Category Archives: Care & Questions

DOs and DON’Ts: Pre-Surgery Prep

DrelogoWhen you’re about to undergo breast surgery, there are many things to think about and plan for. But it’s difficult to really consider all of the parts of one’s life that the surgery will affect. You think about the obvious things, (more…)

BFFL Co Making A Difference

DoubleBreastBfflBag_nooilWe receive many letters of thanks for the products we offer from people who have used them or bought them for a friend or loved one struggling with cancer. We received this one recently, and were touched by the heartfelt gratitude and, more importantly, by the fact that our Double Mastectomy BFFLBag® and the BFFL Co Guide to Mastectomy were so helpful. This has always been our mission: To improve the patient experience. There’s nothing better than finding out we have done just that. Here’s what she wrote:

The BFFL Company Bag was delivered right on time. I have yet to open it since both my daughter and I are down with an ugly sinus infection, but I will be delivering it to her very soon. I just want you to know what a wonderful difference products such as this and your personal and kind help provide to cancer sufferers and their relatives. I would do anything for my daughter, but so far, except for accompanying her to appointments and doctor visits, I have been able to do little. This product – the thought of it, the hope of it, the kindness with which it was put together – has been so instrumental in providing a little relief to a grim situation.

I was especially impressed with your “The BFFL Co Guide to Mastectomy.“ For 25 years, I worked as an Instructional Systems Specialist – first for the U. S. Army and then the U. S. Coast Guard. Smaller service though it was, the CG, early on, was particularly good at realizing the great advantage of job aids, etc. Your Guide to Mastectomy is one of the best I’ve ever seen, and it even includes a video that I plan to watch.

Ironically to us anyway, my daughter is an oncology nurse, having devoted 13 or more years of her working career to chemo and now radiation. She knows how to care for drains – I don’t — but I will because your video and instruction and her skill set and teaching skills will make sure I get one thing out of this experience and that is how to care for drains. My daughter also got me through a very tough year as my husband struggled with pancreatic cancer. Of course, he ultimately lost that battle, but my daughter was why I could keep his multitude of meds straight and other visiting nurses who patiently taught me were why I could ultimately administer infused antibiotics through a Smart Port twice a day. If you’re me, you think you can’t do these things. If you’re my daughter you not only know you can but you know how to help other people to experience that they can, too. I know you must get accolades and praise all the time, but just wanted to add mine. I think you’re fantastic!!!!

Sheila Shepard, proud mother of the best oncology nurse in the whole world!

Spotlight on: Breast Reconstruction Guidebook

Breast Reconstruction Guide 3coverIn 2006, when making my decision about prophylactic mastectomies, there was one book that was essential in teaching me what I needed to know and what I had no idea was even possible.

Kathy Steligo’s Breast Reconstruction Guidebook is now in its third edition and is even wiser and more comprehensive. (more…)

Spotlight On: Bright Pink

My routine visit with a gynecologist in the spring of 2013 turned out to be anything but routine.

I had just moved back to New York from North Carolina (where my husband Johnny was stationed on active duty with the US Marine Corps) and was meeting with my new gynecologist, Dr. Nabil Khoury. After reviewing my personal and family history, (more…)

Spotlight On: The Silver Lining

The Silver Lining coverHow many times have we heard the old adage: “In every cloud, there is a silver lining”? It’s hardly the thing to say when someone has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. But after Hollye Jacobs received this news at age thirty-nine, she decided to use her knowledge of the “practical” matters associated with the disease to help others. (more…)

DOs and DON’Ts: Healthy Eating Out

Drelogo

For some of us, eating out is a luxury that we indulge in only occasionally. For others, it’s a way of life born of busy days and conflicting family schedules. Wherever you fall on that continuum, (more…)

Indoor Tanning is Dangerous: True or False?

In a few months, prom season will be upon us. Unfortunately, along with it comes a heightened interest on the part of young girls to have “color” for thNeon Tanning Signe big event. And by “color” they mean tanned skin. Some of the more aware teens might opt for the much safer spray-on version, but not nearly enough of them. The fact of the matter is: Indoor tanning leads to skin cancer and, unfortunately, a startling 40% of teenage girls in this country do it. (more…)

Lymphedema: What Is It?

Credit: A. Targhian

Credit: A. Targhian

If you are facing surgery for breast cancer or another condition such as melanoma of the arm or leg, you might be at risk for a condition called lymphedema. When swelling, or edema, involves the body’s lymphatic system, fluid gets trapped and can’t drain. I have seen many patients suffer from this condition which, once it sets in, is something a person has to deal with for life.

What is lymphedema?

The human body contains an intricate roadway of vessels (more…)

What To Expect: The BFFL Co Guide to Mastectomy

AngelinaJolieHollywood star Angelina Jolie was a brave inspiration to all of those women dealing with a BRCA mutation or family history when she announced the startling news of her prophylactic double mastectomy. Most recently “Good Morning America” correspondent Amy Robach announced to viewers that she, too, would soon undergo a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Due to advances in screening and genetic counseling/testing, women have options and information to help them make decisions. When pre-emptive or diagnosed early, women have a much better chance to be cured or avoid the disease.

While making the decision or told you need to have surgery is the biggest step, women still need help in preparing and recovering from these new surgeries.

We at BFFL Co are pleased to share with you The BFFL Co Guide to Mastectomy, an (more…)

Hospital Checklist and Birthplan for Expectant Moms

PregnantwomanlaptopOur handy hospital checklist and birthplan will keep you organized and prepared for childbirth.

Print it out, and use the checklist for packing. Fill in the birth plan to pack in your Mommy/Delivery BFFLBag®.

To download, click here.

The Monthly Breast Self-Exam

Click here for instructions on how to do a monthly breast self-exam. Don’t forget to get a mammogram annually, if you’re over 40, or every three years, if you’re between the ages of 30 and 40. More frequent screening is recommended for women with high risk because of family history or other reasons.

click here for instructions in Spanish.

Taking Care of Your Drains

Drain Care Instructions

Proper care of your JP drains is essential. You must regularly empty the bulbs so that they drain the fluid accumulating at the surgical site. The white portion (a) of the drain is inside your body. The long, clear tube (b) exits your body and is attached to your skin by several stitches. Do not yank or pull the tube away from your body or you will tear the stitches, and simply put, it hurts! Suction created by the bulb (c) pulls the fluid from the surgical site into the bulb’s reservoir. In order to function properly, the bulb should be collapsed in the middle so it looks like a deflated ball. As fluid collects, the bulb will expand and become a sphere again. For the first 3-4 days, the fluid will be bloody or serosanguinous (blood plus serous fluid). This is normal. Over the next 5-7 days, output of fluid into the bulb will slow down and become straw-colored.

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Questions and Answers For Breast Patients

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions and answers about mastectomy or lumpectomy and recovery.

Please feel free to email questions to: info@bfflco.com

Q. When will I be able to pick up or hug my children?

A. Well, you can hug your children right away, just make sure that they know not to squeeze too hard.  Hugs reduce recovery time.

Many young mothers worry about the day-to-day care of their little children after surgery– lifting a child out of a crib or bath, putting them into a car seat.  Any activity that engages the pectorals (chest) muscles should be minimized  for at least 6 weeks after surgery, maybe longer, depending on reconstruction.  Children learn to rely on a  well placed stool, take assistance from an older sibling or take their bath at a time of day when someone else might assist .

(more…)

How to Milk a JP Drain