Apr 17, 2015 09:15AM Lmonelli wrote:
just order online a cute small heart shape pillow. Quite pricey. 12.00 shipping! This masectomy stuff is expensive. Moderators, didnt see your post. But these heart shape pillows come with rave reviews. Thanks.
Posted on: Feb 6, 2008 06:43PM - edited Jul 23, 2019 01:50PM by Moderators
OK, I admit it, I am a compulsive planner. I have had some great suggestions and tips not only regarding what to bring to the hospital, but also on how to prepare the house to make the recovery as easy as possible.
I am travelling for surgery so, for me, "packing" includes the first 10 days of post-op care.
I thought I would start a list (in no particular order) that might serve as a reference... PLEASE add your suggestions!!! Anything at all you either found helpful OR wish you'd considered before your surgery.
I am a bit of a MacGyver type and love creative uses for things like the lanyards and fanny packs for drains. I was wondering if a light/loose fly fishing vesy might be handy both for drains and for holding my phone, mp3 player, etc so I didn't have to reach so much... I am SUCH a geek.
Anyway, over-organizing seems to be keeping me occupied as my bi-latteral approaches. I know everything won't be a hit with everyone, but it gives us some things to think about.
******NOTE: MODS TOOK ORIGINAL LIST FROM Panchoandlefty AND COMBINED WITH OTHER MEMBER SUGGESTIONS UP THROUGH END OF MARCH 2015*********** We are happy to keep adding, and please let us know if we missed anything !
Combined list from what others have said in this topic !
Community member tips for Surgery
Tips for the hospital:
Hand sanitizer, antiviral Kleenex, Anti-bacterial adult wipes (in a pretty dispenser), adult "baby wipes" to give yourself sponge baths.
'skin prep wipes'. These help prep the skin for tape and other adhesives
Roll on or Spray Deodorant, NOT a solid stick.
Lozenges or hard candy of your choice.
A lip balm of choice
Face and hand moisturizer
A stool softener, dried prunes, bran cereal and "smooth move" tea, laxatives.
Clipboard, notebook and pen (for documenting when you had pain meds and drain amounts)
Zip up track suits or button up pajamas and shirts.
Slippers, cotton front snap bras
Silky bottoms/PJs to make getting in/out of bed easier
Zip up hoodies/ warm ups, soft flannel shirt is just right for after surgery.
Camisoles/tanks which can be stepped into (as opposed to pulling over-head)
Jog Bras (Natori is recommended) or whatever support is suggested by your surgeon
Pull on, easy pants or shorts, or shirt
iPod, Mp3 / Music player
Cell phone/ have friends' numbers handy!
Hair tie if your hair is long.
Lanyard (like for ID cards) for holding drains
Fanny pack for drains
Nurses can make a necklace from IV tubing to hold drains in shower
Luck trinkets or photos from friends and/or family.
A good eye mask and ear plugs in the hospital.
Take clothes to hospital that can be washed/sanitized at home
If you are going to sleep in bed and not a recliner at home, ask the nursing staff to show you the proper way to get in and out of bed with the least strain on your back and upper body.
If you feel you may not be up for visitors at the hospital, just let the nurses and staff know that you prefer no visitors except DH or immediate family. I knew that I was having a rough time emotionally as it was beforehand. I didn't want to put on a happy face for a friend, cousin or whomever wanted to stop by. I know the visitors mean well, but for me I just wanted peace & quiet.
Tips for the ride home:
Have a pillow and lap blanket for the car-ride home.
Fill scripts before coming home so you won't have to stop on the way
What to organize at home:
Consider getting something like the The Shower Shirt, a patented, post-surgical, water resistant garment designed to protect chest surgery patients, including mastectomy, while showering. Use code BCO for 20% off www.theshowershirt.com
Get a manicure and pedicure before your surgery, and a hair cut.
Before surgery, practice washing your hair, with or without help, with your elbows not moved away from your chest---either over the kitchen sink, using the spray or if your doc will allow, in the shower.
Or, arrange with your hair dresser to do your hair after you get home and cannot stand it any longer -- get someone to drive you.
