One of the handiest items for anyone facing breast surgery or after a biopsy is a small heart shaped pillow. While any small pillow is good, we like the heart shape for pillows for a number of reasons:
It stays in place under the seatbelt or under the arm and doesn’t move, like a rectangular pillow or a rolled up towel.
It fits under the arm to take the weight of the arm off takes off your sore and sensitive breast or chest after a mastectomy or lumpectomy for breast cancer, or during radiation treatments.
The pillow relieves pain from the surgical incision, protects against accidental bumps, helps ease edema, and relieves shoulder tension.
It can provide a cushion to protect a chemo port from rubbing against a seatbelt.
It fills in the space left empty after a mastectomy, giving you a more comfortable rest when lying on your side.
And finally, the heart shape speaks of love as well as giving physical comfort.
Free pillows are given out on the day of cancer surgery at some hospitals. They are often available from your local American Cancer Society office as well as at treatment centers.
The pillows are typically made by volunteers and donated to the various organizations. One group in Sarasota, Florida is known as the “Pinheads.” These ladies meet weekly and are part of the Stitch & Chat program of the JFCS Cancer Support and Wellness division. Each year they make and distribute over 400 heart shaped pillows, with the majority going to the Breast Health Department at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
The pattern that the Pinheads use was revised in 2016 to make it even more comfortable. Feel free to use it.
We depend on donations of cotton fabric, poly-fiber filling and thread to provide pillows to patients. If you would like to help us make pillows (or other projects to comfort cancer patients), join us at Stitch & Chat on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month at http://www.jfcs-cares.org/services/cancer-support/ from 9:30 to 1:30.
There are also patterns and instructions for comfort pillows on many websites, a good one is: http://www.angelpillow.org/sewing-instructions.html