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Topic: A few of YOUR favorite things 2019, and now for 2020!

Forum: Recommend Your Resources — Book reviews, favorite web sites, products, articles.

Posted on: Dec 10, 2019 03:25PM

Moderators wrote:

As we approach the end of 2019, we want to hear what has been most important/helpful this year to you. Could you share with us here your answers to any or all of the following:

  1. Favorite items that provided comfort/self-care
  2. Favorite things you did to help yourself feel good
  3. Favorite gift(s) you received during treatment
  4. Nice things people have done for you? Best thing(s) you have done for yourself
  5. Most important cosmetic product(s)?
  6. Most important items you needed during treatment?
Listing your answers will help give others insight for products or ideas that may help them through treatment or give others ideas about helpful things they can provide to help you through treatment. Thanks in advance for your participation!
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Dec 11, 2019 10:31AM MountainMia wrote:

One of the best things I did for myself was (with the help of my husband) throw myself a birthday party in October. I finished treatment in September with radiation, so it was great to celebrate with people who care about me.

One of my birthday gifts was a gift certificate so I could pick out a new pair of earrings. A friend and I had discussed how I don't indulge in earrings much, even though they're more important to me now, with my very short hair. So she made sure I could pick some without thinking twice about the cost.

Best cosmetic item was Benefit brand eyebrow powder. My brows and lashes fell out about 2 weeks after final chemo. Sort of like with the earrings, the eyebrows made a difference in having my face show up. It was about $25, more than I've ever spent for any single make-up item in my life, but it was worth every penny. Right now my brows and lashes have gone through a second shedding and are regrowing, so I'm glad to use it now, too.

Most important items needed during treatment? I didn't use the vast majority of things that show up on the lists here. I recommend people WAIT and figure out what they need before buying, instead of trying to stock up on stuff ahead, on things that might never be used. That's the point at which the lists and info here would be helpful.

The rain comes and the rain goes, but the mountain remains. I am the mountain.
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Dec 11, 2019 01:44PM Moderators wrote:

MountainMia -- thank you so much for contributing! Great advice re: buying items prior to treatment!

And happy belated birthday to you! You deserved to celebrate. Good for you!

Anyone else like to share?

--The Mods

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Dec 12, 2019 05:38PM bcincolorado wrote:

One of the best gifts I was sent was from an uncle who had cared for my aunt after her stroke and he knew how bad it was to not be able to wash your hair. He sent me dry shampoo and wet baby bath wipes for sponge bathing. That was wonderful. I had been instructed until my drains came out to only do sponge bathing and not a shower at ll. It was wonderful to feel cleaned.

Even though not asked for a good friend cooked meals and brought over several frozen meals we only had to put in the oven to warm up when we wanted. That was great too.

Best thing I did for myself was give myself time to heal before pushing myself to go back to work too soon.


Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/6/2010 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/14/2010 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 1/29/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Dec 13, 2019 01:02PM Moderators wrote:

bcincolorado -- thank you for sharing! We agree -- it's definitely a good idea to give yourself time to make sure you're ready to get back into the swing of things. Good for you!

Great tips with the cleansing and meal ideas, too!

--The Mods

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Dec 13, 2019 01:13PM Yogatyme wrote:

My very favorite thing was the nail apron from Lowe’s to hold my drains. I would have never thought of it but a friend who thinks outside of the box thought of it. I also was so glad for all the help offered up by family and friends....the best being paying for house cleaning during my recovery. DH and found that priceless. I am a crossword nut, so all the crossword puzzle books helped during my limited activity period post op.

Yogatyme Surgery 3/2/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Dx 7/19/2019, IDC: Papillary, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/12/2019 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Dec 13, 2019 02:22PM Moderators wrote:

Great post, Yogatyme! The apron is a brilliant idea!

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Dec 13, 2019 05:40PM ChaClarey wrote:

The best thing I did for myself was to start seeing the counsellor at the breast health centre and make the time in my work schedule to do it. I was reluctant at first, but encouraged by a friend and took that step. I am still seeing her as I am going through treatment and it wonderful to have a safe space to be angry, sad, overwhelmed or whatever I’m feeling that day.