Move commonly used items, kitchen tools, etc to low shelves before surgery
Find NON child-proof caps for meds.
Arrange all post surgery robes, pj's, button down shirts and hoodies on a rack in one easy to reach place so you can dress myself easily the first couple of weeks without rummaging through my closet.
Paper cups and light weight coffee cups for at home
Extra sheets to keep in rotation
Lots of pillows or a wedge or two!
A travel neck pillow - 'C' shaped - for keeping neck from getting a crick after sleeping in a recliner.
Tiny travel buckwheat pillows, or other small pillows.
Put an egg crate mattress on top of mattress and use a long body pillow.
Medical gloves (latex free or powder free)
Small kitchen garbage bags for dressing disposals
A little plastic waste can for at home
Find NON child-proof caps for meds
Lanyard (like for ID cards) for holding drains, Fanny pack for drains, or a camisole, or nurses can make a necklace from IV tubing to hold drains in shower. An old neck tie to use as a lanyard to hang my drains on while I shower. Works like a charm
A shower chair and a hand held shower nozzle. 3M Nexcare tagaderm transparent bandage over the port where it exited my skin when I showered. Also, have a lanyard to use for your drains in the shower. I just clip the safety pins on the lanyard clip for while I shower. It seems a little heavy on my neck while I shower, but I take it off right after I shower.
Get a humidifier for home if your air is dry.
Grabbers! These are about 23 inches long, have a handle that you sqeeze, and the end clamps on stuff on the floor. GREAT for pulling up your pants when you can't bend over, or picking up stuff that you drop, (like the toilet paper, etc!) I needed two of these, as I dropped the grabber! Great for pulling the wash basket along, too!
Make sure to get safety pins, makes it easier to pin your drain tube to your pjs.
Size 1 baby diapers, sanitary napkins or nursing pads for open breast incisions.
A small step stool has been a great tool to help me get in and out of bed
Make sure there's food premade that you don't need to fuss with (sandwiches/salads in individual servings), and also keep those drinks handy.
Cook some of my favorite foods and even ordered a couple takeouts from my fav restaurants to be on hand when I got hungry.
Purchase smaller sizes of soda/juice/milk.
Stock up on heavy items (laundry soap, dry dog food, bottled water, sodas) for 2-3 months! Remember to fill up smaller containers that are easier to pick up.
Put your shampoo, conditioner, and body soap in trial size bottles so they are easier to manage and lighter.
Stock up on stuff near bed - tissues, water, magazines, lots of pillows of all sizes, medicine, remote control.
Recliner or hospital bed- can be ordered from medical supply companies.
Drain solving problem: Zip-up hoodies or robes with pockets, I cut a slit on the inside material and popped the drains in from the inside. No one even knows they are there. It looks a little bulky, but much better than the drains hanging on my neck from a lanyard.
If you have someone a the house helping you out, when you need them call from your cell phone to the house phone or vice versa. It was so much easier than trying to yell from upstairs.
Get Netflix or rent movies.
Have an insulated cup for drinking and book and lamp by the bed.
Have someone pour milk, juice, etc from big gallon jugs into smaller containers and leave on an easy-to-reach shelf.
If a can of something needed opening, have someone do it before they leave.
This thread started me thinking about what my husband/partner will need. So I am starting a basket of "surprises" for him. A friend is bringing it to the hospital to give to him after I am in surgery.
iTunes gift card - so he can dowload a book on tape, music, movie, whatever
roll of quarters - for the pop machine
deck of cards - surgery is supposed to be 8 - 10 hours. He can play cards with whoever shows up
remote control car -pure silliness but he will think it is fun!
box of Special K meal bars - at least he will have something semi-healthy to snack on
chapstick - hospital environments can be very drying
bottle of special single malt scotch - something he would never buy for himself, but will appreciate very much when he gets home
travel blanket - hospital can get cold
framed picture of the two of us
Posts 871 - 900 (1,112 total)
Apr 17, 2015 09:15AM Lmonelli wrote:
just order online a cute small heart shape pillow. Quite pricey. 12.00 shipping! This masectomy stuff is expensive. Moderators, didnt see your post. But these heart shape pillows come with rave reviews. Thanks.
