Thursday, March 2, 2017

Pre-op...getting ready for the BIG day!

Today I am less than 4 days away from the BIG SURGERY!  

On 02/21 I went for my pre-op with my Plastic Surgeon's nurse.  Even though I had read through all of the information they gave me ahead of time, there was still new information and instructions.   

C gave me all of my prescriptions on this visit and went over instructions for their use.  Post-op, I will need to take:
  • Celebrex as an anti-inflammatory and pain med x 1 week
  • Gabapentin for nerve pain x 2 weeks
  • Phenergan for nausea as needed
  • Oxycodone as needed for breakthrough pain
  • Extra-strength Tylenol for pain as needed
  • Baby Aspirin to prevent blood clots x 2 weeks
  • Stool Softener and Milk of Mag for constipation daily until regular bowel movements resume
I was also instructed to drink 2 protein shakes (think Ensure or Boost) per day for this entire week before surgery.  They also recommend a high protein diet after surgery to promote healing.

She gave me a pre-op carbohydrate drink that I have to mix with water and take the night before and the morning off surgery.  Other than that, nothing after midnight.  

C also gave me the order for my pre-op labs and tests.  These are in addition to the ones Dr. K, my Surgical Oncologist ordered.

I had already read that I would not be allowed to have caffeine for 2 weeks prior to surgery and 4-6 weeks after surgery, so I have been weaning myself off of my caffeine for the last several weeks.  It's a good thing too, because I had terrible headaches at first!  If you are a caffeine-aholic like me, I highly recommend you start weaning yourself in the beginning of your journey rather than waiting until just before surgery.  

The kicker to this one is that it means I can't have chocolate either!!!  So, the protein shakes mentioned above have to be vanilla or strawberry or something else.  Of course, it happens to be Girl Scout Cookie season here!!  I just received my Thin Mints the day I was to start being caffeine-free!!  At least they taste great frozen....they'll be waiting in my freezer after recovery.  :)
While I was in the office, C showed me the mastectomy bra and the abdominal binder I will need to wear 24/7 for 2 weeks after surgery.  These two items will be fitted and supplied while I'm in the hospital (staying 3-4 days post-op).  The only time these come off is for daily showers and while being washed/air dried.  

They also made me sign a statement saying that I understood that I would need 24 hr care for the first 2 weeks!

Something I did not have on my list and had to pick-up was a package of cotton t-shirts.  C instructed me to buy a larger size t-shirt and cut it up the middle.  I am to put it on like a jacket (nothing over my head) to wear underneath my bra and binder....this will protect my incisions and also help keep the bra and binder cleaner.  Good to know.

Here are just a few of my post-op restrictions:
  • No lifting greater than 10lbs and no repetitive motions.  It actually says no housework!!!  Woohoo! Too bad insurance doesn't cover a maid, huh?
  • No sleeping on my stomach or sides for 3-4 weeks.....I'm a side-sleeper, so this should be interesting.
  • Also, no sitting in the sun or heat for 3-4 weeks. It can cause swelling and firmness.  I live in South's been in the 90's several days in February! :)
On 02/27, I had labs drawn, an EKG, and a chest X-ray.  I waited longer than the actual tests took.  Other than the blood draw, nothing is invasive or painful.  
 People keep asking me if I'm getting nervous.......the answer is "not really",  but I am feeling a little more like it's actually going to happen.  I also feel like there's things I wanted to get done and haven't....more cleaning around the house and stuff.  But, I think that's just me trying to keep busy.

Words of Advice:
Life goes on...good and bad.  So much has revolved around my diagnosis this last month and a half.  I really haven't had very many days that were free from work, appointments, getting things ready, etc.

It's easy to get bogged down by the diagnosis and let it take over...don't.  
I have tried to continue to make room for normal life. My son still has school and tennis season coming up and a science project due.
Example:  Last Sunday was beautiful outside...a perfect Spring day for getting our container garden going.  I almost didn't do it because for a moment I thought: "What's the point? I'm not going to be able to take care of it."  But, that's not right....we always have a garden and it is something my son and I share and enjoy together.  There aren't that many things a 14 year old wants to do with his mom!  I'm taking advantage of every one!  I don't want this whole year to be a bad memory of hospitals and scary diagnoses.  We planted our garden, mulched a flower bed, trimmed felt great and I'm so happy we did it. And, walking out back to clip herbs will be one of my exercises during recovery.  :)

This week, I came home late from work to find our electric water heater actual smoke coming from the bottom element!  It smelled so bad!  It was scary too.  Needless to say, I wasn't planning on replacing my water heater 4 days before surgery, but life seems to be throwing me some curveballs lately.  On the bright side, I'm so glad it happened when I was home to catch it and when I could get it would really be bad to have no hot water post-op!   And, grateful for friends who volunteer their time to help....a friend installed our new one tonight!

Life doesn't slow down just because you have breast cancer.  It is times like these though that you can truly appreciate the help, love, and support of friends and family!   So many people have bought t-shirts in my fundraiser/awareness campaign, have sent gifts, and offered their encouragement, prayers, and their time.  

Potluck at work tomorrow with my amazing's going to be hard to be away from them for 6 weeks. Birthday celebration with my family on Saturday night. Church, packing for the hospital, and lymph node injection on Sunday.  Then....that's it...I have to be at the hospital at 0530 on Monday morning!!

12/22/16  Routine Screening Mammogram
01/18/17  Repeat Imaging and US of left breast; LUMP found.
01/20/17  Core Needle Biopsy
01/24/17  Biopsy results positive...Stage 0 DCIS, left breast
01/25/17  Meeting with Breast Center Navigator and Genetic Testing
01/30/17  Consultation with Surgical Oncologist, Dr. K
02/08/17  Consultation with Plastic Surgeon
02/21/17  Pre-op Visit with Dr. O's nurse
02/27/17 Pre-op Labs and Testing
03/05/17 Lymph Node Injection
03/06/17 SURGERY DAY!


  1. very insightful, and positive post.

  2. It's great knowing about these things before hand... the cut t- shirt idea sounds especially smart!

    1. My PS office nurse was terrific about giving lots of directions pre-op and hand outs detailing all of this stuff. The t-shirt was something they required and it worked really well!