Two of my surgeries, my mastectomy and TRAM, required Jackson Pratt drains. I had one for the first surgery and two for the second. As many breast cancer bloggers attest, they are an annoying inconvenience. And some people get totally grossed out by them. I am not terribly squeamish about that kind of stuff so I was okay with the idea of and care of the drain. But I was so happy to get rid of them and each time, I wrote a break up letter.


August 2012

Dear Surgical Drain,

By now, having sit for a few hours in the exam room waste receptacle at the True Family Women’s Cancer Center, you have realized that I’ve left you and moved on with my life. I imagine this was a shock to you as it was rather sudden on my part. To be honest, I just wasn’t that into you. I mean, I needed you for awhile for your draining function but once you’d finished the job, I was dried out and done with you. I want to wear semi-normal clothes again without having to disguise your lumpy presence with blousy tops in wild prints. Yes, you embarrassed me. Frankly, your contents were kind of gross. Don’t despair, I will need you again in a few months when I have my TRAM surgery. We can catch up on old stories. Just remember this time, that this a TEMPORARY relationship of limited scope. I am a married woman, after all. But I do thank you for coming to my aid when I needed you most.



(Note: I meant this post to be funny but now I am feeling ridiculously and irrationally sorry for the surgical drain. After being off work for two weeks, I have this back log of empathy and I’m applying it to plastic! No wonder my high school creative writing teacher taught us not to anthropomorphize objects. It’s not only bad writing, but it is dangerous! Don’t try this at home!)


March 2013

Dear Surgical Drain,

I know I broke up with you last summer after our little fling. Against my better judgment, I took you back last week when I got the TRAM surgery. Maybe I was thinking that things would be different this time. After all, there was you AND another drain. What could be spicier than co-mingling with bulbous plastic twins? However, this threesome, instead of being exciting, was just awkward and messy. Although I can’t speak from personal experience, I suspect this is oft true of other ménage à trois type situations.

But again, I do thank you for serving your purpose and keeping me from swelling up like Violet Beauregarde. (My breast cancer experience has contained far too many references to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Roald Dahl.)

Keep on keeping it real,


You should be so glad that I screened out the grosser images of Jackson-Pratt drains, which came up in my Google images search. This one is unused and straight out of the package. You’re welcome.