I surrounded myself in blankets post surgery. I had several comfortable and soft blankets that I slept with. I liked the way they felt against my skin. The blanket I am using in this picture is very special and I will tell that story in a later post. Macy, also liked the blankets too. See if you can spot Macy in this picture! Many people also gave me blankets as gifts, so I always had many blankets to choose from.
Pillows became my best friends post surgery. The Wedge helped me lay on my back since it hurt for me to lay on my sides due to my drains. It also made laying in an upright position more comfortable and easy. My counselor friend, BP, bought me a body pillow. The body pillow was very comfortable to lay my head on or put on the side of my body. I would definitely recommend both types of pillows, the more comfortable you are, the better you sleep!
The recliner became a very popular place to sit in my house post surgery. I borrowed my parent’s La-Z-Boy recliner. It was very comfortable sitting in the recliner when I was sore from surgery and had my drains. It released the pressure on my body, especially when I laid all of the way back. If I was not sitting in my recliner, my husband or the dogs would sit in it. After I was healed from surgery and started receiving chemotherapy, we gave the recliner back to my parents. My husband and I decided to buy our own La-Z-Boy recliners and now he has one and I have one. The dogs still like to sit on the recliners. I am glad that I will have my recliner for reconstruction surgery. Continue reading “Post Surgery Recommended Item: Ode to the Recliner”
After surgery, you will be very sore and it will be hard for you to lift items. I remember trying to lift my 30 oz Yeti and I was unable to because it was too heavy. Fortunately for me, my sweet friend gave me a much smaller tumbler as a gift that also reminded me to stay Anchored in HOPE. I continually drank water with lemon throughout the day and my arm was not sore when lifting a much smaller cup.
One post surgery must-have that I definitely recommend is a walkie talkie. They definitely came in handy between the caregiver and me. It was much easier to use than a cell phone and required a lot less effort. I carried the walkie talkie with me throughout the house. Having it near my bedside when I was napping or sleeping made me feel comfortable that I was always able to contact my caregiver if I needed anything.
I could have not lived without my shower belt post-surgery! I wore my shower belt in the shower to hold my drains, which is what it is intended for AND I also wore my shower belt under my clothes. The shower belt is adjustable and was comfortable to wear around my waist. My caregiver pinned my drains to the shower belt so that the drains did not hang.
You will need assistance from your caregiver when showering post-surgery. It will be difficult for you to wash your hair (if you have not had chemotherapy) and your body due to lack of movement of your arms. My doctor recommended body wash that was gentle on the skin and odorless. A small sponge was used when washing my body. My doctor suggested dabbing and not rubbing on the tender areas of my body when using the sponge. I was also told to not face the shower faucet. I purchased a detachable shower head. It was nice to have a flexible shower head when washing. I also purchased a shower seat to sit on while showering. The handles on the shower seat served multiple purposes, I used them to hold onto, place a dry washcloth there in case water got in my eyes, or to hold my drains if I wasn’t wearing my shower belt. (The shower belt is discussed in another post.) I was weak after surgery and standing would have been difficult for me. I also sat on the shower seat in my bedroom when my caregiver dried my hair. My robe also had pockets, so I put my drains in those if I was not wearing my shower belt.
With any type of breast surgery, the drains will need tending to. The drains will need to be stripped and emptied about 3 times a day, especially right after surgery. Before you are released from the hospital, the nurse will show your caregiver the proper way to strip and empty the drains. It is recommended to use alcohol pads when stripping the drains. My caregiver used these alcohol pads to help push the fluid out, starting from the top. After the drains are emptied and the amount is recorded, the drains are placed in the scrub pockets. My caregiver safety pinned the tubes to the scrub pockets so that were secure and would not get caught on anything.
The quote above explained how I felt about my drains. Every time I went to the plastic surgeon for check-ups, I would show him my drain chart knowing that my fluid levels were too high. I had drains for 3-4 weeks and boy was I happy when they were removed! 🙂 The Anchor – Edition 8 was dedicated to the removal of my last drain and crush the cup!
Buttons, zippers, and clasps will become your best friends post-surgery. Around the house, I wore my scrubs with buttons. When I left the house, I wore button down shirts. Wearing shirts with buttons made it easy at the doctor’s office when I had to change into a gown.
After surgery, my surgeon gave me a compression bra to wear, but it was very uncomfortable. I purchased post mastectomy bras from Amazon with clasps. I also purchased sports bras from Amazon with zippers. I was unsure about what size to order after surgery, so I bought and washed various bras so that I would be prepared to wear them at home. Looking back, I would have ordered the bras from Amazon not so far in advance and would have not washed them until I knew that they fit, so that I would have been able to return them before the 30 day limit. The problem was that none of them fit, so my mom had to go to Dillard’s to purchase bras that fit. Dillard’s has a line of bras for women that have had mastectomies. A friend and breast cancer survivor said that she wore a tank top with a self bra post surgery.