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Tips, Tricks and How to get through this Chit!

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245

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  • Smaarty
    Smaarty Member Posts: 2,618
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    thank you guys for the tips. One thing I did after the bmx was to start wearing Cami tops. Having something against my skin ALL the time helped reduced all the zinging, zaps and just plain pain In the as****    to stop.  I like the Soma Cami that I wear now instead of bras.

  • kicks
    kicks Member Posts: 319
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    OPI Nail Envy is what kept my nails 'on' through out chemo.  It isn't cheap (like Sally Hansen's) and must be bought at a Salon or Beauty Supply but definately worked for me.  The lady who did the Look Good-Feel Better class gave out a sample of it.  For me (and several others I know) Sally Hansen's is totally useless - it does not stay on at all.  It peels off in a single piece shortly after it-s dry.

    Electric/Heated Throw - I am always cold and was a lot colder during chemo.  Hubby found a fleece heated throw at WalMart for between $20 and $25.  It was great for keeping warm while watching TV.   That first one lasted through 4 winters but he went ahead and got me a new one this winter.

  • Blessings2011
    Blessings2011 Member Posts: 1,801
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    I used alcohol wipes to strip my drain tubes, but found that the actual stripping was rarely necessary. Even if there is gunk in the tubes (and there will be); if it doesn't impede the flow of fluid, there is no need to remove it.

    HOW TO EMPTY DRAINS, AS TAUGHT TO ME BY A SURGICAL NURSE

    1. Have a "Drain Station" set up in the bathroom with alcohol wipes, surgical gloves if someone is helping you, the measuring cup, and the log.

    2. Wash your hands carefully.

    3.  Unpin your drain bulb, unplug the top, and pour the fluid into the measuring cup. Log in the amount, and dump the fluid in the toilet.

    Now this is the important part:

    4. Wipe both the bulb plug and the bulb opening with an alcohol wipe. Drains are direct access for bacteria to enter the body, and we all know what infections can do.

    5.  After the plug and opening are disinfected (and before you insert the plug again), squish the bulb flat. Starting from the bottom, roll it up, squeezing out all the air. When you get to the top, re-insert the plug. This creates the best suction to draw fluid away from your tissues.

    6. Always empty drains (and log in the amounts) when they get half-full. If they are any fuller than that, they will lose suction and stop pulling off fluid as efficiently.

    STRIPPING DRAIN TUBES

    Like I said above, not necessary if fluid is moving freely. You will see some yucky things coagulate in the tubes, but that's normal.

    If you do feel like you want to strip the tubes, follow these steps:

    1.  Pinch the tube tightly where it exits your body. Hold it very close to the exit hole, and don't let it move. 

    2. With your other hand, use either an alcohol wipe or a wet washcloth, and pinch the tube just below your other hand.

    3. With a milking/stripping motion, squeeze the tube and pull the contents towards the bulb. The tube is very stretchy. If the gunk doesn't move, don't freak out.

    4. If the tube becomes completely blocked, see your BS or PS ASAP.

    FYI - if you haven't seen Jackson-Pratt (JP drains), they are clear plastic bulbs about the size of hand grenades. They are attached to a clear plastic tube that is about 36" long. The top end of the tube (that you can't see) is actually about 8" long, flattened, and looks a lot like a flat sprinkler hose with holes in it. This is the part that is inserted at the time of surgery, and draws off fluid. 

    The tube is stitched into place, so it won't fall out accidentally. It can, though, be painful if you yank on it while sleeping, so it's a good idea to have it covered somehow to reduce the chance of pulling. I had a giant ace bandage on me; other docs use different types of bandages. And remember - drains are temporary!

  • camillegal
    camillegal Member Posts: 15,711
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    Blessings wonderful explanation, and exactly how I learned, but I will admit after a while I skipped some steps it was so tiring, I had mine in for 3 months, I have no idea why except they were always filled so it turned into a whole thing for me. But they never hurt me so it was just there. But when u do them Blessings is exactly right on everything, once u do it--it's simple--Remember u can't tug on Superman's cape, u don't spit in the wind, u don't pull the mask on the Old Lone Ranger and u don't mess around with drains. 

