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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 06:43PM - edited Jul 23, 2019 01:50PM 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 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.

Neosporin.

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

tissues

Dx 1/15/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Posts 991 - 1020 (1,112 total)

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Dec 16, 2017 07:51AM Janett2014 wrote:

MomB,

I slept in my bed after my bilateral mastectomy. I propped up on lots of pillows, but it worked. As far as the stairs go, it might be nice to have the option of the first floor for the first week or so. Your daughter may sleep fine on a recliner or a regular couch. It's kind of hard to know now how she will feel post-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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Dec 21, 2017 05:17PM houmom wrote:

I’m recovering from my sentinel node biopsy surgery right now and having a adjustable hospital style bed table that we ordered from Amazon for about $50 has been very helpful. We also bought an adjustable base for our bed, but we had been planning that for a while anyway. Our local grocery store has a curbside pickup option, so I have a list saved on their website of all the groceries we need for the week, for the kids school lunches etc. It saves my husband having to try and figure it all out on his own, plus a friend can also pick it up if needed without me having to worry about them paying for it.

Dx 11/20/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC)
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Dec 23, 2017 07:59AM Mememee wrote:

the best thing I planned in advance was renting a hospital bed. I had A bilateral mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction in a single surgery. I have to sleep angled up on my back. The hospital bed makes sleeping better, and easier to get in and out of. It only cost $200/month, most insurance will pay for it, and this allowed me better sleep during recovery. My PS wants me to continue sleeping this way for 4 weeks in total after getting released from the hospital

Dx 10/17/2017, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 12/6/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Surgery 2/7/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 5/24/2018 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction Dx 12/7/2020, IDC: Papillary, Right, 2cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Radiation Therapy 3DCRT: Chest wall Chemotherapy 3/25/2021 AC + T (Taxol)
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Jan 12, 2018 08:05AM Sweet_Pea wrote:

This forum and the list were SO helpful to me before my mastectomy with reconstruction at the end of August.

Now, as I plan for my Exchange/Symmetry surgery (silicone implants, no grafting), I wonder how much of the original list I will need, or which things? Any ideas on this?

First dx ADH 6/2017, 2nd dx IDC+DCIS 7/2017 Dx 7/13/2017, DCIS/IDC: Mucinous, Right, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/29/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 4/24/2018 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jan 12, 2018 09:18AM Janett2014 wrote:

Sweet Pea,

Generally speaking (of course there are exceptions), exchange surgery is much easier than mastectomy. It definitely was for me. Check with your plastic surgeon's nurse as to what to expect.

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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Jan 12, 2018 11:12PM houmom wrote:

If you get a shower chair, spend the extra $5 and get one with a back, it’s been so useful!

Dx 11/20/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC)
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Jan 26, 2018 07:05PM jsorrow39 wrote:

Thinking of your care givers needs is an awesome idea!

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Jan 29, 2018 10:42AM - edited Jan 29, 2018 11:04AM by rljes

Re: walking your dog -  since no pulling on arms - I wrapped the leash around my waist - worked great! 

Finished Chemo March 2018, No reconstruction "Going Flat" Dx 6/26/2017, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+ Dx 8/22/2017, 1/7 nodes, HER2+ Surgery 8/22/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy
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Feb 6, 2018 04:59AM spazcat wrote:

Just got done with mastectomy and reconstruction surgery last Tuesday. I just wanted to remind everyone to include prune juice on your shopping list. You will love it and need it while you are on pain meds. You'd think eating veggies would be enough, but prune jucie does so much more!!

Get well soon everyone!

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Feb 6, 2018 03:54PM Nursepatient35 wrote:

I got no info about any type of bra I'll need or be getting? Do you typically get something from the hospital or should I be asking my doctor about buying something?

Dx 1/9/2018, DCIS, Left, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/14/2018 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 4/25/2018 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Feb 6, 2018 08:30PM Janett2014 wrote:

I woke up after surgeries (mastectomy and exchange) in a surgical bra. After a very short time I switched to Genie bras: comfortable and inexpensive. I buy them online. They are very forgiving size-wise, and if it's difficult to pull over your head after surgery just step into it.

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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Feb 7, 2018 08:55AM Jt3 wrote:

Hi Everyone,

I am glad to see this list. I don't have a recliner. How do I order one and get my insurance to pay for it from a medical supply store?

