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Topic: Lumpectomy +ve experience (No lymph nodes)

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

Posted on: May 7, 2021 07:11AM

sadwife wrote:

Sharing my experience + open to any questions about my journey. Overall, I am fortunate to have had an uneventful experience with the procedure.

43 year old, generally healthy, no chronic conditions, no medications > found a lump > diagnostic mammo and ultrasound > Birads 4 > Core needle biopsy > Ductal Papilloma > Surgery

- Presurgery: I did get a second opinion to make sure my ductal papillomas (2 lumps, one under the nipple and one to the side) needed removal. The answer was yes and I decided to go for it. I had to take a pregnancy test and a COVID test 2 days before surgery.

- On the day of the surgery, we had to make a payment in the morning and then they checked me in. Unfortunately, since I have very small arms, the nurse was unable to get the IV in at the first try and blew my vein. Another nurse came in and did it. Interestingly, they gave me local anesthesia before IV insertion. This was the most painful part of the whole day and I had dreaded this all along given my fear of any pain. In case anyone is scared of IVs, ask for local anesthesia. It helps a lot!

- Surgery - They were wheeling me out of the waiting room and I was already out. Didn't even see the operating room. When I opened my eyes, I was in postsurg recovery. No pain at that time. Some swelling of the breast. Had to use a special mastectomy bra that you typically can purchase from the surgeon's office or online. Didn't find it uncomfortable. In fact, the support helped a lot because too much movement of the breast is what triggers pain.

- Postsurgery - I was not prescribed any opioid medications. Just Tylenol the first day and then any over the counter medication after that. I took Tylenol during the day and Tylenol PM during the night to help sleep better. My pain level after surgery has been pretty low. 1 to 2 on a scale of 10. And I didn't need Tylenol after the first 2 days. In fact, within 48 hours of surgery, I was back to my evening walks and driving to run errands. I was able to sleep on my side starting the second night, both the side that I had the surgery + the other side. After around 6-7 days, I could also sleep on my stomach as long as I didn't put much pressure on the affected side. Didn't need any special pillows but the first couple of days, having pillows on either side helped since I tend to keep trying to turn on my stomach.

My surgeon said she would be able to do some small "putting together" of tissue in the breast after removing the lumps. I have tiny breasts and the lumps were both around 1.5 cm in diameter so I was a bit worried about the deformity. But as of now, I think it turned out OK. The swelling may not have gone down completely so I can't be 100% certain, but both surgeons did mention that papilloma lumps usually push other tissue out so when they are removed, there is not much impact to aesthetics.

- Results of biopsy - came back in 7 days and they showed ductal papilloma. No surprises there.

Scheduled to see the doctor soon for the postop visit. Thanks to all the amazing people here who supported me all through the journey! Like I said, I am happy to answer any questions about anything I wrote about.

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May 7, 2021 11:48AM Apple3 wrote:


Thanks so much for sharing your experience. My surgeon doesn't seem keen to talk so I've been feeling a bit in the dark about what recovery for a lumpectomy (and in my case also lymph node removal) might look like even roughly. This is very reassuring! I hope the recovery continues smoothly.

Dx 4/15/2021, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/25/2021 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 7/8/2021 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy
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May 7, 2021 12:16PM sadwife wrote:

@Apple3, with the lymph node removal, you may also have a drain. They will teach you to use it before the procedure. And I have heard that it takes a bit longer before you will be able to sleep on that side. It may be a good idea to look up mastectomy pillows and pregnancy pillows on Amazon. There are quite a few types and you can choose based on your preferred sleeping position.

If you are in pain even after taking Tylenol, they do prescribe opioids so don't worry about that aspect. They also recommend mobilizing the arm as soon as you can to promote quicker recovery and avoid stiffness. In general, if your body heals quickly after illnesses and wounds, your recovery from surgery will be similar.

If your surgeon doesn't want to talk much, you can try to find who their RN is and share your questions. They will have a lot more tips and info specific to your procedure.

Hope all goes well for you!

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