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Topic: Shopping/packing/to-do list for surgery + recovery....

Forum: Surgery - Before, During, and After — Surgical options and helpful tips for recovery and side effects.

Posted on: Feb 6, 2008 03:43PM - edited Jul 23, 2019 10:50AM by Moderators

Panchoandlefty wrote:

OK, I admit it, I am a compulsive planner. I have had some great suggestions and tips not only regarding what to bring to the hospital, but also on how to prepare the house to make the recovery as easy as possible.

I am travelling for surgery so, for me, "packing" includes the first 10 days of post-op care.

I thought I would start a list (in no particular order) that might serve as a reference... PLEASE add your suggestions!!! Anything at all you either found helpful OR wish you'd considered before your surgery.

I am a bit of a MacGyver type and love creative uses for things like the lanyards and fanny packs for drains. I was wondering if a light/loose fly fishing vesy might be handy both for drains and for holding my phone, mp3 player, etc so I didn't have to reach so much... I am SUCH a geek.

Anyway, over-organizing seems to be keeping me occupied as my bi-latteral approaches. I know everything won't be a hit with everyone, but it gives us some things to think about.


******NOTE: MODS TOOK ORIGINAL LIST FROM Panchoandlefty AND COMBINED WITH OTHER MEMBER SUGGESTIONS UP THROUGH END OF MARCH 2015*********** We are happy to keep adding, and please let us know if we missed anything !

Combined list from what others have said in this topic !

Community member tips for Surgery

Tips for the hospital:

Hand sanitizer, antiviral Kleenex, Anti-bacterial adult wipes (in a pretty dispenser), adult "baby wipes" to give yourself sponge baths.

'skin prep wipes'. These help prep the skin for tape and other adhesives

Roll on or Spray Deodorant, NOT a solid stick.

Lozenges or hard candy of your choice.

A lip balm of choice

Face and hand moisturizer

A stool softener, dried prunes, bran cereal and "smooth move" tea, laxatives.

Clipboard, notebook and pen (for documenting when you had pain meds and drain amounts)

Zip up track suits or button up pajamas and shirts.

Slippers, cotton front snap bras

Silky bottoms/PJs to make getting in/out of bed easier

Zip up hoodies/ warm ups, soft flannel shirt is just right for after surgery.

Camisoles/tanks which can be stepped into (as opposed to pulling over-head)

Jog Bras (Natori is recommended) or whatever support is suggested by your surgeon

Pull on, easy pants or shorts, or shirt

Reading glasses

iPod, Mp3 / Music player

Cell phone/ have friends' numbers handy!

Book, magazine

Hair tie if your hair is long.

Lanyard (like for ID cards) for holding drains

Fanny pack for drains

Nurses can make a necklace from IV tubing to hold drains in shower

Luck trinkets or photos from friends and/or family.

A good eye mask and ear plugs in the hospital.

Take clothes to hospital that can be washed/sanitized at home

If you are going to sleep in bed and not a recliner at home, ask the nursing staff to show you the proper way to get in and out of bed with the least strain on your back and upper body.

If you feel you may not be up for visitors at the hospital, just let the nurses and staff know that you prefer no visitors except DH or immediate family. I knew that I was having a rough time emotionally as it was beforehand. I didn't want to put on a happy face for a friend, cousin or whomever wanted to stop by. I know the visitors mean well, but for me I just wanted peace & quiet.

Tips for the ride home:

Have a pillow and lap blanket for the car-ride home.

Fill scripts before coming home so you won't have to stop on the way

What to organize at home:

Consider getting something like the The Shower Shirt, a patented, post-surgical, water resistant garment designed to protect chest surgery patients, including mastectomy, while showering. Use code BCO for 20% off www.theshowershirt.com

Get a manicure and pedicure before your surgery, and a hair cut.

Before surgery, practice washing your hair, with or without help, with your elbows not moved away from your chest---either over the kitchen sink, using the spray or if your doc will allow, in the shower.

