Home Forums Melanoma: Stage III Compete node dissection on August 29th

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  • #56021
    GaylaB
    Participant

    I am soooo glad I found this place, where you find friends, who are either in the EXACT same place as you are now, or have been there!

    Tuesday cannot come fast enough- to get this drain out – it will be such a relief! I will be on my way back to being mommy, playing Legos with my 6 year old:)

    We have a vacation planned for 10-21-12:). Waynesville Inn and Spa in the beautiful Appalachian mountains :P

    Waynesville NC- beautiful mountains an hours drive north of our home – tomorrow is our 7 year anniversary:). So our anniversary trip is a little delayed…

    I keep hearing life after cancer is an amazing journey, the last 7 years of my like have been an amazing journey already so to know the best is yet to come!!! :D

    WOW!!!!

    Hope you all got the chance to watch the ABC special last night- Stand up To Cancer- it was beautiful!

    Have a great day!

    Gayla

    #56022
    EmilyandMike
    Participant

    Hi Gayla

    Just thought I would say that my husband has a similar story as yours – Stage 3a – sentinel node was positive for 1-2 single cells of what they think is melanoma…could be nevus. But he did go through with the node dissection (axilla). That was 3 years ago next week (we also had to delay our 10 year anniversary, 3 years ago …) He has stayed very healthy and doesn’t have any complications except for some shoulder issues on the side of the surgery – also some numbness from nerve damage. He didnt do interferon. So now he has a yearly PET scan, which is coming this month. We are hesitating on the scan due to the stress this causes.

    This site was so helpful when he was diagnosed – glad you found it also!

    Emily

    emandmichael.com

    #56023
    GaylaB
    Participant

    Wow Emily,

    That is almost exact as mine except mine was in groin!

    They never determined if mine was nevus or melanoma either- I will have alot of nerve damage also which really stinks:(

    Is he pretty much fully functional other than the nerve damage?

    So happy nothing else has came up!

    I am wondering if I can eventually slack off on all the nutrionals- for 1, they are costly, and for 2, it’s hard to follow something soooo strict in a diet plan.

    I know that I will stick with some of them for life, but as i was mixing today and downing 30 supplements I was like, this is alot of herbs and vitamins to keep up with!

    Tomorrow the drain is removed;) So needing to return to work but realize it hasnt been 2 weeks yet since my last surgery.

    2 months with no income totally stinks though!!!

    My healing will come, I must learn to accept the things I cannot change…..

    Let me know how the scan goes, hate to hear that it is stressful, I had aleady thought of that….

    how that must feel and then waiting on results….My next will be 3 months and not sure if it is a PET or what -my surgeon made the comment that is too much raditation every 3 months.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Gayla

    #56024
    EmilyandMike
    Participant

    Gayla – my husband is in better shape now than before his surgery (hits the gym at 5am before work). He also takes supplements but doesnt go crazy. He isnt strict on any diet and enjoys beer and pizza on occasion! A groin dissection is a bit longer of a healing process from what I understand. Our doc left those stinking drains in for a month and it was a pain! But perhaps this is why he doesnt have lymphedema. Internal scar tissue is another problem but that went away also. He really is fine now except for a small circle of numbness on the back of the arm. He used to get scanned every 6 mos but after 2 years NED, they moved him to yearly scans. Wishing you all the best in your recovery! Emily

    #56025
    GaylaB
    Participant

    Thanks Emily,

    By the way, I subscribed to your blog today- I was quite a healthy person before diagnosis then after diagnosis I read lots of material and found I was already on the right path with my supplements ( although I was taking them for what we thought was RA) if it was RA , it went away.

    Drain out tomorrow-that’s what the surgeon says, although its been less than 2 weeks since last surgery- there’s really nothing draining….

    I hope it doesn’t hurt coming out although I know these 2 feet of staples certainly will!

    Wishing you the best on this upcoming scan!

    God bless

    Gayla

    #56026
    Linny
    Participant

    Hi Emily,

    Like your husband, I also had complete axillary dissection and it was done in January 2011. I still have some numbness in the armpit but some some feeling has returned. The weirdest thing the surgery did for me was temporarily resolve the pain I had been having from shoulder tendinitis. After I healed from the surgery I noticed I no longer had pain in the shoulder when I moved my arm a certain way. It helped a lot with the stretches I needed to do to get my range of motion back after the surgery because my shoulder no longer hurt.

    About a year after the surgery, some of the tendinitis pain returned so I’m guessing that nerves that conducted the pain healed and are now working again. But at least the muscles got stretched, which did help the tendinitis. I still do stretches and massage the arm to keep the fluids moving. And I do wear a compression sleeve when I fly and when I know the affected arm is going to be getting a lot of use.

    My drain was in for two weeks and it couldn’t come out soon enough. Because the site was still numb from the surgery, I didn’t feel a thing when they yanked it out. There also were no external stitches. The external incision was closed with pieces of surgical tape that fell off on their own and what hadn’t fallen off was removed when I had the drain taken out. For what it was, my experience was not bad.

    Linda

    #56027
    GaylaB
    Participant

    My leg still has lots of numbness in the area where the tube is / hoping that will help with the pain during removal today!!!

    But no numbness in the 2 foot of staples area so not much relief there 😯

    About to leave for the hospital –

    Happy day getting the drain and staples out!

