Mastectomy Must-Haves | Guide

2022 brought a lot of joy. We started off the kids’ summer break by going to NYC (link Blog post) and took vacations with friends and family to the beach. We created such fun memories with the kids. I was preparing to have my hysterectomy over the summer. While going through all the pre-op appointments, which included a mammogram. My world changed overnight – I had breast cancer. I no longer was going in for my hysterectomy but was now planning for a double mastectomy. Everything happened so fast. At times, I didn’t really have time to fully engage in what was happening. I was able to schedule surgery shortly after the diagnosis in September and there were no cancer cells found in the tissue of my breasts. I took the next few months recovering, going to PT appointments, getting my expanders filled so the skin could be stretched, and prepared for reconstruction surgery. So many of you sent me recommendations to help with the pain and recovery post-mastectomy. They were so helpful and thank you for thinking of me. I put together this list of mastectomy must-haves.

If you have a friend or family member who has recently undergone surgery, you may be wondering what you can bring to make their recovery a bit easier. Your support, whether this is just reaching out and checking in or lifting them up in prayers, means so much. There are also many tangible gestures that are needed during this time of recovery. This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions lately – what to do for someone going through a mastectomy. So I wanted to put together a quick list of mastectomy must-haves. Listing out all the things you need after surgery. You can use this as a guide if you or someone you know is going to have a mastectomy. But at the end of the day, remember, your emotional support means so much.

Essential Clothing

One organization, Pockets of Hope, sent a hoodie after my surgery. I had so much chest tightness and this hoodie was loose-fitting and has pockets sewn on the inside to hold drains. Pockets of hope is a non-profit, so if you or someone you know is having surgery, Pockets of Hope will send them a hoodie for FREE. They do kindly ask for donations. Although not required, are appreciated. This hoodie may be the item I used the most and a number one post-mastectomy must-haves.

After the drains came out, I switched over to this hoodie from Aerie. Since I still had limited mobility in my arms, this hoodie was a great option since it is a full-length zipper.

Depending on how I was feeling, I would alternate between my favorite Amazon compression leggings and more loose-fitting leggings from Aerie.

I didn’t find these mastectomy pajamas until after my reconstruction surgery but I’m so glad I found them. Some days, I didn’t even get out of these pajamas. These also have pockets to hold the drains.

Pillows

Getting rest was challenging some days. It can be so hard to get into a comfortable spot. Having these wedge pillows helped so much and provided so much comfort. I liked this one because it came in a set of 4 pillows to allow to give comfort in my back, allowing me to sit up comfortably and in my legs at times.

This pillow traveled around the house and in the car when I became a little more mobile. The pockets were so amazing. I kept notes from the kids, my lip balm and other items as needed during my recovery.

Basket Ideas

A little basket including some of the items I used multiple times a day would be greatly appreciated by anyone facing this journey:

  • Bedside Table – this was a last-minute addition to our bedroom for my recovery but I’m so glad Jordan ordered it. It kept my area organized and housed all my essential items – medication, water, snacks, meals, etc.
  • Dry Shampoo – similar to the above. It will be hard for you to wash your hair but this dry shampoo from Unite has been my new favorite.
  • Facial Cleansing Wipes, Body Wipes and Deodorant Wipes– mobility is limited so these wipes help keep your face and body clean.
  • Lip Blam – Lips get dry and this helped keep my lips from getting chapped.
  • Tumbler with Straw – staying hydrated is super important and one that can keep hold throughout the entire day is better.

Other Necessities

Jovy Patches – I recently discovered these patches and wish I had known about them sooner. They provided so much relief from the pain post-surgery. They are known to help with cramps, and PMS and some have mentioned they have used these patches for migraines.

Elastic Binder – I used this after my c-sections and I am back to wearing it again post-hysterectomy and hernia surgery. It helps keep everything in place. These support underwear from Motherhood have also helped during recovery.

mastectomy must-haves

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Meals

Any surgery takes a toll on a family. Taking away the stress of planning dinner was a huge help. We had so many friends from our church, our school and around the area bring us meals. It was so nice to have home-cooked meals. Our friends used Meal Train to coordinate meals. So even if friends do not live in town, they still have the option to sign up for a meal and have it delivered.

In addition to food, you can bring items that will help your friend or family member stay entertained and distracted from their ailment. Books, magazines, board games, puzzles, and even video games are all great options that can help pass the time and provide some much-needed stress relief.

Encouragement

I can never say thank you enough to each and every one of you for the messages you sent to us. This was hard. But I felt like I had so many arms wrapped around me and my family through this. Thank you for the tips, and suggestions on how to make recovery easier and for thinking of me. This 100 Days of devotionals helped along the way and this bracelet from another Etsy shop became my words to live by.

If you had a group who wanted to go in for a group gift, hiring someone to clean a friend’s home would be a HUGE help. Post-surgery will require a few weeks on bed rest, having someone come and help with the house would be greatly appreciated. There are also laundry services that would be a good gift idea and a good group gift idea.

At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts. No matter what you bring, your friend or family member will appreciate the gesture and be grateful for your support. If you have gone through this journey, what were some of your post surgery mastectomy must-haves during recovery? What did you find the most helpful? I cannot thank the community enough for all the support to me, Jordan, and my kids.

Mastectomy Must-Haves

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Mastectomy

January 24, 2023

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