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Topic: Shopping/packing/to-do list for surgery + recovery....

Forum: Surgery - Before, During, and After — Surgical options and helpful tips for recovery and side effects.

Posted on: Feb 6, 2008 05:43PM - edited Jul 23, 2019 12:50PM by Moderators

Panchoandlefty wrote:

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

Reading glasses

iPod, Mp3 / Music player

Cell phone/ have friends' numbers handy!

Book, magazine

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

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.

Bendy straws

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


Dx 1/15/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 30, 2015 07:17AM Simplicity wrote:

New Me, you should be okay. Do have someone drive you if you can. Driving was hard for me at first. You don't realize how much you use those muscles lol They left my pectoral muscle, but if they take yours you may feel worse than I remember feeling. The incisions themselves didn't bother me, the drains bothered the hell out of me! A fanny pack work nicely to hold and conceal, to a degree, the drains.

Also, don't over do yourself. If you get to feeling tired, is there a place you'll be able to rest? Don't try to help! Not kidding! Sit down, talk, maybe small things like laying out any bread or biscuits while you sit.

You will be sore. You will still have stitches, drain tubes. What really helped me with the drain tubes, again, the most uncomfortable thing for me, was putting a piece of gauze right under the tube at the site, and one over, then tape down. This seemed to keep it from moving as much and sliding out, pulling at the stitch that holds it.

Get a little notepad or pocket calendar if you don't already to help keep track of appt's and more importantly, your amount of drainage. Each tube gets it's own cup to measure. I used the measurements on the cup per surgeon.

Good luck! You will be fine! One more thing, I wasn't ready for how concaved my chest area was. It is hard to look at. A bit of a mind F*^{. This is temporary, and you will eventually fill in a bit.

Sorry so long lol Didn't realize I had so much to say about it haha!

Feel free to message me if you have any more questions.

Dx 3/31/2015, IDC, Right, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 4/21/2015 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/4/2015 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy 10/13/2015 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 12/28/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 5/20/2016 Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Oct 30, 2015 07:19PM Gabby56b wrote:

new me....i had a umx with TEs on Oct 13. I was in the hospital for 2 nights, although probably could have gone home after one night. One thing the anesthesiologist did was place a nerve block (on-c) where the bundle of nerves went around to my breast. I was really nervous about this, but so glad I did it. I had very little pain, and my range of motion was not impeded at all. I got by with taking Tylenol a couple of times. My mom passed away the day before my surgery, so I planned a funeral while in the hospital, and had the service a few days after I got home.

good luck on your surgery, and take care of yourself. Do want you feel you are up for and nap when you can....

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Oct 30, 2015 09:03PM Janett2014 wrote:


So sorry about your mother. How difficult that must have been right around your surgery.

Diagnosed age 60 with IDC in 2014. Stage 1A, Grade 2, 0/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Cancer on both sides, bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction with silicone implants, Oncotype 16, Arimidex (Anastrozole) 5 years. There are more details in my biography.
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Nov 1, 2015 04:05PM HappyCamper123 wrote:

This is a great list. One thing, though. I was in the hospital for less than 24 hours for a mastectomy. Not a problem, I was up and out early after spending the night. Before the surgery I was so unable to concentrate that I had no use for a cell phone, Ipod, books etc. The electronics are not useful and in fact are apt to be stolen so the hospital staff really don't want them around anyway and advised letting your friend/mate whoever take them. Showering at the hospital was not an issue - not offered, not done. No need for eye mask or ear plugs unless you are in for a longer stay - after surgery I was so out of it I was not aware of anything till morning wake-up time and then it was time to leave. It sounds draconian but the less time spent in the hospital the better.

At home, a fluffy white Walmart comforter, light weight, easy to pull on and off. They are inexpensive, get two so you can have someone wash one if you want. A flannel sheet over a "stressless chair " plus ottoman, a fluffy comforter over top, all was well. And plenty of pillows - bolsters, etc. Microbead pillows are great. Small red heart shaped one is wonderful for cushioning area between upper arm and chest.

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Nov 24, 2015 09:58AM JodieK wrote:

Thank you for the list! New to the discussion boards, lots of great info! Surgery is 12/4, diagnosed 10/1. Mastectomy and free flap reconstruction. Have had a great experience in such a scary time for me.

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Nov 24, 2015 10:17AM Moderators wrote:

Welcome, JodieK! Glad you found us, though we hate that you have to be here.

You may want to join the others in the December 2015 Surgery thread to share experiences as you navigate surgery and recovery together.

