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 Preparing for Surgery - what should I do?
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nmb

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Re:Preparing for Surgery - what should I do? - Wednesday, December 16, 2009 6:43 PM
Hope everyone realizes this is a really a new post from Diane (EveryDaysAGift)
 
I was VERY fortunate - the put me in a newly renovated maternity ward, private room, carpeted, like a hotel.  Everyone on staff was very responsive.  Diane, I'd check to see if there is an option like that available or even perhaps already planned.
 
Did have an issue where they did not want to wake me for pain meds -- that was a biggy... so when I woke in the middle of the night did press the button and they came and fixed it.  I was alone, by choice.  Arnie was there till I fell asleep and I felt no need to have someone there all night; though he could have stayed.
 
Maggi, that's awful that you did not get quick response!  To be honest, the first time I've not felt like a queen at the hospital was this week, when someone told mistakenly told me I needed to go to register for a blood draw (packed room of 20 sick people with me in chemo and a poor pregnant woman).  That was awful...  bypassed it every time till now.  At the lab they told me go directly to the lab in the future, they would deal with registration.
 
Diane, I only had one side done but best advice I can give post surgery is to take it easy and make sure you have a comfortable place to sit during the day and sleep at night.  AND, lots to keep your mind occupied if not too sleepy due to meds.  Regarding the meds, remember many can cause constipation so ask Dr what to do prior to surgery; I did not and paid the price :)
 
Nancy
DX 7/15/09, IDC at age 47
Tumor 3.5 x 2.5 x 3 cm
ER/PR +, HER-2 neg, Stage II, T2, N1 (3 of 9 positive)
Right Modified Radical Mastectomy w/expander 8/27/09 
BRCA1/2 Negative w/strong family history
4 Dose Dense A/C DONE 11/10/09!!! 
4 DD Taxol DONE 1/12/10!!!
28 Rads DONE 3/18/10!!! 
Ooph Feb, 2011
Prophylactic left mastectomy & reconstruct hoping 2011
Tamoxifin (a few months) and AI (5 yrs)
everydaysagift

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Re:Preparing for Surgery - what should I do? - Wednesday, December 16, 2009 11:02 PM
Nancy & all,
 
Many thanks......Nancy you've raised the question, a new thread w/different heading might better catch attention for input........thanks again.....countdown continues....gee, this just gets more real every day.......take care and thanks again..........Diane
09/08 Excis biop R breast - Dx LCIS
12/08 Hyster & Oopherectomy (endometrial hyperplasia)
06/09 Clear bilat. mammo & ultrasound
08/09 Bilat. breast MRI - "suspicious" area on L
10/09 L breast lumpectomy - Dx hi grade DCIS  
DVT hist R/O hormone therapy
Bilat. mast. w/expanders on Dec 18, 2009 
 Reconstruct date & type 2B determined
SallyH

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Re:Preparing for Surgery - what should I do? - Friday, January 01, 2010 9:28 PM
I wanted to pass along info about an item my mom found for me at Wal-Mart in the blanket section.  It is called a "cuddlee" .  It is a fleece indoor scarf.  It is designed to hang around your neck and go about waist length.  It has a large pocket at the end of each side of the scarf.  The pockets look large enough to hold 1 or 2 drains each.  I think this would be comfortable and could be worn under/with almost any type of shirt to hold your drains.  It could also be worn into the shower to hold the drains. They also sell zip up hoodies that have large pockets on the inside, another good drain holder.
Sally, Columbus OH
dx Nov 12, 2009 @ 40yrs
DCIS, grade 3, stage 0, 0/7nodes 
ER/PR + (80% & 90%) BRCA -
married 19yrs, 3 daughters 13,11,7 yrs 
BMX Jan 25 with diep recon 
Tatas

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Re:Preparing for Surgery - what should I do? - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 2:03 PM
This list is compiled from all the good women of the message boards. I just keep jotting them down as I come across them. I left everything in, so just ignore what doesn’t work for you.
 
Before Surgery:
·         Special anti-bacterial staff soap called  Hibiclens $5 at Wal-mart
·         Low residue diet two days before surgery helps. The anesthesia "slows everything down" so you tend to have gas build up and constipation. Magnesium Citrate will clear you out entirely if you take it the day before your surgery.
·         Haircut, manicure, whatever makes you feel good
·         Wax your armpits. They get no air and it’s hard to shave for a long time.
·         Don't eat anything six hours before the procedure, or as your doctor advises. Not even one small cup of coffee! You don't want to aspirate anything into your lungs while undergoing anesthesia.
·         Get a Will SIGNED and finalized.
 
