Breast Cancer Mastectomy Surgery & Recovery Tips For You Or Someone You Love

Mastectomy Recovery Tips

We have an amazing community! Earlier this year, one of the incredible women in our community reached out to us with some helpful tips after her personal recovery from a mastectomy. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we asked if she’d be willing to share a bit about her story here on the blog and the resources she found most helpful, and she agreed. How amazing that as Noelle went through this most difficult and challenging time in her life, her instinct was to help others…and to share her experience in an effort to support other women facing the same challenges.

You’ll find additional helpful breast cancer awareness tips for skin and style here and here.

Mastectomy Recovery Tips breast cancer awareness month

Meet Noelle

In April of 2023, Noelle Rumler had a mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer a second time at the age of 53. She visited our Busbee Style site searching for some outfits she could put together when she returned to work at a high school office. She said, “I feel like I am a different person, who has been through one of the hardest physical and emotional times of my life. I want to [wear] something to match the change on the inside.” But she also realized through her journey, that there weren’t a ton of resources for women to prepare for their post-surgery recovery time. She wished there had been a place to go with a list of items summarizing what she’d need after her mastectomy. And what to have on hand before she returned home from the hospital. It’s such an overwhelming and emotional time, she explains.

Mastectomy Preparation

Noelle found herself spending a lot of time researching what would be helpful in recovery. And then post-op, she really grew to know and understand exactly what it is that women need after surgery. She said that women with breast cancer are dealing with so much already. Having a resource with must-have finds would have been so helpful for her. So, she created a list and offered to share it with us. She loved the idea of helping others who were in a similar situation as her. So, thank you, Noelle. Thank you for being inspired to share your resources with our community…and for thinking so selflessly in order to help others. We really admire you and your strength!

Noelle is pictured in the collage above along with other Busbee community breast cancer survivors. We are so honored to support you this month… Ann, Noelle, Stephanie, Amit, and Jenny. We wish you continued health and healing!


breast cancer awareness products

Mastectomy Pre-Surgery Tips

Noelle’s top pre-surgery tips include:

  • Treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure pre-surgery. You might not have the energy to do much for yourself, especially the first 5 days after surgery.
  • Have Thank You cards on hand. She says you will receive gifts and meals. Once you are feeling better, you’ll be glad to have these at the ready.
  • Bring GasX tablets to the hospital. The gas pain combined with the surgery pain is extremely uncomfortable. So, it’s better to have these from the get-go.
  • If you are a family member, friend, or caregiver who wants to help someone in their recovery, her gift recommendations include extra pajamas, a meal, a gift card for DoorDash, a book to provide an escape, and most importantly, a text to check on them. She said knowing others were thinking of her truly was the best gift she received.

Things You Need After A Mastectomy

Keep scrolling below for the key items that really helped Noelle in her recovery. She also shares some key details about each item. If you know someone affected by breast cancer who might benefit from Noelle’s recovery story, tips, and must-have items, you can share this post directly with them using the share buttons at the very bottom of this post.
A huge thank you again to Noelle…for putting your beautiful self out there and for having the grace to share your experience and pointers. THIS is what community is all about. We are so grateful!

team busbee


Rinse Free Bathing Wipes

The biggest game changer. You will feel like you just took a shower. I was told not to take a shower for two weeks after surgery. Add a little water and you have a soapy wipe to clean up.

Refreshing Facial Spray

Another item that helps you feel more refreshed during recovery.

Comfortable Zip Front Sports Bra

You will need these for support after surgery for several weeks. You'll have to sleep in a sports bra so you want it to be comfortable. I thought the Tek Gear sports bras were the most comfortable. The post-surgery bras they give you at the hospital are just not comfortable.

Slip On Shoes

You do not want to worry about bending over to tie a shoe. I wore a pair of sneakers that were easy to slip on when I left the hospital.

Button-Down Pajamas

Arm mobility is limited. Button-down pajamas make getting dressed much easier.

Bedside Basket

I kept a basket near my bedside for bandages, lotion, medicine and other essentials. You'll want to keep items right next to you that are easy to access for you or anyone helping you.

Drain Pouch

I was fortunate to have only one drain. Being able to keep it in the pocket of the waist belt meant I didn't have to worry too much about it.

Mastectomy Pillow

I found this to be the most helpful when I finally left my bedroom to hang out with my 3 dogs. This is great for protection. It's also helpful when you are riding in the car as a buffer between you and the seatbelt.

Cooling Body Pillow

A cooling body pillow is so comfortable. I also purchased this set of 2 pillowcases. The pillowcases are very soft, which is what you will want to surround yourself with during recovery.

Bed Rest Pillow

You will need to be more propped up the first week when you sleep. But it hurts to sit up. Therefore, the more you can sleep propped up, the easier it is to sit up.

Electric Toothbrush

Depending on what side (or both sides) you have surgery, let the toothbrush do the work, not your arm.
Join the Conversation

2 thoughts on “Breast Cancer Mastectomy Surgery & Recovery Tips For You Or Someone You Love

    1. Thank YOU, Noelle! We so appreciate your sharing your story and tips…We know this will help other women! ~Team Busbee

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