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Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by KattoBC on Mar 28, 2020 1:09 am

 Hello everyone! I just joined the group, very glad I found it. (I also posted this in the Breast forum, I hope it's ok!)

In January, I felt a small lump in my breast and my doctor sent a request for a mammogram. So, at the end of February, I got one. They immediately did a biopsy and two days later I had an MRI done. Three days after that, I had my diagnostics and got a call from the surgeon's office for a consultation. A few days ago, I got a call about my surgery being scheduled this coming Monday. I can't believe how fast this is happening, just a month after my mammogram.

My diagnostic is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (2cm), MRI shows no node involvement, estrogen positive, progesterone positive, her2 negative. I know that in terms of breast cancer, I got very lucky and that many people have it way worse than I do. However, I am still quite nervous about the surgery and what will happen afterwards. I am scheduled for a partial mastectomy with sentinel nodes biopsy. The surgeon said that I will also have to have radiotherapy and the oncologist will discuss hormone therapy and possible chemo - depending on what they find in the biopsy I guess? Do I ask for an Oncotype DX or is that done automatically?

I have a few other concerns.. I am the full time caregiver of my disabled husband and I hope I can help him after my operation (I am lucky to have a 16 year-old awesome son to help out as well). Because of the whole Covid-19 situation, we cannot have any helper come give an extra hand, as my husband is very vulnerable. The good news is that for the last 7 months, I have been working out very hard every day (one hour work out and one hour walk) and lost 40 lbs, gained muscles and am in the best shape I've been in a while. I'm still overweight, but I feel like I am better equipped to fight this than I would have been 7 months ago. My concern is that I hope that I can get back to my workout and walks soon (I got a treadmill in case we have to self isolate much longer). One other concern is that I started to read online (yeah I know, not always a good idea, but I like to educate myself on what is happening) is about lymphedema.

Sorry for the long post, I haven't really had a chance to let this all out. However, I still feel very positive about the outcome, in spite of my nervousness. It's the unknown I guess! I also really want to be there for my little family. Thanks for listening!

Kathy
 

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Essjay on Mar 28, 2020 11:06 am

Hi KattoBC‍ good to hear from you.

I too had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy in October 2018. I was pretty rough from the anaesthetic, and was delayed being sent home due to poor oxygen perfusion. And I felt nauseous and poorly for about 7 days. I drove for the first time on day 7, and was back at work on day 11. im Allergic to codeine so couldn’t take the T3’s prescribed, but use what painkillers you are given only if you need them.

You will get strict instructions from your surgeon on activity. Mine knew I was a gym freak and gave me exercise specific advice on when I could do cardio workouts and when I could lift weights, but for you I would ask, when can you help your husband. It’s not a matter of strength, it’s about letting your body heal. You will have two wounds - one where they remove the tumour, and one in your armpit where they take the nodes out. Both will take about 2 weeks to knit together. And you will have masses of bruising - very sore. You will need to be kind to yourself for the first few weeks - no lifting, no cleaning, no vacuuming, no grocery shopping.

You will be given exercises to start doing from day 1, that progress over the next few weeks. Do them. You need to be able to raise your arms above your head for radiation. And as soon as you can, massage your scars and the breast tissue to break up the hard scarring that will form. You can be quite rough with yourself. It hardens again after radiation - I’m still working on mine nearly 18 months later.

i found the armpit wound the worst bit. I had swelling the size of an orange which was uncomfortable and 2 weeks in I developed nerve pain down my arm (a burning sensation not relieved by painkillers), that lasted about six weeks and stopped me sleeping...

Good luck with the surgery, I’m glad you have your son to help out - you will need him xx

best wishes Essjay xx
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by KattoBC on Mar 28, 2020 6:11 pm

Thank you Essjay for your message! Lots of important information, I will be very careful to do all my prescribed exercises and rely as much as I can on our son to help out for now. 

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Kims1961 on Mar 28, 2020 7:00 pm

KattoBC‍  Welcome!! So glad you posted!

On my 56th birthday - in 2017 - i found my lump.  Much like you - everything seemed to happen fairly quickly after that - diagnosed with IDC - stage 2 ( 2.5 cm) ER+, PR- HER2+

For a number of reasons, i opted for bilateral mastectomy - even though there wasn't cancer in my right breast.  So, despite having bilateral mastectomy, i found recovery manageable.  You will need to rest when you are tired and i used the pain meds as prescribed. I'm not sure what kind of assistance your husband needs - can you son assist in anyway?  I had drains that required a nurse to come to the home to check on them and eventually remove. 

