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Surprised and reassured

Following my post yesterday with my op date changing my surgeon phoned me last night at 7.20pm to apologise for this it was an oversight on his and as he didnt check his diary when giving the date. I was shocked but in a good way he was phoning me. Guess my warbling and crying to his secretary made an impact. He made sure I knew what was happening next. He has got a lovely way about him.

Gives me longer to get ready for Xmas and buy a different wardrobe. Can I ask what you wore? I am trousers and jeans rarely skirts or dresses, a lovely lady from this board has suggested maxi dresses but I sm struggling to find any its wrong season. I am also worried about the staples and scar. I am a larger lady, and have lots of fat. :-(

20 Replies

Please don't worry about scars etc. wear it with pride your surviving. I had 62 staples and was surprised at how quickly I healed and how neat the scar is. From never having any surgery or scars I now have what looks like a zip up my tummy, however it reminds me every day that I will fight this. Be gentle on yourself, rest and do as your told by the medical staff, you will be fine.


I wore nothing with a waist band, i.e. long comfy woollen dresses, for a few weeks, than I graduated to very loose tie waist joggers. The incision/scar usually goes above the belly button. You might find you lose a lot of weight after surgery - some of your fat might be ascites, though I hope not. What about kaftans? You can find woollen caftans on the internet, I think, and have them taken up if they are too long. I wore above the knee socks and hipster cotton nickers that were 2 sizes up from my usual. Do a Harriet Bucket - 'I have decided to change my style, and I intend to be a couch potato for a while...'


I despair of shopping in Cardiff if you want something that Cardiff deams is 'out of season' so I sympathise. I head down to London for a spree if I want something specific.

There's loads of choice on Oxford St with John Lewis and Selfridges having a far greater range than anything we have in South Wales but one place I regularly head for is St Christopher's Place off Oxford Street which is down an alley nearly opposite Bond Street Station towards Marble Arch. There's a shop I'd imagine you might like called Hampstead Bazaar which sells very elegant comfortable dresses, trousers and tops. Allegedly Judi Dench shops there - and it's not expensive. I've tried on their stufff as I love it but get drowned in it. It would certainly be a wonderful place to buy a full-length dress if you're looking for that. The address is 5 Gees Court, St. Christopher's Place, London, W1U 1JE and there are some nice cafes in the square to take a break.

In Cardiff Joules or White Stuff tends to do the trick for me but I go to the sales as they're quite expensive. John Lewis also has some good stuff in their Planet Section which is nice and near the Expresso Bar if it all gets too much.

Good on you for preparing ahead and thinking of a new wardrobe to lift your spirits in preparation for the Christmas celebrations. I think many of us lose a bit of weight around the time of surgery as it seems to take your appetite away. I wore joggers and loose-fitting clothes for the first couple of weeks so they didn't irritate the scar area but was back in my own clothes, and a size smaller too, within about 2 weeks.

We used to have fab threads on this site chatting about clothes and jewellery with our very own fashion-Guru Busy Lizzie. It's so nice to have a blog to distract ourselves and think of something fun - so thank you for posting. I'm looking forward to more style ideas for Christmas and beyond.

Great the surgeon got in touch and reassured you. You'll be fine now. xxx love Annie


Hi there,

I too am a larger lady and I used jogging trousers as I am not really a skirt person. The staples were fine as they are covered over with dressings so don't catch on your clothes.

I am glad your surgeon rang you. It is reassuring when they say sorry. At the end of the day we all know mistakes happen it is when they don't apologise that it winds you up more.

Good luck with the op. I was really excited when I had mine as I had been originally told surgery would not be an option then the tumors reduced after chemo so I could have surgery. I was so excited when they rang to tell me you would have thought I had won the lottery. Funny how priorities change when faced with cancer.

