So after all your surgery......

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2Floridiansisters
2Floridiansisters Member Posts: 384 Member
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Did you have a difficult time with things like brushing your own teeth, taking care of business in the bathroom? Stuff like this? I ask becasue I want to be ready for everything, the good and the bad.

Thanks again, Love Ronda

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  • Rague
    Rague Member Posts: 3,653 Member
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    I didn't have any problems
    I didn't have any problems with either of those 'things' but we are all different.
  • sweetvickid
    sweetvickid Member Posts: 459 Member
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    Rague said:

    I didn't have any problems
    I didn't have any problems with either of those 'things' but we are all different.

    After surgery
    I think some of it depends on what you have done and how many lymph nodes they take. I did not have reconstruction after a bilaterial mastectomy on 5/26 and they took 10 lymph nodes. One thing that I think really helped was the girl from the UK posted the exercises her PT had her do after her mastectomy and I think it really helped me limber up. Do these until you feel a pull and then back off. Don't do it till it hurts!
    i had bilateral mastectomies (prophylactc) 22 days ago. H ere in the UK they give you a booklet before surgery of physical therapy techniques which we start the day after surgery.I didnt have any noded removed as mine was a preventative op.
    For the 1st 7 days after surgery i had to do the following exercises.sorry but it may be hard to explain in words!
    1) circle shoulders 5x forward and 5x backward
    2)place fingertips on shoulders of same side and slowly raise elbows upward until they are in line with the height of your shoulders.repeat 5x (you may not get very high to start with)
    3)sit on the edge of a chair,clasp ahnds with arms out locked in front of you and slowly lift to shoulder height.repeat 5x
    4)raise each arm individually as if combing your hair from front to back.repeat 5 times each side(i found this one painful to start with)
    5)reach around and walk your fingers up your back.repeat 5x each side.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    From day 7 i then had to add more exercises in AS WELL as doing the first five.
    6)stand about 1 foot away from the wall but face it.put both hands on the wall in front of you and slowly walk your fingers up the wall.Mark where you get to so you can copare daily.repeat 5x
    7)stand so the wall is to your side.place fingers on the wall and slowly walk your fingers up the wall as in (6).repeat 5x each side.
    8) lay on the bed with kness drawn up and feet flat.Put your hands behind your head and VERY gently let your arms drop as far as they will go.Repeat 5 times,(this also hurt alot but it does get easier!)
    9) hold a towel diagonally behind your back and see-saw it up and down in a drying action.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After 2 weeks phsioi was allowed to add the final 3 exercises
    10)lay on your back with enough head room to lift both arms upward and over your head as far as you can.Do 1 arm at a time and assist with the other arm.go as far as you can and hold for 5 seconds.repeat 5x each side.
    11)lay on the floor with 1 armout to the side,palm facing up.slide the arm away from you and upward as far as you can hold for 5.repeat other side.
    12)stand in a doorway with your elbow and forearm against the frame.face straight forward.feel a firm but comfortable stretch.Then with the opposite leg,step fwd and lunge slightly,feeling the stretch on the chest and underarm.hold for 5 and repeat 5x each side.
    13)reach over your headand try and reach down to your shoulder blades.Aim to point your elbow to the ceiling.use the other hand to push a little further.Hold for 5.repeat 5 x
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Now there is an arm-swinging exercise recommended for those that had node removal which should be done BEFORE numbers 11,12 and 13.
    Place the unaffected arm on the back of a chair and lean fwd resting your forehead on your arm. Allow your other arm to hand loosely and swing the shoulder fwd,backward,side to side and then in a circular motion.**** the arm relaxes,increase the length of the swings and size of the circles.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    PLEASE REMEMBER I AM NOT A PHYSIOTHERAPIST AND AM JUST RELAYING WHAT I HAVE BEEN TOLD BY MY SURGEON AND THERAPIST.
    EACH PERSON WILL DIFFER IN WHAT THEY CAN AND CAN'T DO.
    Hope this is of some help to you and anyone else reading this
    ps.
    these exercises should be repeated 3-4 times daily.I have done my religiously and in 22 days have almost got my full range of movement bacl already.The only restrictions i have are caysed by my expanders.
  • Skeezie
    Skeezie Member Posts: 586 Member
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    Rague said:

    I didn't have any problems
    I didn't have any problems with either of those 'things' but we are all different.

