• just wondering if anyone had advice to mastecomy surgery, I'm having a dble and was wondering what I should take to hospital ?

    Asked by polgara on Thursday, October 18, 2012

    just wondering if anyone had advice to mastecomy surgery, I'm having a dble and was wondering what I should take to hospital ?

    Anything I should need post op, like comfy pj's, loose fitting shirts etc. Kinda like when you get advice your pregnancy and labor but for cutting your boobs off.

    25 Answers from the Community

    25 answers
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar

      First, I'd change it to a positive by saying "getting rid of the cancer" instead of "cutting your boobs off". Attitude is important! What does your breast surgeon/nurses say about what to bring? I woke up in the hospital 8/21 with my chest stuffed, wearing an industrial-strength bra, which I was to wear for the next several weeks.

      One thing I'm glad I did--before hand, go to Goodwill and buy about 12 different tank tops. I never could wear them before my surgery (was too bosomy), but now it's fun to pop one under my clothes every day! I have a great variety of them and didn't have to worry about them getting blood or drain fluid on them. With this new ability to wear these cute tops, I rarely miss my large breasts any more.

      Will have reconstruction sometime after chemo, and will opt for a DIEP procedure. That way, I'll not only get the smaller breasts I want this time, but a tummy tuck as well! Those are the positive thoughts I think of whenever I start worrying about my cancer.

      Good luck & stay in touch. There are a lot of women out there who have absolutely thrived after going through what we need to go through! :-)

      almost 8 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      I can't answer from the mastectomy point of view, as I had a hysterectomy, but I can make some suggestions as far as stuff to make you comfie in the hospital. First and foremost -- remember your picture ID and insurance card. That is important. I brought books, as I'm a big reader. I remembered both my reading glasses and my distance glasses (to watch tv). I also had two little stuffed kitties given to me by friends (yes, I'm over 40...). I was in for 4 days, and I didn't have to have anyone bring me anything.

      For after surgery -- do you live alone? If you have an in home support system, great! I live w/cats, and while I love them dearly, they can't do stuff like make me dinner or help me in the bathroom if I get wobbly. I stayed w/my best friend and her family until we were both confident that I could fend for myself and was stable enough to make it up & down the stairs in my condo. Also, I was on injectable blood thinners -- my friend is a non-insulin dependant diabetic, but she did have an injectable, so she was helping me with that. So we also had to make sure I was proficient in stabbing myself w/the meds. A good pair of comfie slippers is a must. Mine was in Aug, but this time of year, a good fuzzy robe might be good, too. I even bought a fuzzy blanket to drag w/me to chemo. Oh, was I glad to have that for my session yesterday!

      The best of luck to you w/you upcoming surgery. May everything go perfectly and your surgeon have hands of gold!

      almost 8 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      A lot fo the "what you will need" will depend on if you are getting immediate reconstruction or not. Your surgeon should have discussed this with you. As I was getting immedaite reconstruction, I couldn't lift my arms above my head for a few weeks so needed to wear button up shirts not pull overs.

      almost 8 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      I had a double mastectomy. This surgery sounds awful, but it really isn't so bad. I don't remember much pain associated with it and I healed pretty fast. The most irksome thing is the drains that you have to "milk." The drains are removed post surgery when their output falls below a certain level. They may be in 10 days to two weeks. The nurse will help you with them while you are in the hospital, but you are on your own at home. I have read that there are special camisoles you can buy to help hold them. I pinned my to the inside of my oversized t-shirts.

      I didn't have immediate reconstruction and opted for big long sleeved t's to wear directly following surgery.

      The one thing I wished I had brought with me to the hospital were some comedies to watch. My sister went out and picked some up for me. They really helped me get my mind off the surgery. Best wishes for an uneventful surgery and speedy healing.

      almost 8 years ago
    • teddyfuzz's Avatar

      Hi polgara. I cut my boobs off too. They tried to kill me so they had to GO! Right after my double mastectomy, one of the nurses gave me a couple of "wife-beater" type men's tank tops. I lived in those for a week or so because they stretch and are easy to get on and off without having to lift your arms too high. If you're going to have drains I would also recommend something like a Poucharoo. It's a terrycloth belt with velcro that has pockets for the drains. Without something like this to hold the drains, you have to safety pin the drains to your clothes. As surgeries go, this one is relatively easy to recover from. I needed someone to help me in and out of bed for about three days but after that I could do things for myself. When I woke up after my surgery I wasn't sad about losing my breasts - I was relieved that the cancer had been removed. I hope you feel the same way. Sending you hugs and positive thoughts.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      Oh also, a local woman (local to my area) invented a Shower Shirt which I believe you can order online so you can shower with your drains in. I wish I had known about it after my srugery when I couldn't take a "real" shower for the 2 weeks my drains were in.

      almost 8 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      For the first week or so post surgery, you will need tops that open in the front (like blouses)...nothing pull over the head....comfy skirts or pants....like Ydnar, I wear tanks, or cami's under my tops, but post surgery I had to wear a surgical bra...when I came off, I didn't wear anything, till I had my exchange.....I felt pretty decent about 2 weeks post bilat.....

