Undergoing breast cancer surgery

Undergoing breast cancer surgery

Cancer sucks- part 2.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or health professional. Please, always seek help from health professionals.

As I mentioned in my previous ‘Cancer sucks’ post, my mum had two cancer and lymph nodes removal surgeries. She was diagnosed in January, and a month and a half later (after throughout examination considering height, weight and overall health condition), mum had her first procedure done.

Mum was not allowed to chew a gum and eat after 9pm on the day before the operation. She could drink up to 2 small cups of liquid before 6 am on a day of the operation. She was not allowed to have her nails painted either. During the first procedure, surgeons removed cancer (lumpectomy), surrounding tissue and 6 lymph nodes. After the surgery, pain woke mum up. It was so great, that she was sure she accidentally woke up during the operation. She found herself, reflexively supporting her breast by her hand. The nurses were beside her and gave her fair amount of painkillers. Actually, she was receiving some through drip during the surgery as well. She was discharged from hospital few hours later. Nice ladies from the cancer research foundation gave mum a small, heart- shaped pillow- ideal for supporting her arm. It became a lifesaver, especially during nights.

Doctors found cancer cells in 3 of the 6 removed lymph nodes, so they decided another operation is a necessity. The second time, surgeons removed more tissue and all the lymp nodes (the procedure is called lymphadenectomy) in the breast and armpit area. Mum was in the hospital for 2 days. She had a drainage ( a tube connected to a bottle ) attached. It drained away fluids that were building up around the wound. After lymphadenectomy you are at risk of developing lymphoedema (swelling of the tissue). You can develop it at any time, even years after your  surgery.
According to leaflet we’ve received, proper skin care and exercise help during recovering process.

Things you can do:
– keep your skin clean, dry and moisturized
– protect your skin from sun, insects and cuts
– encourage movement of lymph fluids (don’t let it build up) by moderate activity/ exercises.

As I previously mentioned  mum’s hand is a little bit shorter now. It feels tight, ‘burned out’ inside and ‘not hers’.
But overall, mum recovered very quickly after both surgeries.

Next time, I’ll write a little more about chemotherapy, wigs and ways to style your head scarves after chemo.




between naps on the porch




show and tell friday



Mila Myk

Home Decor, DIY and Inspirational Ideas

12 Replies to “Undergoing breast cancer surgery

    1. Thank you, Laura! That means a lot!
      Some of these things seem petty (like no polished nails), but these are the things I would like to know if I was the patient 🙂

      1. The reason for the no polished nails is actually very sensible. If she has problems with the anesthetic, one of the tests they do is to push on the nail bed and see how quickly the nail returns to pink. It’s a quick an easy test of the oxygenation in her blood.
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        1. Hi Adrian! Thanks for reading and commenting!
          That’s exactly what doctors told us- that they need to keep an eye on those nails 🙂
          It’s amazing that these small things matter that much and they can be lifesaving!

  1. Cancer is so scary. As a child, I watched my grandmother battle Ovarian Cancer in her 40s. She lost her battle just before her 50th birthday.
    I like that you talk about the little things like nail polish and chewing gum. One of my most heartbreaking memories from watching my grandmother’s battle was about the simple act of opening a pack of saltine crackers. … she was too weak to open them and it made her so mad. I’ll never forget that day and the scary realization that we’re all just human.
    Thank you for writing this.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your Grandmother. Hearing someone’s struggle is truly
      heartbreaking. The realization that we all are just fragile humans is a strange & terryfying
      Lots of Hugs,

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