    Rhonda, you are a girl after my own heart.
    These are very important things! I am right handed and my mastecomy was on the right side as well. It was a simple mastectomy and I only had one drain. I don't recall having any problems in that area. And I think I would have remembered that! lol

    While I didn't bother "doing" my hair, I was able to wash it and comb it. I did sleep in a lazy-boy because it was the easiest with the drain etc. The first three days my husband slept in the other one cause the handle to put the foot rest down is on the right and I wasn't able to push it, but by the 4th day I told him to go upstairs and be comfortable I was ok by myself. I slept in the lazy-boy for several weeks even after the drain was out because I was sore trying to lay down in bed. I didn't have much pain, but soreness. During the day I let Ralph baby me and do all the cooking etc. I relaxed and pampered myself. I was worried I wouldn'tbe able to shower alone but I did, I fastened the drain bulb on a ribbon around my neck. Make sure you have nitegowns and blouses that snap or button up the front so you can poke the drain thru and you don't have to raise your arms over your head.

    The girls who have the expanders will probably have all of their tips...I don't remember if you are doing that or not. But it really feels good to start "getting on" with the business of getting rid of the beast.

    When is your surgery? Again if you said I forget...

    Hugs, Judy :-)
  • 2Floridiansisters
    2Floridiansisters Member Posts: 384 Member
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    Skeezie said:

    Rhonda, you are a girl after my own heart.
    These are very important things! I am right handed and my mastecomy was on the right side as well. It was a simple mastectomy and I only had one drain. I don't recall having any problems in that area. And I think I would have remembered that! lol

    While I didn't bother "doing" my hair, I was able to wash it and comb it. I did sleep in a lazy-boy because it was the easiest with the drain etc. The first three days my husband slept in the other one cause the handle to put the foot rest down is on the right and I wasn't able to push it, but by the 4th day I told him to go upstairs and be comfortable I was ok by myself. I slept in the lazy-boy for several weeks even after the drain was out because I was sore trying to lay down in bed. I didn't have much pain, but soreness. During the day I let Ralph baby me and do all the cooking etc. I relaxed and pampered myself. I was worried I wouldn'tbe able to shower alone but I did, I fastened the drain bulb on a ribbon around my neck. Make sure you have nitegowns and blouses that snap or button up the front so you can poke the drain thru and you don't have to raise your arms over your head.

    The girls who have the expanders will probably have all of their tips...I don't remember if you are doing that or not. But it really feels good to start "getting on" with the business of getting rid of the beast.

    When is your surgery? Again if you said I forget...

    Hugs, Judy :-)

    Hi skeezie thanks for responding to me
    I am scheduled for a double mastectomy on July 9th at the military hospital. But the surgeon has told me I need to see a plastic surgeon and hear him out and see what all my options are as far as reconstruction goes. I had already decided I didn't want any reconstruction but he feels I might regret that choice in the future and he wantsme to make sure that is what I want.

    He said that after I meet with the plastic surgeon and if I still don't want reconstruction then he will keep me on the schedule and take them off on the above date, I think he thinks I will change my mine and want to have new breasts.

    If I go with the new boobs then I have to have it done at the bigger hospital here in town because the military hospital doesn't have a plastic surgeon onboard. I am going to see him this next week, I'm just waiting on the phone call confirming my appointment day and time.

    Thanks for getting back to me. My husabnd plans on sleeping with me too in our 2 recliners in the living room, he's all gung ho about helping me through this.

    Thank you, love Ronda
  • ms.sunshine
    ms.sunshine Member Posts: 707 Member
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    Hi skeezie thanks for responding to me
    I am scheduled for a double mastectomy on July 9th at the military hospital. But the surgeon has told me I need to see a plastic surgeon and hear him out and see what all my options are as far as reconstruction goes. I had already decided I didn't want any reconstruction but he feels I might regret that choice in the future and he wantsme to make sure that is what I want.

