Full lymph node dissection, has anyone had this?

1surfermom
1surfermom Member Posts: 396 Member
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
After six months of chemo, I am finally having surgery this Friday 9/25. I am scheduled for a partial mastectomy and a full lymph node dissection. I'm o.k. with the partial mast. but when I asked my surgeon if he was going to do sentinal node mapping he said no he was going to take my lymph nodes, when I asked how many he responded "all". I think it is odd that he would take my lymph nodes considering I just completed a very agressive chemo regemen. He has assured me that very few of his patients suffer from lymphodema and not to worry. However I am really scared of the pain that I will feel in my armpit and also the restriction of movement. My surgeon told me that since I am active I will have a drain in my armpit for about two weeks (ick). Has anyone had a full lymph node dissection? I'd like to know how you did and what sort of things you did to help you cope. I'm really freaking out, thanks for your imput. Love Surf

Comments

  • Calleen
    Calleen Member Posts: 411
    I just
    had the sentinal lymph node biopsy done BEFORE I had my masectomy..I think all together there were 3 removed and they were clear... I've not had too much trouble but I think it's becasue i just had a few... I know that some of the ladies on here have had ALOT more removed and it seems some have had issues... Re is one I know for sure.. Your Doctor cannot predict if you will have problems. alot of Women do.. I didn't really have pain in my arm pit either. it was just kinda achey (can't spell it) and I couldn't really shave for about a week.. that grossed me out...
  • lanie940
    lanie940 Member Posts: 490
    Calleen said:

    I just
    had the sentinal lymph node biopsy done BEFORE I had my masectomy..I think all together there were 3 removed and they were clear... I've not had too much trouble but I think it's becasue i just had a few... I know that some of the ladies on here have had ALOT more removed and it seems some have had issues... Re is one I know for sure.. Your Doctor cannot predict if you will have problems. alot of Women do.. I didn't really have pain in my arm pit either. it was just kinda achey (can't spell it) and I couldn't really shave for about a week.. that grossed me out...

    For some reason, I only need
    For some reason, I only need to shave under my arms only once a week, maybe less. It just doesn't grow there. I doesn't grow as fast on my legs either, but it grows faster on my head. LOL I want to get it cut before my hernia surgery on the 8th of Oct. i so curious about those tumors though. They put titanium clips in them during the biopsy.
  • mlmjt1
    mlmjt1 Member Posts: 537
    Hi 1surfermom
    I had bilateral mastectomy with sentinel node positive. 21 nodes were removed and all were negative. After you heal, have your surgeon give you an order for outpatient occupational or physical therapy. They will teach you exercises to do and will teach you how to do lymphedema massage. I do not get lymphedema really in my arm but a little along my side under the arm and what is left of the right breast. If you fly you need to have a compression sleeve and they sometimes recommend a compression sleeve for biking, or racket sports. I like to jog and was told that I would not have a problem with that.

    My underarm is pretty numb. My boss actually had the same surgery about 10 years ago and she says she is still numb.

    I would be curious how he knows he needs to take all the lymphnodes without doing a sentinel node mapping. I dont think it would hurt to ask him his rationale for that because it really is a big deal since you have to be really careful with that side...no blood work no ivs no blood pressures no shots and you have to be careful to keep it free from infection. Its worth knowing his reasoning if you will have to be careful the rest of your life.

    By the way, my surgery was in may. I do yoga and exercise my arms daily and do at least 10 minutes of lymphedema massage daily and I have full range of motion, but it is a committment.

    Hugs
    Linda T
  • RE
    RE Member Posts: 4,591 Member
    ????
    Definition: Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system, part of the immune system that helps filter bacteria and cancer cells from the body.

    The lymph nodes, which are located in many areas of the body including the neck, the armpit, the groin, under the jaw, the back of the head and other places, produce immune cells that help the body fight infection. Because they help to filter cancer out of the body, they may become cancerous if there is a mass nearby that is attempting to spread through the body.

