We are 157,848 members in 80 forums discussing 124,892 topics.

Help with Abbreviations

All TopicsForum: Surgery - Before, During, and After → Topic: Lumpectomy/Sentinel Node Biopsy Recovery

Topic: Lumpectomy/Sentinel Node Biopsy Recovery

Forum: Surgery - Before, During, and After — Surgical options and helpful tips for recovery and side effects.

Posted on: Mar 28, 2011 09:39PM, edited Mar 28, 2011 09:45PM by Motherof3BakingQueen

Motherof3BakingQueen wrote:

Hi,

  I am new to this board and would like to thank everyone for your information, insight, and inspiration that I've used since my diagnosis.  I haven't felt informed or strong enough to get on here and post, but finally registered, and hopefully as I move further along on my journey I can helps someone else, like some of you ladies have helped me.

  I had a lumpectomy/SNL biopsy almost a month ago and I and my breast is still fairly swollen, and sore.  While the incisions from both the Tumor excision and SNL biopsy are doing ok,  it is the area from the radioactive dye injection that is the most swollen, tight and lumpy, as are the injections sites from where my BS removed excess fluid last week.  While that was a huge relief, it left behind two more swollen areas, similar to the one when I got a biopsy prior to surgery.  As many of you know, it feels like you breast as been "beat up."  My concern/question is how long before this heals, a few more months, six months, a year.? I'm probably going to be starting  radiation in a few weeks, and cannot even imagine how worse it may be after getting that treatment. Can any one give me any insight on the healing process.  Is it just that a process....that takes a very long time, one that cannot really be determined?  Thanks for your help!

Log in to post a reply

Posts 1 - 4 (4 total)

Log in to post a reply

Mar 28, 2011 10:23PM j414 wrote:

Hi Momof3,

My incision scar was also very lumpy and swollen with fluid, but it resolved within a couple of months after I finished rads. Radiation caused my breast to swell to twice its normal size (like PMS type swelling), which wasn't painful, just annoying.  My breast started to heal right after I finished radition and within six months it looked and felt very close to normal - the swelling was down, the incisions were healed and my skin just looked like it was tanned.  A year after radiation, with the exception of a one inch, dental floss width scar (which is very faint), my breast looked the same as it did before - the tan is gone, the skin is really soft and the incision isn't lumpy at all.

It's going to get a little bit worse before it gets better  because radiation is going to cause swelling and redness (similar to a sunburn that will increase with each treatment).  Your best friends during radition will be ice packs and moisturizer. I filled my ice pack with 1/2 ice and 1/2 water, to give it a soft/cushion feel.  Do not put the ice pack directly on your skin because extreme cold could further irritate your already sensitive skin. Instead, wrap it in a thin piece of material (like a white cotton t-shirt).  I iced throughout the day and my breast held up really well. 

Moisturizing is key because you want to avoid skin irritation and blisters. I had a couple of blisters toward the end, but honestly, I've had sun burns that were much worse.  Nevertheless, the radiation oncologist warned me that if it got worse, we would have to stop for a couple of days (and I didn't want that).  Keep your breast well lubricated, although you shouldn't wear any moisturizer during the actual radiaiton session.  Basically, I would carry my moisturizer with me and I would slather it on right after my session and cover the area with thin gauze (so I wouldn't have to keep reapplying the moisturizer).  I used aqaufor and mixed in a little cortisone (to help with the itching) and it worked really well.  I would keep that on the entire day and at night, before I went to bed, I would reapply.  I would wash it off in the morning before I headed off to the radiation session.  

Check out the March 2011 rads thread and in a couple of weeks, if you are so inclined, you can start the April (or May) 2011 Rads thread.  Participating in a rads threads will be really helpful because everyone posting is going through rads at the same time and they check in with each other every day and compare notes.  

http://community.breastcancer.org/forum/70/topic/764654?page=18#post_2311749   

Hang in there, you're in the home stretch and it will be over in a couple of weeks.

Best,

J

Dx 4/2009, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

Mar 30, 2011 06:30AM Motherof3BakingQueen wrote:

Hi J,

 Thanks so much for your input.  I really appreciate that advice.  I'm sure that I will be using it.  I like the idea of chatting with others who are experiencing the same thing along the way.

  I notice you diagnosis is similar to mine.  Did you have chemotherapy as well?  I haven't been to a medical oncologist yet so I'm not sure what she will recommend.   I've been researching until I'm dizzy.   I won't have oncotype dx score for another week or so.  Just curious as to what your oncologist recommended to you. Obviously, radiotherapy, but what did they say about chemo. Ae you taking tamoxifen.  Thank so much!

M3BQ 

Dx 2/17/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

Mar 30, 2011 10:28AM j414 wrote:

Hi Momof3,

I did not have chemo because my tumor was a small (1 cm) grade one and the oncotype came in low. I thought for sure chemo would be part of the plan because of my age (thirties) and very strong family history, but my onc said I would get almost no benefit from it. 

I am taking tamoxifen.  The first couple of months were an adjustment, I basically had constant PMS type symptoms (bloating, cramps, a lot of water retention) and was very uncomfortable.  But after a couple of months, most of the side effects disappeared - PMS is a little bit more painful that usual, but it only last for a couple of days.  Also, I cut my salt intake (and I love salt!) and once I did, I stopped retaining water.  Overall, I feel great; a lot of women complain about Tamoxifen weight gain, but I run a couple of miles a week, walk a lot, do yoga and eat well, which has kept my weight steady (I even dropped a couple of pounds after the holdiays).   

There is a already an April 2011 rads thead - check it out.  Rads can be a little intense because it's every day for six weeks and it can be physicall and emotionally draining.  Having a support group in place will make it easier.

http://community.breastcancer.org/forum/70/topic/766624?page=1#post_2313478 

Best,

J

Dx 4/2009, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

Apr 6, 2011 11:06PM Motherof3BakingQueen wrote:

Hi J,

   Thanks again for all the information.  I just got my Oncotype back and it came in low as well.  I was prepared to have to make a decision about whether chemo would be part of my future, where as with a low score, like you, chemo would provide no benefit.  I am relieved to say the least.  Finally, the journey begins.  Thanks for you suggestions to chat with others about radiation. The rad. onc. was very thorough in how it would be.  I think your suggestions about lotion and ice make alot of sense.  My scar tissue and swelling even after a month is still pretty major, so I'm sure it will only be intensified by radiation.  

Thanks again for posting and helping me with my questions, and relieving some fear.

M3BQ 

Dx 2/17/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-