Oncotype 16 Dx 8/16/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (DUAL) Surgery 9/17/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 10/22/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 12/13/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 1/22/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Dec 13, 2019 06:21PM karen1956 wrote:

Not this year, but back in 2006 after my bilat, my DH took me to Fantatic Sams or was it Great Clips to have my hair washed. He had been helping me wash my hair in the kitchen sink while I lay on the counter. My hair was long when I had my surgery. It was the most decadent thing I did for myself.

Karen in Denver, Dx 02/03/2006, ILC, stage IIIa, ER/PR+, HER2-,
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Dec 13, 2019 09:31PM edj3 wrote:

ChaClarey, same. I'm a childhood sexual abuse survivor and I did a lot of recovery work for that in my 30s. So I was blindsided by how ad my PTSD came roaring back. I'm seeing the psychologist about every other week, doing that work again. I manage a large team at work, but my employer has been great about all the doctor appointments I've had.

Tried the tamoxifen, no thanks. Dx 4/9/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Dx 5/6/2019, LCIS, Left, <1cm, 0/1 nodes Surgery 5/6/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 6/3/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/23/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Dec 14, 2019 09:48AM santabarbarian wrote:

Best thing I did during chemo (prior to #6) was to adopt two sister kittens. Suddenly, after feeling so crappy, my mind and heart were filled up with laughter and love, and lying in bed resting was totally amusing. I got a fishing pole toy and just lay there flicking it from time to time while they went nuts. NOTE: get two so they can chase each other!

One year later I am SO in love with these kitties! They really bonded with me as I was home 99% of the time during those first few months.

One funny thing is that I was so pooped when they arrived that I was quiet and sleepy a lot of the time. When I perked up and got more active they kept being totally startled by "new" things I did. Like, the first time I sang along with the radio, maybe a few months after adopting them, they both looked completely TERRIFIED. Like I had lost my mind!

pCR after neoadjuvant chemo w/ integrative practices; Proton rads. Dx 7/13/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 8/12/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/27/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/10/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Dec 14, 2019 10:01AM MountainMia wrote:

santabarbarian, when my daughter divorced, I recommended she get 2 kittens. The idea startled both of us, because I'm not really a pet person. But I told her they are funny and fun and cuddly, a good thing to enjoy while the issues with her ex kept roiling, and while her kids were with him and she was lonely. I do believe it helped her, at least a bit.

The rain comes and the rain goes, but the mountain remains. I am the mountain.
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Dec 15, 2019 06:43PM - edited Dec 18, 2019 06:13PM by FNPMom

Best thing I did for me was do my PET Scan before neoadjuvant chemo - my onc said he didn't need it to proceed with my plan of care but I wrangled it into the 3 weeks I gave myself from diagnosis to getting my first chemo - peace of mind to know that it wasn't anywhere else except my breast or I would've worried over every little ache

I also listened to my body - when I'm tired I rested; I allowed my family and friends to take care of me - so hard to initially accept help when I'm so used to doing for others

Dx 5/1/2019, DCIS/IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 5/24/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 5/24/2019 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy 5/24/2019 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 10/10/2019 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Targeted Therapy 11/8/2019 Kadcyla (T-DM1, ado-trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 12/6/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Targeted Therapy Nerlynx Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Dec 15, 2019 07:45PM OnTarget wrote:

To feel good, I try to focus on the ways that I'm lucky. I am happy and functioning mostly normally and I'm extremely happy for that. I could have much worse things happen to me, and I'm going to try to maximize my life as much as I can going forward.

Cold capping was a pain to do (literally), but I kept most of my hair, and 2 months out from my last TC my hair is growing great in my few bald patches. Highly recommend it!

I love that I got a bunch of $4 travel sized pillows from Walmart. I can position them in all sorts of ways for comfort. Great buys!

