Mackenzie sitting on bed with wedge pillow
Okay so I’m not sure the credentials of the rating system, but I sure love it!

After having a Bilateral Mastectomy you don’t realize all the different parts of you that hurt, from your armpits and chest to your wrists and back! Sleeping on pain pills might seem easier, but once you leave that adjustable hospital bed you’re going to want a system. I found my perfect sleep system and this post is a detailed How-To.

It took multiple attempts, a few days and a final purchase that hadn’t been bought before the surgery, but we did it! For the first 2 months I’ve been sleeping propped slightly upward with the perfect arm rests needed to keep the pressure off my chest, shoulders, and armpits.

Now, as things are starting to feel more settled I have removed the wedge and a few pillows are placed below the u-shaped pillow. It’s a process getting away from this fort – as I’ve become so comfy and used to it.

I am not sure when Josh will pry the u-shaped pillow away from me…it’s become a security blanket. Rightfully so though! In the first few weeks of recovery, it was vital that I didn’t roll onto my side because with the DIEP Flap reconstruction I could have lost a flap. If you cut off blood supply or put too much pressure you can rupture the newly attached vessels that are keeping those flaps alive. I’m a side sleeper typically, so this was a major concern for me.

However this fort always made me feel comfortable and safe – it was such an ordeal trying to get comfy at the hotel and when we got home and got this bad boy down – I slept wonderfully!

Mackenzie’s Mastectomy Recovery Pillow Fort
Things you’ll need:

1 – Contour Bed Wedge – The base, the steady foundation on which we build. This is available on Amazon, and is linked above.

2 – Leachco Back n’ Belly Contour Pillow – It is a “U” shaped pregnancy pillow with a removable cover that can be machine washed. It has been my saving grace when it comes to even arm support. Also linked above, up there, seriously buy this even if you don’t want to buy all the items. I promise I make no money from them, it’s just that good!

3 – AuxillaPillas – These little charmers were suggested on another list I’d found before my surgery and I’m so glad I put them on my registry. They have become my security blankets and they follow me everywhere. Linked above.

4 – Pillows of your choosing – These provide support and comfort when placed behind the head and under the knees. I had the DIEP Flap and definitely felt the need to a knee pillow to raise my knees so the skin on my abdomen didn’t feel so tight.

How to Create the Perfect Pillow Fortress for your Woman Warrior:

Step 1: Be sure all pillow covers have been washed appropriately as its important not to create a fortress of germs after surgery. I wrap a clean sheet around the wedge, although I’m sure you could find a washable cover for it as well.

mackenzie laying on bed

Step 2: Place the wedge at the top of your bed, against the wall.

bed with wedge pillow for mastectomy recovery

Mackenzie sitting on bed with wedge pillow after mastectomy

Mackenzie leaning back on bed with wedge after mastectomy

Step 3: Take 1 of your 4 pillows (I preferred using my memory foam pillow as it was firmer and created another good base for the next Pillow) and place it at the top of the wedge pillow, towards the wall.

bed with wedge and pillow for mastectomy sleeping fort

Step 4: Take the Leachco Back n’ Belly pillow and place it partway up the wedge.

Mackenzie with u shaped body pillow after mastectomy

bed with u shaped body pillow for mastectomy recovery sleeping

Step 5: Take pillow number 2 of 4 and place it slightly over the back of the Back n’ Belly pillow.

Bed with body pillow wedge and pillows for mastectomy recovery

Step 6: Place that 3rd of 4 pillows directly back against the u-shaped pillow.

bed with mastectomy pillow fort

Step 7: Slide your brave ass self into that cocoon of pillows. I find it easier to have someone hold one arm of the Back n’ Belly pillow up while doing this. Be sure to reposition that 3rd pillow behind you as comfortable.

Mackenzie sitting in mastectomy pillow fort

Step 7: Fold the leg pillow and place it below your knees like so. Again, my husband likes to slide it under and help me.

bed with mastectomy pillow fort and knee pillow

Step 8: Put your 2 auxillapillas in your lap so they fit with the Back n’ Belly pillow. They are great if you want to bring your hands in and not have your wrists fall asleep. I also like the security of knowing I’ll hit them before hitting my abdominal incision in my sleep. It’s important to know that while made to go under your armpits after a mastectomy – if you have DIEP reconstruction my Doctor really warned against them being under my armpits and pressing on the flaps.

Mackenzie sitting on bed in mastectomy pillow fort with heart pillows

Mackenzie on bed in mastectomy pillow fort

Step 9: Lean back and enjoy. Give your husband, helper, caregiver a smooch wherever appropriate to thank them for helping you with this everyday. Recovering from a mastectomy isn’t easy on either of you!

Mackenzie on bed in mastectomy pillow fort reading book

Mackenzie peeking out from under book on bed in mastectomy pillow fort

Mackenzie peeking over book on bed in mastectomy pillow fort

Mackenzie Mastectomy asleep in pillow recovery fort

Voila!

**Also Dangerous Boobiesย  by Caitlin Brodnick is a must-read for all my BRCA Breasties out there – great to enjoy while resting in your awesome pillow fortress!

i hear it’s sunnier…

…when you’re snuggled in your fortress

…You warrior woman you!

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Written by Mackenzie
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