Sunday, February 15, 2009

Feeling Swell

It's the middle of the night and I just got off the phone with my surgeon. Because I have these neat little drains hanging down from my chest, I shouldn't have much swelling - but I do. And it is getting worse.
It started this afternoon when I realized it hurt when my right arm was flat against my body. It also hurts to lift my arms any higher than chest level (that part is normal though.) Mom agreed that the swelling was bad and we talked about putting in a call to the doctor's office. We decided to wait until tomorrow (Sunday) to see if it would get better on it's own.
My armpit area on up to my collar bone hurts like crazy. I also noticed that my neck felt warm to the touch. Upon closer inspection, it appears the neck wanted to join in on the swell fun. I can't get a decent picture for you to appreciate just how much my neck has puffed out and turned red. Tom said he can't tell that my neck is swollen. This amazes me. I used to think Tom was a pretty dang smart guy. I guess it's true what they say: you never really know someone until you lose your breasts.
Anyway, I checked my paperwork and it said to notify my doctor if I have any unusual pain or swelling. This is my first (and last!) double mastectomy, so I have no idea what is considered to be pain and swelling out of the ordinary. I woke up my surgeon and described the pain (the most horrible pain in all the world and the pain pills weren't working and I was even taking more than I was directed to'd she like those apples, hmm?) I told her about the swelling, too. She wanted to know which side. I told her the right side. She said it was the port-a-cath that was probably causing the "discomfort" and nothing for me to worry about. I was told to double check the drains to ensure there were no clots clogging them up. Gross.
OH! And I could try Advil to help manage the pain.
And she went back to her comfortable sleep.


  1. When you get better and have your strength back, you have my permission to knock the stupidity out of your doctor, lol. Hang in there Sheri, I can't imagine the pain and discomfort of the breast area. I had a surgery years ago that was supposed to leave me with a small one inch scar on my leg. I woke up with an incision and a port wrapping half of my leg. It hurt! And like you, the pain meds they gave me just weren't doing it for me. However, I survived. I'm glad you are following up with your doctor today. I think you need to listen to your intuition on these matters...only you know what feels off. Blessings to you!

  2. I had the same thing happen to me. It is caused by a build up of lymph fluid. I had to have it drained twice. It is very quick and does not hurt. Hope you get it sorted out very soon.

  3. lymph fluid can & does cause lots of swelling. sometimes months & yrs of having your arm or neck swell. grrr being an old oncology nurse (retired for yrs) & a cancer survivor myself (uterine cancer) i have a little ca experience. ;)
    you'll get thru all this, with your family, your friends, lots of prayers, & your faith.
    keep hanging on, my sister in arms. & tell that dr she's a butt (advil grrr).
    email me anytime. & come visit my journal when you feel up to it. (have a tag for you on my side bar)
    soft huggies...

  4. lets see if Advil helps the doctor after you knock her out LOL.. You are an amazing person.. what you have been through and can still keep your sense of humor.. I think I would be crying..sending my prayers to you.. I hope you can get some comfort soon..

  5. I had problems with my drains too. The problem was they were tied off too tight. I was mirserable and the pain was just horible. Keep a watcha on them and if it doesn't get better, go into see her!

  6. LOL@Kelly talking about advil helping the Dr. after you knock her out...seriously I bet ya felt like it after she told you that and went back to bed..

    I can't even imagine the pain...I hope something gives you the comfort you need so you can rest...

    Keeping you in my prayers


  7. ditto, what a jerk...sending you warm thoughts, honey.