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 Apr 20, 2021 02:06PM by moderators

Posted on: Feb 6, 2008 06:43PM - edited Apr 20, 2021 02:06PM 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. Some find a sleeping wedge very helpful, with pillow under the knees.

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-
Log in to post a reply

Page 6 of 117 (1,165 results)

Log in to post a reply

Apr 28, 2008 04:39PM Roxi wrote:

Make sure and eat!!! I made the mistake of taking the pain meds as described on an empty stomach. No matter how much you eat, just make sure your stomach has something to digest. I was so sick on Friday that the surgeon had to call in an anti-nausea medicine. The stool softener with plenty of fruit worked wonders for the constipation.

Dx 3/21/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
Log in to post a reply

May 3, 2008 01:01PM otter wrote:

Fell off to page 2, so bumping again...

otter 

Dx 2008, IDC, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

May 7, 2008 10:44AM lvtwoqlt wrote:

bumping for namaste

Women are like tea bags, we don't know how strong we are until we were thrown into hot water. Eleanore Roosevelt Diagnosed ADH Feb 2005, ADH Sept 2006 Surgery 2/12/2005 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 9/10/2006 Lumpectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 10/12/2006 Dx 4/27/2007, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes Surgery 6/1/2007 Mastectomy: Left, Right
Log in to post a reply

May 11, 2008 09:09PM yellowrose wrote:

bumping

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived though this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' Eleanor Roosevelt
Log in to post a reply

May 14, 2008 01:20PM lvtwoqlt wrote:

bumping back to top

Women are like tea bags, we don't know how strong we are until we were thrown into hot water. Eleanore Roosevelt Diagnosed ADH Feb 2005, ADH Sept 2006 Surgery 2/12/2005 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 9/10/2006 Lumpectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 10/12/2006 Dx 4/27/2007, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes Surgery 6/1/2007 Mastectomy: Left, Right
Log in to post a reply

May 18, 2008 12:49PM AndreaM4567 wrote:

Adding something: ask your Oncologist if you will be needing a port for chemo. If you do, two things:

1. Make sure you get the Purple Power Port! This port allows you to get chemo, get blood taken, CT scans with dye, and bone scans with contrast without needing an IV. The porta caths and the other ports do not have the capability of doing it all.

2. If you do need a port, get it done in your first surgery if you can. If not, and like me you needed a second surgery to fix a few things, ask for it then. You will just need to coordinate your Vascular Surgeon and your PS. Shouldn't be too difficult. I made the unfortunate mistake of not thinking ahead. Therefore, I have had 3 surgeries in the last 6 weeks. Dumb on my part!

BRCA2 + Dx 2/13/2008, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

May 22, 2008 10:09PM - edited May 22, 2008 10:21PM by 1965sally

There's another website that has plus size bras - it's called Big Girl Bras.  You can google that anyway.  I ordered from it in the past.  I never found a good place where I could actually go and try on large bras.  JC Penney, as someone already mentioned, was the only place that had any and they had very few.  You might also look for maternity/nursing bras, though they're not cheap.  I was size E when I was nursing and that's when I found that website.  Post-mastectomy and reduction I'm wearing an old nursing bra of mine now, made by Bravo.  The band is nice and wide and low.  Only thing is it goes over the head, and you can't do that right away after surgery.  It took me about 10-14 days to be able to put something on over my head.

Edited to add:  I found cheap cotton "sports" bras at Wal-Mart, front hooks.  They are not for large cup sizes (label says B-C-D) but I think they go pretty high on band sizes.  They do shrink a bit in the dryer though.  (I put quotes around the word sports because these are not very supportive bras.)  It might also be worth calling one of the mastectomy "boutiques" where you get prostheses and see how big their pocket bras go.  Like you said, large-breasted women get cancer too! 

Mastectomy and reduction 4-30-08
Dx 12/20/2007, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+

Mastectomy and reduction 4-30-08; unilateral lat flap + TE for recon 11-17-10 Dx 12/20/2007, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+
Log in to post a reply

May 23, 2008 10:19AM tmac wrote:

Okay, I didn't read everyone's comments, so I hope I'm not duplicating.  I'm 4 wks. out from bil-mast. w/tissue expanders.  My last fill is next week, yipee, and tentatively scheduled for my exchange late July/early Aug.  I'm going to the beach the 3rd week in August, and would like to start shopping for a bathing suit.  I'm going from an A pre-surgery to a small C.  I love the Lands End suits, especially since they are at Sears and you can now try them on, etc.  Should I wait until my exchange before buying a suit or after my last fill? 

Dx 2/8/2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+
Log in to post a reply

May 23, 2008 10:23AM otter wrote:

tmac, I doubt anyone asked that question on this particular thread, since it deals mostly with the immediate post-recovery period (when you've just come home after surgery).

I think the gals over on the "Reconstruction" topic would have advice for you.  Try posting your question there, to get specific information about post-recon clothing like bathing suits.  I can't help you, because I did not have recon.  Sorry.  (Not sorry that I didn't have recon--sorry that I can't answer your question!)

otter 

Dx 2008, IDC, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

May 23, 2008 10:50AM tmac wrote:

Thanks otter.  Wasn't sure the best place to post :)

Dx 2/8/2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+

Page 6 of 117 (1,165 results)

Scroll to top button