Congrats on the fitness routine!!! Fitness, the outdoors was my mental health saviour.  Take your time - listen to your body and the doctor - but you will be able to get back to your workouts.  Taking it easy initially, will pay off, rather than going too hard too soon.

Essjay‍ has provided some excellent info.  Please let us know how you're doing and good luck on your surgery!  Kim
Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by KattoBC on Mar 28, 2020 8:38 pm

Thank you for all the advice Kims. I am also relieved to hear about the exercise.. I will have that to look forward to. Yes, I am very lucky that our son will be able to help a bit. It will just be awkward for some aspects of the help my husband needs, but we have to do with what we've got with this unusual coronavirus situation. Thank you for your kindness!

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Rayline on Mar 28, 2020 9:49 pm

KattoBC‍ hi Katto, good for you for getting in such good shape these past months. Wow 40 lbs that must feel really good for you! Congratulations that is not easy. I had a lumpectomy and a few lymph nodes removed. Definitely a few days down (no vacuuming for a couple of weeks) but I was walking again within a few days and exercising and running a couple of weeks later. I am so glad to hear your surgery is going ahead and not being postponed. I am also in BC, really good care  here. Good luck and I hope you can give us an update when you feel up to it. 

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by KattoBC on Mar 28, 2020 10:07 pm

Thanks Rayline, fellow BC'er!

Pretty glad that I lost that before this operation (although, I still have another 40lbs to go). It's really good to hear that people are going back to their exercise after a while! Yes, I feel very lucky that I am getting my operation considering the current situation. I think that the fact that it will be a day surgery and that I don't need a bed or a ventilator played in my favour. I will update, thank you so much!

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Zoey2020 on Mar 29, 2020 9:48 am

Hi,   

I too am new on here. I found my breast lump on December 19th 2019 and just had my surgery on Wednesday March 25th 2020.  I had no problems,  except for being extremely tired for three days.   Just waiting for the results to come back now.  This will determine my course of recovery.    Taking One day at a time and having a positive outlook  is the best medicine!    Best wishes for Monday,

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by MCoaster on Mar 29, 2020 10:12 am

Zoey2020‍     Welcome and thanks for your post.   It is lovely to see the community reaching out to support each other.

How are you doing?   It is very normal to feel tired after the op.   The anaesthetic takes a while to leave your system and lots of water and rest helps.   The emotional stress of diagnosis and the added uncertainties of the present can also be factors so congratulations on your positive attitude.  

Unfortunately breast cancer comes up as a topic very regularly here but that also means that there is also lots of support and caring here too.

Take care.

Margaret

 

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by KattoBC on Mar 29, 2020 3:29 pm

Thank you Zoey2020‍ ! I hope that you get your results soon and that they are what you want. Thanks for the nice words, we'll get trough this! 

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by a3a on Mar 29, 2020 3:48 pm

hey KattoBC‍  Kathy, thinking of you as you have your surgery Monday, and throughout the weeks ahead.  Glad your son is a big help. Sending a cyber hug from Vancouver Island, Ginny
 

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Mar 30, 2020 8:31 am

Hi, Zoey2020‍ - welcome!

I’m glad your surgery went well.

Your user name drew me in - I had a little dog named Zoey. She was my sunshine!
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Essjay on Mar 30, 2020 9:34 am

Welcome Zoey2020‍ 
How are you doing?

Essjay
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Mar 30, 2020 1:10 pm

Zoey2020‍ 

Glad to hear your surgery went well and you are recovering well. One milestone knocked off the list!

Look forward to more of your updates.

KattoBC‍ 

Wishing you well today. When you are able, stop back in and let us know how you made out.

Thinking of you both

Lianne

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Zoey2020 on Mar 30, 2020 9:50 pm

Hello Everyone,

Thanks everyone  for  the kind words of support.  Still just fighting fatigue, well not really fighting.  I am allowing my body to rest when ever I feel the need.
My thoughts are with kottobc today as she starts her recovery from surgery.

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by KattoBC on Mar 31, 2020 11:10 am

Hello everyone!

Surgery went well. I was pretty tired when I got home, so I just laid in a daze for a bit before going to bed! I'm really lucky and glad that I only had one incision, no incision under my armpit. It is a bit sore, but nothing as bad so far as I had imagined. I seem to still have most of my arm mobility. I'm icing and have done my exercises already. Only needed two tylenols and that was good. 

Now, the waiting starts for the results of the pathology... And then I'll finally get to meet with an oncologist to discuss the treatments. 

Zoey2020‍, I hope you are doing well sister! Thinking of you today. Hugs!

Thank you for all the kind words everyone!

