Repair and self-help therapy.

Easy-peasy moves are likely too laid-back for even you beginner work-outers. For those who haven’t read the prior post, it’s a continuation of the chapter, “Get Your Body Back” 1-2 after a mastectomy. This is not meant for core exercises, cardio or weight training.

So plug in your ear phones for your favorite meditative tunes.

Okay, I had to admit my doctors were right — the first morning of stretches and lifting these small hand weights for only an hour — I woke up the next morning my whole upper body was very, very sore. I estimated what I thought was within my strength range. wrong. I woke up by the next morning very discouraged. Did I say I was sore? I couldn’t believe I needed to cut back on the repetitions and lift less weight. <big sigh> Seriously? Soreness in my neck, shoulders, my whole chest, and my core. Likely overdid the rollbar ?? … And my ego. Just another nail in the coffin to old senior citizenville. Good grief, I wanted to at least be able to haul a grocery bag. This sucked.

I picked up where I left off less strenuously, only three days each week, not so hardcore. No sweat. I mean I didn’t push myself to make my body sweat.

I had to remember, and for you recent mastectomy patients, keep in mind you are going to feel strained to lift what a five year old can do. Don’t be scared you’ll be an invalid or tear apart your sutures. Don’t be impatient with your loss of strength. It comes back. Lil’ kids don’t mean no harm lifting more than you. Nobody’s laughing or criticizing , “what!? You can’t do that?”

Your body needs rest, lots of water and flex those sore muscles. DRINK! Use them pecs and biceps very slowly. They are tender, and need some TLC. The therapy process is what’s called “reteaching your muscles ‘to remember’, for your nerves and muscles to get in sync with your brain again”.

Remember these real recovery moves for real women still in serious pain. Keep it simple. A great starter: Post Mastectomy Exercises – Whole Exercise.

Beginner exercises after breast surgery

mq1You will feel better doing these simple stretches from videos by (and for patients with a tissue expander).

One fact isn’t so bad, your skin surrounding your rib cage in your entire breast cavity there will always be numb because the nerves were cut. The nerves do not grow back, and at times that’s a good thing (I figured this out as I began the saline injections for the tissue expander). Even though your muscles are sore, your skin won’t feel any pain. Small yay !!

Now about those muscles —

My doctors cautioned me to use lesser pound weights. I wasn’t excited to use any. This is how I started:

  • 3# weight: 3 reps of five.
  • More reps increase stamina.
  • Vary lifts of slow circles, up, down, and sideways. So I wouldn’t get bored.
  • Practice circles with OUT the 3#weight first.
  • Once you can hold the weight of the hand bar up, out in front of you, keep arm parallel to floor, don’t lock elbow.
  • Three pound hand bars warmed up my muscles first before I laid my hands on the 25 pounder. (Use two hands)

I’m not a physical therapist or personal trainer, nor do I belong to a gym. These are common sense, “low-impact” moves that I did for myself, done very slowly and carefully. My only goal was to regain upper body strength after my mastectomy. Rubber bands are ‘easy-peasy’ as long as it’s a slow, controlled stretch. Once reconstruction surgery has begun, strength-healing  gets more difficult. Nope, these are not to promote agility. Consult your own surgeon.

Three pound hand bars


rubber band stretch


Were you expecting an Insanity workout?

Not here. Not after surgery.  

First, get your range of motion, without any weights. (Refer to your doctor’s post-surgery instructions or the YouTube’s for very basic stretches.)

Muscles need blood circulation to rebuild. Lifting small weights will enable you to get strength in order for you to carry a grocery bag (or two!) and for your muscles not to become atrophied from lack of motion.

The more reps, the more muscles strengthen. You’ll soon be able to wash your own hair without groaning your arms are too stiff and popping so many pain pills.

Don’t push hard. Over a span of twenty-four months of surgeries, I was weak but recovering well.

Any doubts, ask your plastic surgeon.


have a blessed day and keep your chin up!