    He said that after I meet with the plastic surgeon and if I still don't want reconstruction then he will keep me on the schedule and take them off on the above date, I think he thinks I will change my mine and want to have new breasts.

    If I go with the new boobs then I have to have it done at the bigger hospital here in town because the military hospital doesn't have a plastic surgeon onboard. I am going to see him this next week, I'm just waiting on the phone call confirming my appointment day and time.

    Thanks for getting back to me. My husabnd plans on sleeping with me too in our 2 recliners in the living room, he's all gung ho about helping me through this.

    Thank you, love Ronda

    Gung ho hubbys are great.
    Gung ho hubbys are great. Don't rush yourself, allow time to heal, and let others pamper you. And most importantly get some good pain killers.
    Take care
  • Dawne.Hope
    Dawne.Hope Member Posts: 823
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    Hi skeezie thanks for responding to me
    I am scheduled for a double mastectomy on July 9th at the military hospital. But the surgeon has told me I need to see a plastic surgeon and hear him out and see what all my options are as far as reconstruction goes. I had already decided I didn't want any reconstruction but he feels I might regret that choice in the future and he wantsme to make sure that is what I want.

    He said that after I meet with the plastic surgeon and if I still don't want reconstruction then he will keep me on the schedule and take them off on the above date, I think he thinks I will change my mine and want to have new breasts.

    If I go with the new boobs then I have to have it done at the bigger hospital here in town because the military hospital doesn't have a plastic surgeon onboard. I am going to see him this next week, I'm just waiting on the phone call confirming my appointment day and time.

    Thanks for getting back to me. My husabnd plans on sleeping with me too in our 2 recliners in the living room, he's all gung ho about helping me through this.

    Thank you, love Ronda

    Do see the plastic surgeon.
    Do see the plastic surgeon. I saw one after my breast surgeon urged me to do so. I too thought I didn't want to have reconstruction. After meeting with the PS I still decided I didn't want to do it. I thought I could decide later after the double masectomy. My breast surgeon actually CALLED me ...my story is long, but the short of it is this: She said she would perform the masectomy differently if I was going to have reconstruction, she would spare some of the skin. If I had a regular masectomy and chose reconstruction later, it wouldn't look as good. I decided I would go for the reconstruction and I don't regret it a bit. While it's been a longer process than anticipated and it's been more painful than I expected, I don't regret it at all. There was something reassuring I guess when the second day I took the bandages off and saw little bumps where my normal breasts had been. I think it would have been a shock to go from having breasts to having a completely flat chest. I was only 39 and that may have made a difference, I don't know. But do talk to the PS. Reconstruction isn't for everyone and there are many who haven't had it and they do fine. We're all different and only you can decide. Go in there with an open mind. And then do what feels good to you.

    Best of luck,
    dh
  • New Flower
    New Flower Member Posts: 4,294
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    Do see the plastic surgeon.
    Do see the plastic surgeon. I saw one after my breast surgeon urged me to do so. I too thought I didn't want to have reconstruction. After meeting with the PS I still decided I didn't want to do it. I thought I could decide later after the double masectomy. My breast surgeon actually CALLED me ...my story is long, but the short of it is this: She said she would perform the masectomy differently if I was going to have reconstruction, she would spare some of the skin. If I had a regular masectomy and chose reconstruction later, it wouldn't look as good. I decided I would go for the reconstruction and I don't regret it a bit. While it's been a longer process than anticipated and it's been more painful than I expected, I don't regret it at all. There was something reassuring I guess when the second day I took the bandages off and saw little bumps where my normal breasts had been. I think it would have been a shock to go from having breasts to having a completely flat chest. I was only 39 and that may have made a difference, I don't know. But do talk to the PS. Reconstruction isn't for everyone and there are many who haven't had it and they do fine. We're all different and only you can decide. Go in there with an open mind. And then do what feels good to you.

