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Bruise remedies after lumpectomy


I bruise very easily- always have- but the bruises that I got after lumpectomies on both breasts were really extensive and painful and were very distressing to look at.  I decided to see what home remedies for bruises I could find on the web and try some of them out. 

I didn't try any of this until 5 days after surgery.  I wanted to be really sure I didn't hurt any tender healing tissue and I felt a little better by that time but the bruises were still ugly.  I think I found a few things that actually made a difference.  :)

I was careful not to get any of this stuff anywhere near the steri-strips/incision areas because some of them probably affect the stickiness of the strips and could really irritate an incision.  If you're crazy enough to try any of this stuff-  please be careful and it couldn't hurt to check with your doctor first to get his/her OK (even though I didn't)  ;p

1. Vinegar- I used apple cider vinegar although I read you can use white vinegar too.  I soaked paper towels in it and wrung them out really well and put them in my sports bra well away from the steri-strips for a few hours. Not much happened other than I smelled like a salad.  :)

2. Witch hazel on a cotton ball-  I was surprised by this one.  I didn't think it would work.  It didn't do much for the black/purple areas but it got rid of the light yellow bruising that was beginning to spread over the sides of my breasts. It worked really quickly too. 

3. Ancient chinese secret-  this is 5 parts petroleum jelly (I used canola oil because we didn't have any) and 1 part cayenne pepper. You heat the PJ in the microwave, mix the cayenne in and let it cool before using. I gently massaged it in- again well away from the steri-strips.  After about an hour I could feel the heat from the cayenne.  It was very soothing.  It felt great and things did look a little better the next day.  You are supposed to apply it once a day but I only used it once.  It might do some good if you keep it up.

4. Castor oil- I gently massaged this on the bruises, then soaked 2 paper towels in it and wrung them out well.  I put them in my hospital-issue tube top/bra away from the steri-strips.  It was weird how much better I felt almost instantly- YMMV, of course.  I left the paper towels in for a few hours and the next day the dark purple bruising had faded to about 1/2 of what it was the day before!  :)  This is REALLY messy and will stain your clothes.  I wore an old t-shirt I use to paint in and I took a shower before bed.

The oil/massage ones may have had more to do with the gentle massage than the different kinds of oil used, although I'm sold on the castor oil.  :)    Maybe the massage action broke up the bruises a little and increased circulation in the area and that's what made them fade.  They might have been ready to fade on their own after all that time, who knows?  It made me feel better to try this stuff anyway.  So much of this disease is out of our control and it's nice to feel self sufficient and pro-active once in a while.  ;)