Coping with Emotions After Breast Reconstruction
Tackling breast cancer is no easy feat—with a number of surgeries and treatments, some days you may not feel like yourself. That’s why you need a strong support team and lots of positivity to surround you during this difficult journey. When it comes to mastectomies and breast reconstruction, try to show compassion to yourself and allow time for healing.
Prepare yourself in advance for the emotional effects of breast reconstruction by applying these steps.
Be open about the changes you’re feeling with your appearance, along with any emotions of anger, hurt, and grief that may accompany them. It’s a great idea to make an appointment to speak with a trained professional that you respect and trust. This can be a safe-haven for you during pre- and post-surgery.
Visit Support Groups
Allow yourself to be transparent about any emotions you may be feeling by sharing them with others who will understand what it’s like post-surgery. If you’re faced with a mastectomy and future breast reconstruction, it’s important to know you’re not alone. A Nurse Navigator can provide you with a list of support groups in your area.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Positivity does wonders, not only for recovery but for our mental state, too. Surround yourself with individuals who will lift you up and encourage you to laugh and find joy in the now. Once you’re up and moving, start to focus on the things you used to do that brought you happiness.
Even though the way you view yourself may feel different, it’s important to talk to your partner, family members, or friends about it. Don’t bottle up what you’re feeling. You need those around you to know how they can help.
Commit to Healthy Habits
Eating healthy and staying active are two great solutions for emotional and physical pain. Once your doctor clears you for exercise, pick up an active, daily routine to help adjust post-surgery.
Celebrate Your Health
Research shows that breast reconstruction can actually improve your emotional and psychological mindset during recovery, as opposed to a mastectomy with no reconstruction. Even if you don’t feel it now, know that the emotions you’re feeling won’t last forever. Breast reconstruction may cause you moments of resentment, anger, bitterness, and sadness, but amidst all of this you still have the ability to keep fighting for the version of you that you love.
Being mindful of the surgery that is to come and preparing yourself for the internal lows that may follow will help give perspective for when your mood shifts and you don’t feel like yourself. Although your appearance may be changing, by paying attention to yourself and remaining aware you will encourage your mind and body to accept and embrace this healthier version of you.