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After surgery tips

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Nancy View Drop Down
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    Posted: Aug 28 2008 at 3:11pm
Ladies,
 
Let's get a "After surgery tips sheet/book" started. Just post here on this topic and I will print them out after they have collected for a few days and type them.
 
PLEASE????
 
Nancy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote QH RDR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 29 2008 at 5:09am
The worst part of post surgery life for me was those darned tubes coming out of me.  I found it much easier to get around after I had securely tucked then in a fanny pack (opening placed in front).  I could shop and even sleep with my little fanny pack and they were secure and hidden!
Dx 6/30/08, IDC, node positive, skin-sparing mastectomy 7/21/08, A/C (4 cycles) started 8/29/08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 29 2008 at 5:59am
There are very nice post mastectomy cammis one can buy that have the pockets to hold the drain bulbs.
 
Do the exercises your doctor has given you to loosen back up.
 
Follow your doctor's recovery program.  There is a reason why they set it up the way they do, don't overdue!
 
Have someone drive you home from the hospital, don't try driving yourself.  Some places will not release you unless you have a ride.
 
Before surgery fix up a place by your bedside or the couch where you will be recovering and put some books, paper & pencil, notecards, the remote close by so you'll have them handy.
 
Do not hesitate to call your doctor's office if something doesn't feel right, look right or you are running a temp.  Follow their instructions closely.
 
Arrange for help before surgery, make a plan, reach out to others to run errands for a few days or help with the kids.
 
 


Edited by trip2 - Aug 29 2008 at 6:05am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote flaes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 29 2008 at 6:03pm
Post surgery (my first surgery lumpectomy and lymph node removal) my surgeon failed to mention to me that you should milk the drainage bulb tubes with hand cream at least once a day to prevent clotting. 
 
So when I had the second surgery (the mastectomy) I milked the drainage bulb tube so I did not have clotting.  I don't know if I am using the correct terminology.
 
My therapist said I needed to de-sensitize my scar area by first gently massaging my scar with soap - then lotion.  Also while in the hot shower try to work on my range of motion exercises.
 
Before my surgeries I made some foods (like chicken soup, beef soup, etc) and put them in small containers in the freezer.  Even if you are not hungry after surgery try to get a little broth down to build energy, even if it is a few spoonfuls.
 
My surgery's like everyone elses was outpatient - so make sure you have someone with you that first day.
 
Don't be afraid to take the pain medication - I was concerned that I would become addicted so at times I waited to long in between my doses and suffered needlessly.
 
Before surgery - invest in a soft bra a size bigger than what you normally wear - Something you can wear after the surgical bra and bandages are removed.  Also make sure that you have pj's that you can button down the front instead of pulling over your head.
 
Hope this helps.
Sue
Dx 11/07, lumpectomy 12/07, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/19 nodes, left mastectomy 1/08, ac x 4, taxol x 4. Also diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis two years ago.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote txhart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 29 2008 at 6:51pm
Ok I hate to sound ignorant, but I haven't had my surgery yet. How long are the drainage tubes in and what, exactly, will be draining? This sounds creepy to me. My surgery will be early Jan.
Linda
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Diagnosed 7/24/08
12 rounds Paclitaxel
4 rounds FEC, surgery Feb 3, 6 wks of rad

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote flaes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 29 2008 at 7:09pm

Mine were in for 7 days to drain the fluid since I had lymph nodes removed.   Maybe someone else can explain it better

Sue

 
Dx 11/07, lumpectomy 12/07, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/19 nodes, left mastectomy 1/08, ac x 4, taxol x 4. Also diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis two years ago.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote QH RDR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 30 2008 at 4:01am
Linda, I had two tubes, one was draining excess fluid from the mastectomy/SNB sight and one was pumping pain meds right into the sight.  The pain med ball was about the size of a small tennis ball, and the pouch holding the draining fluid was about the size of your palm.  The tubes are longer than they need to be, but they tied them up like a lassoo and pinned them together.  Taking a shower is a little tricky, but manageable.
Such relief when they pull those suckers out!!!
Dx 6/30/08, IDC, node positive, skin-sparing mastectomy 7/21/08, A/C (4 cycles) started 8/29/08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 30 2008 at 4:31am
Linda,
 
Immediately after a total or modified radical mastectomy or axillary node sampling, the surgeon may place soft plastic tubes, or 'drains', under the skin where the incision is closed up.  The purpose is to channel away fluids that builds up while the wound is healing.
 
