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June 2021 Surgeries

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pudelpointer
pudelpointer Member Posts: 20

I don't see a June thread started.. if there is one, let me know and I will delete this.

I am scheduled for a double masectomy without reconstruction on June 21st. It can't come soon enough!

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  • goldcity
    goldcity Member Posts: 54
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    I am also having surgery on June 21st. I'll be having a single mastectomy with no reconstruction.

  • eviec1
    eviec1 Member Posts: 80
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    I'm scheduled for a lumpectomy on June 7th - one week from today.

  • goldcity
    goldcity Member Posts: 54
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    I was wondering if anyone else's surgery will be in and out in one day. It was surprising to me for what I think is a pretty major surgery.

  • pudelpointer
    pudelpointer Member Posts: 20
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    Goldcity, I was told with double masectomy I would spend one night in the hospital with the potential of two. It does feel kinda major to go home the same day.

  • goldcity
    goldcity Member Posts: 54
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    I'm getting a bunch of lymph nodes removed as well as a nerve blocker shot under my arm. I won't be on narcotic pain meds at all. I wonder if that makes a difference.

  • gb2115
    gb2115 Member Posts: 553
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    My single mastectomy will be on June 10th. I'm trying to figure out if I will be able to shower at all with the drains. An internet search brings up a wide range of instructions, so clearly it's up to the doctor. I have long hair that will be impossible to wash in the sink.

  • monarchandthemilkweed
    monarchandthemilkweed Member Posts: 155
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    I had surgery in May and was shocked to find out my plastic surgeon said no showers as long as I had drains in. Every surgeon is different. Just be prepared.

  • goldcity
    goldcity Member Posts: 54
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    When I was in boot camp, way back when, my hair was down to my waist. One of the girls in my squad would braid my hair into a super tight braid and wrap it around my head so that it fit under my cap. We took it down every 1-1/2 weeks to wash it. It didn't feel very dirty when I did wash it.

    eviec1 - Your surgery is right around the corner. How are you doing?

  • pudelpointer
    pudelpointer Member Posts: 20
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    One of my friends that had a breast reduction many years ago was unable to shower for a week or so. Her mom took her to the salon to have her hair washed in the basin. I have heard of some salons that will actually wash hair for free for those that have had breast surgery due to breast cancer. Just something that you may want to look into.

  • eviec1
    eviec1 Member Posts: 80
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    Goldcity - I'm mostly OK lol This whole process has been such a rollercoaster and one moment I'm optimistic and hopeful, and the next moment I'm wondering if a random pain in my arm means that it's spread to my bones. I'm sure that's not uncommon. As for the surgery itself - for some reason, I just start worrying that something will suddenly come up and it will have to be canceled or postponed or something and I really want to get this DONE. I just keep waiting for something else to go wrong. I'm sure it takes a long time to get over those feelings following a diagnosis.

  • gb2115
    gb2115 Member Posts: 553
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    I thought about the salon thing, but I'm not sure how quickly I will want to go out and about, not being vaccinated. I like the idea of braids though. I also read about the no-rinse shampoo, so I could send my husband out to get that. My surgeon does seem awfully carefree about many things, so she could easily be one that allows showers with drains.

    eviec1--I understand about worry about postponement or something else going wrong. I worried about it with the first lumpectomy years ago, but it turned out ok. But I'm worried about it again. You're not alone.

  • goldcity
    goldcity Member Posts: 54
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    It's been months since my initial diagnosis and I still notice every little twinge and wonder if the meds are still working. You are definitely not alone. About a month ago I turned my head and thought I saw stars. I was sure the cancer had moved to my brain. I'd read that you shouldn't worry unless the symptoms persist longer than two weeks or get worse, so I let it go. About a week ago I looked up from my kindle and thought saw a spider. Very large and fuzzy. Surreal looking. I closed my eyes, then slowly opened them again. Still there. So, I moved my hand through it to see I could make it go away. Sure did. I screamed as I realized it was a real spider that had dropped down from the ceiling right in front of my eye. I think my husband is still laughing.

  • eviec1
    eviec1 Member Posts: 80
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    Goldcity LOL @ the spider story. But I totally get it.

  • STJA16
    STJA16 Member Posts: 55
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    Hi all, my surgery was Mar 29. I had a mastectomy with reconstruction and a reduction on the left. It was outpatient so no overnight stay. They have moved most to outpatient. I was concerned but it was ok. Some nausea, no pain.

    No bath for 48 hours. After that, I had a shower chair and a hand held shower handle. You can have water over you, just not over the incision and bandages. Get a lanyard with a metal hook or a pouch to hold the drains while showering. Available on amazon. Hair washing would be a problem. I had drains for just under 2 weeks.