    I pulled that information from http://surgery.about.com/od/glossaryofsurgicalterms/g/LymphNode.htm incase you would like to read more. I do not understand why he would take them all, seems odd to me. I do not mean to cause alarm for you but I would ask for the sentinel node disection first. It is the newest way docs are attempting to keep woman from having lymphedema problems. Many woman go on living with lymphedema not ever knowing what the problem is or even that they hae it till it becomes serious. I wish you all the best!

    RE
  • 1surfermom
    1surfermom Member Posts: 396 Member
    RE said:

    ????
    Definition: Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system, part of the immune system that helps filter bacteria and cancer cells from the body.

    The lymph nodes, which are located in many areas of the body including the neck, the armpit, the groin, under the jaw, the back of the head and other places, produce immune cells that help the body fight infection. Because they help to filter cancer out of the body, they may become cancerous if there is a mass nearby that is attempting to spread through the body.

    I pulled that information from http://surgery.about.com/od/glossaryofsurgicalterms/g/LymphNode.htm incase you would like to read more. I do not understand why he would take them all, seems odd to me. I do not mean to cause alarm for you but I would ask for the sentinel node disection first. It is the newest way docs are attempting to keep woman from having lymphedema problems. Many woman go on living with lymphedema not ever knowing what the problem is or even that they hae it till it becomes serious. I wish you all the best!

    RE

    RE,
    Maybe I wasn't specific enough, my surgeon will take what he calls the "packet" it is the triagle like part of flesh under the arm. Is that all the lymph nodes? I am sort of intimidated by my surgeon and perphaps I need to be a little more agressive.I agree with you I think it is odd also, considering I have already had chemo. Thanks for the advice, I really want to be paddling my surf board by late spring since I didn't get to surf this summer. Love Surf
  • RE
    RE Member Posts: 4,591 Member

    RE,
    Maybe I wasn't specific enough, my surgeon will take what he calls the "packet" it is the triagle like part of flesh under the arm. Is that all the lymph nodes? I am sort of intimidated by my surgeon and perphaps I need to be a little more agressive.I agree with you I think it is odd also, considering I have already had chemo. Thanks for the advice, I really want to be paddling my surf board by late spring since I didn't get to surf this summer. Love Surf

    silly girl!
    No, no, no I realized you meant the lymphnodes in your under arm area I was only giving more specific info as to why lymphnodes are so very important for your health. For me the arm that I had the lumpectomy on the first time in 97 is the are they removed all the nodes (33 in to total)and that is the arm I have problems with. The third cancer which occurred in 07 they did the sentinel node disection and as as result did not need to remove any nodes from under my arm so I have no problems with that arm. Since you have such sort time and valid concerns I would contact your surgeons office on Monday and explain your concerns, your need to keep used of that arm since you do so enjoy your surfing. Sorry if my first answer was confusing, I have a cold and am not thinking clearly!

    Hugs,

    RE
  • Marcia527
    Marcia527 Member Posts: 2,729
    I had to have chemo before
    I had to have chemo before surgery also (only 4 cycles tho) and my surgeon said he could not do the lymph node mapping for that reason. The chemo could remove cancer in nodes. By the mapping they put dye in and follow it and the first couple nodes are removed to see if cancerous. If not they leave the rest alone. If chemo removes cancer from one of these they can't know if it was passed along. He removed 15 of my lymph nodes and I still had two with cancer.
  • Moopy23
    Moopy23 Member Posts: 1,751 Member

    RE,
    Maybe I wasn't specific enough, my surgeon will take what he calls the "packet" it is the triagle like part of flesh under the arm. Is that all the lymph nodes? I am sort of intimidated by my surgeon and perphaps I need to be a little more agressive.I agree with you I think it is odd also, considering I have already had chemo. Thanks for the advice, I really want to be paddling my surf board by late spring since I didn't get to surf this summer. Love Surf

    Hi, Surf
    Hey, Surf, Marcia's post to me explains why the nodes are taken after chemo. I hope it helps you. I would still ask the surgeon, as RE advises, though I do know what you mean about intimidating doctors. RE and Judy (Creampuff) are great role models for being assertive patients. I am trying myself to follow their example and ask more questions.

