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Topic: Swollen arm, elbow, wrist, hand

Forum: Lymphedema —

Talk with other about how to lower your risk of lymphedema and how to manage it if you've been diagnosed.

Posted on: Sep 19, 2021 01:38AM

Veeder14 wrote:

Hi I haven't had any swelling issues since surgery however I fell 4 days ago and broke my shoulder/humerous. will see orthopedics on Monday. the swelling has been moving down my arm a little bit more each day. I'm really scared about this hand swelling, its so puffy. I wonder if missing 7 lymphnodes in the arm pit is contributing to the swelling. Any one have a similar situation. Does this sound like an emergency? Keeping arm in sling.

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 19, 2021 08:34AM LivinLife wrote:

I would definitely find a lymphedema therapist to evaluate and help treat that swelling..... I'll leave it to others actually diagnosed with lymphedem to offer more feedback. Wishing you the best in healing with all you have going on!

with expansive comedo necrosis & weak ER/PR Dx 7/2020, DCIS, Left, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/30/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Sep 19, 2021 11:39AM SerenitySTAT wrote:

You need a referral to a certified LE therapist for the swelling.

Watch for new pain, redness, and fever. These are signs of possible cellulitis that's a bacterial infection requiring antibiotics. It's an emergency if you think you have it.

Hope you recover quickly.


"Do not overlook the little joys!" (Hesse, 1905) 💉💉🐶☕️🛀🖼🥐🌲🎭 Dx 11/2015 IDC L IIIC 10/11 nodes ++-, 12/2015 L Mast, 2/2016 4 AC+12 Taxol fasted, 9/2016 Rads Nodes Chest wall 15+4 boosts, 10/2016 Tamox, 4/2019 Exemestane, 12/2019 Ibrance/Xgeva
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Sep 19, 2021 12:01PM Binney4 wrote:

Veeder14, I'm so sorry you're dealing with this! There are some things you can do to reduce the swelling even today while you wait for help from the orthopedist. There are some suggestions here:

http://www.stepup-speakout.org/How_You_Can_Cope_wi...

Also, do your best to keep your pain under control (easier said than done!) because pain signals our bodies to send lymph fluid to the site (it's a crucial part of our immune system).

As SerenitySTAT mentions, you'll want to be alert to signs of possible cellulitis. Here's information on what to look for:

http://www.stepup-speakout.org/Emergencies_and_Med...

Swelling is not unusual with a break (that's the lymph system going to work!), but a compromised lymphatic system (missing nodes) can make it hard to get the fluid back out of your arm. Do find help from a well-trained lymphedema therapist soon, as they can also help with normal post-break swelling.

You'll sure be on my mind--do keep us posted as you're able! Gentle hugs,
Binney

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Sep 19, 2021 12:22PM Veeder14 wrote:

Thank you all for responding, your support and suggestions. I was really freaked out last night. I'll update when I can.

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 23, 2021 11:19PM Veeder14 wrote:

Hi All

I had my shoulder surgery yesterday, wow talk about pain. Some of the swelling in my arm and hands is down a lot, and with more flexibility it will get better. Apparently, I came out of anesthesia in severe pain and was given a brachial plexus nerve block on my cancer side. I hope this wasn't a mistake and cause further swelling/lymphadema.

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 23, 2021 11:26PM SerenitySTAT wrote:

Oh, wow. Do you have a rehab plan?

I'm so sorry about the pain. Try to get lots of rest.

"Do not overlook the little joys!" (Hesse, 1905) 💉💉🐶☕️🛀🖼🥐🌲🎭 Dx 11/2015 IDC L IIIC 10/11 nodes ++-, 12/2015 L Mast, 2/2016 4 AC+12 Taxol fasted, 9/2016 Rads Nodes Chest wall 15+4 boosts, 10/2016 Tamox, 4/2019 Exemestane, 12/2019 Ibrance/Xgeva
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Sep 24, 2021 01:59AM Veeder14 wrote:

Had OT consult this morning before discharge, have exercises to work on. rehab plan will be developed at post op app't. yes, resting.

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 24, 2021 10:31AM SerenitySTAT wrote:

Good. Stay on top of the exercises. They do help.

Hope you have a quick and full recovery.