Apr 17, 2015 09:45AM knmtwins wrote:
Ask your surgeon, ask your breast cancer support group, ask the hospital's oncology nurses (call and ask to be transferred) as many have a supply that kind people make and donate, but they forget to give you. If they don't, then Five Below, The Dollar Store. I found the ones with the little Styrofoam beads in them were great and I got them at Five Below. Some people have said their kids stuffed animals, or those tiny baby pillows, sometimes the same size is called a travel pillow.
Apr 17, 2015 05:52PM Janett2014 wrote:
The day after my BMX a sweet little lady came to my hospital room. She was a BC survivor, and she was in a group that made things for BC patients. She gave me two little heart-shaped pillows, a Velcro cushiony thing to hook onto the seatbelt to protect my chest, and a holder for my four drains. Everything was handmade, she was very nice, and her visit was brief. She told me that she had been through it too, that it was difficult but I would be fine. I really appreciated her visit and the items. I used them all daily for many weeks.
So I agree with knmtwins, check with the hospital and see if some of those things will be provided.
Apr 18, 2015 12:28AM - edited Apr 18, 2015 12:29AM by Fe_Princess
Hi Lmonelli, I got my pillow from my doctor. I have Kaiser HMO. The picture of it is below. It's really been a god send for comfort. It's about 8 inches X 6 inches and covered with flannel. The thickness is about 2 inches.
Apr 22, 2015 12:14AM - edited Apr 22, 2015 12:20AM by happynewyorker
When I had my surgery on February 19, 2015, for a mastectomy for my right breast. I had received a gift from the oncology nurse which contained a red bean bag type of pillow the shape of a heart. I myself found the pillow to be too small and lucky for me had previously purchased for my daughter a bean bag pillow of a dog from Justice (Children clothing store). this pill remains with me now, a helpful tool when sleeping on the couch. I found this pillow o be much better than the small heart shape pillow. I also obtained before my surgery shower pockets to hold my drainage. I obtained from amazon before my surgery. http://www.amazon.com/Shower-Pockets-Surgery-Drain-System/dp/B00HVLG1CW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429675241&sr=8-1&keywords=shower+drain+holder
this was the best investment with the pillow I can make for myself. I returned to work on the 13th of April. I'm scheduled for my reconstructive surgery in June. I still after hitting my 2 month anniversary, have one Bleeping drain attached to me. Hopefully, hopefully, it will come out before June.
Things to take to the hospital, the hospital provided me with a tooth brush and paste, socks to wear. After my surgery, I was up afterwards. But the following day, slept most of the day and then the following day (my surgery was on Thursday) Saturday, I got ready to go home. bring some lozenges, you will need after surgery.
Remember to let your doctor know the medication you take and any and all vitamins and supplements. I had to stop mine before my surgery, at least 10 days before. Certain vitamins and/or supplements shouldn't be taken as they can cause bleeding. Mine unfortunately, caused great knee and leg pain. I think that was the worse part of the surgery.
Home I slept on the couch and still remain on the couch. Sleeping is your recovery.
The worse part of the recovery is the drainage attached to my side. It's very painful. You will be taking lots of antibiotics. Once thing you should ask for if taking antibiotics for such a longer period of time and get yeast infections is FLUCONAZOLE. this tablet is to help you not get any yeast infections. It helped me, when I got mine.
I don't need to mention they will be providing with you pain medication. I was given Percocet when I was in the hospital and developed a rash on my back and buttocks. I have been taken vicodin, it helps with the pain.
If they removed and/or check your lymphoid nodes. Your upper arm and under your arm will have a different feel to it for a while. Check with your doctor on the amount you can life. I purchased a life alert bracelet, something that I now have on my right wrist.
I started a journal on Facebook and now started writing one on my computer. A chapter in my life I want to keep, and I know over time will forget many things. But, I feel it will help others when they need help on things that helped me, during this time in my life.