Looking forward to hearing more from you and wishing you the best of luck for your surgery!

--The Mods

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Dec 4, 2015 12:19PM Tasal wrote:

Hi All. Sorry to be part of this board but happy not to be alone. I'm new here too. Still trying to figure things out. Having bilateral mast with free tram flap recon on Dec 30th (Happy New Year in the Hospital for me this year!). I'm trying to get all my shopping and supplies done now to avoid Christmas chaos (too late?!, wishful thinking?!). This board has been a great help! I've noticed everyone mentions the silky pajama bottoms for getting in and out of bed- but wondering if that is still a suggestion if I am doing a free flap since I'll have that hip to hip abdominal cut. While I'm at it- can someone talk underwear with me?! I'm thinking mostly commando but what do I wear if I need to wear something. I'm thinking very low (below surgical line possible? But my mother thinks oversized granny panties (above surgical line?) Would also love input on wedges for the bed if anyone has any recommendations (back is obvious- under knees too with the surgery I'm having?) Others talk about recliners but not sure how to go about that either- I've seen them for rent online but not so much in Atlanta. Trying to get more of a list to address these particular concerns since I'll have the free tram and expected to be in hospital for 4 nights. Wishing everyone the very best right now. Luckily I'm feeling pretty good but I'm sure with each day more and more anxiety is going to set it.

Surgery 12/30/2015 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap
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Dec 13, 2015 03:01PM Eliz1973 wrote:

Mysurgery is next week. You have made some great points! Thank you!!!! Best Wishes in your healing process.


Surgery 11/6/2015 Lumpectomy: Left Dx 11/12/2015, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 3/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/17/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Surgery 1/5/2016 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary
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Dec 13, 2015 10:38PM Mel2328 wrote:

Did anyone get a hospital bed to stay in at home for a few weeks?? I think some insurance companies allow them.
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Dec 31, 2015 11:24AM - edited Jan 1, 2016 07:51AM by PMR53

This Post was deleted by PMR53.
PMR53 Dx 11/20/2014, IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Targeted Therapy 1/12/2015 Targeted Therapy 1/14/2015 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/14/2015 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy 1/15/2015 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 5/2/2015 Surgery 5/22/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 10/7/2015 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 2/17/2016 Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant
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Jan 9, 2016 09:26AM Mominator wrote:

Consider taking pre-op and post-op photos if you want to record your journey.

I've been taking simple photos using the timer setting on my camera. Using the timer allows me to do this myself, privately. I haven't shared these photos with anyone, and I'm not sure that I will. I do it in the same place in the same pose, so the only thing that is changing is my breasts.

I took two sets of pre-op photos, both before and after the pre-op marking. I took the first post-op photo the morning after I got home from surgery. I took photos fairly often at first (every other day) to mark the progress. I had a debridement procedure along the way, so I made sure to take photos before and after that. And I'll take photos before and after exchange to implants.

That first post-op photo was the worst, as my breasts were terribly bruised and swollen. But as time passed, ever those first few days, I could see progress. I have made remarkable progress in just over 8 weeks. My reconstructed breasts are healing nicely and are looking better all the time.

If you've already had surgery, but didn't take a pre-op photo, don't worry: your Breast Surgeon and/or Plastic Surgeon probably have pre-op photos. Both of my surgeons' nurses had taken photos of me. The PS has several photos including front and side facing.

Strength, healing, and love to everyone,


Mominator, BRCA2+, STK-11 VUS. My Mom dx DCIS age 62, ILC stage IIIA age 79; Mom passed 2/28/18. My Grandmother died of ovarian cancer age 48. Friend to Lori M, passed 5/25/16. Surgery 11/11/2015 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 1/18/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 6/30/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant
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Feb 7, 2016 11:30PM - edited Feb 7, 2016 11:31PM by Ashblonde

My stay in hospital was 2 days. I took leggings, iPhone, kindle, earpjhones, charger and extension cord. The best thing was my *C* shaped neck travel pillow. All my gear fitted in one average handbag. I also had lip balm and hand cream. A comfy loose top and underwear to wear home.

Everything else was provided by the hospital , including a lovely tote bag for my drains . I ate hospital food and wore hospital pjs. I amhome now after a double Masectomy and feel pretty good. My Op was on Feb 5th and I am in New Zealand

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Feb 8, 2016 12:57AM ChiSandy wrote:

For home: a sock-aid and long-handled shoehorn are lifesavers if you’re too sore to bend over or bring your feet & legs up fully to pull on your socks and get into your shoes. You will want, at least while you’re at home or if there’s no snow on the ground, to wear footwear that you can easily step into and out of. This sounds frivolous....but consider a long-handled backscratcher (as well as a long-handled bath brush).

