It has officially been 4 weeks since my double mastectomy with reconstruction, a decision I made after being knocked over with the surprising news 3 days after my 38th birthday that I have breast cancer.
During the early weeks I spent nearly every waking hour texting, or on a phone call with a breast cancer survivor. Prayer, and speaking with these brave woman helped me get through the darkness. During our talks, many woman sent me lists of suggested items to help recover after this major surgery.
Here are a few things that I found very helpful.
- Electronic Reclining Chair– The number one suggestion was an electronic reclining chair to help you sleep comfortably on your back. The benefit of the chair is the ability to electronically incline to help you get up and also recline to help you get into position. If you are in the tri-state area “The Recovery Chair” in Mount Laurel, NJ, is a non-profit organization that provides chairs for women. There are similar organizations across the country, however when you call, you may find out just how common breast cancer is, as it is difficult to find an available chair. My insurance company would cover a reclining chair but not electronic, which from my understanding, I would not have been able to operate. Another option was searching Facebook market place for an Electronic Reclining Chair which I did find, but ultimately felt uncomfortable purchasing.
- Pillow Wedge – If you are like me and can not find an electronic chair, this wedge worked great.
- Front Zip Bras -I was shocked to learn I only got one bra with drain holders built in when I went home from surgery. I expected to be able to put a clean bra on! Luckily, my aunts gifted me some “front zip” bras from Kohl’s and I had ordered a drain holder to wear with a bra and also a shower lanyard to hold the drains while I showered. These bras and my husband’s flannels were all I wore for 3 weeks.
- Alcohol wipes – You’ll want some assistance keeping your drain tops and also your counter tops clean. Having these wipes on hand helped me clean up quickly.
- Mastectomy Pillow – You are really about to become a pillow princess. Quite frankly, I think you deserve it. I was told to bring this to hospital and it made thing so comfortable. I am still sleeping with it to help prop my arms in a comfortable place because I don’t love sleeping on my back.
- Seatbelt Cushion – This was sent by a dear friend who has seen first hand how much this tool has helped post-mastectomy.
- Big Drink with a Straw & Electrolytes– You want a straw so that you don’t have to lift your arm to drink. I decided it was time to jump on the Stanley train and purchased a 40oz tumbler. I think if I would have gone any bigger, I would not be able to pick up the full, heavy cup if it was in a spot far away from me like the nightstand. Remember, an item out to the side of you will be heavier than that same item close to you, or in your frontal plane. I replaced the plastic straw with a stainless steel straw and added these Electrolytes that have no sugar added. You can definitely taste it in your water but it’s better than putting sugar into your body when you are fighting cancer.
- Vanicream – Or any non-toxic EWG approved cream to nourish your skin once you have approval from your surgeon. My plastic surgeon recommended Aquaphor for my incisions and I have been using that . So far, everything looks great. Or so, I’m told.
- Organic Matcha tea, Green tea and Black tea– All proven to be great cancer fighters. I ordered my matcha from Japan. However, I have recently heard that China puts out some seriously effective green tea.
- Broccoli Sprouts – Grab these seeds , and these lids for your wide mouth mason jars. First, put three to four tbsps in each jar. Then, cover with filtered water overnight. The next day, shake out all the water and rinse again with filtered water. Shake it out and let sit upside down to continue to drain in a dark corner in the kitchen. Rinse like this twice a day for 4-5 days then they’re done. Take the sprouts and just start throwing them on everything you eat as you recover.