    Gayla

    #56028
    Linny
    Participant

    GaylaB wrote:

    My leg still has lots of numbness in the area where the tube is / hoping that will help with the pain during removal today!!!

    But no numbness in the 2 foot of staples area so not much relief there 😯

    About to leave for the hospital –

    Happy day getting the drain and staples out!

    Gayla

    Good luck today! As uncomfortable as it may feel, getting that drain out will be great. Consider it a good reason to celebrate. Make sure you set up some time with a physical therapist who specializes in lymphedema. You appear to be in luck because you have some places to choose from in the Atlanta area: :mrgreen: http://www.lymphnet.org/resourceGuide/treatmentCenters.htm” class=”bbcode_url”>http://www.lymphnet.org/resourceGuide/treatmentCenters.htm

    The sooner you get started with some self massage the better. You want to keep that lymph fluid moving and not settle anywhere.

    #56029
    GaylaB
    Participant

    What a LONG day!!!

    Drain and staples are out!!

    Wow- what a relief! But it still feels like someone else’s body 🙄

    Waiting for the healing to progress and get these muscles built back up – I almost died when I weighed!!!! I had gained 9 lbs since 1rst surgery on August 1- due to inactivity and I am a small person so NO way I could fit in my clothing if I tried- I have only been wearing long maxi dresses out and about – knew I had put on a few lbs- thought maybe 4- no idea it was 9 😯

    My surgeon is referring me to a regular oncologist for my 3 month follow up then I see her back in 6 months- I asked about PT , she said no need for it, I was healing great- so what’s this “self massage”?

    Oh and she gave me a little better odds- instead of 50% survival rate for 5 years – she guessed I’m at 70% survival rate of 5 years now!

    Guess that’s good news but I’m wondering what is a normal , cancer free , 46 year old woman’s survival rate of 5 years?

    Can’t find the answer to that one anywhere! :?:

    It was a good day- tomorrow will be even better!

    Gayla

    #56030
    Linny
    Participant

    Since you had all the lymph nodes removed from one side of your groin, you are at risk for developing lymphedema. This is a condition where the extremity closest to the basin from which the lymph nodes were removed can swell because the lymph fluid can’t get out of there. It doesn’t affect everyone who’s had a LND but you do want to do what you can to keep those fluids moving and minimize the risk of developing it. This is why you need to see a therapist who specializes in this condition. This is the perfect person to advise you on what to look out for and teach you what you can do to control and/or prevent it. Your doctor can write a prescription to see the therapist and also write a prescription for a sleeve/stocking (whatever you need to wear on your leg) to keep any swelling down. The self massage is a stroking motion you to do help the lymph fluid move along. You can see videos of it on youtube but you really need to see a therapist who will teach you in depth about this condition and to get measured for a sleeve/stocking.

    Because the flow of the lymphatic fluid is compromised, you’re more prone to infection after a cut or a bug bite because the lymph fluid isn’t able to flush bacteria away as well as it used to. Be really careful when shaving your legs to not nick or cut yourself. Always carry bandaids and a topical antibiotic ointment with you in case you do get a cut.

    I’m surprised your surgeon hasn’t mentioned this to you. 😮

    #56031
    GaylaB
    Participant

    Linny,

    I asked her more than once about PT and massage and all that – she said no need as well as I was healing!

    I did however watch the self massage techniques on you tube last night – better safe :D than sorry!!

    I can’t believe how much wider and longer this cut is than the WLE-I totally thought it would be just the opposite!

    Today was GOOD – walked my entire home twice with the walker – walked the kitchen without the walker ;)

    Made my day!

    What’s everyone using for scar control?

    It looks like its going to be an awful site:(. Bio oil or Merderma been successful for anyone?

    Ready to return to work! That will be a celebration day 😆

    Started Protandim by LifeAdvantage, I kept seeing that in mention for immune system- so I added that to my other 50 million supplements:)!! Lol

    Gayla

    #56032
    GaylaB
    Participant

    Will the lymph system eventually repair itself making me less prone to infection and such?

    Another nutty question – do those nodes grow back or is that area vulnerable now?

    #56033
    Linny
    Participant

    Unfortunately, the nodes won’t grow back. Once they’re gone, that’s it.

    The physical therapy wouldn’t be so much for healing from the surgery as it would be for preventing lymphedema. I saw the therapist just once. She explained how to massage myself and went over some exercises with me. She also measured me for a compression sleeve, which I wear whenever I fly anywhere or use my arm a lot. Better be safe than sorry. :)

    If you opt to not see one, just keep an eye on your leg for any swelling that doesn’t go away on its own because it could be a sign of lymphedema. The earlier it’s caught, the easier it will be to manage and control.

    Glad to hear you’re getting up and about more and more!!!

    #56034
    GaylaB
    Participant

    Great day today!

    My mobility increased sooo much, I am on my way back to Gayla 😆

    Please join our group on FB – Prayers for Gayla. If any of you have something similiar, please invite me!

    Strength through a support group does wonders for the soul:)

    Gayla

    #56035
    GaylaB
    Participant

    Really needing advice on this so if you know what to do, please let me know- I walked for the first time today without a walker , and actually may have walked more than I should but my leg is swollen- not where the drain tube was , it is actually swollen around the knee area.

    Is that just from walking or something to worry about and head to the dr?

    Gayla

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