Diagnosed at 64 on routine annual mammo, no lump. OncotypeDX 16. I cried because I had no shoes...but then again, I won’t get blisters.... Dx 9/9/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 9/23/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 11/2/2015 3DCRT: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/31/2015 Femara (letrozole)
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Feb 25, 2016 01:57AM Charleywood22 wrote:

great list!!! There's a list of what to pack on my blog but I think you have covered it all!

I used drain dollies to carry my drains


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Feb 29, 2016 09:28AM Flat-tered wrote:

Had surgery five days ago. The thing I didn't have when I got home was alcohol squares to clean my drain tops. Don't remember seeing those on the list to buy ahead of time. Wish I had a list of things to make sure the hospital folks sent home with me. I got my two camisoles but they forgot to send the lanyard home with me to hold the drains while showering. Luckily my son had one I could borrow. Haven't seen anything posted about the best technique for stripping the drains. Starting day 4 I could feel an uncomfortable feeling when I stripped my drains and the suction become more evident inside my chest. I was first tempted to take the top of the drain before I started. That turned out to be a mistake. I am finding it is better to maintain the suction (keep pinching the tube, clean the top, squeeze the bulb, replace the top). It is the big change in lack of suction that is uncomfortable. Hope this helps. Discuss with your nurse to see what advice she has when she does the training. I wasn't thinking about a few days down the road when the feeling starts to come back when I had the training.) My hat is off to anyone who goes back to work while drains are still in. I don't think I will be one of them.

Dx 2/1/2016, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Surgery 2/26/2016 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Mar 9, 2016 09:53PM Kaneli wrote:

Great Very Helpful List...Bumping so I can be sure to refer to it in prep for my surgery March 22, Thank you!

Dx 2/10/2016, IDC: Tubular, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/22/2016 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/28/2016 Balloon-catheter: Breast
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Mar 10, 2016 03:45AM Mominator wrote:

Kaneli, you can add this to "My Favorite Topics" and then you won't have to worry about losing it again.

Mominator, BRCA2+, STK-11 VUS. My Mom dx DCIS age 62, ILC stage IIIA age 79; Mom passed 2/28/18. My Grandmother died of ovarian cancer age 48. Friend to Lori M, passed 5/25/16. Surgery 11/11/2015 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 1/18/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 6/30/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant
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Apr 7, 2016 07:27AM Zoziana wrote:

Love the list and thread. Had my double MX 3 weeks ago and doing well. Here is my short "cheat sheet" for items to have for hospital and for the first week. There were three essential hosp. items (1,2,and 3 below) and also three essential home items. Listed in order of importance to me. Good luck!

For the HOSPITAL: Top three are my true essentials

1. Neck travel pillow, Soft foam or memory foam (not inflatable.) This was my number one most useful item.

This allows you to sleep sitting up in a hospital bed or at home--it's like a portable recliner. If it has a washable cover, all the better. Otherwise, I'd buy one for the hospital and toss it after you leave, and have a clean one for home. I bought two on sale at Bed Bath and Beyond, because I didn't know which I'd like better. One is memory foam and one is softer. I like them both; key is what fits best around your neck, jaw, etc. I still use one of these now under my waist when I sleep on my side, to help keep pressure off my chest.

2. Lip balm in stick form (so you don't use your fingers in hosp. setting and transfer germs.)

3. Cell phone and charger with long cord so your phone can stay in your bed with you (or on tray) and be continually charged.

4. Hair brush if you care about these things-someone will need to brush it for you probably.

5. Socks with non-slip grip on bottom (most hospitals will have these--but just in case).

You will be getting up to go to the bathroom and the nurses will have you get up to walk around the floor. Slippers are harder. I used the hospital socks (I preferred not to dirty mine and saved my own for home!)

6. Breath mints or drops.

The hospital gave me a tooth brush and paste, and I did brush my teeth each night, but it was hard --too tough to bend at bathroom sink in room, so had to use small spit bowl on tray and it was awkward.) Mints allowed me to freshen my breath when I wanted to, in an easier manner.

