Double Mastectomy Recovery Tips (What to Expect after Surgery)

Since you are here, I’m guessing that breast cancer has touched your life in some way. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36, just a few months after having my second baby.

Talk about a whirlwind of a year! My family and I experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows all in a short span of time. The first few weeks after the initial diagnosis are such a difficult time.

You are essentially in a daze yet expected to make so many life-changing decisions. In this post, I will share what you can expect from surgery as well as provide double mastectomy recovery tips to hopefully make the process easier for you.

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Preparing for Double Mastectomy Surgery

A double mastectomy is a surgical procedure where the doctor removes all the breast tissue from both breasts. Your doctor will send the tumor(s) and lymph nodes taken to a lab for testing. Shortly after your surgery, you will receive a pathology report that details the important characteristics of the tumor(s).

These characteristics include size, aggressiveness, hormone receptors, and much more. The American Cancer Society website has information on the different types of mastectomies if you are interested in reading more about them. My surgeon initially suggested “just” having a lumpectomy to remove the tumor in my left breast.

However, after an MRI showed some questionable spots around the main tumor, he apologetically informed me that he wanted to take the whole left breast. I was completely fine with this since I had already made up my mind that I wanted both of my breasts gone ASAP.

Single or Double Mastectomy?

Immediately after being diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt like my boobs had deceived me. I just wanted them BOTH off. So, I told my surgeon that I preferred to have both breasts removed rather than just the left one. My doctor agreed to the double mastectomy after I assured him that I had given it a lot of thought. He wanted to make sure I did not have any regrets after surgery.

Is it major surgery or outpatient?

Besides having my wisdom teeth removed when I was younger, this double mastectomy surgery was my first operation. My doctors informed me that I would be in the hospital for 1-2 days following the procedure, so it definitely wasn’t outpatient.

flowers with text overlay bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction recovery

More than anything, I was scared of going under anesthesia. I wasn’t sad about losing my breasts at all. I’m not sure if that’s normal, but I wanted them chopped off. I knew the recovery was going to stink, but I was so ready to get this cancer out that I didn’t care.

Bilateral Mastectomy with Reconstruction

The next week was a blur of doctors’ appointments leading up to my surgery. I also met with a plastic surgeon to discuss my options for future breasts. My plastic surgeon has a really blunt personality where he just kind of tells me what’s going to happen.

I felt like I had people pulling at me in all directions and asking me to make monumental decisions…all while I still hadn’t even processed that this was now my life. It was nice having a doctor just spell out the plan for me.

Tissue Expanders

The plan for my new boobs was as follows:

  • The surgeon would remove all of the tissue and nipples from both breasts.
  • The plastic surgeon would then come in and place a tissue expander in each breast.
  • Then the plastic surgeon would add saline to these tissue expanders each week to inflate them little by little.

The tissue expanders are there to serve as spacers where they stretch out the skin to make room for the implants you will eventually have. Essentially, they are like having balloons for boobs, and your plastic surgeon blows them up a little each week. Only these balloons are hard and terribly uncomfortable. But at least they don’t have cancer in them!

Lymph Node Removal

My husband went with me to the hospital, and we hung out in a pre-operating room for a while. Several nurses came in at different times, and all of them commented on my age. I was also asked a lot if breast cancer ran in my family. Nope. Just a random case of breast cancer.

positive cancer quote

Before my surgery, I had to go in a separate room to have dye injected into my breast so that my surgeon could see my lymph node draining system more clearly. This didn’t last long; but, I’m not going to lie, it hurt pretty bad.

My surgeon planned to remove four lymph nodes with my breasts to test them for cancer. He kept reassuring me that he didn’t think the cancer was in my nodes though. All of my scans had been clear too.

Is it painful?

I obviously don’t remember any of the actual surgery. My earliest memory is waking up in a hospital room with my husband nearby. My husband had to help me adjust from any position in the bed because I couldn’t do it on my own. I also had trouble extending my arms to reach for things.

Matthew 6:34

I was in and out of sleep all night since nurses came in regularly to check my vitals and give pain medicine. Once I was up, I didn’t feel so bad. It was the act of going from a reclined position to standing that didn’t feel great.

A nurse taught me a great tip, which was to hug a pillow to your chest as you are standing up. It makes it much easier! My breasts were uncomfortable too, but I think it was partly due to the band the doctors had wrapped around them. The bandeau had ridges and wasn’t really a soft material, so it dug into my skin.

Surgical Drains

And then there were the drains. I had four drains total (2 on each side). They grossed me out to look at them, and they were a pain in the butt to deal with. I had to empty them every few hours, but I was able to do this on my own. A lot of people recommend aprons and things to hold the drains. I didn’t buy one of those though. Instead, the nurses pinned (with safety pins) each drain to my clothes. It actually worked really well and I saved money on an apron!

Recovery Must Haves

The day after surgery, my doctors cleared me to leave the hospital. As my husband went to get the car, a nurse wheeled me out in a wheelchair. Along the way, she told me about her daughter who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 17. Can you imagine!?

I felt guilty for thinking I was young with cancer. The nurse said her daughter was now in her 30’s and doing great. I was so glad she shared that with me!

Clothing and Pajamas

Since you don’t really have full movement of your arms after a mastectomy, I read that shirts and pajamas that button are best. I bought two sets of pajamas that button up the front to wear post-surgery. The material of these pajamas is really soft even on sensitive skin, and they are roomy enough to feel comfortable in.

Help

My mom and my aunt both came to stay at my house while I had surgery. I was so thankful for this! My two little girls love my mom and don’t miss me at all when she’s around. My aunt was a huge help too. She took care of the kids, ran errands, cleaned my house, and just kept my mom together since this is obviously an emotional journey for everyone involved.

Funny double mastectomy quote

If you have family members or friends who are willing and able to help, I highly suggest letting them. It was really hard going through all of this with a five year old and a six month old because they are both so needy. In hindsight, though, they kept us busy.

I didn’t have a lot of time to pity myself because someone was always needing something. Also, I know neither of them will remember this year of our lives, and I’m thankful for that.

Double Mastectomy Pillow

Once I got home, I mostly reclined on our couch. I remember certain things caused pain, including laughing, coughing, sneezing, and getting up. While sitting or lying down, you will probably find it more comfortable to have big feather pillows under each arm. I had a mastectomy pillow, but for some reason I preferred regular pillows.

