Results and now a plan of action

Hello Everyone

The torture of the ‘waiting room phase’ is nearly over for me. Since being diagnosed on 12 Oct with high grade DCIS and a small amont of invasive I have known that the outcome was to be an mx but the other treatments and whether or not I was to have an immediate recon was unclear. But things became clearer today with the results of my SNB.

They’d removed 3 nodes and 1 has come back positive. So the plan of action begins on Friday 4 Nov with an mx and level 3 clearance of lymph nodes with immediate LD flap recon. The start of chemo in Dec and tamoxifen for 5 yrs, just for good measure. Won’t know about rads until 3 wks after the surgery. And a repeat of the MRI on the other breast in January for peace of mind.

I feel calmer now I know more. I still have wobbly days when my calmness and strength desert me temporarily but I’m hoping these will become fewer. When I do I think of the words of a nice Macmillan nurse I spoke to when she said that every time I cried, I made room for more strength.

To help me maintain that strength, please can I ask for advice on what to expect when I come round from the op on Friday. No doubt there will be some pain and discomfort but how mobile will I be in my upper body? It’s my right side and I’m right handed.

Although I’ll have the help of family and friends calling in, I live alone. I’m very independent and I don’t find it easy to rely on people. What will I not be able to do? I’ve been practising washing my hair over the bath using the shower head using my left arm. My central heating is run by a multi-fuel burner so I’ve also been practicing making a fire with just my left hand putting a couple of pieces of coal on at once (I’ve accepted I won’t be able to go out and fill the coal bucket!). Will I be able to carry things as heavy as a 4 pint bottle of milk?

I’m not a very patient patient and so I will push myself. But I don’t want to go too far and mess things up.

Please tell it like it is, fellow fighters, and I will listen.

Thanks very much.

White Daisy
x

Useful thread here:

share.breastcancercare.org.uk/forum/i-live-alone-will-i-manage–t33754.html

(have also PMed you)

I had a bi-mx and was surprised at how much I could do. The things I remember were - not being able to reach high shelves and not really being able to lift a full kettle. However, if you are diligent with the exercises they give you, you wll soon be able to do most reasonable activities.

Just try to be sensible and not do too much too soon.

Hello RevCat and yamslass

Thanks very much for the thread and your advice. I will try and be sensible - and patient!

White Daisy

Hi WD, I also had a RH level 3 ANC with Mx and I am right-handed.

I was told not to lift anything heavier than a cup of tea with my right hand and that was useful advice. It’s also good not to lift anything heavy with the other side for a while as it will “pull” across your upper body. I’m four weeks on now and can manage a full kettle with the right hand and a bucket of windfall apples with my left hand. Not at the same time!
I was OK to do ironing after 2 weeks but I’m not letting it build up.

I had chemo first so washing my hair (it was only 2cm by then) was easy - I used a flannel or baby wipes.

Getting dressed was a challenge; button-up tops for the first week or so followed by tops with large armholes and neck holes and not much in the way of sleeves. That way you can slip your left arm out first then get it off over your head. My daughter scavenged me a load of suitable tops to borrow.
Hoodies/coats I find are still best put on by putting both arms through at once and “shrugging” them on rather than how I used to do it one arm at a time.

Get a couple of vest tops with shelves/cups inside; I found that the drain stitches (and their residual soreness) followed by a seroma meant that a bra was an impossibility for 4 weeks. Get some strap extenders (cheapest from Ebay) for your bras so that they don’t dig into stitches/seroma/swelling of any flavour.

It’s surprising how a little adjustment makes stuff doable.
And do your post-surgery stretching exercises every day!

Oh, and I had bad nerve pains in my right arm; extra sensitivity and stinging. they don’t tell you about that, they only mention the numbness.

It does get better quickly! Massaging upwards with moisturiser really helps with the de-sensitising.

I had a soft micro-bead cushion with me and it was the only thing that I could bear to rest my arm on in hospital. Everything else - even if it was smooth - felt like my arm was resting on rocks. Still does to some extent. I’d definitely get yourself one of those, I don’t know what I would have done without mine. It was also handy for gently elevating my arm/hand; my hand/arm were very swollen immediately post-surgery but that soon goes and it isn’t lymphoedema, just post-op fluid.

HTH

Thanks Ninja, all your advice is really helpful. If I can manage a full kettle in 4 weeks I know I’ll be on track. I will do my excercises. I’ve also looked on Amazon for a micro bead cushion.

Take care.

White Daisy
x

Hi White Daisy

Just to say good luck for tomorrow. I had exactly the same op as you in January. I know Rev Cat did too and will have given you loads of good advice, but you are welcome to pm me if you have any questions.

Take it easy and do the exercises!
Dx

hi white daisy,
just wanted to say hope all goes well tomorrow. I have an mx and full node clearance on the 8th, i live alone with my 5 year old and am equally mortified at having to need help but people want to help and it’s not a sign of weakness to accept that help. I’m determined to be back to normal in a month but i know over doing it could cause more problems so am trying to get my head round just puting my feet up! i wil be making good use of the advice offered to you,
take care
Herbi x

Best luck for today. I had a bilateral mastectomy and axillary clearance in July and was very suprised to only need panadol and diclafenic the next day. I did too much and that was stupid. If it hurts don’t do it and if a friend takes away dirty washing let them. Friends want to help and cleaning cooking shopping etc gives them an outlet and you a reprieve.
Thinking of you… It gets better
Cackles xxx