Double Masectomy- sleeping

Hi All

Any advice on sleeping after a double Masectomy.

Im very swollen and in a lot of pain can’t sleep in any position im exhausted.


Hi Kat-Jack
I slept on my back with a v pillow also had a couple of small heart cushions under each arm , I know it’s not ideal but managed to get comfortable , the worst was the drain once tha was out was more comfortable . The first few days were hard the swelling will go down , I just found odd feeling under arm were nodes were removed more painful but numb at same time . Just take each day at a time and rest when you can you will get there xx


I’m so sorry to hear you aren’t sleeping after your surgery. I had a double lumpectomy and found sleeping upright, propped up with pillows helpful as well as wearing a soft bra, taking the painkillers regularly (unfortunately caused constipation so needed Senna/laculose). I did also have sleeping tablets that helped a bit. I also found lavender/chamomile sleep spray on my pillow relaxing.

Did you receive a Breast Cancer Now leaflet about the operation and recovery
Here’s the PDF

You could call your breast care nurse/team for advise. Or

BCN nurses

  • Helpline: 0808 800 6000 (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm; Sat 9am-1pm). Speak to our trained helpline team. No questions are too big or too small.
  • Ask Our Nurses: You can message our nurses here on the forum, or confidentially. Whatever you prefer.

I’m sure they will have some advice for you. I hope you get some help and sleep better soon. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


I agree it was not easy but I used a v pillow and after a few days was sleeping ok not all night but getting a good few hours a night with it.
Once healed even today 18months on I cuddle a second pillow longways it supports me as I like to sleep on my side.
I still don’t sleep all night but most of night and it’s enough
Good luck everything just takes time


Thanks for the replies, its 3am just woke up in agony, i wasn’t quite expecting this much pain. I manged to sleep for nealy 3 hours.

I have a V pillow but cannot lay down as the pressure is emense. So using it to hug me sat upright.

Just taken some more Codine :flushed:

Im going to spend more time up and walking about tomorrow hopefully will loosen me up a bit.

Having breast cancer sucks feel like I’m being punished constantly for something.

Sorry being very negative but I’m so tired and in pain. Looking forward to feeling better soon. Also for my swelling to go down so I can see what the new boobless me looks like.

My 5 year old is fasanated by my NHS boobs that go in the bra she thinks its great :rofl:

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You’re allowed to be negative… this is all rubbish! But you will get better, take your time. Have a cat nap during the day if you can.

Being awake at night is horrible… hopefully you got some rest and are feeling a bit better this morning.

Keep going… you’ll get there xx


I know it suck’s but you will improve and the pain will ease , have you spoke to your breast care nurse or the help line for advice always there for advice your not alone need to look after yourself take care x

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It’s ok to be negative, we’ve all been there. This forum is a kind and supportive place to rant, share and support.

I’m 9months in from surgery, 4 months from chemotherapy and 3 months from radiotherapy and I still do t have a full nights sleep. Some nights are better than others.

I have loads of admiration for you having a 5 year old dealing with this. My children are in their 20s and don’t live at home so it was just me, my husband and the dog. I had a snigger when you mentioned her views on your NHS boobs.:rofl:

It’s not nice now but it will improve. One day at a time :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Hi @kat-jack
Yes it does suck and its worse with no sleep. When I had my double mastectomy I wore a tightish fitting soft bra to help with swelling and comfort.
In bed I had 4 pillows stacked in a V so i was propped up and cosy. Had to sleep on my back with the hospital v pillows under my armpits and drains over to one side of the bed down into in a box so the stood upright.
Meds i was given was oramorph and codein, i didnt need these though just paracetamol and ibuprofen as prescribed to keep ontop of the pain.
I wasnt really in pain apart from a sharpness in one breast when i moved. I took it to be where the drain was hitting a nerve or so i thought, it did infact turn out to be an infection which hit me a week after the op. It was only when my BCN visited she saw the startings of the redness. I had felt like I was poorly inside but didnt think much of it at the time as I was on antibiotics .
Its worthwhile you seeing your BCN to check why you’re in so much pain.
Afternoon naps are essential too in your healing. Basically do nothing other than rest and heal.
Hope you get sorted. Were all here for you, hopefully there are some tips to help you out.
Much love xxxx

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Hi Kat-Jack

Sorry you’re in so much discomfort. I had a bilateral mastectomy in January so just thought I’d share some of my experiences/ideas in case they help:

  • I slept propped up on a foam wedge that I got from Amazon, I personally found this more supportive than a V cushion

  • I put another pillow under my knees to raise my legs a bit and take the pressure off my lower back (this mimicked the way I slept in the hospital beg which was with the back propped up and the legs raised up too so my bum was lower than my knees)

  • I put a neck cushion (like you would use on a plane or long car journey) around my neck so I could rest my neck to the side which made me feel less like I was sitting up

  • I wore (and now still wear!) a sleep mask. I had never done this before my surgery but someone reccommended taking one to the hospital and I have found it really helpful in making me sleep in places/positions that I usually can’t. My chiropracter subsequently told me she wears a sleep mask as it masks light pollution and also makes you associate sleep with the mask so you can eventualy sleep in ost positions/environments as long as you have the mask! I now have a really nice silk one but you can get a super cheap one from Amazon

  • I got my GP to prescribe me low dose Diazepam (2mg). This can be taken during the day or ight and isn’t addictive is used for a short period. I used it for the first 3 or 4 nights but can honestly say that after this just knowing it was there made me able to sleep as I knew there was a solution if I got desperate. I know people have different views on sleeping tablets (and Diazepam is actually an anti-anxiety pill rather than sleeping tablet, but relaxes you so you sleep) but I personally think in the post surgery period it’s really useful and can break the cycle of exhuastion/stress

I hope this is helpful. Feel free to message me if you want to chat! xxx

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Hi @kat-jack

Something I forgot to mention, don’t know if you’re into meditation or not but there is a healing sleep meditation called Blissful Calm on The Mindfull Movement on YouTube. I use it to go to sleep and never get more than a quarter of the way through it and I am off to sleep. There are stacks of episodes to pick from to suit your needs.

Hope you’re feeling better soon, remember what you are going through is not forever and everyday you are one step more recovered.

Sending positive thoughts. Have yourself a great day!


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