View Full Version : Questions

05-18-2008, 12:48 AM
Hi all,
I haven't been here for a while due to the fact that my life is just too busy. April and May are the busiest time of year at work. Combine that with the end of school activities and you have a recipe for a very busy family!

I'm 3 weeks and 1 day away from surgery and have progressed to a whole new level of nervous. I feel like I'm one cross word or ugly look away from bursting into tears all the time, and I'm not a cryer. Ugh, I'm so ready for June 9 to be here!

I have a few questions that I'm hoping to find some help with. I tried to search the forum but didn't have a lot of luck. So, here we go:

1. Should I take my own pajamas to wear at the hospital? If so, should they be button up or does that matter?

2. For those of you that wore a post-op brace, what pants did you wear? I'm thinking stretchy shorts or sweat pants, but can't decide what size. Should I go up a size from what I normally wear?

3. Again, for those brace wearers, is the brace hot? Is there any point in wearing a bra under?

Just FYI, my surgeon is sending me to a cardiologist and a pulmonologist. I think this is standard for him. Also, I went yesterday for my pre-op labwork. They did an EKG (which I found odd since I'm seeing a cardiologist), UA and drew 3 vials of blood. According to the labwork orders, another UA and minimal blood work will be done the day of surgery.

I know I have a million other questions, I just can't think of them right now. I'm getting better about writing questions down as I think of them, but there's still a lot I've neglected to write down. I'm driving myself nuts trying to plan for every possible situation that could come up after surgery to try and make everything go as smooth as possible for my family. I just wish I could sleep until June 9 or that my surgery was tomorrow. This planning and worrying is wearing me slick.

Please allow me to brag for just a moment. A while back I mentioned my daughter, Amanda, was trying out for drum major. She made it!!!! I'm so proud of her and just can't wait to see her at the football games and marching competitions next school year! Also, my son, Andy, lettered in band (surprisingly there are a lot of requirements to letter in band. Who knew?) and my youngest, Abby, is Citizen of the Month. They aren't perfect, but they are really great people. My husband and I are very lucky parents.

Sorry for the long post. Some questions, a little venting and little bragging just made for a lot to say. Thanks in advance for any help on the questions!

05-18-2008, 05:32 AM
Hiya Becky,
Wow your date is really getting close. I'll see if I can answer your questions.

I took PJs to the hospital but ended up wearing their gowns all 6 days there. My advice is to leave them at home, one less thing to have to worry about. Do bring pillows for the ride home!

I came home to a snow storm so I was wearing a pair of puma workout pants.I wore loose sweats and sweat type pants as well as PJ bottoms for weeks. I was in a brace from day 2, I believe, although I am sure my daughter would say day 3. I liked wearing the brace over the pants so I wouldn't go up a size. I even bought new ones after the surgery and got them a bit big and even with gaining weight back they still are too big. I would say any pants/shorts that have a drawstring type waist will be most comfortable at first.

I found that I couldn't wear a bra comfortably for close to 2 months. I found it easier to just get regular mens "A" style tee shirts (tank tops really) and wear two at a time to hide my breasts a bit better. I also bought several of the womens hanes t shirts because they were soft and fit well. I think I own 8 now! All of the camisoles I bought that had the shelf bras hurt to wear, at least for me, so they were a waste of money. I also went up a full back size on the bras, so I went from a 34 to a 36.I am back to a 34 now but thats at almost 6 months post op. You might want to have a few the next size up ready for when you feel like you can wear one again.

Make sure you bring a brush and hair ties to the hospital. My poor hair was trashed from lying on a pillow all of the time in the hospital.

Congratulation to all of your kids for their outstanding accomplishments! Feel free to email me if you have any more questions I can answer.

05-18-2008, 08:14 AM
Hi Becky,

Don't worry, June 9 will be here before you know it. By that time, you'll welcome being knocked out!

