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July, 2022 Surgery- Tips, Words of Wisdom, Others Scheduled?



  • dani_p
    dani_p Member Posts: 36

    So, I can say that so far, recovery hasn't been as bad as I was expecting. I've been able to manage the pain with just Tylenol, Aleve, and gabapentin. So far, no need for the oxycodone they gave me. The drains are super annoying but manageable. I slept most of the day yesterday; I think I was still processing the anesthesia. Today I'm much more awake. They ended up taking 4 nodes on the left (cancer) side, and 1 node on the right. Hopefully I'll get some results when I see the breast surgeon on Thursday.

  • Dani- That's great news that you are doing so well! I, personally, really needed the oxy after the nerve blocker they gave me wore off... although I did find that a half was totally fine. Hope you continue to feel good!

  • dani_p
    dani_p Member Posts: 36

    Still doing good pain wise - but I'm about to have the first fill of the expanders, so we'll see how I feel after that. I got the pathology back from the mastectomy. All 5 nodes were clear, thank goodness. I had two spots of IDC, one measuring 1cm and the other 1.1cm. I also had DCIS measuring 1.1cm. All margins were clear. Anyway, my breast surgeon said that because of the multifocal tumors, there may be a small survival benefit for radiation, although she said she'd be surprised if the radiation oncologist recommended it due to everything else being so positive (clear nodes, clear margins, etc.). But, she wanted their input. And, they will be sending the stuff out for the Oncotype Dx test, so more to come there. I have an appointment with MO August 26th. Hope everyone else is continuing to do well!

  • emmaleah
    emmaleah Member Posts: 17

    Hi July surgery cohort! Hope you are all healing and dealing as well as possible. I'm 11 days out from lumpectomy, and the bruising has generally gone away and my incision seems to be healing apace, so that's good. I got my surgical pathology report this week and was bummed that the new-on-MRI mass was invasive ductal carcinoma, as it turns out. So my diagnosis is upstaged from DCIS to IDC+DCIS, "earning" me a sentinel lymph node surgery in two weeks, plus chemo (would be my expectation). Adjusting to the longer journey ahead, which I will learn more about in about a week. Making the most of these interim days in various ways as best I can. I hope all of your healing is steady and uncomplicated. Have a good week. -Emily/emmaleah

  • dani_p
    dani_p Member Posts: 36

    Emily - sorry to hear about the upgraded diagnosis. Have you heard any more about your treatment plan?

    I am 18 days post BMX and am doing pretty well. Just had a follow up with the plastic surgeon, all of my drains were removed as of last Friday (which was the sweetest blessing!) and today they removed the steri-strips on my incisions. They actually look pretty good. They told me I could take short walks around the block, still have restrictions on pretty much any arm movement which is frustrating, because I feel pretty good. They won't send me to PT unless I need radiation, which I'll find out about next week when I meet with the MO. Hoping to also have more info about Oncotype at that appointment. My tissue expanders were filled to capacity last week (they move fast - 150cc at first fill, then 150cc 2nd fill). The second fill was uncomfortable but not terrible.

  • spartybuckeye
    spartybuckeye Member Posts: 11

    Emily- I feel you! Things never seem to be what you think in this journey! I hope the sentinel lymph nodes are benign!

    I’m about 5 weeks out now and feeling pretty good. Though I have to go in next week for an axial lymph node dissection. At first I was told probably not by the surgeon to the radiologist saying I need too. I fell in this gray area of 2 positive sentinel nodes, being multi focal with a larger tumor size, and age (44) they feel we need to be aggressive. There was no data saying not having it will not affect over all outcome. So I was all set to start chemo then this thrown in. I will be able to start chemo about 3 weeks after the surgery. I already have my port in. I guess in the grand scheme of things a couple weeks isn’t a big deal! The worse part is I will have a drain again!

    dani - Glad to hear your doing well. About three weeks is when I started walking. I was slow but a couple weeks later I’m up to my old pace. Did they give you arm exercises to do? I was encouraged to do them from the start, but every Dr seems different on what they recommend.

  • dani_p
    dani_p Member Posts: 36

    Sparty - My plastic surgeon does NOT want me doing anything with my arms which is very frustrating. I did take a slow walk today which felt great; I was VERY active pre-surgery and I've been itching to get going again. He did a pectoral flap into each armpit, which I guess helps prevent lymph drainage, but I can feel tightness there and I'm afraid I'm going to lose range of motion if I'm not able to start moving soon. He's very concerned with fluid build up, prevention of seroma, etc., which I understand, but it makes me nervous when I hear everyone else talking about arm exercises. I see him again in about a week and a half, and I will try to gently broach the subject again.

  • beechcat
    beechcat Member Posts: 7

    Happy everyone seems to be making progress! I recovered and am continuing to recover faster than I every dreamed possible. Had I known it would go this way, I wouldn't have stressed 9 pounds off in the 6 weeks I had to wait for the BMX. I do believe that my fitness level played a big part in how I tolerated surgery and post-op challenges.My general surgeon kept saying I would have trouble with the loss of my natural breasts and that I should be prepared to deal with that on an emotional level. But I didn't feel anything emotional about it, maybe because the PS started filling expanders at week 2 post-op and I had them filled weekly after that.. Last week, the final expanders fill was done although insurance will not let me have the surgery to replace them with implants until after 90 days post-mastectomy (!). My sentinel node and other nodes checked were clear so no radiation and the mammaprint indicated low risk so the oncologist determined no chemo and only Letrozole, which I will start on September 1. I am fully aware of how very lucky I am that I was able to have MRIs done each year as that is the sole reason my diagnosis was so early and my outcome was so positive. My heart goes out to everyone who has had to ensure chemo and/or radiation... you are all so brave and I send my best wishes for everyone to continue to get closer to the life you had before diagnosis.