Hello, I'm a new member here.

Gamma7k@yahoo.com
[email protected] Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Greetings ! I just figured out how to read and post messages ...yeah !!!
My surgery is scheduled for this coming thursday - 4/16 ... I'm having left breast complete mastectomy + sentinal node biopsy.
I feel some anxiety coming on about what to expect both immediately after surgery .. i.e the same day/night and any tips/ experiences you all could share with me to calm my anxiety, I'd appreciate.
Also, when I get home - the first few days - what was it like for you ? Would again appreciate any info to share.
My adult daughter will be caring for me ... what can I tell her to make her job easier ?
Oh, the unknown ... it's dark in there.
Thanks for anything you can offer me.
Karen

Comments

  • zahalene
    zahalene Member Posts: 670
    Don't worry Karen...
    Everyone here is equipped with a flashlight and we will go with you down this path and help you find your way one step at a time.
    Here we go...
    MASTECTOMIES: I have had 2 of them.
    Day 1: you sleep, rouse briefly from time to time...take meds as needed.
    Day 2: You're awake and thinking....hmmm...this is doable.
    Day 3: You're home now probably, and if you have made your preparations before hand (see below), you are just chillin', watching a movie, twiddlin your bunny slippers to see their ears wiggle...serious stuff like that. :)
    From there you gradually and gently get back into the business of rebuilding your strength, both mentally and physically.
    Now, about those preparations: It is great that you will have your daughter there to take care of you at first. Lay in some stuff that makes you feel good...movies, magazines, hot chocolate, and of course those bunny slippers. Let everyone know that you are 'not available' and that your daughter is the one to see...about EVERYTHING. Basically treat yourself like a queen for a few days. You'll get bored with THAT soon enough and gradually find yourself picking up (figuratively of course) the threads of you life again.
    And speaking of picking up things....DON'T. Be sure you get physical therapy instructions before you leave the hospital. It is going to be soooo important that you do the exercises to keep your shoulder from freezing up. They are gentle and gradual and not to be over-done, go at your own pace, but don't skip a single day of doing them.
    First thing you know you'll be saying, 'What the heck am I doing hanging around here when I could be out there enjoying life?' And away you'll gooooooooo.
    Just don't get so busy that you forget about us. :)
  • dbs1673
    dbs1673 Member Posts: 203
    zahalene said:

    Don't worry Karen...
    Everyone here is equipped with a flashlight and we will go with you down this path and help you find your way one step at a time.
    Here we go...
    MASTECTOMIES: I have had 2 of them.
    Day 1: you sleep, rouse briefly from time to time...take meds as needed.
    Day 2: You're awake and thinking....hmmm...this is doable.
    Day 3: You're home now probably, and if you have made your preparations before hand (see below), you are just chillin', watching a movie, twiddlin your bunny slippers to see their ears wiggle...serious stuff like that. :)
    From there you gradually and gently get back into the business of rebuilding your strength, both mentally and physically.
    Now, about those preparations: It is great that you will have your daughter there to take care of you at first. Lay in some stuff that makes you feel good...movies, magazines, hot chocolate, and of course those bunny slippers. Let everyone know that you are 'not available' and that your daughter is the one to see...about EVERYTHING. Basically treat yourself like a queen for a few days. You'll get bored with THAT soon enough and gradually find yourself picking up (figuratively of course) the threads of you life again.
    And speaking of picking up things....DON'T. Be sure you get physical therapy instructions before you leave the hospital. It is going to be soooo important that you do the exercises to keep your shoulder from freezing up. They are gentle and gradual and not to be over-done, go at your own pace, but don't skip a single day of doing them.
    First thing you know you'll be saying, 'What the heck am I doing hanging around here when I could be out there enjoying life?' And away you'll gooooooooo.
    Just don't get so busy that you forget about us. :)

