My VIP's for the day. Yes, we are sisters.
They don't tell you much before the lymph node surgery. Have a physical, don't take blood thinners for a week before, don't eat or drink anything after midnight the day before the surgery and, oh, yes, please, get a good nights sleep. That last one was my favorite.
After the surgery they tell you don't take off those little steri-strips. Either the doctor will remove them or they will just fall off. Don't pull on the drain and change the dressing. Wear your bra for a few days.
For the surgery I find all that a surprisingly small amount of information.
Now, here is what they don't tell you.
You cannot change your dressing by yourself at first because you are in pain and cannot twist around to get the tape on your back. It is almost impossible to get your bra on without help, as well. Thanks sis and Melody for the help.
The drain just hangs down from your arm pit so you either have to hold it in your hand 24/7 or invent some way to attach it around your waist. I used some soft yarn and tied it around my waist. I imagine that drain cost my insurance company a vast sum of money and the drain people cannot come up with some way to attach it to you. I was half way down the hall, leaving the hospital, before a nurse thought to tell me how to empty the drain and how to put it back together. Ladies you HAVE to take care of yourselves! Weird.
You won't have any feeling down the back of your arm, in your armpit and part of your breast. Why don't they tell you that? Later, when I asked about it, after the surgery, the doctor said, "Oh, yes, and the feeling won't come back." Thanks, guy, for that tidbit. My friend says that after a while you don't notice so much. Thank goodness. Good news is that after years of shaving, I don't have much hair so I have decided to give up that task.
No one tells you that you cannot get Neosporin out of your clothes. No one told me to use Neosporin on the wound. I got some infection, called the doctor, thinking he would want to see me. His nurse told me to buy some Neosporin.
Maybe it is the surgeon I had. He did his job. He took out the lump then he took out the nodes. He is finished. My wound is still not completely healed and there is still some bruising but I don't need to see him again. I think that is strange.
No one told me that I would have tiny little white strings hanging out of the wound. They look like worms and really ick me out in an "Alien" sort of way. Instead of a chest burster maybe I am now harboring an armpit burster. Peculiar.
No one told me that some days I would wake up super cranked. Hate the world. Cry and cry. Why don't they recommend a therapist to women going thru this stuff?
No one tells you just how wonderful the physical therapy feels after the surgery. It helps your body but it does just as much good for your sense of well-being. Keeps my head in shape. I have been released to start working out at a regular gym. I can do what I want except for new arm exercises. Anything new has to be approved by the physical therapist.
Thanks for letting me get the crank out of my system. I don't know who is out there but I like talking to you.