    Best of luck,
    dh

    Ronda
    yes, see the plastic surgeon. You can do reconstruction later if you like but at minimum plastic surgeon will see your natural appearance and make recommendations for now or future .
    Good luck
  • greyhoundluvr
    greyhoundluvr Member Posts: 402
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    Ronda -
    I had the bilateral mastectomy also but did opt for insertion of tissue expanders for reconstruction. If I get through rads OK and get to have the exchange surgery, to me it will be well worth it but definitely do what you feel is right in your situation. Both my plastic surgeon and my breast surgeon say that the immediate reconstruction makes the surgery a little harder than the mastectomy alone. I stayed in the hospital about 18 hours after surgery because I was on patient controlled analgesia. I wouldn't have minded staying a day longer but didn't want my family driving in the huge ice storm we were having. I slept most of that first day and was very happy for some help. After that, I was able to get up and down the stairs, watch TV, warm up or make simple foods, and do most of the things to take care of myself. But I was still happy to have th help I did at home. The one thing I could not do was wash my hair and they did this for me.

    I would note that the activity/exercises is one of the areas where the docs seem to differ significantly. I was not allowed to be up much or doing anything with my arms over my head for almost a month. My plastic surgeon said that too much activity (even how much I walked) could impact the amount of drainage and the ability to getthe drains out so my orders were to do as little as possible (I had two drains they hadtrouble getting out and it was holding up getting my port put in for my chemo).

    Get all the information you can to make the right decision for you - I know this has been some tough decision making for you and I hope your surgery goes well!

    Chris
  • Third_Generation
    Third_Generation Member Posts: 121
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    Hi Ronda,
    I had bilaterals

    Hi Ronda,
    I had bilaterals in Jan. I had no trouble doing daily things. I used a ribbon around my neck that I slipped the drain tabs thru for showering..called them my Xmas decorations! I piled pillows up and slept in my own bed-tucked little soft heart shaped pillows under both arms to remind me to not roll over and also to keep from pulling on the drain tubes. I slept that way so long that the young grand girls still tuck these under their own arms when they nap with me. lol
    The Virginia Piper Cancer center gave these pillows to me..different groups made them as their volunteer projects...their are so many nice people who do the little things in life that help us!
    Good luck with everything,
    Brenda
  • Christine Louise
    Christine Louise Member Posts: 426 Member
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    No such troubles
    I was so scared I'd be immobile that I even bought a supply of adult diapers! Didn't need them at all.

    Have your sweetie very nearby when you do your first shower. It is a shock to see yourself that first time, plus you may be woozy. Be ready to jump back into a cozy robe and into your recliner.

    Although I had no problems with self-care, I did find it too difficult to stand at the sink doing dishes or at the stove doing much cooking, doing laundry, etc.
  • m-star
    m-star Member Posts: 441
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    No such troubles
    I was so scared I'd be immobile that I even bought a supply of adult diapers! Didn't need them at all.

    Have your sweetie very nearby when you do your first shower. It is a shock to see yourself that first time, plus you may be woozy. Be ready to jump back into a cozy robe and into your recliner.

    Although I had no problems with self-care, I did find it too difficult to stand at the sink doing dishes or at the stove doing much cooking, doing laundry, etc.

    hi Ronda
    Glad someone posted

    hi Ronda

    Glad someone posted my set of physio exercises! Yes i agree some PS's may say no exercises,but the longer its left,the more trouble you can have with regaining full movement.

    I bet if you did a survey with those who started pt right away,and those who left it w while, the ones who did it sooner got a better range of movement back-and quicker.

    I had no trouble brushing teeth etc.Washed my hair leaning over the bath with the shower hose 5 days post op. As for going to the toilet......the only trouble you might have is constipation from the pain med's!!! =)

    Its good that you may be going to chat to a PS and sound them out.Never hurts to know ALL your options. If they can do a skin sparring mastectomy then even 6 months to a year down the line,you can reconstruct. Just be careful if you tell them you NEVER want reconstruction cus as someone said before me, they will remove more skin making recon difficult later if you changed your mind
  • jo jo
    jo jo Member Posts: 1,175
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    m-star said:

    hi Ronda
    Glad someone posted

    hi Ronda

    Glad someone posted my set of physio exercises! Yes i agree some PS's may say no exercises,but the longer its left,the more trouble you can have with regaining full movement.

