I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy on Sept 17, 2008. I have only a trace of a scar from either procedure. There is a dimple forming in between the two incisions that wasn't visible right away because of the swelling. I'm 54 yrs. old so that isn't any big deal - no more bikinis anyway for other reasons ! I have kind of a hard ridge along both scars that isn't going down. I don't know if it was there right after surgery since I was so sore and swollen that I didn' t even touch the area. When I saw my surgeon (9/30) to be released to go on my vacation, he said I was healing well and didn't have any hemotomas, seromas, or infection.
My first husband was a veterinarian and I worked in his practice. We would sometimes have dogs or cats that had a reaction to the internal sutures that were used when they were spaid. It went away over time. It didn't seem to bother the animals; more a visual thing with the owners. I'm relating this because I wonder if it happens in humans?
How long do you continue to ache? I've been on the computer for an hour, doing work for my non-profit meeting tonight. My breast and right arm are aching. The surgery incision are still extremely painful if I accidently bump the right breast. As I mentioned above, this hard ridge along the incision hasn't gone down in the time since I last saw my surgeon. This is going to sound weird as I type it, but I am built so that my breasts are low on my chest and are situated more to the outside of my chest. There is no way to move my arm that I don't brush the sentinel node incision. It feels better if I hold my arm out away from the body. I know I can't leave it that way as I don't want to get a frozen shoulder. I have my full range of motion so I am thankful for that.
Does all of this type of swelling have to be gone before starting radiation? I am previous postings, I mentioned I have Fibromyalgia. I don't know if this pain is from that or is normal after a lumpectomy. I'm not sure if radiation would add to the pain I am having. Some days it has been bad enough that I have taken the Tramadol that I was given for Fibro pain. Since I was just diagnosed with Fibro in April, I don't always know how to tell one type of pain from another. I'd love to know how long "normal, i.e. without Fibro" women had this type of pain. Thanks, Kay
I experienced the "ridge" effect you describe after my lumpectomy (02/10/05). This is still present, though not as hard. I asked my doctor about it a couple months after the surgery and he said it was just scar tissue since the internal stitching supposedly dissolves within a couple weeks. I also have pain in the scar which he said was due to damaged nerve endings. I still experience the pain infrequently, but initially it went away within four to five months after it was healed. This could be totally different for you with the fibromyalgia factored in though...
Scar tissue would present as a hard ridge. Have you given any thought to the possibility of Lymphedema ? It could certainly cause the ache you describe ... even with only one node being sampled Lymphedema can develop. Four weeks is too soon to expect complete healing with no tenderness of the surgical sites.
Thanks so much for your comments. Since I was just wondering how long this would take to feel better, it helps to know that maybe in 4-5 months it will be less tender. This news caused my Fibro, which had been pretty well under control with Lyrica, to flare up. So maybe if I get that under better control, this pain will also subside.
I hope someone will respond to my question about their status of swelling and pain when they started radiation.
I've been lucky most of my life, that the only surgery I had to have involved Morton's neuromas in my feet. Those were benign. There was some level of pain after a month because you have to get up and stand on your feet. I guess I had mentally thought this wouldn't drag on that long, since all it is doing it hanging there! It my age, it isn't serving any purpose.
To Japdip - As I mentioned, I am kind of built weird, so my arm brushes the lymph node incision if I do anything. Its not noticeably swollen any more, compared to my other side and all the bruising is gone on the surface. I have had 2 massages by a massage therapist, former R.N., who treats lymphedema. She said that she didn't feel any swelling and was impressed with my range of motion. Maybe it presents in other ways than I've learned about so far and it is some swelling internally that I can't see but it pressing on a nerve. Since this is my first venture down this "road", I don't know what normal is. I feel like a wimp compared to the animals I worked with in veterinary medicine. They wanted to play Frizbee the day after being spaid! If I wasn't built this way, maybe I wouldn't be continually irritating these damaged nerves and setting off the pain response and this darn Fibromyalgia. - Kay
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