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January 2021 Surgery Group

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135

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  • Susiemommy
    Susiemommy Member Posts: 46
    edited January 2021
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    Hello all. Welcome to the newcomers. Wow, there are a lot of us with surgeries in January - way to start of the new year, eh? Well, 4 days out from surgery, and I'm getting pretty antsy. I'm wondering how soon is too soon to get out to maybe a Target or something. It's freezing outside here, and walking around my house has gotten old. I tried walking on the treadmill, but I actually started breaking a sweat, and that is (I think) not a good idea for all the bandages and healing. I've heard people say they took hardly any of the pain medications that were prescribed and just needed Tylenol or Ibuprofen. That has not been me. I've been taking mine around the clock until today. (By the way, if you find yourself in that same boat, I highly recommend taking some stool softeners and laxatives - and not just the minimum dosage of those - to try and head off the constipation that will surely follow.) Anyone else have any good ideas for passing the time? I'm realizing all of the projects around the house I need to work on require the use of my arms.

  • NotAsCalmAsILook
    NotAsCalmAsILook Member Posts: 133
    edited January 2021
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    susiemommy: I guess where you go, to get out of the house and moving, depends on what's going on near you. For me, I want to stay away from the Covid surges in my community, so I can't picture myself going to a public indoor place. Maybe in normal times....

  • Danavice
    Danavice Member Posts: 12
    edited January 2021
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    Curious to know how many are planning on Physiotherapy treatment post surgery?

  • KnitNerd
    KnitNerd Member Posts: 19
    edited January 2021
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    Susiemommy -- I would suggest bundling up and maybe walking to the end of your block and back first. I remember when I had my first C-section and those pain meds can lull you into a false sense of feeling fine. I felt good walking around the house so tried a short walk around the block. By the end, I felt like my intestines were going to fall out. Also, I'm like you -- I know if I'm sitting with the kids during their school, I'm going to be seeing and thinking about all the things I need to do around the house. So my plan is to sit on my couch in the basement and watch TV to stay away from any distractions or temptations. I've been making a list of shows I want to binge just for post-surgery. This may also be a good time to do some research on restaurants that deliver that you haven't tried yet. You'll be supporting a local business that might be struggling and give yourself another good reason to not cook tonight.

    I had a bunch of items delivered the past few days and am wondering what else people have bought to prepare or what people bought that they have found useful so far. I have some front-zip bras, a tank top with snaps for easy in and out, zipper hoodies and some sweat pants. I also bought a wedge pillow because we don't have a recliner or something like that to sleep in. Did I go overboard? Not enough?

  • Susiemommy
    Susiemommy Member Posts: 46
    edited January 2021
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    NotAsCalmAsILook, exactly, there really is no indoor safe haven, is there? I'm just stir crazy I think. And KnitNerd, you will likely be well prepared with all your deliveries. I wish I had more tank tops I could step into. I'm still having god-awful hotflashes from chemo-induced menopause, so even this little thin robe with the drain pockets is too much at times. I think I will try the bundling up walk today. That will probably nip this in the bud. Good luck today AB45!


  • Danavice
    Danavice Member Posts: 12
    edited January 2021
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    knitnerd: I had a lumpectomy 2 years ago, the clothes you've gathered will be perfect, and the wedge pillow is a good call, especially since you are having SNB as well. An item I really appreciated was a small ice/heating gel pack, the size they give you if you have eye surgery (about 3-inch diameter). It fit in my bra perfectly.

  • KnitNerd
    KnitNerd Member Posts: 19
    edited January 2021
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    Danavice -- Oh, good call on the ice pack! I was really trying to avoid CVS and have them deliver my prescription, but there's some hiccup so I have to venture out for that. Will pick that up too. I HATE sleeping on my back so figured the wedge pillow was really the only way to go.

