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drainage from lymphnode surgery

Posts: 56
Joined: Jun 2003

Help. It's been two weeks since surgery and I'm still hooked up to this stupid drain. I know it's better if I can tolerate it, but why won't it stop flowing. I'm getting 70 to 80cc a day. Is this normal? Am I just juicy? Any info would be greatly appreciated!! Amelia

jamjar62's picture
Posts: 135
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi Amelia...It sounds like you are extremely juicy! Just teasin'....my surgeon took my drain out at 10 days even though I was still draining about 50cc/day. I leaked for a few hours and then the leaking stopped. He told me that the drain can cause an irritation that could cause me to make more "juice" and that 10 days was long enough to leave it in. After my drain came out, my breast actually sloshed for about 2 weeks. It sounded like I was carrying a water bottle around my neck!

Posts: 23
Joined: May 2003

Hi Amelia,
Having to deal with drains is the pits! I had two drains after a bilateral mastectomy. One came out maybe 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. The second, like yours kept collecting lots of fluid. I didn't have that one out until the last possible day...which I believe was in my 4th week (I remember it seemed like a really long time). Once they take that drain out you will feel better.....you will be able to sleep better for sure:-) I had some leakage after both drains came out. The nurse put some gauze over the spot to absorb the fluid. My body was able to reabsorb the excess fluid. Take care.

hummingbyrd's picture
Posts: 961
Joined: Sep 2002

You aren't by any chance a vegetarian are you? I'll wait for your response.
If you need suggestions on how to 'wear' the thing I can help there also. God bless. hummb

Posts: 84
Joined: Apr 2003

Ameila, Im pretty juicy too and I'd say let's be proud! My advise is leave the stupid thing in as long as you need to. I hated that thing and was very anxious to get it out. I guilted my surgen (I had had nothing but bad news) into taking it out too early. That night it started to back up and about the time I was ready to go to emergency the dam broke. I then leaked for almost 3 weeks. It was a mess, bandages wouldn't stick, I even tried steri strips they don't stick either. I ended up wearing a kotex in my bra! (it fit snugly in the strap under my arm) It was the only thing that would work, and it was my surgen (a woman of course) that then sugessted it. I had a hysterectomy 4 yrs ago and thought I was done with those things, but noooooo. Another one of those experience that you would never have if not for cancer. Anyway, big moral to this story, leave it in! Good luck, Judy

Posts: 56
Joined: Jun 2003

Thanks ladies. I appreciate the candid replies!! Nope hummingbyrd, I'm not a vegetarian. Any tips on how to carry this thing around would be helpful. I use a velcro strap and hook it to my belt buckle and hide it with baggy tops. Also they want to start chemo with this thing still in there. Will it heal OK when they take it out? I tell you this just seems to be a bit too much. If it's not one thing it's another. If there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I can't see it!! (I've had a bad day at the Oncologists office and it appears I need an attitude adjustment) Like Mom always used to say:"this too shall pass". Thanks Amelia

Posts: 153
Joined: Nov 2002

Amelia: I was warned to not be surprised at the amount of drainage you are reporting. The doctor always told me not to be concerned if after they pulled the tubes I heard sloshing around inside for a couple weeks. Imagine my surprise...after the first 3 days after my mastectomy and lymph node surgery, the drainage was so small it was almost not worth draining in a 24-hour period. The two drain tubes got pulled out after 1 week. When they pulled the tubes, they just stuck an ordinary band-aid on the opening. I must say that pulling the stitches around the tube entrance was much more irritating than actually yanking the suckers out. I had this mental image of a robin pulling a long worm out of the ground! It healed over with only a little scar.

Posts: 252
Joined: Apr 2002

I see it as good that it's draining. Mine didn't drain much so they took it out and it turned out I had a staph infection and have had fun with that ever since. They reopened my incision and that had to be mostly healed before I could start chemo, but it did finish healing after chemo had started. I was given antibiotics with every chemo since I'd had the staph. Good luck - I know the drains are a pain. My husband made me a shoestring necklace for mine in the shower :-)

hummingbyrd's picture
Posts: 961
Joined: Sep 2002

How to wear a drain in a fashionable manner LOL
My tips....
I had some shirts (mainly scrubs from working in the hospital) that snapped or buttoned down the front and had pockets down low, like a light jacket. I put the drain in the pocket and ran the tubing through the nearest opening between snaps and up the inside of my shirt. My favorite though was to place it in a bandana or a scarf, cover it and tie it at the top of the drain, and then run the ends of the scarf through my bluejeans beltloop and tie it on there. Shirt was tucked in loosely or not at all so line ran up under my shirt. It looked like I had a purse tied to my pants...now with my drain you could pull the line out to use the restroom or untie the drain from your pants, I untied mine. It just meant planning your bathroom breaks so you didn't get in a bind! LOL I'm sure you sleep with your arm propped up on a pillow. If you call your local ACS they will fix you up with a Reach to Recovery volunteer who will bring you a gift pack. Included is a nice little pink satin pillow, fits just right under the arm. Hey its a tough battle, I figure you might as well get all the fringe benefits, freebies, etc...LOL that you can. YOU deserve it!
God bless, hope you get to feeling better. hummingbyrd

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