My Recipe for Portacath Pillows

2/03/2016 – Update:

So this is crazy! I have been getting so many views of this post coming over from Pinterest! Thank you for coming by and for all the good you are doing for your friends, family, strangers – or maybe even for yourself. Hugs all around!

With so much traffic to this blog post, I’ve decided to update a couple of things – some thanks to the suggestions of readers. So – anything you see in this color is an addition or change to the original post.

And just so you know – I had a CT scan recently and there was no visible sign of cancer. I’ll be celebrating my 2nd birthday (stem cell transplant anniversary) on 2/12. 

Enough hair for a little trim!

Enough hair for a little trim!

I’ve been neglecting this space again! Jana Last even included my last post – Mom’s recipe for Blender Custard Pie – in her Fab Finds. A  week ago! I didn’t realize it until today.

I usually post family recipes on Friday, but today will be a different kind of recipe. Not really a recipe – I’m fudging cheating. It’s a pattern.

If you are a frequent visitor, you know that I had a stem cell transplant on February 12th – my new birthday. That makes me 7 months old today!

On August 12, my six month new birthday, I celebrated by taking snacks and portacath pillows to the infusion (chemo) room where I received six rounds of chemo from Sept.- Dec.

On my first day of chemo I was scared and apprehensive. A friend texted me after a couple of hours and asked how it was going.

My answer to her: It is strangely pleasant here.

Cancer free! 12/14

Cancer free! 12/13

And it was. My nurse, Emily, took such good care of me, patiently explaining everything and making sure that I was comfortable. The woman across from me had a friend with her and they were playing cards and laughing. They wanted a picture taken with Emily, so I suggested my husband take it. 🙂 There was a volunteer in the room who came around every so often and offered to get water, coffee, or a snack for my husband and me. It was so nice to be looked out for in that way.

Hours spent in the chemo room were mostly pleasant and I always had wonderful nurses and the best of care. But there was never a volunteer with snacks on any of the other days. 🙁

Now that I am able to be on the giving side of cancer, I decided that, once I felt up to it, I would spend some time in the infusion room and try to return just a bit of the goodness that I had received there. I’m not up for doing this on a regular basis, but I decided that I could do something once a month to celebrate on the anniversaries of my transplant.

Now let me tell you about those pillows, as they are the main point of this post….

In the infusion room, there was a basket that held hats that had been sewn or knitted or crocheted by volunteers and were free for the taking. Friends who had been cancer patients told me to look for the basket and to find a hat to wear to bed because my head would get cold at night. (They were right!) I found a hat I sort of liked …. (I’m not much for turban-style pink hats that scream CANCER), but it was just the right weight – not too heavy and thick – a nice, soft fabric for a sleeping cap.

my pillow

my pillow

The other thing I found in the basket – and there was only one – was a portacath pillow. There was a note with it saying that it had been made by a woman in her 80s who is a cancer survivor and her daughter is a cancer survivor. It even had her address so I could send her a note of thanks. 🙂

Many cancer patients have a power port or a portacath “installed” under the skin a couple of inches below the collar bone. You know – right where a seat belt will fit perfectly over it, pressing firmly to make it just a bit uncomfortable. This great little pillow attaches to your seatbelt and holds it off of your port. I prefer to have the pillow higher than my port as I find that if it is right over the port it still puts pressure on it.

lots of pillowsI used the pillow I took from the basket as my pattern and made 31 for the infusion room last month. There were none in the basket today. Time to make more! I’m sharing my directions with you, in case you would like to join me.

A friend helped me pick out the gold fabric off the discount table at the fabric store, noting that is is gender neutral. What smart friends I have! I made some from denim I had on hand, but they take longer to make because of the little bit of hand sewing. It’s dense and hard to poke a needle through, so I don’t recommend denim or old jeans unless you are only making one or two or have special denim super powers. Just plain old odds and ends of poly/cotton or cotton or muslin will work fine. (At first I hesitated to suggest fleece because I was afraid it might cause a little shock from static electricity during cold weather. I tried one out a couple of times and didn’t have a problem, so I think it’s ok after all. Fleece sews up easily too.) Feel free to alter as you like. The pillow I have is just a little bigger than the ones I made.

What you need:
Enough fabric for two 7-x-4-inch rectangles.
Velcro – the sew-on kind, not with sticky backing. I used 5/8-inch width.
Fiber fill stuffing
thread

A word about velcro. One time I picked up several packages of velcro in a variety of colors and thought it was so great to have more color options. But – the velcro backing was very stiff and I didn’t really like it. I even cut rounded corners because I didn’t want it poking people. I don’t have a package to tell you a brand, but I bought it at Hobby Lobby. Last time I bought velcro I saw that some are labeled by how stiff or flexible they are.

Cut two 7-x-4-inch pieces of fabric.

Cut two 7 x 4-inch pieces of fabric.

Cut Velcro to 4-inch strip. (It has been suggested that a 3.5 inch strip is so much easier to sew. Duh!! And it should not cause a problem with snagging clothes because the little bit of velcro that will be exposed will be facing AWAY from clothes – not toward them.) Machine baste one side of Velcro to right side of fabric – fuzzy/loopy side up. Stitch only one end of Velcro, leaving the other end free.
baste 1

 

Baste other half of Velcro strip to opposite side of fabric – loopy side down.
baste 2Put fabric pieces right sides together and make 1/4-inch seam all the way around, leaving an opening about 1 1/2 – 2 inches at one end. Be sure not to catch the “free” ends of the Velcro pieces in the seam. (See above. If you cut your pieces to 3.5, you won’t have to worry about catching the free end.)
right sides openingTurn right side out and stuff.
turn and stuffWhip stitch opening to finish. Ta Da!
finished

These are great to do assembly-line style, if you want to make more than one or two.

