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Sleeping after your mastectomy?

kmenurse's picture
kmenurse
Posts: 223
Joined: Apr 2013

I know I will have to sleep on my back, which will be hard for me.  I was wondering how others made themselves comfortable while recovering.  I was told I would have possibly four drains and the Solace pain pump hanging from my chest area.  I plan to sleep in my recliner at first.... Any input would be appreciated....  God Bless!   Kathy

missrenee's picture
missrenee
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

Unfortunately, sleeping on my back was my only option.  I did have an inclined foam which helped a little, but you could use a couple of pillows.  I had the pain pump in my chest and at first I was a little freaked out by it.  But, I have to tell you, it really posed no big problem and the wonderful thing was that the whole surgical area was totally numb for several days.

I did need my husbands two hands to help me in and out of bed for the first couple of days.  Getting up and down was uncomfortable.  Drains are drains--a pain in the neck, but really, really necessary to keep the fluid from collecting.

Best of luck to you--I'll be thinking of you.

Hugs, Renee

desertgirl947's picture
desertgirl947
Posts: 423
Joined: Oct 2012

I am not a sleeper-on-the-back person at all.  I was one who basically slept on my belly, slightly to the side with one arm up under the pillow.  (One arm I had to keep straighter because of dislocating my shoulder rather nastily when I was in my mid-30s.) 

I slept in the recliner in our living room, as it is large enough that my feet did not hang over the foot rest.  My husband would help me get my blankets on me before he headed to bed.  I found that having the arms to bump up against gave me a little bit of the angle I seemed to need, and I could raise myself a bit as well.  It seemed less like I was lying on my back.  I had drains, but did all right.  Yes, I had to get up in the night to use the bathroom, particularly after I started chemo and was drinking tons of water.  I managed to carefully lay my blankets on the floor in front of the recliner so that it would be easy to pull them back up when I got back.

I was in that recliner for about three months before I managed ok in the bed, using two pillows.  No, I could not sleep the way I was used to, but I did get to where I could lie on either side and just have to keep my arms down.

I am now 14 months past my surgery and still do not sleep in the position I did, but I do ok.  I do not sleep straight through the night, though, as at times when I turn to the other side, I have to kind of prop myself up to get my pillows -- still two -- just right.  From time to time I do give the "old position" a try, but at best, I can only do that on the side that had the less radical surgery.

Hope this helps.

 

e

Patti1967
Posts: 186
Joined: Mar 2013

I hate sleeping on my back as well but theres no other option:(  They will probably tell you to keep yourself at a 45 degree angle.  I always slept on my stomach prior but you adjust:) Good luck Kathy I am sure you will handle it all like a pro!  

Patti

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

I had a lumpectomy Kathy, but, wanted to say good luck to you on your surgery!

Hugs, Lex

lintx's picture
lintx
Posts: 456
Joined: Sep 2012

 

was a huge adjustment.  I slept in the living room in an overstuffed chair w/ottoman and pillows to elevate my legs and also behind my back.  I was there at least 6-8 weeks.  I had reconstruction at the same time, and came home w/4 drains and a pain pump at stomach level, not chest.  When the DR finally said I could get in my bed again, I was suppose to sleep at a 45 degree angle on my back w/4 pillows under my legs for another month.  I'm a side sleeper, so I was back to the living room, immediately.  When I was allowed to sleep on my side again, it was time for revision surgery.  They want you on your back, so I hit the chair regularly!  Even after a year, I'm still not comfortable in any position in bed.  Sometimes I still go to the chair.  Kathy, I'll be thinking about you on Friday and praying for an easy recovery.  Take care, Linda 

blazintrails's picture
blazintrails
Posts: 52
Joined: Feb 2013

Sleeping for me was very challeging.  I did get to sleep in the bed with pillows proped up around me to keep me on my back and elevated.  After the drains I did get more freedom if you call it that but did get to twist a little to my side to release the pressure off my lower back.

 

Now I use the pillows to prop me on my side at about a 45* angle, propblem solved until I do my final surgery with implants.  Oh and my surgery was Feb. 15, 13.

blazintrails's picture
blazintrails
Posts: 52
Joined: Feb 2013

Sleeping for me was very challeging.  I did get to sleep in the bed with pillows proped up around me to keep me on my back and elevated.  After the drains I did get more freedom if you call it that but did get to twist a little to my side to release the pressure off my lower back.

 

Now I use the pillows to prop me on my side at about a 45* angle, propblem solved until I do my final surgery with implants.  Oh and my surgery was Feb. 15, 13.

kmenurse's picture
kmenurse
Posts: 223
Joined: Apr 2013

Thank You Everyone; it looks like my recliner will be my best friend for quite some time...  Gotta get more pillows while shopping today!... God Bless! Kathy

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

Kathy, I would suggest you get pillows in a variety of sizes.  I slept in bed with a wedge pillow and then used pillows of all sized to get my arms comfortable.  (Bilateral, no reconstruction.)  My hubby did support my back coming up and down in the bed for about two weeks.  After that I was able to roll to my side to get in and out of bed.  And I had 3 drains, no pain pump.

I hope everything goes well on Friday, and that you have less pain than expected, and a smooth trouble free recovery.

