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Mastectomy Recovery - What You Need to be Prepared

 

how to prepare for a mastectomy recovery

Mastecomy Recovery - Find out what Mastectomy clothing and other helpful items you will want for your Mastectomy recovery without spending more than you need to.

I really didn’t know much about what was involved with a mastectomy or mastectomy recovery before I had one. I think I was in denial and didn't really want to know. It was only a week before my surgery that I found out I would leave the hospital with four surgical drains hanging out of my body to collect excess fluid that would build up from the surgery. These would stay in for two weeks and needed to be drained four times a day. It was a gross and painful process. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with these drains. I consulted a friend who had gone through the surgery recently and she described a frustrating process of pinning the drains to the inside of your shirt so they weren’t just hanging out and painfully swinging around. Each one would then need to be unpinned and then repinned four times a day for draining. At the time of my surgery, there was very little information out there about preparing for a mastectomy. When I finally got up the nerve to start doing some internet research, I was very disappointed to find so little information available. 

Here are my recommendations for some things to help get you through your cancer journey feeling normal during a very abnormal time. These items also won't break the bank, because you will only need them for a short time so why spend more than you need to. 

Zip or Button Front Tops

You will not be able to lift your arms after your surgery, so any kind of button down or zip up shirt is essential. Bonus if it has pockets for the drains! There are a lot of options out there for mastectomy clothing and surgical recovery garments, but a lot of them are expensive and look like surgical garments. This was my main reason for creating Kelly Bee Designs and why my post mastectomy zip up hoodie is a best seller. It looks just like a regular hoodie so you can leave the house feeling normal. Plus, you can still wear it after your surgery and it has adorable fabric for the pockets with the option to customize.  Order two hoodies and get a free "fight" hat.

Post Mastectomy Hoodie with Drain Pockets by Kelly Bee Designs

Post Mastectomy Hoodie with Surgical Drain Pockets    mastectomy clothing recovery surgical drains

Hook or Zip Front Bras

Your doctor might give you a surgical bra when you leave the hospital, but you will want at least one more. Annette makes a super comfortable line of surgical bras. There are a lot of options on their website, but they also make this comfortable and reasonably priced option for Target

Annette Faja Post Surgical Front Close Recovery Bra

Mastectomy Recovery Front Close Bra Annette    Mastectomy Zip Front Bra Cancer Recovery Annette

Pillows  

Full disclosure here, sleeping is not going to be fun for a little while. You will want to sleep at an incline to relieve some pressure and help with the drains. You can either pile up a whole bunch of pillows or get one of these wedge pillows to help. 

Bed Wedge Pillow for Sleeping*

preparing for mastectomy recovery

These heart shaped mastectomy pillows made by SewlyOne can be placed under the arms after surgery to prevent rubbing tender areas and for comfort and support. There is an adjustable ribbon strap to hold it secure as well as a pocket that can hold a small ice or heat pack near the surgical site. There are also lots of beautiful fabrics to choose from. This would make a great mastectomy recovery gift as they are not only functional but also made with beautiful fabrics.

Mastectomy Comfort Pillow by SewlyOne

Mastectomy Recovery Pillow Breast Cancer Post Op

Here are some perfectly sized hot or cold reusable ice packs to put in those pillows. Microwave or freeze.

3x5 Gel Ice Pack Reusable

gel heat ice pack for mastectomy recovery pillow

Personal Care Products

You are not going to be able to shower for a while after surgery if you come home with surgical drains. And even if you could, you won't be able to lift your arms to wash your hair. Dry shampoo is a great option during this period, or whenever you want to extend the time between shampoos. CoCoLavish created her products to fill a void in stores providing safe and effective personal care products. The dry shampoo comes in different shades to match your hair color. Use code "friend10" for 10% off.

Dry Shampoo by CoCoLavish

Dry Shampoo Mastectomy Surgical Drains Shower     Dry Shampoo Mastectomy Surgical Drains Shower

Try a no-rinse foam cleanser to stay fresh when you can't shower. Just soap up and wipe off. Perfect for surgical recovery. 

Medline Remedy Phytoplex Hydrating No Rinse Cleansing Foam*

Other options include these no-rinse bathing wipes. They are pre-moistened wipes that you can microwave for a warm bath experience. 

No Rinse Microwaveable Cleansing Wipes

If you do get the ok to shower with your drains still in, you will need a way to keep the drains held up so that you have use of your hands. All you need is a simple lanyard like the one below. Put it around your neck and add some safety pins to it to hold the drains up. You can put them behind your back to keep them from getting too wet. 

Black Woven Lanyard*

 

Surgical Drain Care

Here are a few products I recommend keeping on hand to help keep your drains and surgical site clean and dry for quick healing: Alcohol Wipes, Hand Sanitizer, Gauze Pads and Medical Tape. This first aid kit has everything you need and then some.

First Aid Only First Aid Kit*

 

 Kelly Bee Surgical Drain Care Kit in "Fight" Cosmetic Bag

This cosmetic bag is perfect to throw in with a breast cancer or mastectomy gift. Comes with some drain care supplies to get you started and a cute cosmetic bag you can continue to use after. 

Mastectomy surgical drain care kit breast cancer

The breast cancer journey is long and hard. I am hoping to help make it a little bit easier. I would love to hear about what products or things you found most helpful during your mastectomy recovery. Sign up below to stay posted on new items added. 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

2 comments

  • I am one year post-mastectomy. I read your list and it is spot on. I would add an electric toothbrush

    Rebecca Gallagher
  • Thank you for your innovation and your great design’s. A BIG FAN!

    Phyllis O Burnett

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