Fitness, nutrition, and your health
Speaking of exercise … post-mastectomy exercises are crucial to a full, healthy, and speedy recovery. I keep mentioning Casey Eischen’s program, because it really is a great one and has been working well for me. Every day I do exercises and every day I get further than the day before.
Click here if you’re interested in learning more or contacting Casey Eischen. This amazing lady 1. is a fitness expert and nutrition coach that is certified in training women who are recovering from breast cancer and related treatment or surgery, 2. she underwent a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy herself in November ’12, and 3. she took some time to provide invaluable feedback for this post. Also, be sure to visit (and like) Foobie Fitness, a FaceBook community page run by Casey Eischen.
Post-op workouts are one thing. Preparing your body before the procedure is another, and just as important. It is the #1 item on my preparing for surgery checklist: get in the best physical shape you can manage before the surgery. The healthier the body, the more tolerant it is to trauma, and the faster it recovers. I workout on a regular basis, however, I’m no fitness guru, so I would advise discussing exercise with your doctor and/or a certified trainer.
In addition to physical fitness, nutrition is extremely important to aid healing and keep a hand on inflammation. According to Casey, Inflammation is attributed to the improper functioning of the immune system. Check out this meal plan she designed for Simple/Clean Nutrition.
Something that should go without saying – smoking is a big NO-NO.
The breast reconstruction procedure utilizing expanders, and ultimately implants, wreaks havoc on the pectoralis major muscle. The nerves feeding the muscle are snipped when the pocket is created (note: this was the case with my PBM, but may not be the standard procedure for all plastic surgeons, so please talk to your doctor). This causes the muscle to atrophy and lose some of its functionality. The more developed the pec major, the more difficult (read: painful) the expansion process and following recovery will be. A few months before my prophylactic mastectomy, once I knew it was in my future, I began altering my routine. I stayed away from push ups and flys and instead focused on core and legs. After the procedure, because pec major is traumatized, core and legs must pick up the slack.
I’ve fallen and I can’t get up
My abs got me out of trouble on day three after the mastectomy. I was sitting on the floor petting a cat and decided it would be a good idea to lay down flat on the floor. That was fine and dandy until it was time to get up. No matter which way I tried to get up, I felt pain. Couldn’t roll over to my side, because I still had surgical drains coming out of me and I couldn’t use my arm to prop myself up if I ever got there. Bending at the waist was not working – my serratus was screaming. I finally wedged my feet under the couch and then used the leverage and my lower abs to bend at the waist.
It was scary as I was laying there helpless, but as soon as I managed to get up, I said to my self outloud: YOU F$@#ING IDIOT! It’s funny now, but wasn’t then. Moral of the story: don’t lie flat on your back three days after surgery, stupid.