21 answers

Hospital Stay After a Mastectomy

I have a friend that was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and I would like to put together a little package of things she will need while in the hospital. I was thinking things such as pony tail holders, chapstick, chocolate....but I was wondering if there was something else that might be needed. The kind of things you would want but forgot to pack. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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This is a very silly suggestion, but every friend of mine who has been in the hospital appreciated it. Pack a coloring book and crayons. It satisfies the need to do something, keeps the patient busy, but doesn't require much mental energy. Each time I've done that my friends have scoffed, but in the end I always get a very grateful phone call saying how much coloring alleviated boredom without taxing them.

1 mom found this helpful

The best gift I received and still enjoy is a very small pillow, size of for a baby and pillow cases. I still use it for under my arm,it is priceless!!!

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This is a very silly suggestion, but every friend of mine who has been in the hospital appreciated it. Pack a coloring book and crayons. It satisfies the need to do something, keeps the patient busy, but doesn't require much mental energy. Each time I've done that my friends have scoffed, but in the end I always get a very grateful phone call saying how much coloring alleviated boredom without taxing them.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,
As Breast Cancer Survivor and double mastectomy, I can say that you are a great friend to be thinking ahead for your friend.
She will need a little pillow that will help with coughing/pain. Mine had a really special pillow case. I also used a dolphin (my love of water) that cradled over my breast to hug. She was always a conversation piece for visitors.
She will also need button down shirts-easy in and out, as she will have limited range of motion.
Be careful on the chocolate after surgery- great for visitors not always good for the stomach.
If she likes tea- comfort teas and music can turn a difficult day into a tolerable day.
Please feel free to contact me for you or your friend.
I send many good thoughts and prayers for her speedy recovery.
M. Conner
____@____.com
aquafitplano.com
Aqua~Fit-Best Warm Salt Water Aquatic Center

1 mom found this helpful

Very thoughtful...here are some ideas that I really enjoyed while stuck in the hospital for a month...
Warm fuzzy socks
Calling card to call out of town friends/family
little random snacks
nail file / clear polish
magazines
dvds (just rent some and then return them for her)
soda
air freshener (so the room didn't smell like a hospital) OR a flameless candle

Usually too, they will have a fridge and can put her sticker on it so coffee creamer or extra sodas and they can refrigerate and she can ask as she wants them.

Hope these ideas help!

1 mom found this helpful

A roll of quarters is always nice in case someone needs something from a vending machine. Puzzle books, crosswords, word finds, easy to eat fruit (grapes, oranges, apples), fuzzy socks, lotion, a soft towel for the bathroom.

That is all I can remember from our last hospital stay!

1 mom found this helpful

Just heard about this website on the radio this morning....http://www.dearjohnnies.com This might be something unique to give her along with all the other wonderful suggestions.

Hi M.,

I had a double mastectomy 3 1/2 years ago. One thing that was a huge blessing was a simple pouch to hold my drains. She will have a drain under each arm. Take two pieces of cute soft/fabric and sew together to make a pouch with ribbon on the corners to tie around her neck. This will not only hold the drains under her clothing but while bathing or showering. She will have the drains for a minimum of 7 days. Also a front closing sports bra. Academy is where I have seen them. Your friend will not be able to lift her arms and will not be able to do house work. Coordinate to have meals delivered. Tell her about www.CarePages.com or www.CaringBridge.com. Both are sites she can journal her feelings and share with friends and family. She can also look for ladies going through the same thing. If you have a local American Cancer Society or Komen Foundation office you can get information pamphlets or inquire about support groups.

You know your friend best. The littlest thing can mean so much. If she likes chick flicks ask her if you can rent her some movies. If she likes books, buy her the next Twilight book. If she likes Sonic call and ask if she would like to get out of the house for a tea...drive up does not require getting out or being out of pajamas.

Hope you find the answer you are looking for.

I have a friend who went through this 3 yrs ago. She preferred her hospital stay private and of course we respected that. I don't know any favorites for the hospital stay.

We were in a bunco group of about 16 women and 16 on a substitute list so we all got together and took turns with meals for at least a month....she had very limited motion and was in pain. We also hired a house cleaning service to help her out and ease her mind. When she was going through chemo, we also had meals at her house for her family, although she didn't much feel like eating.

She had 2 teen boys and a hubby...her mom (a breast cancer survivor 10+ yrs) was at her home with her.

