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After care for arm after lymph node removal
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After care for arm after lymph node removal

Hi, I had thirteen nodes removed after mastectomy and am unsure what to do if I bump my arm, or if an insect bites it, what precautions I should take?, do I have to sleep with my arm raised everytime I sleep?.  Also, will the stitching of the mastectomy calm down? its still quite bumpy and raised after almost six weeks, will it become smoother?  One last question, does the pain from the lymph node removal always travel right down to the wrist? and will this go completely given time?

Thank you
Hazel
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326352_tn?1310997895
Yes, the bumpiness will get smoother, a little.  My rad onc just told me that a dermatologist could inject the bumps with a little collagen and that will smooth them out further.  But I'm farther out than you, so that may be something you wait on.

As for the pain, yes, it travels into the wrist, mine goes underneath and sometimes pools in the underarm just before the wrist, mostly it stays up at the middle of the upper arm.  I can also have pain in the chest wall area if I've done way too much.  Sometimes it can go away entirely...just depends on the days activities.  If I've overdone, keeping the arm elevated does help along with manual lymph drainage.

As for caution in life, live life. Keep eye on arm to make sure it doesn't get infected.  You can do a lot of things for protection, gloves, etc.  Do wear your sleeve and gauntlet when you do things that are weight bearing.

Have you been to a physical therapist to learn MLD?  Do you have your sleeve?  Talk with your surgeon and go see one to learn about managing lymphedema and then try to live life as if you are ok, but be mindful of the situation.

Lisa
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341137_tn?1287308643
Hi Lisa,

Thanks, good advice - hope you are doing well - I see your posts often and you seem so bright! good for you.

I havent got a sleeve, didnt know they existed, but will check into it, I am so worried about the mosquetoes out here that I will need something to prevent being bitten - probably insect repellant, but there again - is that dangerous for the arm?

I havent gone to physio - I exercise at home and carry on doing jobs around the house, the window washing and wardrobe polishing seem to be great as an exercise and I would say that I am about 90 percent back to normal.

Take care.
Hazel
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326352_tn?1310997895
Insect repellent is ok, probably recommended for the skeeters.  I've used DEET and even coated myself (accidentally mind you) in bug goo I was spraying the yard with.

As usual, you'll probably want to shower when you come in.  Just keep an eye out for any place that doesn't want to heal or gets red and inflammed.  Mostly you'll be ok.  There is a rare probability you'll have issues, but it's possible.  So, just be mindful.  I've been cat scratched, bug bitten, child bitten, vomitted on...you name it...even had blood drawn from that arm (which you are not supposed to do).  Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, and just know that there is a possibility that you could have problems.  Just keep your eyes open!

Enjoy life, after all, that's why you are still with us!  Physical therapist will learn you the Manual Lymph Drainage that will help the ache.  Best to see if you can get in somewhere to learn that part of it.  I have hubby do my arm, he went with me to one of the appts and learned.  That makes it much easier.  If you have a friend or SO that could learn, then all the better.  It's easier when someone else does it, but not impossible to do it yourself.

Take care, all's still good here except for cold and flu season...will it EVER end?
Lisa
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i had breast cancer when i was 24 and had my lymph nodes removed. its now nearly 5years down the line and due to work and unhelpfull supervisors im finding my job hard due to aches and pains in my arm. as far as i know i do not have lymphedema although i have had some swelling in my fingers at least and i have felt some small lumps in my arm from time to time. does anyone else have the same problem or have any advice on what i should do?

sarah x
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