February 16, 2019

Must Know Tip Before Major Surgery: A Cautionary Tale

Lyfebulb Family,

Most post surgery tips are very practical like how to apply bandages, when to take medication, or what foods to eat to avoid inflammation. My number one suggestion, although it may not be as obvious, is the most practical thing you can do. To know the whole story, let’s rewind to the first week of April 2018.

Just this past spring, right before I was set to have a double mastectomy/breast reconstruction, my iPhone went on the fritz with the newest update. It started to freeze on the regular, shut off at 60% battery, and send multiple texts to the wrong people. One must know thing about me- my phone is my bread and butter, continuing to this very day as Lyfebulb’s newest Social Media Marketing Manager. I love writing, designing, editing, all done with a finger tap or swipe. Most days you will find me at my desk with my phone permanently affixed to my hand. I swear, it’s for work.

Beyond the professional demands placed on my phone, I had two breasts chock full of strange phyllodes tumors, and a lot of worried friends and family trying to drop me a line. If they couldn’t reach me, or worse, if my clinicians couldn’t reach me, then it could become a matter of life or death!

Armed with a justifiable reason to put a dent in my next credit card statement, I waltzed into my phone carrier store and made a beeline for the iPhone X. Finally, I was back at the forefront of technology! Goodbye dropped calls, frozen home screens, and fading battery power. HELLO face recognition, the all glass screen, and 256 gigabytes of memory. I was thrilled and put at ease by my new phone all at once. My loved ones and doctors could now easily reach me through a reliable device, and I would have a life line to the rest of the world during my long recovery.

The big day finally came. After my surgery I spent three days in the hospital during which I was so sore I could barely use my arms. Then I was discharged and sent home to sleep in a medical grade recliner for a month. My partner set me up with a tray right in front of the TV so I could rest comfortably in my post-anesthesia-painkiller-induced stupor.

Now, if I can sneak in one small tip on post surgery binge worthy television it would be to gorge yourself on the Great British Bake Off. Between bouts of intense pain and sleep were blissful images of proving dough, chantilly cream, and chocolate drizzles. It was exactly what I needed. In my happily TV ever after, I indulged in endless GBBO marathons from the glamorous location of my small Brooklyn apartment, all while sitting in a medical chair with throw pillows duct taped over the armrests.

Then one day the buzzer sounded. In the first couple weeks after my surgery I had a number of visitors, but on this day I wasn’t expecting anyone. My partner buzzed them in and opened the front door. We waited, but nobody came, so he went downstairs to investigate and returned with a large box left by a delivery person. Inside this monstrosity of cardboard was approximately sixty dollars worth of cake decorating supplies.

Was this some kind of mistake, or had my great British fairy godmother answered my dreams? I went into my Amazon account orders and found that I was, in fact, the aspirational baking culprit. To add even more humor to my predicament, I found some pain-med induced plans to start a baking business as well, and me with zero pro baking experience typed this up brazenly into my iPhone notes. The drowsy half awake call was coming from inside the house folks, but I had no recollection of when it took place or how I made the payment.

I still didn’t have the strength to use my laptop- and definitely didn’t have the brain bandwidth to enter a complex password. It finally dawned on me later that day when my new phone opened without having to enter the old numeric combination. Thanks to my newfangled iPhone X, I confirmed the purchase without even one single clumsy thumb jab, but with my FACE.

As my cautionary tale comes to an end, I impart with you the pre-surgical wisdom to TURN OFF your Face ID purchasing privileges. Moreover, don’t let Alexa, Google, Siri, Watson, Cortana or any other shiny A.I. companions let you purchase something from the ether with your thumb print, your voice, or your face.Thankfully all I bought was cake decorating supplies. Now when I get some free time, I’ll have a brand new hobby to start up.

Should I start taking orders?

Helayne Kushner

If you have any tips you’d like to share, have any pitches for blog posts, or have any questions for Helayne, email us at!