- Gift Ideas for Breast Cancer Patients, Previvors and Breasties
- Food or Meal Delivery Service
- Spa Day
- Dry Bar Gift Card
- Dry Shampoo
- Scarves & Headbands
- PJs, Robes, Slippers, Socks, Pillowcases & Blankets
- All Natural Beauty Products
- Run Errands, Pick Up Kids, Walk the Dogs, Schedule a Cleaning Service
- Thoughtful Words via Greeting Card
- Adult Coloring Books
- Netflix or Amazon Prime Membership
- The Giving Keys
- Alex and Ani Bracelet
- GLDN Boob Necklace
- Year 901 Boob Earrings
- Boob Pottery
- Boob Wrapping Paper
- What I Used (and what I didn’t!) After My Double Mastectomy: Tips for You and/or Gift Ideas for Friends!
- Breast Cancer and Mastectomy Gift Care Package Ideas
- What I Used During Mastectomy Recovery
- Here is what I purchased but did not use!
- Thanks for stopping by today!
- Want to start shopping for post-mastectomy items?
- The Mastectomy Pillow You’ll Love
- Double Mastectomy: Recovery Time, What to Expect, and More
- Before mastectomy surgery
- During mastectomy surgery
- After mastectomy surgery
- At-home recovery from mastectomy
- In the months after mastectomy
- 17 Gift Ideas for Women After Mastectomy Surgery
- Gifts for Mastectomy Patients After Breast Cancer Surgery
- Dry shampoo and pampering items
- Delicious high-fiber foods
- Plush blankets and pillows
- Throat lozenges and magazines
- Magazine subscriptions
- Encouragement to exercise, such as Yoga for Cancer DVDs
- Fruits and veggies
- An eReader
- Rides to follow-up oncologist appointments
- Hope and faith – the best gift after mastectomy surgery
- The most important mastectomy gift you can give a patient is to be present and available
- Invitations for small walks
- 6 Quick Gift Ideas for After Mastectomy Surgery
- Blog | Gift Basket Ideas for Post Mastectomy
Gift Ideas for Breast Cancer Patients, Previvors and Breasties
That’s where a good support system comes into play. YOU are needed now more than ever. If a loved one gets down and becomes weak, be their strength. Check-in regularly. Visit often. Provide emotional support. I’m often asked by friends and followers about what to give patients to make them feel better or show they are loved. After watching my mom go through treatment and after getting a prophylactic double mastectomy myself, here’s my best advice on gift ideas for breast cancer patients, previvors and breasties.
Food or Meal Delivery Service
UberEats, Postmates or your local food delivery service is a godsend for those going through treatment and recovering from surgery. Give a gift certificate or send food straight to their door. Sun Basket and Blue Apron are good options for meal delivery services as well (but keep in mind the person on the receiving end will need to actually do the cooking whereas services like UberEats delivers food ready for immediate consumption YAY). Another idea for in-towners is organizing a meal train, a free meal calendar set up amongst family or friends who are close by.
I’ll never forget – my mom gifted me a massage the week before my surgery because she wanted me to feel pampered and lie on my stomach one last time before having to be on my back for months following my double mastectomy. Little did I know I’d be reverting back to that moment many times as I chilled flat in bed during recovery. A week after my surgery, she took me out for a mani/pedi. I still had my drains, but it was such a good excuse to get out of the house and feel pampered.
Dry Bar Gift Card
If you’ve never been to a Dry Bar before, they are pretty much the most amazing answer to feeling down and out and straight up GROSS. The sweet staff members at Dry Bars around the country wash, dry and style hair however you want it – perfect for mastectomy patients needing a pick-me-up after recovering in bed for days on end.
I adore dry shampoo, and this stuff comes in handy the couple of weeks following surgery. For me, I couldn’t shower for a while (read: not sanitary) so being able to have somewhat clean hair with dry shampoo was blissful. If you know someone going through chemo, don’t gift this as they will probably be losing hair soon, if they haven’t already. Here’s a post on my favorite dry shampoo brands.
Scarves & Headbands
Talk about great accessories for those going through chemo who want to cover their head from time to time. Many beautiful and funky options exist out there – go crazy on what your loved one might like 🙂 After treatment is over with, they can even use it when they travel (my favorite plane accessory!). Headbands for Hope is an amazing organization where every item sold gives one headband to a chid with cancer.
PJs, Robes, Slippers, Socks, Pillowcases & Blankets
Comfort to the rescue! Sometimes there’s nothing better than feeling the soft silk of a pillowcase on your cheek as your drift off to sleep or the fluffiness of divine slippers beneath you. If you’re gifting PJs, remember mastectomy patients probably prefer the button downs and robes with pockets (perfect for drains!).
All Natural Beauty Products
From Rose Hibiscus hydrating face mist to the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, these natural products will have any patient feeling revitalized. Self-care and self-love are important on any day of the week but especially on recovery days. Help a sistah out by giving the gift of beauty 🙂
Run Errands, Pick Up Kids, Walk the Dogs, Schedule a Cleaning Service
This is probably the most practical gift out there for chemo or mastectomy patients. It’s basically helping with LIFE which is what’s really needed at the end of the day. If you have a good friend or family member going through a hard time, they might appreciate you taking care of these tasks more than anything else. Cleaning for a Reason is a non-profit that gives the gift of free house cleaning to women undergoing treatment for any type of cancer. To this day they’ve served almost 30,000 women and donated $10,o00,000 in house cleanings! If that doesn’t give you ALL the feels, I don’t know what does.
Thoughtful Words via Greeting Card
Sometimes, we just don’t know what to do or what to give. Nothing sounds good enough. Thoughtful words can really pack a powerful punch in terms of encouragement. If you don’t exactly know the right words to say, Emily McDowell’s cards say the important stuff for you with beautiful sayings like “The darkness is not an end. It’s a hallway. Keep going” and “Kicking Cancers Ass” and “If this is God’s plan, God is a terrible planner. (No offense if you’re reading this, God. You did a really good job with other stuff like waterfalls and pandas.)” WISE WORDS, EMILY. Wise words of encouragement, girl. Straight forward sentiments are the best sentiments. Personalize it and send it off or better yet, hand deliver!
Treatment and recovery time is no joke. Books are highly recommended for patients as they spend hours in bed. A friend gifted my mom ‘The Silver Lining‘ when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. It’s a supportive and insightful guide to breast cancer written by a vegan eating, marathon running 39-year-old mom with no history of breast cancer. When Robin Roberts was promoting it on GMA she mentioned, “I wish I had this book when I was going through breast cancer.” Another one I’ve heard a lot about from an eating perspective is Cancer Fighting Kitchen Book. If you’ve read a great book recently, lend the paperback to your friend/family undergoing treatment. My favorite recent reads: Scary Close, 10% Happier, Eat Pray Love, Wild
Adult Coloring Books
This could be for your crafty friend or artistic mom who needs to get their fix while still recovering. I Am A Cancer Warrior, Secret Garden, Calm the F*ck Down & Maybe Swearing Will Help are all great.