My coworkers offered a food train, but I asked them to come take me for walks instead. I got three visitors a day to chat and walk. That was so nice!!

One of the best things I did for myself was to decide not to be embarrassed about or hide my situation. It made me able to openly talk about it, tell jokes, answer questions, etc. My comfort set the tone and all that awkwardness was avoided. Family, friends, and coworkers heard the saga of the "deboobing and reboobing", they felt bad for the teepee hugs I gave while I had my hard "practice boobs"/tissue expanders, and the heard me gripe at first about having pancake implants instead of the hoped for "stripper boobs".




Diagnosed at 42, Oncotype score 16, ITC in one node- considered node negative. Lost right implant to infection March 2020. Waiting to start reconstruction all over again. Dx 4/8/2019, ILC, Left, 3cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 4/23/2019, ILC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2019 Zoladex (goserelin) Chemotherapy 8/6/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/6/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 2/15/2020 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 3/30/2020 Reconstruction (right) Surgery 11/6/2020 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 6/1/2021 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Dec 16, 2019 02:05PM Moderators wrote:

Thank you All for sharing. Please keep them coming!


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Dec 19, 2019 12:37PM Moderators wrote:

Bumping Medicating

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Dec 23, 2019 02:15PM Tarheel86 wrote:


Hello friends, I’m new to the site. Diagnosed on 10/24 w/ IDC, stage 1, two cancerous spots on right breast. Surgeon recommended mastectomy, and I chose to have BMx on 12/2. One of the most helpful items I purchased prior to surgery were some tops w/ snaps in the front, and the top has 4 pockets on the inside to hold the drain bulbs, also used large safety pins to keep things from falling out. I got a 3-pack. I went through my closet prior to surgery looking for button up shirts, most of mine were pull over. So I went to Goodwill and purchased several button up shirts, also got some loose yoga pants as dressing would be a challenge. Soft button up pj’s were a must. Today is the 3 week mark after surgery, recovery is slow but progressing! Glad to find this community. 
Sincerely,

Tarheel86

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Dec 29, 2019 12:06PM - edited Dec 29, 2019 12:57PM by BeachBunny

I was diagnosed around February, bi-lateral mastectomy surgery May 15, radiation all of August (33) with a kidney stone blocking my left ureter treated September- now. Surgically removed after wearing a nephrostomy tube for 2 months. And I fell in July so 3 capped teeth in progress. Tips-here goes:
I also bought 2 of the snap up shirts with pockets to hold the drains, and several button up shirts. A BC survivor sells hers on Etsy. Soft, loose capris that tie (I'm in FL) helped stay comfortable. Mumu dresses in summer and fall. Some friends mailed a care package with books and a great heart shaped soft pillow. It fit between me and my seat belt until I ordered a seat belt cover that Velcro's closed and cushioned driving. The most helpful book sent is Melanie Young's Getting Things Off My Chest. Great lists of resources for special items, clothes, info and what to expect. My RO's nurse had a list ready for skin care. I daily used UNscented Eucerin and Aquafor at night. Oh! I bought a six pack of men's large v-neck t-shirts by Hanes to sleep in after putting on aquaphor. Cheap, thin, and kept my sheets from getting too messy. Domeboro soak did wonders to heal a neck burn. I was overweight at diagnosis so chose to lose 30 lbs on purpose. The WW method of substitution of healthy foods with bad, and did cold turkey cut out of sugar after surgery, but that's a lot to ask someone else to try. I made a playlist of my favorite upbeat songs from my teens and later, then blasted them on the way to and from all appointments/treatments. I exercised a little on a treadmill or elliptical. Since they were my favorite songs it made me cheer up and time flew even when I exercised by dancing alone for a half hour. Couldn't exercise at all during kidney treatment, but eager to start again in January. I like to write but not diary or journal. Still, at first I wrote occasional email updates cc'ing family and friends so I didn't have to repeat myself. Then I got a little notebook andjotted down some of my funnier impressions from dr visits & screw ups. It's pretty long now, with a few sketches. Express yourself. Call that one best friend and ask to vent. Do so, then make each other laugh. Find the funny. It's there. Hope this helps.