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Spirited 1 on Mar 31, 2020 3:13 pm

Hello KattoBC‍  and Zoey2020‍ , hope you are both doing well after surgery. You both have been receiving great advice from others on this site regarding what to expect after surgery. I wanted to share with you what I have experienced since my surgery. First of all I had a lumpectomy and a sentinel lymph node biopsy on March 23. I have been doing well and  continue to do arm exercises. I am experiencing some arm pain and some numbness/tingling sensation on the underside of my arm close to my armpit. A week after my surgery while I was standing I felt something running down my arm. A clear/yellow fluid was dripping out of the incision from my armpit. I`m thinking this is good as the fluid is better to drain out than pool inside. Today the fluid is still slowly dripping. Wanted to give you the heads up that this is something that you may come across. Also doing the arm exercises while in the shower seems to help ease the stretching. I was also given a small pillow at the hospital which I sleep with and use to elevate my arm. I hope that helps.
I am touched everytime I read through the posts at how much love and compassion is shown in the kind words written. A joy to see. 😊❤ Thank you all.

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Mar 31, 2020 3:24 pm

Spirited 1‍ 

Thanks for sharing. Glad you are doing well and keeping up with those important post-surgery exercises.
Your experience will also help others on this path behind you.

Lianne

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by KattoBC on Mar 31, 2020 4:49 pm

Spirited 1‍ , thank you for your story, advice and heads up! It's always good to know what has happened to others, so we are prepared if it happens to us. I didn't receive a pillow, as everything was done on the phone because of Covid. But, I am using a pillow that I have at home, that helps! Although my cat seems to want to be my pillow.. haha. I am definitely going to keep up with the exercises. I had a call from the breast clinic as a follow-up and it was nice to be able to ask questions directly to the nurse.

Keep healing well! 
 

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Zoey2020 on Mar 31, 2020 5:09 pm

Hi Everyone,   
I feel a little left out.  Not really.    I did not get a pillow and never heard of anyone in Nova Scotia receiving pillows.   Instead, for three days my breasts and entire chest was wrapped in a tight elastic bandage.   Really helped keep everything in place and totally reduced pain.   I also was not given any exercises after my surgery but have no trouble moving my arm in any motion.    Like they say every case is different.  Hoping everyone who had surgery in March moves forward with successful outcomes.

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Mar 31, 2020 6:36 pm

Sending healing vibes to you both KattoBC‍ and Zoey2020‍ . Keep us posted. If you want , there is lots of great discussions on breast cancer here

If anyone is interested in the exercise booklet, there is a link for it on the right hand side of the link I included here.

Lianne

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Buffythevampire on Mar 31, 2020 6:36 pm

Zoey2020‍ and KattoBC‍ the pillows being mentioned are heart shaped. And they are awesome to put under your arm. I also received a rectangle pillow that attaches to the seat belt on my vehicle that I still use. 
I haven't been posting much lately, busy at work (grocery store employee). I was diagnosed with DCIS after a (1 cm tumor) lumpectomy in October, 2018. The Doctor sent me for a MRI where another tumor was discovered (2.5 cm).  My mastectomy/expander placement was March 2019. I was then told I had IDC. I finished my chemo in September 2019. I had a treatment today (herceptin) and only have one more treatment left. I also am currently taking letrozole.
My next surgery is put on hold because of coronavirus. It was supposed to be in June, 2020. The Plastic Surgeon will remove my expander, place an implant and recreate a nipple. My other breast he is reducing/lifting and will remove my chemo port. As much as I want to have my surgery, I would rather wait until it is safe.

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Mar 31, 2020 6:40 pm

Thanks for sharing Buffythevampire‍  and thank you to you and your fellow employees for what you are doing during this trying time

Lianne

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by KattoBC on Mar 31, 2020 6:48 pm

Thank you Lianne_adminCCS‍ !

Also, thank you Buffythevampire‍ , I hope you get to have your procedure soon, but in a safe environment. I was amazed at the precautions taken at the hospital when I went in yesterday. I was wearing a mask but ended up taking it off, as it felt very safe. Aaaah, a heart pillow would be nice! haha, I'll have to settle for my lumpy one and my cat! Thanks for your work and stay safe!

Zoey2020‍ Follow the link for the booklet that Lianne left, the exercises will make a difference. I didn't have any wrapping except my bandage, so I am wearing a sports bra (gravity was not helping with the pain while not wearing one). Good luck, we'll get through this!

Re: Hello, I'm new and getting surgery Monday

Posted by Wendy Tea on Mar 31, 2020 9:49 pm

KattoBC‍  I was just thinking about you, wondering how you are feeling today, and here you are up and about. Wonderful! Please do take it easy and go slowly. Thanks for staying in touch! 
I am a survivor. Wendy Tea