There might be some blood in this fluid at first, but it will soon run pale yellow, collecting in a small bulb at the end of each tube.  Draining this fluid away from the wound helps prevent discomfort and infection.  The drains are removed painlessly when the fluid diminishes usually after 5 to 7 days.


Edited by trip2 - Aug 30 2008 at 4:32am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote txhart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 30 2008 at 4:37am
Thank you, once again, ladies. Now I know what is in store for me after chemo. I'm much more able to face it knowing what to expect. Wow, all this talk about drainage of yellow fluid and blood is making me hungry. I need to go fix breakfast and stock up for the hurricane heading our way!
Y'all have a lovely weekend!
I really do appreciate the input.
Linda
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Triple Negative Stage 2B
IDC 2.7
Diagnosed 7/24/08
12 rounds Paclitaxel
4 rounds FEC, surgery Feb 3, 6 wks of rad

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 30 2008 at 4:39am
Tip 
 
If you are having a lumpectomy you should purchase atleast 2 cotton sport bras w/o underwires that fasten in the front.  This will provide support after surgry.  You need a bra that fastens in the front if you're having a sentinel node biopsy or an axillary dissection because you will be initialy unable to reach around your back because of the incision in your armpit.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sibu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 30 2008 at 5:44am
Ah, these posts are bringing up memories...

This relates to a double mast. w/temporary expanders:

On the drain bulbs--I think most people start with 4 or 6? and when they appear to be draining less than a certain amount per day, they take out one or two at a time over the next week or so. Warning: it is kind of gross, as at first there is liquid and blood, then liquid and fatty stuff floating around. My insurance paid for a home care nurse to come and change dressings and drain the bulbs for maybe a week after.

As I remember, you want to pop a pain pill before they pull these out--it can be quite "uncomfortable" to put it mildly.

The recliner and going ahead and taking pain meds as needed were both mentioned and I'll second that! If you're used to sleeping on your stomach, it's a pain not to be able to. I think it took me a month or so before being able to sleep normally...aaahhhh.

They told me to bring bras to the hospital, but they put a surgical bra on you that keeps everything in place, so it's probably not necessary to bring your own.

No disrespect to our health care professionals, but my last tip would be to try to have somebody with you in the hospital at all times! With the nursing shortage and overstressed employees, it can be a huge comfort to have a truly caring face there to advocate for you, or even to just get water or some healthy food when you need it.

Donna


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 30 2008 at 1:50pm

Donna I will definitely second having someone with you after surgery to help get water or a nurse for that matter! 

The hospital I use does not give out bras for any kind of surgery so you might throw in one just in case.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 30 2008 at 2:49pm
Tips:
 
It is best not to have blood drawn,or an injection given, in the arm on the side of your body where you had surgery.
Be sure and tell healthcare providers that you have had breast cancer surgery.
 
You will not be able to drive for a few days.  The doctor should tell you after you have your procedure how many days to wait.
 
Call the doctor if you have increased pain, loss of appetite or weight, changes in menstrual periods or blurred vision.  Also report dizziness coughing or hoarsness, headaches, or digestive problems that seem unusual or that don't go away.
 
The incision should be kept clean and dry for one week after surgery.
Sponge baths are preferred to showers.  You can take a bath if you keep your surgical site dry.
 
You will be given pain medicine after the procedure.  Do not take aspirin for the first three days.  Ask your doctor if there is something you can take for pain you can buy over the counter if you prefer.
 
The area may be black and blue but this will go away in a few days.
 
You may feel numbness, tingling, or discomfort on the inner part of your upper arm or in your armpit.  This is normal.
 
When shaving under your arm or applying deodorant, look in the mirror to avoid irritating the incision.
 
As the incision heals, it may feel thick and tough.  You may massage the area with a mild lotion, Vitamin E, or pure lanolin.  Avoid highy perfumed lotions.  After several weeks, the scar will soften.
 