Netflix or Amazon Prime Membership
Ohhh yes. Peruse through page after page on Amazon or spend the day watching a new series on Netflix. This time is for rest and recovery – so take a load off and enjoy the quiet time. Give the gift of Amazon Prime Membership or Netflix email gift card.
Sometimes fresh flowers just make people smile. I remember after my surgery, the house looked like a florist shop. It was so beautiful and smelled even better. I was so thankful to those who sent them because it was as if they found a way to bring the outdoors inside to me while I was bedridden for days on end. I typically like shopping local when I can, but Amazon flowers aren’t too shabby.
The Giving Keys
Courage. Brave. Love. Believe. Hope. These are just some of the messages on jewelry from The Giving Keys, a pay-it-forward company devoted to doing good in the world. Every product purchased supports job creation for people transitioning out of homelessness. A friend of mine who had a preventative double mastectomy about a month after me gave me her INSPIRE bracelet from The Giving Key. It’s now my turn to pass it onto someone who inspires me 🙂 Gotta love the gift that keeps on giving.
Alex and Ani Bracelet
I’ve been a fan of Alex and Ani’s jewelry for a few years now, but I was recently turned onto their Spiral Sun Charm bracelet where 20% of the purchase price goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I love the blurb underneath the bracelet on the website: “Change is constant. It is ongoing and rhythmic. The spiral reminds us to go with the flow and accept where life carries us. Feel the sun’s warmth, nourishing as it shines upon us, and receive its vital force.”
GLDN Boob Necklace
Oh how I love the designs produced by GLDN. They have this boob necklace (called Au Naturel) that arrived on my one year double mastectomy anniversary, a little present to myself. The necklace is part of the La Femme collection to celebrate femininity in various forms. Half the profits from the collection go to care.org, working to empower women around the world. YASSS girl power.
Year 901 Boob Earrings
I’m low key obsessed with my boob earrings from Year 901. The proof is in my ears (since I’m currently wearing them). I love the little blurb on the website to explain in more detail: “Everyone loves a good set of boobs. Each pair are uneven like real tatas.” Hell.to.the.YES. I received two pairs of boob earrings and gifted one to a boob buddy. If you feel so inclined to purchase, use my code ‘boobs15’ for a discount!
You better believe I have this Boob pouch where a percentage of proceeds goes to Planned Parenthood. I also drink my morning coffee out of this boob coffee cup (and here’s another). I’m also obsessed with potters Rose Grown and Pot Yer Tits Away Luv but their products are ALWAYS sold out. Let me know if anyone has the inside scoop on how to own one of these bad girls.
Boob Wrapping Paper
If you’re going to send some nice gifts, you might as well make it boobaliscious. Julie Ann Art has some boob tape and boob gift wrap where a percentage of proceeds goes to Planned Parenthood.
If you have more ideas, please share in the comments 🙂 The more ideas the better!
Practical items for recovery: 13 Things to Know Before Undergoing a Double Mastectomy
Give the gift of a party: How to Throw a Ta-Ta to the Tatas Party
Give the gift of a comfy bra: The Best Double Mastectomy Bras to Wear After Surgery
Give the gift of scar therapy: Healing from Surgery with Embrace Scar Therapy
What I Used (and what I didn’t!) After My Double Mastectomy: Tips for You and/or Gift Ideas for Friends!
Breast Cancer and Mastectomy Gift Care Package Ideas don’t need to be tricky. Today, I’m going to share with you items that I purchased or received from friends that have been sooooo helpful these first few weeks post-surgery. I bought quite a bit of items I thought I would need but never did…..I want to save you some $$$!
If you stopped by for my breast cancer update, you know that I just had a double mastectomy on February 20.
I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer, and the interesting thing is that I am considered zero risk for breast cancer AND I’m negative for the BRAC1 gene! (If you are curious about my decision for the surgery, you can check out the questions I’m most frequently asked about breast cancer right here.)
But, you are here to either shop for yourself OR for a loved one with a breast cancer diagnosis – so let’s shop!
You’ll see the price points on the shopping/gift list are broad. You don’t have to spend a lot to be prepared for this life changing surgery, and neither do your friends!
So whether you are shopping for yourself or for a friend, this list is finance friendly! 🙂
Breast Cancer and Mastectomy Gift Care Package Ideas
In the weeks prior to my mastectomy, I felt as if I were getting ready to have a baby!
Stay with me on this one…..
First, my urge to nest kicked into overdrive, because who knew how long I’d be bedridden?!?!
Over two weekends in January, Copa & I cooked soups & casseroles to stock our freezer. Plus, I wanted to get blog posts ready for the next few months. (I’m a contributor over at The Melrose Family, so cooking & writing posts through May was a big priority!)
Our freezer was stocked, and now tons of websites were telling me about gadgets & gizmos that I HAD to have during breast cancer recovery.
I was truly overwhelmed…..kind of like when you are registering for your baby shower. (Remember those “kneeling mats” to help you bathe your baby in the bathtub?!? Like, who REALLY uses that after the 3rd or 4th bath time?!?!)
What I Used During Mastectomy Recovery
Ahemmmm…I’m still using these items, because I’m not even 3 full weeks post surgery! Everything below is still in rotation.
Mastectomy and some lumpectomy patients will not be able to lift their arms after surgery. Button up PJ’s make it easy on the caregiver to dress the patient AND the patient will not strain while being dressed. I have 4 pairs to rotate in between clothes washing days. to see what I’m talking about.
If you have a drain (or 4!!!) then button up jammies will make emptying the drains three times each day much, much easier.
The pajama’s aren’t sexy, but when your boobs are gone, sexiness is not on the forefront of one’s mind! Comfort and drain access become priorities those early days after a mastectomy!
2) Chest Buddy
This is a must have for car rides….I can’t stress enough how much this is still helping me. Going to and from post-operative doctor’s appointments is MUCH easier with this cushion. It fastens to any size seatbelt via a strip of velcro. Best of all, you can get the Chest Buddy immediately right here on Amazon! The picture below was taken just TWO WEEKS post surgery! #FightLikeAGirl
3) A hospital bag with clear make up bag containers
This is GENIUS. You will pack for the hospital, but you will not be the one digging through the bag to find specific items prior to your discharge!!!
Clear, zippered bags allow your caregiver to see exactly what is inside, eliminating lots of frustration & saving them time! Plus they are waterproof.
I had a new duffle just for this surgery. It is waterproof and can be cleaned with a wet wipe. (Goodbye, hospital germs!) This is the one I have and it comes with those handy-dandy clear bags!