    Susiemommy -- Cold weather will fix the hot flashes, right? I know, probably not, but let's pretend to get us through this! :) This is the tank top I got. It has snaps on the straps and sides, plus pockets for my drains when I do my BMX in a few months. If you order, I would suggest going up a size. It seems pretty true to size, which may cause it to be a little snug when you slide the drains in. A size larger will give you the extra room for drains. Even without the drains, it seems pretty helpful. The arm holes are a bit big and with snaps on the side, it may help with incisions and chemo treatments. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0816XLK14/

  • ab45
    ab45 Member Posts: 153
    edited January 2021
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    Hi All

    I wanted to give an update after my lumpectony surgery. After my surgical pathology report, I had a surprise, welcome to breast cancer. My pathology showed positive lymph nodes that no scans detected or saw. My stage 1 went to a stage 3. I am not trying to scare anyone but only posting to prepare others, it can and does happen. This journey is unpredictable and truly no one knows what turn is next. Buckle up for the journey and try to take one day at a time.

    Sending positive vibes for healing to everyone

  • KnitNerd
    KnitNerd Member Posts: 19
    edited January 2021
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    AB45 -- Ugh. Just ugh. I'm glad they at least caught it and hopefully they can work on a new game plan for you going forward. Wishing you some better days ahead!

  • NotAsCalmAsILook
    NotAsCalmAsILook Member Posts: 133
    edited January 2021
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    ok. 2 days out from surgery... the lesson no one shared pre surgery that would have been really useful - how to put on the binding... the breast that is still there does not like this game at all!


    serious props to anyone who can master this skill.

  • kimberly1981
    kimberly1981 Member Posts: 30
    edited January 2021
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    Danavice - I think it's standard here for BMX to regain range of motion? (assuming physiotherapy is Canadian for what we call physical therapy in US?)

    KnitNerd - The thing I'm most worried about post is being able to sleep sitting up - I've never been able to. Let me know if the wedge pillow helps!

    AB45 - So sorry for the shitty pathology reports - truly f*ck cancer. Did they remove the nodes during the surgery or are you going to need to go back in? And will this mean chemo for you now?

    NotAsCalmAsILook - Oh dear! I've been wondering how this would work on the chance that COVID means I can only have the side with cancer done. Have you figured it out and if so, any tips?

    Best of luck to KMouse, Flowergirl24, KLMN, and DeniseML on your surgeries this week. All positive thoughts for effective easy surgeries with good pathology reports and quick healing.

  • ab45
    ab45 Member Posts: 153
    edited January 2021
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    She removed seven lymph nodes, Chemo has now been added to the plan for treatment, ughhh!! That is a stressor, cancer is so unpredictable. You can make a plan all YOU want but doesn't mean it will or will not happen.

    Sending positive vibes for all

  • NotAsCalmAsILook
    NotAsCalmAsILook Member Posts: 133
    edited January 2021
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    The only tip I have is to ask them to demonstrate it for you (with you) while you are lucid.

    I didn't think of it until I had been home for 24+ hours.


  • KnitNerd
    KnitNerd Member Posts: 19
    edited January 2021
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    Can anyone talk a little about what the day of surgery looks like? I talked to the nurse at the hospital and it sounds like I'm going to be there for about 12 hours and won't be home until night. I don't know why I was thinking I would be home by early afternoon. Expectations vs. reality I guess! So how did things go timewise?

    Also, did anyone do a wire localization? What was that like?

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,185
    edited January 2021
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    Warm thoughts to All who are having your surgeries this week and/or recuperating Medicating

    We are just posting this in case anyone is interested:

    Breastcancer.org is interviewing several people (virtually from your home) for a video about the decision making process regarding surgery for breast cancer. The video will feature diverse experiences from people of all backgrounds who had either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. We would love to hear from you if you're interested in sharing the following information about your story:

    • Which two or more specific surgical options were you given?
    • Why did you make your decision?
    • What was your decision making process?
    • How did it feel to go through the experience of making the decision?
    • What questions did you ask before you made the decision?
    • In hindsight, are there questions you wish you had asked before the procedure?
    • What advice would you give to people who are deciding on their surgery right now about how to choose what's best for them?
    • Did you have a lumpectomy and an oncoplastic surgery?

    Thank you!

    Please contact Ella at echick@breastcancer.org by Friday, January 22 if you're interested in being interviewed.

