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Preparing for surgery

Alexandra's picture
Posts: 1310
Joined: Jul 2012

A question from a newby to hardcore survivors: what supplies do you recommend for after surgery?

Hystersisters.com is selling abdominal binders, panties, cooling pillows, creams, etc.
Did you need bed sheet protectors, female urinal? Anything else you needed?
I want to stock up now. If it's not sold at Home Depot, my husband will not be able to find it while I am in the hospital.

poopergirl14052's picture
Posts: 1185
Joined: Nov 2010

Abdominal binder is good as we are prone to hernias...I have three in my abdomen. Also Palmers cocoa butter...helps with the scarring and keeps skin hydrated.. Never had to use diff envy bed sheets or urinal. Make sure you have a good pair of slippers and comfortable night gown. NO HOUSEWORK or vacuuming or cleaning the toilet. Rest up....Val

Glad to be done's picture
Glad to be done
Posts: 563
Joined: Jul 2012

The only thing I had was the binder and they gave me that at the hospital. That worked great. It especially helped when you are in the car. You don't feel the bumps near as much. It didn't hurt as much to get off the couch either when I wore that. I would definetly get one of those. Comfy clothes. My surgery was in january so I wore alot of loose sweatpants and jammie sets. Val is right. Rest rest rest... Take naps...... Try to get up and walk around throughout the day too... I don't know what the bed sheets are and I didn't need a urinal.

Stock up on miralax or milk of magnesia. You will need something because of the pain meds they will put you on. They had me on senna and dulcolax but they didnt really work.

I wish you the best of luck with your surgery.


Posts: 44
Joined: Aug 2011

Honestly, my recliner was a good friend. Sometimes laying in bed hurt too much because we aren't excercising. Keep as active as you can, I climbed the stairs to my apt after 2 wks in the hopsital. I really didn't feel it was too much. I had the most trouble with the staples, you're not supposed to put anything on them. The staples were taken out about 12ish days after surgery. When I got home, we started using vit E on the incision, it just helped keep the skin soft, so that I didn't tear when I got up. I enjoyed a cool neck wrap.
I walked on the treadmill often, I really reccomend it as long as there isn't any great pain, it helped mine. Pilates or stretching is another awesome step to recovery. Marie

lovesanimals's picture
Posts: 1343
Joined: Sep 2011

As I recall, women's Depends helped me when I was recovering from surgery. With my debulking surgery, I also had a total hysterectomy and about a foot of my lower bowel removed. There were times when I urgently had to pee and/or poo and even though we have a small house, that walk to the bathroom was sometimes way too long! Also what came in handy for me were those socks with the skid-resistant pads on the bottom to prevent me from slipping. I think you can buy those at Bath & Body Works, located at many major shopping malls.

Don't be afraid (not that you necessarily are!) to ask your family and friends for specific help as you recover. The people who care about you will be so happy to lend a hand. Family and friends were eager to bring me food, and I took advantage of the situation to ask my favorite "cooks" for my favorite foods! :)

Sending you good thoughts and prayers as you await your upcoming surgery.


2timothy1 7's picture
2timothy1 7
Posts: 345
Joined: Jan 2012

Binder is good idea. I overdid things a few weeks after surgery and pulled a muscle so be cautious. I also sleep in recliner a lot.

Alexandra's picture
Posts: 1310
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank you all very much for kind wishes and awesome ideas. So much stuff to get, so little time!
Cancer and chemo may be messing with my body and mind, but can't stop my shopping addiction.

Mwee's picture
Posts: 1338
Joined: Nov 2009

why not stock up on your favorite body washes and lotions. Drawstring PJ or yoga pants and t-shirts were what I lived in.... and oh, extra sheets.
((((HUGS))) Maria

khsherwood's picture
Posts: 33
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi, I just had surgery last Monday to repair a hernia that was created by one of the laparoscopic insrtuments used during my surgery three years ago to remove my cancerous ovary and do biopsies in the abdominal cavity. I know that it is nowhere as big a surgery as a debulking but a tip the doctor gave me for post-op was to wear "Spanx" style under garments for adding pressure to the abs instead of the traditional wrap. I have been doing that and they are reasonably comfortable. Also pressing on my abs with a pillow when moving around especially when coughing or laughing. It helps reduce the pain from the incision. I agree with getting good drugs and also taking stool softener because unfortunately constipation is a side effect of those good drugs. Good luck with your operation! You are doing the right thing. The better prepared you are, is very wise. Kelly

Glad to be done's picture
Glad to be done
Posts: 563
Joined: Jul 2012

I have worn spanx with dresses before and I personally would not wear them after surgery if you are doing a full cut surgery. They will put alot of pressure on your incision. They are basicly a girdle type underware and geared to flatten the tummy. My doc told me after surgery to stick to loose clothing.

forme's picture
Posts: 1161
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi Alexandra

I am home recovering from my surgery a few weeks ago. I have had a difficult time with pain management, I hope you will find it to be much easier.
I had some thoughts on what worked or still is working for me.

Loose clothing, such as drawstring yoga cotton pants and soft tee shirts. This has been my wardrobe since I have returned home. I did were lightweight sweats to my onc visit and to my ct scans sice they had no buttons or zipper.

I read that many women needed larger undies, I have just used the same as before. Mine are soft cotton french cut panties.

