If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, chances are you’ve had to make a decision about surgery – either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy (meaning I had both of my breasts removed). It’s such a personal decision and not one that I took lightly.
By choosing a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, I signed up for 8 weeks of recovery, permanent nerve damage, at least one additional surgery and DRAINS. Dare I say, the worst part.
I knew it would be a rocky recovery so I did my research and discovered a handful of must-have items that helped immensely.
One thing we quickly realized was how difficult showering would be. For several weeks I couldn’t lift my arms above my head so my husband had to help me. In addition to that, I had drains attached to me at all times and if they got snagged or bumped it hurt. Like a horrible stinging pain would shoot through my body. Using a lanyard in the shower was incredibly helpful. We clipped my drains to the lanyard, hung around my neck to keep them out of the way during each shower. This cute silicone lanyard would be perfect!
Immediately following surgery, the hospital sent me home in one of these Masthead Pink Surgical Support Bras. I order two more and LIVED in them for the next several weeks. I loved how soft and comfortable they were and that they had rings to clip my up drains, to avoid the searing pain of getting tugged.
Since I couldn’t lift my arms above my head for weeks, several friends gifted me with cute button up pajamas. I loved having a handful of “outfits” that I could rotate through while I was mostly hanging out at home. These striped ones would be perfect for summer!
Having little ones at home, I was nervous about my chest getting bumped. This Mastectomy Pillow offers protection for that, as well as comfort for the tender arm pit area. Usually along with a mastectomy, the surgeon will also remove some (or several) lymph nodes near the arm pit to be sure all traces of cancer is removed. Having a pillow to buffer that tender area while you heal can be super helpful.
Sleeping post-mastectomy can be tricky. I found a system that worked perfectly. While I spent most of my days in a lazy boy recliner in the family room, at night I wanted to sleep in my own bed. To do that, I used this foam wedge with a u-shaped body pillow on top. I nestled myself in tight, using the wedge to prop me up slightly and the pillow to prevent me from moving around. I am happy to report that I actually slept really well! And the foam wedge made it so much easier to get up and out each morning too.
Driving in the car can be an ordeal because of the placement of the seatbelt, right across the chest. Ouch! Luckily there’s a solution for that. I used a Seat Belt Pillow like this for several week post-surgery and then longer for my port once chemo started. Highly recommend!
Another really great gift I received was from Steve’s grandma. It was simply a robe with pockets. I LOVED it. I still love it. My friend Ashley Reeves just created the prettiest, ribbed robes that would be perfect for a friend going through cancer treatment.
Finally, you can never go wrong gifting a high quality blanket. I happen to be of the mindset that one can never have enough of them. I actually received two of these Saranoni Luxury Blankets from friends, after my mastectomy and we (the kids, mostly) still fight over them. One of the blankets has my name embroidered on it… so that one is MINE. 😉