Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Preparing for Mastectomy

I've been spending the past two weeks preparing the home for my upcoming surgery. I'm hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. I've found lots of information online for things that are useful to have, and here's what I've gathered. Later on I'll try to edit it with things I didn't need or wish I had.

Mastectomy pillows. You can buy these several places (etsy, amazon...) but I went here for a pattern and made my own. They go under your arms and are supposed to relieve pressure & be pretty useful. 

Sleeping is very uncomfortable/painful for a while after surgery (one month out and still can't get a good night's rest), this long pregnancy pillows is a lifesaver. I use this a lot even while not sleeping. I bring it down to the couch and sort of wrap it around my body so my arms can rest on top of it. I also went ahead and grabbed one and a pillowcase. I hesitated spending this much money on a pillow, but I'm so glad I did.

Button up pj's and slip on shoes. comfortable things that are easy to get on and off. I wore my pj's home from the hospital so I wouldn't have to change again. You'll need all the help you can get, so dress comy! Satin pj's have been another very useful piece of clothing. Since they are more "slippery" they make getting out of bed much easier.
Front zip sports bras-it actually turns out that I'm not allowed to wear a bra at all for the time being (I had a nipple sparing mastectomy & have to wear loose clothing). I think these will be great after my exchange surgery though!
I also went a couple of times to Goodwill to find some easy to put on shirts for cheap. I've been told it'll be about a month before I can lift my hands over my head, so I went on a search for easy to wear clothing. I also made sure to buy things larger than normal for comfort. Button ups were an obvious choice, but I also looked for tops that could be put on feet first-so things with elastic necklines in a larger than normal size worked perfectly! Truth is for the first two weeks I was so miserable I only wore pajamas. The most comfortable thing ended up being a cami or tank top loose enough to slip over my legs with a cardigan over. I did wear the blue shirt to doctor appointments though! One month out I can pretty much wear my regular clothes-although anything too tight causes muscle spasms & some things I have to have help getting off.

So far I have a super organized freezer. This beauty could win prizes. I made 11 freezer meals, plus added other super easy meals (ravioli, hot pockets, meatballs, burritos....). I even went ahead and froze a weeks worth of sandwiches for school lunches.

To go along with easy lunches, I added these little baskets to the fridge, so that the kids can pack their own lunches if ever the need arose. Honestly, at this point I don't know if I'm being a good wife, or if I'm just seriously struggling with letting go of control, because I know my husband actually IS capable of making lunch for the kids. He appreciates the effort though.

 DRY SHAMPOO- Do yourself a favor and buy this! I wasn't allowed to shower for two weeks until all four jp drains were removed. I also couldn't lift my hands to my head for those first two weeks. My husband helped me wash my hair a few times with me leaning over the tub & pouring cupfuls of water, but dry shampoo was used a lot. I also used baby wipes to freshen up a bit.

 Dial antibacterial soap to use the night before surgery, (I had to purchase HIBICLENS soap for my exchange surgery-found near the bandaids) hand sanitizer (EVERYWHERE! Especially if you have kids or people visiting), and a thermometer to check for fever.

 After my mastectomy, it was two weeks before I could shower, but I would sit on a small stool in the tub and wash up the best I could do that way (without getting any bandages wet). I would safety pin the jp drains to a cheap lanyard I purchased at the Dollar Tree. Later, when I had my exchange surgery, I was able to shower right away (even though I had drains that time) so I would shower with the drains clipped to a lanyard.
 Big, cozy plush blanket:
This one isn't really a necessity, but I bought myself a twin sized plush blanket ($20 at Target) and that thing ended going everywhere with me. It was nice having a blanket long enough to really cover up with, but not too heavy (it's shocking what will seem heavy after surgery!).

Laxatives: Keeping it real here. Between iron pills, anesthesia, and opiods, things got stopped up really bad. Have stuff on hand, just in case.

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