De-bulking Surgery: Saw my surgeon yesterday and... - My Ovacome

My Ovacome

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De-bulking Surgery


Saw my surgeon yesterday and he has deemed my fit enough to go ahead with the major debulking surgery, after 3 chemo my CT scan was looking much better disease wise. I am going in next Wednesday and am terrified! Trying not to think about it too much.............but do need to get organised on what to take in with me, any suggestions on underwear? nightdresses or PJ's. Was expecting the hospital to give me a list but nothing! The surgeon said will probably be in for 6 days - is that a normal time frame? Any advise greatly appreciated. Lyn xx

40 Replies

Hi Lyn

Glad that the op going ahead. I was in for 2 nights but think it varies quite a bit. Will be thinking of you.

Best wishes


Currently on holiday In Ireland!

lyn1987 in reply to Petrolhead lovely! We went to Dublin a few years ago and had a wonderful time! such lovely people. I certainly hope I am only in for a few nights.....hate hospitals and hospital food! Lyn x

Hi Lyn , For me the most terrifying bit , you are not alone . I was in for five days , day before surgery for enemas , then surgery and three recovery days . I would take nighties as opposed to pyjamas , you will have a catheter for at least a day after surgery . I would take your normal electronic devices and anything else you like to keep you amused .I am assuming you are having the fetching cut on your tummy from top to bottom , if so a pillow to put between your wound and your your seat belt for when you come home is a good idea .Lots of luck with this , you can do it . Sending lots of love .Julia xx

lyn1987 in reply to Juleswhee

Hello Julia - Thank you for such useful tips a pillow sounds a great idea! Have ordered some nighties ☺ Lyn xx

Hi Lyn . I had my operation 6 weeks ago , and like you I was terrified. The first couple of days are tough, but you will be well looked after . I came home after five days (I’m 75) and slowly improved each day . I took nighties , wet wipes , phone charger, eye mask , because they never turn all the lights out . The build up to it was worse than the operation. Good luck xxx

Thank you, I am trying to not overthink it all too much, but do want to be prepared with things I need to lower the stress..........I hate hospitals!! An eye mask is on my essentials list! Lyn xx

BJ_UK in reply to lyn1987

Don't forget to pack ear plugs as well!

Hi lovely x you can do this

Nighties as opposed to pjs as waist bands will be uncomfy and big girl knickers are better than small ones 😁

I found ear phones or ear plugs a must as hospitals are noisy even throughout the night. I also found a cheap little hand held fan was great for when I had hot moments xx

Hopefully the food where you’re going will be better than where I was so might be an idea to take some snack things with you for when you feel up to eating too xx

Good luck with it all and let us know how you’re doing xx

lyn1987 in reply to BeeWild

Thank you all great ideas, I am going to need a much bigger bag. ☺Lyn xx

Hi, I had my TAH and debunking two weeks ago. I would recommend some peppermint cordial or peppermint tea to help with the wind after the operation. A pillow for when you need to cough and I took a colouring book and crayons to while away the time. Hospital time seems to run slowly. Ear plugs helped as well as the ward was very noisy. Please remember to be gentle to yourself and take your time recovering afterwards. I was told that you only have the chance to heal once, so resting a lot will help with it. Big hugs xx

lyn1987 in reply to Tay100

Thank you - I like the colouring books for adults, never seem to have the time, now is my chance. Lyn xx

I really echo the suggestions regarding eye masks and noise reduction ear plugs or headphones. Light reading only, it's probably not the best time to tackle War and Peace or the like. I ended up wearing only the hospital provided nightgowns.

I found baby wipes good for wiping down face and neck as for the first few days you probably wont be able to go the shower unsupported and once you wake it's nice to be able to clean up a bit. Likewise a small hand mirror so you can apply your makeup, style your wig / hair to your satisfaction. Chargers for all your gadgets and any snacks that you like.

I was in for six days too. Try and walk around a bit as soon as you are able as this helps your bowels kick in quicker.

I can't remember properly my first couple of days, it's a bit vague but I was amazed how quickly I felt well.

Wishing you all the best.

Thank you for the much appreciated advise. Lyn x

All the best for your surgery Lyn!

