• Bilateral mastectomy what to have on hand at home?

    Asked by car092360 on Sunday, December 4, 2011

    Bilateral mastectomy what to have on hand at home?

    Any ideas that I haven't thought of for at home recovery - living in a roommate situation and will be taking care of myself basically. Wedge bed pillow, button down shirts, soft t-shirt or camisoles, and drain pockets. Anything else I should have at home? Suggestions? Thanks so much!

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • sofarsogood's Avatar

      If you go home with drains, you may need safety pins to keep them out the way. I pinned them to my underwear.
      Large gauze sponges. Not only for your bAndage, but as disposable wash cloths.
      Pillows of different sizes to help position for sleep or resting. Small soft ones are good in addition to the wedge .
      Portable or cell phone near you bedside
      Frozen dinners
      Surprisingly a comfortable sports bra. You'll probably get a surgical bra in the hospital, but it's good to have a spare for the wash. It applies pressure to the wound and keeps the bandages dry
      You'll be surprised how good you'll feel. It's really not that bad, esp compared to a hysterectomy or something

      almost 5 years ago
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar

      The only thing I would add is a good book or project to keep your mind busy while you are recovering and your iPod. Good luck to you!

      almost 5 years ago
    • digger6218's Avatar

      STEP stool to get into bed. Stool softeners as the pain meds are constipating. Frozen dinners especially if alone. As before leaving hospital if they can get home health care. Our insurance covers it, and a flu shot. You wont be able to grab anything that drops on the floor, so a grabber. All laundry done before. Lol

      almost 5 years ago
    • PetraW's Avatar

      I wore a necklace during that time and safety pinned my drains to it, while taking a sit-bath with little water in the tub. At least you feel you can keep yourself clean and it is easy to sponge yourself off. I had friends who cooked for me for some time. It was like a dinner brigade for our family (I have two kids and a husband). You really cannot carry anything and it is good to buy things in small containers, that are light, i.e. milk in quart cartons. I cut my long hair short before the surgery, so it would not be such a fuss to wash it. For the first two weeks my husband helped me wash it. I had reconstruction started immediately after the mastectomy and the wound was not stitched but they used surgical glue and so after two weeks, it was no problem to sprinkle a little water on it, while washing my hair.

      To support the healing process I took arnica and comfrey little tablets from the health food store. Both are homeopathic remedies and are excellent to heal bruising and support new tissue growth. I healed up very fast. I took it before and then after the surgery as often as you like, i.e. every hour.

      The gauze pads were very helpful, I used the 10X10cm ones.

      almost 5 years ago
    • hikerchick's Avatar

      Also, at least 2 ice packs or frozen bags of peas to rotate use of. And a lotion that works to help you stop itching, if you can find one (my upper arms and shoulder blades drove me crazy). I was only in the hospital for one night and came home and did laundry immediately so I guess everyone is different. My chest ran very cold for the first several weeks and the post-op cami with great pockets for the drains was too tight in the arms from the swelling so I ended up needing very snug tank tops or tube tops as my first layer. Though after your scars heal and the drains come out there won't be anything to hold a tube top up! I discovered that the hard way. Be sure to do post-op stretches religiously 3 times a day - it really pays off and be sure to get more advanced stretches and scar manipulation techniques for about 3 weeks post-op (you may need a physical therapist for this). You may be discouraged from driving until both drains come out.
      I was off pain pills in a couple days but the numbness and itching persisted. That was the worst of it for me. I hope you don't experience that and just breeze through the physical part. Also, reeeealy a good time to take care of yourself and take it easy.
      Best of luck to you! My 1 year anniversary is coming up in a few weeks.

      almost 5 years ago
    • pj1955's Avatar

      I prefer the sports bra also. I received the softee from the hospital before going home. I thought the sizes ran big so you might want to ask some others about that. If you are diabetic you want to be really careful about your diet. This caused some problems for me healing properly, so if you are talk to your doctor about this. Definitely have the laundry and chores are caught up.

      almost 5 years ago
    • catlady's Avatar

      Another suggestion you might not have run across but which helped me: bendy straws. You might not be able to lift even a glass very well.

      Also, a small pillow to put between your chest and the seat belt when you have to travel by car.

      almost 5 years ago
    • car092360's Avatar

      Thank you all for you answers. Lots of ideas that I didn't think of like the pillow for the seat belt for the ride home from the hospital! Didn't even think of that. I've taken all the ideas and made my shopping lists. Thanks again!

      almost 5 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar

      Thank you for your question. I hope all is well!

      Your question reminded me of some experience content we have on the site. One of the pages is about experience with a double mastectomy:


      One more thing, is I wanted to let other WhatNexters know about our Beginner's Guide to Cancer, which includes a guide on how women chose between a lumpectomy and mastectomy.


      Best of luck to all,

      about 3 years ago

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