Photo: Courtesy of Bffl Co.By Corrie Pikul
When your mom, sister, aunt or friend goes into the hospital for a mastectomy, it can be hard to know what to say to her, never mind what to get her. You want to give her exactly what she needs, but...you're not sure what that would be. One clever idea would be to talk to her doctor and get a list of must-haves, and make a care package, like the kind that radiation oncologist Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, MD, used to put together for her patients. Another, even more clever (and easier) idea would be to order one of the Breast Bffl Bags that Dr. Thompson sells through her new company Bffl Co ("Best Friends for Life").
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Each nylon duffel has beachy stripes and comes packed with supplies that Thompson, who also had a preventative double mastectomy, deems essential to a comfortable recovery. For example, Thompson explains that after a procedure involving tissue removal, some fluid accumulates at the surgical site, and patients are sent home with special drains they need to tend to. However, Thompson says that most of her patients were so woozy when they heard the instructions that they forgot what they were supposed to do. That's why her bag includes a little drain care kit with specific how-to's--not the sexiest Get Well gift, but one of the most useful, and therefore, one of the most thoughtful.
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The bag also includes a heart-shaped microbead pillow that women can put under their arms to ease the pressure on their incision, as well as surprises like slipper socks, earplugs (for creating silence in a bustling recovery unit) and high-end face lotion and eye balm. Thompson's company offers other bags designed for the unique needs of patients recovering from brain and gynecological operations and, soon, C-sections. (Fifteen percent of the net profit from each bag Bffl Bag will be donated to a related health charity.)
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It will make you feel good to see your VIP (Very Important Patient) using Thompson's road-tested items in the bag during the first days after her surgery...and it will make you feel even better to see her tote the bag to the gym and the beach not too long after that.
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