off work...my exchange was a year after bilat as I had chemo and rads and needed to wait at least 6 months post rads to do it. I also have silicone implants...

      over 8 years ago
    • NanciHersh's Avatar

      Take the full 6 or whatever weeks your doctors recommend to fully recover... and then you may feel still or "out of shape" from what you are used to but if you are fit now, you will be fit again. I had a bilateral mastectomy in Jan., in June I was surfing in Hawaii! Good luck!

      over 8 years ago
    • hikerchick's Avatar

      I kayak surf in southern CA and got back to full capacity after 6 months or so. It took a lot of work and patience but was totally worth it. But I did not have reconstruction, and I think that may be a big factor in this. I wear recreational foam breast forms in mastectomy bras all the time and it works out great for me. I'm so very pleased I did not have the additional surgery, recovery and scarring of reconstruction.
      Be careful with yourself; it's easy to over do it! I pulled a rib because I wanted to prove myself a little too early.

      over 8 years ago
    • hikerchick's Avatar

      And do yoga! It's really great for range of motion after this surgery. And like Lee said, if you have any issues at all get physical therapy, and the sooner the better.... even if you have to fight for it, like I did.

      over 8 years ago
    • unowhoandwhy's Avatar

      Thank you, everyone! I got my surgery date today: December 4th for the mastectomy & tissue expanders and then about 4 months later for the final implants (as long as I don't need chemo or radiation). The surgeon told me to take it very easy for at least 3 weeks after surgery & that I could start exercising again after that, but to build up to it slowly. The Breast Health Center gave me an excellent book about understanding breast cancer treatment http://www.amazon.com/Breast-Cancer-Treatment-Handbook-Understanding/dp/1886665230 (I highly recommend it!) and it has some good exercises for stretching & strengthening after mastectomy. Once I'm cleared for exercise, I have my P90X Yoga & Stretch DVDs to help get range of motion & flexibility back.

      over 8 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      I say do what you think you can do.. the mind is so much more powerful than we think. I know someone in law enforcement that had the same and worked right through it.. You just have to go easy on yourself as you recoup, but then back to training as soon as you and your doctor concur! God Bless you and good luck!

      over 8 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar

      I hope all is well.

      Your question reminded me of some content we have on reconstruction experiences.




      It also reminded me to let WhatNexters know about our Beginner's Guide to Cancer, including a guide on how women chose between a lumpectomy and mastectomy.


      Best of luck to all,

      over 7 years ago

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