Breast cancer

Affected by breast cancer? Join this group to share experiences and ask questions to people who understand what you're going through.

Sore and swollen!

lyingwitch
Posted by

Hi everyone,

I had my surgery on the 24th (left mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and sentinel node biopsy).

All went well, went home the next morning; drain out 5 days later; no sign of infection at all - final dressings removed last Wednesday and a referral to oncology for next week.

My issue is that - having been relatively comfortable up until the drain was removed (hospital analgesics were still in my system) - I’ve started to get sore and swollen by mid afternoon and really swollen and sore by the evening.

This hasn’t been an issue until yesterday (11 days after the drain was removed) and I was hoping someone might have advice

I’m taking ibuprofen, I’ve added turmeric oil to my tea tree & lavender cream, I use cold packs which help a bit, but I’m still really puffy and it’s putting pressure on already overstimulated nerves around the lymph nodes, leaving me with intense soreness by the end of the day.

All and any suggestions gratefully received

Thanks Guys 

Maria xxx

Lyingwitch
lady_tinkerbell
Posted by

Hi maria

i too had mastectomy on 24th. No reconstruction but snb. My pains have been getting worse and are exactly as you describe. I am swollen under my arm and to the back of that area. I’m still taking morphine for the pain. It feels sore irritated inflamed etc. 

I am still wearing my sports bra day and night as advised. I didn’t know about using cold compress though???

hoping to hear from others for both our sakes

xxxx

Tinker bell xx
WhatHappened
Posted by

Hello Maria, 

I am glad you are the other side of treatment.  I can't give advice that is definate, I had a lumpectomy, I will offer my thoughts which are....

I am wondering if the drains were taken out too soon? I wonder if the fluid is building up quicker than you body can naturally drain it.... Are you doing to much, ie not resting.  I think you need to certainly keep your eye on this, make sure the area isn't hot and/or red as these could be signs of an infection.  If this keeps on, you should definitely contact your BCNurse - actually, saying this, I think you should contact them regardless and ask the question.

The drain might need replacing or you may need a course of antibotics.  It's best to be safe and ask.

Thinking of you and sending gentle hugs xxxx

lyingwitch
Posted by

Hi Tink,

I wasn’t given any pain killers to come home with, just advised to go with paracetamol and ibuprofen - some morphine would be good about now!

I’m using cold gel packs - you can microwave them too if you need them hot. They do help but you can’t use them all the time so I’m going with 1 every hour or so from mid afternoon on. I’m using a cream with lavender, tea tree, and turmeric oils - 20 drops of each in about 50ml of aloe cream but any fragrance free cream will do. I have discussed these with my team and they are happy with them.

I’ve been really tender in the front area of my armpit - tried describing it to friends as similar to sore, chaffed nipples! So a high density of nerve endings that are all fully stimulated all of the time. Now adding in the swelling pressure to the already hyper sensitivity and it’s just filling my world. It’s by no means the most painful thing I’ve experienced but it is the most sore, if that makes sense?

I hope yours settles down and I’ll be sure to let you know if I find anything else that helps.

Maria x

Lyingwitch
lyingwitch
Posted by

Hi WhatHappened,

The drain came out 11 days ago but this only started 2 days ago so I don’t think it was too early - it was less that 50ml on the last day. Also I don’t think there is any infection as the skin is calm and no increased temperature locally or systemically. And if I rest any more I’ll need to start wearing my compression socks again, lol. 

I will get in touch with my nurse if it’s the same tomorrow- it’s sure as hell what I’d advise anyone else to do!

Gentles hugs appreciated and reciprocated

Maria x

Lyingwitch
Flowerhappy
Posted by

It does get better! It's a long process but keep doing the exercises gently. All the weird pains and odd nerve connections do settle, and the numbness goes. I tried to get out walking to get the blood flowing round my body. I'm not sure why they have said to wear a sports bra as I found it so much for comfortable when the bra was off!!! Is the morphine still giving you constipation? I agree about the massaging. .. I used bio oil. I hope it improves soon for you xxxxxx

Justtheone
Posted by

Hiya, I had a mastectomy in May (no reconstruction) but had my drain removed 10 days after, still at the 50ml mark.  I had quite a lot of fluid build up for at least 2-3 weeks after the drain was removed (in fact I could feel the fluid moving in my chest, just sloshing around which was weird).  I saw my surgeon 4 times in those first few weeks and each time they drained the fluid away which was a relief.

But I too had (and still do if I do too much) the feeling of swelling and tightness under my arm late afternoon and evenings, the first week of each chemo session also caused my surgery area and under arm to swell, so I think it is fairly normal.

I would mention it at your next appointment or let your breast care team know what's happening and hopefully they can do something to make you more comfortable.

XOXO

lyingwitch
Posted by

Hi Flowerhappy,

Thanks for your reply. I do need the sports bra for now, I’m a 36D and the weight of the implant means that it needs support when I’m up and about otherwise it gets painful. No morphine given unfortunately - just advised to take paracetamol and ibuprofen.

I’ll go with the massage oils and call my nurse on Monday

thanks x

Lyingwitch
lyingwitch
Posted by

Thanks Justtheone,

It’s reassuring to hear that it’s fairly common and I will get in touch it’s my nurse tomorrow 

Lyingwitch
Beachwalker19
Posted by

Hi Maria,

Yes I think it is pretty common. I had Mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. I was given a post op compression bra which I was told to wear for 6-8 weeks as swelling was possible. I ordered another bra as soon as I got home, I was in hospital for two day. They are brilliant.

I had drains in for 14 days. I had to have lymph node clearance 3 weeks later so I understand the nerve pain, nurse told me the brain sends signals to the brain to say there’s trauma there, don’t touch! However she said you have to massage it which is horrendously painful but it does ease. 
Wishing you well. 
Tina x x

lyingwitch
Posted by

Thanks Tina x

Lyingwitch
Beachwalker19
Posted by

, Maria,

Well that should have read ‘the brain sends signals to the area effected’ but hopefully you knew what I meant lol.

Hugs Tina x x

lyingwitch
Posted by

I did, yes

Lyingwitch
Beachwalker19
Posted by

. I thought you would haha. Im blaming chemo brain, finished it 6 months ago, but I’m still blaming it x x

lyingwitch
Posted by

Beachwalker19

I’m still hoping to avoid chemo if possible but I’ll find out what’s needed next week. I actually thought it was this week but it’s not until the 19th, and I can’t blame chemo brain yet

I’ve now arranged to see the nurses tomorrow and have the excess drained which I’m hoping will be a big relief! It’s a little easier in the mornings but by late afternoon it’s getting painful and very restrictive in what I can do. Not sure if I’m moving about too much - or not enough! But it’s getting sorted 

Lyingwitch