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My Cancer: Post-surgery Home List of Things You May Need

First of all, one of my room moms from when I taught kindergarten and who quickly became a friend sent me a Mastectomy Kit from Pinked Perspective (a really awesome non-profit) and it was AWESOME! I am so very thankful. It had everything that I really needed post surgery. The only thing it didn’t have were mastectomy tanks, which are expensive but most insurances will pay for them. Well, my sweet friend from college who endured this a few years ago sent me hers and a seatbelt pillow just like this one. I am so thankful because all these gifts were essential for the first few weeks!

In addition to the items above, here is a list of other things that I felt were very helpful at home.

Post Mastectomy Surgery – Help at Home:

*Masectomy Tank top – (as I mentioned above) they’re not too tight, arm straps snap off to put on and it zips up the front also holds your drains, insurance will pay for it, they’re awesome! If it doesn’t have the drain pouches, don’t forget to get those too. I don’t think this one comes with them but mine definitely had them! Depending on how many drains you have, you may want more than one set of pouches! Here they are! 

*If no tank, then something else to hold your drainsan apron, a top with inside pockets, etc. safety pins work, but it’s annoying. I also had these (super soft!!) robes from Target (here and here) that also would hold the drains, I just pulled the pockets inside out from the inside of the robe and they fit perfectly. A comfy robe is also a great idea to have on hand too.

*Pjs that Button up the front… I found this really comfy pj set from Target, but a pair also came in my Pinked Perspective package and they are super comfy as well!

*Slippers with non-slip or socks that have non-slip on the bottom for the hospital. I ended just wearing my slip-on Birkenstocks at the hospital and it was fine for me. I don’t love wearing socks when I’m in the bed, but I did wear some at night because hospitals are so cold! Now these are super-cute, I should have gotten them! 😉 I love a good bow!

*Lularoe Leggings – ok so you don’t have to have these, but Ive recently bought a couple of pairs to wear around the house and I LOVE THEM!! They are so dang comfortable and perfect for post surgery. Warning though, anything too tight like leggings will require someone to help you pull them up and down for the first 1-2 weeks.

*Netflix – find a good show and have it ready!

*Cup with bendable straw – it’ll be hard to drink out of anything else!

*Recliner – some people have rented medical grade recliners. With the help of a couple of neighbors, we brought the love seat from our basement to our bedroom that has a recliner on it. It has helped to give me another place to sit other than the bed – I am a picky sleeper so I wasn’t able to sleep in it. My in laws let us also borrow a recliner for our living room (downstairs) too so I would have somewhere to sit there too. Two recliners is not necessary, but since we had them available it was very nice.

*Ponytail tutorial, hair bands/ etc – You will not be able to lift your arms, at all! I was prepared for most things, except MY HAIR!! What a nightmare. My poor husband needed a tutorial or two before surgery. You will want him to know how to pull your hair back.

*Hair Appointments – I treated myself to a couple Blow Out appointments and I felt like a whole new woman! My first one I did 5 days post surgery, then I did the next one about a week later. It was wonderful. Bring pillows to help you sit if needed.

*Natural Calm and Colace – I started taking these a couple days before surgery and started again immediately after surgery. Pain meds will make you constipated and these together are a must. Colace twice a day will not be enough, add Natual Calm twice a day too and you’ll be good. Trust Me.

*Aquafor lip balm – because its the best and you’ll need some! or EOS is my other favorite!

*Anti-itch lotion and/or a back scratcher – my meds made me so itchy! I didn’t have a back scratcher, but I wish I did!! Sarna lotion is fragrance free and they have a sensitive option too.

*LARGE pill organizer -this is only if you’re also going to start taking supplements after surgery too… you may not need them to keep up with pain meds, just a journal. One day I’ll post on all the supplements I take.

*Clock – put it where you can see it from where you’re sitting or laying for pill taking purposes. I hated relying on my phone, that required me to find it and pick it up. You will not be able to reach your arm out to grab it from the bedside table.

*Extension cord for your phone charger – see above blurb about the clock. You’ll either be reading, watching Netflix or scrolling on your phone, get a long charger!

*Baby wipes / facial cleansing cloths – because washing your face can be too much some days.

*Wet brush – this was the best thing to use for my husband and for me.

*Stash of Thank You Notes and Stamps – you’ll be writing a lot!

PILLOWS – they get their own section! Hah! 

*Cough pillow/Seatbelt pillow/Head lean on pillow(???) haha – I don’t really know how to explain this, but this small pillow (maybe 8″x6″??) came in my Pinked Perspective package and it has been the thing I have honestly used the most! I use it as a seatbelt pillow if we ride in our other car that doesn’t have this seatbelt pillow that my friend gave me, I use it to cough into (you will need something, it hurts!), and 3 weeks post surgery, I am still using it when I sleep. I am sleeping slightly elevated on my back so I wedge it under one side of my face and lean on it to sleep. I don’t know if I am explaining that right, but it helps me sleep every single night!

*Wedge Pillow – this was nice, but I don’t recommend this one… its really hard and it was also only $25 when I bought it, but it will do if its all you can find. I just put pillows on top of it and around it. Someone else I know used one like this that she liked a lot from Bed, Bath and Beyond.

*Neck/airplane pillow – this was very helpful, but I already had one so I didn’t have to buy it. Not necessary if you don’t already have one.

*Microbead Squishy Pillows – my sister got me two of these and they are AWESOME – I used them at night to prop up under my arms, I used them during the day to rest my arms on or put behind my back to sit up straighter in the bed. They have been used and were well worth the money!

*More Pillows!!!! Find all the pillows in your house and have them ready!! I also slept with one under my legs to prop them up and on and around my wedge pillow. Whatever helps to make you comfortable. I also slept on top of the covers with a blanket instead of my regular bed sheets because it was easier to maneuver with all of the pillows.

Here are a few pictures of my pillow sleeping situation. 

Thats about it for this post. Now if only we could figure out how to get insurance to pay for all of this, then we’d be in business!

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