Be sure to have extra pillows on your bed. You will want some for reclining and some for a wedge.
I never needed any other type of sheets or sheet protectors. Just used my regular cotton sheets.
The first week home, I needed help getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom. Never had any accidents, just a little unsteady and my over protective hubby.

My hubby stocked up on the meds while I was still in the hospital. Be sure to have a large variety of laxative type, such as senna, colace, miralax etc.
Also, gas pills will really help cut down the pain when your bowel really starts working again.
Many of these items were given to my hubby in a list by the onc at the hosp. That way he could get everything filled before he took me home. Including numerous types of pain meds.

You will want to try and move around as much as possible. Even if it's only from couch/chair to bathroom. I have stairs in my house, so I would go from the upstairs bedroom to the downstairs couch. That was a big workout at first.

Do not try to reach for anything to high or heavy. My rule was, anything that made me lift my arm above the level of my shoulder was to high. So maybe put favorite food items on a lower shelf. Same for dishes etc.

Listen to your body. If you are tired, REST.
Keep drinking as much as possible, constipation can be a real issue. Popcicles, watermelon, jello and soups all work great to help with fluids.

When you take a shower, remember to have your shampoo and soaps at arm level. I had no trouble with the shower, just was wiped out energy wise after I was done. Still find that to be so. I also made sure hubby or one of my daughters were in the house when I was in the shower. Since I was on a lot of narcotics, it just made good sense to have people around.

Some women seem to bounce back faster than others. Remember, it will take time and you will be very tired in the begining.

If you have any other questions, please ask. I tried to think of things that really are helping me.


anicca's picture
Posts: 329
Joined: Dec 2010

I also recommend a binder. No one gave me one, so when I was able to go out, I bought something at Target that did what I needed. As khsherwood said, a small, soft pillow to press against your tummy can do wonders when you cough, sneeze, or laugh. I also slept in a recliner (we had to buy one) because it relieved the pressure from lying in bed. Bring a pair of large, very loose fitting pants with you to the hospital to wear on the ride home. I second Lisha's suggestion of larger undies. I had horrible bloating from gas, and there was swelling from the surgery also, so large, loose garments were needed.

At home, the first week, I was most comfortable in a loose fitting dress, as I couldn't bear anything around my middle. Have some good PROBIOTICS on hand! I can't stress this enough. You will be on antibiotics during surgery, and that will kill off your natural flora. I had more pain from gas than from the incision. It took me 5 days to figure out why I was so painfully bloated. I sent hubby out for probiotics, and he picked "Critical Care" by Ultimate Flora, just because it said "Critical Care", and that's what I needed. I felt better within 2 hours of taking the first one. Not everyone is hit so hard, but it can't hurt to be prepared.


Radioactive34's picture
Posts: 387
Joined: May 2011

I got everything ready for after surgery care. I ended up not using a lot of it at the hospital. The pain meds kept me fairly docile and non-caring whether I was in pajamas or hospital gowns.

At home I had the shower stool, grab bars, and just about everything else that was mentioned here. I did not think about the underwear. I had lost weight. My underwear were loose before surgery. I was surprised when I had to cut off one of my old pair because I had swollen while wearing them.

Bigger underwear was the way to go. A small detail that makes life so much more comfortable.

Alexandra's picture
Posts: 1310
Joined: Jul 2012

Well, time is up. I am scheduled for partial hysterectomy (I chose to keep the cervix), bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, omentectomy with debulking on Friday, Sep. 14th.

I quit smoking 8 days ago, I figured it's better to go through nicotine withdrawal now than after surgery.
I started clear liquid diet yesterday (so hungry!) and will be doing bowel flush tomorrow (gross!). I have my hospital bag packed with everything I could think of including slippers, robe, "chemo couture" head wraps, pillow, abdominal belt, "depends", cool-off headbands, back scratcher, probiotics, etc.

Many thanks for the advice, sharing your experiences and good wishes.

lovesanimals's picture
Posts: 1343
Joined: Sep 2011

I will be thinking about you on Friday and sending prayers your way that everything goes smoothly, which I'm sure it will. I have a work colleague who is also scheduled for surgery on Friday for thyroid cancer, so I will be praying for you both. Congratulations on quitting smoking! Check in with us after you've recuperated and when you feel up to it.


Glad to be done's picture
Glad to be done
Posts: 563
Joined: Jul 2012

Alexandra it sounds like you are good and ready. How long will yo be in the hospital? I had my surgery on Monday and was home on Wednesday afternoon. If the anestesioligist offers you an epidural take it. I had one with mine. They left it going after surgery. He came in about 7:30 the morning after and took it out. It was wonderful. I did not have much pain at all the night of surgery and was in great shape the next day. Make sure the hospital stays on your pain med schedule.

I have to honestly say my surgery was not that bad. They had me up and walking the next day and that belt will work wonders to help with that. After I came home my husband was very anal about me taking my pain meds on time and other stuff I came home on. He even set an alarm for the middle of the night dose. I also took docolax and senna which did nothing for me. Make sure you have miralax or milk of magnesia on hand.

Good luck. You will be in my thoughts and prayers on Friday. Let us know how you are doing as soon as you can.


Alexandra's picture
Posts: 1310
Joined: Jul 2012

I met with anesthesiologist last week: we agreed to leave epidural catheter for a few days after surgery and also he promised me morphine pump. I will take all drugs I can (legally) get. LOL

My best wishes to your friend Kelly.

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