I look forward to celebrating many more 12ths of the month and practicing this small act of gratitude.

And if you are the praying kind, join me today in offering a prayer of thanks for doctors, nurses, researchers and modern medicine, and for those receiving treatment today and those caring for them.

202 thoughts on “My Recipe for Portacath Pillows

  1. I hope you are doing well, thank you for posting this. My grandpa has a portacath and is undergoing chemo for leukemia. I am going to make some of these to take to his cancer center! Best and warmest wishes!

    • I am doing well, thank you. I’m sure your grandpa will appreciate the pillow. Wishing him the best during treatment and the restoration of his health.

  2. Thank you so much for your post, I hope this finds you doing well. My Mother gets her port in tomorrow so I hurried up and made one, not the best but I made it with I had. Make a better one later and some for the Chemo unit. Prayers to you and your family

    • Oh, Janet – my best to your mom! I hope the little pillow makes it a little more comfortable for her. Family and friends are the best medicine! (Plus chocolate and funny movies!) 🙂

  3. Kathy,
    What a great idea to help in even a small (but important) way! My sister began chemo today and I am putting together some things to help. Thank you for sharing and so glad to hear you are doing so well! Best wishes to you!
    Carol

  4. Carol, those little things people put together for me were so welcome and helpful! I’m sure your sister will really appreciate it. Hoping treatment goes well for her!

  5. Thank you for this. I was looking for a chemo quilt pattern and saw this! Going to make a couple for my friend! Will try n make some to donate to our hospitals!

  6. Kathy; I want to thank you for the pattern it is greatly appreciated. I have a daughter going through
    chemo treatments that she just started this past week on Dec 31st 2015 I will also try and make extras for other patients. Pat Jan 3rd 2016

    • Thanks, Brenda! It is amazing that there are so many visits to this page. I didn’t really consider that it would be picked up on so many Pinterest boards. 🙂

  7. Thank you for this post… I’ve been wanting to do something for the cancer center where I live and this will be perfect. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2015. I only had to have radiation so I Praise the Lord for that but I wanted to give back in some way so this will be perfect. I am also considering doing volunteer work there as I know there is a need. Again thank you and I pray all is going well for you…

  8. What a beautiful way to give back! I want to make some for nearby hospitals. We have 3 cancer survivors in our small church. This is an awesome idea. Bless you!

      • Our Circle at my church has been making these pillows however, we have had problems about how much stuffing to put in them. One person thinks they should be REAL thin, the rest of us disagree. Can you tell me measurement of stuffed pillow, the height. Maybe this will help solve our problem

        • Thanks for making the pillows! I just pulled out a ruler and laid a couple on the counter … looks like mine are about 1 1/2, some are 1/34 thick. The thicker ones tend to be made from fleece, which may account for the additional thickness. My pillows squish when you squeeze them (not hard packed) and are thick enough to deal with the pressure of the seatbelt. I prefer not to place the pillow directly over the port as it can still put pressure. Instead, I place it a little higher than the port and the pillow holds the seatbelt off of the port. I hope this helps.

  9. I offered up a prayer for all those on the cancer journey and and a special prayer of gratitude for you and your post!! I am a Family & Consumer Science Teacher and am always looking for meaningful service projects for my students to do! I do believe this is one I will be implementing!!! Thank you again!! And I am glad your health has been restored! My mother & sister are both cancer survivors!!😊💕

    • Thank you for your prayers! I am doing well. I had a CT scan on 1/20 and everything was clear! I love your idea of using this as a service project for your students.

  10. I’m inspired by your story. I hope to open a center one day that will use crafts, done by people dealing with chronic stress, to solve small or large issues for others- whether it is cards for the homeless to let someone know they are still alive or port pillows or bags for walkers,wheelchairs or a painting for someone who needs to know someone cares about them.

    I will keep this project in mind as one of the things people can do for others. Some of us are moved to save whales, others to feed the starving, etc. While my heart is not specifically called to cancer patients, I do hope that some of the people I will work with are and will be inspired to make these.

    I am glad you are doing well, as of your latest comment that I see here. Your post has reached a lot of people already and I pray that God rewards you for sharing this so the gift of these pillows so people in other places can make them also.

  11. Oh Kathy, it’s the little gifts of kindness when we are most vulnerable that mean so much! My Dad passed away over 20 yrs ago. He had a port but I never knew they could be so uncomfortable even with a seatbelt. I wish I knew ….wish I could have made one for him. I will make some and donate them to an infusion center. Thanks for opening my eyes.

    • It is the little things! Sometimes people think that just sending a card isn’t much, but I found that a card here, a text there, a pot of soup … any small kindness … all added up to make something big and wonderful. I am sure you did all that you could for your father and did it with love. And that was enough. <3

  12. I ran across this pin just before I sat down to write notes to go with Prayer Shawls at my church. I will need to make some. Thank you!!

  13. I just had a port put in and have noticed the seatbelt issue. I am making one for myself first and plan to make several for the chemo center where I am receiving treatment. I’ve already had one treatment and tolerated it well, and so far still have hair.
    Thanks so much for this idea!

    • Glad your first treatment went well! I didn’t lose my hair until after the 3rd or 4th one, although the nurses thought it would be sooner. Sending you a virtual hug and healing thoughts.

  14. Dear Kathy, I pray that you are continuing to do well! Thanks so much for sharing this pattern and idea! I am a 10+ year breast cancer survivor – praise the Lord! – and this idea is amazing! We have started a ministry at our church that creates items like this as a service to local organizations and I can hardly wait to share this one! I’m sure many will be “comforted” by these precious port pillows! Even though I never had one when I had my port, I am excited about being able to bless others!
    Amazed by His Grace, Amy

    • Amy – how wonderful that you have surpassed the 10 year mark! I’ve almost got two down – 2nd anniversary of my stem cell transplant coming up in less than 3 weeks. I just had a CT scan and everything was clear. Thank you for wanting to share this idea with others.

