Many people ask me “What’s an axilla•pilla®?” as they mispronounce the words!
Axilla (pronounced ak-zil–uh) is the medical term for armpit, the place where a lymph node sampling is done for breast cancer, melanomas of the arm or even some lymphoma biopsies. It’s a tender area after surgery, prone to swelling, and often gets rubbed during arm movement.
Many patients find comfort after surgery having a supportive pillow under the arm. The problem is, the pillows given out by many hospitals are either homemade by volunteers (that is, non- hygienic) or hard– filled with a solid batting, like a hotel pillow.
We designed our axilla•pilla® in response to the many complaints from patients about post-surgery chafing, soreness and pressure in the axillary, or underarm, area. Our pillow contains thousands of tiny virgin polystyrene microbeads and is covered in a soft yet flexible nylon/Lycra fabric stretch fabric. It’s cool to the touch, yet cozy and soft, and conforms to your body as you use it. The axilla•pilla® also retains its shape, because the microbeads move around but don’t collect or clump in one place or another.
At a heart-shaped 9×10 inches, the axilla•pilla® fits perfectly under the arm, but can also be used for bracing after any cardiac, thoracic (lung), abdominal, orthopedic, or “female” surgery which require vertical or horizontal incisions. When a patient coughs or laughs or even tries to sit up, stress is placed on the incision or “stitches.” The counter-pressure of the pillow prevents pain and discomfort and tearing of the incision.
New moms love the pillow, too. After a c-section, she’s getting up many times during the day and night to care for her newborn. The axilla•pilla® is the perfect bracing and comfort pillow while her incision is healing, but then can be used as a nursing pillow– a lot easier to carry around than those big, donut-shaped models. Even moms who have had a traditional delivery find that their muscles take time to “get back to normal.” The axilla•pilla® supports any sore area.
Patients recovering from surgery use the axilla•pilla® to keep a seatbelt from rubbing into the chest or breast as well. Rather driving without a safety belt or bypassing the shoulder harness, they put the axilla•pilla® between the harness strap and the chest.
When patients sit for long periods of infusion or dialysis, they can develop numbness or tingling in the elbow area. The axilla•pilla® is perfect for chemo or dialysis patients who can’t find a comfortable position for the 2 or 3 hours that they must sit and be treated.
The axilla•pilla® is perfect for the lower back as a lumbar pillow while sitting in an office chair or car seat. Many people with sciatic nerve pain use the axilla•pilla® in the car under their thigh to relieve pressure while driving long distances.
Last but not least, children love the upbeat, happy, heart-shaped and cozy pillow that they can hold onto when frightened, uncomfortable or trying to fall asleep in the hospital or even at home.
The axilla•pilla® is included in every BFFLBag® (there are two in the double mastectomy bag), or can be purchased separately. It is machine washable in cold water and should be air-dried.
It’s the perfect gift for a patient, caregiver or anyone else who needs comfort, support, or pain relief!