Community Connection: Ovarian Cancer Canada is looking for volunteers! Could you help?

OVdialogue – consider joining our team in the role of Peer Support Volunteer. Over a few hours each week, you would be part of a team that helps connect people, support conversations and are thought leaders for OVdialogue. This is your opportunity to give back to those who have/continue to support you through the tough times, share your unique experiences, and help celebrate successes. For more details of what this entails, please reach out to @Mfallis (

Surgery Prep

I have gone under the knife more than once since my cancer diagnosis. The big difference I noticed from the first time to the most recent time is that I have now connected with a number of amazing survivors who were more than willing to share their experiences, and the tips and tricks that they learned in regards to making the surgery itself, and the healing process to follow, easier. So, I thought it would be helpful to have a place where those that are now facing this can go for some advice to prepare themselves. 

For example - pillows are your friend post surgery. I don't just mean to sleep on - any time that you are attempting to stand up or sit down hug a pillow and it will make the whole process easier and less painful. 

What tips/tricks made the process easier on you? 


  • I just got out of the hospital last night from a secondary debulking surgery. Things to take to the hospital - slippers, housecoat (they will get you up walking quickly), loose-fitting clothes for going home in, chapstick, because it can get very dry in the hospital, small bites of nutritious food (because hospital food can be unappealing and you probably won't feel much like eating anyway) essentials like phone and/or computer tablet, glasses, etc. I took things to work on while I was there, but I didn't feel like doing much. 
  • @deebus52 - You hit on one that I had forgotten about - what clothes you'll want to wear. Loose fitting is a must, maxi style dresses were my lifeline following mine! Also, when considering loose fitting, don't forget to consider your underwear as well - tight underwear are just as bad as tighter pants  ;)
  • My doctor told me to get an abdominal bind which I found to be helpful.  My last surgery was in January 2015 and got a pair of slip on boots so I could get them on easier. I also brought earplugs to the hospital to block out the noise of other people at night.
  • JaneWest
    a pillow to cover your belly is essential!! agree 100% @BrittMK
  • Jackie
    Jackie Peer Support Vol

    My doctor was concerned about blood clots forming following my surgery and I had to learn how to inject myself with a blood thinner medication. Looking back, I can’t believe that I actually had the courage to stick myself with a needle each day! Did anyone else have to give themselves injections at home? 

  • JaneWest
    I also had to give myself injections every night for one month following surgery. @Jackie You're right about that; I can't believe I had to do that. I also had to give myself injections following chemo sometimes, if the white blood cell count was low. I'm sure many here have done these. It's really incredible the things we had to do every step of the way - dealing with side effects, managing medications etc. I sure learned a lot.
  • Flowergirl
    Yes, that was the most stress - injections - so thankful for my friends, a few are nurses, helped me through. 
    • A warm towel from the dryer is also your best friend the first few weeks after surgery.. it provided comfort and warmth in the abdominal area.
    • Those baby wipes are also great to have on hand to freshen up when it is hard to shower or move around.
    • Gum, mints, toothbrush and those mouthwash strips are good to have nearby also.
    • Wear a robe or cover-up with pockets (to store all your stuff!, so you don't have to wander to get it)
    • A note pad and pens - while most may use their phone to record things, keep a paper record - it is more visual, you may remember/track more if it is front and center- plus you will have a record to look back on and if you don't want to keep it- you can shred or burn it!
  • Flowergirl
    A kind volunteer also suggested, if you have hair that is on the longer side, cut into a pixie cut or short so that when it falls out after the chemo it is not as drastic a loss. That was a good idea.

    Have you heard of or has anyone tried the scalp cooling cap that is suppose to prevent hair loss?
  • Long, loose fitting cotton sleep shirts were a great help too as wearing pants just wasn't happening the first week. I was so bloated post op my baggy sweat pants I went into the hospital in before were tight and uncomfortable when I went home!

  • I cut my hair short before starting treatment as I thought that seeing it fall out would bother me and glad I did.