Also, before my mastectomy, I read about different tasks that would be difficult post-surgery. One of them was opening medicine bottles. This was so true! Even a year after surgery, I still had trouble twisting caps on some things.

confetti with text overlay Recovery Tips for a Bilateral Mastectomy with Reconstruction

You may also need pillows behind you to support your back. The first few days, I had terrible muscle spasms in my back. For some reason I was afraid to take the muscle relaxer my surgeon had prescribed. I think I was scared of mixing it with my pain relievers.

Once I started taking the muscle relaxer, I felt so much better though. So, make sure you take what they give you. I ordered a wedge pillow before my surgery, and I used it a lot for the first couple of weeks.

Rather than sleeping in a recliner in a room by myself, I really wanted to sleep in my own bed. This wedge pillow allowed me to sleep at an incline, and it was MUCH easier getting up this way.

Life after a Mastectomy

A few days after my surgery, my surgeon called with the results of the pathology report. My tumor was estrogen and progesterone positive and HER2 negative. It was a Grade 3 aggressive tumor. All of that information had been in my original biopsy.

Chemo

The new, unexpected news was that the cancer was in two of the four lymph nodes they had taken. This was devastating news of course because none of my scans had shown the cancer in my lymph nodes. My plastic surgeon had told me prior to surgery to brace myself to hear it was in my lymph nodes just in case.

So, I wasn’t completely caught off guard by the news; but, it still really, really hurt. I was terrified that it had spread even further. And I knew this meant chemo wasn’t going to be easy.

Radiation

My surgeon also recommended that I see a radiation oncologist because there was a chance I would now need radiation therapy. My doctors were concerned that the cancer may be in the lymph nodes inside my chest. Because of this and my young age, I was told that I would benefit from radiation therapy. You can read about my experience with 6 weeks of radiation treatment here.

Scars

I saw my plastic surgeon the week after surgery. He was able to remove ALL of my drains. It hurt so bad when the nurse pulled them out, but it was fast and so freeing! My drains left four small scars on my sides, but they aren’t even noticeable almost a year later.

I also have a long vertical scar on each breast from the bilateral mastectomy. These scars are really prominent to me, but every doctor or nurse who sees them tells me they barely notice them.

Tamoxifen

Since my pathology report showed that the tumor was hormone receptor positive, my doctor prescribed Tamoxifen. I did not start this chemotherapy drug until after I had completed all of my other treatments, including radiation.

Anastrozole

After being on Tamoxifen for just over two years, my oncologist wanted to switch me to Anastrozole aka Arimidex. This is an aromatase inhibitor that requires your body NOT produce estrogen on its own. Since my labs were drawn and showed that I was indeed producing estrogen, my doctor and I decided that I should have my ovaries removed. After my outpatient oophorectomy, I started Anastrozole once per day. So far, my side effects are similar to that of Tamoxifen.

Final Thoughts

I don’t mind my scars at all. And I still don’t miss my old boobs. I’m just so thankful that my current ones don’t have cancer in them! If you have had or are planning to have a mastectomy, I would love to hear from you! What do you have anxiety about and what are you thankful for?

I wish you all the best in your double mastectomy recovery!

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76 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I truly believe your story and the stories of others are so important. I tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene and have a strong family history of breast cancer. After much praying I opted to have a double mastectomy. It was nothing that I had expected. Initially my surgeon that performed the mastectomy didn’t prescribe pain meds but rather muscle relaxers. My advice is get the pain meds even if you never take them. I had quite a bit of pain but because I didn’t have meds it was more difficult to manage once it was too far gone. I believe this set my healing back some. I did purchase a mastectomy pillow and it was helpful in the car but really was more comfortable with regular soft pillows. After four weeks almost to the day I developed an Infection on my right side and had to have 2nd surgery to remove that expander. It has been just over four weeks since that surgery and I am just now starting to feel better. For now I have five more months before we can move forward with reconstruction to be sure the infection is completely gone. What I would say to others is listen to your body! You know it better than anyone. Prior to my complications I was not feeling well and had lots of questions about what I was feeling. I was told it was “normal” and that I was anxious about having had surgery. Even with the set back and complications I know I made the right decision, however there were times I questioned it. Several times.
    Allow yourself time to heal and to process all of the emotions. I don’t know that anything can really prepare you but God is still good!! I am thankful I had the option to do this now, I am praying for all those having to do this and treatment at the same time. Thankful for an amazing husband and family for all their prayers, love, and support.

    1. Hi Irene,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. Your experiences and advice will be helpful for so many other readers. I wish you all the best in your healing and recovery. Take care!

  2. Hi Shari!
    Thank you for opening up this window for all of us breast cancer survivors to talk and share our stories! My name is Taja and I was diagnosed with stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer in December 2021 at the age of 33. Being scared was an understatement however my faith and family has kept me going through this process. I have already started treatment and my last chemotherapy session will be the end of June 2022. I opted to get a double mastectomy just to be safe, however talking to my surgeon he suggested I wait to get reconstruction however I want it done the same day as my double mastectomy just so I won’t have to go under anesthesia and surgery more than once. Do you think I’m being unreasonable? Or should I bit the bullet and wait? Thank you for listening and sharing your courageous story.

    1. Hi Taja,

      Thanks so much for reaching out. I completely understand your desire to limit the number of surgeries you are going to have. Since I had delayed reconstruction, I can’t really speak on reconstruction at the same time as your mastectomy. I will say that my reconstruction surgery where I received implants was actually a very small surgery. I was in and out in less than two hours I think. Hopefully another reader will be able to provide more feedback for you on immediate reconstruction. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful, but I wish you all the best in your decision making and treatment!

    2. Hi Taja,
      I was just diagnosed with a similar situation and am wondering what you decided to do for reconstruction, same time as masectomy or later?
      Laura

  3. My 29 year old daughter was diagnosed in November 2021 with breast cancer and tested positive for the BRCA2 gene. She is currently undergoing chemo with 9 more weekly treatments to go then double mastectomy. She will most likely have some radiation since it was found in one lymph node and then reconstruction will continue. If I could have taken this diagnosis for her, I would have. She is doing well considering all she has to get through. This year will most likely be consumed by treatments, surgery and recovery. She and her husband have a 15 month old (not quite 12 months at diagnosis) and do want more children. Fertility was the first step prior to chemo beginning with egg retrieval and storage for later use. I’m thankful that was an option for them. To say this has all been a whirlwind would be accurate. My husband and I were both tested for presence of the gene. He was also positive, which wasn’t surprising due to his family history. My granddaughter has definitely kept us all looking ahead to better days. I’ve realized you focus on today and pray and worry about tomorrow when it comes….and pray some more. We have a lot of family and friends supporting us through this journey. I’m amazed every day how well my daughter has handled it thus far and want to be sure she is truly doing well as she goes through this long and scary process. She’s a nurse so does understand a lot more of the medical jargon and has done her research as well. Your article helped me better understand the days to come and has given me good information to continue to see her through this and help her as much as I can. Thank you and hope you are doing well.

