Fatigue after mastectomy normal?

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Question from Roberta: It has been 5 years since my mastectomy and I still do not feel like myself. Regular errands and housework just seem to take all my energy away. Is this normal?
Answers - Lillie Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S. You mention that your treatment was mastectomy, but didn't comment on whether you had additional treatment afterwards. Assuming that your treatment was limited to mastectomy surgery and it has been 5 years ago would make me question whether or not the residual "side effects" that you're experiencing may be linked to your psychological well-being. I encourage women to look at mastectomy surgery as transformation surgery. The mission was for your surgeon to transform you from a breast cancer victim into a survivor. So, I hope when you look down you don't see that your breast is gone, you see that the cancer is gone.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Managing Fatigue During and After Treatment featured Diana Dyer, M.S., R.D., Tish Knobf, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., A.O.C.N., and Lillie Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S. answering your questions about ways to keep up your energy, how nutrition can affect fatigue, and how exercising can help.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in January 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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