  15. Hi Kathy,

    What do you stuff your pillows with? There are so many options in the stores nowadays!

    I lost my husband to prostate cancer in ’98. He never had chemo–already metastasized at diagnosis. I have a good friend undergoing chemo now and I’ll make some of your sweet pillows for her and her chemo friends.

    So glad you’re alive!

    Jan in NE Ohio

    • Hi Jan. I just use regular old polyester fiber fill.
      Thank you! I am glad to be alive! It makes every day a good day. I hope your friend does well with her treatment!

      • I got cheaper polifil-it didn’t work-like covering a brick with padding…no spring, no softness. I use the best premium polyfil even though it is expensive it washes & dries well, keeping it’s quality. On sale I get 10lb boxes for $25.00 in WalMart. Don’t skimp on quality-patients will appreciate your extra effort!
        Doreen, NJ

  16. Hi I found out a few months ago my Best Friend has Cancer, she will gettingher first Round of Chemo, what can I do to help her?

    • Hi Darlene,

      Don’t feel that you have to do anything “big” – just offer what you can. And do NOT expect your friend to call and ask you to do something. I know I just hated picking up the phone to call people – although I enjoyed talking when someone called me. So, instead of saying, “call if you need something,” it is better to say, “I’d like to bring you some soup tomorrow, is that ok?” Or “I am free on Mondays if you need a ride somewhere.” Or suggest watching a funny movie together or doing something you both enjoy …

      One of the first things someone did for me (that I didn’t even know I wanted) was to set up a CaringBridge page for me. This turned out to be a great help and something I might not have done for myself. Responding to emails and messages and calls from everyone wanting to know how you are doing is just overwhelming. CaringBridge allowed me to write one thing that everyone who was interested could read. They could also leave me messages of encouragement and there is a calendar function where you can post things that you need – transportation to a doctor’s appointment, meals, and errand you need to run… Or – if your friend doesn’t want to do that, maybe you could offer to be a point of contact for mutual friends so she doesn’t have to do it all herself.

      I enjoyed having someone stay with me during chemo – but everyone is different. Offer, if you feel comfortable, and let her decide.

      But whatever you do will be appreciated and don’t feel that you need to do more, more more. Little things add up to big things. Just keep being her friend.

      Maybe I’ll do a post later about some of the things that people did for me.

      • I just want to add-it is such a great feeling to give even a smidgen of comfort through making some little thing for a patient-even ones you don’t know. My friend got diagnosed with breast cancer in May and it has been overwhelming. she asked me to make a pillow for under her arm to ease the pain of biopsies. It has been my joy-because of her one request-the Lord gave me a ministry of making them for two hospitals and people I don’t even know. I was going through extreme grief of my grandson’s death last Dec.2nd at the age of 18. So, remember, there is always a blessing behind the unexpected. Just be willing and God will give you the roadmap!

  17. This will make a great gift for us to make and give! I’m with an ALL volunteer 501 (c)3 non profit organization that helps people living with debilitating conditions.

    We do a lot for cancer patients, but never saw this before. Would love to farm this out to volunteers to make a lot of these to give out in gift bags.

    Before doing this, can anyone who has had a port and used this pillow personally, please reach out to me? I have a question about these before I begin asking for sewers and materials.

    Thanks so much!

    Jennifer Klug
    President
    Gifts of Cheer

    • The gift bags sound like a great idea. I’d also like to hear if people find them helpful. I do – but that’s just me talking. 🙂

  18. My aunt and mother are both cancer survivors. My mother was lucky enough that she caught it early and didn’t need chemo. My aunt was not as lucky and went through two rounds. I am so thankful that you posted this. I plan on making these and giving them to the hospital that treated my aunt and also to the local chemo center where I live.

    Thank you and stay strong!
    Kayla

    • Cancer just seems to touch everyone in one way or another. And often in more ways than one. I’m sure your donation will be much appreciated. I hope your mother and aunt are doing well.

  19. Thank you so much for the pattern. I donate prayer shawls and cancer caps to our cancer center but never thought of the port pillows. It is a great project and a great way to use up some scraps. I hope you are doing well and I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Thank you, Pat. I am doing well. And always appreciate positive thoughts and prayers. You are already giving of yourself to cancer patients and I’m sure this will also be appreciated. (It is a great way to use up fabric scraps!)

  20. I am an 19 year survivor. My daughter is a 1 year survivor. All the meds etc does end and you will get on down the road of life.

  21. Wow! I hated the port! It was the worst in IMHO, and I’ve never seen any thing like this! I pinned it and shared it and plan on making them. Thank you for posting this.

  22. Found this post today, just in time!! My good friend, who is a Thirty-One consultant, is donating 15 bags filled with goodies to a local chemo center…and I am contributing these pillows. I made one adjustment to your pattern: I cut the Velcro strip to 3.5 inches, which allows for sewing the edge without worrying about catching the free end when you sew. It works great!!! Thanks for a great idea!!!

    • I don’t know why I didn’t think of that! It makes it much easier to sew – I tried it out yesterday… When I have time, I’ll go back and edit my post with your suggestion. Thanks, Wanda!

  23. A super idea. My Mother is cancer free now for 15 years! Awesome – she went thru breast cancer and bladder cancer. Our local Library has started a young girls sewing club and these would be a great little project that they could make and feel useful when they donate the finished items to the cancer unit. I can’t wait to go thru my fabric (I quilt) and get pieces together to start this next Tuesday. Thanks for sharing this idea and remember to ENJOY every minute of every day.
    Judy, Alberta, Canada

    • Your mom has been through a lot! Glad she has come through it all so well. I hope these work out well for the girls. Thanks for your comments, Judy.

