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5 Recovery Tips After a Mastectomy

After a mastectomy there are several forms of recovery that take place. Those forms include physical recovery, emotional recovery, and psychological recovery, which all three take time and their toll. Combined together, we suggest these 5 tips after a mastectomy.

Plan Ahead for the Physical Recovery Time

Do everything you can to lessen what you will personally need to do once you are home from the hospital. Prepare meals ahead, and freeze them for later use. Anything you can do ahead of time will help you rest and concentrate on your recovery.

Live out the song and “get by with a little help from your friends” with chores like laundry, childcare, and grocery shopping. Friends will want to help out so give them some clear instructions. Make lists of what you need as you recover, and let them decide what they can handle for you.

Purchase a shower chair prior to surgery so you will be less likely to fall should you become dizzy or get muscle spasms. Buy some very loose clothing which is easy to slip on and off. A small cooler by the bed is useful to keep drinks and snacks on hand, because the less you have to move, the better.

Be the Tortoise

women wearing pink ribbons for breast cancer campaign on white background

Don’t try to rush your recovery. It will take weeks to physically recover from surgery. Doing too much too quickly can compromise a smooth recovery and possibly lead to complications.

Don’t return to work until Agave Surgical Specialists feels you are ready. It is also recommended that patients do not engage in any housework even if they feel better than usual on a particular day. Active women often find it particularly difficult to rest for any length of time, but it is in your best interest to take this time to rest so that your body can heal as quickly as possible.

Completely Understand How to Care for Yourself at Home

You will be given at-home care instructions, and don’t hesitate to ask questions of your caregivers about anything that is not clear. Along with knowing these instructions, patients and their caregivers should be aware of any warning signs that may prompt a visit to see Agave Surgical Specialists, such as:

  • Recognizing any signs of infection.
  • Knowing how to handle your surgical drain.
  • Being aware of how much and what pain medications you may take.
  • Knowing how, and when to change the bandage.
  • Find out when you can begin to wear a bra.

Completely Understand How to Care for Yourself at Home

Your upper body will be stiff and painful after your mastectomy, and you will have limited use of the upper body. Many patients find it difficult to get up from a chair, go to the bathroom, or put any pressure on their arms and shoulders. Certain exercises can address these issues.

To prevent this type of pain from becoming worse or limiting your movements, there are several exercises you should begin almost immediately, whereas others to increase strength will come later. Speak to Agave Surgical Specialists about what exercises are recommended especially for you, and when to start them.

Don’t Suffer in Silence

If you feel sad, are worried about intimacy, or simply feel like you are in mourning, don’t be afraid to embrace those feelings. These are normal emotions, and some days will be better than others. The key is to keep moving forward each day and include some of the following:

  • Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings or express them with someone you trust.
  • If you are feeling intensely depressed, be sure to share that with Agave Surgical Specialists.
  • Join a support group of women who are currently going through recovery or have been through it. They’ll likely have even more tips for you to utilize!
  • Do activities that make you happy.
  • Get outside in the sunshine whenever possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery from a mastectomy, please contact Agave Surgical Specialists at our Chandler office at (602) 582-5233 or our Mesa office at (480) 887-4895.

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COVID-19 Update

The providers and staff here at Agave Surgical Specialists want you to know that we are here for you.

In efforts to keep our patients safe and healthy during this time, we are offering telemedicine visits for certain diagnosis.  If you are interested in utilizing telemedicine for your visit, please let our friendly staff know at the time you are making your appointment!

Agave Surgical Specialists is closely following the most up-to-date announcements and information on the known cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Because this information is always changing, we will be monitoring all updates from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, please make sure to contact us via phone prior to your appointment. You may also contact us for any additional questions by calling one of our offices.

Here are a few additional resources as well:

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control

Agave Surgical Specialists