Dx 1/2/2018, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/21/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Feb 9, 2018 04:17PM Mominator wrote:

Hello Jt3,

I didn't get a recliner. I don't have the room for one and I didn't think insurance would pay for it.

I did get a reading bed pillow that props up like a chair. I worked great. I surrounded myself with pillows as needed. 

Best wishes.

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 9, 2018 11:33PM Janett2014 wrote:

I also propped up with pillows; it was a little awkward but worked. I think I was more comfortable in my bed than I would have been in a recliner.

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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Feb 10, 2018 11:37PM Artista964 wrote:

which recliner is comfy enough to sleep in and acts as a lift as well? Anyone have a brand?

Dxd at 50. Went thru it all on my own by choice. Dx 6/2/2015, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/4 nodes, PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/5/2015 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Chemotherapy 11/2/2015 AC + T (Taxotere) Radiation Therapy 5/3/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 6/28/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 11, 2018 07:17AM - edited Feb 11, 2018 07:18AM by Linda19152

i enjoyed reading your post you sound like a trooper

you have a good attitude and inspired me to

stop feeling sorry for myself.

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Feb 11, 2018 11:33AM - edited Feb 11, 2018 11:35AM by EastcoastTS

I used multiple pillows (no recliner) but I think either is a great idea.

This list was so helpful and I'm sure these ideas are already here but make sure you have drain holders at the ready. Some people used paint waist belt type things (I don't know what to call them) but I ordered a waist drain holder on Amazon that saved my life! Used the entire drain time. Also I had one I could use in the shower that was made of Koosie material. Not cheap but great for showering.

Also, don't forget (sorry but it will likely happen) to start taking Colace or some stool softener a few days before surgery because constipation just seems to happen.

Good luck to all!

Dx@ 49. Oncotype: 14, BRCA 1/2- Dx 1/4/2017, ILC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/26/2017 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 9/7/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 12, 2018 01:18PM Jt3 wrote:

reading pillow-check getting from amazon

Prune juice- on the list

Did anyone take laxatives before surgery and it helped? I just have some dulcolax in my cabinet is miralax better?

Robe to turn inside out and has pockets and holds drains-packed in bag for hospital

What are the nursing pads for again



Dx 1/2/2018, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/21/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Feb 12, 2018 03:49PM Oceanbum wrote:

I didn't sleep in a recliner. We had recently gotten a Sleep Number bed with an adjustable base. So I slept with the head and feet raised.

The hospital provided me with 2 surgical bras and 1 set of drain pockets that attached to the bra with velcro. They also gave me a lanyard to attach my drains to for showering/bathing. I did add large safety pins to it to pin the tabs on the drains to.

So for my hospital bag I took my cell phone & charger, a book (which I never touched), puzzle books (which I never touched), my surgical bra, a button down shirt to wear home from the hospital, a scarf, and my tooth brush.

Becky ~ "Sometimes we're tested not to show our weaknesses, but to discover our strengths." Surgery 11/2/2000 Dx 3/6/2017, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/21/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 4/21/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 4/21/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 4/21/2017 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/5/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 9/25/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Targeted Therapy 10/3/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 12/15/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 4/20/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy 12/6/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 6/7/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Feb 26, 2018 02:43AM Jt3 wrote:

I am day 4 post op and think Fleet enema is a good addon item for the checklist to have on hand. My dr gave good meds but dulcolax and miralax didn’t help things move

Dx 1/2/2018, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/21/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Feb 26, 2018 11:21PM - edited Feb 26, 2018 11:27PM by JuicyFruit

I had delayed diep flap reconstruction Feb 16th, with 5 days in hospital (Canada).

Hospital Stay - overpacked. I was put in a private room where the temperature was kept over 30 C to help with the veins joining together and I had compression stockings on my legs which added to the heat. I wasn't allowed to walk in the halls due to the lower temperature, so no need for the housecoats and I didn't need my PJ's (wore bottoms one day). And no need for underwear. Sports bra was handy because my Plastic Surgeon wanted me in it 24/7 to provide support.

