My friend, Marcia, and I have decided that the plastic surgeon needs a show and tell box in his office. It turns out that when I didn’t know what to expect, my mind came up with something so much worse. The drains were not nearly as bad as I’d thought. They were really easy to empty and I only had to do it twice a day. I could shower starting the day after I came home, and it wasn’t a problem cleaning around the sites. It was harder to dress around them, they were pretty bulky hanging around my abdomen. It was hard getting a straight answer about how long I’d have them. I had three, and got one taken out each week after surgery. Which means it was three long weeks with at least one drain. But I survived and went out a lot, without looking like a total freak. I think. The incisions didn’t look so bad, either. I didn’t have any bruising, and there was only a little discoloration where the dermabond (much like superglue) closed the incisions; there were no stitches. And as soon as the dermabond started flaking off, there was nothing left but nice, pink scars. The compression bra was probably as bad as I’d thought. Big, ugly, and lace trimmed. Velcro all down the central front closure and on the front where the straps which come up over the shoulders attach, which leads to some pretty ugly flaps that are bulky under clothes. Wearing a scarf around my neck worked to conceal the ugly parts of the bra that no shirt could cover in the early days. Later, I took to wearing a sports bra over the compression bra to keep the strap tabs in place so that I could at least wear a somewhat normal shirt. I did get a compression bra at Nordstrom, the one suggested by my doctor. But it turns out it wasn’t really as great a bra as I’d hoped, it didn’t provide enough compression in some places, and so it didn’t get a lot of wear. Thankfully, though, I’m almost to the magic six week mark when I can ditch the compression gear all together. Since that’s also when I can head out for a run and start building up arm strength, that magic mark can’t come soon enough!
Published by Jamie
A breast cancer researcher turned stay at home mom turned breast cancer patient, I'm navigating my way through cancer treatments and my quest for normalcy in its aftermath. Sometimes normal is hard, and sometimes it's as simple as going for a run, throwing on some lipstick, and heading out to chemo. Follow along at runlipstickchemo.com View all posts by Jamie