Evie thank you. The worst of it seems to be that there is no cure for the common cold! My partner has been sneezing and coughing for three days now. She complains more about that than anything else. I’m trying not to catch it. We find that getting involved in improving services for other people really helps. When there is nothing you can do to change your situation at least you can get involved in something where you can make a difference. I’m part of a research panel and we had an interesting presentation earlier this year on how to improve things during breast surgery so that not so many people have to have a second op either because they didn’t get a good enough margin or they didn’t take enough lymph nodes. Little did I think I would end up being one of those patients. You never know what’s around the corner.
Hb1988 and Portraitist - hope you are both doing well after your ops.
I wanted to thank Portraitist for sharing the exercises to help stimulate the lymphs. Not come across them before so very interesting. And especially I wanted to send you and your partner hugs and strength for what you are both going through.
Thank you x
Right it involves activating the remaining lymph node areas and then making skin to skin pathways. So you take five deep breaths then tap the areas behind the shoulders five times, the remaining node areas at the front five times then the groin areas five times. This is meant to wake up the nodes. Don’t go near the area where the surgery was. Then you take another five deep breaths. Then you use your good arm to stroke upwards from the wrist to the elbow of the affected arm. Do this five times (everything seems to be five times so I won’t keep repeating that bit!). Then stroke from the elbow up to the back of the shoulder 5 times. Then do the whole arm sweep from the wrist to where the nodes are at the back of the shoulder. Then sweep across the chest area from the affected to the unaffected side. Then downwards from beneath the breasts to the areas where the groin nodes are. Then moisturise the affected arm using similar strokes (upwards not downwards). I do the other arm with moisturiser too at this point. Our breast physio said it was important for it to be skin to skin so I do it when I’ve had a shower although I haven’t really had one since the surgery so I do it when I have a wash. I hope this makes sense!
I haven’t got a drain so that helps. I’ve been doing the exercises that are meant to redirect the lymph fluid into the other lymph nodes, don’t know whether it will work but seems good to try. The physio taught us them when we had a group education session. It was very helpful as she talked a lot about healing times (18-24 months for the body to recover completely) and the role of exercise to promote physical and emotional wellbeing.
i had my anc on Wednesday. So we are about at the same stage I think. I had a lumpectomy and snb on 22nd November so this was a more minor op than you had. It all feels quite tight and sore. Sleeping has been ok - easier than after the first op as it’s only one wound this time. But it all feels stranger this time. The exercises didn’t hurt at all last time and I got full movement very easily. This time feels like it’s going to be more of a struggle. How are you doing now?
I wanted to reply as I see that you haven't yet had anyone with the same experience. I had mastectomy, immediate recon and full node clearance in one operation - so not the same as you but perhaps I can help with questions.
I don't know whether they will use the same incision site - but I can tell you that I had to have a second op 4 days after first as my drain snapped off when they tried to remove it, so they had to open me up again to get it out. In that case they used the same incision site to access the snapped drain. They also removed all my nodes via the breast incision.
I was allowed to drive again after about 4 weeks. You have done brilliantly to be back in the gym etc after 3 weeks so I have every confidence that you will do just as well after the node op. Were you given arm exercises to do after the mastectomy? I think the node op will make it harder to lift your arm to begin with - but I could be wrong. Just keep doing those exercises and I'm sure you will recover very quickly.
Please do ask if I can help with any specific questions. Wishing you strength and sending hugs for your op tomorrow. Do report back when you are up to it.