Or, arrange with your hair dresser to do your hair after you get home and cannot stand it any longer -- get someone to drive you.

Move commonly used items, kitchen tools, etc to low shelves before surgery

Find NON child-proof caps for meds.

Neosporin.

Arrange all post surgery robes, pj's, button down shirts and hoodies on a rack in one easy to reach place so you can dress myself easily the first couple of weeks without rummaging through my closet.

Bendy straws

Paper cups and light weight coffee cups for at home

Extra sheets to keep in rotation

Lots of pillows or a wedge or two!

A travel neck pillow - 'C' shaped - for keeping neck from getting a crick after sleeping in a recliner.

Tiny travel buckwheat pillows, or other small pillows.

Put an egg crate mattress on top of mattress and use a long body pillow.

Medical gloves (latex free or powder free)

Small kitchen garbage bags for dressing disposals

A little plastic waste can for at home

Find NON child-proof caps for meds

Lanyard (like for ID cards) for holding drains, Fanny pack for drains, or a camisole, or nurses can make a necklace from IV tubing to hold drains in shower. An old neck tie to use as a lanyard to hang my drains on while I shower. Works like a charm

A shower chair and a hand held shower nozzle. 3M Nexcare tagaderm transparent bandage over the port where it exited my skin when I showered. Also, have a lanyard to use for your drains in the shower. I just clip the safety pins on the lanyard clip for while I shower. It seems a little heavy on my neck while I shower, but I take it off right after I shower.

Get a humidifier for home if your air is dry.

Grabbers! These are about 23 inches long, have a handle that you sqeeze, and the end clamps on stuff on the floor. GREAT for pulling up your pants when you can't bend over, or picking up stuff that you drop, (like the toilet paper, etc!) I needed two of these, as I dropped the grabber! Great for pulling the wash basket along, too!

Make sure to get safety pins, makes it easier to pin your drain tube to your pjs.

Size 1 baby diapers, sanitary napkins or nursing pads for open breast incisions.

A small step stool has been a great tool to help me get in and out of bed

Make sure there's food premade that you don't need to fuss with (sandwiches/salads in individual servings), and also keep those drinks handy.

Cook some of my favorite foods and even ordered a couple takeouts from my fav restaurants to be on hand when I got hungry.

Purchase smaller sizes of soda/juice/milk.

Stock up on heavy items (laundry soap, dry dog food, bottled water, sodas) for 2-3 months! Remember to fill up smaller containers that are easier to pick up.

Put your shampoo, conditioner, and body soap in trial size bottles so they are easier to manage and lighter.

Stock up on stuff near bed - tissues, water, magazines, lots of pillows of all sizes, medicine, remote control.

Recliner or hospital bed- can be ordered from medical supply companies.

Drain solving problem: Zip-up hoodies or robes with pockets, I cut a slit on the inside material and popped the drains in from the inside. No one even knows they are there. It looks a little bulky, but much better than the drains hanging on my neck from a lanyard.

If you have someone a the house helping you out, when you need them call from your cell phone to the house phone or vice versa. It was so much easier than trying to yell from upstairs.

Get Netflix or rent movies.

Have an insulated cup for drinking and book and lamp by the bed.

Have someone pour milk, juice, etc from big gallon jugs into smaller containers and leave on an easy-to-reach shelf.

If a can of something needed opening, have someone do it before they leave.

******************

This thread started me thinking about what my husband/partner will need. So I am starting a basket of "surprises" for him. A friend is bringing it to the hospital to give to him after I am in surgery.

iTunes gift card - so he can dowload a book on tape, music, movie, whatever

roll of quarters - for the pop machine

deck of cards - surgery is supposed to be 8 - 10 hours. He can play cards with whoever shows up

remote control car -pure silliness but he will think it is fun!

box of Special K meal bars - at least he will have something semi-healthy to snack on

chapstick - hospital environments can be very drying

bottle of special single malt scotch - something he would never buy for himself, but will appreciate very much when he gets home

travel blanket - hospital can get cold

framed picture of the two of us

tissues

Dx 1/15/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 8, 2018 09:56AM a3vee wrote:

If you have an outlet mall close to you, try there. I went to the outlet mall in Rehoboth beach and went to Maidenform store. I found the sports bras that zip up front. I wear a 40 DDD. The sales lady told me any thing that I needed they can also order for me to be shipped to me or any store close to you. She told me to come back when I start chemo, so she can put me in a soft bra. Hope that helps.