 


Edited by trip2 - Aug 30 2008 at 2:51pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nancy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 30 2008 at 3:25pm
WOW! Ladies!
 
Now that's what I call a responseClap Thank you....thank you....thank you!!! Keep them coming! I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, and y'all are digging deep in the memory box (of which you truly wanted to forget), and are coming up with everything!! 
 
Just had to get that Y'all in LindaLOL.
 
Whoops! I forgot to use my inside voiceEmbarrassedBig%20smile
Hugs,
Nancy
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jessie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 30 2008 at 7:26pm
Since my most critical time was fighting a MRSA infection after my mastectomies, I just have to emphasize how important it is to do everything possible to keep ALL incisions involved as sterile as possible !  This includes all drain sites, catheters, and IV sites as well as the primary incisions.  Become OBSESSIVE about anyone touching you washing their hands with antibecterial soap before they touch you, or anything you touch.  Make sure all towels and linens touching you are clean.  This is a VERY important job for anyone who stays with you in the hospital --- watching out for you !!  And make sure your own hands are kept as sterile as possible.  Ask the person staying with you to wash the side rails on your bed several times a day with antibecterial soap or gel.
 
The risk is not so high once you're home, but continue to be very careful until ALL incisions have completely healed. 
 
After you go home, take your temp every day for a month or so and call your surgeon if you have any fever at all or if you notice any sign of inflammation.
 
Oh boy, this really sounds paranoid, but humor me please --- you can't be too careful in the hospital.  Those nasty and very dangerous 'Super Bug' staph buggers are in all hospitals. Evil%20Smile 
 
I hate to frighten anyone, but it could save your life !
 
Hugs,
Jessie
IDC,Stage I,Grade 3,dx 4/06
dbl mast 5/06,
systemic MRSA post surgery
septic shock, heart attack
triple bypass 1/07
no chemo due to infections and heart issues
so far NED!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 31 2008 at 4:38am
Tips:
 
Avoid Blood pressure measurements taken on the affected side.
 
Do not perform unprotected work with hand/arm on side of surgery since these activities have been shown to increase the chances of Lymphema, (chronic swelling) of the arm.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ReneeST Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 31 2008 at 9:13am
Pain Meds:
Take laxatives and stool softeners while on pain medications.
 
Eat something every couple of hours while on pain medications.  And if nausea won't go away, take a half tablet of meclizine/dramamine.
 
Clothing:
Definitely buy 2 no-wire bras that open in the front for lumpectomies.  Wear the bra 24/7.
 
Ice Packs?   No one told me to put ice packs on the lumpectomy/port/lymp node  incisions.  I developed a large hematoma on the breast and the port area had significant bruising approx. 6" around it.   Four days after surgery, the surgery resident in the ER asked if I was putting ice on them.   Nope, but it sure has helped! 
56 yo Seattle, WA Stage 1, Grade 3, 1.3 cm IDC Lumpectomy Aug 2008
SNB neg;4 rds Taxotere & Cytox. BRCA-2 Variant. 16 Rads Jan 2009 "Canadian Study"
www.reneesbumpintheroad.blogspot.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nancy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 02 2008 at 5:15pm
Ladies,
 
I have some "After surgery tips" that I am going to post. There seems to be a problem, though with formatting once they are on the site. I am copying and then pasting in the post, so my apologies if they are a bit out of format. You can just print them out, and if anyone has anymore they would like to add, just post, and I will edit and add them.
 
Nancy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NancyJane Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 03 2008 at 4:13am
Wonderful list, Nancy.  Your are an Angel, rock star all rolled into oneStar!
41yr dx 7/25/08
Lumpectomy and ax node disection (38 nodes, all clean!) 8/12/08
T2 grd 3, N0, TN IDC
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nancy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 03 2008 at 5:15am
Nancy Jane,
 
Thank you! Everyone has to remember that they are the words and expertise....memories of the gals on this site, and from my Lori....I just typed them. Glad to be of help.
 
Hugs,
The other Nancy JaneWink
 
 
 


Edited by Nancy - Sep 03 2008 at 5:19am
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