Coping After a Mastectomy

Even though it’s an important part of fighting breast cancer, a mastectomy takes a massive emotional toll on a woman. It can have a lasting impact on how she feels about herself and her femininity, it can adversely affect her self-esteem, her sex drive and can even lead to depression. Coming to terms with the loss of a breast or breasts takes time and tender care – and it is important to know that physical recovery is only part of the journey.

How to Cope

The devastating emotional scars a woman is left with after having this integral part of her body removed simply cannot be comprehended. While nothing can truly compensate for this loss, there are tips that can somewhat alleviate the emotional pain as you get through the healing process.

Take a break – Whatever you do, don’t rush your physical or emotional healing process. Be kind to yourself and take small steps. Surround yourself with a solid support system to make sure that the things you would ordinarily do (and will soon get back to doing) are taken care of while you heal.

Know that it’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling – Accept your emotional state, know that it is temporary and look forward to feeling better in the near future. You will experience pain, both physically and emotionally. It will get better eventually.

Talk about it – Whether you talk to a partner, a friend, a family member or a therapist, it is vital that you communicate your feelings and fears, hopes and concerns.  

Do things that make you feel good – Some women start doing exercise. Gentle movements of tai chi or yoga are good for body and mind. You may want to take up a hobby or start a craft project – whatever makes you feel good about yourself. Remember to start only when you are ready for this – take it easy for as long as you need.

When the time is right, consider future options – You may have the means to, and choose to, opt for reconstruction. But if this is not an option you could chat to M Store and Satin Candy for excellent advice on getting a bra and prostheses. It is even available on medical aid.

The most important tip

Even though a mastectomy can change how you feel about yourself and your body, don’t forget that you are worthy of love and attention – from others, and from you! Stay positive and surround yourself with good people who are close to your heart.