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Post-lumpectomy drains

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

I'm 3 weeks post-lumpectomy; had drains placed on Friday because the fluid build-up was so enormous and out of control.

Saw the surgeon today - drains still in. When can I expect to feel better from the drains? (Yes, the pressure is gone, but I'm horribly sore and feel the constant drainage.) Any idea how long the drains will be left in for? Dr was vague today.

Thanks.

Rague
Posts: 3386
Joined: Aug 2009

It will depend on how you heal and your Dr.

My drains were put in at the time of surgery (mod. rad. mast.). One was taken out at 2 weeks post surgery as it was down to less than 25 cc/ml's daily. The other one was taken out at 4 weeks even though it was still draining between 50 and 75 cc/mls a day. Surgeon felt. That it was causing its own irritation and took it out. Not a good idea as I developed a.fairly large seroma. Did your Dr. Tell you to keep records of how much drainage you are getting? My Dr wanted the daily drainage to be 25 (or less) cc/mls before removing.

Winyan - The Power Within

Susan

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

We're not keeping records. My drains are draining into gauze - they weren't placed until 12 days after the lumpectomy. She knows that we're changing dressing twice a day, and 2 gauzes are filled each time. She changed it today, about 3 hours after the morning change, so she saw what was going on. She also noted that the drains could be causing some draining.

Thanks for your input. I'm new to this, and not having fun (not that any of us here is having fun.)

Alice

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4529
Joined: Aug 2009

Most of us have had drains that are attached to a rubber/plastic ball that you squeeze after emptying to apply gentle suction. It depends on the person how much and how long thats why your doctor is vague. had issues with mine, but they did come out eventually. It is important to limit twisting motions with your chest. I stopped reaching over to my bedside table etc. this helped. The tissue has to tack down , if there is an opening between the layers fluid will form to fill the space. Ireally hated those stinking drains.

debi.18's picture
debi.18
Posts: 850
Joined: Jun 2011

I didn't have a drain after my lumpectomy, but did have one after the removal of additional nodes. I hated that drain with a passion- gave me panic attacks! I also had the one with the rubber/plastic ball. After 3-4 days my arm started tingling and they removed mine.

Good luck and hope you are able to get rid of them soon!

Hugs, Debi

Kylez's picture
Kylez
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

My drain was in for 3 days. I hated it! It was so uncomfortable. Hoping yours comes out soon for you.

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

but I don't think that she'll take them out then. I'm hoping for some time next week.

Meanwhile, I wish we could figure out pain relief. Nothing is working for me; I've been in constant pain since the original lumpectomy 3 weeks ago. It's all very frustrating.

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

I hope you got your drains out and that your doctor can find something, anything to help you with your pain.

Jan

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

Thanks, Jan, for your good wishes. I still have one of the drains in. The other fell out yesterday while my surgeon was adjusting it. However, the one that remains had me back to the dr today with more problems. We are working on finding me pain relief. I started Tramadol yesterday, and that seems to be helping.

So far, I've been to the dr 15 times in the past 8 weeks for procedures, scans, surgeries, etc. relating to these diagnostics - and this with a benign diagnosis. It's been a long haul.

Alice

laughs_a_lot's picture
laughs_a_lot
Posts: 1368
Joined: Mar 2011

All that and no cancer. Not that we want you to have it either. It just seems like a lot of rigamaroll to go through. I hereby declare it unfair. You get the next break that God hands out.

jnl's picture
jnl
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

You've had such a rough time Alice and I am so sorry. Hoping the Tramadol will help with your pain.

Hugs, Leeza

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

After retracting into my breast such that I had to go to the surgeon today to have the end retrieved, the drain fell out tonight. My surgeon had put a safety pin through the drain yesterday, about 1/2 inch from my breast, with an additional 1/2 inch of drain hanging past (and about 2 inches inside), so it couldn't fully retract into my breast. This morning, I awoke to the safety pin very tight and painfully pulled to my incision. Off to the surgeon today, who pulled it out less than 1/2 inch. Tonight, I came home from work, checked my dressing, and the 2+ inches of drain had completely worked its way out of my breast. From one extreme to the other. My surgeon is in disbelief at all of the issues I've had.

And thankfully, the tramadol is working, so at last my pain is under control. Now hopefully, I'll continue draining without the drain, but with the open incision. And then that the incision heals soon.

I can't help but wish that my mammogram had been of lower resolution so the questionable area wouldn't have been seen, and I could have skipped all of this drama.

I'm grateful to my family here for all of your support and advice as I've gone through all of this. My wish is for all of us to be NED forever!

Thank you!

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

I pray for NED for all of us too Alice. Sending lots of prayers to you and even more very gentle hugs!

Hugs, Jan

cinnamonsmile
Posts: 1058
Joined: Dec 2010

Those drains just aren't going to give you a break are they? My drains were stitched in, were yours? I just can't believe a drain would come out like that, but that again, you said that you are known for having such problems.
Be glad you are NED, because imagine going through all this crap plus bc.

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

but on Thursday, she clipped the stitches, left the drain (one of them) in place with a large safety pin on the end of the drain so it couldn't get lost in my breast. That proved smart, because the next day, the safety pin was pulled right up tight against my incision, and the drain would have been lost had the pin not been in place. However, by that night, the entire drain fell out.

