Heart Pillows

There was a whirlwind of doctor appointments the day after my diagnosis, yet in the midst of that day I was given a small gift of love in the form of a pink heart pillow.

The pillow was among about a dozen other heart pillows, heaped up high in a wicker basket sitting in the corner of Vicki’s office (the Breast Care Coordinator at Kaiser).   The pillows are made by volunteers; volunteers that I envision to be white haired grandma types who have long since given up their time for a paying job, but still love to keep their fingers and minds busy by stitching together these pillows, probably while watching Wheel of Fortune or some midday craft show on HGTV.

And let me come back to Vicki, because just offering up her title does little to describe her calm demeanor and the care in her eyes.  When sitting in exam rooms waiting to see Doctor A, B or C, there’s always that sense of another patient waiting to be seen, but the moment we step into Vicki’s office our time is her time, however long that may be. So when we were considering our health care path, Vicki was one of the factors that heavily tilted our decision. Yes, the skill and expertise of the surgeon was important, however the scalpel is only a small part of the healing puzzle.

Back to the pillow.

So, as I picked out my heart pillow she explained that some (patients) find these comforting; some take them into surgery and it offers them a sense of peace during all of the scary moments.  I had my doubts that a funny looking pink pillow could offer that to me but I accepted her gift graciously trying to shroud my doubt with a smile.

As we made our way through the hospital corridors onto the next appointment in Radiology I felt a swirl of emotions while holding this bright pink pillow.  It seemed like a giant flashing sign saying “look at me, I just got a cancer pillow” would have been more subtle, yet I also thought that I should hold it with honor and pride and not try to stuff it into my already bulging tote.

Well, as Vicki knew, this pink pillow has become my little friend.  When all precious objects like my wedding rings had to be removed and when loved ones had to sit in the waiting room with stained old magazines, my pillow was permitted to follow.  I hugged it, cried into it, and even now after 5 weeks, I hold it tight to my chest as I sleep at night, sometimes to prop up my arm just a touch.

My story now leads to my photo.  My silly bright pink pillow, now worn and pilled, inspired me to make heart pillows, to pass onto those brave women who will be sitting in Vicki’s office in the coming days, probably clutching the hand of a loved one in one hand and a wet tissue and heart pillow in the other.

Postscript.  It’s a bit daunting to see a mound of heart pillows knowing that they are waiting for some unsuspecting woman who is going about her day today and then tomorrow or the next, her life will change.  I asked Vicki how many she gives out in a week.  It can range she said, but sometimes it can be as much as six.  Her answer made me sad.



4 Responses to “Heart Pillows”

  1. Mom Says:


    What a wonderful gift from you to other women. You’re compassion for those people just amazes me.

  2. Darcy Says:

    Looking at these just makes me feel warm inside. Can we make heart pillows too? If so, where do we send them to? Send me info via email (size, fabric type, etc.) and I will share with other crafters too. This is such a small thing for people to do, but one that I think will touch lots of people.

  3. deb Says:

    oh you sweety. just sending you all the best hopes and wishes possible with much love and positive vibes aunty deb

  4. deb Says:

    oh you sweety. just sending you all the best hopes and wishes possible with much love and positive vibes aunty deb

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