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Topic: Cellulitis Questions

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

Posted on: Aug 14, 2019 02:54PM

max2111 wrote:

Hello,

Because lymph nodes were removed from my right armpit, I have lymphedema in my right arm. The breast cancer was in the right breast. I had a double mastectomy in April 2013.

I have had cellulitis in my right arm 8 TIMES - been admitted as an inpatient 3-4 times. My last bout with cellulitis was in Nov. 2018.

I take the normal precautions - hand sanitizer, etc. I do not wear a sleeve.

I have in fact become complacent and a bit careless. There have been several times when I was shocked I didn't get cellulitis. For example, scraped my right arm at a waterpark and the scrape was open the rest of the day.

What makes a person get cellulitis? Is it when your arm swells? Do you have to touch bad bacteria with your affected arm? What is the BIGGEST risk factor for getting it?

Biggest 2 questions: What is the "incubation period" for cellulitis - meaning after you have come in contact with the bad bacteria, how long before you see signs of cellulitis on your arm (red spots for me) ? Also, is my right arm the only part of my body that is at risk for cellulitis?


I would greatly appreciate any input that you might have...

Thanks so much! Heart

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Oct 13, 2019 12:17AM rlmessy wrote:

Hi max2111...you might have moved on from this question but I am newly diagnosed and scanning the boards and saw your question.

My mom was dx with BC in 2006. Right mastectomy and multiple lymph nodes removed. From 2006 - 2012 we had no issues with lymphedema. We moved to South Carolina in 2012 and cellulitis started aggressively. She has had about 13 episodes since then. The last one landed her in ICU for 5 days.

Honestly, I cannot figure out the rhyme and reason for when she will get it. She filleted her forearm one time, just peeled back about an inch of skin. I treated that at home with the top of a tube sock holding the dressing on because I could not use tape. The ICU visit had no identifying starting injury or cut.

Couple of things we have started doing are AM and PM inspections to check for any redness or swelling. I am able to wrap her arm so if any swelling begins I wrap instead of her normal compression sleeve. We also keep antibotics at home so if anything starts I begin treatment right away and monitor every 30 minutes.

The timing varies but one of my moms signs it is starting is getting the chills. Within a few hours of that complaint the redness will start. Then it moves fast for her. I mark it with a sharpie and check every 30 minutes after starting treatment.

I also measure pretty often and have been told that swelling can be a risk factor.

Hope some of that helps.


My DX appears below but I am also a caregiver to my awesome Mom, a 13 year (2006) BC Survivor, IIIa IDC, ER/PR+, HER2+, R MX, Lymphedema R Arm Dx 10/10/2019, IDC: Papillary, Right, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 12/18/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 2/22/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab)
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Oct 20, 2019 10:00PM - edited Oct 23, 2019 10:51PM by margo53

Hi,

I'm new here and new to BC. This is so scary about cellulitis. I developed a seroma and cellulitis following lumpectomy and sentinel node removal.. seroma had to be drained twice. Post op I took Keflex, followed by Cipro and now on Clindamycin. Finally now the cellulitis is smaller , fading and much less redness.. I never had fever but occasionally experience a chill that moves thru rapidly. Do you know how this will effect my radiation treatments ? What antibiotic works well for your mom? Thanks for all the tips


Margo Dx 8/13/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/23/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 12/2/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 3/12/2020 Whole-breast: Breast
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Oct 21, 2019 08:37PM rlmessy wrote:

Hi Margo53,

Sorry, I lost this thread!

We keep a prescription of SMZ-TMP and Cephalaxon (sp). She used to do fine with just the SMZ-TMP but after a few bouts her docs added the other antibiotic. I can usually keep her out of the hospital if I catch it quickly but there are times the infection just moves quick.

Keep in mind my mom is 80 so we are all in for quality of life. If she were younger I might question the frequent use of antibiotics for fear of resistance developing. But she is healthy and active and wants to stay that way so we weigh how she feels versus the risks and this is one she is willing to take.

My mom's did not start until about 6 years after active treatment so I can't comment on radiation treatments.