  • Blessings2011
    Blessings2011 Member Posts: 1,801
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    camillegal - too funny!!! HappyHappyHappy

  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,178
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    Cami

    And you don't mess around with Jim

  • camillegal
    camillegal Member Posts: 15,711
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    Spookie, I didn't say I didn't mess around with Jim  Winking

  • Blessings2011
    Blessings2011 Member Posts: 1,801
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    ThumbsUp

  • budrfligal13
    budrfligal13 Member Posts: 105
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    Hi ladies.   There is such great info here!  I'm glad I stopped here.  I got a "Chillow" for my pillow to help with hot flashes.  It's great!  I love it.  It keeps my head cold.  I also did some "off-path" things before, during, and after chemo.  I did a thorough coffee enema cleanse and adapting several techniques used in the Gerson Therapy.  Being mindful that these these therapies are not for everyone and you have to do your research.  Anyway, I have a few more fills to go before I settle in for the 6wk pre-exchange surgery waiting period.  I still have not seen or touched the gel implants. My PS told me we will when the time comes.  I'm anxious.  I've researched implants, however, I still have no idea what to expect except no sensation and never looking good or normal, lol. especially nipples.  Ugh, I know most women are pleased with their results.  I just wonder if I will ever "Not" be aware of the fakeness.  Thanks for reading all!  Have a Blessed day!

  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,178
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    TeeHeeHee

    You knew Jim Croce?

  • specialk
    specialk Member Posts: 9,233
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    I found that having a portable basket is good to corral all your stuff - you can keep it next to the bed, recliner, couch - or wherever you happen to be.  I kept my phone, remotes, meds, tissues, gum or mints, glasses, pen and paper, etc. 

    bras or camisoles - I woke up from the BMX in a drain camisole - the one with the pockets for drains - so I did not need to purchase one.  Ask your BS or PS if they will be using one.  I used soft cup bras with thin foam pads throughout the tissue expander phase because the thin padding helped mask the differences between the expanders and helped provide a more uniform shape.  They can be stepped into and pulled up - Genie and Ahh bras, or Coobie. You can often find them inexpensively at Sam's or Costco, Walgreens or CVS.  Also, check online for coupons. Here are links:

    https://www.ahhbra.com/i2/index.aspx?SID=GS_BR_US&gclid=CLfF6bHVnrwCFSFo7Aoda3cAMg&direct=true

    http://www.geniebra.com/?gclid=CMCRyLrVnrwCFWxp7Aod4mwApw

    http://www.shopcoobie.com/?gclid=COHcr8PVnrwCFQto7AodeScA0Q

    One thing my DH did that I loved was to install an on/off lamp switch extender - they are inexpensive and allow you to turn off or dim the lamp without reaching up to the lamp itself.  Here is the link:

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lutron-Credenza-100-Watt-CFL-LED-Plug-In-Lamp-Dimmer-White-TTCL-100DH-WH/202502171

    I used a clean shoelace to string the drains on like a necklace for showering.  Also if you have room in your shower you can buy an inexpensive plastic garden chair and sit during the shower if feeling lightheaded - like this one:

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_333431-1364-8234-60-4700_1z0wemf+2z8vj__?productId=3332928&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1%26page%3D1&facetInfo=$5 - $10

    I also used a hand held shower, but had no restrictions on showering until after drains were out - it was just easier. Great for hair washing while I still had hair!  We had installed them in a couple of our showers for dog-washing but they were invaluable for cancer patient washing too!

    I alternately used a heated throw and ice packs - you can get a package of small gel-packs that you can freeze - they are a good size to fit in your bra or camisole.  I also have the beanbags that you can freeze or microwave so they can be hot or cold.

    I slept in my own bed, not in a recliner.  I used a small stool to climb into bed, put a LOT of pillows at the head of the bed, then crawled on my knees to the right position and turned around, then sat down and laid back.  I could do all this without using my arms.  As I healed, or had more surgery, I put pillows in different places - behind me, beside me, under my arms.  I found that having different kinds of pillows helped - small, large, squishy, firm - made them useful for different situations.


  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,178
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    Special K check out the Tampa BCO sistas thread. 

  • specialk
    specialk Member Posts: 9,233
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    spookies - Thanks, I have been following it - just don't know if I will be able to make the gathering - may be out of town.

