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New to CCS. 1 Week since surgery and wondering about incision care

New to CCS. 1 Week since surgery and wondering about incision care

Posted by traceynovember1962 on Feb 11, 2019 10:38 pm

I went for my yearly physical and my doctor said we should do a mammogram since it had been 3 years. Away I go and they found a mass. A biopsy was quickly set up and a week later I was told I had breast cancer. Surgery was scheduled for a few weeks later and I am now home resting. I feel not too bad. A 2 cm tumor and 2 lymph nodes taken out. 
I do find myself bursting into tears as I try my hardest to stay positive. I know chemo will be scheduled soon and all the unknowns are upsetting. 
The incision under the arm is achy and sore. I am doing my stretches so I'm sure the location is getting too much movement.
The steri strips are starting to loosen and are ready to fall off after 6 days. Should I worry? Is there anything recommended to put on the incision as it heals? I am 11 days away from my next doctor appt and thought I would start here first with my questions :)

Thank you for all the support and understanding when I ask the silly questions!

Take care 

Re: New to CCS. 1 Week since surgery and wondering about incision care

Posted by Kims1961 on Feb 12, 2019 12:32 am

traceynovember1962‍ ....Welcome to this site!  I'm Kims1961...so I'm assuming both close in age and diagnosis.  I was diagnosed in 2017 wit Invasive Ductal Carcinoma - stage 2 - 2 cm tumour .  I had surgery - bilateral mastectomy ( at my insistence) , then chemo and radiation .  The pathology of the tumour came back as ER+ and HER2+ - and they didn't get clean margins , thus the need for radiation and chemo.

Do you mind saying what type of surgery you had?  I had bilateral mastectomy - so had 4 drains as well as the incisions.  I found the incision sore for quite some time - mostly the nerve endings had the area feeling numb and sore - if that makes sense.  The steri strips came off on their own at a variety of times.  I had a visiting nurse due to the drains, so I was able to show her.  The key was to watch for signs of infection - fever, redness/pain/ oozing at the incision site.  If you're worried at all - I would contact your family doctor or if they gave you a number to call if you had any questions.  Do you have a nurse coming in to look at the incision?

There are no silly questions - this is new territory for all of us and sometimes our side effects can be very different.  This is the perfect place to ask any questions/vent or share.  Medical questions are usually best asked to our medical team, but also it has helped me to hear of other's experiences through this forum.

It is really good news that you had the mammogram and the lump was discovered and surgery happened so quickly.  This "waiting" part or limbo as I like to call it - is challenging.  Tears can be helpful - a release for our mind and body of the stress and worry, we may carry but try to hide.  There are times I am very positive and other times - the worry will creep in.  Sometimes letting it come in so you can process your concerns is helpful - just don't stay there.  After a bit - I will do something to think of other things - like watching a TV show on Netflix, or active like cleaning out the junk drawer - or a puzzle - hobby?  exercise?

Keep us posted on how you're doing.  So glad you posted!  Kim

Re: New to CCS. 1 Week since surgery and wondering about incision care

Posted by Minus2 on Feb 12, 2019 6:52 am

Hi traceynovember1962‍ , 
Our stories sound somewhat similar, but I am two and a half years out from bilateral mastectomies following a diagnosis of DCIS and IDC - 2.0 cm tumour, 4 nodes removed - all clear.  Don't worry about when the steri strips fall off - they are supposed to and if I remember correctly, your timelines sound about right.  I had a nurse visit every day to check the drains and monitor me for signs of infection etc.  My recovery was textbook and I'm sure yours will be too.  My surgeon did not recommend anything be applied to the incisions as they healed until after they were fully closed.  He did ask me to be very gentle with his work, which I still am, and everything has healed nicely.

There are no silly questions - we are all new, just at different bends in the road.  I know the unknowns are the hardest to deal with.  Do your best to occupy your mind - Netflix saved me, Downton Abbey in particular - and don't get upset with yourself if you are weepy.  It's a difficult diagnosis and time and your emotions will be all over the place.  Do you have your pathology report yet? Once you have that, your team will develop a plan, and that goes a long way to settling your mind and helping you feel more "in charge."
Keep us posted on how you are doing and ask anything that pops into your head.  This forum has so many people who are willing to share their experience and insights.

Re: New to CCS. 1 Week since surgery and wondering about incision care

Posted by traceynovember1962 on Mar 4, 2019 6:59 pm

Thank you for your response! 
I am doing much better now . I found a group at one of our hospitals called Healing Connections and it was an amazing help. I am waiting to see the Oncogist in a few weeks for more information on my treatment plan. 
THANK you for the support !