      almost 8 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      I had a little pillow given to me from some knowledgeable and crafty church ladies. The pillow was inserted between my breasts and the seatbealt on the way home. I used it for nearly a month following my surgery. For about five days, I was so sore that what I was wearing didn't matter. After that, though, front button pajamas and a nice robe were important.

      almost 8 years ago
    • bethmac3s' Avatar

      I would definitely bring a button down shirt, because you will have drains, also a small pillow, to hold when you cough, or for the ride home with the seat belt. I also wore a lot of tank tops with the built in shelf. I had my surgery in March, hang in there! Its for the best!

      almost 8 years ago
    • Kelli's Avatar

      Hi Polgara, don't take anything that you will have to pull over your head or where you will need to lift your arms at all. I took sweat pants and the jacket. My husband could get them both o n and i did not have to do any reaching with my arms. I also got a camisole for recovery, it has pockets to hold all the drains you will be taking home with you. Get them anywhere where they sell mastecomy products. Most inportant for me was very very loose clothing. I had doubles. Good luck with your surgery.

      almost 8 years ago
    • LuvinSis' Avatar

      I have had breast surgery though not a mastectomy. While you are in the hospital you'll likely want to stick with hospital gowns. You don't want any drainage (via drainage tubes or bandage) getting on Pj's or your own clothes. Places like Goodwill are ideal for inexpensive blouses you cn easily take on and off. Get a size larger than you usually wear for the first few weeks as it's easier to get on and off. I bought about 4. I purchased some comfy button down tees in pre-shrunk cotton from Woman Within catalog. Their sizes are larger than I normally wear but they were SO com fire. I've since pulled those same shirts out after spine surgeries and hand surgery with a large cast/bandage. First few days I sleep in them Z well they are that comfortable.

      almost 8 years ago
    • princess123's Avatar

      Don't forget while shopping for button up shirts. You don't want tiny buttons. The larger the better when your fingers feel kind of fumbly.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar

      My neice had a double mastecomy a few years ago. She had cancer in the one breast, but asked that they remove both. When they checked the other breast... good thing they did it was tiny... but it was there. This triggered chemo. She lost her hair. Remember those beautiful women on Star Treck??? oops no your much too young. She looked lovely and wouldn't buy a wig. I tried to give her one of mine... but she wore the most beautiful hats, and scarves and managed to look fashionable the entire time. She had expanders placed and jokingly told her hubby that because he was wonderful throughout the entire process... she was giving him a "D".... Sorry... but we do have to find the humor... or it gets harder. Laughing and smiling beats moping. I was 62 when I got ovarian cancer diagnosed. I'm 69 now... and cancer free!!!!

      almost 8 years ago
    • Heather's Avatar

      Bring a pillow for the ride home - it protected me from the seat belt. Hang in there!

      almost 8 years ago
    • Snooks' Avatar

      I made the mistake of not having both breasts removed at the same time, so I went through this twice. Not smart! However, I remember having to wear loose fitting (button down) shirts for about a month. Anything that is comfortable will do. I also remember the joy of not having to wear a bra anymore (if I didn't want to). See there can be happiness in all this madness. Good Luck.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Momx3's Avatar

      The hospital provided a belt that helped hold the drainage tubes. I used paper tape at the drainage sites to keep the tubes from tugging at the sites too. I took home 2 bras from the hospital that velcroed in front and wore them for weeks, but I had immediate reconstruction. We have a breast resource center here in Austin and they provide free tanks that velcro in front and have pockets for the drainage bulbs and provide small pillows that come in handy. I still use the pillows when sleeping to prop my arms or the sides of my chest (I'm 8 weeks out and had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction with tissue from my thighs). I made sure to have plenty of pillows when I got home to make it comfortable to sleep and rest. It helped to prop my arms up when I slept. There are at ton of recs on everything you can think of at youngsurvival.org. Good luck. It's a big deal so don't let anyone minimize what you are going through!

      almost 8 years ago
    • myb's Avatar

      I was in hospital for 6 days for a colon cancer resection.

      I brought my own comfy pillow from home, and insisted that my husband and son have it waiting for me in my room when I got there after surgery. Unfortunately, the pillow was in a bag with my toiletries, so hospital took the tweezers and small scissors out when xray'd bag after hours when they were bringing it to me. They got them back when they were leaving, but just something to think about. Mind you during the day, could bring anything in to the hospital.

      Also I had some tension tamer and chamomile tea bags and gluten free buillion (sp?) cubes for making when I could finally have liquids. Nurses used to ask what kind of tea I was drinking because it smelled so good.

      Ipod for trying to drown out the surrounding noise from roommate's 24*7 tv, IV machines beeping, ...

      Cell phone and charger

      bathrobe and slippers for walking around hospital floor

      notebook, to write down questions for doctor or note milestones.

      I requested folks to not send flowers while I was in hospital as really didn't want them, plus no place to really put anything anyway. I asked instead for people to donate to my Son's Relay For Life fundraiser. Also ask folks not to call as I used to only be able to grab short naps before interrupted for vitals, blood draw, doc visits, roommate's visitors, ...