    I hope your surgeon relieves any concerns about missing the surf next spring. I'll be looking for pics of your surfing season, Spring 2010!
  • RE
    RE Member Posts: 4,591 Member
    Marcia527 said:

    I had to have chemo before
    I had to have chemo before surgery also (only 4 cycles tho) and my surgeon said he could not do the lymph node mapping for that reason. The chemo could remove cancer in nodes. By the mapping they put dye in and follow it and the first couple nodes are removed to see if cancerous. If not they leave the rest alone. If chemo removes cancer from one of these they can't know if it was passed along. He removed 15 of my lymph nodes and I still had two with cancer.

    good information
    Marcia thank you so much for this information, it is something I have never heard and is very good to know. Hope all is well with you and yours!

    Hugs,

    RE
  • Katz77
    Katz77 Member Posts: 598
    ????
    I had part. r mast june 23,09. Had the sentinal node bx done. He took 3, and they were pos., so he cont to do a full nodecetomy. 28 out of 30 tested pos. I'm her2 pos grade 3. My Dr. (who is very intune with womens brst issues)said protocol states if 3 or more are involved all must go. Have u had a ultrasound on ur nodes? I did and mine "looked suspious". I feel as a pt., you should request this. I feel removing a pt of your anatomny that serves to protect you from infection and lymphodema and other issues should be tested. I can get moderate lymphadema. I'm getting fitted w a sleeve now, because was told by gen surg and rad doc, that raditation will increase the odds of getting lymphodema. As far as mobility, I have full range of motion (rom). I hike in the moutains and work a part time job in surg., so I know whats involved with the surgit's self. There is nerve loss, because of the axcillary nerve is huge and buried deep down, so when they remove all nodes, there is some nerve damage cause nevre,arteries and nodes are bonded together. In review: Ask w good eye contact why he's not wanting to. Maybe the facility dosen't have the machine? Maybe he dosen't know how? Ask. I'm not "suffering", but I does get a little annoying because of the numbness. Sometimes as the day goes on w work and activities, it fells like I'm holding a tennis ball under my arm. As far as pain after surg., I didn't have much. Was controlled w pilss as I increased my activities. Not bad at all for me. The diff tween u and I, I had surg first and now starting my second round of the cocktails. Please ask why. Good luck and sorry this is so long. Good luck hugs and peace. Katz
  • 1surfermom
    1surfermom Member Posts: 396 Member
    Katz77 said:

    ????
    I had part. r mast june 23,09. Had the sentinal node bx done. He took 3, and they were pos., so he cont to do a full nodecetomy. 28 out of 30 tested pos. I'm her2 pos grade 3. My Dr. (who is very intune with womens brst issues)said protocol states if 3 or more are involved all must go. Have u had a ultrasound on ur nodes? I did and mine "looked suspious". I feel as a pt., you should request this. I feel removing a pt of your anatomny that serves to protect you from infection and lymphodema and other issues should be tested. I can get moderate lymphadema. I'm getting fitted w a sleeve now, because was told by gen surg and rad doc, that raditation will increase the odds of getting lymphodema. As far as mobility, I have full range of motion (rom). I hike in the moutains and work a part time job in surg., so I know whats involved with the surgit's self. There is nerve loss, because of the axcillary nerve is huge and buried deep down, so when they remove all nodes, there is some nerve damage cause nevre,arteries and nodes are bonded together. In review: Ask w good eye contact why he's not wanting to. Maybe the facility dosen't have the machine? Maybe he dosen't know how? Ask. I'm not "suffering", but I does get a little annoying because of the numbness. Sometimes as the day goes on w work and activities, it fells like I'm holding a tennis ball under my arm. As far as pain after surg., I didn't have much. Was controlled w pilss as I increased my activities. Not bad at all for me. The diff tween u and I, I had surg first and now starting my second round of the cocktails. Please ask why. Good luck and sorry this is so long. Good luck hugs and peace. Katz

    Thanks
    Thanks for all your advice. I will be at the Cancer center this Wed. for pre-0p and I plan to ask my surgeon his reasoning again. Thank you again !!!! Love Surf