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.