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Preparing for a Mastectomy

Updated on February 21, 2013
The pink ribbon  shows support for breast cancer awareness.
The pink ribbon shows support for breast cancer awareness.

How to Prepare for a Mastectomy

Undergoing a mastectomy is one of the most difficult things to do. This is because with even all the literature all over the internet about how other people prepare for it, you can never fully prepare for it. Not any two mastectomy experiences are alike. However armed with information about it is far much better. The thought of undergoing mastectomy is stressful to most women. When the doctor breaks this news that you have to undergo one, the few days you need to prepare can be the most stressful. Preparing for a mastectomy is however not supposed to be stressful at all. A patient should be armed with all the necessary information and requirements before the surgery so as to ease all the tension and anxiety.

Psychological Preparation for a Mastectomy

The major preparation in my opinion should be psychological. The thought of losing a part of your body can be stressful but when you come to understand that it’s for the better of the rest of the body, it becomes easier to take. The doctor’s office should help you prepare for this by informing you about the whole procedure well in advance, what to expect and how to ease your anxiety. Just like all other surgeries, one cannot be completely at ease up until it happens. For the mastectomy it really becomes more stressful due to the thoughts of having these cancer cells inside your body. This is what should give you that extra motivation to have the dangerous cancer cells removed even if it means having to lose part of your body.

A loose fitting shirt will be of much help
A loose fitting shirt will be of much help | Source

Material Preparation for Mastectomy

In terms of material preparation for the mastectomy, there are some things that you need to keep in mind concerning the essential items that you should have. Apart from the common items such as toiletries, there are some specific items that you need. They are:

· Button down shirts. These are highly recommended for the post-surgery recovery period. These will be the easiest for wearing while having the drains. These shirts should be a size bigger than you normally wear. You will not need these in hospital but rather after you go home. If it’s during the cold season, a nice warm full gown can be of much help.

· One needs some small pillows that will support the arms. These might be needed in the car for the ride home and at home.

· A post-surgical bra is needed. This is worn for approximately week after surgery. These are worn up until the drains are removed. However, not all women will need to wear a bra during this time.

Talk to People who have had Mastectomy

As part of the preparation for mastectomy, one needs to talk to other people who have undergone the procedure. They can be a great source of inspiration and can offer valuable support. There are multiple forums where you can get into contact with former patients. The doctor can easily recommend such support groups within your locality. There are some with an online presence and are still very helpful.

Before the surgery there are several medications that you should avoid. These will be advised by your doctor.

Post Surgical

After the surgery it is recommended for you to take a complete rest. This will greatly aid in the recovery and fast healing of the wound. After about two weeks, one should be able to resume normal duties but with the advice of the doctor.

During the recovery period, one can get to read inspirational stories from people who have overcome breast cancer or other forms of cancer. These will really raise your spirit and give you extra motivation to fight on and overcome this illness.

Mastectomy experiences can be traumatic but with adequate preparation both psychological and physical, one easily goes through it. After the healing of the wound, patient can have days off for complete recuperation after which they should be able to return to work.

Preparing for a Mastectomy


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