    1. Hi Angela,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s diagnosis, especially at such a young age. Thank you for sharing her experience as fertility is another huge aspect of this journey. Fortunately, my husband and I felt our family was complete after my diagnosis. But so many others have to make decisions for their future like your daughter did. I’m happy to hear that she was able to complete egg retrieval and storage. It sounds like she has a positive attitude and a great support system. I hope her treatments continue to go well, and I will keep you all in my prayers. Best wishes to you all!

  4. This post helped me SO much, thank you! I was diagnosed with Invasive Tubular Carcinoma (EP/PR positive, HER-2 negative) on January 11, 2022 – my 43rd birthday – in my left breast and Lobular Carcinoma In Situ in my right. I also have PASH in both, as well as atypical ductal hyperplasia in the right. I could have opted for the lumpectomy in each side, radiation of the left side for 6 weeks, followed by Tamoxifen. It might sound crazy but that all just sounded too inconvenient, so I opted for the DMX. I work from home (and don’t have kids) so I am able to still work while recovering (although I will be taking a couple of weeks off initially). My sister will be coming here to NV from NY to be here while my hubby is at work. The surgery is scheduled for 3/31/22 and at this point, it is assumed that I will have delayed reconstruction as I was a smoker and the plastic surgeon will not operate if nicotine levels are too high still. I quit over a month ago now and have a follow up appointment with him tomorrow to test my nicotine levels. Keep your fingers crossed that they have deleted enough and he will be comfortable with doing the immediate reconstruction in another 4 weeks!! I just do not want to have multiple surgeries for this if it can be helped! Again, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us and guiding those of us who haven’t lived through it yet! <3

    1. Hi Christina,

      That doesn’t sound crazy at all! All of my doctors basically told me to do anything to get out of having radiation. Unfortunately, I ended up still needing the radiation But, I think you are making practical choices that hopefully won’t result in long-term issues like radiation can cause. Also, congratulations on quitting smoking! I’m sure that was a really difficult process in the midst of all this stress! Hoping everything goes well for you and that you are able to complete reconstruction with your main surgery.

  5. Hi, I am a 29 year old mom of 2 little boys who are 4 and 1.5. I found a lump. They did a mammogram and US. Then they did biopsies. I got my results on 12/23/21. HER2+ breast cancer in my right breast and lymph nodes. That first week was a lot of info and getting things done. My first appointment with my oncologist that Monday he laid out our plan. 6 rounds of 2 chemos and 2 Anti HER2 infusions. Then surgery. Then radiation. While continuing the anti HER2 infusions to total a year. Then reconstruction 6 months after radiation is done.
    So that first week I had that appointment, then my PET scan to make sure it wasn’t anywhere else, then my port placement. So now I am half way through chemo and getting closer to my surgery. I have decided to do a double, because I really don’t have to go through this again. I am struggling more with the though of loosing them thoug. Even though they have betrayed me. They have always been my favorite assets. And I have always enjoyed them with intimacy. For my reconstruction I want to do where they take from my stomach and put it on my chest. I haven’t even had my appointment with my surgeons yet, but that is my thought. I am mostly worried about how they will feel after the fact. Like the sensations. I’m afraid they will have no feeling. I guess if that happens I will just have to cope with it when it comes.
    Thanks for all the great info!

    1. Hi Kristi,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. It’s definitely a lot to handle in the beginning, especially with two small kids. It sounds like your doctors have you set on a great treatment plan. I hope all goes well for you with chemo, radiation, and surgery. As far as feeling in your breast after a mastectomy, I’m sorry to say that I don’t really have much. My reconstruction was different than the one you mentioned, so maybe this makes a difference. Also, maybe another reader will be able to comment with a different experience. I wish you all the best on your journey. Take care!

  6. Thank you for your story. I am going in for a double mastectomy this Wednesday. My story leading up is very similar to yours so you have really helped with some questions I still had. I do worry about the expanders and if I will need radiation therapy…I was told that getting the permanent implants after radiation is very difficult. Did you have any issues since you had expanders and also radiation therapy? Thank you again and I hope this finds you happy and healthy!

    1. Hi Joey,

      Thanks so much for reaching out. I hope your double mastectomy went well, and that you are able to recover quickly. Luckily, I have not had any issues with my expanders even though I had radiation. My radiated breast is much tighter around my implant than my non-radiated one, but it isn’t uncomfortable at all. Hopefully you won’t end up needing radiation therapy. But, if you do, read through my post on radiation for some of the tips my doctors gave me. I didn’t find radiation bad at all! Best wishes to you in your recovery!

  7. I am two weeks away from a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I’m 46 and have the check 2 breast cancer gene and they said that is a newer gene. I’m anxious about surgery and the recovery. I’m praying it’s not in my lymph nodes. I can relate to the ladies who said they feel betrayed by their breasts because I haven’t looked at mine the same since I was diagnosed. I wish all of you ladies the best and glad I came upon this page. God bless you all.

    1. Hi Julie,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your recent breast cancer diagnosis. I am sure you are ready to get your surgery over with so you can start recovering. Hopefully you have a good support system to help out. I’ll pray for you that your surgery and recovery both go smoothly and that the cancer has not spread to your lymph nodes. I wish you all the best through your journey.