Apr 22, 2015 12:18AM Fe_Princess wrote:
Hi Happynewyorker, sorry to hear about the drains. Why are they in for so long? Good call on the Fluconazole. You poor thing! Who needs a yeast infection in the mix...I take my pillow everywhere. What does your alert bracelet say on it? How many lymph nodes did you have removed?
Apr 22, 2015 12:30AM - edited Apr 22, 2015 12:38AM by happynewyorker
@ Fe_Princess - my plastic surgeon mentioned today, that she has had experience when she has taken them out and people have gotten bad infections. My drainage, continues to drain. I think I hit 30 once. Last night it was 60 and tonight it was 45. Tuesday, is my day for my fill ups (like a gas station, but nicer place) for the breast expander. I have 2 more full-ups and I'm done. Yippee!! For the first 2 months I had my pillow with me all the time. Now, I use it to sleep with. Today, my doctor, added a cushion where my drainage is attached to me. It seems to help, I still feel the pain, but having the cushion makes it easier not to hold the side where the drain is attached each time I get up. They removed 6 lymph nodes. Thank goodness the cancer didn't spread. My bracelet reads: Lymphedema alert - right Arm - No needles or BP - figured it's best to be safe then sorry. I heavy and happy that my arm stayed the same side. I got the bracelet from http://www.n-styleid.com/ - since the one from Medic Alert was a bit pricey. This one, I was able to write what I wanted and paid about $32. for the bracelet with what I wrote above, which was on 3 lines.
Can I ask you a question, did they remove the nipples for you on your mastectomy?
Apr 22, 2015 01:33AM - edited Apr 22, 2015 01:35AM by Fe_Princess
Hi and thanks for the information. I had a nipple-skin sparing mastectomy. I had the skin on the backside of the nipple biopsied and my surgeon did the SNB at the same time. Eleven lymph nodes got removed by mistake. He said they were all clumped together, Yay! I ended up get a huge seroma under my arm from it. So to make a short answer long, I got to keep the nipples. You can ask your surgeon to try to have them saved. The tissue expander is intense. I got my first fill yesterday and I couldn't even stand up straight today. Good luck tomorrow.
Apr 22, 2015 12:33PM happynewyorker wrote:
Happy Wednesday Fe_Princess!! - I don't have my nipple, that was taken out when I had my surgery on February 19, 2015. Yes, the breast extender is intense. It feels like I had a suit of amour on mine. I have 2 more fill-ins and then I'm done. It gets better over time, it did for me. They will continue to add an additional of 5 extra ounces (I think it's ounces, or maybe CC's) every week. Don't let your doctor do a double on you, that really hurts. Mine did that after my 3rd fill-in and it hurt for a long time. thank goodness for the pain medication. After a while for me it feels like I'm carrying a basketball the size of a mini football. 2 weeks ago I told my doctor that my size looks like it's going to be small, she said I'm at the size of a DD. Yesterday, she said that they want as much extra skin as they can when having the surgery. I have taken pictures of the needle, syringe and as I call it the stud finder to show my friends, family and daughter and Facebook friends. My daughter had mentioned to me that once you have breast cancer and what ever type of surgery or procedure you have, people will keep it private. I'm not one of those people. Let me share my experience with you, is my motto if I can help you, with your procedure and recovery.
take it easy, it's a slow process. If your hospital has a breast cancer support group, I'd suggest to go. I went to mine (2nd week) many of the woman are older than me. But, the need to share and have support is a great tool in our chapters of our lives right now.
Apr 22, 2015 01:53PM Fe_Princess wrote:
Hi Happynewyorker, I only have two more fills of 55mls each. I got a breast reduction with my mx so my TE is only 275 in size. I got 80mls on Monday and couldn't even stand up yesterday! I feel really grateful that my cancer experience has been relatively easy if that makes sense? I will have my exchange surgery in latter May. I move out of the country on the 24th of June and my PS wants all my surgeries over two weeks before I leave. They have really been supporting me on my leave date which I've already extended. I don't keep my cancer private either. I have loads of friends that have been with me every step of the way. One of my best friend's lives in Brooklyn!