      The hospital floor had a family room with pc, so used to log in to it to send email updates to folks. Hospital had free wifi, but I didn't want to have my laptop with me to worry about.

      I sent an email out to friends and family right before I went in, and said above and that my husband would respond after I got out of surgery with an update. My husband also had a phone list of people to call who weren't email people.

      I also asked for no visitors because only goal was to get out of there as fast as I could. My mother insisted on visiting me, so I had my son drive her out to visit. My husband was staying at hotel associated with hospital, so when I got tired he would leave and I would txt him when I woke up from nap. His job was to get me up and about walking and blowing into that thing to keep my lungs cleared.

      almost 8 years ago
    • JudyW's Avatar

      Make sure you have some tips that button up and aren't too tight. They should have pockets for your drains and should be easy to manage. In additions, find some shoes you can skip on and off easily without having to bend over. My phone won't let me you're S-L-I-P, but I hope you can . understand. Your pants, too, should be comfortable to put on and take off without struggling.

      almost 8 years ago
    • GetMyLifeBack's Avatar

      I think anything button up and loose is key. Also, my camisole with the zipper in front and the pockets for the drains was essential. I had the bilateral with immediate reconstruction. First week of recovery sucked but it got better and at our age recovery usually goes well.

      almost 8 years ago
    • JudyW's Avatar

      I'm going to try again here...your tops should button up and be easy to manage. Your shoes should slip on and off easily without tying. Slip on, elastic waist pants, too. I never even got a chance to wear the cute pajamas I bought. They had me in the hospital gown for the surgery and I left the next day. I wore a zip up hoodie and put the drains in the pockets...that worked well for me. If you build yourself a little cocoon with pillows in bed, you won't be able to turn over. They wanted me on my back ONLY for a good two weeks, and, frankly, that was the only comfortable position. I had folds bringing my son and me since he was only 11 and it was just the two of us. The doc did not want me cleaning out litter boxes for a couple of weeks, either...for the stretching as well as the bacteria, so a friend came over once a day to feed the cats and take care of the litter. My dogs stayed with another friend for at least a week XXX-surgery. I think it was more like two weeks. I have three Beagles and one of them was just over a year old when I had surgery, so I couldn't tolerate the pulling. I think that's about it. Hope this helps!

      almost 8 years ago
    • MarnieC's Avatar

      I just wrote an article about that very thing this week - hope it helps! http://marnieclark.com/tips-for-surgery-useful-items-to-take-with-you/

      almost 8 years ago
    • jenniferk's Avatar

      I did a lot of research on products available for the drainage bags before my surgery. They all seemed over priced. I took scrubs with over sized cargo type pockets in the tops and in the pants. I would put 2 drainage bags in pant pockets and 2 in top pockets. If you have never worn scrubs they are very comfortable. They feel like pajamas and you can get them in all sorts of colors. I just used 2 tops and 2 pants. Usually your drains come out fairly quickly. Mine did not. They were in 6 long weeks. When I first woke up from the surgery the had the drains attached to my hospital gown with large safety pins. The bags just flopped around that way and I got tired of looking at the fluid. When I had the drains in my scrub pockets people usually didnt even notice. As far as showering I used the safety pins then. I used a narrow belt and ran it through the safety pin after it was attached to the bag. I would hook all 4 bags on belt and attach around my waist and take a shower. I haven't had a lot of surgery. I had a hysterectomy 4 years ago and bilateral mastectomy 2 1/2 years ago. The surgery is really not painful at all. I had immediate reconstruction and it was a nightmare. Wont go in to all the details. Would not rec immediate reconstruction to anyone. My body finally rejected expanders and the were removed. I just go flat now.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Myungclas' Avatar

      Something soft to wear that you can get into without having to raise your arms over your head. The special camisoles with snaps down the front and tiny pockets for the drains are well worth the cost. Hang in there. If we all did it, you can too!

      almost 8 years ago
    • Bellamore's Avatar

      I like to travel light. For my surgery I brought a tooth brush, comb, cell phone and journal. They supply you with anything you need. Speedy recovery!

      almost 8 years ago
    • Mel's Avatar

      Hi, I had a bi-lateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction I did not take much at all to hospital my mom and boyfriend went with me, hospital only kept me 1 day had my surgery April 17th a.m. and next day I was leaving hospital at noon had a horrible roommate!! was up all night was supposed to of had my own room but they were so booked.

      Felt like a Mac Truck hit me when I came to from surgery they put the expanders in me (which I still have in) the drains were really annoying to me was supposed to have 2 on each side ended up just doing 1 on each side, reconstruction nurse gave me two heavy duty compression bras, mom would safety pin my drains to sides of bra that way out of the way worked out well I just wore a button up shirt and stretchy pants for 3 weeks. My mom came over every day for 3 weeks helped me shower to drain my drains and whatever else needed done so my boyfriend could go to work to wash hair we just made salon appointments every 4 days so nice to go sit and lay back cause it was such a hassle to try at home.

      I have to wait til my chemo is over to finish up with my reconstruction. I'm filled to the max my body will go which I'm satisfied with. I was very very small so now I have some and love it.

      almost 8 years ago

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