My DX appears below but I am also a caregiver to my awesome Mom, a 13 year (2006) BC Survivor, IIIa IDC, ER/PR+, HER2+, R MX, Lymphedema R Arm Dx 10/10/2019, IDC: Papillary, Right, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 12/18/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 2/22/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab)
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Oct 24, 2019 10:39AM margo53 wrote:

everything I read says to not put any lotions , etc on it. Mine is just about gone. Is there anything I can safely put on the area? Coconut oil or other non-alcohol base product? I just used to using lotion because my skin is dry . I also would like it to be in good condition before RADS. Thanks y’all for all the responses

Margo Dx 8/13/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/23/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 12/2/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 3/12/2020 Whole-breast: Breast
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Oct 24, 2019 11:27AM Trishyla wrote:

Margo,

I've never had cellulitis, but I have taken Clindamycin for an abscessed tooth. It is a very powerful antibiotic. No one told me how hard it is on your body. I ended up getting C-Diff, which is a miserable, and possibly life threatening condition caused when the antibiotic destroys all the good bacteria in your gut, allowing Clostridium difficile bacteria to overgrow. It took me two years of another antibiotic, Vancomycin, (which costs over $4,000 per month) to get rid of the C-Diff.

Of top of the misery of the C-Diff itself, is the possibility that the lack of good gut bacteria caused (or exacerbated) my breast cancer.

I'm not trying to scare you, but I wish someone had warned me about Clindamycin. It would saved me from two years of sheer hell.

If you continue with Clindamycin, please take every prebiotic and probiotic you can get your hands on. Yogurt, fermented food. Everything. It's better to prevent C-Diff than to have to treat it.

Good luck. Hope all works out for you.

Trish


Dx 8/30/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/30/2016, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Dx 9/6/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 9/28/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/4/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Chemotherapy 8/4/2017 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Oct 24, 2019 12:36PM rlmessy wrote:

Margo...everyday my mom usually uses Avenno for babies, no fragrance. LE therapist uses lotion as well but it is always fragrence free. My mom is experimenting with a few drops of ginger oil in sunflower oil. I am not sure she is doing this regularly though so dont know the results.

When she is in a bout of lymphagitis we do not put any lotions on. We also do not do compression garments or wrapping. I will keep her arm covered if outside and out of direct sunlight. If very hot to touch I will use cold, not freezing, cloths.

Trish...c-diff is no joke. I am sorry you had to go through that. We do keep my mom on a probotic regularly and certainly after a round of any antibotics. I am just learning that so many of our health issues go back to our gut.

My DX appears below but I am also a caregiver to my awesome Mom, a 13 year (2006) BC Survivor, IIIa IDC, ER/PR+, HER2+, R MX, Lymphedema R Arm Dx 10/10/2019, IDC: Papillary, Right, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 12/18/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 2/22/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab)
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Oct 27, 2019 11:10PM Luvmydobies wrote:

I’ve not had cellulitis, but, like Trish, was a C Diff sufferer that started from Clindamycin. Margo you might ask your doc about taking Florastor which is a probiotic that doesn’t get destroyed by taking antibiotics with it. I took it the first time I had C Diff. Couldn’t take it the last two times I had it because I was on chemo.I have mild truncal LE and my biggest fear is infection, and needing antibiotics because I’ve had C Diff three times. Haven’t needed an antibiotic in almost seven years (knock on wood), and that was Vancomycin for my last bout of C Diff. Trish, I thought I had it bad, but wow, having to be on Vanco for two years to get rid of the C Diff is just horrible! So sorry you had to endure that!

Dx 1/16/2013, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 2/5/2013 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 3/26/2013 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel), Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide)
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Oct 28, 2019 12:45AM Trishyla wrote:

Thanks, luvmydobies. It really did suck. I had Florastor as well. I think that helped finally clear things up. It's amazing that something as simple as probiotics can make such a huge difference.

Trish


Dx 8/30/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/30/2016, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Dx 9/6/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 9/28/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/4/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Chemotherapy 8/4/2017 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Oct 28, 2019 08:34AM margo53 wrote:

wow thanks for all the CDiff info. I’m so sorry y’all had to go thru that. I am taking a probiotic, a generic from Walgreens. It’s a little round, pearl looking pill and I take it once a day.... is that enough? I’m not a big yogurt fan but can eat it if I need to. I will be finishing the Clindamycin this week. Cellulitis is much better also. Thanks so all the info

Margo Dx 8/13/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/23/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 12/2/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 3/12/2020 Whole-breast: Breast
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Oct 28, 2019 08:38AM - edited Oct 28, 2019 10:30AM by margo53

This Post was deleted by margo53.
Margo Dx 8/13/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/23/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 12/2/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 3/12/2020 Whole-breast: Breast
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Oct 28, 2019 12:03PM MinusTwo wrote:

Margo - both my dermatologist and my LE therapist recommend CeraVe. It is non-comedogenic, fragrance free and lightweight. Definitely not greasy. One application will usually last through a couple of hand washings. I just use the original "moisturizing lotion" in the pump bottle but purchased the cream for when my hands & feet get really dry in the winter.

I also do travel with an antibiotic - Amoxocillin - so that I can catch it early if I'm away from my regular doc.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014

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