Wear to Hospital:
slip on shoes 
button down big shirt
zip up hoodie
stretch or drawstring pants
 
Pack:
Free candy kisses for Nurses
Stuffed Animal – something cozy from home
DVDs – up your NetFlix!
Any special bras
Toothbrushes/paste
Multiple Pens
Journal to write down Time/Name/Activity/meds purpose and dosage
Kindle or books
Bose and small Headphones  
Ipod/iphone
Eyepad sleepmask
Computer for FaceBook updates (a lot easier than calling everyone!)
Chargers for iphone and computer
Chap stick/ Carmex
Headband
Lotion-Lite body butter travel size for face/hands/etc
chewing gum
hard candy – root beer, butterscotch, orange crèmes, cinnamon
Halls or throat lozenge
Post-it notes so your loved one can step out while you’re sleeping.
mouthwash,
wet wipes and purell, baby wipes.
Dry shampoo
Soft pillow for seatbelt on the drive home
Kleenex and TP if you’re spoiled like me
Bell or way to wake your loved one for help
Sucky cup or a camelback
Kool-aid packets
slip on slippers with rubber soles
Soft socks, slippery PJs
Silk undies, bigger underwear
Old navy has cheap silky nighty and short ROBE!! Or hoodie zip up
really soft button or zip front top (satin, silk)  pjs,
Drawstring bottoms, ponchos, comfortable clothes
Slinky stuff makes it easier to move in bed when tummy muscles are sore and arm strength isn’t up to par.
Any Favorite Foods
Large safety pins to hook your drains to your hospital gown/night gown
Lanyard or ribbon 
extra or favorite pillows
 
Post Op Suggestions
Tips for after surgery
 
·         Have somone unscrew all your meds in advance you will be too weak
·         Have everything at home put down at counter level - you won't be able to reach much above shoulder height the first couple of weeks
·         Wear your compression strap OVER you clothes and PJs whenever possible. It is much more comfortable and helps prevent chafing.
·         Have a stool softener ready. The pain meds will give you constipation.
·         When riding in the have one travel pillow beneath your shoulder strap between you and the strap and another in your lap to rest your arms on.
·         Make sure your JP drains are "sqeezed in" in the center from the suction. If they look like an oval bulb, then there's no suction and they're not working. The overworked nurses may not be checking your drains every shift so YOU should be aware of what they should look like. Ideally, your JP drains should be emptied every shift.
·         When emptying your PJ drains, make sure to clean the plug with alcohol before resealing it. Use a clean swab to apply the alcohol. Wash your hands well before handling the drains! Use vaseline to rub the tube to "strip it" to get the blood to run into the bulb and to create a suction in the tube. Don't pull on the tubing!
·         Know your wound care routine. It should be in writing from the nurse. Mine was to clean the breast incisions with hydrogin peroxide. Use a clean swab for each side, then rinse the peroxide off with contact lense saline cleaner. The saline helps with healing. Then I'd shower off. No submersing in the tub! Dry off and apply Triple Antibiotic to the sutures using a clean swab for each side. Wrap the JP drain tubes with Vaseline gauze to help with the "seal" around the tube. Non-stick stick gauze pads over the Vaseline gauze. Non-stick 4"x4" pads over the nipple-area sutures with comfortable tape secured at the top only (for ventilation). I've been told that a Neosporin moistened wound heals better than a dry wound with less scar probability.
·         Tie a ribbon around your neck before you take your shower. Attach your JP drains to the ribbon/shoelace before your shower so the drains won't be pulled on. Try not to shower your chest area for more than just a moment. You don't want water to migrate into the open wounds.
·         At night attach a large pin to the loop of your JP drain and attach it to the inside of your PJ shirt. You won't have any pulling.
Keep those pillows under your arms.
·         Have your Suck Cup in the bed
·         Don't lift anything! Your sutures may be pulled and your healing time will be slowed down.
·         Even if you're not big into 'scipt pain killers, please take one before you go to bed. You'll sleep a lot better
 
 
 
 
[color=#000000 font="times new roman"] 
 
DiDi70

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Re:Preparing for Surgery - what should I do? - Thursday, June 03, 2010 12:49 PM
Hello,
 
