I have found a project that is very close to my heart (or should I say left breast?): The Heart Pillow Project.
I stumbled upon it when my sister gave me a German craft magazine the day before I left Switzerland. The magazine was looking for women who would be willing to sew and donate heart pillows for breast cancer patients. Many operation wounds are in or around the arm pit and the pillow helps to relieve the pressure from the arm on the wound. I went on the internet to read a bit more about the Heart Pillow Project and discovered it was brought to Europe from America by a Danish nurse, Nancy Friis-Jensen. There are many groups in Denmark who are sewing Heart Pillows for patients and you can see some of the pictures on the Heart Pillow Project website.
Cancer is scary and changes your life completely. I know as I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34. Doctors and treatments take over your life, decisions have to be made. I was in a bit of pain after my first operation but I can’t say that it was too bad. The fact that I can’t lie on back to sleep was more of a problem. Lying on my side was painful until I found a millet cushion I could lay under my breast to give it some support. It was good but quite heavy and awkward. In hindsight I wish I had had a Heart Pillow.
Maureen, the wonderful wife of our friend David, was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of months ago and has had two operations in the last two weeks. After reading the article and wishing I had had one, I decided to make her a Heart Pillow. I hope that it will be useful to her and relieve whatever discomfort she might feel.
I used some IKEA fabric for Maureen’s pillow which you will see again soon as it’s the lining for my sister’s bag which is going to be made later this week. I love blue and white together and adore this flowery fabric. It looks feminine without being to saccharine.
This pillow was very quick to make. I will make another one and contact the oncology department in our local hospital to see if they would be interested in giving them to their breast cancer patients. If they accept I will get our crafty chatters to make Heart Pillows on Monday evenings. I can’t imagine a better project for us while we have a chat.
If you are interested in making a Heart Pillow here is the pattern and ‘how to’. The only thing I would like to note is that my fibrefill seems to be lighter than theirs. I weighed out 150g but couldn’t get it all into the cushion. The cushion shouldn’t be too squishy but also not too hard. Put it under your arm and check what is comfortable for you, I ended up taking some of the filling out again because I thought my pillow was too hard.