Removal of lump

Hi all, as I am due to go to hosp on Fri 17th Aug to have my lump removed, I thought I would ask you ladies a few questions which I’m not sure about.

Firstly, how did you feel when it was over (pain)? Did you go back to work straight away? (I drive a van, and manhandle quite heavy boxes all day). How many of you got a nasty surprise when results of tests on the lump came back?

Sorry to bombard you all with questions, but the doc didn’t really tell me anything, although I am still waiting for my letter from the doc to arrive.

Ceegra - take some of the buckets full of love you have been pouring in for yourself, I’m sorry you have been so badly treated. I’m sending you hugs, love and prayers. xxx
rosegarden x

hi rose i cant help u with your questions but i will remember the date as its the day after my daughters birthday

my thoughts will be with you
love
cee

I think we all vary about the amount of pain. I didn’t find the site where the WLE was done painful but I had a sentinel node biopsy and that area was sore for a few days. I had plenty of painkillers but didn’t keep taking the Tramadol as it made me feel as if I was hallucinating and I could cope with the soreness rather than that.

You should be told how long you need to be off work and what you can and can’t do re lifting etc. You certainly won’t be able to do heavy lifting and I didn’t drive for at least 10 days (when I went for my post op check up I was told I could drive from then on). I was told to take 3 weeks off work but you will need to speak to your own doctors as your work involves lifting and they may well suggest longer. It also depends on your follow up treatment which may commence quite soon after the op depending what you need. I did go back to work very part time after 3 weeks because I had to have some other unrelated tests done which meant the start of chemo was delayed but if chemo had started in the normal timescale I would not have gone back.

I did get some surprises from the results, but not really nasty. I had been told it was slightly oestrogen positive and strongly progesterone positive from the biopsy but it turned out to be the highest possible level of positive for oestrogen and much lower for progesterone, although the treatment remains the same - Arimidex. They also found DCIS which hadn’t shown up on mammogram or ultrasound, above the lump. They got clear margins anyway, except it came close to the skin, but radiotherapy should hopefully deal with anything that might remain in the skin, so I didn’t need any more surgery. My lymph nodes were clear. The results for HER2 were less clear than from the biopsy and I needed a FISH test to be done. This result agreed with the biopsy that I am HER2 posistive and wil need Herceptin.

I hope this helps - but we are all different so do get as much advice as possible from you own doctors and breast care nurse.

All the best

Anne

Hi Rose garden

I had my op on Wednesday, came home on Thursday at 2pm. Where I had the WLE (lump removed) is not sore unless touched. The painful bit is under my arm where I had the sentitel node biopsy. I too have a very manual job (shelf stacking), lots of heavy boxes. So far have a two week sick note but apparently my GP will sign me off until I feel I can actually manage my job. The way I feel today: months! Not ill just weak and very sore. Once you’re out keep up the exercises and take all the pain meds they can give you.
Waiting for my results, they’ll hopefully be in on the 23 August, the Thursday after your op. I’m thinking positive and hope they have it all and it’s not in my lymph nodes.
Good luck for next week xxx Vanessa

Hi Rosegarden,
I think it usally takes about two weeks before you’re able to drive - depends a bit on the individual. Are you having anything done under the arm - i found this more uncomfortable than the boob. try not to over do it after the op - but do do the exercised they suggest. As for heavy lifting - be careful not to over do it or you can get oedema (swelling) - be guided by the surgon but i should think you’de need at least two weeks off work after the op - try to pace yourself and don’t be pressursed into doing too much to soon.
cheers
caroline

Thank you for your comments. As far as I know its just the lump thats being removed, no talk of under arm surgery.

I shall see what the surgeon suggests. Thank you ladies, here’s another bucket full of love to be poured in.
rosegarden xxx

Hi rosegarden,
Must say I got some shocks along the way. I had a non palpable 2 cm invasive breast tumour, couldn’t be felt - just found out at the usual 3 yrly mammo for over 50’s. I was advised I could have a lumpectomy with radiotherapy or a mastectomy and no rads. How naive I was, when I trusted my surgeon!! I was told before the lumpectomy I would have 8 sample nodes removed (this was in 2003 before sentinel node biopsy) and the bc nurse had to show me a diagram as I hadn’t a clue as to what lymph nodes were. I just sailed through the lumpectomy and sample node removal surgery - drains, and a seroma also. But, the big problem I had was the total axillay removal, as some 3 of the 8 lymph nodes were cancerous and I had to go back for axillary clearance. One more node was cancerous, in retrospect, I am glad I had it done. Well, my bc nurse did say: “Liz, you are not going to sail through this operation like you did the last one.” I hadn’t a clue what she was talking about.

I found I just could not use my right arm at all and became ambidextrous. I could not even straighten my arm, and one day in the breast clinic, when my bc nurse saw me holding my arm as if it was in a sling, said:“Liz, if you don’t do the exercises I gave you, you will end up with a permanently bent and shortened arm”. She quite frightened the life out of me, so I then did my exercises religiously - the worst one is walking the wall with your affected arm. Had many tears, but glad to say my arm is okay now, no lymphoedema.

On the surgical side, I was quite comfortable - they gave me morphine ever 4 hours (and I still have two bottles of Oramorph in case I need them, gratis by a young male house doctor). It’s not the pain that is the problem, but if you have total lymph node removal, it is the physical problem of movement that is so difficult to deal with.

As for surprises, I got a big one - as my tumour was 2 cm, grade and stage 2, with lymph node involvement I was advised to have chemo, which I did, along with rads. I don’t think I took it in then - was in a vapour of non recognition. However, some 4 and a half years along the way, I am doing fine. As I hope you will be too.

Love,
Liz.