Having a cold within a week of a bilateral mastectomy is not fun or pretty. I started coming down with something a few days post-op and knew it was going to be trouble. Today, two weeks out, I am still stuffed up and hacking up stuff. I’ve gotten to the point where I feel nauseous from the amount of mucus I have ingested. Did someone order some snot? My nose is raw from trying to avoid that by blowing out whatever post-nasal drip has decided to make an appearance. That’s the “not pretty” part.
The “not fun” part is even worse. Blowing my nose, coughing, and especially sneezing are extremely painful. Each one of those actions causes abrupt movement in the chest/rib cage and is just brutal. My first sneeze took me completely by surprise. Immediately after it came, I screamed out in agony. My husband insists that the coughing and sneezing is good for me, because it forces a stretch. I think he’s talking out his butt and just trying to make me feel better.
I got some great advice from the ladies in the FaceBook support groups (see: #1 on my list of Resources). Here’s what I have been doing to make it a bit easier on myself:
- Carry a pillow, always. When I feel a cough or sneeze coming on, I gently hug it against my chest to soften the blow.
- Water, water, water. I drink plenty of water. Guava juice is also good and tasty! Bolthouse Farms Passion Orange Guava juice is my drink of choice.
- I drink a lot of hot tea and eat chicken soup. Although I maintain a whole foods, plant based diet, I put it on hold for the sake of getting some relief. Chicken soup helps!
- I take hot, steaming showers.
- Use a humidifier.
- Get plenty of rest.