You will have the same levels fused that I have. To answer your questions:

1. You will not need PJs (or undies, for that matter) but I did bring a light cotton robe that I wore a couple of times as I walked the halls.

2. I went to the lingerie section of a department store and bought several pairs of long and capris-length lounge pants with stretchy waistbands with drawstrings that rested high on my hips. They were perfect and I lived in them for 3 months. The drawstring is important because my belly was swollen for a couple of months after surgery, then got way smaller. I also lived in tank tops and light cotton hoodies. I wore my regular-sized clothes even though everything got a bit baggy (baggy is good!). My brace was not hot at all and I wore it over tank tops and under hoodies.

3. I didn't wear a bra for 4 or 5 months but then again I'm flat-chested. However, you probably won't feel like bothering with one, especially if you are having an anterior incision.

Best of luck to you. Cry and yell all you want to -- you're entitled. Everything will be okay.

05-18-2008, 11:32 AM
I did take my pjs with me but I stayed in the hospital gown. I thought I would want my own pjs but when it came down to it, I didn't care what I was in. The only thing was that around day 4, the therapist did help me put my pants on, mainly for me to learn how to do it on my own once I got home. After that, I wore my pants which were very comfy and my hospital gown. I only put my pajama top on once I was leaving the hospital. I wore a pull over top and was able to get it on but it would have been easier if it had been button up. Before my surgery, I went out and bought the tank tops that have a bra built into them. I did not even attempt to put a bra on until 6 weeks post op.

Alicia makes a good point about the hair ties. My hair looked really bad too from lying down so much so everytime I would get out of bed to walk the halls, someone would help me pull my hair up to get it out of my face.

I did not have to wear a brace so I can't help with that.

Good luck with your surgery and we will all be thinking about you.

05-18-2008, 12:03 PM
Hi Becky,

I brought a full suitcase to the hospital and could of gotten away with a gallon size ziplock bag. I never even wanted to change out of the hospital gown and into my own pj's.

What I did use was...
Hair ties (but I wish I had my hair french braided before the surgery and not had to deal with it in the hospital, the nurse tried to wash it for me and that just made it worse.)

I went to the hospital in sweats and a t-shirt and wore the same thing home except NO BRA.

Someone did bring me my favorite pillow from home in the hospital and that helped alot.

Good Luck

05-18-2008, 12:14 PM
Don't worry about the bra business... I didn't wear one, except on special occasion, until I was out of my brace at 4-5 months... I wore a t-shirt under the brace and felt that was ok for an "undergarment" type thing... and the brace sort of holds your boobs up a little (well, maybe that's rationalizing the situation a little...) :rolleyes: so I didn't worry about it. I didn't notice that the brace was that hot, but we have A/C. Mine was a TLSO brace-- hard shell, but lined. Because of my brace, the only kinds of pants that worked were elastic/drawstring ones. I tucked them up under the brace, but you need to be able to stretch them a little when pulling them up and down... plus there's not way to fasten up regular pants. I tried one day with jeans and made my fingers and backs of my hands almost raw from the effort.

The whole PJ bit depends on how long you're in for. (Sounds like a jail term!) I bought some, with a button up top (and not one with all those jillion of tiny buttons that are so popular !) :eek: I found some at Penney's that only had like 4 big buttons, with the brand Adonna. I started wearing mine about day 8 or 9-- got out on the 11th day. After living so long in lovely hospital gowns, which were fine and served their purpose well, it felt like I was all dressed up and doing a lot better. So it, plus getting my hair washed about the same time, really boosted my spirits. You can always take some and then decide.

You will want comfy clothes regardless. The nice thing about drawstring and elastic pants is they adjust so well to swelling, weight gain (like me!) or weight loss (like so many). Like Singer, I lived in those light cotton PJ type drawstring pants for 3 or 4 months or so. Since I would be wearing a brace, I made sure the T shirts I wore over it were a little loose-- and that way the bra-less effect wasn't pronounced either.