Must have items were: lipsol/chapstick, cough drops (didn't have a cough but got a tickle/cough and so drops helped coughing with my stomach stitches), herbal tea bags (didn't know I would be on caffeine free diet for a month), hard candy, downloaded Netflix movies (no Wifi!!! so couldn't listen to my downloaded music playlist or e-library book - didn't work). Mostly slept, and didn't read magazines, etc. Did watch rented TV. Step in slippers and body wash wipes were useful. I brought other creams, but brushing my teeth and hair ended up to be my goal. I also brought a travel lock for my bag in case I walked the halls and left my iphone/ipad unattended. Something useful my sister-in-law brought in was 6 foot cord for iphone/pad and iphone/pad battery charger which helped not having to get out of bed and bend to reach a plug. Earbuds, eyemask weren't needed since in a private room.

Home: had a list of Red Cross rentals, but only think I may need the shower chair. The health policy here is no showering until drains are removed for 24 hours, so didn't have to worry about lanyards, etc for the shower. Pillows, pillows, pillows!!! Spend half the night in my bed with pillows and other half in reclining chair with travel neck pillow. I learned from my lymphedema arm about putting a sleeve cover on (girls tights) so I used that concept to cut the tights to cover the drain bags, so it is not so unsightly for others in my home and when going out.

I was totally constipated from pain meds (taking 2 docusate/colace in am to soften stool and 2 senokot in pm). Homecare RN said I could take 2 senokot also in the am. It worked!! but I clogged the toilet, so would recommend getting some Draino just in case before your hospital stay. Also, I loaded up on frozen food, etc but forgot about laundry and dishwasher detergent.

I am now just over a week post op, doing well, mostly walking not so hunched over. 2 of the 3 drains out. No regrets.


Dx 3/2016, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Chemotherapy 5/9/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Dx 11/2016, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Dx 1/2017, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs Targeted Therapy Ibrance (palbociclib) Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole)
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Mar 9, 2018 10:18PM hapi2bee wrote:

Re: Gardengirl - find yourself a gynecological oncologist, NOTHING less (research Society of Gynecological Oncologist - SGO) for a list. They are specialists in women's reproductive cancers. Mine saved my life, 51 ovarian cancer stage 3, two very large tumors. 8 taxol/caboplatin chemos - 22 years later still kicking.

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Mar 20, 2018 10:57AM KellyBee wrote:

Hi All,

Please feel free to delete if this is considered spam. I would like to donate a helpful product. Since my bilateral mastectomy almost 5 years ago, I have been working to come up with a good way to manage drains after surgery. I would like to give away one of my post mastectomy hoodies to one user from each forum that I post this in. I really think this is super helpful for drain management and it looks like a normal hoodie, so can still be worn after surgery. I am just trying to do something to give back to a community that was so helpful to me when I was going thru my surgery and cancer diagnosis. I would love it if anyone knows of any other forums or blogs where they would welcome a giveaway for one of these. Please PM me if you would be interested. I will give one away, but I will also offer coupon code "FRIEND10" for 10% off for any users of this site. Good luck to all of you who have upcoming surgeries!My only other recommendation post surgery is lots of pillows for propping yourself up at

Post Mastectomy Hoodie with Drain Pockets

Dx 7/13/2013, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 7/18/2013 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 7/18/2013 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy Breast
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Mar 26, 2018 02:53PM Nursepatient35 wrote:

I would suggest some press and seal Saran wrap. It works great to cover your chest, drain sites, etc so you can shower. Also make sure when you get your pain meds to ask the pharmacy to NOT use child safety caps. You'll have a hard time opening those for a couple weeks.

Dx 1/9/2018, DCIS, Left, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/14/2018 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 4/25/2018 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Apr 2, 2018 01:55PM Lilypond wrote:

So many good replies! One thing I found made things much easier was what are called Pink Pockets. They are sold online. They are adhesive pockets that stick to the inside of your pajama top (and boy, do they stick!) to hold the drains and keep them from flopping around while you are walking, sleeping, etc. I found them invaluable. They also help to keep the bulbs at the end of the drain from "pulling" at your skin.

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Apr 3, 2018 01:07PM AbbeyNormal wrote:

@Lilypond, I was thinking of getting the Pink Pockets! You just sold me. So glad they worked out for you!

Dx 2/1/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/11/2018 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Apr 3, 2018 03:53PM Oceanbum wrote:

My oncology nurse navigator gave me velcro pockets to attach to my surgical bra for the drains. They were lifesavers!! They just velcroed to the underside of the bra and the drains slipped right into the pocket. It helped keep the drains in place just below my breasts. It held the 2 drains I had after my mastectomy on each side just fine. And then I used them again when I had my exchange surgery. She also gave me a lanyard to safety pin the drains to when I showered. And she gave me pillows that velcroed to my seatbelt to cushion my breasts after surgery. They were awesome!! I used them for weeks after surgery!!