  24. You have inspired me. I am a 19 yr breast cancer and 65 yrs old. I sew a lot and I think I may make some of these for patients in our city. Thanks so much for the inspiration and I truly hope you are doing fine.

  25. I love, love your idea! Almost ten years ago, I died and went to Heaven and was told to go back that it was not my time to come, since that time I try to give back on how God orchestrated smoothly that day that I might live. On March 14, 2006, I went to the hospital for a heart cath, another doctor was called in and he ruptured my artery, I had to learn to walk, talk, read, eat, etc. everything all over again and I should not be here to tell this story. So now I make lap quilts for cancer patients, Men & Women of Valor and Birthright, which can be a very time consuming task, so these little pillows would be much faster idea for cancer patients. I made my first cancer quilt for a 22 year old woman with Leukemia, I guess I worry about cancer patients being cold. I have survived cancer 5 times. A little FYI…. Before I died I had just graduated from college as an Esthetician/massage tech and when I met this young woman, she was very nauseated and I did Reflexology on her by massaging her feet & it took the nausea away, something they did not teach me in college. Even still to this day, I use a little cover over my seat belt, which is worn out and I have been thinking I need to make me a cover. I will continue to lift you & many others up in my prayers. May God’s virtuous healing touch you and everyone else.

    • My goodness, Jan, what a story you have! So awesome to hear of your miraculous recovery. I hope you enjoy making the pillows. Although I was feverish at the beginning of my treatment, I have found that the chemo seems to have left me a little susceptible to being cold. Bless you for all that you share.

  26. I came across your pattern when browsing pinterest I had a port put in five months ago and wished there was something to help with the seat belt issue thank you for posting the pattern and instructions I’m going to go through my stash of material and make me some and if I do ok with mine I’m going to pay it forward and make some for the infusion center where I get my treatments done. Pray all is well with you

  27. I start chemo on Wed. Feb. 10th and have been looking for resources. This is a great idea and I hope to make many of them to fill the basket at the center. So glad to hear you are doing well.

  28. Thank you so much for sharing how to do this. What a wonderful idea.!! I want to make one right away. My baby brother, who is 34 years old has Mutiple Sclerosis. He just had a port put in a couple of months ago and I have not seen these. He has been diagnosed since he was 16. He will love this. A thousand thank you’s. God Bless you and hope you have great health from here on out.!!

  29. I’ve felt the push to be a helper/volunteer ever since I had a cancer scare a couple years ago. I phoned our local cancer center expressing my desire to volunteer to clean house, cook or run errands for their patients and they seemed grateful but never called on me to help. FINALLY, here’s something I can do! I made little hand warmers for my grandchildren that look like this minus the Velcro, filled with rice so they could be heated in the microwave. Would rice work well in these to hold the seatbelt back further? Or would that be unnecessary?

    • Thank you for wanting to be a helper! It can be hard to find just how to help sometimes.

      I think the rice is unnecessary. Sometimes the pillows slip a little on the seatbelt. I think the weight of the rice would cause them to slip and would also create more pressure on the port if it is atop the port.

  30. Thank you! Great idea. Most of the time I cannot figure out how to find out how to make things. I can do this. Thank you for sharing.

  31. This is a great idea! I am a 5 year breast cancer survivor, when I had my port I purchased the seat belt covers made for infants, they worked great. When my port was removed I passed Curios George (they had monkies on them and my husband is George 😊) on to people I knew that were receiving treatment.

    I am a survivor who like you wanted to give back, I probably made 100 hats and left them in doctors office. I love this idea, am thinking I need to make some.

    Thank you so much and good luck! It is a long process, positive thoughts and a positive attitude.

    • I like a little humor with my cancer, so I think I would have enjoyed a Curious George seatbelt cover. If only I had known… What kind of hats do you make? Knit, crochet, sewn?

  32. Kathy, how much stuffing do you put in the pillow? If I still had my Powerport I would test it on myself first, but I dont. Thanks for this wonderful idea.

  33. So happy to hear you are doing well, I think you are a very positive person. Two groups I belong to have been making heart pillows for breast cancer patients, these are wrapped in cellophane with a big pink ribbon and given to patients soon after their operations. They are welcomed by the patients who use them to help with seatbelts and something to hold and know many people are thinking of them when they feel down, they are all filled with love. Such a small thing to make but brings so much joy.

    I would now like to make some portacath pillows so will be copying your pattern, it’s good to give.

    Keep well and happy.

    • The heart pillows are so thoughtful and versatile – especially with their message of love!

      I hope you enjoy making these little pillows.

  34. My daughter had a stem cell transplant last March after going through chemo for acute myleoid leukemia. She was at the cancer center at the University of West Virginia and I would love to make some of these to give back. Do you have cards to go with them that explain their use or do patients know what they are? Thanks for posting and congratulations on being cancer free!

    • I hope your daughter is doing well!

      A little card attached would be a wonderful addition. I hate to admit that I have just been too lazy or unimaginative to get it done! One time I attached a note to the open box I filled with pillows that explained their purpose. I thought I would reuse it each month when I made a delivery to the infusion room. Well … guess who got behind? When I finally made it back with more pillows, my box was gone. Fortunately all the nurses know what they are for, so I guess they have answered any questions.

  35. When i had my port, i wouldn’t wear the top shoulder strap part of my seatbelt in the car because it pushed hard on my port. I always wondered if Police would have written me a ticket.
    So happy u thot of this. It’s actually a little miracle that will help so many, many people!!! Smile! And thank u!