Her boys were active and we made sure they always had a ride to and from any activity to try to keep their routine on schedule as much as possible.

Bless you for thinking ahead and helping your friend during this difficult time.

TF

I had a hysterectomy this past year and was in the hospital a couple days.... I really slept a LOT! so she might too..but things I liked were some magazines or a book, definitely chapstick, and maybe some yummy smelling lotion or things like that!

Socks, it gets cold in a hospital room. Hand lotion. A very colorful pillow case for her own pillow so she will not forget it at the hospital. Some Magazines to read. PJ's that button up the front(she will not be able to pull things over her head for a while. Some gum and hard candy.
Sorry about your friends illness, it is a very hard time emotionally. I had a mastectomy when I was 30 (15 years ago) and then my mother had one when she was 75. I started reconstruction as soon as possible and my mother decided not to.

I noticed you said chapstick which is great...see if you can find one without petroleum. Petroleum and oxygen (should she need oxygen after surgery) don't mix...and so it's really helpful if it doesn't have petroleum in it. If not maybe a lotion that can be used for her lips as well. I work at a hospital and d/t the chance that there will be an emergency I usually don't let my patients used chapstick if it has petroleum in it. Just a thought! Also anything that she can do in spare time...crosswords, reading, etc. is always great since the T.V. stations aren't always great and she may not be sleeping all day. I wish your friend the best of luck!

lotion in her favorite scent

I always forgot to pack a razor or something like Nair for my legs. Neet is not as smelly as Nair is. Agood shampoo and condictioner. The hospital soap products are not very good at all. Cross word books are a good thing to have.

The best gift I received and still enjoy is a very small pillow, size of for a baby and pillow cases. I still use it for under my arm,it is priceless!!!

I would like to have magazines, puzzles, maybe a book if she likes to read-anything to make the time pass.

How about crossword puzzle books, magazines, uplifting book, socks with that antiskid stuff on the bottom (they have very cute and funny ones out now). None of these things are expensive - just thoughtful. Books you can get at half priced book store and maybe get a funny book - comedic book of some sort. I couldn't live without a tablet and pen to write things down.
You are a good friend and she probably adores you. :)

Usually they need pens and tablets of some kind, small bottles of hand lotion, maybe the small bottle of hand sanitizers. Good luck to your friend.

A mid-sized, lap pillow/stuffed animal.
Something cheerful.

My mother is a breast cancer survivor.
She had a double, radical masectomy.

Thank you notes, stamps, paper back, tape, lotion, lip balm, fingernail file, scarf, gum, peppermints, hand mirror, tissues, fingernail polish, tea bags,snacks,etc. I am a 14 year survivor and appreciated a big basket my mom made for me then.

Chapstick and unscented hand lotion for sure. Warm socks, preferably the kind with a non-skid backing for the feet. I also like decaf tea bags. I have never yet been in a hospital with decaf tea. Decaf coffee, yes, but decaf tea, no. I've had sweet nurse's aides assure me that the tea bag ingredients didn't list caffeine, so the tea probably didn't have caffeine in it (which is totally incorrect--sigh), but unless I remember to bring my own, I have to wait until I get home for my decaf tea fix.

Get lots of splashy magazines like People and US that she probably wouldn't buy for herself, but that are mindless fun. Maybe some home decorating magazines or gardening magazines as well, if she likes that sort of thing. You sound like a great friend! Tell her I'll be thinking about her and praying for her.

My mom just had a mastectomy in September and the only thing I could say would be a nice comfy pair of slippers or cozy socks. My mom had a double and she was home after one night. Unbelievable I know. They keep you longer for a c-section. It is just hard to even imagine what they are going through...your spirits afterwards are just pretty low. I'm just not sure she'll be up to reading girly magazines and will even feel like putting lotion on. She is probably going to be tired, sore...and just probably a little down. I think as a few others recommended meals once she gets home would be SOOOOOOO much appreciated. Coordinating something like that, or just taking her over dinner would be so sweet and much more needed.

I have a friend who just had a double mastectomy the first of Dec. I am not sure about the hospital, but I can tell you that for the first three weeks she could barely move her arms because she was so sore.

We had a team of friends alternate between bringing her family meals and cleaning her house. She really was not capable of even reaching up to a cabinet to get dishes out.

So just and FYI.

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