Good afternoon, everyone! Hope you all are well. Yes, that is a very unusual title. Took me by surprise, too. I don’t know if I told everyone…or anyone outside of Facebook (good place to keep a secret) but I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year soon after I retired from hospital work. I was so caught up with getting things ready for retirement that I forgot about scheduling my mammogram so as soon as things settled down I went in for the mammo.
My heart sunk when I was told I needed more views of my right breast. After the tech took the pictures I knew an ultrasound and possibly a biopsy was in order (she let me look at the pictures. It didn’t look like a cyst). Well, after all was said and done it turned out that I had a 5 mm tumor…an estrogen feeding tumor that didn’t belong. Surgery was indicated followed by radiation treatments….more about that later. The surgery was a partial mastectomy or lumpectomy. “No problems,” they told me. “We didn’t do anything to your lymph nodes” they said. “Your chances of lymphedema are very slim” I was told so I went on my merry way.
I completed my radiation treatments early November, went up north to visit family for turkey day, then on to Haiti on a medical mission (which was awesome, BTW). Shortly after returning home I noticed swelling of my right boob along with discomfort and dull pain to the axilla (underarm) and around the nipple. I had doctor appointments coming up so I told the doctors about it. They passed it on….did I tell the other oncologist? (Like why would I? I am here!) I finally had enough and called the radiation nurse who said “It sounds like lymphedema.” WTH! My slim chances became 100%. I then called the lymphedema team at the VA.
What I do have is lymphatic congestion. It is not in my arm, just my right breast. I was taught how to do Lymphatic Massage Drainage (look it up on You Tube. No, you will not see my breast). I already had high impact sports bras (keep the girls in place with a bit of a squish) which helped. I also sleep in a compression t-shirt (Under Armor, short sleeve). I even bought an abdominal binder to really squish the boob and that helped a lot. Reminded me of the movie “Victor/Victoria” with James Garner and Julie Andrews where Julie Andrews played a woman who pretended to be a man who pretended to be a woman. She wore a binder. Kept the girls in place. Good idea.
Well, the congestion is still present but much better after help from my team at the Malcom Randall VAMC in Gainesville, FL so all is well, or better. And why am I telling everyone about this? you might ask. Because I was on Facebook the other night and noticed a post about similar symptoms. I can’t diagnose but I sure can tell her about my experience and use the blog to tell others, too. After all, one boob bigger than the other and holding about 4 pounds of water weight is not normal by any stretch.
Well, that’s all for now. Got to get back to posting patterns on Etsy. I have a bunch of new, uncuts ready to go….and some incredibly cool Hawaiian prints from, where else, Hawaii that I picked up my recent trip.
Love to everyone….and go get your mammogram done. And here is a quick shout out to Alice, the wonderful nurse at the North Florida Cancer Center. She is fabulous. Love my nurse!
Post by Eileen of GoofingOff Sewing at Etsy.