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Topic: Sleeping after a double mastectomy with TE

Forum: Surgery - Before, During, and After — Surgical options and helpful tips for recovery and side effects.

Posted on: Jul 2, 2012 07:38PM

shabby6485 wrote:

Hi everyone!

Having a pbmx on aug 14 for LCIS.  How did everyone cope with sleeping positions?  I am definitely going to do the recliner thing early on but how long until you could sleep on your side again.  I have never slept on my back and believe this is going to pose a problem for me.  What is the actual reason for not being able to sleep on your side?  From pain or is it from the TE's?  I am a miserable person without sleep! Wink Would appreciate any suggestions on how to deal!!! 

Dx 3/2012, LCIS Surgery 8/13/2012 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Jul 2, 2012 07:59PM Mooleen wrote:

You won't want to sleep on your side as it is too painfully. I had a foam cushion that raised your head and your knees. I slept on my love seat with this. It was fine . The back side of the couch provides you with some support.

Dx 11/1/2011, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 2/22/2012 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Surgery 2/22/2012 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 8/20/2012 Reconstruction (left) Surgery 10/8/2012 Reconstruction (right)
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Jul 2, 2012 08:18PM geewhiz wrote:

I slept in bed with pillows underneath me. I didnt have a recliner. I got a small wooden chair that provided lots of support to sit in watching tv etc for a few days, that helped. Something else...get "slick" jammies...like silk or polyester silky type. I noticed it helped me slide out of bed way easier than cotton bottoms!!

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Jul 2, 2012 08:30PM loriio wrote:

I am a side sleeper but haven't had too big of problem so far. Pain meds help. I am in my regular bed and find it easier to get in and out of than I did the hospital bed. The night before last, I really did wish I could roll over on my side but at this point, it's my drains restricting me. Once they're out, we'll see how I do with the TEs. Maybe with a soft pillow, I'll be able to roll over.

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson Dx 3/1/2012, LCIS, Stage 0, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/20/2012 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 6/26/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Dx 7/2/2012, ILC, <1cm, Stage IA, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/4/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Jul 2, 2012 09:12PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

Yes, pain and the drains make side sleeping difficult for a while and I had my one step implants too. I didn't have a recliner but used a bed wedge with a few pillows on top and a stack of pillows to make soft arm rests. My bed is high so I also climbed in and out using a small step stool. It will be difficult to use your arms to boost yourself in and out of beds, chairs etc. My ab and leg muscles were strong and that really helped. During the day I sat in an arm chair with an ottoman. I am not a back sleeper but all the pillows made it quite cushy and I had no problem, though I was happy when I was able to sleep on my side again. Good luck to you. Caryn

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole)
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Jul 2, 2012 10:23PM noraLCIStoICL wrote:

My BMX was on May 29th, tomorrow makes 6 weeks. TE on both sides. I can sleep on my side for short spurts (like 20 minutes or so) - I use a soft pillow to try and reduce the gravity pull on the TEs (either toward armpit or toward cleavage). It isn't comfortable but it's somewhat managable.

Didn't even attempt to sleep on my side while the drains were still in.

I bought a large bed wedge (from amazon.com), it's 12" high at the back. I layer 3 pillows on top of that so that I even get some support for my lower back.

I haven't had any problems with my arms or really needed to prop them up. I have tended to sleep with my arms in next to me on the wedge or crossed over my belly.

Must second the hint to get slippery pajamas - that made a world of difference. I got 2 pairs with short sleeves and fully button up tops (amazon again).

When I've forgotten about using my arms and have tried to reposition myself like I used to - not fun, painful and shocking. 

Surgery 5/29/2012 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Dx 6/6/2012, ILC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/2/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 8/3/2012 Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 9/9/2012
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Jul 3, 2012 12:53AM Blessings2011 wrote:

I rented a hospital bed for my recovery. None of our recliners were comfy at all, plus I couldn't reach the controls. (And I couldn't get out of our Tempurpedic bed without using my arms.)

Put a memory-foam topper and mattress pad on the hospital mattress, raised up the back and raised it up under the knees so I could sleep on my back. Surprised at how comfortable it was. (I have spinal stenosis and degenerative disk disease, so sleeping on my back is usually VERY painful.)

Getting in and out of bed was so easy. Lower the knees, raise the back all the way up....and lower the whole bed if needed. To make the bed, raise it all the way up.

I also had an over-the bed table, and DH rigged up my reading lamp (on the bookcase) to a remote control which he tied to the hospital remote.

Smartest thing I ever did! Helped me be SO much more independent!