Hugs Jackie xxx


I filled up with fluid after my surgery and actually came out of hospital a stone and a half heavier than when I went in, despite not really eating for a fortnight! However I don't think that's normal! I went in in jeans but needed to wear jogging bottoms and a loose shirt for coming out. The extra fluid disappeared over 3 or 4 weeks. I stayed in soft trousers and shirts for that period but it wasn't too long before I was back into my normal clothes. Soft fabrics are good to start with.

it's really good that you feel comfortable with your surgeon. Mine was great and that made all the difference to how I felt about going into hospital and I had every faith that he would do a good job.

Wishing you all the best with your surgery.


Zannah x


Big knickers, soft leggings and a loose shirt/blouse. Try to wear clothes that go over the top of the scar and not on it. Good tips from the ladies above. Bathe scar area regularly in salt water. I had my stitches removed after 10 days and had no problems. As Jillwendy says wear your scar with pride. So pleased that you now have your surgery date. It's my op anniversary today. One year ago I was under for my debulking op and remember it well. Good luck with yours and I pray it all goes well. Love n hugs Izzy xxxxx


Leggings, tunic tops and as Izzy says big knickers. I did get some cheap dresses from tesco, sainsburys and matalan as I knew I wouldn't wear them again once I had healed.

Good luck with your operation. Xxx


I agree with the leggings And big knickers, I found they gave me comfort and supported my tummy when it felt a little vulnerable. Any way clothes should be comfortable and we need to remember we are all beautiful ladies on a mission, please don't get me wrong I love clothes and am someone who can shop for England it's just at this moment my priorities have changed.


Hi all the above is great advice, only thing my surgeon told me not to get into the bath but shower and just flush the wound, salt isn't recommended these days don.'t know why. I was paranoid about my wound breaking down but it was absolutely fine. I had no stitches or clips....don't ask I don't know.

Good luck, it's never as bad as you imagine xx



Hi carol, I was told the same as darragh about the wound, also they took the dressing off the next day as they said it was best uncovered, As you have the same surgeon as me in the same hosp, I expect it will be the same for you, I didnt have staples as im allergic to metal! Just dissovable stitches....had no problems with wound, just looked like a badly sewn bear!

Take care

Andrea x x


Hi - I found JoJo Maman Bebe trousers very comfortable, and although tummy has now reduced in size, they still look ok as they are well cut. Their jeans weren't quite so good, but the current winter styles might be better. The girl who served me, told me that a lot of ladies bought JoJo trousers after major surgery.

All the advice on here is right - you do need big knickers! I used to tuck a double sided cosmetic face pad under the waist of the knickers over the scar to protect it - sort of half under and half poking out of the top - and this worked very well for me.

Very best of luck with your op - hope all goes well.

Jill x


I am a big lady and was worried about the scar healing. However, I didn't have any problems, but one good tip if you are big is to let the air get to the scar a couple of times a day. I used to lie on the bed and hold my tummy up so the air could get to the bottom end of the scar and it healed beautifully with no problems. I also agree with big knickers and loose clothing.


Hi definately joggers and loose top - just the season for it.Just need to be comfortable. Insist on some dry dressings to cover your staples/ wound- I was told to keep it uncovered- fine if you are going to lie about naked all day but staples catch on things if sit up and wearing clothes. So pleased he's rung to explain, makes you feel so much more reassured. See if you can persuade him to use glue on the wound rather than staples ( he can only say no ! ) I had 2 laparotomies 5 w apart, the first one glued- healed quickly and comfortable, the second larger on stapled ( only 36 staples for me) , but they gaped around my tummy button , and took ages to heal - also very spiky !

Do hope it all goes well, h xx


Hi Hilary .. I had staples . and the wound gaped at the bottom when the District Nurses took them out on Day 10. I think it was me looking under the hospital bed looking for a contact lens that did it! I was joined by three other women patients .. one with a torch round her head. The wound is still being dressed but has over-granulated .. My own fault. Love Tina x x


I found big pants rested on the wound, I took them in but didnt wear them, found little ones resting under my wound the best, but I am very small so maybe that just worked better for me:) good luck with your op, you are in very good hands with Mr Howells..