  8. My name is Trish and I’m a married 55 yr old Mom of 3 adult sons and 1 nine year old grandson. On 1/27/21 via a concerning mammogram and biopsies, I was diagnosed with stage 2, triple + breast cancer on the right side. I had a 1.4 cm tumor at 10 o’clock in my right breast a 2.0 cm tumor in 2-3 lymph nodes near right arm pit area. After 3 rounds of chemo every 3 weeks from 3/10 to 4/21 I was able to have a bilateral mastectomy with lymph node dissection. Although chemo made me very ill, it shrunk the tumors enough to have surgery sooner. It took the tumors from size T2 to a T1. I had expanders inserted immediately after the mastectomy and I woke up fine. On 7/3 I woke up with fever and chills. The incision site on the left side became infected and was oozing. I think after they filled my expanders on 6/23 things went south quick on left side only. It was like the left beast was punishing me for removing it for no reason at all. Ha ha. I said “I’m sorry but you both have to go!” I’m in remission from stomach cancer from 2016 so the decision was easy for me. This cancer is a totally new ball game and new cancer. Back to the infection. I was hospitalized 7/4 – 7/7 with antibiotics and pain meds waiting for the culture to grow so that they would send me home with the correct antibiotics. Long story short, the Cipro antibiotic did not work. I had to be numbed, recut and restitched on 7/13 inside my plastic surgeons office with new cultures taken. I left with a very clean and healthy looking incision. Meanwhile, underneath the expander, more was going on. I was readmitted to hospital on 7/20 and the expander had to be removed surgically the next day. They are not releasing me now until these culture results are back so that I leave with the exact antibiotic needed. The second infectious disease Dr seems to be taking this much more serious. I fired the first one. I’m on the hospital now typing this, on strong antibiotics making sure I react well you them and flat on the left side. My right expander is the side getting radiation and never had 1 problem. I’m assured they will add more tissue to the left breast during reconstruction. From day 1 I made up my mind to have the DIEP Flap reconstruction surgery. This just confirmed I made the right decision. My body rejected the foreign object on the left side. I know in my heart I have a better chance at beating this using my own fatty tissue for my new breasts. That surgery will occur in late September or early October 2021 once I’m all done and healed from radiation. I should be done by late August. I’m in no hurry for the reconstruction portion. My priority is to continue with chemo and get through radiation without any further setbacks. I started chemo 7/14/21 and it went really well. I’m only getting perjeta and herceptin now and I didn’t get sick. I want to emphasize that remaining positive, gaining knowledge as much as possible, and allowing your support system to help you is very key to the hiccups and healing process. My faith sustains me. I pray, Journal, and surround myself with everything that brings me joy and happiness. I hug my grandson and explain that Grandma has a sickness that won’t last forever and that he’s my reason to keep fighting it so that we can go to Legoland for his birthday in November. I work part time from time to keep me distracted from constantly worrying. I’m a warrior not a worrier! This is only a bump in the journey that no one signs up for. This too shall pass. There are people in far worse situations. You can have cancer, just don’t allow it to consume you. I wish everyone well. I’ll leave the hospital this weekend sometime with some peace and a good prognosis. I feel This in my ❤. The most beautiful views come after the hardest climb. 🙏🙌🏻🤞 you got this ladies!! You are not alone. Stay safe, healthy and remain blessed. No storms last forever!

    1. Hi Trish,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. Gosh it sounds like you have been through A LOT! I am positive that your experience will help someone who is reading it though. You have such a positive attitude, and I love your quote (The most beautiful views come after the hardest climb.). So well said! Hopefully you will recover and feel better soon. I will keep you and your sweet family in my prayers.

  9. Hi! Just had a preventative mastectomy 3 weeks ago. Implants weee supposed to be put in at the same time, but the blood flow was bad. So, I have had a total of 17 hyperbaric oxygen treatments. My nipples and the skin around them did a 180 turn for the better and now it looks like I won’t need my nipples or skin cut off. My first expander injection is Friday, and I’m a little nervous. I guess my implant surgery will be at the end of August. I already have had implants so the muscle pockets are there. Very slow recovery time, I’m still exhausted and very sore! Hopefully will feel better soon, thanks for your story!!!

    1. Hi Lauren,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. It sounds like you have really been through a lot with your mastectomy! I hope your expander injections are going well and that you are completely happy with the final results. Hopefully you will continue to recover and feel as good as new soon! Best wishes to you!

  10. What a wonderful site! And the feedback is tremendous ..
    I am 63, and was diagnosed with dcis L breast.
    Along with a large 2”x3” fibrous area..
    Bilateral mastectomy with deip is weeks away.. I’ve had c sections so hoping the abdominal donor site is kinda like that… the boob part… hoping for the best .. take care to all..and thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Pat,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I will be thinking of you as you undergo your bilateral mastectomy. I’m sure you will feel so relieved for it to be over and behind you! Stay strong and thanks again for taking the time to comment!

  11. I am 1week post preventative double mastectomy with tissue expanders. I was told I have the ATM gene mutation, after I just had a lumpectomy in January and since my sister just recovered from breast cancer last year. My surgeon suggested a genetic blood test. So here I am. I start the saline injections next week. This has been such a world win of emotions. But so happy to be on the road to recovery.

    1. Hey Stacie,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry to hear that you needed a double mastectomy, but hopefully it will help give you peace of mind. The tissue expanders aren’t the most comfortable objects to have attached to your chest, but you shouldn’t have to wear them too long. I wish you all the best on your road to recovery!

  12. Hi! Thank you so much for sharing your story and all these great tips! Similarly, I have an almost 5 year old and a 4 month old and will be having a prophylactic double mastectomy with reconstruction May 26, 2021. I have so many emotions leading up to this surgery, including excited, relieved, eager, anxious and worried. But the truth is I’m the most worried about recovering with two young children. I’m worried about not being able to hold my infant, or hug my girls, or let my older daughter snuggle on my lap at night to watch tv, which is something we look forward to at the end of each day. I’m grateful that I’ll have family to help me through the recovery period, but when does it begin to go back to “normal” in regards to mom-mode? When will I be able to lift and hold my infant? Thank you for all you’re doing to help others through this process!!!

    1. Hey Lauren,

      Wow, we have really similar stories! I cannot remember exactly how long it took me to be able to hold my infant, but it wasn’t as long as my doctor initially mentioned. I want to say he told me 6 weeks, but I held her after 2 weeks. You should be able to start with someone putting your baby on your lap for you to hold…with a pillow maybe. That happened faster than being able to carry her around. I want to say I could carry her by week 3 or 4. Do not take that as medical advice though! Ha! Having family to help out will be a HUGE relief! I know it’s scary and even depressing, but you all will cope with the new normal. Snuggling and hugging aren’t the most comfortable post surgery or while you have tissue expanders. I had to switch to side hugs, which my older daughter didn’t mind at all. And you should feel comfortable cuddling as long as it’s below your breasts. Even two years later, I still have my toddler lay on my abdomen rather than on my chest. Neither of my girls remembers my surgery, chemo, or hair loss. I had lots of moments where I cried and cried about how I wasn’t able to be there for them during treatment, but I honestly don’t think it phased them one bit. You will be surprised at how fast you return to mom-mode. Kids are a great distraction during this difficult time. I wish you and your sweet family all the best! Take care!