The Double Mastectomy BFFL Bag comes with EVERYTHING a girl having a double mastectomy can need. I used it all….so did my caregivers! (Note: The Chest Buddy, pictured below, is not included in the bundle. This pic was not a staged photo but rather a candid photo when I was less than 12 hours away from my surgery!)
The BFFL Bag even inludes the heart shaped pillows to use under your arms post surgery! (Hey, it hurts like Hades to have your arms rest down by your side!!!) I used these AFTER my Jackson-Pratt drains were removed.
Other items that come in the bundle are……
Socks. A notepad to jot down instructions from the doctor. Lip balm. A Kind Bar for the patient OR the caregiver during long waits. A drain care kit that is worth it’s weight in gold!
4) Big, fleecy socks
You won’t be able to put your own socks on for at least a week. Roomy, cushiony socks like these make it easier on the caregiver to dress you. They have non-slip padding on the bottom, which is really nice for those 3AM restroom visits in the dark when you are navigating Jackson-Pratt drains….just sayin’!
5) Blankets, Scarfs & Hats for Breast Cancer Surgery and Treatment
I am using two ultra soft blankets right now every single day…..my niece made the one in this photo, and the other blanket is solid white and is so cozy when I am relaxing in our den. At first, I thought I would only need them during my hospital stay & recovery. But, now that I will need chemo, I will be rotating these blankets to the chemo treatment sessions. Having two blankets is ideal, too, in case one of the is in the laundry.
Scarfs are great because it can be chilly in the chemo treatment centers!
A sweet friend crocheted this incredible scarf for me….do you see the detail in the stitching?
The loops in the hem are designed after the pink breast cancer ribbon symbol. This scarf will be traveling with me to chemo! She is also making me a hat to wear in case of hair loss….. 🙂
6) Yummy Treats, Purell, Lip Balm, Mugs & Cups
Cancer is super stressful. And, even though I’m still trying to keep the 10 pounds off from last summer’s 12 Week Weightloss Challenge, indulging in sweet treats helps keep an air of normalcy in the house.
A fun new mug for soups and new bottles of Purcell are great to come home to after the hospital.
That new cup is for the endless gallons of water that come with post surgery hydration.
I have this one:
Yes, it says I am a Survivor. That is EXACTLY what I plan to be very soon.
And last but not least, stock up on lots & lots of lip balm. Like, lots. 🙂
Wide, smoothie straws to be exact. Here’s why: Lifting a cup to your mouth immediately after a mastectomy is not easy! The straw shortens the distance between your mouth and the cup, which is a biggie when you can’t move your arms very well. We purchased them at Wal-Mart
8) Books & Magazines
Even in this digital age, it has been nice to have media OFF and read a book instead of scrolling through Instagram. Here’s what is on my nightstand:
Breast Cancer Smoothies ( to see it) and Big C, Little ta-ta (you can for that one!).
And, you know I love that Joel Osteen! Copa bought me my FAVORITE mags and Joel’s latest book,Blessed in the Darkness.
8) Meals, Fruit & Flowers
Yes, send your friend of family member some love from across the miles!
Because of the horrible flu outbreak in Central Florida in early February, we were unsure if we could accept meals from others. I needed to be in a germ free environment, and you can carry the flu germs without being symptomatic. Plus, it’s just the two of us at home, so how much help could we need?!?! So, we cooked in bulk and froze dozens of suppers in January. We ate in exclusively the two weeks prior to my surgery.
Let’s just say the flu has dissipated, and we have been so blessed to have neighbors and a few folks drop by with soups and suppers.
Now that Copa is back at work, his evenings are busy with pet care, MY care (I can go to the restroom alone – BIG improvement!) and other routine household tasks. I’m still not able do mundane tasks like emptying the dishwasher, pulling casserole dishes out of the refrigerator, or turn loads of laundry. On doctor appointment days, I literally am back in bed for hours just recuperating!
My amazing husband is doing it all….and then some.
The meals that have been quietly sent to us have been a blessing.
We received gorgeous flowers and fruit, the latter which served as our breakfast for several days.
Here is what I purchased but did not use!
- Shirts with built in drain pockets
- Net lanyard drain holder for showers
- Waist pouch to hold drains
I was really disappointed with the shirt with built in pockets! I wore it once. The fabric was soft but I was expecting a higher quality product for at $60+ purchase! Honestly, I could have purchased a shirt at Target and whipped out my sewing machine…..
Drain Management: At the hospital, they used large safety pins to attach the drains to my bra. I ended up doing this exclusively once I returned home, and hence had no need for garments with built in pockets.
Thanks for stopping by today!
I know this is a departure from my regular tailgate recipes, but I want to make sure as many people as possible know about how easy it is to help a friend going thru cancer. OR, if you are doing this solo, you go girl! I hope these ideas help you plan in advance.
Want to start shopping for post-mastectomy items?
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The Mastectomy Pillow You’ll Love
If you don’t already know, I have a slight obsession with Pinterest.
I can sit and pin things for HOURS! I’ll start off with nail polish colors and end up looking at “how to make a window garden in your apartment” Haha!
Believe it or not, I actually use Pinterest for work more than you think. Part of what goes into our education folders, which ends up going into our Feeling Beautiful Again bags are our Cards of Hope. Cards of Hope are just another extra step we take to make our bags even more personal by making handwritten cards with words of encouragement! Well, when you make thousands and thousands of cards you eventually have to turn to the internet for some fresh ideas and creative quotes. Just an idea we sent out over 11,000 bags in 2017. So to come up with a variety of quotes was definitely challenging.
Thus, began my journey of finding some fresh ideas and new quotes when I started wandering off through the endless amount of pins. I ended up coming across this specific pillow that I thought “Dang! That’s cool, it’s got little arm cutouts! I bet I could use this for road trips when I take naps,” because yes, I’m one of those people who has to hug a pillow when I sleep! So, I click the image to take me to the website and what do you know, the pillow was actually founded by a breast cancer survivor. You can ask my coworkers, I sat at my desk and was like “oh my gosh! I can’t believe I found this cool site, how come I’ve never heard of this place!” My days of aimlessly scrolling through Pinterest had finally brought some good.
For those of you who have never come across this page, like me, be sure to take a look! Pink Pepper offers a chest pillow that is a must have for breast cancer patients or anyone who is undergoing breast surgery. It’s perfect for after your mastectomy, reconstruction or any other breast surgery! They also have other products for breast cancer patients such as a special mastectomy recovery shirt that has pockets to hold your drains in place. Talking with breast cancer patients every day, one of the common things I hear is just how hard the recovery process can be, so what Pink Pepper is doing is absolutely amazing.