    Healing thoughts
    Good healing thoughts being sent to you for tomorrow's big day. I had a double mas in June with expanders put in at that time. I think the placement of the expanders may have led to my discomfort. I was not able to lay flat for several days. I felt enormous pressure on my chest. Outside of the prescribed pain medication (Tylenol w/ codine worked fine for me), placing a small pillow under my arm was helpful as well as ice packs. I also wore button down shirts as raising your arms will be difficult. You will probably have a drainage tube to contend with for several days. When able to shower, I wrapped a dish towel around my neck and then pinned the bulb of the tube to that to keep it out of the way. Typically I don't have problems with anesthesia but with all the pain medications and sometimes antibiodics prescribed as a precaution I'd consider taking a stool softener and keeping some yogurt in the frig. The best thought for me was knowing that when I woke up from that surgery that cancer was tossed in the bucket. Nothing could make me feel better than that! Let us know how you're doing.
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    I'm new, too...
    Hello, Karen. I joined this group just a few days ago, also. So, we have that in common! - although we are at very different points on our respective journeys. First of all - heartfelt best wishes for successful surgery tomorrow, and uncomplicated & swift recovery afterwards. Sending hopes & prayers your way.

    My surgery was different - lumpectomy w/sentinel nodes removal. However, I'll pass along some hints that may help you to get through this more comfortably.

    Of course you're anxious - who wouldn't be? It's understandable & OK. Allow yourself this. But, try hard not to get too overwhelmed. My doctors & nurses coached me well - insisting that I focus on one step at a time. The "big picture" for breast cancer is just too much all at the same time. The evening before checking into the hospital, try to relax & do whatever you normally do to "de-stress"... eat your favorite foods, play your favorite soothing music, look at a favorite magazine that doesn't require serious concentration, take lots of deep breaths. Maybe do a little stretching to relax those muscles, which accumulate tension without our knowledge sometimes.

    After maintaining my composure (somewhat) until the very last minute - I cried just before my surgery, while in the "prep" room (alone, without family). The nurses were wonderful. Reach for someone's hand, talk about your feelings, until the drugs take effect...(zzz)... After surgery and as soon as you can, DRINK LOTS OF WATER!!! It's the best thing to help flush the anesthesia (and other drugs) from your body & to re-hydrate your body. Assuming your daughter (or someone else) will be with you at surgery - ask them to be your 2nd set of ears. Taking notes is a great idea. You should receive an awful lot of info re: recovery; and, it might not come all at once. A nurse's comments here, doctor's instructions there. If you don't - you (or even better, your companion) must ASK. Of course, follow all advice to the letter.

    Before you leave the hospital, make sure you have all the contact info you may need - names & phone #s, and know WHO you can reach WHEN if you need to. If you experience anything "out of the ordinary" once you're home - don't wait! Call someone immediately.

    Make sure your home is in good shape for your return. Extra pillows & a soft throw on the couch in your living/family room. Ditto for your bedroom. Clean sheets & blankets on the bed, extra pillows, etc. ... Stock up on good-for-your foods & snacks, with some "treats" (you DESERVE treats!) - I found eating smaller amounts more frequently helped while my digestive system was queasy after the surgery. Maybe movies & magazines, too, to pass the time - avoid subjects that require serious concentration & sad subject. However, don't feel obligated to keep your daughter company! If you feel sleepy & tired - NAP! This is so IMPORTANT for recovery. The body does its most efficient healing while we're asleep.

    Don't suffer more pain than you have to. If whatever they give you isn't providing enough relief - you must speak up, tell your doctor/nurse, ask for something else.

    I'm so glad your daughter will be with you to help you. And, ALLOW her to do just that. While you're resting or napping, she can do some laundry or run to the store for you. Whatever it may be.

    Yes, it's scary. But, you WILL get through this. You - and your daughter - will be in my thoughts tomorrow.

    Kind regards, Susan
  • outdoorgirl
    outdoorgirl Member Posts: 1,565
    Hi Karen
    I had a partial mastectomy and sentinel node biopsy in 2007.
    I know exactly what you're talking about with fear of the unknown,like everyone else does here. I think that rates second on the list after hearing or seeing the words"you've got cancer"!And then you go through it and know what to expect.
    One funny tip that I'll tell you is not to pee the morning of surgery-depending on whether or not you've been through menopause yet! I did because I had given them a urine sample the day before(to check for pregnancy),and thought that I was already "safe". No,they wanted me to do it again day of.I had just gone while I was waiting in the waiting room! So while I was waiting for my surgeon to get there they made me try! Well, I can't pee on command and I had nothing left to give but a drop! Guess they wanted to make sure that I hadn't gotten pregnant the night before or something!
    Hey,if you havn't gotten one already,get a nice comfy body pillow if you want. It will make you more comfortable while you're resting.
    The others are right and they will tell you at the hospital-no lifting of anything!
    My in laws came to stay with us for a little over a week for my surgery,which was about the best get well present I got! Considering the fact that my father in law had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer around the same time I had been diagnosed with bc.She cooked meals everyday,and when I received flowers,she even put them in vases for me-everything! I'll never forget that!
    Let your daughter answer your calls-that's a big help! My husband did that for me and I was really appreciative of it!
    Karen,in some way or another most of us have been through what you are going through-and we are here to encourage you today!It isn't an easy ride,but you will make it!
    I am praying for you as we speak!
    Keep in touch with us when you feel up to it!
    Love,Patty
  • tommaseena
    tommaseena Member Posts: 1,769