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Jun 10, 2018 01:04PM Willow22 wrote:

this may have been added to the surgery "bring to hospital list" already - but bring a charger for your cell phone and any other electronics (kindle, ipod, ipad, etc)!

Willow

Willow22 Dx 5/1/2017, DCIS, Right, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Dx 5/26/2017, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Dx 5/26/2017, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 5/26/2017 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 7/18/2017 Chemotherapy 7/28/2017 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/23/2017 Whole-breast: Breast, Chest wall
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Jun 19, 2018 09:50AM momof2girlies wrote:

Hi, all. My surgery is coming up on July 13th (double mastectomy with TEs), and my sister is setting up a Meal Train for me. She asked how many meals per week I want people to bring, but I have no clue! Thoughts?

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Jun 19, 2018 12:55PM Jt3 wrote:

Hi Momof2girls, mine was two weeks. After that I was picking up premade food at the grocery store. I think I cooked about a month out light things

Dx 1/2/2018, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/21/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jun 20, 2018 12:42AM Janett2014 wrote:

momof2,

I think having a meal brought to you every other day is about right. That would be 3-4 meals a week. Most people make enough so you will have leftovers. That also assumes that you will already have easy breakfast and lunch foods at your house.

How nice for your sister to arrange the meal train.

Diagnosed age 60 with IDC in 2014. Stage 1A, Grade 2, 0/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Cancer on both sides, bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction with silicone implants, Oncotype 16, Arimidex (Anastrozole) 5 years. There are more details in my biography.
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Jul 1, 2018 01:21PM Fairchild wrote:

Question: I'm having bilateral mastectomies on July 26. Wondering what I need to deal with the drains...I've read everything from lanyards to special vests. what's the cheapest, easiest thing I can get to help with this? thanks!

Fairchild Dx 5/5/2018, ILC/IDC, Both breasts, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 7/25/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 9/6/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/8/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/9/2019 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole)
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Jul 1, 2018 01:22PM Fairchild wrote:

Also, a friend asked about what kind of food I'd like. I have no idea. What will I feel like eating after the surgery?

Fairchild Dx 5/5/2018, ILC/IDC, Both breasts, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 7/25/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 9/6/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/8/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/9/2019 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole)
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Jul 1, 2018 02:20PM Janett2014 wrote:

Fairchild,

Everyone is different, but here’s what I did. A nice breast cancer survivor came to my hospital room the day after my BMX and gave me a drain holder to wear around my neck. It was easy to deal with, and I wore it when I was home. When I went out I either safety-pinned the drains inside my shirt or to my bra. Sometimes I just put the drains in my pockets if I was wearing loose-fitting pants or capris. For showering, I tied an old pair of pantyhose around my neck and “strung” the drains on that. So really I spent nothing on drain issues.

Regarding food, I wanted small quantities of pretty much anything. I didn’t have much appetite and my husband is not a big eater. We didn’t need a lot, but people tend to want to bring big quantities. I also had stocked up on easy-to-prepare items ahead of time.

One of the most challenging things for me was sleeping on my back for a few weeks. I would prop up with lots of pillows. Somehow leaning slightly one way or the other kind of gave me the illusion of sleeping on my side until I could actually do it.

Go back and read lots of good tips in this thread.

Diagnosed age 60 with IDC in 2014. Stage 1A, Grade 2, 0/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Cancer on both sides, bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction with silicone implants, Oncotype 16, Arimidex (Anastrozole) 5 years. There are more details in my biography.
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Jul 1, 2018 02:25PM Janett2014 wrote:

Fairchild,

The same lady who brought me the drain holder also gave me a padded mini pillow with Velcro on it to attach to the car seatbelt. It was very helpful; a small travel pillow works well too. Put it between your chest and the seatbelt.

