Mastectomy Recovery: Week 2

Woman looks at her mastectomy recovery scars in the mirror


Week 1 |  Week 2 | Week 3 |  Week 4 |  Weeks 5-6 

This still sucks, but it sucks a little less

Pain- By week two your pain should be much easier to manage. Typically at this time pain medications are being transitioned from prescription based to exclusively over the counter. If prescription pain medications are still required, hopefully the frequency they are needed is trending less and less. This week you recognize events (car rides) or motions that trigger pain and you are better prepared to prevent or prepare for the discomfort. Use of your mastectomy pillow in the car will prevent discomfort from the seatbelt and bumpy roads. 


Mobility- Depending on drain activity, an increase in movement is generally encouraged at week 2. Arm range of motion below the level of the shoulder increases, and gentle introduction to range of motion above the level of the shoulder is appropriate. Many surgeon’s offices provide stretching guides that are safe to begin using during the second week of recovery. Keep in mind, if breast reconstruction was incorporated into your mastectomy your mobility restrictions may be on a different timeline. Discuss this with your plastic surgeon. 


Hygiene- Showers are slightly more recognizable during week two of recovery as special surgical dressings are usually removed by this time and improved arm range of motion allows for some sense of washing to be restored. The shower chair may still provide a sense of security, so keeping it around during this week is still a good idea. Washing over incision lines is likely still very nerve wracking. 


Sleep- Week two sleep is still not great, but by now you are used to your circumstance of having to sleep in a flat/elevated position. The recliner will continue to be a good option, but if you are ready to transition back to bed the addition of a surgical wedge can help maintain a semi-comfortable safe sleeping position in a traditional bed. Extra pillows for arm support are a great idea! Daytime naps are still highly encouraged.


Energy- In the second week of recovery energy levels still remain low. Simple tasks are exhausting and the trip to the surgeon’s office for your post-op visit will likely drain you for the entire day and possibly into the next. Support yourself with rest breaks as much as needed.  


Activity- If you are feeling up to it, in addition to introducing arm range of motion week two sometimes leaves space for the introduction of some light walking at a very slow pace. Think no further than 0.5 miles in a single day. If drains are still present this week your surgeon may prefer even less activity than that, as an increase in activity level is directly linked to increased drain fluid production.   


Fuel- In week two it is important to maintain the high protein, moderate carb, low sugar diet. Protein rich foods are still vital at every meal along with maintaining good hydration. Your body is healing at every level, all the way down to the cellular level! Support yourself with high quality whole foods rich in vitamins and minerals during this time. Limit (or preferably eliminate all together) empty carbs and high sugar drinks this week. Food is fuel. 


Pro tip- If you are needing a visual for what gentle arm range of motion looks like in practice there are numerous examples on YouTube for reference. Bob and Brad are my personal favorites! 

Self Care- Spoil yourself with some luscious pre-soaped shower sponges for ultimate shower ease and relaxation   

Boundaries- Limit visitors to 30-60 minutes, reach broader circles of friends with updates via Facebook group or Caringbridge page to limit multiple active text chains

Click here to read about week 3

Week 1 |  Week 2 | Week 3 |  Week 4 |  Weeks 5-6 


Mastectomy Gifts

Mastectomy Recovery Gift Box

The Mastectomy Recovery Gift Box provides the most comprehensive and helpful collection of recovery products for anyone planning to undergo mastectomy surgery, with or without breast reconstruction.

View Details

Mastectomy Gifts

Mastectomy Pillow

Our mastectomy recovery pillow is a gift designed to shield your loved on's sensitive surgical sites from pressure and reduce pain, particularly from seatbelts. Features soft cushioning and a handy pocket for essentials, aiding to return to daily activities and follow-up visits with ease.

View Details

Mastectomy Gifts

Drain Holders

Help your loved ones manage surgical drains following a mastectomy with our adjustable drain holding belt, capable of securing up to four surgical drains along with a separate shower drain holder to use while bathing.

View Details