Jelena packing for surgery

Getting Ready For LAR Surgery – Preparing My Caregivers and Packing

Hello and welcome to part two of getting ready for surgery. In this video, I’ll talk to you all about the things that I did at home to prepare and also what I packed to take with me to the hospital. As a stay-at-home mom, I needed a caregiver that was gonna be able to basically take my place for a few days while I was in the hospital. Plus, when I got home I was not really gonna be capable of doing a whole lot so I needed someone to be able to step in for me for a week or two once I got home from the hospital as well.

If you’re new here, welcome to Life as a Cancer Survivor. This channel is here to tell you all about what life is like once you hear those words “You have cancer.” My name is Jelena and in May of 2016, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectal Cancer.

Back to all the things at home that I did to prepare for surgery. We had justmoved into a new house a little bit over a month before my surgery so I gave myself the task of going around and trying to get to know as many neighbors as possible. Fortunately, multiple neighbors had daughters that were Maelle’s age, so that kind of made it easy to determine which neighbors were important to tell about what I was gonna be going through. Those neighbors whose daughters were playing with ours were quickly becoming our friends as well so I thought it was really important for them to know what was going on because their daughters wouldn’t be able to come over and play at our house, Maelle would have to go over and play at their place.

Thankfully they were all wonderful about me telling them about my diagnosis and my upcoming surgery and they all offered to watch Maelle whenever I needed some extra rest or if I need to go to any appointments. So that was a huge plus to telling people that were nearby in the neighborhood what was going on.

Since my parents were coming in to visit for two weeks to help out I made them a map of the neighborhood or rather the immediate block around our house and highlighted everybody on that map that knew that I had cancer. Then on that map, I also added in all of the houses where I made friends with the adults and had disclosed that I was going in for surgery and they had offered up to help in any way that we needed. So for all of those families that offered up help, I put all of the family members names and then made a note of who Maelle’s friend was from that list, and then put the full address and their phone numbers on there so my parents could contact them if my parents needed any help, but also in case Maelle went over to their houses to play, then they had a phone number and a parent to contact or walk over and know who to talk to when she needed to come home.

My parents were coming into town with the intention of helping out as much as they could and allowing me to rest as much as possible. They’re very active and don’t like sitting around a whole lot so they were the perfect people to have come in for those first few weeks. I made sure to specifically tell them that we were going to be relying on them to make dinners for us every night while they were here so that they could plan recipes ahead of time before they came out. Since John, Maelle, and I are all vegetarians that made it much easier on them so they had time to prepare and came with handfuls of delicious recipes of things to make while I was in the hospital and when I came home.

If you don’t have caregivers or local friends that are able to bring you meals and make meals for you in those first couple of weeks, I’d highly recommend prepping some freezer meals for yourself so then all you have to do is pull the meal out of the freezer and stick it in the oven and that’s all the work that you have to do so that you’ve got a nice homemade meal.

My parents were also here to watch Maelle for those first few days while I was in the hospital so that John could come and stay with me for as long as he wanted to and not have to worry about dragging an antsy five-year-old with him that really could only last for about a half-hour before she was ready to go at the hospital.

Since they were Maelle’s primary caregivers for a few days they needed to know the address of her school, the hours that she was there, and I also needed to add them to the approved adults list at the school so that they were okay-ed to take her off school grounds. They also came armed with plenty of ideas of things to do to help keep her distracted from how weak I was in the hospital and when I first came home.

A few days before my hospital stay my husband gave me a few gifts to try and make my stay a little bit more comfortable. All these gifts I’ll have listed the links for them in the description below so if you see anything that you like or are interested in, head down there and I’ve done all the research for you. Everything is still working great after two years.

So the first thing he got me were six pairs of slipper socks. So these ones,they are not doing quite as well as everything else because they’re slipper socks, so I walk around in them all the time in the house, we’ve got a lot of wood floors, so some of them have gotten a few holes in them but they’ve held up much better than any other pair of slippers sock that I’ve ever had. But they’ve got the grippies on the bottom and they’re way more comfortable than the hospital socks. Or at least I think so, my cousin apparently loves those hospital socks.

Then he splurged and got me this tablet plus some gift cards to download movies, books, TV shows, whatever I wanted. I downloaded a few books and then I also downloaded two albums of spa music which I would highly recommend because I played those at nighttime to try and drown out the noises from all of the machines and stuff in my room that were hooked up to me. And going down that route another awesome thing that he also splurged and got me were some noise-canceling headphones. He got me some really nice Bose ones which would have been fantastic for the hospital stay except I accidentally left them on our counter the day before my surgery and our cat Charlie chewed through the wire. The wires inside of these are

Bose headphoneslike the sizes of hairs so my dad tried his best to fix them and splice them back together but normal household tools are just too big to try and get these fixed so I didn’t have them for that hospital stay but any kind of nice noise-canceling headphones would be great.

If you’re not quite into splurging on some noise-canceling headphones, just some earplugs to drown out or at least muffle the hospital noise are a good way to try and attempt to get some sleep in the hospital. If you can’t sleep with all the lights blinking, with lights blinking around you a nice sleep mask would be great to bring as well.

One other comfort item that he gave me is this super soft and snuggly blanket. It’s a huge throw and it’s so warm. I used this also when I went to chemo even though they have the heated blankets there I brought this puppy with me. I packed a carry-on bag to take with me to the hospital. In that bag, I packed two or three pairs of clothes to wear while I was at the hospital, haha! I only changed out of the hospital gown when it was time for me to be discharged but for that one outfit that you’re gonna wear when you go home, I highly recommend something with a very loose waistband because they pump your abdomen up with gas to do your surgery, so you’re still gonna be a little swollen from that and you most likely are gonna have some staples or stitches around in that waist area. You don’t want tight pants on that at all. Baggy pants; best choice.

Make sure you pack all the necessary toiletry items like toothbrush and toothpaste, comb or brush, and any of your favorite shower items. The hospital may have some of those but they’re gonna suck and you’re not gonna want to use them. I also brought with me this hilarious book which I got over the summer and I mentioned in my gift-giving video. It was literally painful for me to read because I had like a six inches, six-inchbookincision down my abdomen that was stapled shut so laughing HURT, but I sucked it up for humor because I needed some light-hearted humor. But it hurt to read funny books, FYI.

Last but not least I brought this photo album that Maelle made with my mother-in-law that has pictures of some flowers and then pictures of us from our most recent vacation before I was diagnosed so it was a reminder of happier times and that the misery that I was in during the hospital stay was just temporary.

And now I was as ready as I could be for surgery. In case you forgot what my treatment plan was here’s the link to the video you can click on that or link is in the description below as well. If you enjoyed this video I’d really appreciate it if you gave it a thumbs up and shared it with anybody that you think also might enjoy it. Thank you for watching.

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🎁Links to the items I recommend in the video:

🧦Noble Mount fuzzy slipper socks:

💻Samsung Galaxy S2 8” Tablet:

💆Zen Spa album:

💆Serenity Relaxing Spa Music:

🎧Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones:

💙Cozy blanket:

📘Book I received that was hilarious:

*This video was originally published on January 22, 2020

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