She also gave me two heart-shaped pillows to hold on my sides while sitting. They definitely added to my comfort.

Diagnosed age 60 with IDC in 2014. Stage 1A, Grade 2, 0/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Cancer on both sides, bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction with silicone implants, Oncotype 16, Arimidex (Anastrozole) 5 years. There are more details in my biography.
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Jul 4, 2018 02:17PM Fairchild wrote:

Folks, I'm getting nervous... My surgery is scheduled for July 26, and suddenly it's July! I have several different kinds of soft, unconstructed bras. I have several pajama outfits that button up the front and have short sleeves (my Amazon purchase!).

What else do I need? Friends will bring food, and my brother will be here to take care of me. (I"m single) My husband bailed during my first cancer 20 years ago (sarcoma), so it's a pretty difficult time.

What are the pillows for? Will a pillow from the bed do? I have a lanyard at work that I can bring home for the drains....How many drains are there?

I'm sorry if I'm asking the same questions over and over. I'm just nervous...


Fairchild Dx 5/5/2018, ILC/IDC, Both breasts, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 7/25/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 9/6/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/8/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/9/2019 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole)
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Jul 5, 2018 06:42AM Aussie-Cat wrote:

Fairchild, it sounds like you're doing well in trying to get prepared for your upcoming surgery. I'm sorry it's such a difficult time for you. There's a good list at the top of this page about what can be helpful for hospital and going home afterwards. I didn't use some of the things I brought to hospital but it was great having lip balm and a magazine to read. A small cushion for the ride home and any other car trips really helps the seat belt not to hurt. Women find a lot of pillows can be helpful to get comfortable in bed but I found an extra triangular pillow has been enough to help me sleep on my back. I had two drains on each side but it varies depending on the kind of surgery you're having, and the decision of the surgeon. My drains didn't drain much and two came out on day 2 and the other two came out on day 4. I hope your surgery goes well.

Diagnosed with nerve pain (post mastectomy pain syndrome) July 2018. Twin sister died of breast cancer May 2019. Surgery 6/19/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right
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Jul 5, 2018 04:51PM Fairchild wrote:

Aussie-Cat thanks so much! That's encouraging to hear about the drains. And now I get the picture with the pillows!

Fairchild Dx 5/5/2018, ILC/IDC, Both breasts, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 7/25/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 9/6/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/8/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/9/2019 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole)
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Jul 6, 2018 11:05AM Aussie-Cat wrote:

You're welcome, Fairchild. It's so nice having each other to ask questions to and listen.

Diagnosed with nerve pain (post mastectomy pain syndrome) July 2018. Twin sister died of breast cancer May 2019. Surgery 6/19/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right
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Jul 28, 2018 02:19PM Rah2464 wrote:

My Plastic surgeon sent me home from the hospital with a handy little velcro belt that you attach the drains to. I can think of one other thing (because I too had a large list) which probably sounds pretty odd, but get your underarms waxed 3-4 days before the surgery. No shaving worries for a month or so.

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/27/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/27/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 29, 2018 06:54AM Jt3 wrote:

awesome waxing! I didn’t even think about that

Dx 1/2/2018, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/21/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Aug 7, 2018 11:40PM Courtz wrote:

I am headed for a double mastectomy and reconstruction. Currently still waiting to see the PS. Hoping that a DIEP Flap will be possible. Mine is luckily not for cancer, but rather a very aggressive diabetic mastopathy that is causing a lot of pian and turning my breasts into stone. That coupled with a high risk family profile, my BS has suggested that this is the only way forward. This thread has been very insightful, so thank you!