Hugs,

Linda

 

 

kmenurse's picture
kmenurse
Posts: 223
Joined: Apr 2013

Thank You, Everyone!!!  I think I have a plan.. I think I will use my recliner to sleep in with extra pillows on the arms to elevate my arms above my heart to aide in reducing the swelling and tucked beside me to keep me from trying to sleep on my sides... I HOPE!..  Then when the drains/pain pump are removed, I will try the bed with lots of pillows as you all suggested.  I cannot thank you all enough, for the kindness everyone has shown me these past few weeks..... God Bless!   Kathy

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8255
Joined: Aug 2009

getting the rest that you need ..  Now, those pesky drains are a different story,  ahhh you learn to live with them.  A pain pump?  where is this tube, in your arm or hand?

I always slept on my side, right or left it did not matter -- after my mastectomy I found it difficult to sleep on my back - it did take a few days, but with the support of multiple pillows I found several comfortable positions and slept thru the night.   Still sleeping on my back - LOL, who would of thought!

Strength, Courage and HOPE for a Cure.

Vicki Sam

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

Kathy, thinking of you and sending hugs and prayers.

Jan

dthompson's picture
dthompson
Posts: 149
Joined: Nov 2012

Hi Kathy,

My wife just had her drains removed last week and she slept on her back with a wedge pillow and then a small pillow under each arm. She had a double mast w/ tissue expanders. I did have to help her up in and out of bed for the first 3-4 days as she could not use her arms to push herself up. Her ab muscles got really sore since you will be using them alot as you caanot use your arms. One suggestion, get a cammi with pockets for your drains. I also made her a little pocket with a string on it so she could slip it over her neck and put the drains in it to sit in the bathtub. She did well and had some pain the first week but it was controlled by pain meds. This then resulted in her being constipated, so if taking pain meds, which I'm sure you will be make sure to take a stool softener daily. Nothing worse than being in pain AND constipated.  She is now 3 weeks out form surgery and still a little sore but no longer taking any pain meds only tylenol when she needs it. Make sure to do your post surgery excersises and most of all take it easy and rest. Ensure to eat and stay hydrated as this also helps with the healing process. You will do fine !!  Our thoughts and prayers will be with you and makew sure to check in when you get a chance. When is your surgery? God bless

 

Dennis

Pink Rose
Posts: 495
Joined: Nov 2012

Wishing you good luck today Kathy!

Hugs, Rose

jennifer101
Posts: 26
Joined: Oct 2012

I had a double mastectomy in November 2012 and after about three months was finally able to getailback to sleepnkg on my side with lists of pillows all are ond for support.

I've always had a hard time sleeping on my baccan't sleap on airplanes).  i also do not havea recliner and no apsce doe one. So, for  after the surgery I got an inclined foam wedge and place a couple moe pillows on top to Kee me propped up. I bought a special bolster to place under my knkeep so that my lowered blac was not sore.  Also lots of pillows on either side to rest my arms on. It was not so bad after all.   the first couple of days after surgery, the pain meds helped keep me sedated and after awhile i got uses tonsleeping on my back. I tried to sleep on my side after a couple of weeks but it was just too darn painful.  As an added benefit, my chronic low back pain went away after sleeping on my back for several weeks. 

now that I am five months out, I can sleep on my side but still need lots of pillows for support, mostly because of my back whic is back to chronic pain.

best wishes for a successful surgery and recovery.

jennifer101
Posts: 26
Joined: Oct 2012

I had a double mastectomy in November 2012 and after about three months was finally able to getailback to sleepnkg on my side with lists of pillows all are ond for support.

I've always had a hard time sleeping on my baccan't sleap on airplanes).  i also do not havea recliner and no apsce doe one. So, for  after the surgery I got an inclined foam wedge and place a couple moe pillows on top to Kee me propped up. I bought a special bolster to place under my knkeep so that my lowered blac was not sore.  Also lots of pillows on either side to rest my arms on. It was not so bad after all.   the first couple of days after surgery, the pain meds helped keep me sedated and after awhile i got uses tonsleeping on my back. I tried to sleep on my side after a couple of weeks but it was just too darn painful.  As an added benefit, my chronic low back pain went away after sleeping on my back for several weeks. 

now that I am five months out, I can sleep on my side but still need lots of pillows for support, mostly because of my back whic is back to chronic pain.

best wishes for a successful surgery and recovery.

jennifer101
Posts: 26
Joined: Oct 2012

I had a double mastectomy in November 2012 and after about three months was finally able to getailback to sleepnkg on my side with lists of pillows all are ond for support.

I've always had a hard time sleeping on my baccan't sleap on airplanes).  i also do not havea recliner and no apsce doe one. So, for  after the surgery I got an inclined foam wedge and place a couple moe pillows on top to Kee me propped up. I bought a special bolster to place under my knkeep so that my lowered blac was not sore.  Also lots of pillows on either side to rest my arms on. It was not so bad after all.   the first couple of days after surgery, the pain meds helped keep me sedated and after awhile i got uses tonsleeping on my back. I tried to sleep on my side after a couple of weeks but it was just too darn painful.  As an added benefit, my chronic low back pain went away after sleeping on my back for several weeks. 

now that I am five months out, I can sleep on my side but still need lots of pillows for support, mostly because of my back whic is back to chronic pain.

best wishes for a successful surgery and recovery.

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