Tips to Prepare for Your Mastectomy

If you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, then you may learn that a mastectomy may be your best option. In fact, many women choose to go through a mastectomy, and sometimes a double mastectomy, instead of a lumpectomy. This helps to reduce fears of future breast cancer concerns and the possibility that treatments will be needed months or years down the road. If you do schedule a mastectomy, then there are several things you should do before the operation to make your life easier when you come home afterwards. 

Arrange for a Post-Surgery Helper

Depending on the type of surgery you plan with your oncologist, you may need a procedure that removes breast tissue, lymph nodes, and possibly some of the chest wall muscles. Even if breast tissue is removed alone, the mastectomy will be a serious and invasive operation. You will need to recover at home and you will be unable to do much. Your oncologist will likely ask you to remain immobile for at least two or three days. You should prepare for this.

Once you are able to move about, you must keep activity to a minimum. You also will be unable to lift your arms until healing progresses significantly. If you have children, then it is best to arrange for a helper for the first week or two after your operation. You will be unable to pick up any weight, and this means that it may be difficult to care for young children. Also, you will need some help dressing, changing wound dressings, and washing yourself. 

Since your range of movement will be limited, make sure to purchase large and baggy clothes that are easy to put on and take off. Large T-shirts and sweatpants are a good choice. 

Purchase a Recliner

Sleeping can be difficult after your mastectomy. You will be unable to sleep on your stomach and it may hurt to sleep on your side. Unfortunately, lying flat can place pressure on your chest due to the effects of gravity. 

You should anticipate sleeping troubles before you come home after your surgery. Many people find it comfortable to rest in a recliner with an elevated foot rest. If you have a recliner, then make sure it is prepared with pillows and blankets. If you do not have one, then think about renting or buying one. Look for a recliner that has multiple reclining positions. As you heal, you will be able to recline a bit more so you can sleep comfortably. 

If you do want to try sleeping in bed, then purchase several pillows that can be used to prop up your head and upper back. Consider purchasing a wedge pillow to help keep your body in the right position to rest. 

To learn more about how to prepare and recover from your mastectomy, visit resources like