New member

FionaM13 Member Posts: 14

I'm still processing my recent breast cancer diagnosis and the surgery I had to remove the lump last Friday. It's been an incredibly overwhelming experience, and I can't help but feel anxious about what the future holds. My entire life has been turned upside down within a matter of weeks. The uncertainty is daunting, but I'm trying to stay strong. I know I'm not alone in this journey, and I'm grateful for the support and care I've received from my loved ones and medical professionals and these groups It's a lot to take in, but I'm taking things one day at a time and focusing on self-care. I'm seeking out resources and information to make informed decisions about my treatment and  recovery. Despite the challenges, I'm trying to maintain a positive mindset and believe in my own resilience. This is a new chapter in my life, and although it's daunting, I'm determined to face it head-on and come out stronger on the other side




  • FionaM13
    FionaM13 Member Posts: 14
    Hello I had the lump and one lymph node removed on Friday, it’s not too painful, the stitches are making it hard to move around and do my normal day to day stuff. It happened very quick, I found out last Monday and had my surgery on Friday, at Mulgrave private with Dr Chilton Chong, he was fantastic. The surgery itself really wasn’t long, I was home that night. Felt groggy for a day or so. I’m just taking each day as it comes. It’s very overwhelming but I’m feeling not too bad from the surgery not sure what radiation will be like that’s my next hurdle. I haven’t seen the incision yet it’s still covered I don’t think it’s a big one. 
  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
    Hello @FionaM13 and @kyles1 - I had a double mastectomy 3 weeks ago and 13 lymph nodes removed on my right side. Just letting you know for encouragement because I’m doing fine and my two scars are amazingly neat (right arm still recuperating and chest feels a little funny but those things are to be expected). I am so grateful to my surgeon - I think the techniques are getting better and better. There’s emotional stuff to deal with but survival and health trump that for me. 
    I’m 54 and in fairly good health, I’ve been determined to follow all the instructions for physio etc carefully. I did need the post surgery meds a bit and I slept in am armchair for several days, but I’m back in bed now, just have lots of extra pillows for support.

    Other women I know who did radiotherapy told me to be careful to moisturise well - with whatever the radiotherapy oncologist tells you to use. I haven’t done it yet - mine will be after chemotherapy.

    I don’t know if that’s any help but very happy to answer any questions about my surgery recovery if you think anything might be relevant ti you.

    Also Fiona - was your lymph node removed as the test (sentinel node biopsy) or found to have cancer? I had the biopsy on my left lymph nodes but thankfully that didn’t take long to recover from. I hope that makes sense. I hope you are feeling better each day that goes by 😊 and that kyles gets good news and advice from her surgeon. 

  • FionaM13
    FionaM13 Member Posts: 14
    Thank you for responding and sharing, it’s such a big help hearing from others. My understanding was they removed the one lymph node to check if it is in my lymph nodes iI will find out more Friday. I definitely need to ask more questions.

  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
    Sounds like it might have been just the sentinel node biopsy Fiona - though I could be wrong -?and don’t worry, this is all new to most of us!

    Hopefully they did an imprint/frozen section during your surgery - if they do it while you’re still asleep then they can decide whether or not the lymph nodes seem to be cancerous and then remove them in the same operation. But I don’t know if this was the case in your surgery or not. I’m hoping it’s a good sign for you that maybe they didn’t need to take any more. All the best for Friday.
  • FionaM13
    FionaM13 Member Posts: 14
    I definitely need to get better at asking questions I definitely will Friday.
    wishing you a speedy recovery :) 
  • kyles1
    kyles1 Member Posts: 15
    @HelenlovesSnoopy ,Hi Helen thankyou for sharing your journey and responding to @FionaM13 and myself ..I was curious about the lymph nodes being removed,they have found two lumps in my left breast and also lymph nodes have cancer .For what I've read so far the lymph nodes removal is very painful recovery? I've tried to stay away from Dr google I guess I will no more once I see my surgeon today ..Thankyou 🩷
  • FionaM13
    FionaM13 Member Posts: 14
    I stopped googling because it was all inaccurate information, today is day 4 for me I only had one removed I’m feeling ok I’m moving around a lot better and really not  in much pain at all. 
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,454
    Terrific that you've found us  @FionaM13, welcome to the club that no-one ever thought they'd have to join! xx ... It sounds like you are recovering well xx.  That's Good that you've stopped googling ... there is just so much OLD & incorrect info out there, that is not relevant to your own situation & diagnosis .... your medical team will keep you informed on everything.  Have you been assigned a BC Nurse yet (from your surgeon or McGrath?)  They will be another source of info too.   If you start to feel anxious or distressed at all, you can also ring our helpline Mon-Fri on 1800 500 258 for a reassuring chat xx
    All the best for your results xx

    Also feel free to jump onto this thread, that has a heap of info on the forum (even funny bits, to give you a giggle, as we need a laugh now & then!)  You can show off your gardens, your pets, your art & craft .... 
    There are also some 'tick sheets' down the bottom, that you can monitor your own mental health during your treatment .... sometimes it is easier to give your team a copy of the tick sheet, than to talk about it ...