On June 18th I will be having a double mastectomy with lymph node removal from right axilla.  My surgeon will decide during surgery on either a DEIP Flap or a TRAM Flap.  I have a few ideas of what to bring to the hospital and what to have at home to help me to recover (I am a Registered Nurse):
 
Hospital:
1.  Two square pillows; one for under each arm.  You will need the support even when you're sleeping.  I've tried several and the square pillows that I have on my couch seem to fit the best and feel the best.  A friend made super-soft pillowcases to go over them.  The material that she used feels like a very soft teddy bear.  This will help with sensitive skin.
2.  Sleeping mask
3.  Ear Plugs
4. Photo of loved ones to keep on bedside table- it will strengthen you.
5. A pashmina or some kind of shawl to keep your shoulders warm (you could have an air conditioning vent overhead)
6.  Decent slippers with some support as you will need to get up and walking as soon as possible.  You will be wobbly, so soft slippers with no support will  not help you to walk firmly.
7.  Draw string pyjama pants or elastic waist pyjama pants.  The hospital gowns will be easy for you to manage.
8.  Button front tops. 
9.  If you have an electric toothbrush it may benefit you as you won't have to move  your arms up and down too much in the first two days to brush your teeth.  You can buy cheap battery operated toothbrushes at Walmart (usually in the kids toothbrush section.)
10.  Books on CD  or on your iPod and bring headphones if you can, to cancel out the noise of the ward.  This will keep your mind off of what's going on for short periods of time.
11.  About the drains:  Make two separate pouches, kind of like little purses, about 8 inches by 8 inches.  Attach them to lanyards or soft pieces of material that are long enough to hang from your neck to your waist level.  You can put your drains in them and then hang them from around your neck.  This is easier than pinning the drains to your clothing.
12.  About pain meds:   Don't be afraid to ask for more pain meds.  You should not be suffering with pain.  Some pain is normal, but a lot of pain needs to be dealt with.  Also, constipation is a real problem with pain meds and with inactivity and also post-surgery.  Please make sure that you have a laxative prescription to take for the duration that you are taking narcotics.  It is very, very important.
 
For when you are at home:
1. First check to see if there is a discharge planning service at the hospital and if they will organize and pay for some equipment for you at home.  If not, check with your health insurance provider if you have one.
 
2.  Reclining chairs with hand held controls are available in some medical supply stores.  They can go from a reclining position all the way up to a standing position.  This will help as you won't have abs to aid in going from a sitting position to a standing position.  You can rent them for less than $100 a month.  I will be renting one and putting it in my living room on the main floor of my  house so that I can go from the living room to the kitchen to the powder room without having to tackle the stairs.  I will be home alone during the day, so I don't want to chance taking the stairs.  I think that there is a big possibility that I will need to sleep in it too for the first week or longer.
 
3.  A shower chair.  Do NOT (this is the nurse in me) even dream of taking a shower unless you have assistance.  Tubs are slippery and you will not have good balance due to your abdominal muscles and arms being incapacitated and you could fall.
 
4.  A hand held shower (you can buy them at any hardware store or at WalMart-type stores) for under $20.00  Apparently they are easy to install.  My husband will be  installing mine this weekend he says it will take 5 minutes to do.
 
5.  A toilet seat modification.  See if you can get a plastic "raised" toilet seat.  It will fit on the bowl of your toilet and raise the area that you sit on by about 8 inches.  It helps because you don't have to squat down so far to sit on the toilet nor do you have to pull yourself up too far.  You can get these at medical supply stores and some drug stores.
 
6.  A walker with wheels.  This will help you to stand up straight and will give you something to hold onto when going from a sitting to standing position and vice versa (yes, even on and off of the toilet).
 
7.  Again, on the toilet/bathroom theme:  Buy baby wipes and keep them within reach of the toilet.  It will be hard for you to clean yourself as you won't be able to easily turn to the side, twist your torso or move your arms initially.
 
8.  If you don't have a cordless phone, try to buy one and keep it at hand.
 
9.  Cook meals in advance and freeze them in single portions so that you can easily lift them.  You won't be able to lift a casserole out of the fridge initially as it will be too heavy. 
 
10.  Put the microwave or toaster oven or whatever you think you will use on the counter at waist level.  Anything that you think that you will need in the kitchen should be moved down to waist level if possible so that you don't get frustrated when you are home alone and try to reach for something, which could pull your stitches.
 
11.  If you can, try and buy 2 hospital gowns to wear at home for the first week.  You won't be able to lift your arms up and over your head easily and it will be a challenge to pull pants up and down.
 