  • melbo
    melbo Member Posts: 266
    edited January 2021
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    knitnerd: I had lumpectomy with wire placement a few weeks ago. The wire placement wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be — basically just a slight sting as they numb you with lidocaine and that was it. The wire placement was confirmed with a mammogram both pre and post placement, which was a little uncomfortable, but they didn’t use nearly as much pressure as they do with a normal mammogram.

    As for timing, my wire placement appt was at 0830. I was scheduled for surgery around 1300, woke up in the recovery room around 1700, and was on my way home by 1930. It was a long day.

  • KnitNerd
    KnitNerd Member Posts: 19
    edited January 2021
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    Melbo -- That sounds almost exactly the same as my schedule. Seems like there's a lot of sitting around and waiting in between weird craziness! And with no eating at all that day? It's going to be a whole lot of "fun."

  • KLMN
    KLMN Member Posts: 9
    edited January 2021
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    Hi everyone - I had my BMX yesterday at the Mayo Clinic and they did send me home afterwards.

    I am uncomfortable but it is not terrible. Hoping I will feel same or better each day - just not sure if the pain blockers are still helping or not.

    I was really tired last night and most of the day today - and I also don’t love sleeping on my back.

    I hope everyone else having surgery this is month is doing well. Step by step!!


  • kimberly1981
    kimberly1981 Member Posts: 30
    edited January 2021
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    AB45 - Ugh is right for needing chemo! I'm so sorry that your treatment plan changed so dramatically. Chemo sucks but they've figured out how to mitigate a lot of the worst side effects. I went with the mantra "the only way out is through" during mine, and it would help to repeat it like a kind of meditation when I was feeling at my worst.

    NotAsCalmAsILook - I'll try to remember that, should I wake up to only one side completed - thanks!

    Melbo - I'm curious what the wire placement is like - is it sticking out of your skin or just implanted into the nodes? I had a magseed implant via injection last week instead of wire placement day of and it was pretty easy and painless - like a little magnetic grain of rice inside the node.

    KLMN - Congrats on being on the other side of the BMX! I hope you are feeling better today and each day thereafter. How was the first night after the surgery? Did you just sleep through or did you have to wake up to have drains empty, etc?

    I had my pre-op appointment with my PS on Friday and have with the breast surgeon on Monday. As things stand now, it's a go for both sides with immediate reconstruction and the plan is to see how I feel/come to in recovery and send me home if I'm okay and if not, keep me for only one night. Our hospitals here are pretty full and about 40% of the beds are being used for COVID so they don't want anyone going into the hospital if they can avoid it. I'm trying to be very zen but have some creeping fears about things going wrong or pathology coming back with bad news.

  • ClearCreek1
    ClearCreek1 Member Posts: 3
    edited January 2021
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    had bilateral on the 6th. Was surprised the day before to learn i would be going home same day. No complications so far but was hard on hubby. I don't remember anything after surgery other than being sick in my own bathroom. The nurses in recovery left my Husband to get me dressed and doc instructed him to stop half way home to make me walk. He did not. He said he would never have gotten me back in car. As it was he called the neighbors for help at 12am when we got home.

  • melbo
    melbo Member Posts: 266
    edited January 2021
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    kimberly1981 — the wires stick out of your skin quite a ways. They are thin and flexible though, so they coiled them up and taped them down. The plastic surgeon untaped them before the operation so he could do all of his drawing on my skin, but he taped them back down once he was done.

  • MEM127
    MEM127 Member Posts: 18
    edited January 2021
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    AB45 - I'm sorry for the bad news. Hope you are feeling better post surgery and mentally prepared for the new course of action. I have my lumpectomy and excisional biopsy on Tuesday.

    Knitnerd - I am supposed to go in at 6:15 am for a dye injection, and then surgery sometime between 7-8 am. They told me I would most likely be home before noon, which seems like a much shorter day than you have scheduled. I had the magseed trackers put in on Friday, so maybe that saved some time.

    My poor pups are feeling very abused, between the MRI biopsy and them trying to put the magseed tracker in via mammogram, they are battered and bruised. I feel a little cheated with these tiny A cups - all the drawbacks now, and no past years of great cleavage. Sigh.

