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I miss my armpits

JBudd JBudd, MSN (Guide) Guide Educator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching.

So, got diagnosed last month, double mastectomy last week, drains out tomorrow. What bugs me the most is I can't get comfortable with the admittedly mild swelling just in front of my armpits! ARGH! I have always slept on my side, and just can't get adjusted around the really odd feeling (some numbness, some swelling so I can't flop my arms around).

Anyone who has been through this, when do I get my armpits back?:arghh::roflmao:


Specializes in Med-Surg.

After my mothers double mastectomy she hated not being able to sleep on her side. Even after the JP drains were removed she felt really uncomfortable. It took her weeks (maybe six?) before she was able to. Worse for her was getting up out of bed. It was so difficult and painful that there were nights she slept in a recliner.

I remember helping her shave her armpits after surgery. It was probably way too soon, but she was going to try with or without me and I felt a lot better about helping her than imagining her doing it herself. One side of incisions went into her armpit so that was difficult. We had a really good laugh in the process though! She also heavily applied deodorant despite my protests.

Good luck to you in your recovery!

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

I haven't, but wanted to wish you a smooth and complete recovery! (((Hugs)))

I'm sorry for your diagnosis!

You may not recover the sensation fully in the area where the lymph node harvest was done.

Good luck.

I'm sorry I'm of no help, but I just have to say, I love your attitude! :)

and I'll bet you heal quicker for it.

You have undergone MAJOR surgery. That recovery is one day at at time.

You are also dealing with a life threatening diagnosis.

I applaud your positive attitude!

Pillows , my colleague.. many pillows will help. I hope you have a loved one to be at your side.

Please let us know how your recovery is going.

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching.

She also heavily applied deodorant despite my protests.

Good luck to you in your recovery!

Yes! that! not only can I not roll, but I have to peel the armpits open far too often in this heat. shoulda put in air conditioning those 20 years ago.........


Specializes in long term care Alzheimers Patients.

I just want to say I will be thinking of you, and sending hugs.


Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty.

I sure wish I had the answer to your question, because that is one of the best thread titles ever! Gentle hugs and best wishes for full recovery and ummmm.......armpit reconciliation?? :woot:

Sending wishes for a good recovery. I have no direct experience with patients with this problem but I am wondering if a memory foam mattress might help.


Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology.

I haven't been there, but I'm sending you hugs and lots of positive thoughts for a smooth recovery (and for finding your armpits again!).

iluvivt, BSN, RN

Specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion.

Find a good cervical pillow then cut in in two and stitch each end then tuck that in you arm pit. If you do cut it in two it sticks out too far. Test it before you cut it so you can figure out the exact size you need ..get the real comfy one. Wishing you the best recovery....:)

I am 11 years out from a double mastectomy. The first few months, I spent a lot of time in the recliner because I was able to get myself positioned more comfortably. I agree with the others - find some small pillows and make yourself comfortable. It does get better.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma.

I'm sorry I'm of no help, but I just have to say, I love your attitude! :)

and I'll bet you heal quicker for it.


Sending positive vibes in your recovery!

joanna73, BSN, RN

Specializes in geriatrics.

Wishing that you have a good recovery. At least you've maintained your sense of humour.

dudette10, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics.

Your good humor will get you through! Wishing you a speedy recovery! Go kick cancer's ass!


Specializes in ER, ICU, Education.

JBudd, I had no idea. You're a champion with wicked humor intact! i wish you the best in your recovery. I sewed a slightly above normal sized boppy pillow for a friend who was recovering from her mastectomy. She used it to wrap around her back and places her arms on the pillow's "arms." She says she loves it, and I have seen her use it a lot, although it is possible that she is humoring me and my sewing efforts. :p

As to the pain, she had relief from massage and saw a lymphedema specialist. A different friend who had SNB had no numbness, but this friend had an ANB, and still has numbness.

Edited by AOx1


Specializes in LTC.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery! I was thinking pillows too....

you should ask this on the Breast Cancer Forum-just google it. I'm sure people there who have gone through the same thing can help you. I actually think it's the best place to get breast cancer answers and support.

Glycerine82, ASN, LPN

Specializes in SNF/Rehab/Geri.

I love that after a double mastectomy you miss..........your armpits. ;-) I think I would be the same way. I hope you get them back soon! xoxo


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