Listen to your head and your heart. If you don't think you can cope with work then get yourself signed off. This experience, for want of a better word, is not just about the physical but the emotional too, and very much so, you can see physical wounds healing, not so the emotional inside..
I have been off work since middle of June, just before my SNB, then had mastectomy and recon mid-August. My consultant has told me at least 3 months physical recovery which will be to middle of November so I will probably extend that to the end of the year and potentially return to work, phased, in January. I have a very stressful and demanding job, liaising with people across all world time zones, and I know from having had 3 months off for stress and depression 2 years ago, I need to feel 100% in my head, never mind my aching body! I've also just started physio this week and am probably going to counselling as my BCN recommended. Will also have the fun of starting Tamoxifen next week and see how that will make me feel.
So, take it easy, don't rush, don't feel guilty, you've been through a big deal and need to be ok with how you feel, physically and emotionally, rather than rushing something for other people. I do hope your employer is supportive but also your medical team to advise you and, if necessary, put it in writing about recovery time.
Take care and I wish you well soon xx
It is reassuring to be part of this forum. I recently was disagnosed with DCIS and had a mastectomy 2 weeks ago. I had about 7cm in one section of my left breast and another 3cm in another part of the same breast. What was destabilizing about all this was, I came to the UK on holiday and came for a second opinion with a gynaecologist here and after a series of blood tests this was discovered. So a lot has happened in the last 2 months.
What i am most anxious about now is returning to work. I do not know how I am going to cope. I am scheduled to leave the UK to go back to Lagos, Nigeria in two weeks, and everytime I think about work I get anxious. I lead a business that is into coaching and human resources training and some of my clients are requesting for me to facilitate some sessions as soon as I get back. I really do not see myself working full-time for the rest of the year, I just do not feel emotionally ready to take on that workload. Am I being extreme? I just need to know that I am not alone in this. I am a very active person, so slowing down is not normal for me and I am filled with so much guilt for not being able to be there for my company. How did all of you cope?
I need some reassurance that I am not going insane.
It is very common to have a mastectomy for DCIS because it often spreads a long way along the ducts. But the issue is usually the size in relation to your breast, and maybe where the cancer is. I was a 36E/F, they said I would probably need a mastectomy if they didn't get clear margins. Then when they didnt get them, the surgeon said he would try a margin shave first. So it comes down to your surgeon and whether they think they can get a good cosmetic outcome with a lumpectomy.
I had a therapeutic mammoplasty, where effectively they remove the cancer and then move the remaining tissue around to recreate the breast shape, and move the nipple up. I really didnt want a mastectomy so Ive been really pleased with the outcome. I did have to wear a partial prosthetic in my bra to even out the sizes until I had breast reduction to my good side for symmetry.
But four operations and two years in, and my cancer is treated, the cosmetic outcome is fine and hopefully this will never come back. It's been a bit of a saga along the way, but I wish Id known at the beginning that it's all okay, and you do get your life back.
I really hope everything goes well for you, good luck with your appointment on Wednesday.
Hello ladies and hope you're doing as well as possible and good to see sharing of info to help us newbies in potential planning!
I'm new to this, should find out on Wedensday what surgery I will need and when.
Is it quite common to have a mastectomy for DCIS?
Does it depend on the size of it - mine is 5cm
Does it depend on the size of the breasts - I'm a 38D, size 18, 5'4"
I had similar surgery to you, with a large area of DCIS removed . I didn't have your problem because I had a lot of swelling and seroma, so much that I could hear it slosh when I turned over in bed. So at first the operated boob was still the same size as the other one. But eventually I had to use a partial prosthetic to fill out the other cup, and last year had two operations to reduce the other side.
After the breast reduction they sent me home in a surgical bra, which is effectively a front fastening sports bra with soft wide straps and stretchy cups, it did up with hooks and eyes and a zip. It may be worth asking your BCN if you could have one, and failing that, I think M and S do something similar. It is an issue because it's painful not to be properly supported, there are internal stitches which pull. But when you're healed it will still be an issue. The partial prosthetics are very good, mine was flesh coloured silicone gel which sits in an ordinary bra cup to fill it out. They are available from the NHS prosthetics service, but you can look online at Amoena or Nicola Jane.
I was told to wait till I'd finished radiotherapy to get the partial prosthetic, which just delayed things, I'd needed it for at least two months before I got it.
Gosh, I hope that wasn't too much information, it's just that I didn't find anyone who had a partial prosthetic and could have done with information a lot sooner.
Good luck with your recovery, hope all goes well for you.
I had DCIS and had left mx and immediate DIEP flap reconstruction. I felt similar when I first came out of surgery and couldn't get a single back closing bra that was comfortable or supported properly. They were all either too tight, too loose or huge on the straps and hurt.
I bought a few front closing crop tops/bras from Amazon, which were nice and soft and stretched/shrunk to accommodate the size of both boobs but once I had all dressings off, I found these Royce ones (link below) to be the best and I still wear them, 4 months on. My surgeon also wants to lift/reduce my other side but I'm not sure I'm going to let him and I need a nipple but I'm not sure I want this either. Things have only just started to settle down and feel like a part of me. These Royce bras are my go to along with M&S post surgery bras (just within the last 2/3 weeks mind you) when I need the padding for appropriate tops. It took a while to be able to cope with the shape of a proper bra again so give yourself some time.
Returning to work: I returned to work 4 weeks ago on a phased return, working from home. I was off for 12 weeks in total and have had 4 weeks of phased return. I've just submitted another GP fit note with altered hours to my boss for another 4 weeks and I'm waiting to see how they suggest proceeding. They previously wanted to change my contract! I guess we'll wait and see.
Take your time and allow yourself time to recover. I've figured out that slowly and surely is the name of the game here. Your body will tell you when it's ready to pick up speed again. Take it easy.
2 weeks ago I had a surgery to remove my DCIS, together with a sentinel node biopsy. Fortunately I had good margins and the nodes were clear so I am now awaiting my first radiotherapy session. I suppose my main issue at the moment is feeling so much discomfort and not being able to find a really good post surgery bra. M&S have been by far the best but I previously had large boobs (H cup) & now one is less than half the size; so no matter what bra I get, there is little support for the smaller side. I know I can get a prosthesis in time, but it’s proving quite uncomfortable at the moment.
I am not concerned in the slightest about how I look, it’s more about feeling I have the right support. Most companies I look at don’t even go up to an H cup & Bravissimo do not have any specific bras for post surgery. I am fortunate that because of my size I did not need a mastectomy and I have effectively had a breast reduction surgery instead. The DCIS & benign calcifications spanned 9cms. My consultant has offered to reduce the other side in 6 months time, (although currently i’m not fancying that much), but I’m not sure quite what to do in the meantime. I guess it’s still early days & I have much to come to terms with.
Has anyone else had similar issues? It would also be useful to know when you felt up to returning to work. Thanks.