4 Mastectomy Recovery Gifts
That will Really Help and Don’t Cost a Dime.
Before your rush out to get that typical “get well” bouquet of flowers for your friend, remember this – flowers die. Might not be the best mental imagery you want to leave in her head. Instead, consider giving something that will be truly appreciated, helpful, and unique. You! Here are four ways you can show up and give the recovery gift that matters.
The Gift of Listening
Don’t try to fix the problem:
Your loved one has enough on their plate and will appreciate your support in not trying to “fix” everything.
Don’t give advice:
If you have some great ideas about how they should be handling things, keep them to yourself for now. This is not the time for unsolicited opinions or advice and there are many times when people feel like a friend offers unwanted “helpful suggestions” just because they think they know what will work best and it can be frustrating when you don’t want someone’s opinion right now!
Be there with a hug or a kind word when needed:
Sometimes all someone needs from you is nonverbal support—like holding their hand while walking around together at the mall, sitting quietly across from each other during lunch at a restaurant, or just sitting close enough for their shoulders to touch as friends do when chatting over coffee at Starbucks.
The Gift of Time
This is a gift that can be difficult to ask for, but it’s also one of the best gifts you can receive. Your friends and family want to help you through this time, but they don’t always know how or what to do. Sometimes, all you need from them is their presence and support. This can mean regular visits or phone calls, but if your friend lives far away consider sending care packages regularly with photos of your kids or other mementos that will keep their spirits high while they wait for your recovery to be over.
This gift goes beyond just spending time together; it means acknowledging the value of each other’s company in spite of having so many obligations in life that might prevent us from being there physically as much as we’d like on a daily basis (or ever). It might seem trivial at first glance—and I’m sure many people would argue that it indeed is—but I would challenge anyone reading this who has received such gifts not to agree with me once they’ve had some distance from it: Time spent with friends was one of life’s greatest joys during my mastectomy recovery process!
The Gift of Humor
Don’t be afraid to treat someone with humor during their recovery.
It’s the best medicine, after all. But make sure you do it in a way that will be appreciated and not taken the wrong way. Nothing helps you get through something as stressful as surgery faster than a good laugh. Get them a funny book, or send them funny videos on YouTube and see how fast they forget their worries!
It’s also important to remember that humor is subjective—what makes one person laugh might not make another chuckle. That’s why it’s useful to look for items that are funny in general rather than going for something specific about mastectomies or breast cancer.
Avoid offending your loved one: Even if they’re in good spirits and seem like they can handle anything, it’s better not to risk offending your loved one with an inappropriate gift. Remember that even though things are going well right now, sometimes people can still be sensitive about their bodies when they’re going through this kind of major surgery and recovery.
The Gift of Service
Some people are really good at helping others, but they don’t always get to the front of the line. If you know someone going through a mastectomy and reconstruction, it’s important that you take care of them in whatever way you can.
Show up for them:
This involves showing up in person, as well as being available by phone or email when needed. It also means helping them navigate the health care system—that includes making appointments with specialists; taking them if they can’t drive; paying attention while they’re there and asking questions if you don’t understand what’s going on (or even if your loved one does); bringing snacks; listening carefully when they talk about their experience so far; and refueling their car so they have gas money for future appointments.
Help with meals and errands:
Your friend may not have much energy right now—and once she begins radiation therapy later this month, getting out of bed will be even harder! Helping cook meals will lighten her load during this time (and save money). And running errands like picking up prescriptions or groceries can make all the difference between feeling isolated from friends/family vs feeling supported by those who love her most deeply.”
Your friend is going to need someone who can help with all the small things, from getting them to and from appointments to picking up prescriptions, making sure they have clean clothes and food in their fridge, taking care of their kids if they’re stuck at home recovering.
You can also offer to help them navigate the health care system—this could mean walking with them through insurance problems or even just accompanying them during visits where they feel awkward being alone or vulnerable around medical professionals. Everyone needs help getting through this journey!
The first thing you need to know about breast cancer is that it’s a journey, not a sprint. Recovery from surgery is just the beginning—and it can be a long haul. You don’t have to be there for every step of the journey. But you can be prepared to help your loved one when they need it most.