Welcome to the site! But I sure wish you didn't have to be here...no one wants to join this sorority, membership is just thrust upon you. You are going to get a boatload of welcomes and they will be much better than mine as I only occasionaly post.
But here is my 10 cents worth (better make that 39 cents to deal with the new postage increase!): I didn't have a bi-lateral, but the one I did have I had a tissue expander put in at the time of my mastectomy. You will need lots of pillows of varying shapes and sizes, as you will have to experiment a bit in finding the right combination to make yourself comfortable to sleep.
The one thing I wish I had had was a holder for all the drainage tubes I had! They make them and sell them now....little pouches with velcro that you can wear around your waist. I know some other women who are handy at sewing have put a kangaroo pocket on their shirts for this. Either way, you will want to rig up something for the shower (having them drop and dangle is NOT a pleasant experience).
Hello Linda! As Erin said, we are sorry that you are having to go thru this but you have come to a great site for support and information.
You asked who to have by your bedside. I would suggest someone that you are very comfortable with. Whether that be your spouse, parent, sibling or best friend. Someone that will allow you to sleep and not expect you to carry on a conversation. Someone that will make sure that you get what you need in the way of help. I didn't have a bilateral nor did I have any type of reconstruction, but I do remember that I was in some pain right after the surgery. I had a wonderful nurse that kept those pain shots coming right on schedule. I found that once I was home, it was much easier for me to sleep in my recliner w/ lots of pillows to prop me up. I did need some help for the first few days. Remember that you won't be able to lift your hands over your head for awhile, so, as Erin said, be sure and get tops that button down the front. Also, you might ask a friend or your beautician to help you get your hair washed and dried.
Why not tell us something about yourself. We have members all over the US and perhaps one of us lives near you. We have been known to come for support if close enough.
Thank you so much for your responses so far...they are exactly what I am looking for! Just looking for someone who has been here; done that. And knows what would have made it better! No sense in re-inventing the wheel, so to speak.
I was asked to tell you a little about myself - and so I will. I am 47 (soon to be 48) and living in Calgary, Alberta. I have had 'woman' problems all my life. Had a hysterectomy at age 36 - cysts. Question for you: if I was an "IT" before, what will that make me NOW??? Just kidding. I will deal with this too. I should mention that I am in a new relationship, and although he says he will be supportive, I still don't know exactly what that means.
Thank you for your tips - I will be contacting the home care places about those drain holders. I do have a lazy boy chair in my room, so that will help out. I have lots of pillows. This is all good. What else would anyone suggest? I have two kids who will be in school all day, so I have to be self-sufficient during that time. Will I be able to manage meals? (I have lots prepared in advance.) How long before you went back to work? Drive? Did you use oils or lotions on the scars? How long do the drains stay in? As you can tell, I've had very little information from the doctor - he just says, "we'll see how you do."
Linda: First of all, if the dr I had chosen told me "we'll see how you do" and didn't take the time to explain everything to me, I would be looking for a different physician. As each of us knows, when you hear the words from the surgeon or onco the first time, you don't remember 90% of what is said. You should be able to get answers to these questions from your physician. As I said, I didn't have a bilateral but I was able to drive in about 3 weeks. I learned that if I tried to do too much, my body would let me know and I would be exhausted. Do you have any family that is near who could come and stay w/ you the first week or so. At least until you are feeling better? Help get your kids up and fed and off to school? Don't be afraid to ask for help. What is your diagnosis? Will they be checking your lymph nodes?
I love your attitude. That is half of the battle. Laughter is a great healer. Let's see. Hmmmm...you said that after your hyster you were an "it". Hmmmmm...maybe now you will be an "itless" (little play on words) lol If you new bf says that he will be supportive, give him a chance. He may be just the support that you need.
Come back and post any question that you have. No matter how silly it seems. I can promise you that there will be at least one of us, if not more, that have had the very same question.
Post Edited (debbiR) : 1/9/2006 2:17:56 PM (GMT-7)
Linda: Rofl!! I think that we both have the same type of "warped sense of humor"! You wouldn't believe some of the names my friends came up with for me. Anyway, I think that they were friends. :)
Please ask for help. That is one of the main problems that we have...asking for and accepting help. We all think that we are Superwoman and can do it all. Please allow yourself the luxury of staying in the recliner or in bed for a few days if you want to (note the word WANT and not NEED..although it may be needed). You won't do your kids, your bf or yourself any good if you don't allow yourself time to heal. Maybe your friends could work out a schedule where they could come in and help get the meals on the table and clean up. My friends did that for me and not only was it a surprise but I found that I really needed it.
You ladies crack me up! You know the phrase for those bands who only had one hit on the radio....well, my DH now calls me the "One Tit Wonder." And now, with my impending total hyster, I, too am scared "itless" about it ;-)
I never had any problems with my expander or implant. I did have to tell my plastic surgeon to slow down on the filling of the expander (why is it that they always want to max you up?). The first time he injected the saline, DH was watching it expand at an exponential rate and make a comment about Baywatch babes. I told him to forget it! Size B is fine with me.....
The one surprizing thing that I didn't count on was not being able to lay flat. I was doing some kinda yoga pose and realized that I couldn't possibly lay face down as I was rolling around on top of this water ball....they don't compress like real ones!
On asking for help....that is the one thing I really wish I had done more of. Many offered to help and I should have taken them up on those offers!
Something else I remembered that you will need: a good sports bra. Find one that is moderately stretchy and zips open in the front if you can. You will want some soft but firm support to hold those babies secure while you are going through expansion and after surgery (usually the hospital gives you this scary, industrial velcro bra which will work temporarily).
Will be thinking of you!