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After Mastectomy Surgery?

breathingwater76
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2010

I keep hearing that women need to sleep in a recliner after the mastectomy. Is that true? I don't own a recliner & cannot afford one. Has anyone been OK sleeping flat? Or are there wedge pillows I can use, or other options? I'm having a right side only mastectomy hopefully next week. I still don't have a date set yet but I go in tomorrow to meet my new doctor & I'm desperate to get this cancer out & start treating. I've been waiting forever & it's making me nuts. Plus I'm in pain! My arms hurts a lot. Is that normal? And I'm worried the lump got bigger. Ah, the anxiety really sucks. Thanks for any help!

CarrWilson's picture
CarrWilson
Posts: 112
Joined: Feb 2010

I bought a wedge pillow at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $29.99 then stacked several pillows on the wedge. But my favorite pillow has been a round microbead neck pillow that I elevate my arm with (less than $5 at Target). Both have helped a lot. I had a Right mastectomy and SLN biopsy.
I thought I was crazy because my right shoulder was so painful. (I was sure there was mets to my bones--there was not). I mentioned it to my MD and he said almost every woman complains of arm or shoulder pain on the affected side. One of my girlfriends who also has BC was complaining of arm pain, so she was relieved by what my MD said, her MD said it was nothing, but did non reassure her.

I used to pray for patience, I am getting my prayers answered, because the waiting and anxiety is excruciating. I totally understand how you feel.

I will hopefully get my drains out today, I am so excited! Best of Luck with your surgery, may your nodes be negative!

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
Posts: 2731
Joined: Jul 2006

I had a right modified radical mastectomy and had 15 nodes removed. I did not sleep in a recliner. I slept on my back and my husband gave me some support to pull myself out of bed. I probably could have gotten out of bed without him but it would have been harder. Although I was on the right side of the bed. Maybe the left would have been easier. Good luck with treatment.

dyaneb123's picture
dyaneb123
Posts: 951
Joined: May 2009

Guess I missed that memo...lol...I just slept in my bed on my regular pillows and was fine...just do what makes you comfortable...

JanInMN's picture
JanInMN
Posts: 149
Joined: Jan 2010

A wedge pillow was great for me, plus those long body pillows seemed to help keep me propped up. Best of luck with your up coming surgery!
Many hugs!
Jan

Marlene_K's picture
Marlene_K
Posts: 508
Joined: Jul 2009

I had a radical mastectomy of the left breast and slept on my back the first 1-2 nights, then propped just a regular pillow either under my left side if I wanted to sleep on that side or my right... just rolled the pillow back & forth. Funny but it got to be a habit. As I don't have a partner, my pillow became my honey.

Good luck with everything and let us know how you make out.

Hugs, Mar

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 583
Joined: Aug 2009

I have one. My husband slept downstairs with me the first 2 or 3 nites cause I wasn't able to get out of it myself. I had a simple mastectomy of the right side too. For me it was easier because of the drain. That was the worst part for me. A wedge pillow sounds great, I wish I would have thought of that cause it would have been better in my own bed. I felt so alone downstairs by myself.

But I have never heard you should sleep in a recliner...no physical reason I can think of. But I had trouble sleeping til the drain was out so I had the TV on most of the nite and didn't disturb anyone being downstairs.

Have you alreqdy had a Sentinel Node Biopsy? That could cause some arm pain.

Keep us posted on your surgery. We're all pulling for you.

Hugs, Judy :-)

meena1's picture
meena1
Posts: 1005
Joined: Oct 2008

I slept on the couch with pillows behind me. When i did sleep in the bed it was very painful to get back up, so i guess the solution is to not lay flat, prop pillows behind you and take pain meds.

Balentine's picture
Balentine
Posts: 393
Joined: Feb 2010

The first week I had to sleep only on my back, especially with the drain coming out of my right side. You are right....the drain is the worst thing. Even trying to sleep on my left side I was unable to do because of the pain. I would sleep on my back as long as I could and when I couldn't sleep any longer because my back would start to hurt. I would get up and walk around the house a bit, then sit a bit, then lay back down after a few hours. My right arm hurt really bad while the drain was in. I only had 3 lymph nodes removed but found out after the drain was taken out that the majority of my arm pain went away except for the tenderness and numbness under my armpit and down the backside of my arm but it was much tolerable. I think maybe the drain tube was pressing on a nerve or something that was causing most of the pain in my arm.

I am concerned that you are in pain now before the surgery? Have you talked to your doctor about that? Can you feel the lump or is it too deep in the breast to feel? Mine was on the side of my breast so I found the lump myself. I was never in any pain until the surgery so I would talk to your doctor about that. How long have you been waiting for the surgery?

I was diagnosed 12/13 and had surgery 1/19.

Lorrie Balentine

canoegirl's picture
canoegirl
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi, I made a "nest" out of pillows for the first several days at home. I had a right side mastectomy and 22 nodes removed on Jan 14th. Still can't sleep on my right side. I'm a side sleeper, so I put 2 pillows under my head, a pillow under my knees and smaller pillows under each arm. The one under the left was really to keep me from rolling over that way because are bed sort of sags into the middle. LOL I could hardly move at night, but I was comfortable! I still have two of the christmas pillows I stoll from the living room up on my bed.

Good luck!
Marcy

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