      1. Thank you Shari! My surgery is scheduled for 5/19/22. I’m a-bit older than you at 65 so I’m expecting my recovery to take alittle longer. My test results are almost identical to yours. I believe God has already given me victory and the “intruder” will not remain within me! God gave me several scriptures to cling to psalm 63 and 2 Corinthians 5.
        Blessings,
        Laurie

        1. Hi Laurie,

          Thank you so much for sharing! I will keep you in my prayers for a smooth surgery and a quick recovery. Keep up the positive attitude and this will all be behind you before you know it!

  13. Hi there. Wow. This post with all these amazing comments from true fighters has made me feel so supported without even knowing you guys! I’m a 40 year old mom from South Africa. I have huge family history with breast cancer and was diagnosed a week after my daughters 11th birthday. I finished 16 rounds of chemo and am waiting for my operation. The surgeons said to rather have a lumpectomy but my breasts are so small already that I’d be left with two fried eggs… so I’ve decided to go prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. I will still need radiation for 6 weeks. I am so scared for the surgery but after reading stories here, I feel I’m not alone. My sister had breast cancer too (recently) and had a lumpectomy. I feel bad that I’m doing the “bigger” surgery but I feel like I don’t want to have it come back. Both my gran and great gran died from cancer and my three aunts have all had it. My mom had a cosmetic breast augmentation when she was 30 and I honestly think it somehow has helped her? I am going to keep reading your tips and start preparing. Thank you for sharing all your stories! Let’s kick cancers butt!

    1. Hi Angie,

      What a nice thing to say! I’m glad you have found comfort and support with all these amazing women who have shared their stories. I will be thinking of you as you recover from your bilateral mastectomy. Keep up the positive attitude and thanks for sharing your story!

  14. Hello. I was diagnosed at 51 at the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic. I was told I had stage 2 triple negative breast cancer. I also opted for a double mastectomy. I had chemo first, the worst part of my treatment. Between hair and weight loss, I questioned my ability to continue. October 9 2020 was my last IV chemo. On November 30 I had my surgery, thankfully it did not spread to my lymph nodes. The surgeon did tell me there were still active cancer cells found in the removed tissue so an oral chemo was required. The worst part of the mastectomy was the drains, I had 2, and I was so glad when they were removed. It is a daily battle, I’m fighting fatigue and neuropathy, but I’m alive and able to fight. It is important to have a great support system and a determination to fight.
    Thanks for reading.

    1. Hi Justine,

      Thank you for sharing. I agree that chemo is the worst part of treatment, and I’m so glad to hear you have completed it! You must feel so relieved that the cancer was not in your lymph nodes. Hopefully you are continuing to recover from the mastectomy and your side effects from chemo will subside. I wish you all the best!

      1. Thankyou. I’m glad you are doing well. I find it’s the little things no one tells you. The change in you nails, skin, eye sight. No one tells you the lasting pain and numbness from neuropathy or the uncomfortable swelling from the water retention. No one can prepare you for the emotional roller coaster you have from the whole process.
        After reading your post, I am glad I’m not alone in my battle.

        Thank you for your post!

  15. Hi Shari,

    I’m also a mom of two girls, diagnosed last month at the age of 36. ER+, PR+, HER2- and as far as we know only in one breast with no lymph node involvement. I also chose double mastectomy since I feel betrayed by them! I’ll be having expanders placed immediately after. I’m nervous for the pain during recovery, but we just bought a recliner that we put in our room. And I’ve had two c-sections, so I’m hoping I’m not totally blindsided by the recovery process. I suspect it’s going to be a bit more painful. One of the things I’m nervous about is not being able to hold my girls 3 & 5 and not being able to feel them as much when I hug them. Thank you for sharing your journey – mine feels so similar so it’s nice to feel like someone has some semblance of what I’m going through.

    1. Hey Erikka,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, which sounds so similar to my own! The recliner you purchased for your room should serve to be a great investment. After my bilateral mastectomy, I had a hard time moving from the bed to a standing position. The recliner should help tremendously with that! I’m sure you are aware that tissue expanders aren’t the most comfortable things to have attached to your chest. You may struggle to hug your girls with the expanders in tact. You will learn how to position yourself during hugs to make them more comfortable for you. Once the expanders are removed and you get implants, the hugs go back to normal. So, just remember that you have something to look forward to! I wish you all the best in your recovery! You will get through this awful time, and hopefully your girls won’t even remember it!

      1. Hello.
        I found the worst possible art of the expanders was when the nerves were trying to repair themselves. It was a pain that stopped me in my tracks. Thankfully I had robaxin and gabbepintin for the pain. Once the nerves healed I have not had pain. I am 2 months from my implant surgery and will be glad when my expanders are removed. My pocket on my right side is larger than the expander (I had cancer in this side) and it has been rotating and sits lower , it’s not painful but looks and feels weird, like a ball that rolls to my arm pit.☺ I recommend asking as many questions you can when you see your medical team. My prayers are with you!

        1. Hey Justine,

          I hope you’re doing well! I’m glad to hear your tissue expander pain subsided once your nerves healed. You will feel so relieved to receive implants. I have had mine for almost a year and it is AMAZING how much more comfortable they are. You are totally right about the emotional roller coaster of breast cancer. Most people do not realize all of the little things we go through. It can all easily become overwhelming! Thank you so much for your prayers, and I will keep you in mine as well!

      2. Hi Shari! I’m four days post-op and can say my recovery has been easier than I had expected. I learned yesterday that I too had cancer in two of my lymph nodes, so I’m feeling pretty disappointed about that. I’ll meet with my care team next week to determine next steps.

        1. Hey Erikka,

          I’m so happy to hear your recovery is going well! I’m sure that’s a huge relief to you. I can totally relate to the feelings of finding out your lymph nodes are positive. I hope your meeting with the care team goes well…I’m sure they will have a great plan for your treatment. Best wishes to you!