7. Facial toner (my regular) and cotton pads; facial moisturizer; my prescription hydrocortisone cream for eczema.

My sensitive skin needs regular care. I did "wash " my face int the mornings and on the second night in the hospital. (On the first night I was pretty out of it and did not; my surgery was 6 hours. didn't end until 5 pm, and after a few hours in the recovery room, I didn't get to my hosp. room until around 8 pm. and after a few words with family members, I was back to sleeping.)

8. A note to put on your bed tray or for family members as a reminder, if you are having lymph nodes removed on one side: NO BLOOD PRESSURE ON (RIGHT) ARM.

This has to do with risk of lymphodema and is based on my experience in the hospital. Again, nurses should know, but in my case, a night nurse came in and was about to take my blood pressure on my right arm (from where a number of nodes were taken), and I remembered to tell her NO, I am not supposed to have that done, and why. She made a big sign and taped it over my hosp. bed. She was a floater nurse who hadn't taken care of a MX patient before, and she simply didn't know. Better safe than sorry. My hosp. is an excellent one and my care was excellent, but still, I would recommend this based on my experience.

At HOME: (I note that help, in my case from my sister who helped for 3 days, did my drains, etc. is very important, too.)

1. Neck travel pillow (same as above.)

2. Bed "reading backrest pillow", in a sort of wedge shape (with arms or without.)

Make sure the back is high enough for you. I bought mine on Amazon for about $39 and I love it. I used this to sleep and sit propped up in bed--going flat pressured my chest and bothered me; I didn't lie flat for a full week. Regular bed pillows certainly could be used, but I liked that this didn't slip or move around, and i used a soft down pillow with it, and other pillows on propped on my sides when I slept, sort of creating a cocoon so I felt I wouldn't fall over to the side and could sort of lean in any direction I wanted without actually putting pressure on my side of my chest and abdomen where the drains and drain tubes were.

3. Cotton Camisole with interior pockets for drains.

You can buy online if you have time for shipping, but I bought mine at a local store that I call the "Breast Cancer Store", because everything they sell is for those of us in this club. I could step into it, and someone helped me pull it up. I wore the surgical bra from the hospital--was told not to take it off until I came back in a week and I did not--but pinning and unpinning the drains to it would have been very uncomfortable and maybe painful. Much easier to put them in the interior pockets of the cami, where I also pinned them for extra security. You could make this if you sew, but make sure the material and straps are strechy enough you can step into it for the first week-two weeks. I got two, one in black and one in white. They also have chest pockets for breast pads if you want to wear under a top and have a fuller look. I am thin and was small chested, so with expanders in, the camisole, and a thin sport top sort of liner pad, I don't look terribly flat, but the tops come with larger pads if you want them.

Dx 2/2016, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 3/17/2016 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 4/29/2016 Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 4/29/2016 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 1/1/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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May 27, 2016 02:06AM Clauclau wrote:

thank you for your detailed list. I have been diagnosed with 2.5 cm BC triple negative on right side stage 2A, grade 3.

I haven't met the surgeon yet. So far I talked to the oncologist and radiologist that are part of the team.

I am reading everything I can and decided to join the forum to hear stories from people like you. I appreciate your thoughtfulness in sharing your experience here. I will probably take a picture of the list and start thinking what else ( if any thing) I need to do before and after surgery. Thank you!

Dx 5/12/2016, IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/15 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 6/30/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/18/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Doxil (doxorubicin), Taxol (paclitaxel)
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May 27, 2016 08:12AM Moderators wrote:

Dear Clauclau, Welcome to the community. We are sorry for your diagnosis but so glad that you reached out here. Please stay connected and keep us posted on how everything goes for you. We are sending you healing thoughts as you prepare for surgery. The Mods

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Jun 6, 2016 07:12AM Cristalle wrote:

Hey, thanks. My LX is scheduled for June 17/16. Query: Are there things on this list you may OMIT for a lumpectomy? Like the camisole or tank with the pockets I know I'm not having a drain.

Thanks to all you brave women.

Cristalle in Ottawa

6/5/2016 DCIS Gr 2 Left breast

You gotta kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight--Bruce Cockburn Dx 5/6/2016, DCIS, Left, 5cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+ Surgery 6/17/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 8/2/2016 Whole-breast: Breast
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Jun 14, 2016 11:15AM StonyPony wrote:

BACK SCRATCHER! Or if you're desperate your mom's wooden pasta spoon with the dowels Happy

She needed a hero so that's what she became! Dx 1/3/2016, DCIS/IDC, Both breasts, 3cm, Grade 1, 1/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 2/11/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) Surgery 5/31/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Jun 16, 2016 04:45PM Hopefloatsinyyc wrote:

I wanted to have a sign made to deter people from bothering me while recovering post-op or through chemo... And it was near impossible to find something. I then found a Facebook mom who had a small business who made this

She did it in only a few days and could customize. Her Facebook is Wy and Oli in case anyone is interested!