    • I can’t take credit for the idea. I was a recipient of a pillow. My contribution is copying a good idea and passing it on. That’s usually my best work! 🙂

  36. T H A N K Y O U!
    I am a great fan of Pinterest and saw your pin. At the time I just filed it away in my mind, not knowing anyone who could use one. Shortly after that, my sister’s stepson was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma and has had a port put in. They live in MI and I live in AZ but I wanted to help in some way. So your pattern was just the thing.
    Today I made 15 portacath pillows (I made a variety for him to choose from and the rest they can distribute.) I made 12 of the 4×7 and decided to try 5 inch squares (charm squares in the quilting world) that I had from a quilting project. I also rounded the corners of the squares. I hope they work as well as the rectangles.
    I packaged each of them in a little bag with a card telling what they are used for and indicating what fabric was used, ie cotton, flannel, fleece. It was great fun. I hope to make more.
    Thank you so much for sharing your pattern. Glad you’re doing so well! Many blessings!

    • I love hearing about variations and your use of the quilting squares sounds like a great idea. I hope if anyone uses them, they will provide some feedback.

      Healing thoughts for your your nephew! And blessings back at you!

  37. I co-lead Sassy Caps (sassycaps.org), an organization that makes hats for people going through chemo. One of our volunteers has started making these pillows to give out in treatment centers along with the hats. We made up a little tag for them and are going to put it on our website. Would it be ok if we linked to your site for the directions on how to make them?

    • Wow! You move fast! I’m replying 2 days after your comment and just checked out your website and there is the link. So, yes, it’s ok!

      Was someone already making these pillows before you stumbled onto me? I see you have 2 velcro straps on the ones pictured.

      I love the sassyness! And the tags! And those Wilton bags that look to be just the right size – I hadn’t thought about looking in the cake decorating department. 🙂

  38. Hello Kathy
    Thank you very much for your post. I have never heard of portacath pillows before and this information reached me at the perfect time. My grandma is currently undergoing chemo treatments and I know she would appreciate it so I made her one.
    Congrats on your treatment success. Lots of blessing and best wishes to you.

    • How wonderful that your daughter could be a donor for someone! I was lucky to be able to use my own stem cells, but very much appreciated the plasma and blood donors who contributed to my healing!

  39. What an Amazing idea! Thank you for sharing this. I’m always wanting to find different ways to support. I’m not a survivor and don’t have anyone dealing with cancer. My great grandmother passed from breast cancer in 1975 (over 40yrs ago) and when I found out about it, I instantly became a supporter. I’ve done the the 3day breast cancer walk and other things just to show my support. My question is… Is there a process of volunteering or taking the pillows to a cancer location. I just don’t know where to start but want to do more. Congratulations to you on being a survivor, and I hope and pray your still doing well!

    • I just take mine to the Oncology center where I am a patient, so an easy “in.”. You might begin by checking with your local American Cancer Society to see if they have suggestions of where to donate. Or maybe even call the office of an oncologist in your area and see what they suggest. Good luck!

  40. Wonderful idea! Would poly pellets be too firm to stuff the pillows with? Or does the poly fiberfill work best? I will make some for my cancer center in Lincon Ne. God bless you! I pray for all people with cancer, their doctors and staff, and especially the researchers. I also pray for family members that are also affected by cancer. Someday there will be an answer for us all.

  41. Kathy, I am so happy you are doing well! I am an RN and I have never heard of a portacath pillow. But what a helpful thing it is. Thank you for sharing how to make it! BTW, I saw this on Pinterest. Pinning it right now!

  42. Thank you so much for sharing this great idea. My grandson is starting chemo next week. He will have a port placed first. He is a St. Jude patient. I am so thankful for this information. It will not only help him, but it is a way we can give back to help someone else. Thank you so much again.

    • I am sorry to be replying so late. I hope your grandson is doing well. It is so hard to be a parent or grandparent of a cancer patient. Hugs to all of you!

  43. I just read this post and am a quilter 🙂 I hope to make several of these pillows for the local hospital .
    Thank you for your post !

  44. Thank you so much! I wanted to give back to the centers that helped my Mom during her battle (she passed in May 2015), but I wanted to do something that would help in everyday life. I remember her dr gave her a pillow and realized this is one thing I could do. After one post on facebook that I had some to donate but wanted to make the first batch available to friends and family…well I’ve shipped 20 out to individual out of my first batch of 50 pillows, and I have friends who quilt donating fabric left & right. I can’t thank you enough for the step by step instructions–I never sewed a day in my life, but a friends Mom took me through your directions and now I’ve made 75 pillows in 2 weeks, and I plan to continue to do so as long as I can.

    • Wow! You really jumped right in! I’m sorry to be replying to your comment so late. You’ve probably made well over 100 by now. So many people will be blessed by your kindness.

  45. This is such a wonderful idea. I can’t wait to start making some of these pillows for the cancer center in my hometown. My family has not been touched by cancer but we do have friends going thru this experience. I am truly thrilled to find this idea and know that there is something I can do to help others. Prayers for your continued good health.

  46. I wish I would have found this site years ago..but I know it is never to late. I will start this week making these and take them to my closest chemo center. Thank you for sharing.

  47. What a wonderful and easy idea. Our church ladies now have another use for scrapes left from projects. I was blessed to catch my cancer early, so no chemo,
    but I suffer from a neck fracture, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. I can see another use for these with a change of the Velcro to elastic. Attach them to your arm, wrist as a portable cushion while sitting. God bless you ALL.

  48. What a great idea! I’m going to make some for our local treatment center.
    A question: on a brief card, how would you describe these so people know what they are?

  49. THANK YOU!! I am currently going through treatment and a sewer. I have been using a washcloth on the shoulder strap and was thinking how I could keep it from falling down, this is perfect! I am going to make several and place them in a basket in the infusion center.

