If you have a friend or loved one facing breast cancer surgery, it’s hard to know exactly how to help. One radiation oncologist, who underwent two prophylactic mastectomies, has taken the challenge to heart, creating the Breast BFFLBag® ($100), a duffel full of personal items that will help ease post-surgery discomfort.
After years of breast biopsies, consultations and genetic counseling, Dr. Elizabeth Chabner Thompson chose to have a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer. The surgery and the recovery experience led her to working in a reconstructive surgery practice so she could help other women going through the process.
While surgical procedures had evolved tremendously, Dr. Thompson felt that the post-surgical garments she could give her patients were relics from the 1970s. Also, her patients had questions about what to bring to the hospital and how to care for themselves after surgery. Armed with a scissors and thread, Dr. Thompson began designing surgical bras and a line of accessories.
The highlight of the Breast BFFLBag® is the Axilla Pillow, a heart-shaped pillow that fits under the arm to provide support during recovery. It can also be used on the trip home from the hospital to protect the surgical site from a seat belt.
The bag itself is made of lightweight stain resistant cloth and features metal feet to keep it off hospital floors. In addition to the Axilla Pillow, the Breast BFFLBag® contains:
- SkinCeuticals® gift pack containing CE Ferulic Serum, Emollience Cream, Eye Balm, Simply Clean, and Phytocorrective Gel;
- Foldable, washable water bottle and comfortable skid-resistant slipper socks;
- Drain Care Pack (supplies and instructions);
- Toiletries Pack (everything from a earplugs, to toothbrush to a nail care kit);
- Amusements Pack (cards, notecards, pad, pen);
- Expandable folder for important papers and cards;
- KIND healthy snack bars
BFFL (which stands for “best friends for life”) now offers a total of 8 bags, which include the Double Mastectomy BFFLBag®, the Neuro/Brain BFFLBag®, the GYN/Ovarian BFFLBag®, the MOMMY/Delivery BFFLBag®, and the Prostate BFFLBag®.
The Breast Bag is even given to patients by a select group of hospitals such as Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and others.
BFFL Bags can be purchased at bfflco.com. To further its commitment to helping patients, BFFL donates 15% to 20% of the net profit from sale of the bags to a health-related charity.