"Do not overlook the little joys!" (Hesse, 1905) 💉💉🐶☕️🛀🖼🥐🌲🎭 Dx 11/2015 IDC L IIIC 10/11 nodes ++-, 12/2015 L Mast, 2/2016 4 AC+12 Taxol fasted, 9/2016 Rads Nodes Chest wall 15+4 boosts, 10/2016 Tamox, 4/2019 Exemestane, 12/2019 Ibrance/Xgeva
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Sep 24, 2021 10:27PM MinusTwo wrote:

Veeder - do be sure you are working with a certified, trained LEPT - not just the OT for surgery recovery.

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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Sep 24, 2021 10:39PM Veeder14 wrote:

Thank you Minus Two for the suggestion.

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 24, 2021 11:56PM JosieO wrote:

Oh my dear friend Veeder,


So sorry about the fall on your shoulder. I fell in 2016, subsequently had breast cancer on the same side, but fortunately my shoulder healed without any threat of lymphedema. . So let me give you some words of encouragement about your recovery from surgery.

- manage your pain medication to feel comfortable. As you begin your physical therapy you will not be as dependent on strong medicine, but use Tylenol or Aleve as you are advised. You have to control your pain to be successful in your therapy.

- make sure your physical therapist has your x-rays so he/she can be aware of how to plan your therapy. Know that the therapist can also call the surgeon with any questions

- follow the exercises as they are taught to you, and if there is any equipment that you need at home, like a pulley or a ball, get it, to make it easier to replicate. I set up parts of my house to do the different exercises (like a circuit) and it kept me motivated

- take full advantage of after-exercise modalities like ice. My therapist willingly packed my shoulder with large ice packs after every session. I sat there for 10-15 minutes and when I left my shoulder felt flexible and pain free.

- I made sure my medication schedule allowed me pain relief right after my sessions

I know you can do this. But as everyone here suggests, get a referral to a lymphedema specialist.

Rooting for you,

Josi



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Sep 26, 2021 02:44AM Veeder14 wrote:

Thanks JosieO

for your input and suggestions. I was evaluated by a PT lymphadema specialist shortly after my lumpectomy healed. Although I didn't have it compression garments were ordered for flying. I will contact her office on Monday for an app't. Right now I'm very limited in trying to get the swelling down by using elevation (arm/shoulder non weight bearing for 6 weeks), and definitely can't wear compression garments. I am wearing my bike glove and its tight due to my hand looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy, not sure its doing any good.

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 26, 2021 03:01PM SerenitySTAT wrote:

Veeder - I wouldn't wear the bike glove if it's too tight. It's good to see a LE therapist to see if they have ideas. It will be hard to pull on a typical compression sleeve, but there are some that use Velcro. You can do some deep breathing exercises to improve overall circulation while you elevate your arm.

"Do not overlook the little joys!" (Hesse, 1905) 💉💉🐶☕️🛀🖼🥐🌲🎭 Dx 11/2015 IDC L IIIC 10/11 nodes ++-, 12/2015 L Mast, 2/2016 4 AC+12 Taxol fasted, 9/2016 Rads Nodes Chest wall 15+4 boosts, 10/2016 Tamox, 4/2019 Exemestane, 12/2019 Ibrance/Xgeva
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Sep 26, 2021 07:34PM Veeder14 wrote:

Thanks SerenityStat

I’ll put the bike glove away. I’m glad to hear that some sleeves use Velcro to close. Good idea about deep breathing. I’ve already got a my chart message to the doctor with pictures of my arm and hand requesting a referral to the LE Specialist in town

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 27, 2021 12:25AM JosieO wrote:

Veeder,

Prayers for you that you will get a quick referral as well as a quick appointment.

Does your insurance require a referral? Whether it does or not, I would call over to the lymphedema specialist, get an idea of openings, and just say that you are working with your doctor to get in. It helps if they are alerted to you, and also not as easy for your doctor to not make it a priority. This way they can get your records as well as those photos in hand quickly

Please keep us all posted. Can’t contribute much re lymphedema, but I know there are many experienced people here who can help.

I’ll do my best to support you with prayer, and healing thoughts.


