Hi - I'm a nurse with a dear friend scheduled for surgery 12/21/09. She is trying to plan the type of help and supplies she will need in recovery and asked me to post this topic for her and monitor the responses. We'd like advice from anyone who has gone through her type of procedure on the nitty gritty day by day recovery and tips for the type of help to set up. Here's a summary of the procedure information that her husband prepared:
* it will be a double mastectomy. Left breast had 3 tumors so lumpectomy is not possible. right breast is clean, but has fibroid tissue, and the double is a peace of mind / protective measure.
* the one lymph node biopsied was positive for cancer, so lymph nodes will be removed.
* we'll try implants first, so tissue expanders will be placed under the chest muscles on the same day. 6-7 weeks of radiation will follow after sufficient healing from surgery and adequate expansion.
* there is not enough fat & tissue for a tram flap reconstruction. and we are saving the back muscle as a Plan B in case the implants don't work due to impacts from the radiation.
* not sure if it's material, but the mastectomy will remove ~D cup breasts-- so the amount of tissue removed is significant, and the tissue expanders will be somewhat big too (they're placed with some fluid in them, and then further filled over the next 2-3-4 weeks)
* estimate of 10-15 lymph nodes will be removed
* we're told ~2 nights in hospital post-surgery
* we'll then be home in our 2nd floor, 2 bedrm apt with our toddlers. elevator building. plan to have live-in sibling help, and to get friend/nurse help as necessary. will have meals delivered.
* as we understand, no lifting children for ~3 weeks, though after the drains come out at ~10 days, having them lifted into her lap may be fine, as long as she's wearing a good padded jog bra.
* I'd appreciate help preparing for the little details, and even for the worst case side effects or issues. I like to get accustomed to the worst case SLOWLY and in bits, and have plans in place to deal with it, and then be happy when things go even better.
Thank you anyone who can help us prepare. The pressure feels on because of the holiday timing and 2 year old twins at home. Looking forward to hearing from you.