10 practical tips to help with breast surgery recovery

My surgery went well and I have been home for five days. I’m still trying to find ways to sit and lay down comfortably, it’s tricky and frustrating. However with enough pillows and some creativity I think things are looking up.
I have been in a lot of pain, more than I anticipated and it has me looking for ways to soothe or distract myself. I wanted to share with you a list of my simple ‘must dos’ post mastectomy or breast reconstruction surgery. If they helped me I am hoping they can help you too. Please pass this post along to anyone you know who will be having breast surgery.
  • Make sure you have at least 6 extra pillows on hand to help arrange you comfortably in bed the day you get home – failing that sleep in  a comfy recliner.  If you have extra surgery sites on your tummy or back from the reconstruction you will not have the best sleep for the first week or so. It is important to get rest and you need to be comfortable in order to do that. You will need pillows behind your back, head and under each arm on the side(s) you were operated on.
  • Book a Reiki or Therapeutic Touch practitioner to come to your house and give you a treatment. It’s gentle, non invasive and can really help with relieving pain and balancing your system post surgery. If you live in Toronto I know of some wonderful practitioners – message me in the comments and I can give you their info.
  • Ask a friend to organize a ‘Supper Club’ for the night you come home and five additional nights. This is an awesome idea as friends are always looking for a way to help. Each friend cooks you a meal and brings it over on a different night so that you don’t have to cook for that first week. My friends organized this for us and it was fantastic.This is a huge help since  for the first few days you really won’t be able to use your arms for much more that attempting to get dressed and brushing your teeth. Seriously.
  • Take your prescribed painkillers – really – take them  and don’t skimp-  it’s not worth the pain!
  • Get some sweet orange, lemon or bergamot essential oils and keep them on hand for when you are feeling low. Add a few drops to a tissue and inhale for a quick mick me up.
  • Rent a bunch of great movies and have friends over to watch them with you – this is a great distraction from the pain and you can stay in your pj’s cause good friends accept you just as you are!
  • Buy some loose fitting button up or zippered shirts that you don’t have to pull over your head to get on – cause you won’t be able to. If you don’t want to buy new stuff you can raid your partner or friend’s closet for stuff they don’t wear anymore but  think you would look smashing in post surgery when you haven’t showered for 4 days.
  • Do all the exercises and breathing techniques the physical therapist prescribes – they hurt at first but they get easier and really help
  • Ask for help. Arrange to have someone helping you out as much as possible for the first week, especially if you have children that need to be fed and exercised. Healing is your number one priority and if you need help in order to make that happen do it! If you need help with the kids post surgery check out the Nanny Angel Network.
  • Rest – you will heal much quicker and better if you are getting rest and not overdoing it – it’s a simple concept but sometimes hard to do! Let yourself nap and enjoy it.

If you have had breast surgery and have any other tips to add please leave them in the comments below!

And lastly, as my good friend who had reconstruction last year keeps telling me, you will feel a little better everyday. The pain will lessen and soon you’ll be back to your old self – only with new boobs!


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