After Mastectomy – Gift Ideas

I’ve given this list to a few people now, so wanted to provide it here.

  • Ibuprofen, for when prescription meds run out
  • Hydrocortisone creme (every surgery left me itchy)
  • Vitamin E lotion, which supposedly minimizes scarring, skin discoloration
  • Individual alcohol wipes for stripping drains, although hospital may provide plenty
  • Cleansing wipes, for armpits and other areas, when showering is restricted
  • Anything “healing,” like green tea – bags or loose tea and a strainer
  • “Healing gems” by Dogeared jewelry arrive in a sweet package
  • Any shirt, pajamas that open in front.  Or loose stretchy camisoles that are easy to get over her head.  Inexpensive, all-cotton from Target/Walmart works, as there may be blood stains initially.
  • A friend gave me Soma Cool Nights pajamas, and I’ve worn them after every surgery, and then some.
  • For another splurge, I love Barefoot Dreams Bamboo Chic Lite Wrap.
  • Andree’s Essential Soaps, Inc was started by a woman whose mom had cancer.
  • Whole Foods gift card
  • A wedge pillow is a must.  Try Bed, Bath & Beyond or Relax the Back.
  • A small, soft pillow, or a down pillow that can be squished with a soft case.  I used one in between my chest and the seatbelt, also to hold onto when I got out of bed, to remind me not to push up on my arms.  Also, under my arms (for awhile I actually used soft socks under there!) – my armpits got sticky and itchy from always being down, and from the drains.
  • Current magazines, a puzzle book, favorite DVD.  A movie gift card for when she’s ready for an outing.
  • A non-sweat water bottle to remind her to drink a lot of water
  • Food, as she won’t be able to shop or prepare anything for awhile.  Fruit baskets by Edible Arrangements were one of my favorites.  If she’s normally responsible for feeding her family, consider setting up an online Care Calendar and rallying friends to provide meals.  We also received coupons and complete meals from The Dinner A’Fare and Instead of Flowers. So helpful.
  • Arrange to meet her for short walks outside.  You think you can’t get up and about, and it’s hard to find the motivation sometimes, but it really does help.

Also, special belts and camisoles can be purchased to hold surgical drains.  I didn’t use those, though – a friend loaned me hand-made drain bags and shoelaces (to which I pinned my drains during showers).  As I became more mobile, I used a lightweight across-the-body purse to conceal and carry the drains.

If you have any additions, please provide them in the comments.  If it’s your first time commenting on this blog, your comment won’t be visible until I approve it.  Thank you!



  1. Claudia Johnson says:

    Nicole, wonderful information – helpful…and very caring of you to put it together!


  2. Great list ! I’ll take a copy with me to support group next week and see if they have additions for you – but, wow…I think you have it covered. Super job hon. LOVE YOU

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