• Wondering about recovery from double mastectomy and reconstruction?

    Asked by Kats on Saturday, June 8, 2013

    Wondering about recovery from double mastectomy and reconstruction?

    It has been a month since I underwent a double mastectomy and started the reconstruction with implants. I still have trouble sleeping in my bed due to chest pain. I also frequently feel like my breasts are very swollen. Is this normal?

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • Russ' Avatar

      My name is Russ and I am a 12yr+ pancreatic cancer survivor. I certainly don't have an answer to your question, but some light humor came to mind when I read your question. I received a newsletter from a breast cancer organization that I had made a donation to. It had a funny story in there. A woman who couldn't get out of her funky mood since she had a double mastectomy. One day she went out to the front porch to get her morning newspaper, and when she bent over one of her prostecies fell out onto the porch. Her dog, who was lying on the porch, picked it up and ran to the front yard. She started chasing the dog and hollering, "come back here with my breast." She repeated this a couple more times before she realized what she was saying. She thought about what her neighbors must think...and she sat down in the middle of the yard and started laughing. This, she said, was her coming out. Her whole attitude changed from that point forward. I hope this does something.

      over 4 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar

      Good one, Russ! I'm not sure about the implant part of your question Kats, but I had my bilateral mastectomy last August and every now & then I have like a "phantom breast" feeling where my girls used to reside. It's very weird. Now, about the swelling, I wouldn't hesitate to call my surgeon or his/her nurse/PA. They are used to questions like this and you wouldn't be intruding--you would be easing your worry. Good luck with this.

      over 4 years ago
    • jenniferlvice's Avatar

      I think it's due to the fact that you now have implants in, and since it's new it doesn't quite feel right. I have swelling in the area where the took out a lymph node and breast pain before a thunder storm. That freaked me out, but my plastic surgeon just shrugged and said that was normal. Yeah but it feels friggin weird! I had trouble sleeping on my left side (that's where my lymph node was removed) for awhile, and still do sometimes. You have to rearrange yourself literally...

      over 4 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear Kats,

      Hi, I'm Aliza, a BC patient and the site's unofficial resident Medical Librarian. Med Librarians usually don't answer medical questions as it's against our code of ethics and it's also considered practicing medicine sans license which is a bit illegal, but since I'm also a patient, I'm permitted to speak from my own experience and those of friends and family with Cancer.

      Anytime following surgery where there's extreme unexpected pain, the patient should immediately call the surgeoh or in this case, the Plastic Surgeon to find out if there's something wrong, like an infection. If you can't reach your regular doc, speak with the Fellow (covering doc) on duty at your treating hospital and follow her/his instructions. Do not wait!! This type of pain can be an emergency, unless you were told by your doc to expect this (a month later sounds like a long time for this type of pain).

      Wishing you all the best,

      over 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      Its been 7 years since my bilat, but I remember feeling god about 2 1/2 weeks post bilat....but then I started chemo!!!! that's not to say that there weren't not aches and pains, but overall I was doing okay in regards to post surgery....I no longer could sleep on my stomach....slept on my back with a couple pillows....no major lifting....

      over 4 years ago
    • DianaL's Avatar

      For sleeping try a recliner or if you do not have one get a bed wedge for your bed. That way you are not completely flat in bed. I have a 7" and a 5" and preferred the 5". Got them from Overstock.com. I would call your plastic surgeon just to be on the safe side. I did not do reconstruction with my mastectomy but waited three months post-chemo to start with TE's. they certainly not comfortable, but I saw my PS every week for four weeks. Take care and good luck!

      over 4 years ago
    • Nonnie917's Avatar

      From what I have read it is normal. Skin is stretching which makes you feel all swollen. Some of the girls on this site have felt the same way you do and I soon will be. I have a bed wedge pillow that I use to sleep on which kind of has me laying upright a little and pillows under my arms when I had my other surgeries and I expect I will be using them again when I get my implants in. I don't know what the recovery time is on implant surgery, but I would imagine it is at least a month or more. I am not looking forward to the pain and lack of sleep, but I am looking forward to looking normal again. So to me that out weighs the pain I will go through. Try using a bed wedge pillow and propping your arms up when you go to bed and see if that doesn't help you some. Hang in there it will all be over soon.

      over 4 years ago
    • jvbaseballmom2's Avatar

      It takes a while before it will feel 100% comfortable. If you can, try sleeping on your back until it gets more comfortable. I think what you are going through is perfectly normal. I went through the same as you (8 years ago). Sometimes I still feel a little weird sleeping on the side. Best of luck to you!

      over 4 years ago
    • whirl's Avatar

      It was a good 3-4 months before I could sleep well after my surgery. I finally found that I could sleep on my abdomen if I used a pillow for my head and one for my stomach. It let the implants be suspended. I remember them feeling hot and the movement of them was "weird". With silicone implants they often feel like something extra in there. I do feel pain at times where the lymph nodes were removed. I was told because the drainage has been interrupted I would feel that time to time. Like others if in doubt call your doctor.

      over 4 years ago

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