DRAINS - how to deal with THEM!!!!

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 316
   Posted 5/10/2005 7:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Please, someone, anyone, do you have any advice on dealing with drains? I have 4 and while the left side is uncomfortable, I can certainly deal with it. But on the right side, it's unbearable. The fluid from the left side has changed to the pale, ugly, fluid, but on the right side I still have deep pink (not bright red). Plus I'm still close to 40ccs within 24 hours and I feel I'll never be get down to 30ccs.

I haven't needed anything more than tylenol for pain, and in fact my chest hasn't hurt more than a twinge here and there, but the *&^%^&%^& drains. AAAAAAHHHHHH. Anyone have any advice at all???

The finger of God touches your life when you make a friend.
----Mary Dawson Hughes---

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 5/10/2005 8:17 AM (GMT -7)   

How long have you had them in?  If it's been a couple of days, I might call my doc. If you don't feel like it's clearing up quickly enough I would definitely call the surgeon to get an opinion over the phone.  Other than that, not a lot of help, it's kind of a situation that you have to live with sure feels good to have them out though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have my last reconstruction on the 23rd and he said I would definitely have drains again because of the work he'll have to do on one side - scar tissue from former mastectomy.  I am dreading those things!!!!!

Teresa King

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2003
Total Posts : 248
   Posted 5/10/2005 8:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Laure', I had my drains in for over a week. One side may heal faster than the other. The cancer side had more tissue removed so I'd expect that one to be worse.  Remember I told you to pin the drains to your shirt so that they don't hang? That really helps. And try not to let them get too full; that makes them heavy. Gentle hugs, Frayda

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 205
   Posted 5/10/2005 8:55 AM (GMT -7)   

Oh Laure' I wish I had some super advice to make it better, but I don't.  I only had one and had it removed 5 days after surgery.  But I only had a partial so I'm sure that had something to do with it.  I found that the suction is what caused the pain.  And that is what gets the fluid out so it's a good thing, even though it hurts like h*!! 

Are you wearing loose clothes to keep it from rubbing against your skin?  I could only wear jammies during those days.  And I used the less sticky medical tape to tape the tube to my tummy in a way that it wouldn't kink but it had some slack so as not to pull at the site.

It's going to feel SO good to get them out.  But in the meantime you are in my thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery!

Love and hugs,

PS.  Are you right handed?  Maybe the use of that hand is making it more painful.  Try to limit what you do.  I know it's hard but it may help.

Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.

-Vesta M. Kelly

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 5/10/2005 11:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi laure'
Those drains are the pits, I know.  I had 5 of those suckers in my first bilateral/tram surgery.....and few more later on.  A product I wish I had known about the first time is put out by 'Ladies First'.  It's an after surgery cami that has pockets for the drains.  I had to pin mine, but this would have been wonderful.  I wear it to sleep in now because it's so comfortable and has the ability to pad with foam on either side of the breasts.  I did have bilateral masts with trams and implants, but later lost one side to a nasty staph infection.  This little garment is nice under jammies.  Here's a link if you want it:
My best to you....no fun, I know.....but you will get through all this pesky stuff ~ Joany

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 700
   Posted 5/10/2005 11:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey there, I had four of those and know what you are feeling! It has been awhile, but I would pin mine also. I found a very comfortable jump suit that had lots of pockets and was very loose and it worked great. Hang in there they will come out soon. Just try to make friends with them, they will go everywhere with you so you may as well make peace with them for now.

Sara Dearing
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1294
   Posted 5/10/2005 1:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Drains, I think the devil himself invented them. I had two drains after my mast. One came out fairly quickly but one was very stubborn. Two and a half weeks later I was free. I found the less movement I made with my arms the more the drainage slowed down. Reduce irritation from the drains and you should get to 30cc real quick. I pinned my drains up on my support bra with a loop so that they didn't pull, that helped too. Otherwise you just have to wait. They will come out and you will soon forget the "pain" they caused.

Thinking about you,


 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel.

Proverbs 27:9

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 857
   Posted 5/10/2005 5:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Drains, drains... oh how i complained about the drains! I KNOW they are the pits!! I don't have any good advice, other than to check with the dr. about the fluid level and color to be sure you're ok, and whatever you do, do not get them caught on your kitchen drawer knobs. THAT HURTS REALLY BAD. I had 4 in ... 1 came out at about 2.5 weeks, the others closer to 4 weeks, oh MAN was i a happy camper the day they came out!

sorry not better advice... just a (((HUG))) to help you get thru it.
it will get better.
"It's been worth everything I've been through,
 To do what I do"

                       To Do What I Do   -Alan Jackson, 2004

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 892
   Posted 5/10/2005 8:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Yuck, how I hated those drains. I had 2 with my first mast. and then 4 more with the second/tramflap recon. There really isn't a whole lot to tell you except to try to be patient and to keep them pinned to whatever you're wearing. At the time safety pins worked fine. I was happy for that idea because mine took a good long time to get to the right amt. of fluid with the correct color for the recon. surgeon to even consider removing them. But eventually they ALL came out and the first thing I did was jump in the shower and just let the water run all over me. Here's a picture. When the drains were in I used to TRY to balance them on the top of the soap dish; they almost never stayed there, kept rolling off, so it became a game. How much of me could I soap up and wash off before the first drain fell off, followed by all the others. It was too ridiculous. Of course, they've been out for a long time now, but I still smile when I think of the acrobatics in the shower just so I could be a "clean machine." Try to be patient. They'll be out before you know it. Hugs, Luci
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.  Albert Camus

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 316
   Posted 5/11/2005 4:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Oh, no, they have to have the right amount of fluid AND be the right color??? The instructions don't say anything about that! I'm down to the right color and I'm going to see the doctor today. I and PRAYING so much they will take them out.

Luci, you were so lucky to be able to take a shower. I was told - NO. Sponge baths just don't cut it! Getting my hair washed over the kitchen sink is also the pits.

The drains have been pinned since day 1 and the tubes have been contained within my pants and have not been pulling, aside from the first day when I kneeled on one (OUCH!) I am trying so hard to be patient with them, but I feel like a turkey on a spit with the pain in both sides. Can't even tell if I have pain in my phantom breasts at this point with so much from the drains. How much tylenol is too much?

Anyway, wish me luck today and please pray that they will take out the drains. BTW, doesn't that hurt when they pull them out?????

The finger of God touches your life when you make a friend.
----Mary Dawson Hughes---

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 5/11/2005 5:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Laure' I had drains for nearly a month and finally the surgeon got disgusted and pulled the last one, too soon. I ended up with a seroma and had to go back for more surgery--and then new drains. It was two months before I could go back to work because of the drains and all the mess. So let them do their work. The more active you are the more they seem to flow. Maybe you need to rest more? I could bathe but we covered up the drains area with plastic bags. I don't understand the pain if there is no pull on them. They are a pain in the butt but mine did not hurt. Isn't it less than 24cc per drain before you have them removed? If you are at 30 you are getting close. Hang in there. Hugs, MK

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