I had a mammogram come back asking for further testing. I had a diagnostic mammogram done which came back clear. At that time, I noticed a lump in my left armpit. It was quite deep in the tissues but was there. My doctor said he was "not convinced" that I even had a lump. 3 months later.. I returned to a different doctor, who did indeed refer me to a surgeon because he said I definitely had a lump. Needle aspirations were done.. not conclusive, so a biopsy was scheduled. Feb (06) went in for excisional biopsy of left lymph node. Just a week previous to my biopsy, I had an unexplained allergic reaction to something.. with facial swelling, my upper torso was red and swollen, all across my breasts and upper arms, neck and face. I was giving shots of Benadryl, and told to take them every 4 hours. This went on for about 4 days, and then my doctor prescribed Doxepin to break the alergic cycle. The Doxepin did work and I have not had an allergic reaction since ( I was only on it for about 3 weeks). Surgery in February revealed that, 1) my surgeon could not "Find" the lump that he was supposed to remove, and 2) removed a couple of lymph nodes for testing anyway. Those lymph nodes showed to be "reactive" but with no sign of malignancy. April, I returned to my doctor, complaining of soreness in my left armpit and extending down into the side of my left breast. He stated the pain in my breast was probably from the lump in my armpit, pressing on nerves, and he would send me to the surgeon again for an excisional biopsy. May(06) Biopsy finally performed, came back as "reactive" but no sign of malignancy, or lymphoma. Immediately after surgery I noticed a swelling that come down from the excision on my left armpit, and it moved across my left breast. It was a slightly discolored swelling, a bit orangish, and it moved about 1 inch per day. The surgeon said it was normal bruising and would continue down to cover about half my breast. It did cover ALL of my breast and I noticed that my nipple was starting to flatten out with the edema of my breast. After 3 weeks the swelling was still there, the surgeon said it wasn't normal but we would keep an eye on it. Over the next couple of weeks I developed most of the classic symptoms of IBC. My breast started to get hot, the swelling increased to include a peau d'orange area on the inside of my left breast, itchiness, my nipple was still flattening out, and the back of my left hand started to swell up. I went through 2 courses of antibiotics to rule out Mastitis (I'm 45 and not breastfeeding). I have had 2 punch biopsys of the peau d'orange skin, and am awaiting the results to rule out IBC.
My question: If it is NOT IBC.. what could this possibly be from? Is it possible to have lymph fluid in the breast cause these IBC symptoms, since this started right after my surgery? Or is it some immune response.. as my lymph system seemed to be working overtime. People have said to rule out the IBC with the biopsy, but no one ever says what It possibly could be if it's NOT IBC.
Thank you so much for any information you can possibly give me.
Dear chris61999: Given the sequence of events, it is entirely possible that surgery could cause a fluid accumulation in the breast and it is also possible that inflammation or infection could develop as well. A biopsy of the skin will help to clarify. You might benefit from another opinion from a surgeon with particular expertise in breast problems if the biopsy is not helpful.
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