Pinterest, I thank you for being so amazing and for allowing products like the chest pillow to be found, so we can recommend these to our breast cancer patients! And, of course, once you’re done using the pillow post-surgery, you can also use it on road trips to take naps with 🙂
Double Mastectomy: Recovery Time, What to Expect, and More
Your doctor will explain the medical specifics. Here are some other things to consider in advance:
The drive home
Your surgeon will advise you not to drive, but they might not think to mention that the seatbelt’s shoulder harness can hurt your sore chest. Bring a small, soft pillow to place between your chest and the strap.
What you’ll wear
Inventory your wardrobe and go shopping, if necessary. When you leave the hospital, you’ll still have drainage tubes in your chest. They’ll remain in place for at least a week or two, maybe longer. Your chest and arms will be sore and stiff.
Buy loose-fitting tops that are easy to put on and take off. Choose soft, natural fabrics. Specialty stores carry camisoles and tops with pockets for the drainage bulbs. Or you can clip the bulb to your clothing. A large zip-up hoodie is a good option.
If you’re not having reconstruction and plan to wear prosthetics, hold off on buying mastectomy bras for now. Your size will change as your swelling goes down.
When you’re ready, your doctor will write a prescription for prosthetics and mastectomy bras, which may be covered by insurance.
What you’ll eat
You may not feel up to cooking, so do what you can in advance. Stock your kitchen and, if time permits, prepare a few meals for the freezer.
How you’ll nest
What helps you feel good? A thick novel, aromatherapy, your grandmother’s afghan? Make sure it’s within easy reach of your favorite comfy chair or sofa.
How you’ll enlist help
Your friends mean well when they say, “Let me know if I can do anything.” But don’t leave it to chance — get your calendar out and get commitments now. Consider babysitting, transportation, and meals.
Do you want to be left alone or do you thrive on friends dropping by? Will there be holidays or special events during your recovery? Now’s the time to lay it all out and let people know what you need.
What you’ll do if you need more help
Make a list of organizations you can contact if needed. Consider babysitting, housecleaning services, and transportation. The American Cancer Society provides a wealth of information on support programs and services in your area. A local support group may also be a good resource for information from others who have had similar experiences.
How you’ll manage your emotions
With or without reconstruction, having a double mastectomy can be an emotional experience. Know up front that whatever feelings you have are valid. You’re allowed to have positive and negative emotions and every type in between.
Don’t beat yourself up over any of them. They’re normal. Things won’t change overnight, so give yourself time to sort through it all.
Before mastectomy surgery
In the hospital on the day of surgery, you’ll change into a hospital gown and wait in a preoperative holding area. Some hospitals will allow you to have one or two friends or family members with you in the room.
Your surgeon or a nurse may draw markings on your breast that show where the incision will be made. Usually this is done with a felt-tip marker. You’ll be sitting up while this happens so that the natural crease of your breast can be marked.
You will be taken into the anesthesia room, where a nurse will insert an intravenous infusion (IV) line into your hand or arm and tape it into place. Soon after this, you’ll be given relaxing medication through the IV line. Once you are wheeled into the operating room, you will be given general anesthesia.
During mastectomy surgery
Mastectomy with axillary dissection can take 2-3 hours. If reconstruction is performed at the same time, surgery will take longer.
Most mastectomy incisions are in the shape of an oval around the nipple, running across the width of the breast. If you are having a skin-sparing mastectomy, the incision will be smaller, including only the nipple, areola, and the original biopsy scar. If you’re having a nipple-sparing mastectomy, a variety of incisions can be used.
After the incision is made, the breast tissue is separated from the overlying skin and from the chest wall muscle underneath. All of the breast tissue — which lies between the collarbone and ribs, from the side of the body to the breastbone in the center — is removed. Your breast surgeon will also perform sentinel node dissection or axillary lymph node dissection if it is part of your surgery plan.
After your breast surgeon has removed your breast tissue, if immediate breast reconstruction is part of your plan, your plastic surgeon will perform the reconstruction.
In the final stages of the surgery, your breast surgeon will check the surgery areas for bleeding and insert surgical drains. Drains are long tubes that are inserted into your breast area or armpit to collect excess fluid that can accumulate in the space where the tumor was. The tubes have plastic bulbs on the ends to create suction, which helps the fluid to exit your body. After the drains are inserted, your surgeon will stitch the incision closed. The surgery site will then be covered by a bandage that wraps closely around your chest.
After mastectomy surgery
You’ll be moved to the recovery room after mastectomy surgery, where staff will monitor your heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. If you are in pain or feel nauseous from the anesthesia, let someone know so that you can be given medication.
You’ll then be admitted to a hospital room. Hospital stays for mastectomy average 3 days or less. If you have a mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time, you may be in the hospital a little longer.
The morning after your surgery, your surgeon or nurse will show you an exercise routine you can do to prevent arm and shoulder stiffness on the side where you had the mastectomy and to help prevent the formation of significant scar tissue. Some exercises should be avoided until drains are removed. Ask your surgeon any questions you may have to make sure the exercise routine is right for you. Your surgeon should also give you written, illustrated instructions on how to do the exercises.
Before you leave the hospital, your surgeon or nurse will give you information about recovering at home:
- Taking pain medication: Your surgeon will probably give you a prescription to take with you when you leave the hospital. You might want to get it filled on your way home or have a friend or family member get it filled for you as soon as you are home so that you have it available.
- Caring for the bandage (dressing) over your incision: Ask your surgeon or nurse how to take care of the mastectomy bandage. The surgeon may ask that you not try to remove the bandage, and instead wait until your first follow-up visit so that he or she can remove the bandage.
- Caring for a surgical drain: If you have a drain in your breast area or armpit, the drain might be removed before you leave the hospital. Sometimes, however, a drain stays inserted until the first follow-up visit with the doctor, usually 1-2 weeks after surgery. If you’re going home with a drain inserted, you’ll need to empty the fluid from the detachable drain bulb a few times a day. Make sure your surgeon gives you instructions on caring for the drain before you leave the hospital.
- Stitches and staples: Most surgeons use sutures (stitches) that dissolve over time, so there’s no longer any need to have them removed. But occasionally, you’ll see the end of the suture poking out of the incision like a whisker. If this happens, your surgeon can easily remove it. Surgical staples — another way of closing the incision — are removed during the first office visit after surgery.
- Recognizing signs of infection: Your surgeon should explain how to tell if you have an infection in your incision and when to call the office.
- Exercising your arm: Your surgeon or nurse may show you an exercise routine you can do to prevent arm and shoulder stiffness on the side where you had surgery. Usually, you will start the exercises the morning after surgery. Some exercises should be avoided until drains are removed. Ask your surgeon any questions you may have to make sure the exercise routine is right for you. Your surgeon should also give you written, illustrated instructions on how to do the exercises.
- Recognizing signs of lymphedema: If you have had axillary dissection, you will be given information on taking care of your arm and being alert to signs of lymphedema.
