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Aug 5, 2022 12:50AM
Hi Iw422! You would not believe how perfect the timing of your post is! I just found out today I have breast cancer again, my third time! I was refused a double mastectomy by the surgeon I had in 2019. He said it was hospital policy not to remove a healthy breast unless the patient was BRCA positive. I am not.
Miy lymphedema has remained stable without garments. Sometimes I get more swelling in my hand as I notice my wedding ring gets tight, but then it will go back to being comfortable again. I usually need to remove my ring for several days. I am not sure the swelling is part of the lymphedema, or something else. My LE arm is twice the size of my other arm.
I switched all my records back to my local hospital last month, totally unaware that I would be diagnosed with cancer a few weeks later. I made an appointment with the breast surgeon there, who ironically had been hired when I had the abnormal mammogram in November of 2018, but hadn't moved into his new office yet. The hospital had been without a breast surgeon for several months, thus the reason I went to the cancer hospital in the city. Anyway, my new surgeon, who I immediately liked, wanted me to see a plastic surgeon at the hospital who does lymph node transfers. His office even made an appointment for me. I ended up canceling that appointment because I was under the impression Medicare won't pay for that. I don't think it was the surgery you had, but I didn't think Medicare would pay for that either. I have a Medicare Advantage plan from my husband's retirement. When I called the insurance company, the representative said it depended on some "code." Needless to say, he wasn't much help. I looked at the Medicare website, but I couldn't find anything helpful.
While I don't think my post is very helpful to you, your post was very helpful to me and I can't tell you how thankful I am that you wrote your post! To know you had some lymph node surgery and have Medicare gives me hope. I am guessing that means Medicare might pay for what I need? At least your post caused me to write that question down to ask my surgeon when I see him next week. It at least sounds like it might be worth revisiting that subject with the plastic surgeon.
I am not sure if this is good advice to follow, but I also don't "baby" my arm. I won't do anything stupid, like trying to lift 50+ pounds, or push heavy furniture, but I carry groceries with my lymphedema arm and even use small weights when I do strength training. I have total reverse shoulder replacements in both of my shoulders. When I had the shoulder replaced on my lymhedema side, I was worried it would make it worse. They wrapped it for surgery and I kept it wrapped for a while afterwards, I don't remember how many days, but surgery did not make the lymphedema worse! Not sure if I was just lucky.
I wish you luck and I hope this was at least a little helpful! I am praying I don't get LE in my other arm!
6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+
12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-