Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ooph/Hyst Post Care

Okay, I'm going to compile all of the advice that I've found to care for yourself after a hysterectomy/oophrectomy:

-Drink lots of water and hydrate yourself.  Someone even mentioned something about drinking lots of water vitamins?

-After you bathe, don't towel dry, but apply baby lotion or oils and air dry.  Then use creams or lotions to keep your skin hydrated.

-Take a Calcium and Vit D supplement

-Someone said that small amounts of estrogen are not harmful, even with the BRCA genes.  She is on the patch Climara and started right after surgery with .1 dose.  After 4 months, dropped down to half that.  (Not sure about being able to be on estrogen, since many cancers are "fed" by estrogen)


-Possibly need vaginal gels/lubricants for intercourse

-My dear friend shared: "I visited with my sister yesterday (the one who just had a hysterectomy) and she said the most painful thing was the first bowl movement, ahhh, I remember that too. So make sure you are eating high fiber and taking some type of stool softener afterwards. The doctors rarely tell you about this, it take some time to get your bowels going again so you don't want to do much pushing :). Also I have a pillow for you that I used after my surgery that helped a lot. Whenever you sit up you put the pillow on your belly for support."

Microsurgery chat

I finally was able to connect with a family member of my friend who had a double mastectomy after finding out about her breast cancer. She wanted to reconstruct with her own tissue so she wouldn't have to worry about implants. She searched around and said that it's hard to find surgeons who perform microsurgery (reconstruction where they have to cut and reconnect blood vessles...micro work). She finally decided to travel into Utah to have her reconstruction and said very few surgeons in Utah perform these procedures and she was grateful to find such skilled surgeons.

Dr. Theresa Reading performed her mastectomy. She said that Dr. Reading was excellent! That was encouraging because I really liked her too when I met with her and I've heard great things about her! Yay! I feel really comfortable about using Dr. Reading, especially with the insight that she is thorough about getting as much tissue as possible.

Dr. June Chen (http://www.jschenmd.com/) was her plastic surgeon. She said that Dr. Chen was excellent! She performed her DIEP. She said that even now when she goes in for a mamogram, the techs can't tell that she has undergone reconstruction, they look so great. She said she never imagined her breasts would look this great. At first after the initial surgery and the swelling had gone down, she said her breasts were very small. Now that she has gained a little weight (before surgery she had lost a ton of weight), her breasts have gained weight too, since they are fat, and she says she looks GREAT! She said her breasts are perkier than most women her age.

Recovery: She said that she found it most comfortable to sleep in a recliner. She said she wasn't on narcotics and could drive within a week, but kept her elbows down and didn't wear a safety belt across her chest. She did lose her voice with the intibation, but said she is prone to losing her voice for various reasons anyway. She also said to GET A GOOD BRA! She went into Victoria's Secret and found a great shaping bra with no underwire.

Dr. Chen's office sells a scar cream in their office. She ended up purchasing the same scar cream online at the "skin store cosmetic store"(skinstore.com?), where they matched Dr. Chen's office price and also she used a coupon (and got free shipping). She said it was very expensive and very worth it! Her scars are minimal to gone!

6 months later, she had her nipple reconstructed. She said that she went light on her areola tatooing and they have faded now, so I might go a little darker originally. I am worried about the tatooing. I want the areolas to look great and the colors to be textured like real areolas. I'm hopeful that I can find an "artist".

I'm grateful I had the chance to speak with her. She was very positive! Here are some of her motivating insights and empowering thoughts:

- You are not 1/2 a woman!
-Every day will get better after surgery. Just know that every day will get better!
-You have to have the mental attitude to BE HAPPY!
-"Own it!" Know that you have made a smart decision and embrace your choice. Don't act like a victim...be empowered that you are in control of your life!
-Do whatever you want to do...stay in good shape! Live your life! Take the BEST CARE OF YOURSELF!
-Be Strong! Be Beautiful! Be Happy!