12.  Do your exercises as prescribed even though it will be painful and frustrating.  You will heal better and have a better outcome.
 
I'll try to let you know if anything else comes to mind as my surgery is coming up before yours.  I hope that this very long list will help you in some way.  Good luck!
 
Deirdre
 
 
epbeasley

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Re:Preparing for Surgery - what should I do? - Saturday, June 19, 2010 8:58 PM
I just finish my last phase of reconstruction - the nipple reconstruction.  I had a single radical mastectomy with immediate DEIP reconstrucion.  I am sooooooooo glad I chose this path. 
 
The hospital wasn't to bad.  The one thing no one every told me was the back pain.  Please - get a chair for the shower.  You will need it for the first few days.  You can't stand up straight from the stomach stitches and you back will really hurt.  In fact - for me that was the worst of the surgery.
 
I was in intesive care for two days.  The PS wanted to make sure the tissue was alive and that I received immediate care.  I was then moved to a room for the next three days.  Two small places on the stomach incision  opened up and I got a fever so.
 
Clothes - I wore the hospital gowns - they were the most comfortable. 
 
I could take hormone pills and the hot flashes were indeed the worst part of the whole hospital stay.  You might want to bring a small fan.
 
I could raise my hands over my head before I came home from the hospital - an advantage of having everyone done at one time.  My general surgeon left the mastectomy breast with lots for the Plastic Surgeon to work with.
 
I would be happy to talk with you over the phone - just email me and I'll send you the number. (Beth - cats@sc.rr.com
1.1cm infiltration ductal
Estrogen +, HR2 -, Nodes -
removed 10-26-09
4 rounds chemo (cytoxin, taxotere
started 12-1-09
SonyaO

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Re:Preparing for Surgery - what should I do? - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 4:30 PM
Hello - I had a bilateral DIEP reconstruction in Oct. 2009.  From my experience, I thought the recovery was better than my mastectomy and not nearly as painful.  The drains were a pain to deal with.  I had two in the pubic region, so they were always getting in the way.  I rented a hospital bed for a week, which helped my sleeping immensely and I didn't worry about waking anybody up. 
 
I taked to LaurieK from Washington before my surgery and the best advice she gave me was the shower chair.  Your back will ache more than you expect.  In fact, that was the worst part for me. 
 
I went back to work after 3 weeks, I should have waited one more week.  But each week got better.  After 8 weeks I was feeling "back to normal"
 
Good luck to you!
NotMe

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Re:Preparing for Surgery - what should I do? - Saturday, April 09, 2011 6:05 PM
I am having a lumpectomy & sentinel node biopsy next week & was trying to figure out how long it would take before I can be back to normal?  I have not felt normal since the diagnosis.  I am pretty tough but the news totally blew my mind when the surgeon gave me my results.  Depending on the lab results, hopefully it will be just one lumpectomy & then to radiation & chemo.  I would love to hear your journey to recovery.  Thank you.
Dianakelly

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Re:Preparing for Surgery - what should I do? - Saturday, April 16, 2011 9:57 PM
pain control can make it hard to have a bm...so remember water and prune juice.
 
my dr. fox in philly wraps and wraps the chest area which i think was helpful so the implants did not move..
 
that idea about pillows on the way home...wow a great idea...the bumps are not so great...so even sitting on one and putting one behind your back and holding one in front may help...
 
i got sores from the tape, but not everyone does, just my luck.
 
ice ice baby...dodododododo
ice ice baby...
wow that ice made it sooo much better...
 
after ice I loved the heating pad on my lower back...I just love heat it is sooo comforting
 
Good luck...just keep saying in three days this will all be history...just a blip in time...
 
Sue Furry

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Re:Preparing for Surgery - what should I do? - Saturday, April 16, 2011 10:09 PM
I have not noticed anyone posting that prepared meals in the freezer are nice to just pop out and warm up!  I also had a recliner brought to my living room, as I was not able to lay down on my bed for quite some time....It helps to have all of your drugs put nearby with the caps unscrewed too, stay up on the pain meds as when you start to feel pain it is already to late for the pain med and takes that much longer to work! 

PINK kisses sista...Sue from IN
South Bend, Indiana 
DCIS October 2005 at 45 years of age
Mastectomy/lat flap reconstruction January 2006
Tamoxifen (x6 months) discontinued due to vision loss
P!nk kisses xoxoxo

Sue from IN
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