- When you can start wearing a prosthesis or resume wearing a bra: The site of mastectomy surgery, and especially mastectomy with reconstruction, needs time to heal before you can wear a prosthesis or bra. Your doctor will tell you how long you may need to wait.
At-home recovery from mastectomy
It can take a few weeks to recover from mastectomy surgery, and longer if you have had reconstruction. It’s important to take the time you need to heal.
In addition to your surgeon’s instructions, here are some general guidelines to follow at home:
- Rest. When you get home from the hospital, you will probably be fatigued from the experience. Allow yourself to get extra rest in the first few weeks after surgery. Read more about managing fatigue.
- Take pain medication as needed. You will probably feel a mixture of numbness and pain around the breast incision and the chest wall (and the armpit incision, if you had axillary dissection). If you feel the need, take pain medication according to your doctor’s instructions. Learn more about managing chest pain, armpit discomfort, and general pain.
- Take sponge baths until your doctor has removed your drains and/or sutures. You can take your first shower when your drains and any staples or sutures have been removed. A sponge bath can refresh you until showers or baths are approved by your doctor.
- Continue doing arm exercises each day. It’s important to continue doing arm exercises on a regular basis to prevent stiffness and to keep your arm flexible.
- Have friends and family pitch in around the house. Recovery from mastectomy can take time. Ask friends and family to help with meals, laundry, shopping, and childcare. As your body heals, don’t feel you should take on more than you can handle.
In the months after mastectomy
Your body will continue to adjust to the effects of the surgery over a period of months. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- You may have “phantom sensations” or “phantom pain” in the months after mastectomy: As nerves regrow, you may feel a weird crawly sensation, you may itch, you may be very sensitive to touch, and you may feel pressure. Your discomfort may go away by itself, or it may persist but you adapt to it. Analgesics and NSAIDs (pronounced EN-seds) such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen usually can address the pain related to this type of nerve injury. Opioids (pronounced OH-pee-oydz) also can be used to treat this type of pain. Read more about managing phantom pain.
- Continue doing regular arm exercises: Stay with your arm exercise routine to keep your arm limber.
- You may experience fatigue from time to time in the early months after surgery: If you’re having trouble with fatigue, ask your doctor about things you can do.
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Last modified on February 27, 2019 at 11:13 AM
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Exercise After Surgery
- Managing Fatigue
Managing Breast Cancer Surgery Side Effects
If you have a friend that was recently diagnosed with cancer, or you yourself are preparing for a mastectomy (or other major surgical procedure) you probably want to know what you can do now to prepare. When it comes to things you need after a mastectomy, most of the times we just wonder what we have to buy. But, when preparing for post-op recovery it’s important to prepare for unexpected lifestyle adjustments.
If you or a friend have had a mastectomy or reconstructive surgery because of breast cancer, you know all too well that post-op recovery can be difficult. The amount of reconstruction will depend on the mastectomy and the width, size, and location of the removed tumor. This means that recovery looks very different.
For at least 2 to 3 weeks, recovery patients experience soreness, swelling, and bruising. All of this happens while you are processing what you’ve just been through and while you must adjust to a life that demands assistance (at least temporarily). There is a lot that goes into recovery after breast cancer, and we wondered what women really needed as they recovered, so we asked. Here are the top five things they shared:
You will need support both physically and emotionally. This is not only a time of physical recovery but emotional as well. It’s important to surround yourself with people who want to help, like loved ones, friends, or neighbors. It’s also a good idea to seek counseling or therapy before and after the mastectomy, not only for yourself but for your spouse too. There are post-mastectomy support groups available that meet once or twice a month that can give you valuable information, it’s often helpful to meet people who have been through and are going through the same thing as you are. It’s a good idea to find local groups before your surgery.
We have also compiled a list of Breast Cancer Recovery Resources and Services. Additionally, we’ll put together a list of recommended recovery items that can potentially make great gifts before surgery.
Recovery Garments & Products
This is a surprising one for some women, before surgery they often didn’t realize what an impact this surgery would have on their daily tasks, particularly getting dressed. This is especially true for those in double mastectomy recovery.
There is an entire market of breast cancer accessories. Companies like Brobe, specialize in recovery products that were specifically designed with women going through post-op recovery.
We are best known for our Recovery Brobe, which is both a bra and robe in one. Endorsed by nurses all over the world, our Recovery Brobe is a one-of-a-kind product that makes a perfect after surgery gift. The robe is designed with pockets for postoperative drains and a velcro front-closure bra, complete with pockets for ice packs to help soothe tender breasts or incisions. Of course, we’re a little biased, but we designed the Recovery Brobe to be the best gift for a breast cancer patient.
They also offer a shower belt that holds your drains and a comfort pillow that holds an icepack for underarm support. These are what many women called “must-haves” as they make recovery more bearable. Whether you’re looking for double mastectomy recovery gifts or for recovery items in general, check out our post-op recovery items for a thoughtful solution for that special someone.
A balanced, healthy diet is crucial in recovery, though guidelines for breast cancer patients may be different than you’re used to. It’s a good idea to ask your healthcare provider or a nutritionist for suggestions. Most of the time, diets for breast cancer patients are higher in protein. This nutrient-rich food can provide the energy your body needs to heal after breast cancer. If you don’t have much of an appetite, protein shakes and supplements may be an option to help keep your protein levels where they should be. For most women, the appropriate protein intake is approximately 50-75 gm per day. On average, a chicken breast that is around the size of a deck of cards roughly contains 25 gm of protein.
Exercise & Physical Therapy
Exercise for breast cancer survivors usually includes physical therapy to improve strength. If you’re practitioner okays it, you may want to engage in moderate aerobic exercise (like walking) for about 30 minutes, three or more times a week after you’ve recovered for several weeks. You may also want to ask your doctor for a referral to an exercise physiologist or program for people recovering from cancer.
Many women that are largely busted who undergo mastectomy surgery will either have (1) a bilateral mastectomy or (2) a mastectomy on the affected side and a breast reduction on the other. This often changes your posture, the way you sit, your balance, and the way you walk. Seeking a physical therapist before and after surgery can help restore mobility to the affected side. You can also ask them to show you how to do lymph massage to prevent lymphedema.
You will not be able to sleep lying down so having a recliner at home is so helpful. To keep the recliner clean, you can wrap it with a fitted sheet. For extra comfort initially, you may want to surround yourself with support pillows. Before surgery, create a basket or bin and put things you might need next to your chair. Some items you may want to include are lip balm, medications, water bottle, phone and charger, lotion, pen and journal, a good book, magazine, and crossword puzzles.
Leading up to my first Mastectomy, I frantically searched the internet for packing lists and the best mastectomy recovery items to buy. Never having broken a bone or had surgery before, I was like a fish out of water. The doctors and nurses were able to provide expert medical advise, but, they were not able to give me the first hand insight I was looking for. Now, having gone through the mastectomy surgery twice, I have a much better idea of which items were essential, and made my experience much more bearable. I hope you find my How to Prepare for a Mastectomy Guide helpful as well as the packing lists included.