JosieO

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Sep 28, 2021 07:04AM Veeder14 wrote:

HI JosieO

Thank you for your support. My insurance doesn’t require a referral but the clinic does. My primary care physician agreed on sending a referral and says he is asking staff to get it written and faxed. I emailed the therapist and she remembered me from the past, and will look out for the referral.

To any one
Can lymphadema cause nerve pain? I wonder if this burning arm pain is from that or from the surgery repair surgery or both


Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 28, 2021 08:42AM SerenitySTAT wrote:

It could be both. Anything that pinches the nerve will cause pain. You've had a traumatic injury. You could be holding your arm in a different position that could be causing the nerve pain.

I used to have severe sciatica. A combination of meds, postural alignment exercises, and nerve flossing fixed it.

When do you see your OT?

"Do not overlook the little joys!" (Hesse, 1905) 💉💉🐶☕️🛀🖼🥐🌲🎭 Dx 11/2015 IDC L IIIC 10/11 nodes ++-, 12/2015 L Mast, 2/2016 4 AC+12 Taxol fasted, 9/2016 Rads Nodes Chest wall 15+4 boosts, 10/2016 Tamox, 4/2019 Exemestane, 12/2019 Ibrance/Xgeva
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Sep 28, 2021 08:48AM Veeder14 wrote:

Thanks for writing back SerenitySTAT. After my postoperative appt on 10/8. Will be 6 weeks no weight bearing so not sure how much manipulation the therapist would be able to do in the beginning

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 28, 2021 09:34AM SerenitySTAT wrote:

Postural alignment exercises and nerve flossing techniques are gentle and not weight bearing, but they do require some mobility. They would also help with lymphedema. My LE therapist was OK with them when I showed her.

You said you had some exercises to do at home. Does your nerve pain increase when you do them? For me that's a signal to pause to give the nerve time to relax.

You mentioned burning pain. Do you monitor your temperature? Watch for warm or red areas.

"Do not overlook the little joys!" (Hesse, 1905) 💉💉🐶☕️🛀🖼🥐🌲🎭 Dx 11/2015 IDC L IIIC 10/11 nodes ++-, 12/2015 L Mast, 2/2016 4 AC+12 Taxol fasted, 9/2016 Rads Nodes Chest wall 15+4 boosts, 10/2016 Tamox, 4/2019 Exemestane, 12/2019 Ibrance/Xgeva
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Sep 28, 2021 10:09AM Veeder14 wrote:

good to hear the nerve flossing, and postural alignment exercises are gentle.the ot in the hospital gave me a few stretching exercises to stretch the elbow, wrist. and to hang my arm down and do if lesto keep you shoulder from becoming frozen. Those make my arm swell some it not burn.

Can’t identify what causes the burning, checking my temp and no fever,watching for redskinas I’ve had celluloid before, don’t want that


Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 28, 2021 10:25AM SerenitySTAT wrote:

I asked because I usually described my nerve pain as a shooting pain. The pain I had from cellulitis was a burning pain. Is the burning pain constant?

I've injured both my shoulders when I was young, but I've never had frozen shoulder once they healed. Maybe because I like to stretch them?

"Do not overlook the little joys!" (Hesse, 1905) 💉💉🐶☕️🛀🖼🥐🌲🎭 Dx 11/2015 IDC L IIIC 10/11 nodes ++-, 12/2015 L Mast, 2/2016 4 AC+12 Taxol fasted, 9/2016 Rads Nodes Chest wall 15+4 boosts, 10/2016 Tamox, 4/2019 Exemestane, 12/2019 Ibrance/Xgeva
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Sep 28, 2021 09:34PM Veeder14 wrote:

The burning pain in my arm/hand is pretty constant. I've also now have some in my back between the shoulder blades. I have long time discs issues and I'm sure my back took a beating between scans, ambulance ride, surgery, overnight in the hospital however never have had burning before, just in my feet.

Glad you didn't have frozen shoulder, I guess it's easier to happen with age and injury combined.

Have a Thursday appt with LE PT. Will let everyone how that goes.

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 29, 2021 05:56AM Rah2464 wrote:

I am thinking what you describe as burning pain may be from the lymphedema. I have it in my hand and lower arm up to elbow. The intensity varies depending on how much I have used the arm and how much I wear my garments. The pain I feel is constant, not pulsating or sharp, and I could describe it as burny or perhaps buzzy/achy. Level can be low background noise to downright achy and wanting to reach for an advil. For sure it is uncomfortable when it is flaring up. Glad you have an appt with an LE PT and hope you get some answers as well as tools to help manage.

