12 Gift Ideas for the Mastectomy Patient

Most of our regular readers know that Robin Bralley, the publisher of our sister-magazine, Forsyth Family, has been fighting breast cancer since late 2016. In late May, she underwent a double mastectomy. In the weeks leading up to her surgery, our team has been kicking ideas around for wonderful, yet practical gift ideas for Robin. We have a big, huge, and fantastic idea we’ll announce later (still a surprise!), but in the meantime, here are a few of the ideas we’ve come up with for a friend who has had a mastectomy…

  1. We’ll start with the obvious. But rather than bringing huge portions of food that you hope they will like, consider gift cards to grocery stores or favorite restaurants where they can still enjoy your generosity, without worrying about food going bad before they can enjoy it (after all, the freezer may be full from other well-wishers, and the recipient may not have a second freezer!).
  2. Grocery Shopping / Delivery. Piggybacking off our first idea, grocery stores such as Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods offer online grocery shopping. Paying for a shopping subscription during their recovery time would be a great blessing for those who don’t want to waste their energy on grocery shopping. You can also check out the delivery options available, especially during those first few weeks of recovery.
  3. An Assortment of Popsicles. After having a network of tubing down her throat during surgery, some lozenges or popsicles can help alleviate the discomfort in a friend’s throat.
  4. A Bathrobe. A pretty bathrobe that’s comfortable and easy to get on will be appreciated, especially since after a mastectomy, a woman cannot lift her arms without pain. Finding a bathrobe with inside pockets (a recovery robe) gives the added benefit of holding post-operation fluid drain bags.
  5. Pretty Front-Button Pajamas. Again, she’s not going to be able to lift her arms to get into her favorite sleep shirt, so a new pair of front-button pajamas will be appreciated.
  6. Personal Care Basket. A gift basket of dry shampoo, lotion, lip balm, and even an electric toothbrush would be a thoughtful gift. She won’t be able to wash her hair like normal for a while, and with her arms sore from such an invasive surgery, an electric toothbrush can help offset the bulk of her dental hygiene without a lot of pressure to scrub her teeth. Don’t forget to include a long-handled bath brush, so she doesn’t have to reach far.
  7. Home Cleaning Service. Even if she has family at home, their focus is going to be on taking care of her, not the house. Consider hiring a dependable cleaning service to take care of the house, and a lawn service to take care of the yard. Or, if you don’t have the money to hire someone – do it yourself!
  8. Sports Bras and Cooling Packs. Some light, cotton sports bras are perfect to anchor cold packs to her chest. Make sure you look for medical-grade cold packs; not the kind you’d throw in the cooler to keep your lunch cold!
  9. A Wedge Pillow. This wedge pillow will help her sleep, reduce her movements, and keep her properly elevated so she can rest.
  10. A Squishy Heart Shaped Pillow. The heart shape is the perfect shape to clutch against her chest and take the pressure off of her sensitive areas and alleviate pressure on her arms.
  11. A Reading Pillow. For the avid reader, holding a book isn’t going to be fun for a while. A pyramid pillow is ideal for keeping the edge of a book from hitting sensitive areas, and also absorbing the weight of the book without tiring out her arms.
  12. Consider a gift subscription from Audible, Netflix, Pure Flix, or similar for easy entertainment that will go wherever her smartphone or iPad goes.

Whatever you decide to do, your encouragement, time, patience, and love are the most important gifts you can give. Show support not only to the patient but her caregivers as well. Offer to run errands, or simply do them! If you know where her dry cleaning is done, pick up hers when you’re out. Stop by and fold a load of laundry. The possibilities to show your love and friendship are endless, and the value is priceless.