  50. The snack size ziplock bags are a perfect fit for storage. I also tucked a note inside of what is and how to use it.

  51. AWESOME IDEA!!!! i wonder if instead of doing the hand sewing if you could not use fabric glue to seal it? or even stitch witch? I taught myself how to sew using both . and even on the denim you may could use a hot glue gun? This makes me want to get into my fabric stash and make some then find somewhere to donate them to .. Keep up the awesome work and God Bless you and your family

  52. You r so adorable! Thank you for the pattern. Thankfully no one I know is going through cancer but I sure would like to make some for the cancer center some of the little pillows thank you

  53. These are fantastic. I am fortunate enough to not need one, but what a great thing to make and donate. I have so many lovely scraps of fabrics that these would be perfect for. Think I have some making to do and can donate. Who hasn’t been touched by cancer whether a family member or a friend. A way to give something to those who need just the little things in life to make their day that much easier. All the best to you and your continued good health. Aileen – Melbourne, Australia.x

    • Another place to drop off is to your local quilt guild and our fabric/sewing shop. Most have charities they support including hospitals. Some have someone dropping off kits and picking up completed projects.

    • I would think a ribbon would slip or loosen more easily and not stay in place as well. But you might give it a try and let us know!

  54. Thank you for the idea. I am a 10 year survior and remember the struggle with my seatbelt. I am making a dozen or so to take to the chemo center. Best wishes and prayers for a complete recovery.

  55. I’m just about to start making for the Christie Cancer Centre in Manchester England
    My husband is having treatment, it’s good to give something back to the wonderful people helping us at the centre.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas. Hope you are doing well, all our best wishes

  56. I’ve had my port for 5 years as I’m an ovarian cancer patient and have had 2 recurrences so far. I have not seen a port pillow until this week online so I’m excited to make one for myself and will take them up to my hospital in Denver when I go for my next appointment. I love to sew and this is such a great way to give back and help others! Thank you for your excellent instructions and now I’m ready to go sew! Take care! 🙂 Sue

    • Living in Texas brings the words “Bless your heart!” to mind. My doctor and I have talked about maybe removing my port after my next CT scan. I want to, and yet I had a cancer that frequently returns. Keeping it longer seems to provide a little psychological comfort for me – it is there at the ready. That said, best to you and I hope you enjoy the project and that it also works well for you.

  57. Thank you for the pattern! My friend has breast cancer & I was trying to find ways to help her have an easier time with all that was happening to her. She loved her pillow & I have now decided to do them as a service project at church with our VBS class. We will pray over them and put a scripture inside. Thank you for sharing your design!!

    • I’m so glad your friend found her pillow helpful! I hope it is a successful project for VBS. I’d love to hear how it goes!

  58. I have just taken the first batch in to Christies in Manchester England. Every body was so thrilled with them. Thanks for the idea and good wishes to all x

  59. My friend’s mom had her port installed yesterday so I want to make her some of these pillows. Thank you for sharing! As for the velcro, my daughter found what is referred to as “baby” velcro– velcro used for baby clothes, etc. because of it’s flexibility and softness against tender skin. Maybe that tip will help your readers. God bless and congrats on your recovery!

  60. Hello. My name is Rose and I am a volunteer for a group called Circle of Love. We crochet hats, blankets, angel wraps, chemo caps, etc. and distribute them to hospitals and facilities in the Philadelphia and suburban area. Although I do a fairly good job at simple crochet hats and the like, my forte is sewing. I am always on the lookout for sewing projects to make for our group. I came across your blog, I think, on Pinterest and thought what a good idea these little pillows were. I made up a couple prototypes and shared them with our organizer. I even found a little poem from another blog to include with them. Our first batch will be going out to St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia this week. Thank you so much for the idea and inspiration. Hope all is well with you.

    • Hi Rose! I am far behind with replying to comments and apologize for my delay. I’m glad you found my blog post and have a new way to use your sewing skills. The patients who receive your pillows will appreciate your act of kindness and the comfort it provides. Thank you for leaving your comments!

  61. My seat belt is incredibly tight against my neck and my chest, so I may make a very long version of this as I have to drive 80 miles one way for chemo, and later for radiation. Thank you so much for sharing the idea!

    • I hope that works for you, Barbara. Wow – such a long drive there and back! I feel so lucky to have received most of my treatment nearby. I hope you are doing well.

  62. My daugher’s boyfriend (less than 3 months) was diagnosed with cancer and will begin chemo this week. I am making him one…thanks for the directions. I’ll see if there are any available at his hospital…and if not, I’ll be sure to make some for them.

    • I’m sure he will appreciate your act of kindness during this difficult time. Thank you for letting me know that you found the pattern and your plans to use it. I pray for good results for your daughter’s boyfriend.

  63. Just saw your info with the portacath pillow and going to start making these to donate to the Red Deer Hospital, Alberta. Canada. I am excited to do this as I had not heard about this pillow before and I am glad this will help someone even in a small way. Hope all is well with you.

  64. Dear Kathy, thank you for this recipe… or pattern… 🙂
    I write from Chile . You know, I had never heard of this kind of pillow , and I think is a great and wonderful idea. In fact, I commented about this fantastic idea to a friend who has won the battle against cancer and she said, it is fabolous. So I’ve decided to start work to bring them to the hospital . Thank you very much, blessings and a big hug. Plis I m sorry, but mi bad english. So, the important is that I knew your story and understand the recipe!!!! And… of course we are praying for you and doctors, nurses, voluntiers and patients… Kisses… Rossana

    • Thank you, Rossana! I teach English to immigrants to the U.S. and I think your English is great! I am glad you and your friend like the pillows. The pillows you make will bless the patients who receive them. <3

      • Thak you Kathy…I’m sure it will be that way…:):):)
        Thank´s for all, also for your patience to teach… <3 <3 😉

  65. My friend and her church group makes Love Pillows and delivers them to a few hospitals in Central Florida for Cancer Patients. I have received 3 of their pillows for a friend and family. I give her money to buy more fabric so her group can make more Love Pillows. Their love pillows are heart pillows and in sizes of 10-12 inches and helps relieve an uncomfortable chair or position.
    I will pass on your idea for them to consider to make too. Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope your battle is over and you have continued good health.
    My son’s bio father lost his battle of over 6 years about 21 months ago. And my brother in law is fast approaching his end we fear. We have lost several family and friends to this awful disease. Pray for a cure soon.