(I was able to go back to sleeping on my sides after I started getting fills.)

Dx 9/15/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/5/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 8/22/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 9/5/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 10/22/2013 Femara (letrozole)
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Jul 17, 2012 06:00AM ab1234 wrote:

Yep, it was/is very tough to sleep on my sides. Took at least 4 weeks before I could even attempt it. Even now, 2+ months out from surgery (with my TEs still in...Exchange Aug 17!), I can sleep on my side but occassionally if I try to adjust or move casually/quickly, I am promptly reminded of these foreign things in there! Honestly, my biggest relief started when my Dr. finally prescribed me a non-narcotic muscle relaxer. The pain meds really never did much for me, and I didn't want to take them. I would take the muscle relaxer right before bed and they helped immensely. 

Wish I would have read about the slippery PJ tip...that sounds as though it would have helped me too! But you WILL get through it. Good luck!  

Surgery 4/29/2012 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 8/16/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Jul 18, 2012 07:06PM kane744 wrote:

I got the slippy pjs, however, when I was finally able to sleep in my bed, I would slide out of the comfortable position in no time, so I only wore the tops! I'll wear those pjs for many years, though, cause they are the most beautiful I ever had!

Dx 9/26/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/14 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Dx 5/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 6/25/2012 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 7/31/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jul 19, 2012 12:44PM Deejon wrote:

Hi... The discomfort lying on your side is from the tissue expanders. As you get fills they get harder and harder. Mine felt like they were pinching inside my armpit. I pretty much have had to sleep on my back since I got them. Today I had my exchange surgery and that pinching feeling is gone! Just keep your eyes on the prize and know the discomfort is only temporary:)

Dx 8/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/23/2010 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Surgery 3/27/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 7/18/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Jul 19, 2012 03:52PM rosetx wrote:

I'm feeling as though I'm going to be in this recliner permanently!

Dancing With The Scars Dx 6/5/2012, DCIS Surgery 6/5/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 9/11/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx ER+/PR+
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Jul 19, 2012 04:48PM my3sunz42 wrote:

Deejon - thank you for providing 'light at the end of the tunnel' ... I too am experiencing the pinching feeling on the outside of both my TE's and it seems to get worse as my new girls grow. However, I do find comfort sleeping on my sides if I push my foob in towards my breast bone - so I have benefited from side sleeping :-) I'm looking forward to my exchange later this year!! Congrats on your exchange!

Dx 4/26/2012, IDC, 1cm, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/11/2012 Lymph node removal: Left, Right; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 7/12/2012
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Jul 20, 2012 03:35PM DocBabs wrote:

I slept on my sides as soon as I got home.I remember using a lot of pillows to sort of brace my breasts. I didn't find sleeping on the drains to be too much of a problem but one night I felt something tight near where my bra line would be and thinking that I had a bra on I pulled it down a bit like I was readjusting it , only it was the drain.....Ouchy!!!! You do get used to it.

DocBabs Dx 4/28/2011, IDC, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/12/2011 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 5/12/2011 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 7/14/2011 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jul 30, 2012 01:09AM Swmdsharon wrote:

Slippery pjs or satin sheets work for in/out. I use a travel pillow which I use on chair so head doesn't fall forward. I also use it for breathing exercises. Best of all when using it in bed it allows me to turn my neck far left or far right which gives me a mock side sleeping feeling.

SWhite
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Jul 30, 2012 05:30PM wildrumara wrote:

UGH!  I had to sleep in a recliner for over two months after my BMX because my implants (I went direct to implant, no TEs) felt too "pinchy" when I slept on my side up until that point.   Right before my surgery we went out and bought an extremely comfortable leather recliner and it was a God send for me.  I kept it in our bedroom and it was wonderful.  Granted, I'm only 5 foot 4 so I was able to fit into it comfortably.  I still love my recliner, but its now moved down into our basement.   It was easier on my husband too.  He slept better because I wasn't in the bed tossing and turning in pain.  Anyway, if you have a recliner that is comfortable, consider moving it up to your bedroom for awhile after surgery......it made life easier for both of us.  Best of luck to you!

Aug 2011, dx wth IDC Stage 2, oncotype 25, neoadjuvant chemotTC X 6, BMX with reconstruction, Tamoxifen March 2012, April 2014, two small mets discovered on liver. Arimidex, May 2014 Liver wedge resection. June 2014 SBRT of second liver lesion. Dx 8/23/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 9/30/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 2/29/2012 Hormonal Therapy 3/27/2012 Hormonal Therapy 5/8/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx 2/8/2018, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to other, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-

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