    @TJC - welcome to the forum too!!   Feel free to start a new thread & fill us in with your story so far xx. If you add your 'general' location to your Profile, we may have members nearby who can fill you in on resources that are available to you xx. And if you check out the link above xx.
    All the best for your results, too. 

  • GinGin
    GinGin Member Posts: 102
    @kyles1, good morning!
    I had 13 lymph nodes removed in Aug, of which 2 had cancer cells.
    With lymph nodes removal being a painful recovery, I think you may mean because of the implications that may come with it. These are cording, risk of lymphoedema (20% may get this ) and Seroma. However, there are ways to fix these as soon as one becomes aware of it. I have cording and having physio currently. These are questions you may wish to ask your medical team (implications having lymph nodes remove, treatment of implications, risks of these occurring etc).

    Re: lymphoedema: prior to surgery ( I had lumpectomy),  assessments of my arms was taken (using SOZO), I will be getting another assessment in 3 months to monitor if there’s lymphoedema.

    I found my surgery to be not painful at all. I didn’t need painkillers. The drains were however another story. Those drains literally killed me each time I moved. I took painkillers for those pain caused by the drains but the painkillers didn’t help at all.

    if you have more questions after seeing your medical team, you can always email your medical team or call your breast care nurse. I found that I’ve always ended having more questions after meeting my team 😊.

    I am learning to take things one day at a time as there’s no point in worrying about what ifs. My main challenge now is my diet- I have lost 9kgs in 2months and am seeing a BC dietitian. 
    wishing everyone a smooth and speedy recovery 
  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
    Hi everyone- @TJC I hope you’re doing ok 🙂 and @GinGin you had the exact same number of lymph nodes as me!! 

    @kyles1 the possibilities and information can be overwhelming - I just want to encourage you with what the physio told me the day after my surgery - she gave me the stats re lymphoedema but then said they can get those stats down even lower with good physio (she gave me another very low statistic but I forgot it sorry). She was surprisingly casual about cording - I have it but it’s on the way out!

     My advice is follow their advice to the letter apart from if you’re really too tired just do what you can on that day. They’ll probably also want you up and fairly active, as in taking little walks, but pamper yourself and rest around that. Everyone’s experience is different but it worked for me - I felt a little better each day and three weeks out my arm is nearly there. 

    Regarding the drains - not fun but ok - relaxation techniques, distraction, set yourself up comfy. It sounds cliche but be super kind to yourself, accept all help, watch movies or whatever you enjoy. You may want to get dry shampoo and just wash with a flannel for a while. If the hospital meds run out and you have pain you can always take yourself off to the GP. And if they give you strong meds you may be able to halve them as you might not need a whole dose - another thing you might ask. But I’m not qualified to advise about that of course so be careful with the meds but you don’t have to be in pain either - get medical advice. Movicol is great if you get constipated from the meds - flavour free mixed with water and juice. 

    As Gin said there should be a medical team/nurses team you can contact about any issues you encounter, or as Arpie said you may be assigned your own specialist nurse - there are ways of getting one if you’re not assigned one.  In my case it was the breast centre nurses at my hospital- but I also went to my GP and their nurses (in the GP practice) on a Saturday rather than sitting around in emergency. Now I have a nurse contact for my ongoing treatment.

    Sorry for writing so much, but lastly I found the cancer council brochures such as ‘Understanding Breast Cancer’ really helpful (better than googling!) The hospital gave me the relevant ones but you can also get online or ask for them. They gave booklets for different treatment and a nutrition one.  They give you suggestions re questions to ask too @FionaM13

    All the best to everyone 💕

  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
    PS: @kyles1 make sure you get your Zonta breast cushion for afterwards but your hospital nurse will probably arrange that for you. 
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,328
    I too had several lymph nodes removed (17) but had no pain involved (very little from my mastectomy either). I also had full mobility within a few days. The chances of lymphoedema increase with the number of lymph nodes removed so any preventative action is worthwhile. I do have lymphoedema but it’s very manageable - a good, specialist therapist is worth having (not just a general  physio) who can teach you about self management. 
  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
    @Afraser what a great recovery you had and sounds like you coped very well with lymphoedema too.