Mastectomy is a procedure of removal of complete breast tissue in order to treat or prevent breast cancer. The whole process of breast removal can be emotionally, mentally and physically straining. The surgery is a major procedure that requires a lot of emotional support post-operation. Counselling is recommended for all patients, even prior to the surgery. Surgeons are well aware of the mental implications of such procedures and, hence, many hospitals have a protocol of psychological consultations before and after the surgery.
Breast Cancer can take a toll over the quality of life. Due to the social stigma, patients face a great deal of dilemma. Dr Nanda Rajaneesh, Surgical Oncologist, suggests a few ways to live a fulfilling life after a mastectomy:
1. EMBRACE YOUR BODY:
The first step is to embrace and accept your body with the changes it has gone through. Know that you fought a life-threatening condition and the procedure was a part of making your quality of life better.
2. HAVE PATIENCE YOU’RE YOUR BODY:
Remember that even after complete recovery your body can feel worn out and fatigued. Do not push yourself and respect the process of bouncing back naturally. It’s normal to feel anxious to get back to work and follow your usual routine but it may take you a little while to get there.
3. KNOW YOUR OPTIONS:
Breast reconstructive surgery is an option where the shape of your breasts is restored by a plastic surgeon. While it is an effective way of having the same shape and feel of breasts, it’s a major surgery that requires you to spend days in the hospital for recovery. One can also choose to use an external breast form known as breast prosthesis which can be attached to the body. One can also choose to not use any of these to live a full life as medically your body does not require either of it.
4. NUTRITIOUS DIET:
Fighting cancer and coming out is hard on your body and after a major surgery like mastectomy it’s imperative to maintain a diet that is healthy and nutritious. Include a lot of greens in your diet along with foods that are high in antioxidants - such as broccoli, tomatoes, blueberries and walnuts. These are also cancer-fighting foods and would help you in maintaining the ideal body weight.
5. GET MOVING:
According to a number of research articles, there is proof that physical activity and regular workout can reduce the chances of recurrence of breast cancer. At the same time, a Zumba session can play a vital role in making you feel energized and boost your mood.
Editor- Akriti Gupta, Abhinita Singh