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Aug 14, 2018 12:51PM macmomma wrote:

I just had my BMX with DIEP 8/6. I echo the difficulty with sleeping on my back. I did get an electric recliner, but I'm much more comfortable in bed. My husband makes me what I call my "pillow cup" with pillows at my back, knees, and both sides. I, too, find it easier to sleep on my back if I lean a little to one side or another. I have the heart pillows that the volunteers gave me, and I put those under my cheeks so it feels like I'm sleeping on my side. One thing I did that I haven't seen is to use a half slip for a nightgown. I'm in the corset and binder 24/7 so am very covered up--I just want to cover the drains and my privates. A large half slip does that very well and very comfortably. The one I have is probably 20 years old--don't know if they even make them any more!

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Mar 16, 2019 06:48PM DesertPup wrote:

These lists are great. The adult baby wipes were AMAZING. For your face, your bum, your armpits, everywhere! Really made me feel good to self care and get fresh each day. I went a little nuts with skin care too and enjoyed the ritual of nightly face/neck/chest love. Cleanse, exfoliate, serums, eye cream, moisturizer. LOVED it. I had a basket on my bedside table that held all my pills and lip balms, water bottles and fans for hot flashes. I also put a large tray on the bed that held my remotes,eyeglasses, lip balm (I love lip balms) and other things that were great to have close by and stable. And pillows- SO MANY PILLOWS. King size, standard, soft, hard. They made it so nice to be propped up, under the legs, under the arms or leaning to the side. Agree on the Walmart tip for bras and jammies. The bras feel so good holding it all in and up while the swelling goes down.

Dx 9/2018, ILC, Left, 6cm+, 1/8 nodes, ER+, HER2+ Surgery 1/15/2019 Radiation Therapy 2/28/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 16, 2019 06:51PM DesertPup wrote:

RE: The waxing. I was told not to touch my armpit area with any razors or wax for 2 weeks prior to surgury. The risk of an open cut or abrasion causing infection was too great.

Dx 9/2018, ILC, Left, 6cm+, 1/8 nodes, ER+, HER2+ Surgery 1/15/2019 Radiation Therapy 2/28/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Apr 2, 2019 01:47PM Christene502 wrote:

I want to prepare as much as possible before my DM surgery - have to say, is sounds too much to take in for me.

The list is extremely helpful. Just not sure about wearing a bra right after a DM.... Ouch! Sounds painful.

How do you shower? I can not get down in the tub, had total knee and hip replaced. Plus frozen shoulder due to fracture and bone infection.

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Apr 2, 2019 03:27PM Janett2014 wrote:

Christene502,

You will probably be wearing a surgical bra when you wake up from surgery. Your doctor and/or nurse will give you instructions on when or whether you can change to a different type bra or maybe not wear one at all.

They all have different opinions on showering too. Mine said it was fine after 36 hours as long as all incisions (including drain incisions) were covered with Tagaderm. It’s like the Press ‘n’ Seal you use in the kitchen. Before showering I looped my drains (4) to a knee high stocking and hung it around my neck. That worked well.

Diagnosed age 60 with IDC in 2014. Stage 1A, Grade 2, 0/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Cancer on both sides, bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction with silicone implants, Oncotype 16, Arimidex (Anastrozole) 5 years. There are more details in my biography.
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Apr 2, 2019 04:12PM rljes wrote:

I woke up with a 1960's ish binder on (some well meaning volunteer made it ) - but due to itchy skin, I had to wear a pillowcase under the binder.  The staff gave me Lanyards to attach the (bulbs? - chemo brain )  when showering. They also gave me little pockets to attach to my shirt with safety pins to keep 'bulbs' in place.  (i'll wake up 3am with the name).  I'm not sure how long I had to wait to shower.  I remember the binder, tho itchy, felt good keeping everything nice and tight. 

Finished Chemo March 2018, No reconstruction "Going Flat" Dx 6/26/2017, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+ Dx 8/22/2017, 1/7 nodes, HER2+ Surgery 8/22/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy
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Apr 20, 2019 01:25PM crossh wrote:

I have a large snap in the front shirt with the pockets inside to hold the drainage bulbs. It was perfect after my BMX. It was given to me by a friend who went through the same thing. I would love to donate it to someone. These shirts are very expensive. Let me know if anyone wants it. I’ll ship it out to you if you’re not local to Philadelphia. Private message me.