Hope this helps. Feel free to PM me if you have other questions. :)

05-18-2008, 08:53 PM
Hi Becky. I think everyone already gave you great responses, but I figured I'd throw in my two cents:

1. Should I take my own pajamas to wear at the hospital? If so, should they be button up or does that matter?

I really did not have my own clothes for the hospital, just one outfit for going home. If you do bring your own clothes, they should be button up shirts and elastic waist pants. I just figured I didn't want my own clothes smelling of a hosptial, so I mostly wore the gowns

2. For those of you that wore a post-op brace, what pants did you wear? I'm thinking stretchy shorts or sweat pants, but can't decide what size. Should I go up a size from what I normally wear?

I wore a brace as well, and before the surgery I bought sweat pants with stretchy elastic or draw string waists that were bigger than my normal size

3. Again, for those brace wearers, is the brace hot? Is there any point in wearing a bra under?

The brace was kind of hot. I did not bother wearing a bra at all with it (I'm so flat chested that it made no difference...wish I could have had the boob job along with the back surgery!) I wore t-shirts under the brace and regular clothes over the brace. Some people choose to wear the brace over their clothing, but I found that difficult, especially with the pants, if I had to go to the bathroom. It was easier wearing the pants so I could pull them up over the brace. However, with the underwear, I managed to sort of tuck my regular panties under the brace a bit. I did not want to resort to the granny underwear over the brace.

Also with my surgeon, I also saw a cardiologist, a pulmonologist and also had bone density testing. I think it was all routine.

Good luck with the surgery, and I totally understand about just wanting to get it all overwith!


05-19-2008, 07:43 AM
Becky-- just an afterthought... Are you getting your brace while you're in the hospital? I know we're all different-- but mine was made for me there-- on about day 5, after much of the initial swelling had gone down-- the orthotist came and made the mold and it was ready in a couple of days. Anyway, they had said to bring t-shirts to the hospital for wearing under the brace. I see lots of ladies have worn sleeveless ones, but my doctor specifically said no sleeveless ones... and that they needed to fit snugly-- not be loose at all, or they will bunch up when the brace is tightened and that causes problems. It's sort of tricky-- you don't want your t-shirts so tight that they're hard to put on, but they still need to be snug. But of course, my OUTER shirts were loose. ;) That way you can get by being bra-less easier... :o

Before my surgery I went shopping (and I live about an hour from big clothing stores) a couple times looking for PJs with a button top... and ended up ordering them online from Penneys. I also got a "summer" weight short length robe that I wore maybe once (if ever?) in the hospital. Most of the time they just put a 2nd hospital gown on me as a robe-- backwards, so my back was covered... that worked fine. I had also bought slippers, but never used them. They provide those socks with gripper bottoms to keep you from slipping.

I tried to find shirts for wearing over the brace that buttoned up the front too, but without luck. What I wanted was something made from knit material-- something soft and comfy, that would be cool for summer. All I could find were woven fabrics that didn't seem comfy--more like they had starch in them or something... plus all the styles last year were tight fitting ones. As it turned out, my regular colored/print/etc. knit t-shirts worked out fine... I usually wear about a size 14-16, and extra larges (Ladies' sizes) worked great over my brace. Maybe that will give you an idea of sizing... You don't need them to be very much bigger than normal. I bought both size M and L of men's white t-shirts for under the brace, and they were both fine, but I preferred the L's because they were a little easier to put on and take off, and they weren't loose enough to have any folds form with the brace on.

Again, best wishes! :)

05-19-2008, 09:42 AM
Hi Becky,

I too have a concern about the brace being hot. And especially since my doctor says heís a bit old-fashioned and requires his older patients to wear a brace for six months post-op. I get terrible hot flashes where my torso becomes soaking wet from perspiration. Night sweats have me tossing and turning and constantly awakening through the night. Menopause sucks! I think too that the brace can be hot or not depending on when you have your surgery. Here in Illinois summers can get awfully hot and humid. Wearing that brace when Iím already sweating from heat and hot flashes will surely bring out the bitch in me. I can easily get by without a bra though since Iím as flat as a pancake. I guess this is one occasion when my flat chest will be to my advantage. Can someone tell me if the brace covers the breast area or does it stop just under the breasts?