    • I am so sorry for your losses, Savona. I was blessed to benefit from treatment that would not have been available a few years ago. My doctor said we may not have a permanent cure for me, but who knows what advances will be available in another 5 years. We must support research and learn and put into practice all that we can about prevention. And pray.

      Thank you for passing on this idea and supporting the work of your friend and her church group.

  66. Thank you so much! We are adding these pillows to our project list for community supporters. I am with Ronald McDonald House Houston. We provide a home away for families with seriously ill children. The pillow is great for seat belts and car seat straps. Thank yo for your post!

  67. I also received a port pillow from Texas Oncology in San Antonio. And not to seem like an ingrate, I found the fabric that was used on the one I was given was an irritant to my skin. I ended up purchasing a pair of faux sheepskin ones and giving the other to a friend who is undergoing chemo. I will be sure to return the one I was given because maybe it will work for the next person. I am grateful for all that volunteers do for us all. And the port pillows are a godsend when you’re in the passenger seat of any vehicle.

    • Thank you for the reminder about fabric choice. I use fabric that is not rough, is washable, and is free of pet dander and smoke. Recently I brought home some fiber fill that my mom had and it has a very strong (although pleasant) scent. Probably from being stored in a closet with scented candles. I won’t use it for this. All my best to you.

  68. I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and was blessed not to have to have chemo but have just finished my 6th radiation treatment with 15 to go. I have made these to donate to Texas Oncology of Mesquite as a way to help someone going thru chemo. Thank you so much for the pattern.

      • Yes I finished 21 radiation treatments this past Tuesday. Will be see my oncologist in a couple of weeks to start the hormone blocking medication. Thank you so much for the portacath pillow pattern. Hope you continue to do well.

  69. Much gratitude for this post on Port a cath pillows, I am Not a cancer patient but am on my 3rd port, you see I am a gutless (literally) girl and my port is my life line for acute dehydration, I am a very small person and have a lot of issues with port pain…. This pillow will be a life saver!!!!! Thanks so very much…..

  70. Do you think the pillow could be machine stitched? I am wanting to get a group together to make at least 100 and thought machine stitching would help us reach that goal.

  71. I have been making these for our local cancer centers too. Thank you so much for posting this . These little pillows make up so fast. Thank goodness too..they are flying out of the centers.

  72. These little pillows may also work for pacemaker patients.
    My husband was given a ready made pillow by the surgery center.
    It’s rather long and stiff to me. Seems like the softer fiberfill ones would be more comfortable.
    I’ll have to make one and get his opinion.
    Best wishes for your continued recovery.

  73. Hello, I am glad to hear that you are healthy and happy after such an ordeal.
    My mother recently passed away at 93 years of age, but for the last 10 years of her life she suffered from Myelodysplasia. A troublesome disease which required her to have at least 2 Blood transfusions a month. These were bad at the start because her veins were not in good shape. So she finally had to have a pickline and then went on to have a port. She sure could have used one of these pillows.
    I on the other hand am short and healthy but in my husbands truck the seat belt rubs my neck something terrible. I think this little pillow will help me immensely. I will also plan on sewing some up for my friends at the doctor’s office that treated my mother so sweetly for so many years. Thank you so much for the instructions. I do appreciate them.

  74. I can’t wait to make some. I am 9 yrs cancer free. Although I was fortunate enough to only have to take one radiation pill. I have been looking for something simple to sew where i can make a lot of them . I have so much fabric and rolls of velcro I can use. I’m getting started tomorrow on sewing and calling some local places to see where to donate. Not sure who to call but I’ll figure it out.

  75. Kathy I hope you are still answering these msgs. How amazing God is when He works good things through us, His hands. You are truly a blessing. God be with you.
    Hugs
    Tracey

  76. Thank you so much for this tutorial and for your loving heart! I am new to sewing and this would be a wonderful project to practice as well as to give back. Some steps confused me a little and I was wondering if you would be kind enough to post a video tutorial.

  77. Thank you !! I will be making some of these i will be starting treatment tomorrow November 22nd. I haven’t seen these at the treatment center. Again Thank you so much!! Happiness Always!! Carol

  78. You are an inspiration and I am going to make some too. God Bless and I will say a prayer for everyone going through these challenges of life

  79. I am also going to make these for seatbelts. I also had cancer and a port. I also had to wear a pump home for three days after the office infusion. I found a small handmade should bag that really worked holding the pump. I am also going to make some of these in male and female colors/patterns. I didnt have pockets., so this great. It was only about 7 inches long and 5 inches across. The shoulder strap was long enough for me. Maybe i would use velcro to make it adjustable. A simple rectangle. I also wore it under a top to kinda hide it out in public. A lot of others were interested in it. I need to get off my butt this winter and make a bunch. Thank you for for your ideas!! God bless. Ive been clear on my last tests.!! It was stage 3 colon cancer
    No early warnings, i just kept putting off my test. At 50 yrs old would have been a polyp. At 55 waould have been stage 2 . I was 56. Please do the test!! So easy, really, you feel nothing afterward. God bless