  • goldcity
    goldcity Member Posts: 54
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    Thanks for posting. It's very reassuring to know that it can go pretty smoothly and our surgeons haven't lost their minds.

  • Ptang
    Ptang Member Posts: 4
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    Hi everyone, my surgery is scheduled for June 29, exactly 2 weeks after my last chemo. I noticed that I have gotten progressively weaker, especially since the last few weeks, my leg muscle is super tight and sore all the time, stretching doesn't seem to help. I just hope my body is ready for the surgery. I'll get a single mastectomy, no reconstruction, since I need to get radiation after. And I'm most likely wear a prosthetic instead of reconstruction to avoid another surgery… I don't know.

    Would love to hear how everyone is doing and compare notes.

  • julesai
    julesai Member Posts: 11
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    Thinking of all of you having surgery this month.

    I'm 4 years out from a single mastectomy w/no reconstruction. My surgery was late in the afternoon and so they had me spend the night, and booted me out the next morning. Frankly, a relief because the hospital bed was very uncomfortable! I could not shower for 48 hours, and then could not run water over drain and surgery area. The lanyard for your drain is an excellent suggestion and is what I used in the shower. I was surprised by how good I felt once I got home, and had to remember to take it easy.

    xoxo


  • gb2115
    gb2115 Member Posts: 553
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    Ok, let me get this straight...you can shower but not get the front or side of you wet? Or is that it can get a little wet but you don't want to stand there soaking the incisions?

    If it's that you can't get it wet at all, is there any advantage to using a hand held shower rather than using wet washcloths/sponge bath? I feel like the hand held shower head would still kind of spray water everywhere. I might be over thinking this. I probably need to pull the shower head down and look at it. We have one but never use it unless my daughter wants to play with it during her shower, lol.

    My husband is thinking we're just going to have me stand in the shower and he'll help me with washcloths.

    Ugh, my hair is going to be so dirty. I'm already itching thinking about it.

    I'm super worried about constipation too. My health is complicated by fissures and pelvic organ prolapse (as I've posted on some other threads), so this could be a fast track to all sorts of misery. My surgeon said we'd focus on specific nerve pain medications rather than narcotics, but I'm still worried. I guess anything that happens down there isn't the end of the world though, and I don't have much of a choice. I don't remember being constipated after lumpectomy (and I was taking Percocet), but that was 4 years ago before my private parts stopped working correctly...

  • julesai
    julesai Member Posts: 11
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    Before you leave the hospital, a nurse will likely discuss with you about what you can and can't do: when you can shower, when you can wash your hair, how to care for the drain, when/why/how to change the dressing on your chest. Hopefully you get written instructions, too. It seems to be different with every hospital.

    I should have been much clearer: Unlike you, I have short hair so that was done over a sink with help. I used the handheld shower head for everything below the drain, and wash cloths for upper body, arms, pits, and a spouse to help me with the back. Once the drain was out, full shower for me.

    Sounds like your husband is on board to help and you'll need that.

    There is a thread about packing for surgery & recovery. Things like a small pillow for the ride home (you put it under the seatbelt to protect your chest, and a soft camisole with a pocket for the drain. (These were things my nurse gave me. YMMV.) Seems pretty inclusive and worth reading. :)


  • gb2115
    gb2115 Member Posts: 553
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    That makes sense!! Thanks!!

  • DiveCat
    DiveCat Member Posts: 290
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    @Goldcity:

    All my surgeries have been “day surgeries” including my first which was the double mastectomy with immediate subpec implant reconstruction. That was an earlier day - I think I had to be at hospital for 7:30 am or so, but I was released by about 5:00 pm - once I was able to walk a few laps around the day surgery unit and take myself to washroom.

    Truth be told I was always happy to go home to my own house after - even when it meant a 2 1/2 hour car ride home (each time!). Last time for my fat grafting I was getting a bit irritated as they would not let me leave until 6:30 pm or so as one of my incisions kept opening and bleeding until they finally put some pressure bandaging on it.


  • DiveCat
    DiveCat Member Posts: 290
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    Joining in though with just a minor procedure (plus maybe another touch up) as I am scheduled for my nipple tattoos on June 18.

    I kept my nipples but lost colour (and they already were naturally very pale) and so I finally went in December 2020 to deal with that and use some optical illusion to even them out a bit more. I should have gone darker thought as I lost most of colour from them quickly - was going to go back end of February but then managed to get in earlier March for a second fat grafting round after someone else cancelled instead. That took priority for me.

