I am not a "Smiley Happy" person any longer. (Beware: this is going to be a bitch session so if ya don't want to hear it, log off now!) While I am grateful that my cancer did not spread, my surgeon decided because I had 1 (yes, one, not three or ten) lymph nodes that had cancer in it to take 42 (YES, FORTY F-------ING TWO!) of them. Usually if there is a lymph node with cancer they take 20, NOT 42! Why am I concerned (or pissed off) about this, you say? Well, first of all because all of this is numb: 1/8th of my upper arm, the back of my shoulder, my underarm, my back where the rib cage is, and my chest all the way to my sternum, and then up to my clavicle. PERMANENTLY. On top of that I will always have to watch out for the left arm -see this:
Lymphedema (also see Elephantiasis) may be inherited (primary) or caused by injury to the lymphatic vessels (secondary). It is most frequently seen after lymph node dissection, surgery and/or radiation therapy, in which damage to the lymphatic system is caused during the treatment of cancer, most notably breast cancer. In many patients with cancer this condition does not develop until months or even years after therapy has concluded. Lymphedema may also be associated with accidents or certain diseases or problems that may inhibit the lymphatic system from functioning properly.In tropical areas of the world, a common cause of secondary lymphedema is filariasis, a parasitic infection. It can also be caused by a compromising of the lymphatic system resulting from cellulitis.
While the exact cause of primary lymphedema is still unknown, it generally occurs due to poorly-developed or missing lymph nodes and/or channels in the body. Lymphedema may be present at birth, develop at the onset of puberty (praecox), or not become apparent for many years into adulthood (tarda). In men, lower-limb primary lymphedema is most common, occurring in one or both legs. Some cases of lymphedema may be associated with other vascular abnormalities.
Secondary lymphedema affects both men and women. In women, it is most prevalent in the upper limbs after breast cancer surgery and lymph node dissection, occurring in the arm on the side of the body in which the surgery is performed. Head and neck lymphedema can be caused by surgery or radiation therapy for tongue or throat cancer. It may also occur in the lower limbs or groin after surgery for colon, ovarian or uterine cancer in which removal of lymph nodes or radiation therapy is required. Surgery and/or treatment for prostate, colon and testicular cancers may result in secondary lymphedema, particularly when lymph nodes have been removed or damaged.
Need I say more?
Just a little more bitching......... I ended up in the ER yesterday because one of my drains was accumulating a lot of dark blood (way more than normal). I was told I had a Hematoma from the surgery and that the old blood that had built up in my chest finally found a way to a drain tube. NICE!
\Now for the good part: my thank you's: To my friends Tami, who (of course) brings over a wide array of food; choc. chip cookie dough, miso soup, enchilada's and cinnamon bread (all homemade, of course), and Nicole, brought lasagna, blueberries, corn and pumpkin bread, Liese who brought a huge bunch of flowers, Laura H. (again), for watching my kids for 5 hours 2 days ago, Lhara for a pizza and pie (and lots of old cookbooks to look at - which I love), Jenny for cash, in which I am buying new winter slippers, spices, eating at my fav. restaurant in GR, etc...., and Patty for a new datebook for my purse (my old one was shredding....) If I forgot someone, please forgive me.