Recovery at Home: How to Take Care of Yourself after a Mastectomy
Whenever clinical care or medical intervention is a crucial component of your daily routine—whether it be on a short or long-term basis—having a private duty skilled nurse is recommended.
A new diagnosis, temporary physical challenge, medical emergency, or surgery can change anyone’s circumstances for a short time frame. Therefore, our caregivers and nurses are often here for clients in their 30s, 40s, 50s, or 60s. Take Care is always available to help you get back on your feet as quickly and safely as possible.
If you are facing all that comes with a cancer diagnosis or the knowledge that you’ll be undergoing major surgery, having a trusted health care partner to call upon and remain by your side can make a difference.
We’re sharing one client’s personal experience to help others understand the difference Take Care’s services can make in your recovery from surgery.*
A few years ago, a routine mammogram was concerning. Unfortunately, subsequent biopsies confirmed cancer in both of my breasts. Coming from a family with a history of breast cancer, I immediately contacted and scheduled appointments with a local oncologist.
I recall being both relieved and overwhelmed learning that my medical team believed they could perform a curative surgery to remove the cancerous masses. I was worried about the breast cancer diagnosis but hopeful the surgery would lead to a positive outcome in my case.
The cancer was discovered over the holiday season, typically such a joyful and busy time. I was in my early 60s, and grateful to be surrounded by many loved ones. Happily married for more than four decades, I was lucky to have my husband by my side as well as several adult family members who were all willing and able to offer support. Our emotions were also high from the news of my diagnosis. My sister had passed away from breast cancer, so the challenges of the disease and the reality of that tremendous loss added to our fear and feelings of uncertainty.
With a double mastectomy scheduled for January, I started thinking about what my recovery may be like. I knew the Wise family generally at the time, and realized their home care services may be something I should look into. I wanted to make the surgery and recovery as easy as possible on my husband and, of course, me, too!
I spoke to Sue and Alicia on Take Care’s nursing team in advance of the procedure. It was reassuring to have medical professionals talking us through each step of the way. No one in my family works in the medical field, plus I didn’t want to burden them. Having Take Care’s nurses with us – from planning in advance of the procedure and having a nurse there to receive the report from the surgeon with us at the hospital, to assisting with transportation back home was so comforting.
I’m an active, capable, working professional so I never expected that we had the potential to mess up the medication schedule. But at home, my husband and I started to disagree about the instructions on the medicine at one point! It was so convenient to have a nurse present to administer all the medications precisely as prescribed and carry out physician orders.
Everything can be worrisome and scary whenever you start wondering if “it” is normal, from how you feel coming out of anesthesia to output (drainage) at incision sites and how your body feels as you begin to regain strength and our “normal” activity level. A nurse cared for me when I needed it at home during that transitional period, and then immediately taught me how to care for myself. Having Take Care’s involvement for a few days was an important way for me to invest in my own recovery.
It can be overwhelming to quickly leave the security of the hospital, so I’ve recommended Take Care to so many others. It’s wonderful being able to get discharged and go home quickly now following many surgeries, but having a nurse by your side at home during those first 24, 48, or 72 hours back at your own home, is a gift we should all give to ourselves – for our emotional and physical well-being.
Our level of health and mental fitness changes throughout various seasons of life. My experience was a reminder of that, as Take Care’s nursing services served as a security blanket through a brief adjustment period for me. Take Care allowed me and my family to get through those difficult days with greater comfort and calmness so I could focus on making a full recovery as quickly – and safely – as possible.
What a difference early detection and personalized care with Take Care can make. I’m forever grateful for my entire medical team, the personalized nursing services I received from Take Care, and most importantly, to be cancer-free for five years now!
This particular client simply wanted to ensure she had help at home following her double mastectomy, but others are interested in additional support to navigate a new diagnosis or chronic medical condition, coordinate labs, and facilitate communication between multiple specialists, and their family members, if desired. If you are seeking a partner to help plan and coordinate your health care on an ongoing basis, we invite you to learn more about our care management services. Take Care’s specially trained RNs are available to serve as your medical advocate.
*This client’s name has been excluded for privacy, but her story is published with permission.