  • 2nd_time_around
    2nd_time_around Member Posts: 14,084
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    bump for newbies

  • LoriWNY
    LoriWNY Member Posts: 178
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    Somebody mentioned this on another thread--buy one of those "spin brush" toothbrushes prior to your mastectomy.  I remember moving my hand/arm back and forth to brush my teeth was difficult the first couple of weeks post-BMX and ALND and having had a spin brush would have made this routine task much easier!

  • sandra4611
    sandra4611 Member Posts: 1,750
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    Wonderful tips on this page! Great idea to learn how to clean your bum with the other hand. I found that some days one side of my chest was more temperamental than the other so that skill would have come in handy during recovery. I'll use that tip next time for sure.  

    Here's my bathroom tip. In the hospital, it's hard to reach under to wipe yourself when you are in pain and you have those annoying T-rex arms that further limit your movement. Wrap some toilet tissue around a wooden spoon. This really works. The tissue will fall off in the toilet. When you leave the hospital, toss it in the trash.

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  • 2nd_time_around
    2nd_time_around Member Posts: 14,084
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    bump

  • lovewins
    lovewins Member Posts: 570
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    bump

  • camillegal
    camillegal Member Posts: 15,711
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    This is really some good infor for newbies and it's not scary.

  • lovebeingnana
    lovebeingnana Member Posts: 9
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    I got these great pillows at Brookstone and they were great! They are like beanbags and will conform however you want them. They were great under my arms for the first few weeks after my BMX and I still use them to stay comfortable after fills. They stay nice and cool. They are called Genuine FOM Fun Pillows and they are 2 for $30 and worth every penny. 

    Make sure you have plenty of safety pins for keeping drains attached to your clothes or while showering. A lanyard works really well for showering if your PS lets you. Just safety pin the drains to the lanyard around your neck. 

  • camillegal
    camillegal Member Posts: 15,711
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    ThumbsUp

  • Rainonme
    Rainonme Member Posts: 7
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    Drinks lots and lots of water.Wipes are also good for the bathroom as well.Icing your hands and feet helps alot.It pushes the chemo out from you extremedies.I even put it on my head.It makes sense I didnt need anymore disfunction than what was coming.I started using bag balm on my hands and feet as well .My hands and feet started to peel after 2 chemos. Once I started using it everyday at least 2 to 3 times my skin stayed smooth and it saved me from losing my nails.It made my feet feel alittle better too.Just use a clear coat on your nails.Focus on what makes you feel better! I cant say enough about ice.Its crazy cause the chemo makes you cold, but you can bundle up as you ice.

  • camillegal
    camillegal Member Posts: 15,711
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    Rainonme ThumbsUp

  • camillegal
    camillegal Member Posts: 15,711
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    image

  • sandra4611
    sandra4611 Member Posts: 1,750
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    image

  • sandra4611
    sandra4611 Member Posts: 1,750
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    image

  • Smaarty
    Smaarty Member Posts: 2,618
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    Tip from blessings:  when out working in the yard, wearing a white camisole with a built-in shelf bra. I'd put on sunscreen wherever my skin was showing. (But of course, not under my clothes....). When I came in and took a shower, I had the WORST sunburn on my FOOBS (TEs)!!!!! Seriously, they were bright red. I put some ice packs on them, then cool compresses, then called my PS. He told me that because during BMX all the fatty and glandular tissue had been scraped away, there was nothing under the skin (besides the pecs) to absorb the burning rays of the sun. In the future, I would need to wear something very padded, or put good sunscreen on my boobs. (And I shouldn't be out in the sun anyway.)

    And:  ICE!!!! According to my PS, anywhere else on the body, o.k., but NEVER on the foobs (TEs) or boobs (implants). See the above explanation of how thin the skin really is after BMX. Factor in having either NO sensation, thanks to severed nerves, or very little sensation in the skin on the TEs, there is a very good chance of FROSTBITE on the skin above TEs and reconstructed breasts.

    So be careful out there now that the weather is getting warmer.

  • sandra4611
    sandra4611 Member Posts: 1,750
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    The Moderators just posted an excellent on Pain in Cancer Patients. Scroll down past the blue links to the actual medical articles to the overview. Excellent explanations.  http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/asco-publishes-articles-on-pain


     

  • 2nd_time_around
    2nd_time_around Member Posts: 14,084
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    ThumbsUp

  • 2nd_time_around
    2nd_time_around Member Posts: 14,084
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    bumping, just because I can