Thank you, Jill. I have been reading lots of posts, and everything sounds so familiar to me. I keep thinking, 'I had that too!' and 'That's how I feel!' I've only recently been visiting the forum because at first I was too scared to look at anything online, but this is such a supportive and caring place that I wish I had found it during those first awful weeks.
Hi there all, just wanted to put in my tuppence worth in case it may help anyone facing surgeries. I was diagnosed in December and in January had my first surgery - WLE and SNB. I had never had an operation or general anaesthetic before so was scared witless, as well as feeling like I was in a state of shock with the diagnosis. The surgery was very straightforward and I was soon awake and comfortable before going home the same day. The recovery was smooth and within a day I was doing my exercises and making cups of tea. Unfortunately I did not have clear margins (IDC and DCIS) so I had to have a second operation. Again, perfectly straightforward, home same day, exercises started the next day. However, still did not have clear margins, so went back for a final go at achieving them. Third time was successful. Again, day surgery, exercises started the next day, etc, but to be fair by this time I felt like a pro at surgery!
i want to reassure people facing multiple surgeries for this that it is completely doable. I wouldn't say that at any point I had specific pain, just discomfort. Paracetamol and ibuprofen worked just fine. I am not very tough either with pain, so was very surprised by how manageable it was. The most difficult thing was the emotional side of going back to square 1 again.... and again.
Things I found useful were- I bought a full cup non-wired t-shirt bra from M and S prior to surgery, on the recommendation of the sales assistant I spoke to. Wore it at night after surgeries and it was great. Really comfortable and supportive. After packing a meticulously planned out bag for hospital the first time, I didn't bother with PJs or a nightie the next couple of times as I just stayed in the hospital one and the nurses slipped it off one arm when checking. I also had to wash my hair in the sink for quite a while as I couldn't do it in the shower because of dressings. Shampoo just slipped through my fingers as movement was restricted, but a bar of Lush shampoo was easy to use as I could keep a good grip of it. The other thing which was a godsend was the coolpack I got from Boots. I used this whenever my wound got itchy while it was healing. It sits in the freezer but doesn't get completely solid, and numbs the area if it's getting unbearably itchy. It comes with a cloth bag and I used to sit with it on my wound for ten minutes and it got rid of the itch completely. Then I just took it out of the bag and popped it back in the freezer. I think it was called a hot/cold compress but it was fab.
Good luck to everyone facing surgery. I was terrified and all mine were absolutely fine. It is a very scary time, between diagnosis and surgery, but I promise, like everyone says, it gets easier to manage the fear and worry when the surgery is over and a treatment plan is settled. I'm still not through all my treatment, but I can actually function and have periods of normality now that were just not possible a few months ago.