However, the incision continues to drain substantial amounts of fluid, which increases when I massage my breast (not over the incision.)

Meantime, I still can't resume my normal life - going for walks leaves me in pain. The "jiggles" are too much for me still, even with a firm bra.

I can't imagine going through this and having to deal with BC on top of it. Slogging through my NED has been quite difficult. My surgeon does not recall having anyone go through the problems I've had post-lumpectomy. Sometimes it's no fun to be unique. (Oh, and for my cancer surgery for appendix cancer 5 years ago, the average hospital stay is 5-10 days. I saw in a recent research paper that my surgeon refers to those numbers, but that he had one patient who was hospitalized for 29 days. Guess who?)

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

You poor thing. You have suffered so much with your drains. Hoping and praying that soon this will all be behind you and you will be pain and drain free!

Hugs, Debby

Pink Rose
Posts: 495
Joined: Nov 2012

The drain was horrible! I really feel sorry for you. Good luck!

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

for a check-up. My drains fell out a few days ago. Pressure is building again - I don't know if she'll want to aspirate me again or replace the drains or just let things work themselves out at this point. I'm only draining a little bit now. I'll report in after I see the dr tomorrow morning.

Thanks for all your caring and concern,

Alice

Rague
Posts: 3386
Joined: Aug 2009

Pressure building - little draiinage - something is not 'right' and not getting answers - DEFINATELY time for a Second Opinion!

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

I am just back from seeing my surgeon yet again. All is healing well, tho the incision is still draining. She's encouraging me to massage my breast to keep the drainage flowing. However, she does not know why I am still in moderate to severe pain. Her comment is that most people at this stage feel pretty much fine. There is no sign of infection or other problem - keep doing what I'm doing and come back next week.

Of note, I'm not a complainer, and have a high pain tolerance. I gave birth to both of my kids with no pain meds at all, feeling just "uncomfortable" with a few minutes of severe pain with each delivery. I detest taking narcotics, and am still taking Tramadol daily. One of these days, I'll feel better.....

Again, thanks for all your caring and support. The advantage to my being a cancer survivor, albeit of an unrelated cancer, was that I knew where to look for support, even with a benign diagnosis. You've all walked this path ahead of me, and understand what I'm going through. (And yes, I understand what you go through with chemo, etc., having walked that path myself.)

Alice

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

We're always here for you Alice! We just are concerned that you're still in so much pain and still have the drains. You will feel better! I just hope that it is very soon!

Hugs, Lex

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

The last one fell out on Friday. However, the incision is still actively draining.

Having been given dr's approval and encouragement to massage the hardness in my breast to encourage the draining, I've been hard at work, and will continue to do so, to see if I can speed things up. Hopefully, if I can release all of the internal pressure, the pain will subside. (My shrink - an MD, wasn't so certain when he heard that I'd massaged my breast, and it had "squirt". He made me promise to check what I was doing with my surgeon. She voted that I continue what I'm doing; that the "stuff" is "better out than in, I always say" (to quote both Dr. P and Shrek.) Funny, tho, Dr. P didn't realize that her comment to me was straight out of Shrek! We both got a kick out of that.

Thanks,
Alice

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

You amaze me with your positive attitude and humor Alice! I pray that soon, there will be a resolution and end to all of this for you, a happy ending. :)

Lex

cinnamonsmile
Posts: 1058
Joined: Dec 2010

I agree with Rague, I think it is time for a second opinion for you.

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

There is nothing to be seen. I just still feel the rawness inside my breast, and my incision still hurts.

I have a history of extreme and unusual reactions/responses to "attacks" on my body (surgical or chemo), so while all of this is uncommon, it follows my patterns.

My surgeon is also considered by virtually everyone in the Capital District to be the finest around. My drs at Memorial Sloan Kettering do know what is going on, and acknowledge that it is unusual, but see no reason for me to pursue it elsewhere (and believe me, if my MSK surgeon had any questions whatsoever, he'd arrange for me to be seeing a breast expert there.) I've been seeing this surgeon for over 10 years, tracking my cystic breasts. I was referred to her by one of the top ob/gyns in an 100 mile radius. People travel significant distances to see him. By the way, my ob/gyn also evaluated me, when I had to see him last week because my surgeon was out of the office, and I'd had a problem.

At this point in my life, I've had numerous surgeries, and it was the rare one that went according to the norm. Likewise, I had odd but serious side effects with my various chemos (systemic and intraperitoneal) - the chemo nurses at MSK commented that they'd never seen that before; my drs stated that while they'd heard of some of the side effects/problems I'd encountered, they'd never seen them before.

I've actually now had 3 days without taking pain meds; they haven't been entirely pain-free, but I haven't felt the necessity to take something. So it looks like I'm finally improving.

Tomorrow, I plan to try to curl - to throw a few stones just to see if I can do it. I'm told it won't harm me; it's simply a matter of my comfort, so it's worth a try. I'm supposed to be at a major curling tournament in Cleveland on the 28th, and I really don't want to miss it. (I'm missing a major tournament this weekend - had to drop off the team.)

Thank you for caring. If I'm not substantially better by the time I see my surgeon on Wednesday, I'll ask again if there are any other considerations.

Alice

jnl's picture
jnl
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

Great news that you are not even taking pain pills now! Good luck with curling!

Hugs, Leeza

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