  16. Thank you so much for this information. I have a family member who will be going through a double mastectomy with reconstruction very soon. I wish I could take her place because I don’t want her to hurt, worry or have any anxiety. I just want her to be ok. I’m trying to do all that I can for her and get everything ready for her. Thank you again for sharing your experience. God bless.

    1. Hi Jayde,

      It sounds like you are an incredibly supportive friend to your family member who is going through surgery. It really helps a lot to have others willing to lend a helping hand or even just a shoulder to cry. I wish your friend a speedy recovery and pray that all goes well for her.

  17. I had a double mastectomy and reconstruction 10 days ago. The pain is horrible, and everything is uncomfortable. Drains went out today, not bad. It has been difficult and emotional for me, as I’m a widow, and my two daughters are taking it like it’s just a root canal! I have been helped by good friends in this whole process. Nothing like having the support of those you love. My faith helps and I wish all women who are going through this come out triumphant and healthy! God bless!

    1. Hi Fran,

      Thank you for sharing your experience from your mastectomy and reconstruction. I’m glad you thought the drain removal wasn’t so bad. Don’t you feel so free now!? The pain from surgery is very uncomfortable; but, it should get better as time goes by. It took a good month before I was feeling noticably better. I’m glad to hear you have sweet friends helping you through recovery. Sometimes it’s hard for others to grasp all the physical, mental, and emotional side effects of a breast cancer diagnosis. I wish you all the best in your recovery. Thank you again for taking the time to share.

  18. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer 2 days after turning 51 in July, after COVID caused delays in getting my diagnostic mammogram. I finished 16 rounds of chemo 2 days before Christmas.. Best Christmas present ever was to ring that bell and be done with chemo! I am having a non-skin sparing double mastectomy in 11 days, and will stay flat after that. Like you, I really want these traitors removed from my body. (My non-cancer breast has spots we have been watching and has had 2 biopsies already) However I am so nervous about the recovery period! I have never had a major surgery before. Thanks so much for posting about your experience. You probably have no idea how many people you have helped and encouraged through your posts. It helps a lot to read what real people have gone through rather than just reading info from medical websites.

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Thank you for your kind words, and I’m so glad you found this post helpful. Congratulations to you on finishing your chemo treatments! I’m sure a huge weight was lifted off of your shoulders right in time for the holidays. I will keep you in my prayers as you recover from your bilateral mastectomy. I had never had a major surgery either, so I know how nervous you probably feel. You got through chemo; though, so you can definitely manage surgery! Best wishes to you and thank you for sharing your story!

  19. Hello! I was diagnosed last month (July 2020) and will be having a double mastectomy on this Friday, August 28th. My surgeon discharges after surgery if you’re stable – it qualifies as Day Surgery here. That was shocking! Maybe its because of COVID? I don’t know. The anesthesiologist is supposed to be calling me back because I responded poorly to it after my hysterectomy five years ago., maybe they’ll keep me over night. I’m feeling nervous about the actual surgery, mostly about doing everything alone, but I totally laughed when I read that you just wanted to chop the traitors off! Me, too! Be gone! Anyway, thank you for the excellent article and while it sucks that we’re all going thru this, it is good to read your stories. Thank you!

    1. Hey Kerry,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I hope your surgery goes smoothly on Friday. That’s crazy that you don’t stay the night in the hospital, but maybe you will end up being more comfortable in your own home anyway. Do you have someone who can help you at home? If so, I would definitely ask a friend or family member to hang around for at least a few days. I will be thinking about you and hoping everything goes well for you! Thank you for sharing your story.

      1. Alright, all done! It’s Sunday and I actually feel pretty good, say 75%! The hardest part by far was walking in alone and waiting alone. Coming out of anesthesia felt like climbing a mountain. The pillow under the seat belt was helpful and the best tip was to wear a comfy, very loose shirt that snaps or buttons down the front completely. I’m dreading getting the drains and tight binder removed, but I’m sure it will work out. Thank you for the support and advice! Much love to you on your journey!

        1. Kerry,

          Hi again! I’m so happy to hear that your surgery went well! Thanks for giving us an update. The drains come out really quickly, so the pain from having them removed only lasts for a second. I hope you continue to recover well and are back to 100% soon!

  20. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in March at the age of 34. I am still in chemo but will be scheduling my double mastectomy when I meet with the surgeon in two weeks. I found out I am a BRCA II carrier. So there will be other surgeries down the road as well to prevent ovarian cancer. It’s still kind of hard to believe this is my life. I went through stage 3 colo-rectal cancer at the age of 22 but this has definitely been harder. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    1. Hi Meredith,
      I’m so sorry you have been faced with so many health issues at such young ages! I hope you are feeling well as you continue your chemo treatments. A bilateral mastectomy is not an easy surgery, but you will feel great again with time. I wish you all the best on your journey, and I hope you recovery quickly! Thank you for taking the time to share your story!

  21. Hello!
    I’ve recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m 32, and pathology reports have found me to be negative for estrogen, progesterone, unknown for her2…I’m just beginning the process and am leaning towards a bilateral mastectomy.
    I have a few questions! Is early onset of menopause likely!? Also, after the surgery will I be able to do chest workouts and upper body movements/lifting such a handstands, etc!? Just curious:)
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hey Jessica,

      I’m so sorry to hear of your diagnosis, especially at your young age! I will do my best to answer your questions…Chemo caused my body to go into “menopause.” I use quotations because I had symptoms of menopause (hot flashes, no periods, etc). However, my doctors told me I could still technically get pregnant, so I don’t think I was in TRUE menopause. If you do not need chemo, I don’t think this is something you would have to worry about. If you DO need chemo, my menopause started with Taxol and NOT with Adriamycin. But everyone is different. As far as exercising goes, I just had my implants placed a month ago. My plastic surgeon told me I have no restrictions except that he would rather I NOT do push ups. I exercise every day, so you will still be able to be active. After reading your question, I literally did a handstand in my living room to see how it felt. Ha! I had no problem at all doing it…no pain and no uncomfortable feeling. I hope this helps! Thank you for sharing!