    Hi Karen
    I had a partial mastectomy and sentinel node biopsy in 2007.
    I know exactly what you're talking about with fear of the unknown,like everyone else does here. I think that rates second on the list after hearing or seeing the words"you've got cancer"!And then you go through it and know what to expect.
    One funny tip that I'll tell you is not to pee the morning of surgery-depending on whether or not you've been through menopause yet! I did because I had given them a urine sample the day before(to check for pregnancy),and thought that I was already "safe". No,they wanted me to do it again day of.I had just gone while I was waiting in the waiting room! So while I was waiting for my surgeon to get there they made me try! Well, I can't pee on command and I had nothing left to give but a drop! Guess they wanted to make sure that I hadn't gotten pregnant the night before or something!
    Hey,if you havn't gotten one already,get a nice comfy body pillow if you want. It will make you more comfortable while you're resting.
    The others are right and they will tell you at the hospital-no lifting of anything!
    My in laws came to stay with us for a little over a week for my surgery,which was about the best get well present I got! Considering the fact that my father in law had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer around the same time I had been diagnosed with bc.She cooked meals everyday,and when I received flowers,she even put them in vases for me-everything! I'll never forget that!
    Let your daughter answer your calls-that's a big help! My husband did that for me and I was really appreciative of it!
    Karen,in some way or another most of us have been through what you are going through-and we are here to encourage you today!It isn't an easy ride,but you will make it!
    I am praying for you as we speak!
    Keep in touch with us when you feel up to it!
    Love,Patty

    Good Luck
    Karen,
    You will do just fine. Take the advice of the other that already posted because it is very good advice.

    I had a double mastectomy with tissue expanders 2/2/09 with lymph node biopsy. I felt fine and did not overdo anything when I came home even though I had a 5 1/2 year old. He helped me do the laundry and things like that. I was able to drive on 2/6.
    The worst thing for me was that while I had the drains I was told not to take a full shower so improvise on the shower thing and other things. Don't over-do it. Do your exercises that they give you so your arm does not freeze.

    Your daughter will be a wonderful caretaker for you--she learned everything from you when you were raising her.

    Thoughts and prayers going out to you.

    Margo
  • Jadie
    Jadie Member Posts: 723
    Just wanted to say hi
    Hi Gamma and welcome. I haven't had a mascetomy so I can't help you there. Looks like you are getting a lot of good advice from the ones who have. Glad you found us. This is a great place to get answers from ones who have been there and done that. Let us know how your surgery goes. I wish you luck with everything.

    Jadie
  • phoenixrising
    phoenixrising Member Posts: 1,508
    I can't really add
    I can't really add much....these gals are just way too thorough. I just wanted to say welcome and I hope all goes well.
    best wishes
    jan
  • Bill.S
    Bill.S Member Posts: 177
    Guess you are home by now Karen
    Welcome home- now just lie around and allow others to do everything for you. Eat lots of bon-bons, ice cream, filet mingion-- anything your lil ol heart desires.
    I lost 30 lbs due to lack of appetite- now I binge on Bryers.
    Worst part for me was trying to sleep with the 2 drain gismos dangeling from my chest and my ex GF kept telling me to take LOTS of pain meds ('cause she had ACL knee surgery and needed them) so constipation set in REALLY BAD. My surgery site was and still is very numb.
    My surgeon recomends Metamucil- daily, for the rest of your life- to promote regularity--it works for me.
    Sleep whenever you need to, do your arm exercises and get some other type of exercise like taking a walk or something. Don't become a total couch potatoe ( it's easy to want to do that) Keep us posted !!!!!
    Bill S.