  • kimberly1981
    kimberly1981 Member Posts: 30
    edited January 2021
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    ClearCreek - Were you given anything for nausea in advance of the surgery or did it just not work? I have a patch thing to stick behind my ear day of, but not sure what to expect.

    Melbo - So interesting! It looks like you may have also had a SLNB - were you awake for any of that or was it done after you were put under? Mine is scheduled an hour before surgery starts so wasn't sure if any of it happens before anesthesia - like maybe the dye injection (or whatever happens there)?

  • melbo
    melbo Member Posts: 266
    edited January 2021
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    I’m not quite sure what an SLNB is so I’m not sure. I did have the dye injection though and that was done about an hour before surgery. It was another procedure I was really, really dreading because it sounds horribly painful, but it ended up being almost nothing — just a slight sing of lidocaine and that was it

  • kimberly1981
    kimberly1981 Member Posts: 30
    edited January 2021
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    Melbo - Sorry - SLNB = sentinel lymph node biopsy - the dye injection followed by looking for which nodes have dye present to know which ones to check/remove. Do you know if any were removed from that procedure?

  • melbo
    melbo Member Posts: 266
    edited January 2021
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    oh yeah, I definitely had lymph nodes taken. One of mine that tested negative for cancer during biopsy turned out to be positive for cancer. Luckily the chemo had killed it, but still.

  • deniseml
    deniseml Member Posts: 68
    edited January 2021
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    Had UMX 2 days ago with axillary node dissection, stayed overnight, home 24 hours ago. I had a nerve block which controlled the pain for first 48 hours.

    taking Tylenol, Ibuprofen and Tramadol on a schedule. managing discomfort well enough. Also had a Scopolamine patch placed pre-op for post-op

    nausea. worked nicely. I am using a wedge pillow which I love. I'm very comfortable in bed. Just have a regular pillow to prop up my left arm. Have 2 drains, a Tegaderm dressing which allows me to take a shower! quite a bit of chest swelling right now. Just waiting on path report, up to 10 days to get. Aready know Radiation is next along with immunotherapy. I have great family support!

  • KLMN
    KLMN Member Posts: 9
    edited January 2021
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    Kimberly1981

    First night was pretty well. I was very tired and slept pretty well (on my back). We set an alarm for 3am to check and empty drains. Realized it probably wasn’t necessary.

    I just had a shower - not the easiest process but my husband was amazing and helped with it all - including washing my hair. It is crazy - I never realized how often I put my arms above my shoulders until you can’t!


    I am still sore and uncomfortable, but it is going better than I imagined. Step by step!!!


    Wishing good luck and speedy recovery to all of you!


    KLMN

  • GreenOutdoors
    GreenOutdoors Member Posts: 68
    edited January 2021
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    Hi all!

    I'm a little late joining, I found out two days ago that my surgery is planned for 01/25/2021. BMX with reconstruction (TE). I am both terrified and eager.
    I read through the thread and truly wish none of you had to be going through all of this, especially during a pandemic. I hope your pre-op anxiety is bearable and you post-op discomfort is more manageable than you thought it would be.
    virtual hugs to all

    (Edited to fix a typo

  • kimberly1981
    kimberly1981 Member Posts: 30
    edited January 2021
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    DeniseML - Glad to hear it went well and you are on the road to recovery! It's so nice you're able to shower - I've been told it will be 1-3 weeks before I can which sounds so gross! I know I can use wipes for a *insert not so nice term here*'s bath, but it's just not the same.

    KLMN - Thank you for the insights and glad it is going well for you! I'm sure I raise my arms more than I think, but I guess one of the silver linings of not having hair at the moment is not needing to raise my arms to wash it or put it up.

    GreenOutdoors - Welcome to the group and your surgery has been added to the main post. I'm also sorry you find yourself here - a cancer dx always sucks, but we get the added awfulness of pandemic. Will you be staying overnight or also getting a BMX as an outpatient procedure (which I still can't believe has become a thing)?