How to prepare for for a Mastectomy
Looking for gift ideas for a cancer fighter preparing for a mastectomy? Check out this post or this gift guide.
2-4 Weeks Before Surgery
- Talk to other survivors and read their insight to sense for the for the emotional aspect of the surgery.
- Stock up on motivational/calming resources
- Headspace is my favorite app for meditation. The 10, 15, or 20 minute sessions are easily digestible and the narrators voice is the most soothing thing I have ever heard!
- Meditation music helped me so much in the hospital. When I was in pain, I would pop my headphones in and drift off to sleep much more relaxed.
- Prepare for Surgery:Heal Faster – mental support to help you prepare for surgery
- Deep clean your home and look into securing cleaning services for after your surgery. Cleaning for Reason donates cleaning services to women battling cancer.
- Set up a Meal Train or other system to have food brought to you during your recovery. You won’t be able to cook or clean after your mastectomy for 4 weeks
- Purchase recovery specific items
- Axilla-Pilla by BFFL. This pillow is amazing and the perfect size to position under your armpits for support and comfort
- Sleeping on your side and stomach will be difficult during recovery. The Billow Body Pillow can provide relief so you can rest in comfort.
- Wedge Pillow
- Microbean pillow – this worked perfectly under my neck to prop me up. I have brought it to my mastectomy and every reconstruction surgery.
- Frustrated by the hassle of drains and recognizing that women need comfortable clothing solution during recovery, Kelly started Kelly Bee Designs. She makes super soft sweatshirts with pockets specifically for mastectomy patients.
- Ana Ono Meina Robe has a drain management belt
- Pink Pockets are stickable pockets that can be applied to any item of clothing. I used these inside my super soft oft, button down PJs
- Brobe Recovery robe has have built in pockets
- I also suggest getting a few lanyards to hold the drains while showering
Post-surgery bras and camisoles
- Ana Ono Pocketed Front Closure Bra
- Ana Ono Wrap Front Camisole
- Ana Ono Molly Pocketed Bra
- The drains will add extra bulk so stock up on baggy button down tops that can hide the drains will be soft on your skin. I went 1-2 sizes up in the tops I purchased.
- Relaxed Oxford Shirts
- Marissa Knit button down
- Military Boyfriend shirt
- Loose cozy sweater
- Pants with zippers or be difficult to get off and on so go for loose-fitted slip-on pants or skirts
- Comfy sweats
- Cotton joggers
- Ruched Maxi Skirt
- The drains will add extra bulk so stock up on baggy button down tops that can hide the drains will be soft on your skin. I went 1-2 sizes up in the tops I purchased.
- Seat belts will dig into your chest, so the Park Puff designed by fellow survivor Rachel is a perfect solution
1-2 Days Before Surgery
- Prepare a stock of healthy meals and snacks to have available following your surgery
- Pack your surgery bag with all the helpful items noted in the packing lists below.
- Get a massage – You won’t be able to lay on your stomach for a while and this is a great way to release all that pre-surgery anxiety
- Rearrange your kitchen/bedroom to make straws, plates, and necessities easily accessible without much lifting or twisting
- Workout – your exercise routine will be restricted for a while and the sweat and endorphins will really help you relax.
- Microbead Tube Pillow
- Seat Belt Cover
- Chapstick for dry lips
- Comfortable PJs and Robe
- Cozy socks/Slippers
- Underwear – you will be very excited to get out of the surgical underwear and into your own
- Hat – after a long hospital stay and a lack of showering, I loved having a ball cap to wear on the way out of the hospital. If you are bald, you may want to warmth.
- Headbands – these helps keep your hair out of your face and disguise your dirty, sweaty hair when you can’t shower
- Hairbrush – even though you won’t be able to brush your hair, it is a great item to have one on hand. My mom and husband brushed my hair and helped keep me from looking a hot mess.
- Slip-On Shoes – You won’t want to worry about sneakers or shoes with laces when you are leaving the hospital. Bring something that is easier to slip on like these or these
- Face Wipes
- Water bottle or large tumbler for water. The hospital cups are SO small.
- Book & Music – I enjoyed having my Kindle & meditation music to help me relax/sleep.
- Spray deodorant Many doctors won’t allow any deodorant near the surgery site for a few weeks so check with your doctor before using
Don’t forget about your spouse/caretaker when packing. Some hospitals will have a the room where your spouse/caretaker can stay. This was wonderful for me and very comforting to have my husband by my side during such a traumatic time.
- Cash for vending machines/food.
- Pillow/blanket from home
- Change of clothes
- Phone chargers/Computer/Book
- Notebook for tracking recovery vitals & details for doctors
- Prescription Medications
- Contact information for family & friends you want to provide with updates
- Large bag for carrying caregiver and patient items
- Shave your armpits and legs before surgery! You won’t be allowed to shave after the surgery because you’ll risk getting an infection in your surgical area. Bending down to shave your legs will also be difficult for a while.
- Be selfish! I don’t like accepting help from others and I like to be the giver, so this was very hard for me. This is the one time in your life when you have to be selfish. If you need to sleep, sleep. If you need help ask. Don’t apologize, say ‘Thank You’ instead! Everyone around you wants to help and wants to do all they can for you. The more you focus on you and what your body needs, the faster you will heal. Think Netflix, good books/magazines and lots of sleep.
- SLEEP! I didn’t do this enough after the first couple days out of the hospital and I wish I had. Your body is exerting a lot of energy to heal and the more sleep you get the faster your body can heal. Save your energy and sleep as much as possible.
- Listen to your body! Your mind will recover quickly, but your body will take time. Pace yourself and listen to your body. Slow is fast and fast is slow.
- Don’t pin the drains too high under your clothing! The tube is meant to drain liquid from your surgery site and if the tube gets twisted or kinked, suction will be stopped. This can result in swelling and fluid build up under the skin.
- Use your arm(s) on your surgery side(s) as much as possible! Even though you will have weight limitations, usually 5 pounds, it is important to try to use your arm as much normal. No heavy lifting or repetitive motions, but simple everyday tasks like brushing your teeth, washing your face or brushing your hair are all good tasks to start with. It may be difficult at first but it will get easier with time. If you don’t use your arm(s), you may end up with more work in physical therapy later on.
- Get pill bottles with the screw off lids! Your pectoral muscle will be in pain and opening the childproof medicine bottles will be very difficult.
- Take pictures of your breasts before surgery!!! You will want to look at these later to remember and grieve. You will also want to reference this pictures later if you elect to have reconstructive surgery.