Dx 2/12/2019, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIB, 1/4 nodes, HER2- Surgery 5/14/2019 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 6/22/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 7/16/2019 Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Jan 1, 2020 04:37PM - edited Jan 1, 2020 04:38PM by Jazzygirl

During the last few years, I have had the opportunity to meet up with a few of my BCO sisters and develop some nice friendships. One such person was just here over the New Years time and we were up in Santa Fe ringing in the new year. Spending time with a BCO sister friend was something good I did for myself this year. We form some pretty deep connections with all we go through. I found after bc, my view of the world changed as did many friendships but our BCO sisters seem to really understand us so well as we figure out the "new normal."

I encourage other sisters here if you have a BCO sister/friend passing through your area or you find yourself in their neck of the woods, take the time to meet in person for a cup of coffee, lunch, etc. It will be worth your time and a very enriching experience. I have made met a lot of wonderful people here and made a few really excellent friends through all this.

Dx 9/14/2012, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 9/14/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/14/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Surgery 11/14/2012 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Surgery 11/14/2012 Lumpectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy 1/6/2013 Breast Radiation Therapy 2/24/2013 Breast Hormonal Therapy 3/20/2013 Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jan 2, 2020 04:06PM DebiKae wrote:

Getting my puppy - I spent a lot of time with just me and Mrs. Jones (dog) and taking her for a walk many times a day kept me up and active. Her kisses and companionship have been a great thing for me.


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Jan 2, 2020 04:08PM DebiKae wrote:

Getting my puppy - I spent a lot of time with just me and Mrs. Jones (dog) and taking her for a walk many times a day kept me up and active. Her kisses and companionship have been a great thing for me.


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Jan 7, 2020 05:13PM - edited Jan 7, 2020 09:08PM by groucho2

I'm a little late with my suggestions, but I think this is a great topic!

I moved everything I might need after surgery to lower shelves and got a step stool to better reach items I forgot to move down. A reacher/grabber pickup tool was invaluable. Who knew it'd be so hard to get things out of the washer after surgery?

I learned about No Rinse Shampoo Caps while in the hospital. They are available in packages of 5 on Amazon. This is not a dry shampoo. You put the cap on (warm it first in the microwave if you want), massage your scalp through the cap, remove the cap and dry your hair! They are wonderful and, to me, felt much better than a dry shampoo.

A friend of mine came by almost everyday to help me walk my dogs (I have 4 dachshunds). I felt better and safer having someone walk with me, and it was so nice to have the company for a set time each day.

A friend of a friend put me in touch with her daughter who had just had a mastectomy a few months earlier. I learned so much talking with her! She listened to and laid to rest many of my fears about my surgery and educated me on what to expect afterwards. Later, I received a wonderful care package from her that included soft knit caps for my bald head, an adult (not x-rated, but for adults) coloring book and colored pencils, fuzzy socks, and a large print word search puzzle book. Her kindness meant so much to me.

A friend, who drove me to chemo, always hung around everything was hooked up and started. Then, she'd take my picture as I held up my fingers to indicate what number chemo it was. She made a video as I rang the bell and celebrated with the nurses, staff and other patients after I finished my last chemo. The pictures were easy to post on Social Media. I didn't have to write much of a comment to go with the picture. A simple "2 down, 4 to go!" was enough. he pictures also gave me a record of how I looked as chemo progressed.

I don't know what I would have done without my dogs while I recovered. I lost my spouse 8 months before I was diagnosed and had moved to a new neighborhood a week before surgery (one of the many adjustments I had to make living on one income after 25 years of living on two incomes). My sweet pups gave me "Healing Cuddles," were there when I needed them, and stayed away when I didn't feel like having them with me. Dogs and cats can be so therapeutic

Dx 12/6/1999, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/6/1999 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 1/15/2000 CMF Dx 4/29/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/17/2016 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)

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