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Any tips on preparing for surgery?

17 REPLIES 17
jenny12m
Member

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Hello. I am new here. May I have your 'top tips'? I have had 3 segmentals, but mastectomy booked for 4th Oct and I am nervous. When do I get measured for a prostehtis for my bra?
laiw
Member

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to recommend these nightshirts but they are from Bosom Pals. My aunt makes them and I found them really comfortable after surgery. They provide you with a bit of dignity as you don't have to get everything out when they check your wound. They have poppers down either left or right side depending on your op side, so that drains can be easily poked through. http://www.facebook.com/bosom.nightshirt

ChristineP
Member

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

not sure why that was posted twice...

oh - in my hospital I asked for a side room, but wasn't given one. still, worth asking though 🙂

ChristineP
Member

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Hi, something that helped me a lot was this:
In the weeks before the operation I trained myself to be able to get off the bed, and standing up from chairs or settees without pushing down on or using my arms. I figured out how to place my legs and then swing off the bed or chair using just my legs (and without the assistance of other people).And then I practised this and practised this until it was second nature and no problem.
Why? Because after my first mastectomy (with ANC and immediate reconstruction) I was not allowed to push myself up on the arm on that side, and it was just so hard to get up from sitting to standing without doing that. I hadn't realised the implications of not being able to push up for my mobility and independence. So when I was faced with a second mastectomy on the other side (with ANC and recon again) I trained myself to get up without using my arms. It did take determination to keep trying it and build up my muscles and to keep thinking I must get this into a routine. I was so happy I had done all that, because it did really make me much happier, mobile and independent afterwards.I was soon able to use my arms again, but while I couldn't it just was extremely useful.
What also helped me in the few weeks before the operation was that I felt I was doing something practical and useful to help myself recover from the operation by doing this. I guess anything you do to help build up some strength and stamina prior to the operation will also help recovery afterwards (provided you don't overdo it 🙂 ).
Does this make sense?
wishing you the very best with your surgery, and the recovery afterwards 🙂

raechi
Member

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Hi All,
Thankd for the tips.
Jane - would you mind sending them to me too if you get a chance.
Thanks,
Rae
x

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

hi sasha

just wanted to add that they will probably give you a side room of your own - i had my own room after my op and it was great, nice and quiet, telly to myself etc!! they usually do give mx ladies their own room, so thats good.

when i went in i actually took a lot of my own food in - some salads mainly from marks - nice quinoa, veg, couscous, that sort of thing. i wanted to make sure i eat healthily to help with recovery. now my nurses were very very good and let me keep it in their fridge - they arent suppose to, but they did. your nurses may not do it for you but its certainly worth asking. i then eat these with one of their sandwiches and hubby bought me in a supply of fresh fruit every day. hospital food was quite grim, so i stuck to my salads and a sandwich.

supplements i took was just vit c and zinc. i was told to avoid all otehr supplements for a while, but i kept up with the vit c to help with immune system/fight infection etc. i take 1000mg a day.

i used deo wipes and a flannel to wash with. didnt bother with deodrant for the first few days, just had a wash/freshen up a couple of tiems a day and changed nightie every day. that was enough to keep me feeling fresh.

the other , most important, thing i would suggest is to drink as much water as you possibly can throughout the day. I took in 12 1 litre bottles of water with me and drank about two a day. This really helped with flushing the anesthetic out of my system and to stop constipation. it also helps to get you up and moving as you are always popping off to the loo! really though, take in some bottles of water and just have it there to drink throughout the day. it will really help.

will be thinking of you tomorrow - you will be fine and probably not as bad as you think - in the grand scheme of things its a small price to pay to be fit and healthy for the rest of your life.

Sascha
Member

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Thank you everyone for all the good suggestions.

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Anti-bacterial liquid skinwash. Start using it a week or so *before* your surgery to reduce the bacteria on your skin. You can't control the hospital hygiene (well, you can write letters of complaint, but it's a bit late by then) but you can control the germs nearest where your op will be. If you can get more than one brand (ie. with different active ingredient) use them alternate days and you can blitz a much wider range of germs, and rest in the knowledge that in the very unlikely event of getting an infection despite all this, it will be a more exotic and rare strain guaranteed to entertain and confuse the path lab 🙂

Mobile phone, charger and lots of credit.

Alto
Member

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Make sure any night clothes you take are front opening as you'll be examined fairly frequently and getting things over your head might not be very easy.

Also, if you haven't got one I'd strongly recommend getting a Kindle. BC treatment involves an awful lot of sitting around and they slip nicely into quite a small bag. They're particularly good post-op and during chemo as you only need one hand to use them. You can also read total junk and drivel when on chemo and nobody will know!

Good luck to everyone heading towards surgery at the moment - hope you all have a wonderful quick recovery.