- Seek professional mental support! Your mental health will be so important during your recovery and is many times over looked. You have gone through a traumatic event and there will be many emotions to process. Ask your doctor for a counselor recommendation prior to surgery. It will help to have someone who you have already developed a relationship with. Online and local support groups are another wonderful avenue for guidance & support.
17 Gift Ideas for Women After Mastectomy Surgery
These gift ideas after a single or double mastectomy will help breast cancer patients heal. The gift tips are based on an oncologist’s instructions for post-mastectomy healing.
17 Gift Ideas for Women After Mastectomy Surgery
A Double Mastectomy Gift Bag® is one of the most popular gifts for mastectomy patients, and is actually a “breast cancer recovery bag.” It’s a great gift for after mastectomy surgery. It includes pillows, toiletries, amusements, and other things women need to heal after surgery. This gift includes things you wouldn’t think of – that mastectomy patients need – such as drain care supplies.
A “Doctors Orders” Get Well Soon Care Package and Gift Basket from Amazon might be a more appropriate gift after mastectomy surgery than a Mastectomy Gift Bag, depending on how well you know your patient. The Get Well Soon Gift Basket is lovely, but not as practical as the Mastectomy Gift Bag for patients.
Below are several more gifts for after a mastectomy, plus a quick list of six gifts for women after breast cancer surgery. Every gift in this list is based on a tip for healing from a surgeon. Remember that you’re not giving gifts for no reason – you’re giving hope and showing how much you care by helping her heal after a mastectomy. It’s a traumatic to have breast cancer surgery and it takes a long time to recover – but you can be part of the healing process.
Gifts for Mastectomy Patients After Breast Cancer Surgery
The following tips for healing after mastectomy surgery (post-operative recovery) are from the University of California San Francisco’s Mastectomy: Instructions After Surgery. Each tip is connected to a gift idea, to help mastectomy patients heal from a single or double mastectomy.
Spa Gift Basket for After a Mastectomy
Dry shampoo and pampering items
Since mastectomy patients aren’t able to shower until after the drain is out, she’ll need something to keep her feeling fresh and clean. Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk is very popular, and will help her feel like a beautiful woman again. A more elaborate and thoughtful gift for her after mastectomy surgery is an Art of Appreciation Spa Gift Basket for Renewal and Refreshment. The basket will last long after her healing, and will be a continual reminder that you’re thinking about her as she heals from mastectomy surgery.
Delicious high-fiber foods
Since narcotics for pain management after mastectomy surgery can cause or worsen constipation, patients are encouraged to increase her fluid intake and eat high fiber foods such as prunes and bran. A local bakery may have a good assortment of high-fiber fruit and bran muffins (though they are often very high in fat). A healthy gift basket – such as a Art of Appreciation Healthy Gourmet Food Gift Basket – is a wonderful mastectomy gift for women post-surgery.
Plush Blanket – Mastectomy Gift Idea
Plush blankets and pillows
After mastectomy surgery, oncologists recommend icepacks to decrease discomfort and swelling – particularly to the armpit after a lymph node dissection. A small pillow for her neck or armpit area may decrease discomfort and help her heal. This gift idea for mastectomy patients can also be re-used after the mastectomy surgery. Since bruising and some swelling is common in women after mastectomy surgery, a wonderful gift idea for her is a Super Soft Black Borrego Plush Throw Blanket – perhaps with a soft plush pillow. She’s healing from a traumatic surgery, and needs all the comfort and pampering she can get.
Throat lozenges and magazines
Mastectomy patients have tubes down their throats during the mastectomy surgery. This often causes a sore throat for a few days after surgery, so she’ll really appreciate throat lozenges to soothe her throat and magazines to read while recovering. The Wedderspoon Organic Manuka Honey Lozenges, Ginger with Echinacea is a practical gift idea for her after mastectomy surgery.
Give her three or four magazines about things she enjoys reading about. Personally, I would love a O, The Oprah Magazine subscription if I was recovering from breast cancer surgery! It’d be a wonderful surprise every month for a year – not just as a one-time mastectomy gift idea.
Encouragement to exercise, such as Yoga for Cancer DVDs
The post-mastectomy recovery tips include exercises that help patients regain movement and flexibility. A healthy gift idea for her is a Yoga DVD for Breast Cancer for Patients and Survivors that increases her strength and flexibility. If she had a lymph node dissection, doctors encourage NOT exercising until after her first post-operative visit. If you like the yoga DVD gift idea for after a single or double mastectomy, encourage her to listen to her surgeon’s tips for healing after the mastectomy.
Fruits and veggies
Mastectomy Gift Ideas for Patients
The hospital recommends that a mastectomy patient drinks eight to 10 glasses of water and non-caffeinated beverages every day. This helps clean her system after mastectomy surgery – and so do fresh fruits, vegetables, and lower fat foods. Help her recover from her surgery by giving her a Fruit, Cheese and Nuts Delight Fruit Basket.
Even if she doesn’t like to read, she may be forced to when she recovers from surgery! A Kindle eReader or Kobo is one of the best gift ideas for her after mastectomy surgery, because she won’t be able to lift her arms or hold them up for long. Splurge on the latest Kindle, and load it up with fiction and non-fiction books.
Rides to follow-up oncologist appointments
Patients have to see their surgeons for at least one follow-up appointment after a single or double mastectomy, and one of the best gift ideas for her is company. She may not be able to drive, and might really appreciate the support. You might also offer to help her keep track of her doctor’s appointments, via a shared calendar.
Hope and faith – the best gift after mastectomy surgery
“Mastectomy Gift Ideas for After Surgery” image by Laurie
A symbol of hope – such as a Sterling Silver Heart Pendant Necklace on Amazon (pictured) – is one of the most heartfelt gifts you can give a mastectomy patient. It’s a visual reminder of healing and love, and can help keep her strong.
Amazon’s Heart-Shaped Locket With a Butterfly (pictured) is another beautiful and thoughtful mastectomy gift idea for a woman with cancer, because she can put photos of loved ones inside.
The most important mastectomy gift you can give a patient is to be present and available
I think it’s difficult to know what to say when a friend, sister, wife, or coworker has mastectomy surgery. An acquaintance recently emailed me that she will undergo a double mastectomy in less than a month, and I didn’t respond until today. It took me five whole days to figure out what to say! Granted, I don’t know her well – I’ve only met her a couple dozen times through walking our dogs. But, the best gift you can give anyone is your presence.
By the way, I recently wrote Journaling Tips for Breast Cancer Survivors because of new research about how expressive writing affects the health and wellness of breast cancer survivors. A journal is a lovely gift for a mastectomy patient, if she enjoys writing. There are a couple links to pretty journals in that article.
