Everyone’s recovery rate is different, it is also dependent on the type of mastectomy you have had and if you are having further treatment/surgeries. Therefore, I cannot advise an exact time frame, this is something you can determine when you are feeling more yourself.
Sitting on the sofa or lying in bed watching tv shows is heaven for some people. This is not me. I have succumbed to accepting that rest is important and have watched almost all 6 seasons of Gossip Girl since my op, however during these times and in between, I have found myself other things to do that are not too strenuous. I found finding myself some projects or mental stimulation of some kind most helpful. Admittedly, some have been more successful than others. But you can’t knock me for trying.
Things that I have tried to keep me occupied…
Knitting… well if you look at the example piece and what I produced, I think we can conclude that this was not a skill of mine!
Sewing was more of a success. I borrowed my Mum’s machine and was able to rustle up some aprons and bunting. I started this before my op to see if I could actually get to grips with working the machine. Completely appreciate that this may not be for everyone!
Setting up Mastect Expect was obviously a big part. I typed up my experiences as or just after they happened on a word document. Then when well enough, I sat in bed and learnt how to build a website and got started. If you feel documenting your recovery or experience would help, help Mastect Expect. I would love to create a page for the site in the future with case studies and snippets of other people’s experiences. This can be any form of mastectomy, with or without reconstruction and for different reasons. It would be great to have a few paragraphs of practical advice for others to read and learn about. Obviously this is personal and many women have said that it has been too much of a painful experience to document, which I completely understand. However, if this could work for you, or you would like to give it a try, please do. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Art therapy is something that has become popular recently. Who said colouring in was just for kids?! My good friend bought me a book when I was in hospital the second time and it certainly kept me occupied. Treat yourself to some nice felt tips/fine liners too. It is something easy to do that keeps you focussed.
A new book to read is also a good idea. I would probably pick something light hearted, funny… just nothing deeply emotional. I don’t think we need to poke the fire with that one! I am currently (almost at the end) of the new Harry Potter. I am not a hardcore HP fan, but I found the new book enjoyable and it has kept me occupied. Also, a useful resource to have when you reach those points in the night where you give up attempting to sleep!
Planning my wedding- clearly this is something you can only really do if you’re in the position… I got as far as making a list and googling a few options. Bride gene is still lacking! But I am getting there… ish.
Everyone will be different in what will work best for them. Why not try something new, so knitting was new and didn’t work out for me. But it was something that kept me occupied whilst I tried. I was threatening people with beautiful knitted scarves for Christmas, I will probably re think this!!
The potential dangers of the boredom…
- Internet shopping. For someone who hasn’t really been out the house much in the past month or so, I certainly did not need 3 new pairs of boots
- Becoming a social media robot. I have managed to avoid this, but I know some people can be sucked in
- Googling every twinge you feel- probably not advisable. If you think there is something wrong, contact your breast care team
- Jelly head from watching too much day time TV. Or a more genuine issue- headaches from watching too much television
- Becoming a moody mare. You have full right to be moody, you’re having a rubbish time. Your boobs/lack of/new boobs/arms/armpits and brain hurt. Stroppiness is allowed. However, after a few weeks I have found long periods of time being bored or on my own, I can become a bit snappy. Just something to watch out for