My Must Haves for DIEP Flap Reconstruction Surgery!!

When you go in for any major surgery there is a tendency to over or under pack. You aren’t really sure how you’ll feel or how your body will adjust and sometimes you don’t even know how long you’ll be in the hospital. It was the same for me during my initial DIEP flap reconstruction surgery but I was lucky to have some guidance from fellow breasties who had gone through the procedure once before. Shout out to Mackenzie Alleman a beautiful BRACA previvor and blogger of i hear its sunnier, she really helped give direction to things I’d want and need when I was getting ready for my surgery.

So here it is my must haves for DIEP flap reconstruction surgery:

Hospital Must Haves

Seriously don’t go to the hospital without these things or an alternative. These items also carry over to what you’ll want at home.

  1. Soft robe – I personally like this silky one I got from Victoria’s Secret but any soft robe that is breathable will work. This will probably take the place of a shirt for at least a couple weeks.
  2. Leggings – I personally like these high waisted ones from Grace & Lace but you can also buy the high waist maternity leggings at Old Navy or Target. I like the high waist because it won’t put any pressure on your stomach incision and it’ll help hold your bandages in place as well.
  3. Compression socks & socks – I bought these CopperFit ones because they were breathable and had good reviews. They did their job and I spent about 4 weeks wearing them almost 24/7. I also had some cute socks I’d slip over them because let’s face it if you have to lounge around in PJs and compression socks you might as well add some fun to it.
  4. Hydrating Lip Gloss – this is a must after surgery and there’s nothing I loved more then gliding on some LipSense Glossy Gloss while I was in the hospital. Inevitably your lips will be very chapped so don’t forget this item!!
  5. Slip on shoes or slippers – again this is a must!! You aren’t going to want to bend over or have someone messing around with shoe laces so just break out your cutest slip on shoes and call it good!!
  6. Cough drops – when you get put under during surgery they intubate you so you’ll wake up with a sore throat. Mine was particularly itchy scratchy and coughing after this surgery was the bain of my existence. Don’t skip this step trust me it’ll make life way easier on you.

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Home Recovery Musts

These are the items that  I personally would make sure to have at home for me when I get out of the hospital or within the first few weeks of recovery.

  1. Immune Support – trust me what your body goes through during this surgery and the weeks afterwards during recovery is incredible, so fighting the common cold, allergies, flu, etc is not what it needs. Some of my favorites are Comprehensive Immune Support from Host Defense, Kick Ass Immune from WishGarden Herbs, and On Guard from doTerra.
  2. Facial Care & Scar Care – don’t forget to take care of your skin during recovery. Once I got back home from the hospital I used SeneGence Climate Control daily in the evenings and it made my skin so much happier. Much like finding stuff to support your immune system your body is working so hard recovering from major surgery that it’s not going to focus on giving you beautiful glowing skin so a little extra love will go along way. Once your wounds have closed then you can start working on scar care. SeneGence’s 100% pure Nangai Oil is a gift from the heavens for scar care. It helps to eliminate swelling, redness and it smells so nice and feels amazing on. If you are interested in any of these comment below or contact me directly…you won’t be sorry!
  3. A pregnancy pillow or Billow – I didn’t know about Billow’s when I first went in for surgery so I chose the easy route of driving to my local Target and buying a pregnancy pillow. This thing was a life saver when I was stuck sleeping in my recliner and when I transitioned back to bed. It creates a great C shape that you can use either under  your arms and behind your back or under your arms in front of you (to set things on like books or your hands) and when you transition back to the bed its great for side sleeping.
  4. Water, Smooth Move tea (for constipation), Lemon Ginger tea and electrolytes – hydration is the key to recovery especially after a major surgery. I didn’t want to eat for almost 2 weeks so the tea and electrolytes helped keep me from being extremely ill. Personally I love Advocares Rehydrate (I’ve created a link to my favorite Advocare lady Lisa Preston who is amazing) but any electrolyte drink that is low in sugar is perfect.
  5. A good wound salve, gauze sponges and tape. The gauze and tape I would request from your surgeon or their physicians assistant because they’ll load you up on the good stuff. Personally I like the squares of gauze that I can fold and layer to make a bandage that will meet my needs. I’m also super allergic to most tapes so the fabric/breathable tape my PA gave me was the best stuff for me. My favorite salve is from Herb Pharm, it’s got a color to it so you’ll need to be aware of where you put it because it will get on clothes but I use it for any wound I have and have had amazing results. Wound care is extremely important so don’t skimp on the salves, cleaning with saline water and just being super careful about touching your wounds.
  6. A good bra – My surgeon didn’t want me in any form of tight compression but I desperately needed some support so I ended up wearing an awful hospital mastectomy bra until I purchased a Hugger from Prairie Wear. This bra is a compression bra, however, they have an extender so that its not as tight. Of course you’ll want to run the bra by your surgeon but I know in my personal case the Hugger with the extension was perfect and then I transitioned to wearing it without the extension. This bra is also one of the best fitting support bras with seamless design, compression on the underarms to help with pain from lymphedema or drains and an easy to zip front with 2 G rings. Basically this bra is AMAZING. If you are interested in checking them out please visit www.prairie.world and use my discount code KISSES15 at checkout to get 15% off (valid through 4/2/18).
  7. Entertainment – whatever you think will keep you from going absolutely stir crazy! I chose about 4 books I’d been wanting to read and set them down next to me and just went to town. I also had a bunch of series saved on Netflix, like the Crown, movies and cooking shows so I was well entertained on those nights when I just couldn’t sleep or was so uncomfortable I could cry. I also highly recommend you keep a journal during your recovery. If anything just to look back on but also to help recall issues you may be having with your medical staff.
  8. HELP – going through major surgery alone is not an option. Lean on your community of supporters and allow them to help you. I’m a doer and really hate to let others help me but these surgeries have been humbling and I’m eternally grateful for the help. DON’T go at this alone!

So there’s my list. This isn’t everything but most of the rest of the items are nice to have and could vary from person to person. If you’ve had this surgery tell me what you couldn’t live without??

Read about my DIEP Flap Journey here (part 1 , part 2 , part 3).

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