Invitations for small walks
Today I emailed my dog walking acquaintance who will soon be undergoing double mastectomy surgery, and asked if she wanted to walk with me and my dogs. I haven’t see her for over two months because of her chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. After the mastectomy surgery, she will be encouraged to get up and out of bed to take small walks. A healthy gift idea for her – or any woman healing from a mastectomy – are regular, consistent text or email invitations for short walks. Walking can be restarted right after a double or single mastectomy…and who wants to walk alone?
For more tips on supporting a patient after breast cancer and mastectomy surgery, read How to Help a Friend Whose Mom Has Cancer.
6 Quick Gift Ideas for After Mastectomy Surgery
- Books about recovering from breast cancer and/or mastectomies, such as
Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide to Staying Fearless and Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer by Melanie Young
- Mastectomy bra
- Chick flick DVDs
- House cleaning services
- Amazon.com Gift Card, with a pretty card and invitation to pamper herself any way she wants.
One last gift idea for breast cancer patients – which they may not be ready for yet. A cancer tattoo would be good for certain women, not everyone.
A cancer tattoo
Gift Ideas for Breast Cancer Surgery Patients
Catherine Madden got a tattoo as a gift to herself after a double mastectomy…a tattoo over her missing breasts. She didn’t get the breast cancer ribbon tattoo pictured – it came from a blog called I Kicked Cancer’s Ass.
“For me it was something beautiful coming from something so ugly,” says Catherine in Cheeky Tattoo Celebrates Woman’s Breast Cancer Recovery in Britain’s News & Star. “I liked the person I was before cancer, but I love the person I have become after cancer. really does change you, but it doesn’t have to be for the worse.”
Some mastectomy patients say tattoos are a gift that gives them a chance to reclaim their identity, to take back something cancer had taken from them. They have a chance to put their own badge on an experience they had no control over. Is a tattoo a good gift idea for a woman after a single or double mastectomy? It depends on the woman – and what her oncologist or surgeon says about the health risks of a tattoo after surgery.
A wonderful gift idea for her is to encourage her to continue the hobbies she loves. This is especially important after mastectomy surgery because it’ll make her feel good. If she likes to knit, for instance, read 8 Creative Gifts for Knitters.
If you have any thoughts on these gift ideas for mastectomy patients, please comment below.
Do you know someone facing an upcoming mastectomy, and you’re not sure what you should do for them? Today I’m sharing a great idea…a Mastectomy Care Kit! This practical gift packed with items to help them after surgery will show them just how much you care. Let me share with you the 10 essential items you should include in your kit. This post contains some affiliate links.
When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, her surgeon immediately scheduled her for a mastectomy. She had less than three weeks to get prepared for surgery, which flew by very quickly. It was hard for her to get everything she needed while she was going to doctor appointments, talking with the insurance company, getting the house in order, etc., all while coming to terms with her diagnosis. I wanted to give her something special that would help her through her surgery and recovery, so I decided to make her a Mastectomy Care Kit. I bought a bright pink bag, did some research online, and stuffed the bag with some items I purchased. These items were very useful to her, so I thought I would share this list of 10 items with you today. I hope this will assist you in helping someone else who is scheduled for a mastectomy. Ready for the list? Here goes!
- Throat Drops-During surgery, a tube is inserted down the throat for anesthesia. This can make the throat dry and sore, and throat drops can really help soothe the irritation. These Luden’s Wild Cherry Sugar Free Throat Drops worked great.
- Lip Balm-Chapped lips is another side effect from surgery, so a good lip balm is a must.
- Cleansing Wipes-It will be awhile before she can take a shower, and cleansing wipes can help her feel clean and fresh during this time. These Yes to Coconut Cleansing Wipes are a great option and smell so good!
- Dry Shampoo-Since showering is off limits for awhile, dry shampoo can really help her feel cleaner. I’ve tried many brands, but Suave Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo is still my favorite.
- Neck Pillow-She may have to sleep on her back or sitting up for awhile, and a neck pillow will support her neck and prevent any neck pain. This neck pillow is super cute, and comes in many different colors!
- Bendable Straws-She will need to stay hydrated, and these will help her drink liquids while resting in bed.
- Slipper Socks-These will come in handy in the hospital, keeping her feet warm and keeping her from slipping while walking on the bare floors. She’ll enjoy these at home, too!
- Button up Shirts-Button up shirts will be needed since she may have trouble lifting her arms above her head after surgery. This will help her get dressed much easier. You can also buy stretchable tanks/tees that can be stepped into and slipped up the body. I found my mom some great stretchable tanks at Kmart on clearance that worked like a charm!
- Small pillows that fit under the arm-Small pillows are a must have item, to help prop up the arms to relieve pain and discomfort. We were very fortunate that a wonderful group of ladies in our area make and donate special pillows for this purpose to the hospital to be given to breast cancer patients. These were a huge blessing to her!
- Magazines/Books-Like any surgery, there will be a period of recovery time and she’ll need to rest. Magazines and books are a great way to help pass time as she recovers.
Do you know someone facing mastectomy surgery? Why not show your support by making a care package of your own for her? Do you know of any additional items that could be included? If so, be sure to let me know by leaving a comment. Remember that although these 10 items will definitely help her during her surgery and recovery, it’s your love and prayers that will matter the most to her.
Blog | Gift Basket Ideas for Post Mastectomy
Thank you so much for all of your genius products and the information and personal experiences you share with your blog readers. You are truly helping a lot of people….those with the diagnosis as well as those who love them. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in November. This is her third time dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis over a 25 year time span – each one has been a primary. Her first one at age 49 was DCIS estrogen pos, 20 years later came the Invasive Ductal triple neg and now, 5 years later, Invasive Ductal estrogen-progesterone pos/HER2 neg. She just had her second mastectomy (JAnuary, 2019) and your products and information have been so helpful. When she had her first mastectomy 5 years ago, we were all a bit unprepared for what the real life needs would be. We learned as we went along. This time, I ordered your chest pillow and drain pocket shirt for her and she raves about how genius they are every day! I believe the pillow is her most favorite item. I gave both items to her at the hospital and she used them there and every day since she has been home. She used my Father’s hospital bed that was already at home otherwise a wedge pillow would have been a must. A small stool to get in her real bed would have been a must without the hospital bed, as well. A couple of other items that I included in her “Boob Voyage” package (my family tends to approach difficult things with a little humor ) were a drain lanyard so she could shower without juggling her drain, a large pair of soft/stretchy/elastic waist jogger type pants, a book that has breast cancer/ mastectomy humor and was written by a breast cancer/mastectomy survivor and some fabric pockets that had a removable adhesive on the back to put inside her regular clothing for her drain so she could expand her mastectomy wardrobe without a large expense. One thing that we truly believe helps during this emotionally and medically trying time is the humor…. it lifts her spirits and keeps things from being so serious and glum ALL the time. Thank you so much for the pearls of wisdom that you share and your products….you are helping to make a difficult, scary situation a little less stressful for so many.