I was in 8 days. Make sure that you don’t eat too soon (until your tummy gurgles!). I did (after asking a nurse) & got ileus (where the bowel goes on strike!). So initially just sips of water (lots!).

Ask for pain relief when you need it (I needed lots!).

Sit up & then get up as soon as you can - it helps everything & prevents complications 🙂

You will find certain nurses seem to be spot on with things, like giving your pain relief on time! Latch on to them for advice/questions/support. I had 4 fab nurses who helped me so much.

Nice smelling soap, a small mirror & a small clock were useful too.

Linda xx 🌻🔆🌼🌻

lyn1987 in reply to Seasun36-uk

ooh poor you, have never heard of ileus, just googled it and it sounds very painful. I will be sure to not eat until my digestive system is ready - Thank you. Lyn x

Good luck with your surgery lyn i will be thinking of you

Sending lots of love tracey x

lyn1987 in reply to Trossyann

Thank you Tracey you are a star! Lyn x

Trossyann in reply to lyn1987

I wish you all the luck in the world all you lovley ladies are stars

Best wishes tracey x

My sister was in for 6 days great idea are the nigthies and if warm there easy breezy dresses for when you leave. The baby wipes are good to help cut down infection. Prior to surgery my sister was told to exercise and eat protein. Be gentle on yourself and trust that the medical staff will be on top of everything. Very important to get up and move around. My sister is 3 months out and no restrictions except that she cannot lift super heavy stuff..she also bought an abdominal binder from the pharmacy which helps to protect and keep pressure off stomach area. Great news chemo worked so well wishing you all the best. Xoxo nancy

Hi I actually didn’t take in any night clothes as used the fetching gowns.. I figured it would save my hubby from having to keep washing and bringing new ones up. Worked well for us.. x x

lyn1987 in reply to Jonich

Thank you. Reading the hospital info it says they encourage you to change out of nightwear and into light clothes during the day as soon as possible, now I need outfits for the day time as well but it says only bring a small bag as space is limited. Lyn x

Jonich in reply to lyn1987

Gosh that’s interesting The thing is you will only be able to wear soft baggy clothes initially as the incision site will be sore don’t worry about the bag size especially if it’s a foldable one which hospital are you in? X

lyn1987 in reply to Jonich

The Royal Marsden in London - chaos usually - chatting to a lady who I met in the waiting room last week turned out we had the same time appointment? waited for over two hours, but she had already had her surgery and said the care was excellent so hey ho have to put up with the crap admin! ☺

Hi Lyn

I bought nighties from Primark, but watch the styling - mine had a few buttons down the front which irritated the top of my scar. I took all the above mentioned stuff but wish I had taken a body spray that I liked as the antiseptic wipes that the hospital used smelled awful to me - I think the ward had one of those automatic spray fresheners which had the same odour - not pleasant!

Good luck, you’ll be fine! Best wishes to you, Ali x

lyn1987 in reply to Alifit

Thank you - Good idea, was going to pop into Primark today for scarves so will stock up while I am there, so reasonable. Lyn x

Hi Lyn. The ladies offered great advice.

Expect the first few hours/days to feature various tubes including a catheter, and sluggish bowels which might take some time (and possibly laxatives or stool softeners) to start working again. The tubes are not too bad though, as you can take most of the stuff with you for moving around or going to the loo. You might also receive a PCA pump for controlling your own pain relief. My tip would be to not suffer quietly for too long, but speak out right away in case you experience pain or sickness, so it can be addressed early and never reaches breakthrough level.

I stayed in the hospital for 9 days for my original debulking surgery, and 7 days for the recurrence surgery (both times in Germany, where the hospital stay following surgery might last a tad longer on average than in the UK?). Like others, I found lots of peppermint tea helpful for relieving wind. Also ginger candy/biscuits for mitigating light nausea, and generally drinking lots for restarting those lazy bowels. As it happens, I did not need my own nighties but happily used the fashionable hospital johnnys, and - after a few days - also hospital provided disposable undies and napkins. Tissues, slippers and a bathrobe came in handy though.