Becky ~ "Sometimes we're tested not to show our weaknesses, but to discover our strengths." Surgery 11/2/2000 Dx 3/6/2017, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/21/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 4/21/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 4/21/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 4/21/2017 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/5/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 9/25/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Targeted Therapy 10/3/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 12/15/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 4/20/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy 12/6/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 6/7/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Apr 20, 2018 06:13AM Sweet_Pea wrote:

This is just information for your amusement: in Spain the drains are larger and generally you go in to the hospital and they take the measurement and replace the drain bottle. So I had read on here about the lanyard and took it with me, only to have one of the specialized PTs tell me that it was the first time she had seen anyone do it that way! She said they should have told me about how to deal with the drains (carry them) before I left the hospital after my mastectomy, but that generally women carry a light PURSE around and put the drains in that. I think I'm going to try it next week with my exchange surgery. The PS said I would leave the hospital with one drain, so....

V. thankful for this thread and list! <3

First dx ADH 6/2017, 2nd dx IDC+DCIS 7/2017 Dx 7/13/2017, DCIS/IDC: Mucinous, Right, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/29/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 4/24/2018 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Apr 27, 2018 10:42PM LisaK12 wrote:

I really appreciate this list. However, for anyone reading this who is going through it for the first time and wondering whether they actually need all of this and how they can possibly afford it all, I just wanted to offer an alternate perspective. Depending on the type of surgery you are having, you may not need many/any of these items. For my two lumpectomies I did not even have drains or need special clothes or care of any kind. For my double mastectomy, I did have four drains (two on each side), but the hospital provided two mastectomy bras with drain holders so I didn't have to buy any, and they instructed me to wear them 24/7. They sent me home with lots of gauze pads to insert in my bra every time I changed the dressing. They also supplied bacitracin ointment to take home and apply on my incisions. They did not want me to shower until all of my drains were out, so I treated myself to a hair wash at a nearby spa one time. I did not bother getting a manicure or pedicure beforehand, because if there is one time in your life when everyone will cut you some slack, it is after major surgery. I did not have any trouble getting into or out of bed once I was home (maybe this is because my reconstruction was pre-pectoral rather than underneath the muscle). Nor did I have any trouble opening child-proof medicine bottles. My only point is, you may or may not need all of these things, and the only way to know for sure is to go through it yourself and see what you need. For me, I'm glad I did not spend a ton of money on a recliner or wedge pillows or other items, because I ended up just fine using the pillows we had at home. I did not need new silk jammies because I was comfy in my regular ones. I didn't need bendy straws because I was able to sit up just fine to drink fluids upright, and because after the first day the doctors and nurses wanted me sitting up in a chair as much as possible rather than laying down in bed anyway. What was helpful to me: soft tank tops/Ts/camisoles (I was able to pull them over my head just fine), lightweight scarves (to wear over T-shirts and help cover up my lumpy bumpy front while it was bandaged and recovering), comfy sweats/pull-on pants/PJs, Tylenol, stool softener, water, an iPad with books/movies/games (and charger), a hair tie/barrette to pull my hair back and get it out of the way, cell phone and charger, kleenex, hand wipes, a pad of paper and pencil/pen for keeping track of when I took meds and/or the amounts of fluid emptied from my drains. An extension cord was also helpful at the hospital so I could just leave electronics plugged in and use my computer/iPad/phone as much as I wanted without having to get up. Once I was home, it was nice to have a blank box of thank you notes (and stamps) at hand, ready to be written out to those who were helpful.

Dx 12/29/2017, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+ Surgery 1/8/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 1/18/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 4/9/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jun 6, 2018 02:58PM Aussie-Cat wrote:

Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I have found these lists so helpful over the months and it's comforting to know I'll be more prepared for my surgery on 19th June because of this forum. I've got my jackets with pockets on the inside, an extra long phone cable, a silicon lanyard for the shower, a back scratcher, and hand sanitiser etc.

Diagnosed with nerve pain (post mastectomy pain syndrome) July 2018. Twin sister died of breast cancer May 2019. Surgery 6/18/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right

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