    I bet if you did a survey with those who started pt right away,and those who left it w while, the ones who did it sooner got a better range of movement back-and quicker.

    I had no trouble brushing teeth etc.Washed my hair leaning over the bath with the shower hose 5 days post op. As for going to the toilet......the only trouble you might have is constipation from the pain med's!!! =)

    Its good that you may be going to chat to a PS and sound them out.Never hurts to know ALL your options. If they can do a skin sparring mastectomy then even 6 months to a year down the line,you can reconstruct. Just be careful if you tell them you NEVER want reconstruction cus as someone said before me, they will remove more skin making recon difficult later if you changed your mind

    I agree with m-star on
    I agree with m-star on physical therapy exercises...i think its really important cuz i had to wait to go to therapy at first cause i had a risk of my incisions reopening and after that i had PT and it was amazing how much it helped...they would even tell me to come in when i was at my sickest from chemo and they would do some feel good exercises when my bones and joints would hurt so bad from the immune shots.
  • Megan M
    Megan M Member Posts: 3,000
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    Hi skeezie thanks for responding to me
    I am scheduled for a double mastectomy on July 9th at the military hospital. But the surgeon has told me I need to see a plastic surgeon and hear him out and see what all my options are as far as reconstruction goes. I had already decided I didn't want any reconstruction but he feels I might regret that choice in the future and he wantsme to make sure that is what I want.

    He said that after I meet with the plastic surgeon and if I still don't want reconstruction then he will keep me on the schedule and take them off on the above date, I think he thinks I will change my mine and want to have new breasts.

    If I go with the new boobs then I have to have it done at the bigger hospital here in town because the military hospital doesn't have a plastic surgeon onboard. I am going to see him this next week, I'm just waiting on the phone call confirming my appointment day and time.

    Thanks for getting back to me. My husabnd plans on sleeping with me too in our 2 recliners in the living room, he's all gung ho about helping me through this.

    Thank you, love Ronda

    When do you have your
    When do you have your surgery Ronda? I just want to wish you good luck!
  • 2Floridiansisters
    2Floridiansisters Member Posts: 384 Member
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    Megan M said:

    When do you have your
    When do you have your surgery Ronda? I just want to wish you good luck!

    Hi Megan M
    As of right now I am tentattively scheduled for surgery July 9th, if I have reconstruction that date will change. So it's still kind of up in the air, thank you for your well wishes.

    Love Ronda
  • cahjah75
    cahjah75 Member Posts: 2,631
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    I'm so glad
    I'm so glad you posted this question. I'm having bilateral mastectomy next Tuesday. I just spoke w/my oncology surgeon's nurse and she told me I wouldn't have a drain unless my dr needed to remove any lymph nodes. I've had to sleep on my back since breaking both shoulders. For 18 months I couldn't wash my own hair. I had to purchase a "bottom buddy" for the toilet. I have it with me wherever I go. As for brushing my teeth, I managed ok. I've already spoken to my dr about PT soon after surgery to get range of motion back asap. I'm unable to raise my left arm now (no humeral head) and right arm has a reverse total shoulder. I will be getting prostheses until reconstruction at a later date. My dr said rad can affect the skin condition. I do have some concerns about scar tissue and will discuss with PS.
  • Chrispea
    Chrispea Member Posts: 123 Member
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    I had trouble getting
    I had trouble getting dressed a few days after.

    I think it depends on the type of surgery you are having. I had some muscle removed from my chest wall, and also 15 lymph nodes removed from under my arm, so I could lift my arm for many weeks. I had to have physical therapy. It still hurts and it's been 8 weeks, but with pt and exercise, it gets better everyday.

    I did have trouble in the shower, too, cleaning certain parts! LOL!

    Luckily, it was my left arm, and I'm right handed, so I was OK with typing and stuff w/work. I work for myself, so I can work when I want.

    I agree with what everyone said. I totally forgot about the drain tubes. Those are a pita. You will feel much better once those are removed.

    Then do the exercises. My surgeon sent me to PT and that helped a lot. My insurance allows for 15 physical therapies. I seriously felt 80% better just after the first one. I think it helped me get better quicker.