05-19-2008, 10:19 AM
My brace stopped just under the breasts and had an added chest plate that rested just on my sternum. I didn't have to wear it as long as I was laying down or showering. I always wore it over my clothes. I didn't care who saw it, but was teased by a few friends that it looked like I lost my Bass Drum! :D I would imagine that if you are out in the heat, then yes it will be hot. however I never felt like it was hot if I was at a comfortable temperature.

This pic looks kind of like my brace.

05-19-2008, 10:24 AM
Here in Illinois summers can get awfully hot and humid. Wearing that brace when Iím already sweating from heat and hot flashes will surely bring out the bitch in me....
...Can someone tell me if the brace covers the breast area or does it stop just under the breasts?

Northern Indiana is just about the same... do you have A/C? You'll be ok. I get hot easily too-- so the sentence I underlined in your quote had me in stitches. Sorry!!! I know it's not really funny. But... :eek: I can so relate! I really do not remember getting excessively hot or uncomfortable-- probably because you're uncomfortable anyway. Or maybe the good Lord helps your through this phase without all that extra normal baggage we "older" gals have.

It depends on your brace. Mine had a cute cutout section for your breast area. ;) I guess so they can breathe-- or grow... :confused: I'm sure there's a good reason for having that area be free. Anyway, there was a small section of the brace above the breast area, an opening, then the brace resumed just at the lower part of your breasts (sort of cups you a tiny, giving you a little "lift"-- and then it went down well below the waist-- I think mine was about 3 or 4 inches below my navel. (So it about hits your legs when you sit down...) It also has a lot of air holes in the back section, which I'm sure must be for comfort/air. If you want to see a picture of my brace, PM me with your email address. Or anything else. I've sent other pics out to people who wondered about bathroom equipment, etc. Remember, I'm the one who took pics so I'd have them for my scrapbook. :rolleyes:

Maybe you'll have my same orthotist-- but then again Chicago is a big place. His name was George-- a nice fellow. Ask your doctor what kind of brace you'll have. And Chris, I wore mine for a long time and actually missed it quite a bit at first. I had mine steady (except when lying down) for 4 months, then took a month to wean off of it. Your muscles are so weak because the brace has been doing all the work. The weaning off is hard! But then it's fine after you get used to it. I'm excited for you that your waiting time is almost over! I think you'll do great!

Here's a pic of my brace... I figured if Geish could put one in the thread, I could at least try... (and I couldn't find one online with someone modeling.)

05-19-2008, 10:37 AM
I updated my earlier post with a picture of a brace that looks similar to mine.

05-19-2008, 11:14 AM
Chris -- I don't know if it was the stress of the surgery or what, but before the operation I had terrible hot flashes and night sweats, and after surgery, I didn't have them for at least 4 or 5 months. I still don't have them as badly as I did before surgery, even though that could just be the natural course of menopause. The drugs caused their own mild temperature swings but they were not the same as hot flashes.

In other words, it's impossible to project your post-op course from where you sit right now -- it's full of the unexpected.

AS far as the brace goes, it depends on what kind you have. I had a Jewitt or turtle brace, and it was not hot because it was basically two metal bars (one that circled the chest, just above the boobs, and one that circled the hips) with a bit of leather for padding and leather and metal down the sides for stability. The plastic, molded braces are hotter.

05-19-2008, 11:50 AM
I also added a pic of my brace in my post above. Geish-- I think you'll see immediately why I never wore mine over my clothes out in public. :eek: And yes, yours was ok, but did look a little like a band drum holder apparatus.

Sorry if we hi-jacked your thread a little Becky, but maybe you'll see what some of the braces look like this way. Regardless, they're livable.

