tips for surgery

Image Source: / David Castillo Dominici

Tips For Surgery – Useful Items to Take With You

Getting ready for surgery, particularly if it’s your first time, can be nerve wracking.  It is completely normal to feel anxious before surgery.  Doing things like getting friends and family to help you care for children or pets or make meals or household chores can help you focus on what you need to be doing right now – healing YOU.

I’m a frequent visitor on various on-line breast cancer forums – just spreading the love whenever I can.  When I came across this list of useful items to take with you to your breast cancer surgery (the forum is on, I knew I needed to share it with you.  I’ve added to it, some of my readers have added to it, and it’s a pretty cool list of necessaries.

One really useful bit of information was to move commonly used items, kitchen tools, etc to low shelves or drawers before your surgery because you sure won’t feel like it when you get home and reaching above your head is a big no-no after breast surgery.  At least for awhile!

Useful Items To Take With You (or Do)

The first three items on the list are mine.  I found them to be so terrific, I’m excited about sharing them with you.  The rest on the list are from various forum members, all great suggestions.

  • Arnica – comes as a homeopathic, a cream or a gel but it’s great stuff for limiting surgical bruising and pain – I never needed the self-administered pain drugs (morphine) and consequently healed much quicker.   Available from most health food stores, or my Useful Links page.
  • Essential oils – being a massage therapist and aromatherapist, I knew which essential oils decrease pain and inflammation and increase oxygen to the areas surrounding the surgical site.  I started using them just as soon as I was able and they were amazing for pain control.  Since incisions will be covered, just apply the essential oil to the areas you can access – the oil will migrate where it is needed.  I used a blend called PanAway but lavender and frankincense are also quite good for surgery recovery.  Contact me know if you need info on where to get therapeutic grade oils.
  • Have constipation meds ready – one forum mentioned having a stool softener for a couple of days prior to your surgery.
  • Lanyard (like for ID cards) for holding breast drains
  • Waist pack for drains
  • Lip balm / facial lotion / body lotion – it’s dry in some hospitals due to the air conditioning (make sure you use organic)
  • Mp3 /iPod music player with earphones (don’t forget about the healing power of music!)
  • Phone / have friends’ numbers handy because they’ll like to know how you’re doing (remember to take the charger)
  • Take clothes to hospital that can be washed/sanitized at home (ie lose the dry cleaning!)
  • Slippers or Crocs – easy to slip on and off
  • Camisoles/tanks which can be stepped into (as opposed to pulling over-head)
  • Silky bottoms/PJs to make getting in/out of bed easier
  • Button up shirts
  • Zip up hoodies/ warm ups
  • Elastic waist pants easy to pull on
  • Jog Bras (Natori is recommended) or whatever support is suggested by your surgeon
  • Power/energy bars (had to wait 8 hrs in recovery for my bed) – look for ones with high amounts of protein and low sugar to assist with your incision healing process
  • Reading glasses with cord attached
  • E-reader (like a Kindle) – much easier to prop up and turn pages and it’s lit for late-night insomnia!
  • Wet towelettes – make sure to get a brand without propylene glycol – useful to give yourself sponge baths for the first couple of days when you can’t shower
  • Home-made bran muffins with lots of fiber
  • Light shawl for shoulders or lightweight fleece blanket
  • Small notepad and paper for questions for surgeon (they always show up when nurses are doing stuff to you
  • A smallish soft pillow from home – great for the post-surgery cough, propping up your arm to hold a book, get just the right angle for your head.
  • Black sleep mask
  • Noise reducing headphones
  • Have a little pillow you can tuck under your arm for the car-ride home.
  • Fill prescriptions before coming home so you won’t have to go back out.

Don’t see your favorite item on the list? I will add it!  Just scroll down the page to the comments box and add your suggestion and thanks!  I will keep this list updated.

Don’t Forget To Get Plenty of Rest Once You’re Home

The most important thing is that after surgery you get plenty of rest in order for your body to heal. Knowing everything is taken care of in advance will give you the peace of mind that you need.

The Most Important Part About Healing From Breast Cancer

Your immune system is your first line of defense against any sort of disease process.  It is sure to be compromised right now, especially after surgery, so please read my best tips on how to rebuild it:  8 Ways To Build a Super Strong Immune System.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (  When you’re in a desperate situation, you need an ally.  You can depend on me to help you through this.