My biggest preparation for my surgery Wednesday is what to do to manage the drainage tubes. I have to say that I have lost a lot of sleep thinking about them and how they will impact my recovery. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about (and don’t feel bad ’cause this isn’t something that most people will ever have to deal with), during surgery, when my breasts have been removed and the skin stretchers put in place, four drainage tubes will be inserted and sutured into my chest. Two on each side. The tubes will hang down to about my waist and at the ends are grenade looking balls. My body will be producing fluid to fill the cavity where my “cleavage” used to be. This fluid has to go somewhere, so it will exit my body through the drains. The fluid in the drains has to be emptied several times a day, measured, recorded and then disposed of. I know…it sounds gross and I am certain it will be! I have a spread sheet at the ready with day, times, fluid amount and of course drain #’s 1 thru 4!
I’m imagining myself looking like some science fiction octopus like creature. Creature from the black lagoon…but worse. And if that isn’t bad enough, these drains…which I will have for approximately three weeks, need to remain secure and stable. I can’t be swingin’ them around in some burlesque-like dance. So what the hell do you do with them?! That brings me to pillow, pockets and pins. I had gone on line to see what kind of paraphernalia existed. There are fabulous pillows to support and protect your chest but they were $50US plus shipping. There were drain “belts” again $40 to $60US and shirts designed to open easily with pockets inside designed to hold the drains. These were $75US…for a cotton button up tshirt. It’s crazy. Obviously the companies making these products have a “captive and desperate” audience.
Thanks to my dear friend Joanna who is a fabulous seamstress and a trip to a discount fabric store, I now have a beautiful breast pillow, and a fabulous soft belt to hold the drains. Joanna was even able to sew pockets using the same soft flannel into all my pj tops, a robe and other not so fashionable but very necessary items of clothing. Total cost, $10 and a bottle of Prosecco! I went to Walmart and bought a couple of hoodies that have pockets already inside to hold cell phones, etc. They cost $18Cdn versus $80US on line for basically the same thing. I also went to a hardware store and bought a cotton contractor’s belt used for holding nails. Its lightweight, sturdy and cost me $5. The other contraption I have ready is a lanyard (dollar store purchase) and some kilt pins. I can wear the lanyard around my neck and join all the drains via the pins. This way they are all in front of me, secure and hidden under my clothes. I promise I will post pics of all these new products in use. Don’t worry, nothing too graphic:) Who knows, this new line of breast cancer fashion accessories just might debut this fall on Paris runways. Introducing Patti’s new line of “Recoverall’s” coming soon to a store near you.
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.