    I am reasonably happy with second round of fat grafting - seems it took a lot better than first time which is good as I basically decided that last timewas going to be it. Hoping 1-2 tattoo visits will be the end of all of this. Can’t believe my first surgery was over 7 years ago now.

    Best wishes for a smooth surgery and good recovery to everyone this month!


  • dulcea
    dulcea Member Posts: 122
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    I had a mastectomy in May. I was not allowed to shower with the drains. I did not take a shower for 19 days! Baby wipes were fine for my sponge baths. I learned how to hang my head in the shower and have my husband shampoo my hair. We made a mess but it worked nicely!

  • goldcity
    goldcity Member Posts: 54
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    DiveCat - Nipple tatoos conjure up visions of ye olde tatoo parlour. I'm assuming of course that it's a plastic surgery procedure?

  • pudelpointer
    pudelpointer Member Posts: 20
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    eviec1

    I will be camping when you have surgery a d won't.have access to internet. I just wanted to send all the positive vibes and energy your way!

  • eviec1
    eviec1 Member Posts: 80
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    Thank you so much, pudelpointer! I'm getting a little nervous about being put under general anesthesia (and doing my best not to read horror stories on the internet!). But, in good news, I just got my oncotype score and it's an 8, which is making me feel a little more hopeful about things overall.

  • Esther01
    Esther01 Member Posts: 229
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    Hi Ptang,

    My surgery is June 10. I wonder if systemic enzymes would help with the stiffness? I know they help with scar tissue and carrying away cell debris from the body. It's all very new to me. A few months ago I found an amazingly good integrative doctor to help strengthen my immune system, circulation, etc to be stronger for surgery and to help heal better afterward. I didn't even know what that was before BC and now I highly recommend it. You're not far from me in Irvine and you have time before your surgery date, in case you want to ask about addressing the stiffness and building up your strength for a successful surgery. It's Tustin Longevity Center at tlcdoctors.com. They don't take the place of our primary doctor or oncologist so they don't step on any toes. They cover things our other doctors miss. I'm feeling stronger and more confident about the surgery now because of what I'm learning there. I'd never heard of systemic enzymes before (very helpful for cancer), and probably for the first time in my life I'm taking the right amount of vitamins and minerals, and knowing what and when to eat (never early or late so my body can work on healing overnight instead of digesting). They also do thorough labs at TLC (I was super low in Iodine and Vitamin D which are both very important).

    Just a caveat on the systemic enzymes... I take VitalzymXe and have been told to stop five days before surgery so it won't interfere with clotting, but to resume with double the normal amount on the morning after surgery, because it will help with healing, scar tissue, etc.

    Eviec1: I'm with you there. I'm not looking forward to the general anesthesia. I was told yesterday during my pre-op appointment to ask the anesthesiologist for an LMA (Laryngeal Mask Airway). I'd never heard of it before but just read that it's more comfortable than the general anesthesia throat tube that gives you a sore throat. I'm going to call ahead and ask for a pre-surgery phone call with the anesthesiologist to see if I can plan this in advance. Not sure if they'll agree, but it's worth trying!

    Blessings,

    Estherjenn


  • eviec1
    eviec1 Member Posts: 80
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    I tell you, the close I get to surgery day, the more nervous I get. Like panic attack nervous. I really wish I could fast forward through the next two days and be done. The worrying is awful.

  • pudelpointer
    pudelpointer Member Posts: 20
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    How did it go today eviec1? How you are gone and resting up!

  • eviec1
    eviec1 Member Posts: 80
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    It actually went just fine! The worst part was the wire marking - that was pretty painful. But the rest was a breeze compared to what I had been imagining. And my surgeon even gave me a ride home afterwards lol

    I did NOT sleep well last night - and not because of pain, which has been manageable so far - but because I had terrible heartburn. Maybe from the anesthesia? That's not something I generally get, so I didn't have any Tums or anything on hand and wasn't about to run out for it at 2 AM. So that was really uncomfortable and, according to my Oura ring, I only got about 4 hours of sleep total. So I'm feeling pretty sluggish today and will likely need a nap in a few hours lol

    Now the stress of waiting for the final pathology report. I really hope the surgeon got clean margins and that my nodes are clear. She said the report would probably take about a week and that she would let me know as soon as she receives it.

    Oh, one sort of sad story from yesterday with an important reminder: there was an elderly woman in the pre-op room waiting for her surgery, too. Her sweet husband brought her breakfast and they shared breakfast together while waiting. It was all very heartwarming BUT.....You can't eat before surgery and, as a result of this breakfast, her surgery had to be cancelled. That made me so sad - her husband had tried to do something nice and supportive and it ended up with so much stress. So remember to follow all those pre-surgery instructions!