Monday, June 22, 2015

Day 11- Goodbye Drains, Hello Seroma

Goodbye Drains...

It's a very, very happy day 11 for us today.  My final two drains were removed which gave me a sense of freedom.  I've been tied up to drains for eleven days, six of those days with four drains, and while that doesn't seem like a lot, you'd be amazed as to how annoying and uncomfortable they can be.  My right drain and breast, as I mentioned yesterday, were the ones causing all the discomfort and pain for me.  Especially around the exit point of the drain.  My left drain and breast...wouldn't know I even had a drain except for the the fact that it flopped around all the time.

I had so much apprehension about the drain removal process, but gotta say, it was easy peasy.  That, or my nurse Denise has magic hands.  I was trying to explain it to my husband, as I told him there wasn't any pain with the removal, but it's the sensation that made me say "gross!" each time Denise pulled one out.  All you feel is the sensation of something being pulled out of you, no pain.  Like pulling a fettuccine noodle out of a bowl of jello.  A little tugging to get it going and then slooooop!  It's out!  So now, I'm completely free from being tied down to my drains.  I can move more freely and honestly, not having to strip them of fluids daily takes a lot of the nauseating feelings away from me.

This is what two of the drain sites look like post removal,
13 days after surgery.

Tips for lessening the pain of the drains: 

1.  Ask for Lidocaine patches to put around the drain site that is hurting you (check that your insurance won't charge an arm and a leg for them.)  You can wear them 12 hrs. on, 12 hrs. off.  This really helped me for that right drain.

2.  Use a bandaid to tape the drain into place close to the insertion site.  It's held very securely by sutures, but you want to keep it from wobbling about.  I then used another bandaid lower down on my abdomen to secure part of the cord close to my body so that it wouldn't move.

3.  Many use safety pins to secure the drains to the inside of clothing.  I never did this, but I don't see why it wouldn't work beautifully for those who need to get dressed and go out a lot.  I had Shower Pockets.  Read about them HERE, order them HERE. I had two pair so that when I showered with one, I had had another dry one for putting on.  I slept in them and wore them 24/7.  

Hello Seroma.

As my nurse, Denise, was examining my breasts, she came across small pockets of fluid, called Seroma, at the bottom of each breast.  My husband and I never even noticed, and still found it difficult to see when Denise was examining them.  Naughty right breast had a little more than my well-behaving left breast.  A Seroma is simply a pocket of fluid that sometimes develops under the skin after surgery, but it needs to be watched.  My body should reabsorb this small amount of fluid on its own over the next few days, but we've taken precautions in the meantime to try and avoid having a needle aspiration (I HATE NEEDLES) and force my body to reabsorb.  Since the fluid wasn't near the drain, the seroma wasn't going to go away by keeping the drain in.  Keeping drains in when they aren't helping only increases the risk of infection.

So, here's what we've done.  We've put my chest in a compression strap which is essentially a 2.5" wide heavy duty band that wraps around my chest. The good news is that I'm out of that awful compression bra during this time.  The bad news, the compression strap is worse than the compression bra.  As you can see from the photo, the strap seems really high, like up in my armpit high.  Here's why.  The fluid is gathering on the bottom of my breasts.  So, we forced as much skin as we could up high, above my breast, and at the same time, pressed my implants down towards the bottom of my breast.  We then secured this all into position with the strap.  The pressure of the implant at the bottom of my breasts will help force the fluid to reabsorb into my body.  

This is NOT pleasant in any way, shape or form.  It's a lot of pressure (one size fits all...ha!) and the fabric is a bit course, so it rubs in your armpits and on your chest.  I've learned to tuck my tank top just up and over the top edge of the strap which helps.  I've already been taking more medication to ease this discomfort and pain of this new setup, but as I said in Day 10's blog post, I need to take care of this body, it's the only one I have.  I'll be like this until Thursday, exactly two weeks post surgery.  At that time, we'll re-examine to see how things looks and hope for my body to cooperate.

So, until then, think happy boob thoughts for me.

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