We’ve compiled a list of tips from Survivors to help you navigate surgeries and treatments. If you have any additional tips that you would like us to consider adding, please send them to



  • A long (10ft) charger for your phone or an extension cord
  • Pajamas or nightgown that button down the front (after surgery, you won’t be able to lift your hands over your head for a while)
  • Throat lozenges as you might have a sore throat from being intubated during surgery
  • Socks
  • Lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Slip-on shoes so you don’t have to bend over to tie laces
  • Small pillow for seat belts to keep seat belt from binding on the way home




  • 30% incline pillow/wedge or tv pillow if you will be sleeping in your own bed – some people choose to sleep in a recliner as you will not be able to lay flat for a period of time
  • Small pillows for under your arms
  • Safety pins to pin the drain tubes inside your clothing/to your surgical binder – ask your inpatient nurse for these, they have plenty and you only need four of them
  • Shirts that button in front
  • If you have a tall bed, get a step stool as you will be too sore to try to use your arms to pull yourself into bed, you will learn to scoot around to get situated
  • Something to hold your drain tubes when showering, i.e., a lanyard, a shower belt, a fanny pack or a contractor’s belt
  • If the hospital didn’t give you a stool softener, you might want to get an over the counter one, the pain medications are hard on your system
  • Bandages, some surgeons recommend that buying the thick maxi pads, they are the perfect size of the wound and since they are thicker they protect a little more
  • If someone can stay home with you during the first several days after surgery that will be awesome. You will need help cleaning wounds and putting the bandages back on. Then there are just the little things that you won’t be able to reach for or do at first because you are weaker and can’t lift your hands above your head. This will pass, but you will need the support for at least a week.
  • A back scratcher, the surgical binder is itchy
  • A shower chair or you can use a cooler and sit on that in the shower
  • A handheld shower head is helpful

​Most importantly, work with your medical team to prepare before and after surgery.





  • Dietary – is searchable for type of cancer, specific chemos, radiation
  • Immunity
    • Essential oils – 5 drops each of frankincense, lemon, thieves, and purification in roller bottle, fill rest with neutral oil. Rub on soles of feet 2x/day.
    • Immunity pills by Host Defense, available at Eddie’s Health Shop
      • Comprehensive Immunity (but contains reisha mushrooms which interact with chem)
      • Turkey Tail (take during chemo)




  • Used digize essential oil with peppermint and rubbed on stomach to ease nausea
  • Aloe water to keep things flowing
  • Lots and lots of water (I drank 10-12 large glasses/ day)
  • Move when you can, even if just a 10 minute walk. Helps move the chemo toxins out of your body faster




  • Rub area with aloe immediately after radiation and at bed
    • Fresh aloe from a plant works best, but can buy pure aloe. Avoid aloe with additives, like alcohol
  • Over aloe, rub on aquaphor 2/day
    • Wear an old t-shirt over it as it’s greasy. I also put a tank top under nice shirts
  • Again, keep drinking water and moving