'You should never start a journey unprepared...'
I have split this into three sections to help organise the different ways to prepare yourself, or help prepare your loved one. Some are essentials and some are simply to make you feel a bit better about yourself!
How can you physically prepare yourself for a mastectomy?
Epilator or a wax! You won’t be able to shave/groom for a while so to keep you feeling fresh and more gross than you already will, invest in either a wax or an epilator. I was too scared to have a wax, however once epilated… I feel the pain threshold is quite similar! Epilate legs and underarms for a month or two before your surgery and it will avoid hairs growing back thick and fast, it just gives you one less thing to worry about! Or, embrace being au natural, you have a lot on your plate! I have followed the mind set of 'look glam, feel glam', however I appreciate it is not for everyone. Especially for those who are not going through this process optionally.
Sit ups- I read that strengthening your core and stomach muscles was a good thing to do in preparation for your surgery and will aid recovery. Whether or not this is medical fact- I don’t know! However, it seemed to make sense so I made it routine to do 30 sit ups every morning and night for approx. month and half before my op date. Don’t be a solo sufferer, get others in your household to commit to this too. Makes it less like a chore and drags others down with you.
Healthy eating- another thing I chose to do, whether or not it completely aids recovery I don’t know but laying off the KFC’s did me no harm. I bought Fearne Cotton’s ‘Eat happy, eat healthy’ and cooked lots from there. It made me feel better in general and I embraced new dishes I wouldn’t usually cook, moving away from the bog standard spag bol!
Take some photographs of your old boobs, without being harsh, once they are gone…. they are gone. Therefore, you may want to compare or just remember what your body used to look like. I would say it is better to have the option of having a photograph or two of your old body, rather than get to a point where it is too late.
As part of the process I was referred to a MacMillan Psychologist to discuss the choice and implications of surgery. I was anxious about this as the start, however I did find it enlightening. It also enabled me to identify and verbalise the different support networks I would have like friends and family. It also gave me the opportunity to think about the psychosocial and psychosexual implications of having a mastectomy. I believe some people decline meeting the MacMillan Psychologist, however I would recommend it, what is the worst that can happen?! At the end of the day it is another avenue of support. It is also a good opportunity to ask how to talk to other people about what is going to happen, especially if you need to talk to children about your upcoming surgery.
What could you do with investing in without breaking the bank?
- V shaped pillow
- Button up shirts and baggy t-shirts (more in 'After' section- 'Clothing and Bras')
- Comfy pjs- button up (more in 'After' section- 'Clothing and Bras')
- Electric tooth brush
- Drain dollies- http://www.draindollies.co.uk I ldid lots of research, the most helpful site was by Charlotte Wood. I would highly recommend her drain dollies!
- Extra long phone charger. I got mine from ebay for £3, bargain. It is useful so you can have your phone on your table in hospital as reaching behind you is near darn impossible.
- Bed wedge to support you sleep and resting
- Portable DVD player and a good box set!
- Wheeled table for the bed