The doctor has given you bad news. However, the good news is that you are starting treatment. Mastectomy is safe, but serious operation and for some time you will be prescribed bed rest. This article provides some helpful tips for getting ready for your surgery so you can focus on your recovery.
Step 1. Decide who you will tell
Think about who you want to "reveal" this information to. There are people to whom you are obliged to tell about your situation, and there are those to whom it is desirable to tell. Decide for the rest. With cancer, there is no etiquette or social protocol you must follow. Think carefully and decide what is best for you. But remember, you cannot go through this alone. That is why there is nothing good about keeping the disease a secret.
Step 2. Talk to your doctor
Find out ahead of time what you may need and what you can and cannot do. Chances are, you are not allowed to drive, because you might get a Jackson-Pratt drain. Share everything with the person who will be caring for you at home after your surgery.
Step 3. Notify your employer
You won't be able to work for a while, perhaps six weeks. You need to report this to the HR department and your manager. You must be prepared for a long absence, the doctor must tell you approximately how much you will not be able to go to work. You will need:
- Fill out paperwork about temporary disability,
- Think about who will do your part of the work in your absence,
- Provide this person with information that he needs when working on your projects,
- Bring together all the information about your project so that the person who replaces you can quickly adopt it,
Step 4. Think over a support system
You will need help when you are discharged home. Many health plans rely on nursing visits, but they will come briefly and only to check your condition and change your dressing. They won't bathe, cook, or wash you. The medications you are prescribed are likely to cause dizziness, nausea, and lightheadedness, and you may not be able to think clearly, so someone should be there to help you while you are recovering.
Step 5. Think about the living conditions
At first, you will not be able to take care of yourself. It will be difficult for you to swim for several weeks, and you will not be able to get behind the wheel. You must be prepared for this. Your freedom of movement will be limited; you do not want to walk a lot, even around the house. If possible, move your sleeping berth closer to the bathroom to avoid using the stairs. Most likely, you will be prescribed medication at home that will make you dizzy.
Step 6. Get the right clothing
You will need loose, comfortable clothing that opens completely in the front. For several weeks you will not be able to put on clothes over your head, wear things that fit your body or armpits. You will need:
- Several nightgowns that open completely in the front,
- Two or three pairs of sweatpants or yoga pants with elastic waistband,
- Slippers with non-slip soles,
- An oversized coat or blanket to wear at home after hospital (if it's cold).
Step 7. Prepare your sleeping place
You will need a "triangle pillow" and some regular ones. Although a triangular pillow is not required, it will be much more comfortable for you than with a bunch of regular ones. Although, you may want to use pillows to support the injured side. If you are discharged with drains, you will need support while you sleep. Even if not, it is still easier to get up from a raised position.
Step 8. Stock up on healthy food
You may be feeling unwell, but this is NOT the right time to eat convenient, low-nutrient foods! It is also not the time to stick to complicated diets for cancer patients. Better to eat healthy, balanced, protein-rich foods, as well as lots of fruits and vegetables. Protein will help you gain weight faster, so it's good if you eat protein-rich bars. If you are sick of the prescribed medication, then you need to eat bland food (yoghurt, boiled eggs).
Step 9. You should have medications on hand
You should have a few things with you: a gauze bandage, an adhesive plaster, an antibiotic ointment, and more. Perhaps the doctor will give you some of this, but it's better if you have your own, just in case.
Step 10. Buy a laxative
You will probably be prescribed pain relievers when you are discharged home. Many of them have the side effect of constipation. You should have a mild laxative and fruit, dry fruit, apple cider, and more.
Step 11. Get a shower head
For a while, you will not be able to wet the incision site. You can wash in the sink or wash yourself with a washcloth, or you can use a shower head.
Step 12. Buy a bath chair
Sitting on a chair in the bathtub will make it much easier to wash.
Step 13. Do your homework ahead of time
After your surgery, you need to focus on your recovery. Here's what you can do in advance: br>
- Clean up the house
- Wash the clothes,
- Pay the bills
- Purchase products,
- Cut your hair (so that someone helping you can wash it in the sink),
- All you need to do is the next 4-8 weeks.
Step 14. Learn to do things with one hand
For a week or two before the operation, try to do everything with one hand, "working". Try brushing your hair, tying it, brushing your teeth, washing, and eating. Remember, although you can move your arm, you will not be able to lift it above your shoulder for a week or two. There will be almost no strength in the hand. Step 15. Think about what you will do while you are recovering.
You cannot do anything that requires effort. Prescribed pain relievers are likely to affect memory, so you don't need to plan for important decisions while you are taking your medication. But that doesn't mean you don't have to do anything. You need to come up with something that is not heavy, and that brings you pleasure. You will get tired very quickly and will be unable to do almost anything with your sore arm, and the medication will make it difficult to concentrate. Choose entertainment where nothing needs to be lifted and lowered. And books that you don't need to think about and memorize. Now is not the right time to go through your closet, but it might be the right time to learn to knit!