Jane xxx

Dee101
Member

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Hi Ladies, just popping into this thread, all good advice here, I know everyone's experiences can be different, but what I found helped when I came home after my mx & anc ( I also came home with drain) was at night to sleep hugging a pillow, lying on my good side, this supported my op arm & shoulder & really eased the discomfort. It also helped stop the pulling from he drain. I popped a pillow on the drain bottle too, so I didn't roll onto it during the night! ....and make sure you do your exercises after the op, they may pull a bit, but do your best to keep stretching as instructed by the physio, it will help.

Hope all goes well. Best wishes

Dee x

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Hello ladies

I used Johnsons baby soap after my mx and baby wipes dor under my mx side during the day. Had a shower day after op and went home on day 2 with 2drains. It was all fine just be careful not to roll on your drain site as it can give you a bit of a pulling pain. I used a rolled up quilt at my bad side to stop me turning over for a few days. No real pain after op and none whatsoever when the drains were removed. Was told not to use deodorant for a few days and am back now on the baby soap and no doe on my mx site as I am having radiotherapy at present. As suggested a few books and earplugs are a very good idea. It is all very scary when in front of you but you will be surprised how much better you deal with it all once you had your operation. Hope you will have the great support you deserve as we get here in Aberdeen. Do feel free to pm me if I can be of any help to you at all.

Will be thinking of you and sending you a gentle hug

Alanaa

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Thanks puffy White cloud.

Very helpful indeed.

I laughed at the whiffy bit... I use liquid soap under the arm I had biopsy on but prior to finding out that I cld use it and during the time it takes for sweat glands to adjust... I felt like a man... Yeuk lol But they do adjust and just soap has been fine for me, my scars not healed yet. My school nurse said aerosols were out but roll ons probably ok... Breast nurse said use deo wipes.

Thanks

Eleanor xx

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Sascha and Eleanor,

What to take in with you to be comfortable? Lots of good reading material, energy drinks and earplugs. Make sure whatever clothes/nightwear you take with you to wear in hospital don't have rough seams which could irritate/tickle the area where you've been operated.
Can you use your arm afterwards? Yes, hopefully you will have a physiotherapist to see you in hospital to give you advice. By the time the phyio saw me 2 days after my mastectomy and axillary clearance I'd already reorganised the en-suite bathroom and used a big hairdrier to dry my hair!
What do you use to clean under your arm? I was told soapy water was fine. I had a shower the day after my op.
Can you use deodorant, if so how long do you have to wait before doing so? Yes I was told it's fine to use after scar has healed (I heal quickly so it wasn't very long for me). In the meantime I was a bit whiffy so was glad I'd taken a few changes of clothes and nightwear into hospital with me.
Is anti-perspirant a good idea or is that gone forever now? Haven't heard any reasons not to use anti-perspirant - maybe other people have??
Any particular food to eat before or post op to aid healing? All your favourite foods - you deserve a treat or two 🙂
Any particular supplements to take? Don't know about this, sorry.

Other tips would be to stay in hospital as long as you feel you need to, if you have the opportunity to do so. They tried to get me to leave with a drain still in. I'd never had a major operation before so had never had a drain in and did not feel confident to go home with it in so they let me stay.

For me it made a HUGE difference to my psychological recovery immediately after the surgery to be in a side room on my own. This took away the worry of cross infection, gave me opportunities to cry in private (very cathartic) and gave me a confidential quiet space to show the surgery site to my partner before I returned home. I don't know if this is possible where you're being treated but I was told at the NHS hospital where I was treated in England that they do strive to give mastectomy patients side rooms.

Hope all goes well for both of you - feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

GIJaneH
Member

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Hi... I've PMd both of you with what I gleaned through the process. It covers every stage I went through - you may go through different treatment regime. I tried it out on those who travelled with me through the process, and they thought it was OK, so I hope it helps. Any questions, let me know..... Hope all goes well. Jane

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Jane...

Could you pm me too. Xxx

Thanks.

Eleanor x

GIJaneH
Member

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

I'm PMing you with my "Top Tips"..... Jane

Sam_BCC
Member

Re: Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Hi Sascha

I'm sure some of the others will be long soon to offer you their experiences and support. In the mean time you might find it useful to read the BCC booklet 'Your operation and recovery' It covers what to expect during your hopsital stay, when you have returned home and during your recovery from surgery. If you would like to order a copy or read this on line just follow this link:-

http://www2.breastcancercare.org.uk/publications/treatment-side-effects/your-operation-recovery-bcc1...

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Sascha
Member

Any tips on preparing for surgery?

Sorry if this sounds trivial but just wondering if anyone has any tips on how to be most comfortable immediately post mastectomy and LNC?

What to take in with you to be comfortable?
Can you use your arm afterwards?
What do you use to clean under your arm?
Can you use deodorant, if so how long do you have to wait before doing so?
Is anti-perspirant a good idea or is that gone forever now?
Any particular food to eat before or post op to aid healing?
Any particular supplements to take?

Thank you