Apr 24, 2015 04:17PM Lmonelli wrote:
My pink pockets came in and my heart shaped pillow just arrived. Really cute and small perfect for the car ride home. And to tuck in while in bed. My gf told me about a husband pillow so I'm running to Walmart to get one of those. They are big pillows with two arms. Great for sitting up. I received a huge basket of all sorts of wonderful things from the girls at work. Robes and shifts that zipper up. Slippers and books and magazines. Candy and cookies too. I was so touched. I think I'm all ready for Wednesday. Trying to keep positive and bot be so frightened and anxious. Valium works wonders.
Apr 24, 2015 05:22PM Fe_Princess wrote:
Oh Lmonelli, you're going to do great. I sleep with a husband pillow too, It's great since I don't have a recliner. All of the things you have will become your favorite things while you recover. It's wonderful to have support from coworkers too. Everyone is rooting for you!
Apr 27, 2015 09:33AM - edited Apr 27, 2015 09:49AM by justmaximom15
Keeping you in my thoughts Lmonelli! My son was at his Dad's this past weekend (and it was my birthday weekend) so I tried to get as much rest as possible before the big day. I did some last minute shopping and found a cheap alternative to silk pajamas as I've had trouble finding them in my size. I bought a couple of pair of those slinky basketball shorts in the men's department at Wal-Mart for $6.88 and while I was there I bought a set of satin sheets for the bed (king size for $19.99). I think I'm all set to slide in and out with ease.
I also wanted to add that I bought a husband pillow as well, a couple more standard pillows because you can never have too many and I also found a neat little thing they call a noodle pillow. Here's a link to what it looks like and it was $5.88 !!
Apr 28, 2015 04:02PM Lmonelli wrote:
Thanks everyone for keeping me in your thoughts. Just had SN injection for tomorrows surgery. That was totally painless!! I worked myself up for nothing!! My bag is packed I even got Lundens throat lozenges. The hospital staff seems really nice so tomorrow at 5:30 I can begin to say by by boobies and by by cancer!!!
Valium works and I'm taking it! Lol
Apr 28, 2015 05:17PM Fe_Princess wrote:
Hey Lmonelli, I will be thinking about you. I know you will do great. I look forward to hearing your news. I will be having my final exchange tomorrow as well. Throat lozenges are great.
May 1, 2015 08:00AM Lmonelli wrote:
Hi Fe Princess.....in a lot of pain but the great news is the cancer is out!! Clear margins and lymph nodes!!!
I am so happy!!!
How are you feeling?
May 1, 2015 08:28AM tjh wrote:
Let others help, stay ahead of the pain, take care of yourself. If you have Netflix House of Cards and Orange is the New Black are both good.
May 1, 2015 01:01PM Fe_Princess wrote:
Yay Lmonelli, that is such great news. Yes, the pain in so intense. Stay on top of the pain meds like tjh said too. I was on them every four hours for the first week & 1/2. I am happy that you are now at least a little further along. Clear margins & lymph nodes is exactly what you want to hear. I am feeling pretty good. I think by my follow up, I'll be feeling better than I have in months. Keep us posted.
May 3, 2015 11:39AM mommacat4 wrote:
Ladies, just keep in mind to rest and take care of yourself. It is important to rest and drink plenty of water.
May 13, 2015 09:35AM Lmonelli wrote:
I have pink pockets for drains I'm willing to give away to anyone who wants them. Just pm me.
May 13, 2015 09:40AM justmaximom15 wrote:
That's sweet of you Lori!
I just wanted to add that of all the things I purchased, that noodle pillow I mentioned above has been the best money spent! And it was $5.88!! Don't get me wrong, having plenty of regular pillows is a requirement but when you find the position that is the most comfortable to lie in, this noodle pillow will contour almost any possible way to support your neck. It's great.
May 19, 2015 06:24PM SummerAngel wrote:
Just wanted to thank Lori publicly for the pink pockets, I received them today! :)
Jun 5, 2015 01:51PM Mom2ABoy wrote:
If you have very long hair ... have it washed and French braided the day before surgery. I have waist-length hair (for now at least, ha ha, no chemo yet). I usually wear it in a pony tail, but that makes it hard to lie down or sit up in bed, plus you have to fuss with putting in and taking out the hair band. (And lifting my left arm is a no-no right now after SNB.)
