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Topic: Having my VLNT surgery tomorrow!

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

Posted on: Nov 20, 2018 10:04PM

Memento_Mori wrote:

Hi Lymphers! I'm a nervous wreck tonight. Tomorrow at Duke I'm getting my VLNT surgery, which I am both looking forward to and dreading (well, who really likes surgery and recovery). He will be taking a packet of nodes from my R groin, after doing the SPY test to make sure that those do not drain the leg. Thankful that I will be under GA when he does that, since I heard it can be uncomfortable.

So originally, Dr. M wanted to transfer the nodes to my R axilla, after clearing out all the scar tissue in there. Now, he thinks that he'd rather use the inside upper arm to place the nodes. I showed him photos of my most recent bout of cellulitis, and because it is mainly concentrated a few inches above and below my elbow, he thinks the closer the better. He would still clean out the axilla, so there would be 3 scars/3 drains. He is leaving it up to me (he is the nicest, most low-key surgeon I have ever met) and even tonight, I'm not sure. Help! Please share any thoughts you might have about axilla vs upper arm.

Oh, and yes BCBSNC approved it, but I only found out a few days ago after a 3 week wait. Apparently, they won't cover a bypass, and my surgeon has had disappointing long-term results with that anyway so he rarely does them anymore.

Thanks so much to SusanRachel who was incredibly helpful answering my initial questions

Dx 9/10/2010, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 10/10 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 10/6/2010 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 10/6/2010 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 3/6/2011 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 4/10/2011 Breast, Lymph nodes
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