Undergoing breast cancer surgery can be a tough process both psychologically as well as physically. But once the procedure is done, there are ways to fight the aftermath. Things like depression, mood swings, little muscle pulls etc can be overcome by various strategies if applied properly. These include basic things like keeping to a good diet plan, exercise and stress management as well going for regular check ups. While it is completely fine to feel a little distressed about going for a medical check up after surgery, but this will help in avoiding any future complications. We suggest all this for the simple reason that you shouldn’t have to have to undergo this procedure ever again in your life.
Eat a low fat diet
This is what every doctor says, even to those who are not suffering from any disease. However, in case of patients who have undergone breast cancer surgery, this is essential to avoid other kind of cancer. Various studies have shown that those with a history of breast cancer have less chances of recurrence if they keep to a low fat diet. For this one must include foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, non fat milk, lean meat, fish, poultry and soy in their diet. Studies have shown that those who stick to such a diet do not suffer a relapse. Having a serving of fruits on a daily basis will not do any harm to you. In fact, if taken on a regular basis it will do only good.
For those who have undergone breast cancer surgery, it is very essential to take vitamin supplements. Supplements which can really help include mineral supplements, vitamin B complex (100 mg/day), vitamin C (5,000-20,000 mg/day), co-enzyme Q10 (100 mg/day), colostrums, beta carotene (10,000 IU/day), melatonin (3-50 mg/day), calcium (2,000 mg/day), potassium (99 mg/day), digestive enzymes and selenium. One must consider this list as a reference and take the guidance of her doctor as the requirement varies from person to person. Please note that in case of breast cancer patients it is advised not to take iron supplements without consultation with a doctor.
While many may not agree with this, but it really works. It has been time tested that the aroma of fresh flowers really works on patients who have undergone breast cancer surgery. Aromatherapy has been found to stimulate the senses which indirectly increase the number of anti-bodies. These anti-bodies then help in fighting any kind of onco-genes, thus reducing the chances of recurrence of breast cancer. Aromatherapy also helps keep at bay the frequent mood changes which are seen after breast cancer surgery and have also been found to be good in combating other side effects of surgery. In this method, flowers like eucalyptus, cumin, thyme, rosemary and rose have been found to be especially helpful. The scents of some other spices too have been found to be helpful like ginger, pepper and turmeric.
After breast cancer surgery, one must resume practices like regular exercise or yoga sessions. This will not only help in getting back in shape but also tone the muscles for daily activities. These will strengthen the body muscles so that they recover faster and also make up for disorders like sleep loss. Regular exercise will also help to overcome the restlessness and fatigue which one feels after this kind of surgery. It also helps in overcoming fatal side effects of breast cancer surgery like depression and symptoms like embarrassment, insecurity, anger and low confidence level. In all, doing exercise or yoga is one of the best remedies to come back to normal life after a long stay in hospital.
Get a mammogram done
Though it is not as easily done as said, but it’s always good to muster up the courage to get mammograms done even after breast cancer surgery. It is important to have a regular check up for any indications of the disease left behind. In certain cases, it has been found out that even after some years of surgery, this disease has relapsed. To avoid such occurrences one must go for regular medical check ups apart from mammography. If you are hesitant about going for a mammography after some months of your breast cancer surgery, then it is a good idea to discuss the whole thing with your doctor.
Look out for signs of relapse
Do look for certain signs which may indicate that the cancer is still there. Signs which can help you detect the disease at its earliest include backaches, dizziness, changes in menstrual cycle, loss of appetite, unusual weight loss, unexplained pain, any relevant changes in the treated area and constant coughing which does not subside with normal treatment. Here it is insisted that for these symptoms one must first refer to a doctor, and if in case he finds anything abnormal with these symptoms, then only should you go for further check ups.
Care for your skin
Just like the food you eat has to be monitored after surgery, it is also essential to take care of your skin, especially in areas where an incision has been made. After medical solutions are over, get a good vitamin E lotion to apply on the area where incision has been made. You can also apply lanolin. Lotions which have strong smell or have alcohol content must be avoided as this may cause irritation. You can also consult your doctor if you do not want to rely on the common drugstore lotions. Also, soak in a warm bath for better results.
Change the bandages regularly
This can be really crucial in the initial days of surgery. In the beginning it is suggested that you get help to change the bandages. You can take the help of a well trained nurse to do the task. It’s also good to take tips from her as to how to change them in the future. You should also take tips on how much to exert in the beginning to avoid any kind of indirect damage. For safety you can also use surgi-bra to help you get back to normal life. And at any point of time, if you feel that things are not going well then you must consult a physician.
It can sound cumbersome, but many breast cancer surgery patients are sent home with an external device to drain out fluid. The amount of fluid will gradually decrease but till the day it is there, it needs to be cleared out. As this is a complex procedure, it is suggested that you takes medical assistance and should not do anything on your own. Generally, it takes only a week for the fluid to drain out completely, but still this should be done only under medical supervision.