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Ready for battle

Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2013

I am 45 years old, had a left mastectomy on feb 22 of this year and have 2 of 15 nodes positive. I am stage 2b, grade 2 and an oncotype score of 15 (just rec'd today). Genetic testing showed no mutation, and I am meeting with an on oncologist on Monday. So far, I love my level of care. 

I am optimistic that my level of treatment will be less aggressive, but am wondering what others think? (Monday seems a long way off... 4 days). 

Would love not to have to endure chemo, but am now believing it is a very real possibility. The ice cap helmets are intriguing, but too $$ and a lot of work. 

My current worry is the range of motion in my left arm... Impossible to fully extend, nor raise high enough to shave the underarm. The whole lymph edema thing is worrisome. I am a registered nurse... Just graduated last may (second career) and was just kind of getting up and running as an RN, when I was diagnosed. Lifting patients is a critical aspect on my unit - I feel like my arm may hamper that for a good while. 

I know I'm in the right place for words of wisdom:)

Posts: 6564
Joined: Oct 2010

I have not gone through the same as you so NO advice but just letting you kow I am thinking of you..



Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3602
Joined: May 2009

Have you been doing exercises for your arm?  I know that those are very important to do to get your arm back to the way, or, close to the way it was before surgery.  You might need to see a physical therapist to also help you.  There are also lymphedema specialtists. 

Good luck!

aysemari's picture
Posts: 1596
Joined: Dec 2009

So sorry to hear about your diagnosis. It sounds like you already surgery? Did you have

a mastectomy? I had to have chemo, since my cancer was very aggressive. I hope you

won't need to but keep us posted. 

You should talk your doctor about your arm, they may prescribe you some physical therapy.

I didn't have any problem after my mastectomy, I did gentle yoga throughout my treatment.



DianeBC's picture
Posts: 3886
Joined: Jun 2009

How did your appt. go with your onco?  Many pink sisters on here have and still are doing physical therapy for arm movement and especially lymphedema.  Please discuss this with your onco and I bet he can set you up with one.

Hugs, Diane

jamiegww's picture
Posts: 384
Joined: Dec 2009

I didn't think I needed physical therapy but my doctor recommended it so I showed up for the first appointment just to see what they had to say.  They measured my range of motion and convinced me I would benefit from it and they were so right.  Not only do they show you exercises that can give you back your ability to lift that arm but they show you how to massage your scar so you don't form as much scar tissue.  Please ask your surgeon about it.  I hope the meeting with your oncologist goes well.



Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2013

First of all, congrats on your graduation. I know you are anxious to get on with this, but you have to let your body heal.  I agree with everyone else. Go see a physical therapist. You can either get a referral from your surgeon or your primary. 

I am almost exactly three months ahead of you. I started my physical rehap within the week of surgery. It started as small as just trying to raise my arm, to performing lymphatic drainage massage. I timed my "work-out" after I took my pain meds.  Upon my post surgical visit, my surgeon was amazed at my range of motion. Fast forward 3 months, I have full range of motion. I will be seeing an occupational therapist to be evaluated within two weeks. I work out when my joints allow me. LIGHT WORK-OUTS & tons of stretches. My rad onco advised me to not do any weight training until the teraphy is over. 

I am a bit aggressive on my approach, but I do have a medical background. Whatever you do, go see a physical therapist first to recover. DO NOT see a personal trainer for this, unless they are also your CERTIFIED physical therapists. Inquire down the line about occupational therapy. They will help you regain your strengtH.  

This is just my opinion and my experience. take all the info you have and speak to your doctors. They will guide you through this. I hope this helps. Good luck & speedy recovery to you. 

Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2013

well... I saw the oncologist for the first time last night and she chemo is recommended because of my 2 positive lymph nodes, the size of my tumor (largest 2.5 cm) and my younger (?) age.  She also said that if i refused chemo, she wouldn't lose any sleep over it, as she cannot quantify how much chemo will help me.  What is a girl to do!!??  I am slated for 4 doses of taxotere and cytoxan, and my start date is april 8th (cause who wants to start chemo on april fools day?).  i feel very defeated today, but will hopefully buck-up and recognize that this is the right thing.  

She is not very concerned about my range of motion, so i'll just keep doing my exercises.

I'm not sure what to do about work while chemo is happening... if i sit home and heal, then there is no money and i lose out on experiences from my brand new career (started october 1st and now on a leave of absence); if i choose to try and work intermittantly through chemo, the doctor will give me neulasta (sp?) due to my compromised immune system vs. germy hospital.  i'm tempted to just call it a day and stay home for the 12 weeks of chemo, as the nursing work is very demanding even when i'm 100%.

any thoughts?

thanks for all of them so far... 

- margaret

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3602
Joined: May 2009

I'm so sorry that you have to do chemo.  I was hoping that you could avoid it.  You might want to take off from work for awhile, just to see how you do. 

Good luck to you!


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