Take care,

Andrea x x


Thank you all very very very very useful information. I have had some worrying news this afternoon. My job is at risk of redundancy due to a restructure within the dept, I will know in next couple of weeks hey maybe before the op if I am one of the lucky ones being kept. If not I will be made redundant whilst recovering from the op and in no position to applyfor anything internally. Feeling very anxious now.


Glad to hear your surgeon has been in touch - on the whole they are a great bunch so I am not at all surprised.

One of my biggest memories of my surgery was sending my mother in law out to M&S for big knickers! (But mine was an emergency and no time for preparations - The only time the MIL is choosing my underwear!)

Its challenging because there are different surgical approaches/incisions, but assuming you will have the classic navel to umbilicus incision, then anything big and high waisted will be OK - The staples are covered whilst in, so you don't need to worry too much about them per se, and although they sound gruesome they are not too bad.

More important is overall comfort etc. Nighties for the first few days, big joggers if that's what you prefer once you get home should see you through. I had my staples/stitches out on day 10 and was back in normal clothes pretty quickly.

Good luck with it!

L x


Hi there...

I remember when I was in my thirties. I'd been taken into hospital with an ectopic pregnancy. My mother rushed in with a large bag containing three massive pairs of knickers from Littlewoods to preserve my modesty! As my abdomen in generally sore anyway, I use soft trousers but I don't want them too baggy.... I bought these velour trousers for formal wear and they're what I'll wear on Christmas Day probably. They look smart, sit on the waist and don't put much pressure on the abdomen. Plus, they look good with a dressy top or with layered tops when it's cold.


The other pair I bought are really comfortable and are for every day ...


Both pairs are washable and won't need ironing if they're taken from the machine straight away and hung up ... obviously someone else will have to do that for you at first. I wear them when I go out with little trouser boots or with strappy shoes to dress things up a bit.

Some people prefer to wear a nightie because of the catheter when they go into hospital. I personally usually wear trousers. The catheter tube can come up to the waist band of the pyjamas and then down to the side. I found that I managed the tube better knowing where it was. I know others find a nightie better but I've found that the tube pulls the nightie up.

One thing I'd say about washing, is don't be afraid to ask for a bowl and some help on the day after the op. The nurses will sort the soap things out and arrange your toothbrush and paste. I never go without brushing my teeth at least twice a day at home, and I don't see why that should change in hospital.

You'll be encouraged to get up and about as soon as possible and to sit in the chair away from the bed for some of the time. It's a good idea to have things to do like have some magazines to read to while away the time.

When you get back to the ward, you'll find that you're attached to a pain control machine probably with morphine in it. It gives you a measured shot if you press the control with your thumb. There's no reason to feel any pain and if you do feel uncomfortable, just tell the nurse and the doctor will arrange a top up for you.

I've recently had a laparotomy too. This time it was from an acute admission to hospital which I hate but I had no run up to it which saved the worry. I've met so many great people in hospital over the years, I wouldn't change that for the world ... I'd just magic everything around it away! Take good care ... Love Tina x x


hi, I had my surgery in June. I bought a few lovely soft nighties for immediately after surgery and a few pairs of really soft PJ's, all from M&S. I was very comfortable in all of them. I couldn't wear hipster style knickers, they cut across the bottom of the scar, were uncomfortable and I felt like I had no support, I found the big knickers I also took in with me were much more comfortable and supportive. I had had a lot of ascities prior to surgery, I had gone in wearing linen trousers although the button was undone and I thought I would be able to wear another pair home and had left them out for my husband to bring for me, however with abdominal swelling, I still couldn't button them and couldn't wait to get home to get them off again. at home, I too wore my comfy PJ's for the first week. I had black pair of PJ trousers and friends thought I was in jogging bottoms. I progressed to proper jogging bottoms and then into my linen trousers. I didn't have staples, my surgeon used surgical glue to close my outer wound and I have a very neat looking scar. remember, you need to be comfortable in what you wear. hope all goes well for you. take care. Ann


I am also a larger lady. I went for the joggers as well but was back in normal clothes in a few weeks. Depenhams main range are comfy and fairly cheap.

Bio oil quite good for scar once healed.



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