Monday, January 31, 2011

Oh Drains, how I loathe thee!

I know in my previous posts ive detailed a bit of what my body looks and feels like after surgery. Well just close your eyes for a second and imagine with me. Imagine 6 drains in various spots coming out of your body. These drains are tubing that is about half an inch wide and about a foot or so long with a bulb at the end of each one. I had two in one spot coming out from underneath my right breast close to my armpit, two coming out from one spot under my left breast near the armpit and two coming out about 3 inches apart right above where my pubic hair starts. The tubes are held in your skin with stitches obviously so when/if they are pulled they do not come out. PULLING did happen, and quite often. I had the suckers in for a week and 1 day to be exact. I had to sleep with them, shower with them and hold them up when I walked so they didnt hang down and pull. The nurses would pin them to my hospital gown or when I was spongebathed/showered we pinned them all to a lanyard around my neck. They are nasty. Luckily they dont have a smell but they just LOOK nasty. They are litterally draining excess fluid from the wounds inside of my breasts and stomach. The liquid suctioned out by them was mostly a light bloody color, some was yellowy. Joey would have to "strip" the tubing often because there would be clogs in them and they wouldnt be suctioning right. Clogs of bloody clumpy nastinesss. By stripping I mean he would hold tightly close to where the tube came out of me and squeeze the tubing toward the bulb to clear the tube. They had to be changed more often in the hospital, but at home we only had to do it once a day. Each one had a number and we had six little containers that were numbered. He would undo the plug and turn it over and squeeze out the liquid into each numbered container and then squeeze the bulb and recap it to create the suction. I was able to get them out after there was no more than 30 cc of liquid coming out per 24 hour period. THANK GOD they were only producing less than 10 cc for a couple days leading up to my appointment with Dr. Fusi my plastic surgeon on the 28th. I was pretty nervous to go in for that onc bc I had heard some horror stories about "getting the drains out!". I had to wait a bit to be seen by the doctor and talked to this lady in his office who looked like her face had been hit by a truck. She explained that she had some form of disease that ate at her ear and she had to have it removed and it affected her nerves in her face and eye. It was so sad and strange, I felt horrible for her. My name was finally called and Dr. Fusi came in and I opened up my top and slowly got up onto the table. He was pleased with how everything looked and how quickly I was healing. He took a look at the chart for the drains Joey had been keeping and told me that I would be getting them all out that day (woo hoo!....EEEK!). I layed back and made Joey hold my hand. Dr. Fusi cut all the stiches on all six drains that were holding them in and told me "here goes".....and OUUUUUUUCCCCCCHHHHH! It hurt like helll! It burned pretty badly and I felt him pull the first one out and Joey was actually laughing! He wasnt laughing at me he was simply amazed at the size of the part that was inside of me. It had to at least be 6 inches long and wider than the hole or tube itself. He pulled them out one by one and it was AWFUL. They burned and hurt for about 30 seconds and before I could recover he was onto another one. OMG it hurt! The last two he did at the same time and I barely felt those ones thank goodness. But man that sucked. He took gauze and tape and stuck it over the holes and that was that. He said the holes would heal up on their own and not to worry about them. I would have another appointment in two weeks (he was leaving for vacation in Italy the following week) to have the stitches in my belly button removed. Oh man did I feel a huge sense of relief getting those drains out. No more pulling and tugging everytime I moved and no more waking up to adjust them. I felt free!
The white part is what was inside of me, my husband put his hand next to it so you can see the size of the sucker!


  1. I had 4 drains for 2 weeks. Then had 2 out -- the other 2 drains came out 2 weeks after that. So all together I had drains for 4 weeks. I didn't feel anything more than slight discomfort when they where removed. Grube & Fusi where my doctors as well. I am BRCA2, had a stage 1 cancer that was found on my first MRI & had a double mastectomy with reconstruction in Sept. 2009 when I was 55 yo. ~ Libby

  2. I just came across your blog and cannot find anywhere that says what your sister's results were and how you supported one another. Please blog about this.

  3. Hi there, just wanted you to know I added you to my blogroll at Teri's Blip in the Universe. Thanks for stopping by the BRCA Sisterhood on facebook! :)
    Teri S.

  4. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?