  22. I had a bilateral mastectomy on April 8th. The hardest part was not having my husband be by my side with all this COVID -19. He had to wait in the car for 10 hours as the surgery room was behind. I have two sister with cancer right now as well. Both of them have had breast cancer with one having it in her pelvic bone now. Other sister has kidney cancer and having surgery soon. It so hard not seeing loved ones. My husband is an amazing care giver especially when I would have melt downs. What help me was face timing or zoom with the ones I can’t see in person. I have an amazing support team with friends, co workers, and neighbors. We had food delivered and made for us the first week and that helped take some duties away from my husband. Cancer was found in one lymph node so waiting to talk to oncologist for a treatment plan. I am getting better everyday and soon this will be behind us. Take care and stay safe.

    1. Hi Debbie,

      I’m so happy to hear you are recovering from your mastectomy! It must have been so scary going through all of that without your husband right by your side. FaceTime and Zoom have been so helpful during this pandemic, and I’m glad you were able to utilize them. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you continue your treatment plan. Best of luck to you!

  23. I also had a bilateral mastectomy with diep flap reconstruction during this craziness of Covid-19. I went in for my annual mammogram and long story short had DCIS non-invasive breast cancer. My choice was easy. I am 51 years old and didn’t want to have to worry about it coming back. Breast cancer runs in my family but my genetic test came back negative. I am grateful for that for my children. After almost backing out of surgery due to Covid and not being allowed anyone at the hospital with me, my husband and I agreed that now was the time to do it.
    I’m not going to lie, to me the worst part of all of it was that hour before surgery. My husband had to leave me at the ER door and I was on my own from Friday morning until Sunday when I got discharged. I’m the hospital staff was awesome. There were very few of us in the hospital since all elective surgeries have been canceled. To me, post surgery, the drain tubes in my hips were the worst. I didn’t mind draining them but pulling up yoga pants or using the abdominal belt would irate them by that 10th day. I didn’t feel pain when they came out more of a tug, the relief was well worth any discomfort!
    I agree with getting plenty of rest!!! I tend to forget that I am not even three weeks out of major surgery and that it is normal to tire easily!

    1. Amber,

      I am so glad to hear you are on the road to recovery! I can’t imagine having a bilateral mastectomy (or any major surgery) and being alone at the hospital. You must feel so relieved to have that behind you! Also, I’m so happy to hear your BRCA test was clear. With two little girls of my own, I know those test results meant the world to you. Good luck as you continue to recover from your surgery and thank you for sharing your story!

  24. I just did a preventative double mastectomy with reconstruction at 42 yrs old on March 5, 2020. I got tired of the multiple surgical biopsies (3 in 1.5 yrs).; continuous testing schedule; and figured out I got lucky 3 times and my luck would run out eventually. My mom, aunt (2x’s and died from it) and another maternal cousin (recently diagnosed 2nd time- she is unable to do her mastectomy at this time due to the medical crisis because it’s not that bad yet) all diagnosed past 45 years old. I decided to make the decision as I have two girls(12, 6). No one prepares you for the shame that you feel crying out in pain and having your big sister help change your bandages or help you get out of bed. The best advice: never be afraid to ask for help. A great friend gave me a seatbelt cushion; blanket with positive words written all over it ( I wrap it around me on the worst days) and one of my staff sent me a mastectomy pillow. Best advice: pillows and comfy blankets are your best friends. Don’t be afraid of the pain meds and muscle relaxers ( I was due to my 17 yrs as a social worker). Worst thing ever: asking your 12 yr old to help put on your lovely medical crop top( her words not mine). Get comfy and nestle in when you go to sleep; don’t be afraid to go to sleep at any time during the day. It’s been an interesting time to recover during the COVID-19 area. I should also mention my job is considered essential personnel and there are times when I feel bad that I’m not with my teams but they tell me they want me to rest and get better and not worry. I’m thankful to my sister who flew out in the middle of this mess to help me; my mom who stayed and didn’t leave to go back home; my husband and my two girls along with friends and family. And also the wonderful medical staff who took care of me and my surgeon who still does. Be sure to tell yourself it’s ok to cry; it’s ok to take one day at a time; work to get your strength up one day at a time. Ps: I couldn’t hit the button to flush the toliet for the few first days. And I’m one of the lucky ones.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you so much for commenting! You shared so many great tips, and I really appreciate you taking the time to help others with your personal experiences. I can’t imagine going through all of this with the Coronavirus going around. I hope you and your family are staying safe! I’m so glad that you have so many incredible people around you and supporting you. I wish you all the best! Also, I forgot about the toilet! Now that you mention it, I do think flushing it was an issue at first. It’s crazy how you take simple things for granted before all of this. Ha!

      1. I really appreciate all your information. I am having a bilateral mastectomy in December. This is my 2nd round with breast cancer. My first one was in 2003..dcis rt breast, had a lumpectomy and lymphectomy. Well its back with invasive hormone positive. Luckily the genetic testing was negative but strong family history. I am 59 and was told I needed the rt breast mastectomy due to prior radiation. After reading your notes I feel comfortable having the bilateral . I am having reconstruction with divep. So let see how it goes. I am wondering when you feel normal or can get back to your normal life.

        1. Hi Diana,

          I’m so sorry to hear you are dealing with breast cancer for a second time. I hope you recover quickly from your bilateral mastectomy and feel like yourself soon! You should start to feel normal again within a few weeks. Obviously there will be certain movements that are more difficult than others; but, overall the pain seemed much better after 2-3 weeks. I wish you all the best!

  25. I will be having a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction in two days! I am so ready to get this DONE! I was diagnosed with estrogen positive stage 2 breast cancer in my right breast in October 2019 at age 48. I have completed 6 rounds of chemo over 18 weeks. I miss my hair! But so far this has been a peaceful experience- only by the grace of God! I will also have the tissue expanders. Won’t know about radiation until surgery findings. The worst part is that with this corona virus going around, no one is allowed to be with me during my surgery or during my overnight hospital stay! That stinks! My husband will be with me as much as he is allowed to be. Thank you for sharing your experience. This is good information to know!
    Best wishes for your continued recovery!

    1. Hi Donna,

      I think about cancer patients during this Covid 19 craziness all the time! I can’t imagine the added stress this virus brings. I hope your mastectomy recovery is going well. I’m currently almost a year out from finishing chemo, and my hair is back! So, yours will get there before you know it. Thank you for sharing, and I wish you all the best!

