Preventive Mastectomy: I Didn’t Buy The “Stuff”

Posted September 11, 2020 by Prairie Wife - 5 comments

Note: Before we dive into this post I want to say the following…Through my entire mastectomy journey, I have been sharing the REAL ups and downs of my experiences. My hope was to allow other women to educate themselves and make the choice that is best for them and their families. I want to emphasize that these are MY experiences and the choices that are best for me and my family. While my story is not what every woman on this journey has dealt with, it is the only thing that I can share. This post may not reflect the feelings of other women on this journey or even the doctors that work with them. As with all of our content, I encourage you to take what is helpful to you and leave the rest behind. Please feel free to use the comments to express your thoughts and share YOUR experiences. If any of you choose to share an opinion that does not align with my experience I hope it will be in a way that respects and honors my choices. Per our mission statement, the only comments we will delete are ones that are vulgar or rude.

I didn't buy the stuff

As I prepared for my Preventive Mastectomy I would walk into my Plastic Surgeon’s office with a notebook full of pages of questions…pages and pages.

And of course one of the main things I asked was “What do I need to buy so I’m ready for this?”

The first thing he said was don’t buy all the “stuff”.

I asked him to explain what he meant.

He went on to say that there are special clothing items (and items for the home) designed for post-mastectomy patients.

From drain belts to special bras and shirts and furniture and pillows.

I had NO idea any of this existed…and frankly, it seemed amazing that companies were making products for such a niche market.

So I asked him why he didn’t think I should invest in products designed to make my recovery and life afterward easier.

He explained that these products came at a high cost and that while 10 days or 2 weeks of drains seemed like a huge amount of time, it really wasn’t.

My doctor actually got pretty fired up about it and mentioned that he felt like these companies took advantage of women…and that’s what made me really stop and think.

After all, I was trusting him to operate on me three separate times, why would I suddenly ignore his expertise now?

I didn’t buy anything specially marketed to mastectomy patients to prepare for my surgery.

Yes, I did need to purchase a few things, and you can find that list here.

But I never bought the “stuff”.

And I was fine.

I wore the bra I received after surgery until I didn’t have to wear a special bra anymore, and then I wore as little as possible because my chest was so hypersensitive to anything touching it.

surgery bra

Spaghetti strap camis were pretty much my uniform until I was cleared to use my arms again.

I used hoodie sweatshirts with pockets for my drains or shoved them in the inside pockets of a lightweight zippered workout top when I went out in public.

Which was once to get my hair washed at the salon and one other time to go to the doctor and get them removed.

Seriously, those first few weeks when you would maybe need that stuff the most…you’re just going to be passed out at home resting and healing.

I used a plethora of regular pillows pilled in our bed to help me feel comfortable, and even though we already had a recliner I never slept in it or used it.

Yes, I know that some women loved a certain product and it truly made their recovery easier, and I hope if that’s you, you’ll share your story in the comments below.

But, in my experience, this list is all I ever used or needed…and add a few pairs of Spanx leggings for my recovery after the fat grafting surgery.

You might be asking what prompted this post.

After all, now that I am 4 years out from my surgery I’ve found myself moving on and writing about it less and less.

I still belong to a multitude of support groups for women having this surgery and the question I see over and over is “What do I need for surgery?”

In the comments, I see dozens of links to specialty items that more often than not come with a high price tag.


I can’t lie, it makes my stomach drop a bit to think of women spending hundreds of dollars on items they will likely only use for a week or so.

NOTE: I see many women done with their mastectomy journey offering to ship gently used (or never used) items to others, and that always makes me so darn proud of that community.

And YES I know some women find them immensely helpful…but I personally never needed any of them.

So, after seeing multiple posts again today I thought I would take to the keyboard and share my experience.

I didn’t buy the “stuff” and it was fine, I was fine…

You don’t have to buy the “stuff.”

If you’re struggling to camouflage uneven breasts here are some tips and tricks that worked for me.

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5 thoughts on "Preventive Mastectomy: I Didn’t Buy The “Stuff”"

  1. Courtney Johnson says:

    This is a great read. I’ve looked at all products to purchase. Just going to wait.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lots of pillows I agree

  3. Jamie says:

    I loved reading your blog….. I am a sucker….I bought all the stuff. Not sure if I will need it. Surgery in 4 days. I felt that I could bless someone with it later.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thanks Jamie, and I know some women did find it useful, maybe leave the tags on so you can return what you don’t use. Good luck with your surgery!

Categories: Preventive Mastectomy, Support



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