Dx 5/2/2016, DCIS/IDC, Both breasts, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/23/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Chemotherapy 8/19/2016 AC
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Aug 18, 2016 10:16AM phbr66 wrote:

Thank you! This was so helpful. I have surgery Tuesday.

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Aug 19, 2016 09:30AM Mominator wrote:

Phbr66: Welcome to I'm sorry for a diagnosis but very glad you found us.

There are many helpful forums and threads. Please look around to find the support you need, such as surgery, reconstruction, chemo, etc.

Best wishes for your surgery.

Mominator, BRCA2+, STK-11 VUS. My Mom dx DCIS age 62, ILC stage IIIA age 79; Mom passed 2/28/18. My Grandmother died of ovarian cancer age 48. Friend to Lori M, passed 5/25/16. Surgery 11/11/2015 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 1/18/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 6/30/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant
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Aug 21, 2016 07:30PM - edited Aug 21, 2016 07:49PM by IHGJAnn49

Hi.. I'm a newbie, i see my surgeon on the 24th and glad to see all these tips.. didn't think about a lot of that, so this will help me prepare better...

I'm allergic to the tape also... I found the paper tape is better, otherwise, my skin blisters and peels too

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. IDC, PNI, Oncotype 24 Dx 8/3/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/2/2016 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 10/12/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/2/2016 Whole-breast: Breast
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Oct 17, 2016 12:20PM OG56 wrote:

This thread is so AWESOME, thank you to all contributors. My ? Is with a BMX with expanders how long usually until I can totally take care of myself? I have great friends who have offered to stay with me and needed a guestimate of how long I would need help. I am 62 so might not pop out of this quickly.


Linda Dx 5/30/2008, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx 9/22/2016, ILC, Right, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/14 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 2/7/2017 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Oct 18, 2016 07:46AM Janett2014 wrote:


Every case is so different. We are the same age though, and my surgery was two and a half years ago. I needed a fair amount of help for the first week. After that I would have been ok with little or no help. The trick is preparation: put things where they are easily reached, and have meals that are simple to prepare. I assume you don't have young children in the house; have the pharmacist put regular caps on your meds, NOT child-proof ones. Use a cut-off pantyhose leg or a knee high pantyhose to hold your drains around your neck in the shower. Rest as much as you can, and accept offers of help and meals

Diagnosed age 60 with IDC in 2014. Stage 1A, Grade 2, 0/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Cancer on both sides, bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction with silicone implants, Oncotype 16, Arimidex (Anastrozole) 5 years. There are more details in my biography.
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Oct 18, 2016 08:19AM ajbclan wrote:

Jannett- I'm still in the chemo process, assuming BMX with expanders in January- your tips are there a good place on the boards for more helpful hints? I know everyone is different in this process....was also wondering how long you're not allowed to drive? I have a 13 year old, have had offers of help, but I'm really realizing how laid up I may be! Thanks!

Dx 8/9/16 with "multiple masses", chemo from 8/24/16 to 12/14/16- PCR. BMX w/TE: 1/31/2017; Exchange-9/18/17. Dealt with blood clot, cellulitis and another infection. Variance on PALB2 gene. Dx 8/9/2016, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 8/23/2016 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 1/30/2017 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 12/18/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrozole)
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Oct 18, 2016 09:01AM Seedsally wrote:

AJB. As Janett said put everything in easy reach. Use a table and if you don't have a really comfy recliner you may want to rent a hospital bed and have it set up in front of your tv. I also ordered 2 mastectomy shirts that snapped up the front. The fabric is so silky and breathable plus they have pockets inside to hold your drain bulbs. I stilled pinned them so they wouldn't move around too much. I lived in those shirts until all my tubes came out. 3 weeks. Other than that I used my pain meds and anxiety meds as much as needed. I slept a lot and walked around when I could. Pamper yourself you deserve it

No gene mutations found. ADH left ADH in 2/2 nodes left. IDC right Sentinel node dissection no positive nodes right. Oncotype 24 also taking calcium 600 mg / D3 400 IU Dx 2/25/2016, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/14/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 4/18/2016 Lymph node removal: Left, Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 11/10/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)

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