    2. I am 52 years old with a 9 year old son. I do not have cancer yet. I am premalignant with ADH with associated Miccrocalcifications in one breast and benign hyperplasia in the other and Pash. Genetic testing was good but have strong family history and extremely dense (level 4) breasts. Only one in my family of 4 women to have this tissue. When cancer center ran numbers they put me at 58% for developing invasive BC. BRCA is 60%. So, you don’t have to be BRCA + if you have all the other factors lined up against with age at first birth, menstruation, still having a menstrual cycle, dense breasts, strong family history.
      So, after deliberating for 7 months, I am choosing to have prophylactic bilateral mastectomies with Diep Flap reconstruction.
      I am worried about the length of the surgery and the limitations of movement and use of my arms for everyday life and exercising. I am active with my family and I want to stay that way but the odds are not in my favor to stay cancer free as I have been progressing for the last 5 years.

  26. I love reading these stories. I had my double mastectomy on Jan. 8 2020, and everything that you mentioned is what I experienced! However, I just turned 51, so can’t even fathom going through this with a 6 month old in the house. But, I was able to get my implants during the same surgery, my main reason is that I didn’t want to have to take another break for implants later.
    I’m back to work; back to my musical theatre productions and feel kind of normal after 6 weeks.

    1. Hi Becky,

      Thank you for sharing your experience! That is great that you were feeling better and able to return to work after 6 weeks. I’m glad you got your sense of normalcy back! Best of luck to you and thanks again for sharing!

  27. Hi Sherri,
    Thank you for sharing your story, I was diagnosed with stage 3 estrogen and progesterone positive breast cancer last year the day my second daughter was born. It was the most surreal moment of my life. I am also a mom of two little girls, 10 months and 3 1/2. Your journey really resonated with me. So I felt for the first time I needed to share.
    My MRI did show that the lymph nodes were positive so I started with 16 rounds of chemo, a non-nipple sparing double mastectomy and then 7 weeks of radiation. I am happy to say that today I had my expanders exchanged for implants, it was so freeing. As you shared how uncomfortable they were, I 150% agree.
    Thank you again for being such a strong warrior.
    – Danielle
    From my MR

    1. Hi Danielle,

      Oh my goodness, we have such similar stories! I can’t imagine having a baby and being diagnosed all on the same day. I hope you had a really good support system! I’m so glad to hear that you have completed chemo and radiation! And I am so excited for you that you had your exchange surgery! I meet with my plastic surgeon next month, and I’m hoping to have a plan for removing my tissue expanders then! I cannot wait to get these things out. Ha! Thanks for reaching out, and I wish you and your little family all the best!

  28. Shari,
    Thanks for this site. It’s great because we need multiple suggestions. Just like you, just regular pillows with feathers in them worked for me AND, surprisingly still as I recover from a DTI post OP 5 weeks, lots of soft, fluffy throw blankets. You can bunch them up to sit in your new cleavage that hurts at night or wrap that soft blanket all the way around the front of your chest and tuck under your arms while you are reading. I received a ton of these as gifts. Maybe they knew something I didn’t. Thank you for a normal blog and I wish you many many years with your precious family♡♡♡

    1. Hi Colleen,

      Thank you so much for your input! I didn’t think about using throw blanks for recovery, but I can totally see how they would be helpful! They are such an easy/useful gift to buy someone going through breast cancer surgery/treatment too. Thanks again for sharing, and I wish you the best!!

  29. I’m going to be having a bilateral mastectomy some time in the next few weeks as I have recurrent breast cancer. Last year I did chemo, radiation, and lumpectomy so I have been through some of this. You mentioned the dye injection prior to surgery. That sounds like the lymph node mapping they did with me and I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do that again. Sounds like I won’t be so lucky. Is there anything I can do to keep the pain level down when they remove the drains?

    1. Hi Glenda,

      I’m so sorry to hear that you are dealing with this again. Yes, I think the dye injection was for lymph node mapping. I don’t remember a lot about pre-surgery, but I do recall that part.

      I took one of my prescription pain relievers before my plastic surgery appointment to remove my drains. The good news for the drain removal is that it’s a super fast process. My nurse counted down from 3 and then with one quick pull, the drain was out. Also, I had four drains, but only two of them hurt to remove. The shallow drains were a piece of cake. The drains that were deeper in my skin were the ones that didn’t feel great. But again it went really, really fast! I hope your surgery goes really well and that your pain is minimal! I’m a HUGE baby and if I can do it, you can do it! Stay positive and I wish you all the best!!

  30. Thank you for the information you have shared. I have been diagnosed with triple positive breast cancer in my right breast. I am going through chemotherapy now and have completed 4 of 6. I am planning to do a bilateral double mastectomy in October and become more anxious the closer the date gets.

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis! I hope you are starting to feel better after chemo. I was really nervous before my mastectomy too so you’re not alone there. I remember feeling so relieved once it was over though. Stay strong because you can do this!!! Best wishes!

  31. Dear Shari, thank you so very much for sharing your story! I’m 58 soon to be 59 and was diagnosed with DCIS breast cancer July 25th, I will be having a double mastectomy on August 28th. I’m having so much anxiety waiting for this surgery, ready to just get it over with & start moving forward! My question is, how did you tell your children? I have 4 grandchildren & really have no idea how to explain to them what is about to happen to me. I’m very large busted so the difference is going to be noticeable
    I love your positive attitude, I’m trying my best to keep up with a positive attitude, as I am so furtunate that my cancer has been found early, but I have my moments of complete break downs & mood swings…..
    Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Sherri,

      I hope you are recovering well from your double mastectomy. I was really anxious about that surgery too. It’s a big deal!

      I don’t really have a ton of advice on how to talk to your grandkids about it. Maybe someone else reading this will comment with some tips. My younger daughter is a toddler and doesn’t understand any of this obviously.

      My six year old is kind of in her own world and not really observant. Ha! We told her I was sick with something called breast cancer. I explained that the doctors needed to take off my breasts. I also told her I would be getting medicine that would make me feel really sick and make my hair fall off.

      I think the important thing is to stay positive when discussing it with the kids. I always reassured my daughter that I was going to be fine once I finished my “medicine”.

      She never asked questions or seemed concerned after that. I guess at six years old, she didn’t know to be scared of the word cancer.

      I don’t know what your belief system is, but there is a devotional book called Jesus Calling that really helps me get through the mental and emotional side of this. A friend sent me this book, and I read it daily. The devotions are really short, so it only takes a couple minutes to read each day. And it focuses a lot on positive thinking and letting go of worry. I will try to add a link to the book below so you can see the one I have.

      Thank you for reaching out. I hope you are feeling better and enjoying those grandkids!!

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