I remember the nurses showing me how to minimize strain on the wound e. g. by holding a rolled up towel against the tummy and looking to one side and up, when coughing/sneezing, or rolling onto my side before getting up.

Don't worry too much please. It's not as bad as it sounds on paper. I even opted for a second laparotomy two years later (for recurrence), despite being a complete chicken when it comes to surgery and pain.

Good luck and success with the surgery. Maus

lyn1987 in reply to Maus123

Thank you lots of sound advise that I wouldn't have thought of, you are all so very brave! hope I can be too. Lyn x

HI Lyn, 5 to 6 days is normal try and keep your chine up as I said I was 69 when Had my surgery and did well, when you do get home be kind to yourself and don't push things take it easy and you will be fine,

I took nightdress not pj it was easier , Julia gave you some good advice.

I hope all goes well and you will be back up on your feet in no time ..take care Lorraine xx

Hello Lorraine Thank you, hope you are feeling better today. Lyn x

Hi Lyn. I took everything but the kitchen sink and only used my phone, charger, own pillow and a heating pad my daughter snuck in. I was in 10 days. Was supposed to be 7 but I had blood thinner issues and they had to get that right. Wishing you the best on your debulking! Hugs! Jill

lyn1987 in reply to grammeejill

Thank you Jill I am still nervous but at least I will "be prepared" I suspect it will be like our holidays, me packing too much "just in case" and him indoors moaning about it all. ha ha Lyn x

A quick glance through everyone else's contributions and all brilliant....especially asking for help with pain and bowels etc. "Being pain free helps healing" I was told repeatedly.

Took most of everyone's recommendations for my secondary debaulking but one of my ward mates had a ruptured stoma bag and I wish I'd taken some air freshener for my curtained area. When this happened I was three days after op, so doing some walking and could 'escape' but had this happened on the first couple of days I may have struggled more.

Best of luck. Lesley

lyn1987 in reply to lesleysage

Thank you Lesley, I am going as a private patient so hopefully am getting a room all to myself. Lyn x

I had debulking after three rounds of chemo as well and my oncologist told my family right after surgery how much better (like, much much better) everything looked after those rounds! The first few days were a bit painful but they get you up and walking as soon as they can, catheter and all (which was one day for me before I let them insist I get up) and my "bring to" advice would be an open front gown or something easy for them to "take a look" at the stitching which my team did at least a few times a day. They also insisted I shower daily so anything that makes that easier for you like slip on slippers, would be good. I take a pro-biotic daily and the hospital would not provide it so hubby brought it for me daily as I had C-diff after my first hospital stay and some people advised this would stop it from happening again (I did not get C-diff again). Wishing you luck and you can do this!!! oxoxxo Judy

lyn1987 in reply to Maxjor

Thank you Judy I am coming to terms with it all..........slowly! Lyn xx

I had the same op at The Marsden in Chelsea. It’s not as bad as you anticipate. I thought I’d be in a lot of pain but I wasn’t. I felt a wimp about the scar but it has healed nicely. I spent the first night in intensive care so be prepared for that - it’s quite normal. Take nighties definitely. I took pads and big pants but didn’t need them but you may bleed so it’s worth thinking about. You can’t eat for a few days (I missed out on the Christmas dinner!) I was in for a week and had the op done with a plasma jet By The Dutch female surgeon who Was very encouraging. Getting out of bed for the first time makes you feel nervous but walk about as much as possible and you’ll soon get your strength back. Expect to sleep a lot over the following 5 weeks! Good luck! I hope you will be surprised at how easy it all is. I even came home in a taxi on my own (with a little pillow)

lyn1987 in reply to juliamillen

Thank you - the surgeon said I would be in intensive care for the first they allow visitors in there, husband planning to wait until after I have had the op, also what do you do with your bag etc? Lyn x

the surgeon said I would be in intensive care for the first they allow visitors in there, husband planning to wait until after I have had the op, also what do you do with your bag etc?

Not sure about visitors in intensive care. I suspect they may not be allowed. Ring and check. They take care of your possessions right from the start when you get into a gown

I don’t remember much about the icu. Suspect I was just sleeping

lyn1987 in reply to juliamillen

Thank you ♥

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