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Topic: Lump in affected arm-is it normal?

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: May 22, 2006 10:42AM

CurlyBrunette wrote:

I am currently being treated by an Occupational Therapist for lymphedema in my left arm. I had 15 lymph nodes removed with my surgery in March. The lymphedema is not severe but I do have cording which they told me has to be broken up so I can move my arm properly again. I have had 3 sessions with the OT so far and my arm feels great after she works with it. I am still waiting on my compression stocking for the arm though as they had to special order it and it takes a week or two. My question is, the other night I was getting undressed and noticed a lump the size of a large marble under my arm where it bends at the elbow inside (by the crease). I called my oncologist because I thought it might be something serious or something to do with the Taxol treatment I had on Thursday the 18th. She told me to go to the ER so they could rule out a blood clot. I started to freak out and cry because I thought HOLY CRAP what am I going to do if this is a clot? All this stuff was running through my mind. At the hospital they did an ultrasound of my entire arm and ruled out a blood clot (thank God) but I realized that not one of them knew anything about lymphedema because they couldnt tell me what it was definitely. My Dr looked at the sonogram today and told me that its fluid accumulating in pockets underneath and it appears as a lump in areas that ate weak. Such as areas where I have had IV's in the past and fluid will tend to go there first. It hurts also and I want to know am I the only one with this problem? Is there anyone else out there who has such lumps as I do? Please, I need some company or someone to tell me its OK. I still need to go to therapy so I also want to know if its OK for the OT to press and massage it without making it worse? So many questions, so little time. Sorry for such a long story but no one has been able to help me feel better about this. The only reason I feel relieved is knowing its not a clot and I am not going to stroke in the near future. Any info would help, even some encouraging words would be great, thanks Log in to post a reply

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May 22, 2006 12:34PM AnneW wrote:

Wow. It's hard having the weird stuff that no one knows about. Sometimes you have to take solace in knowing what it ISN'T instead of what it is.

But it's uncomfortable, so you can't just "forget about it."

I wish I had some sage advice for you, but I jsut have well wishes and hopes that it'll get better on its own as your body heals from the insult it's been through.

Anne
2002 IDC stage 1, grade 1, rads & AI Dx 9/18/2007, ILC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 22, 2006 04:31PM kimmytoo wrote:

I had a "lump" in exactly the same place and the pathology report came back as "fat necrosis". They told me that sometimes past surgery stuff gets gunked up in the lymphatic system that is compromised and deposits in the wrong places... Dunno.

I have also had some fibrosis happen (where the lymph stuff is backed up and gets hard) The therapist always worked these areas a whole lot and now there are no hard spots in my arm.
Dx 8/25/2003, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 12/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 22, 2006 04:56PM NPat wrote:

You can get a lump where a previous site has been for a needle stick in the vein. Sometime they last a while and can be tender. There are also lymph nodes in the elbow region and can enlarge with inflammation. Don't make yourself sick over it. Your onc will keep an eye on it. I just found out I have a "nonmetabolic mass" in my liver. It probably is a hemangioma (tangle of blood vessels). PET scan was negative and I will have a follow-up CT in 3 months. I have so much on my plate right now... I am giving this to God and He WILL handle it. What is God for anyway?
Pat
NPat
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May 22, 2006 09:21PM CurlyBrunette wrote:

Thanks Ann, Kimmy and NPat. You have all eased my mind a bit and I will see my OT on Wed where I am sure she will work the he** out of my arm and tell me what you guys just did. I think once I get the compression stocking this will not happen as easily as it did. Thanks again.

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May 27, 2006 01:03PM LizM wrote:

Carly, I wish I had read your message a few weeks ago but this is the first time that I came to the lymphadema thread because I didn't really have a reason to. Anyway, I have had a lump, also about the size of a marble but it is in the muscle directly under my arm (not the armpit). It is weird because is disappears when I massage it. I asked my rads oncologist about it and he said he did not think it was cancer related because cancer does not disappear and thought it had something to do with all of my surgery, fluid build-up, etc. I also went to my PCP who ordered an ultrasound which didn't show anything. The radiologist told me that it is probably scar tissue from my surgery and I am taking care of it by massaging it. The funny thing is that it is never there when I see the doctors so they have to take my word for it. Last night it was near the skin and very prominent and I could move it around between my fingers. It took me over 30 minutes to massage it so that it went away. Lumps make me very nervous and I hate just leaving it there but I don't know what else to do. I see my oncologist for my 3 month check up in July and will ask him about it. Do you think it has anything to do with lymphadema and should I see a lymphadema specialist? I had an auxillery node dissection and am currently undergoing rads to auxilla.

Dx 9/19/2005, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 1/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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