Top tips on things to buy to make surgery recovery easier

Well I’ve now had 2 lumpectomies and will now need 2 separate mastectomy and reconstruction ops. The first two ops taught me a lot about a few things I could buy to make my recovery a bit easier. I thought I’d share what helped me and would love to hear other people’s top tips after mastectomy - I’m particularly bothered about how to carry a drain round on a walk. I don’t want to be stuck inside until it’s removed.

The 3 top things that really helped me after the first two ops were:

  • ASDA post surgery bras: I had a nightmare finding soft non-wired bras first time round but second time I found these and love them Post Surgery Comfort Bras 2 Pack | Lingerie | George at ASDA
  • Front fastening shirts/ blouses: not something I usually wear but I have to admit they were simpler to get on and off. The White Stuff sale was great for these in cotton and jersey as I found cheaper linen ones got a bit scratchy.
  • V shape pillow: again second time round this revolutionised my sleep and is the best £20 I have spent all year Dorma Full Forever V-Shaped Firm-Support Pillow | Dunelm

Hi rainbowcat

(See also, my reply under subject thread ‘Drains after surgery dread’.)

A tailor-made cloth bag to contain each bottle (homemade by volunteers and supplied by my BCN at the clinic). They have long shoulder straps sewn on which, for extra security, I crossed across my chest from each shoulder to the opposite side’s drain bottle.

In bed, in addition to the bags, a normal pillow (rather than the V ones) along each side of torso to support arms and help stabilise drain bottles and tubing whilst sleeping.

On walks, loose clothing will hide the support bags and although they may bump around slightly, at least the weight is supported to keep the tubing secure.

Button-through loose dresses are even easier than separates. ‘Modal’ material is supersoft.

You’ll probably only be hampered by drains for around a week or so.

Good luck. I didn’t find drains too much of a problem myself.

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Thank you @MistyK. Been to see the reconstruction nurse and she’s confirmed they’ll give me a drain bag. Did you have to sleep at a 45 degree angle for a few weeks? Trying to figure out how to actually sleep like that?!

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Hi again

I’ve never been good at sleeping on my back because it can make me nauseous (probably an inner ear balance thing) but I had to for a few weeks immediately after having the double mastectomy, followed by axillary clearance on the left side, while the wounds healed. You’ll be generally more tired than usual so should drop off quite easily.

I propped myself up at a 45% tilt by staggering a couple of pillows behind my shoulders/head, and then another on each side of my torso to rest my arms on. (Lucky we have a lot of pillows in this house!) I could still turn my head from one side to the other. With all this cushioning around me, the bottles and tubing tucked in quite securely without using the cloth bags. (You don’t need the straps to be getting in the way in bed.)

The drains are more securely anchored than you might imagine - they’ll take a fair bit of movement without dislodging. Good luck - you’ll be fine.

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Thanks @MistyK that’s so very helpful. Yes I’ve been digging out pillows in our house too ready for Monday! :crossed_fingers:

You’re very welcome. Good luck for Monday (?) Let us know how you get on when you’re up for it (bored) :hugs: