Breast Cancer Pre-Surgery Care Package

Several times every week, people ask me:

What can I do for my sister/mother/friend who is having a mastectomy?

Enough people have asked that I thought I’d do a post on it and make suggestions for a pre-hospital care package that would be a major Silver Lining for your loved one before she goes into the hospital and begins the long haul down mastectomy road!

BEFORE the surgery, treat your loved one to a beauty day, including mani/pedi and even wax.  There’s no pampering for quite some time after surgery, so a pre-procedure gift certificate would be a thoughtful Silver Lining.

Soft button-front pajamas: soft being the operative word. Everything post-mastectomy is about softness! I couldn’t lift my arms for a good two weeks and lived in my jammies.

A boudoir pillow: because it’s small enough to carry around and it’s all yours!  It fits beautifully under an arm or between your knees or to supplement the hard, flat uncomfortable pillows in the hospital.  A dear friend gave me one and it carried me through not only surgery, but also chemo and radiation.

A soft blanket: The soft material of a blanket was so comforting. No position that you get in after a mastectomy is comfortable. You can’t move. You can’t sleep….so anything that is the least bit comforting is wonderful.

Mints: are an essential item for after surgery. No matter how many times I brushed my teeth, the anesthesia made my breath just plain gross!

Lip balm and moisturizer: to ward off the dryness omnipresent in hospital air. During my stay in the hospital, I constantly felt parched and kept my lip balm and moisturizer close at all times.

Snuggly socks: to keep her feet warm. I wore mine all the time because my tootsies were FREEZING!

Dry shampoo: because she can’t shower for days after surgery. A dry shampoo “wash” will lift her spirits, as will brushing her hair. I can’t tell you how gooooood it feels after surgery!

Baby wipes: are great for any woman stuck in a germ-infested hospital. Sorry to break the news, but hospitals are bug-mecca’s. Baby wipes helped me feel cleaner!

A battery-powered toothbrush: Because even a movement as small as brushing your teeth is way too painful after surgery (seriously, it’s THAT bad!), your pal needs a toothbrush that can do the work for you!

Entertainment: Offer to load your loved one’s iPad or iPhone with music and books. Pack a bag of  magazines that can be read with minimal effort. I vividly remember that reading People magazine was a literary feat for me (come to think of it, it’s still a feat!).

I hope that this helps you!  Please feel free to add to the list!

Cashmere blanket, D. Porthault boudoir pillowGorsuch cashmere socksiPadLeontine Linens robe and toiletry case, Lindi Lip BalmMarigot Pajamas, Sonya Dakar Omega oil, Ugg Slippers, William Sonoma cashmere throw

Leave a Reply to Sharon Haynie Cancel reply


  1. Sharon Haynie says

    So wish I had seen this about 2 months ago!! My sis had her 1st chemo today and I will definitely use some of these ideas to send to her. thanks!!!

    • says

      Thanks so much, Sharon. Sending my very best wishes to your sister and your family. Please let me know if I can help in any way!

  2. stephanie says

    this is great! my sister had a double masectomy 3 years ago. at the time, i was at a loss as to what i could do for her. wish i could have seen something like this before her surgery. these are some great ideas. i know she was asking for all of this stuff after the surgery. 🙂

  3. Nicole says

    Great post 🙂 Although not everyone has as much pain… I could brush my teeth after my mastectomy (so those reading this for tips, don't be toooooo scared, it all passes soon enough). The electric toothbrush would have been helpful none-the-less.

    A friend gave me these –

    I also packed my chia seeds to help keep things moving post surgery.

    Jennifer Griffin also wrote a good blog post on preparing for surgery;

    • says

      Thanks, Nicole! I really appreciate your comment. I LOVE the pink-pockets. What a great suggestion. So glad the chia seeds worked for you. They are also super for energy. Thank you for your note…and for reading the blog!

  4. Rebecca Nickels McNe says

    I have heard (because I do not know personally) that the drains post-op are a major pain in the behind. Ladies locally have made their own drain pouches. Plus I have reason to believe the drain pouches can be found on the internet. If it was me I would want them before being discharged. Always sounded miserable so anything that helps would be beneficial.

    • says

      Thanks so much for your comment, Rebecca. They are indeed a pain in the behind..and on the side…and in the front! What a great idea to suggest the pouches. Wonderful!

  5. Hania Geremia says

    After having gone through FBC ordeal
    these suggestions are great for anyone
    who has to endure this trial . Unfortunately ,
    I will probably know someone who will have FBC.
    Your link to laxatives was a help to me ; Swiss Kriss
    being my favorite to this day . Thanks again ,
    I'll forward this site to all my friends.

    • says

      Dear Hania,
      Thanks so much for your comment. So glad to hear that the laxatives were helpful. Constipation is AWFUL!
      Best wishes to you!