I was in a similar situation, I had a 3cm lump on the side of my left breast and also had a sentinal node biopsy. I now have 2 scars, the one from the lump is about 5 cm's long and the SNB scar is a bit longer. When I woke up I had a drain in the wound where the lump was. I was horrified at first sight of my boob - I didnt expect the scars to be so large. Initially they looked much worse and 8 months later the swelling, redness etc has gone and although you can see the scars they do blend in with my skin much better. I have large boobs and with clothes on I have been assured by several friends that they cannot see any difference, with no clothes on I can see the difference and yes there is a bit of a dent on the side.
I recovered quite well, I stayed overnight as I am diabetic and went home the next afternoon with the drain, THe district nurse came out one day later and removed it. After the first couple of days I wasnt using pain killers during the day, was just taking some when I went to bed. I was cautious at the start and nervous about sleeping, I had previously slept on my side and found that I could only sleep on my back immediately after surgery - I found that wearing a bra to bed helped, I did occasionally turn in my sleep which did wake me up.
I was told not to drive for four weeks, although I have read on here that others are driving within a few days, I was cautious for a few weeks when I went out in crowded shops etc as I thought people were going to bump into me and hurt me although this never actually happened.
At my hospital they only take your sentinal nodes out, if you need a full clearance they take you back to theatre at a later date although some hospitals do the testing / looking at the nodes while you are still in the theatre and if needed take the nodes out at the same time - I'm sure they would discuss this with you if it is an option prior to your surgery.
I had to go to the hospital for a radioactive injection and x-rays the day before surgery and they drew over me in big thick black marker and when I was in the theatre they injected blue die around my nipple, this helps them find the sentinal nodes - I still have a bit of a blue tinge but am not quite up to smurf level any more.
I was terrified leading up to my surgery, I had never been in hospital as an adult and never had a GA, I think for me it would have been helpful to see photos of someone elses boob post surgery - I asked the BCN several times how big the scars would be and she said she couldn't give me an answer, it always depended
Another thing that was a bit strange was having a numb boob but also having shooting pains, this has reduced alot over the eight months but I still get some strange sensations and little instances of pain sometimes, although the numbness is very slight it is still there.
It was no where near as bad as I thought it would be, not an experience I would choose but very doable.
All the best and I hope it all goes well.
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