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You’ve made the big and let’s be honest kinda scary decision to have surgery to take back control from Lipedema – YAY! But now your mind is going a million other directions on what all needs done before surgery day. I’ve done this a few times now and I’m going to share my must haves to make the whole thing just go a bit smoother.
Let’s start with items that you will need to either go to the store for or Amazon in time to pack. One of the great things about Amazon is that it has lockers all over. So if you can ship items that are one time use (first 3 times on my list below) to a locker and not worry about fitting them in your suitcase. Or if you order a smaller amount of something and see you need more you can alway Amazon more. My suggestions below are just items that I personally feel have helped my journey.
- Plastic shower curtain liner – I take 2 with me each surgery. I cover the couch at the hotel/airbnb with one and the bed with the other. This will protect the surfaces from any post op drainage that might not go into the drain bulbs. I find it easier to have one for each surface I want to cover so that I don’t have to spend time moving them from one place to the next. Sometimes post op you suddenly have to sit somewhere else as the first place you picked just isn’t working for you. If you have a rental car or have a friend picking you up you might want one for their car seat as well. I do not bring the shower curtains home with me if they have been used. I do not have the patience post op to clean them and try to fold them back up as small as they originally were to fit into my suitcase.
- Chux pads – are also great to have for post op drainage, specially the first few days when it can be the strongest. I place these on top of the shower curtain to absorb anything and then change them out when they seem full.
- ABD pads – These ABD pads are great to have to tuck down around the drain spot if one seems to be leaking out around the tubing. It makes traveling to post op appointments or out sighting for an active recovery a little less messy.
- Cosmetic bags – I can be the most disorganized person but I know the chaos that is my mess… However in the first 24 hours or so post op when you’re relying on someone to assist you and you’re a bit groggy it’s easier for everyone else if things are easy to find. That’s why I love packing my must-have items in separate little bags like these. The smallest bag is perfect for chapstick, ponytail holder, bobby pins, q tips and eye drops. The medium size bag I like to put all my prescriptions that I am required to have for surgery. This makes taking them the morning of surgery and then anytime you are out and about post op so much easier. Just grab that bag and toss it in your purse. No bottles accidentally left behind or a pill missed cause traffic was more than you thought it would be and you aren’t back to the room in time. The largest bag is great for all possible chargers that might be needed or other toiletries.
- Inflatable leg pillow – This is great for post op recovery even if it wasn’t leg surgery. It can be blown up fairly easily by mouth or there is this tiny pump thats makes inflating and deflating this leg rest easy.
- Drain holder – The first few surgeries I just safety pinned the drain bulbs to my compression or outfit. And while that worked this might be easier for some. It also gives you a pocket for your cell phone that recovery compression doesn’t offer.
- Arnica – I actually use two different forms of this. The first few days when compression is not being changed out or moved much I take the tablets. Once I’m able to reach some of the areas more I will use the cream. I prefer the cream over the tablets. I feel I am able to target the bruising, swelling and pain I want relief from with the cream. Also some brands of the tablets have lactose which I know bother a lot of us.
- Bromelain & Turmeric capsules – Bromelain is an all natural ingredient found in pineapple root. It is great in reducing bruising. Turmeric is great for decreasing inflammation while boating the immune system.
- No rinse bathing wipes – Most of the time you are not allowed to shower till after the drains have been removed. No rinse bathing wipes can be great for being about to “wash” up till you can actually have that amazing first shower.
- Spray Lotion – This is hands down my favorite lotion ever. It is incredibly lightweight. It sprays out in a light mist. There is no need to rub this in if you are having a hard time reaching a spot.
- Soft comfy tshirts – I love these scoop collar tshirts. When I first purchased them before any surgery I got the 3x and then since the tummy tuck I’m now in an xl. They are thin but not see through and super soft. They are also longer in the front and back so they cover areas you might not be ok with. They are great to toss on with compression and head to a post op or out for food. I have this shirt in several colors.
- Long tshirt dress with pockets – If you want a little more coverage over compression, this long maxi dress is perfect. You can have the drains out the sleeve openings and down in the pockets or you could wear them in the drain pouch under the dress. Here is a sleeveless version as well if any type of sleeves bother Lipedema arms. I understand some of the sizing seems like it would be too small. But I’ve worn these dresses presurgery with 72 inch hips. The dresses weren’t as flowy but they were still super comfortable.
- Easy to slip on shoes – I’m not going to link to any as I know shoes can be a hard fit. I have a pair of fake Birkenstock style slides that I wear as they are easy to wipe down if there is any drainage on them. But any shoe you can easily get on is great for post op in case you aren’t able to move as much to get them on.
- Plastic Jewelry for piercings – Any piercing that requires jewelry in so that it doesn’t close will need to be switched over to plastic. I have my daiths and nose pierced that I can’t leave jewelry out of due to them being too new still. I swapped the daith jewelry out with plastic ones back at the time of my first surgery and have just left them like that. The nose piercing I swap my ring out for a plastic stud day of surgery till I get a good post op check in the next morning.
I hope this list has eased some of the stress that comes along with preparing for surgery. Don’t let Lipedema or post op compression & possible drains stop you from enjoying this new chapter. You got this! You are so close to feeling relief and I’m so happy for you.