05-19-2008, 12:08 PM
Thanks, ladies, for sharing the pics of your braces. Theyíre both lovely. Susie, I suspect mine will look more like yours as I saw one of Dr. Guptaís patients wearing something similar. In my case they wouldnít even have to cut out an opening for my boobs. I can hardly wait to put on that contraption.

05-19-2008, 03:38 PM
...wish I could have had the boob job along with the back surgery!

Oh, GIRL ... trust me ... you do not - LOL! I've had both, and I wouldn't wish that double whammy on my worst enemy ...

Becky, as far as a post-op brace, I didn't have one. If it's a TLSO type, however, it's not *that* different from a Boston brace used for JIS/AIS treatment pre-op (just minus the pushing pads).

Yeah, it's hot, but you'll learn to deal with it for a temporary span. And it's so funny (being from Houston) to see people ask if you have A/C :). We're just so used to baking almost year 'round, it's easy to forget not everyone wears shorts at Christmas - LOL.

Whomever wrote something to the effect they took a full bag and could've gotten by with a Ziploc nailed my scenario dead on.

I went to the hospital in yoga pants, a t-shirt and flip-flops ... and came home in the same.

I did bring pajamas, but never changed into them. The first few days, all the extra "attachments" (i.e., catheter and drain line) besides the IV would have made it near impossible to manage without an opening in the back.

Then again, I really couldn't have cared less about changing clothes.

I wore my hair down ... mostly because ponytails hurt my head after more than a few hours. It was prettttttttttty nasssssssy by the first time I washed post op after it "marinated" for 2 weeks ... bleck. I tried to convince myself it was a good thing ("break from styling" ... "conditioning treatment"), but it didn't help much - LOL.

I know you're nervous, but hang in there ... it'll be done and over before you know it!


05-20-2008, 04:35 PM
I haven't had time to even check the forum for a few days and OMG, I can't believe the responses! What amazing information you all gave! I'm leaving work in a few minutes, so I'll try to get on later and address some of the issues individually. Most of all, I just want to express, AGAIN, how wonderful each and every one of you are. You are the most caring, willing to share, sympathetic, fabulous people I've ever known. Thank you!

I do have to take a minute and respond to a couple of things. First, those *&$@### hot flashes. Wanna talk about 0-bitch in 2.2 seconds? In fact, I've given myself the nickname Becky the Bitch. I can hardly wait to add the brace to that little recipe.

Speaking of the brace, it's a TLSO brace. I went to the brace-making place Monday and they took measurements and I'll go back sometime before surgery and try it on and they will make any adjustments necessary.

Gotta run grab a kid from school. Again, you guys ROCK! Thanks!

05-21-2008, 10:38 AM
I wore the hospital gown the entire time in the hospital. Every gown they gave me had one tie string missing so they had to give me a few gowns so I could tie the gowns together. The lady in the next bed had the same surgery she wore a thin pair of shorts over her underwear so when she got up she wasn't exposing her butt. I was constantly pulling the gown around me especially during visiting hours. There was construction work going on in the hospital next to my room so there were many constructions workers in the hallways. My roommate and I had to pull our curtains closed because we seen them looking in at times.


05-21-2008, 02:08 PM
Well, here is the deal...
I did not get a brace post op... however I wore a milwauke brace for about 10 years growing up... I lived in the tropical heat of Central Africa (long story parents were missionaries) .... It was HOT HOT HOT HOT... and I had a lot of prickly heat rash... but that is another story....
As far as what I took to the hospital...
I agree that all I would have needed was a galon size zip lock...
I liked the hospital gown..
when I got home I wore very loose night shirts and loose fitting pj bottoms when I had to go do something......
Of course the bra story is that I have always hated bras but I really took about 7-8 weeks before I could stand to have one on... of course I also had the rib recession and that may home something to do with it....
Just relax.. I know you are nervous.... and this surgery is very painful.. but you will come out on the other side like many of us being glad you did it..