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/26/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/26/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 29, 2021 02:07PM Veeder14 wrote:

Rah2464,

Yes that's exactly what it is, constant burning pain not touched by Tylenol or Toradol. Even this morning when some of the puffiness in my elbow, lower arm and hand are slightly less, the pain persists. Hopefully, the pressure isn't causing permanent damage. My incision and upper arm where the surgery doesn't hurt.

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 30, 2021 06:58AM Rah2464 wrote:

Veeder there are several videos on youtube of lymphatic massage you can try. Hopefully you can get into see a lymphedema therapist to be evaluated and to clear your system. I see one once a month because if I don't I cannot stay ahead of it.

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/26/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/26/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 30, 2021 09:37PM Veeder14 wrote:

I saw the Lymph therapist today for evaluation. She gave me an edema glove with finger tips sticking out, and pulled a tubigrip over and up to below my elbow for light compression. I'm wearing it and waiting for clearance from the orthopedic surgeon. Don't want to mess up the surgery. She didn't do lymphatic massage today but I'll watch videos. I only have one hand available. She showed me the sleeve that slips on and then closes with velcro but its too early for that.

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 30, 2021 10:14PM SerenitySTAT wrote:

Hope what you got today helps. Be careful with the videos. You could work on areas that exclude your shoulder and arm. As you stated, you don't want to mess up the surgery.


"Do not overlook the little joys!" (Hesse, 1905) 💉💉🐶☕️🛀🖼🥐🌲🎭 Dx 11/2015 IDC L IIIC 10/11 nodes ++-, 12/2015 L Mast, 2/2016 4 AC+12 Taxol fasted, 9/2016 Rads Nodes Chest wall 15+4 boosts, 10/2016 Tamox, 4/2019 Exemestane, 12/2019 Ibrance/Xgeva
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Oct 1, 2021 10:48PM Veeder14 wrote:

Therapist said if the glove and sleeve hurt to take it off. I think she wants to be cautious since the surgery. After 1.5 hrs my fingers were turning blue so I took off the tubigrip off my arm as it was pulling the glove, left on the glove and my fingers went back to normal and wore the glove until bedtime. The interesting thing is my hand was still puffy after removing the glove but the swelling was less at my wrist, unchanged at my elbow. Last night my arm/hand were in horrible pain from the compression.

Tonight I decided to wear the tubigrip on my arm and leave off the glove to see if some of the puffiness at the elbow would go down, and so far its not causing additional pain. I wonder if there's any harm in just wearing the tubigrip on my arm? I sure can't wait 6 weeks to address this swelling and pain until I'm weight bearing. Good thing I have any appt with the Therapist on Monday.

I'll probably just view the videos the therapist sent me for now.

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy
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Oct 1, 2021 11:18PM SerenitySTAT wrote:

I would be careful going without the glove. My LE first appeared in my hand. Then spread to my arm. At first I couldn't wear the sleeve without the glove or my hand would get worse. Now my hand is no longer swollen at all. I hardly ever wear my glove. My LE is only in my arm and not that noticeable.

Maybe your LE therapist can try kinesiotape on you? I had it done a few times.

How much mobility do you have? There's a breathing exercise you can try. Just move only within your limits.

https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/64/topics/796890

"Do not overlook the little joys!" (Hesse, 1905) 💉💉🐶☕️🛀🖼🥐🌲🎭 Dx 11/2015 IDC L IIIC 10/11 nodes ++-, 12/2015 L Mast, 2/2016 4 AC+12 Taxol fasted, 9/2016 Rads Nodes Chest wall 15+4 boosts, 10/2016 Tamox, 4/2019 Exemestane, 12/2019 Ibrance/Xgeva
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Oct 1, 2021 11:25PM Veeder14 wrote:

I can walk around so I'm mobile. will try the breathing exercises. Took off the sleeve, thanks for your advice. I'll ask about the taping on Monday.

Dx 1/2/2018, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/25/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/7/2018 Hormonal Therapy 2/28/2019 Hormonal Therapy

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