Dx 9/1/2016, DCIS/IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+, HER2+ Surgery 9/30/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 11/1/2016 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 5/1/2017 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right Surgery 1/3/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Apr 21, 2019 11:43AM - edited Apr 21, 2019 11:46AM by rljes

Hi Everyone, 

That's very nice of you crossh - For those of you needing such items, I bought button down shirts at a Thrift store.  The cancer clinic gave me little pouches to keep my drainage bulbs in, and just safety pinned them to my shirt. Nothing fancy.  You will only need them for a few weeks. 

PS - just a reminder, if you have a dog that needs to be walked during this period, I wrapped the leash around my waist so not to pull on my arms. My dog seemed to know I wasn't feeling well, and behaved great! 

Finished Chemo March 2018, No reconstruction "Going Flat" Dx 6/26/2017, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+ Dx 8/22/2017, 1/7 nodes, HER2+ Surgery 8/22/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy
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May 10, 2019 07:42AM - edited May 10, 2019 07:52AM by Kellyruss

Printed out your list. My surgery is in 3 weeks. Does anyone recommend toilet seat aids? Is it hard to get on and off the toilet? I did get a shower chair and a remote recliner. Diep flap surgery with double mastectomy.Thank you.

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May 10, 2019 11:24AM Jt3 wrote:

You won’t want to be using your upper body much after the surgery bearing weight etc.

Dx 1/2/2018, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/21/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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May 10, 2019 04:28PM nanette7fl wrote:

Kelly, Jt3 is right. I had a BMX on 4/2 & then revision surgery on both for an infection. With expanders in you DON'T want to be using upper body for much at all. SOOOO uncomfortable! I had my expanders taken out (will get them back after radiation is done) and it's been 9 days and there are days that I want to slap myself for trying to us my elbow to prop me up in bed, even for a min! I didn't do the flap so I'm not sure how you're going to feel there but the specs need time to heal and get used to being abused. ALSO prepare yourself for your arms being VERY,sore after surgery... it has to do with how the "tie us down" during surgery. Tendons get pulled and they need time to heal.

Good luck with your surgery.

~Nanette Dx 10/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Targeted Therapy 12/4/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/4/2018 Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 2/28/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 4/1/2019 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Radiation Therapy 6/29/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Aug 4, 2019 11:07AM HopeWins wrote:

Thank you for the information! Can anyone answer the following.? I'm having DIEP.

  • How long until we can lift our arms over our head?
  • Generally, how long should we expect to have drains?
  • Should I get a bra that will be very snug or very stretchy to allow for swelling?
  • Low riders or high waist pull on pants considering the abdomenal incision?
  • Any other tips for DIEP/abdomenal recovery supplies/prep?
I just ordered a couple front snap bras but they're stretchy cotton, so I'm thinking those won't work if we need compression.

Thanks!

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Aug 4, 2019 01:21PM MinusTwo wrote:

Hope - as I'm sure you know, every person is different. Dive in and start reading the postings on several of the surgery threads to get a better feeling. That said, every doc has different recommendation too. When you get a chance, got to 'my profile', fill in your info and make it available. It's easier to answer questions if we know your particular issues.

I did not have a diep, so supposedly easier recovery but:

I had to wait 6 weeks before moving arms higher than my shoulders. I had one drain a week and the second two weeks. I know people who have had drains 4 weeks. Many of us wake up after surgery in a surgical bra that the docs require for several weeks. That said, every doc is still different on what he/she recommends. Many require underwire bras - some say never underwire. Many require Spanx on the abdomen, some say never.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Aug 6, 2019 12:13AM teaka123 wrote:

HopeWins, consider a long skirt with an elastic waist. You can pull it up midway between the incision and the breasts. My DIEP was delayed as chemo came into play for me. I had purchased several skirts in anticipation of the surgery. My best to you!


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