  80. These look amazing. I don’t know anyone close that’s going thru this, but I would love to make some to donate. I recently gave away all of my material, but I could start collecting again. My sister is wanting to start learning to sew. What a great way to start. I’ve always made little pillows, grocery bag holders and such by hand, but using my machine would be so much easier. I’m not great at it, but it doesn’t need to be expertly done to be of use.
    My son was a Shriners kid (he had Legge Calf Perthes disease) when he was 7 ( he is now 16 1/2 and doing great), and some ladies made little pillows, and pants/underwear for the kids being treated with LCPD. It was wonderful to receive these items. I would love to give back.
    I’m praying you are well and just really busy. I’ve read all of the comments, yours and others, and see you haven’t responded lately. Praying all is well.
    I’m a little confused on the part about attaching the Velcro, but I’m sure I can figure it out.
    I’ve taught myself the basics of sewing, crocheting, and knitting. I’m not great at any of it, but truly do want to help.
    Thank you so much for this tutorial.
    Love and hugs, from Christy in Florida

  81. What a great idea! I am four years cancer free! I have a lot of scrap materials and will be making some for the cancer center I attended. Even though my port has been out for two years, that area is still tender and constantly moving my seat belt around. Will experiment on myself first and then make more! Thank you for sharing your pattern.
    I also celebrate my cancer free birthdays!

  82. Hi Kathy-I hope you are well. Thank you for your post. I love to do charity sewing and this is perfect. Is it necessary to have Velcro or could you use ribbon to tie the pillow to the seatbelt? Just an idea, what do you think?

    Sincerely,
    Lourdes

  83. I found your blog while searching Google to find out what these pillows look like. Thank you for posting the pictures, the dimensions, and the instructions for making them. I’m going to try knitting and crocheting some (I’m better at that than sewing). Besides. Resting something useful for someone, it’s a great way to use up odd bits of yarn!

  84. I wanted to do some charity work for Lent! I’ve been a cancer survivor since 2013! I love these pillows and I want to do 40 different items for Lent instead of “giving up” something. I’m very excited to make this pillows and it should be a lot faster that knitting scarfs! God’s blessing to you and that you for the wonderful pillow pattern!

  85. Jan on March 13th at 8:32 said: I just found out I have cancer. I read your story and was touched deeply. I am a sewer and I would love to make the pillows & some hats to take to the cancer center were I’m going. I hope to be as strong as you going through this. Hope to stay in touch with other survivors .

  86. Kathy are out ok? I just​ discovered a pin that brought me​ to your site. What a wonderful idea this is. I just packed​ a box with fabric to donate but I will grab some of it to join your efforts​ of support for patients​!!

  87. Hi, I just found this post thru Pinterest. I had no idea of how useful this could be to person going thru chemo. Thank you for sharing it and I hope you are doing well.

  88. My mom and sister were both diagnosed with breast cancer 6 months apart. I am sitting here in the surgical waiting room waiting for my mom to have her second port-a-cath placed. When I get home, I’m going to make them each one (for each of their vehicles)! Such a great idea! Thank you. The perfect idea, just when I needed it!

    • Sorry I am so late in replying! Bless your heart! Too much at one time! I hope your mom and sister are both doing well and I’m glad you found this helpful

  89. My daughter is a breast cancer survivor and I wish I had known about these when she had her port. I am thinking that two pillows might be better than just one. By placing one above and one below the port site, it might be more comfortable. I asked my daughter and she totally agreed. But the one thing we could never figure out was how for her to wear a seatbelt after her reconstruction. It was a concern but just not possible. Actually her doctor gave her a written statement that she should not wear one. Consequently, she did not travel at all during that time.
    Bless you for taking the time to provide these little treasures to those who can use them. I live in a very small town quite a distance from any kind of treatment centers, but maybe they would accept something by mail. This is something I will look into.

  90. My 45 yr old son-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 colon and liver cancer. Currently undergoing chemo and he to complained of the strap cutting across his neck with the home chemo pack. Going to try making some but adjust the size. He also complained of his hands being cold sensitive so made him some micro wave bowl cozies but adijusted the size for using to hold anything cold. My prayers go out to each and everyone.

    • I have been very neglectful in responding to comments lately. I hope your son-in-law is doing well. I’m interested in knowing more about the bowl cozies.

  91. I’m in my 40’s and I was diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I underwent my first chemo treatment a little over a week ago. I’m so glad I found this because I don’t remember seeing anything like this at our infusion center. I have to say the seat belt is very annoying on my port. I’m surprised I never thought of this. Thank you so much for sharing. I think I will make up several with my mom. She is constantly trying to find ways of helping me. She even made me infused heating pads to help my aches and pains and when I’m cold. We are also making soft knit, yet stylish, hats for me to wear. I’m so glad to hear about your recovery and your birthdays. I’m looking forward to when I start to celebrate mine.

  92. Hi Kathy
    Hope all is well with you, and prayers for continued good health!
    Thanks for posting this pattern! What a great idea and a great act of charity,

  93. I think these little pillows are needed everywhere there is a cancer treatment facility!!! I volunteer at one of those places and today I found out that our supply that a Girl Scout troop had made, was running very low. A few minutes later I assisted a patient who had a lovely quilt. She said that her sister made the quilt. Ah ha! The light went on and I asked her sister if she could make us some of these pillows. She got really excited about doing it, so I left a copy of your pattern with her!!! Thank you so much for posting the pattern!!!

    • Quilters are my best source of fabric! It takes so little fabric to make one of these pillows and my quilting friends often have scraps that I can use.

  94. Thank you for this great idea.
    My husband passed from colon cancer this year. He had a port and wouldn’t wear the top portion of the seat belt because of the irritation to his port.
    The LORD willing, I will get some of these made up to share with the patients at the cancer center where my husband visited.
    Thanks again for giving me a way to bless those who are going through it now.
    Cheryl

    • I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Cheryl. Any pillows you make will be a blessing to those who receive them. You know what little things mean.

  95. Thank you so much for these directions! Never had heard of them before which is surprising since we have had many family members with ports. I will be whipping up some to donate and it is a perfect craft to do with my kids! Keeping you in my prayers Kathy.

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