Yesterday the nurse put my hair in a French braid when she helped me dress after the SNB. I thought she was just being kind because my hair is so long, but now I realize it was actually very practical! Because I don't have to lift my arms to put in or take out a hair band, or worry about it when I go to sleep. It's just there, and I can leave it there for several days without doing anything to it.
Or if you're good at doing this kind of thing yourself, that's a cheaper option! (I'm not.) If you don't know how to do a French braid, but you have manageable hair (I don't), there is a great video tutorial on YouTube that makes it look sooo easy.
Just wanted to pass along that tip!
Jun 5, 2015 02:25PM marketingmama wrote:
Good point re: the french braid. My hair is not long enough for one but I learned a very long time ago that if i don't put my thick hair back when i'm going to be in bed for a bit, I'll wind up with a mess of knots (or just a mess). So i had my hair blown straight before my procedure (certainly not necessary but a nice treat for me cause I'm a curly head and my hair is just easier to manage after it's blown out). Then after surgery, I put it in pig tails. I kept them low, and close to my neck so I didn't look quite as much like a little kid. I was perfectly comfy this way and I never had to deal with tangles. I was able to raise my arms enough to do this without any help. The nurses all kept commenting on how cute they Iooked! They were probably just humoring me but I honestly didn't care one way or the other---as this kept my hair out of my face, ensured no knots, limited how dirty it would get (my hands were out of it), and I was so glad to be comfortable when lying on my back. By the way, tie them loosely so nothing is pulling and use those cute hair ties that don't "bend" the hair (they're softer on the scalp).
Jun 6, 2015 02:02PM mdoc524 wrote:
Hi All - I found this thread very helpful prior to my BMX surgery on 5/28.
Tip for post-op showering & drains - I was allowed to shower 2 days post op - some Drs say No Showers Gil after drains are out - mine let me shower! You have to keep drains secure & they can't hang from their incision. I purchased a Laundry Mesh Bag at Dollar Store and extra long shoelaces! Cut the corner of the mesh bag so you have 1 larger opening to fit 2 drains - take each end of the shoelace and tie one to each open corner of the mesh triangle. When showering you can fit 2 drains in the mesh pocket and put it around your neck - water does not build up!
Some may already know this trick - just wanted to share!
Also went to Hairdresser 4 days post op just to get hair washed but was able to do myself with husband assistance 7 days post op!
Good luck - Stay Strong
Jun 6, 2015 04:54PM Janett2014 wrote:
Here's another way to deal with post-op drains in the shower. I cut the leg off an old pair of pantyhose, or you could use one knee-high. I just ran the hose through the drain loops and tied the whole thing around my neck. It worked great.
Jun 6, 2015 08:31PM marketingmama wrote:
Another tip for drains if you're less handy. I bought these on Amazon for $25 and used them to carry my drains 24/7. Sleep, shower, and all moments in between. Super lightweight Nurses were very impressed. Best purchase I made prior to surgery. One of the ladies on BCO recommended and I only wish I could give her due credit. Just keep in mind they only hold two drains and some ladieshave 3 or 4. http://www.amazon.com/Shower-Pockets/dp/B00HSTZJR0
Jun 12, 2015 12:28PM mommacat4 wrote:
wow. Those are interesting drain holders. I have a more simplistic item. It's called flowerpotz. It is a mesh holder that goes over the shoulders and hangs down in front with a pocket on each side. The pockets are large enough to hold 2 drains each. I only had one drain on each side so I had plenty of room.
Jun 26, 2015 08:59PM Chi-Kat wrote:
I am sorry - didn't read through all 30 pages to see whether anyone else had suggested tbis, but the one thing that I desperately needed while in the hospital that was NOT on this (awesome!) list: A BACK SCRATCHER !!!!! Just from sitting in a bed for two days (and as a side effect of the drugs), I was itchy, especially on my back. And especially on my lower legs, which were super itchy from the leg compression machine. Someone brought one on my 2nd day in the hospital and I almost cried with relief!!!! Nurses said itchiness was common, so I am posting here. 😊