I have been waiting for my follow up lymphatic massage for two weeks as the therapist had gone on holiday. Imagine…going on holiday in the summer? What’s up with that?! The goal of the massage is too try to break up the hematoma that remains large and very hard under my arm and to reduce the swelling under both arms. The weight of the swelling really wears on me. By the end of the day my armpits and chest are throbbing. It doesn’t help that I now have started the injections into the tissue expanders so what little skin I have left after the mastectomy is being stretched taut. At the time of my surgery, the tissue expanders were inserted under my chest muscles after all my breast tissue was removed. At that time some fluid was added so when I woke I had small mounds where I once had breasts. The added saline that I had put in last week is just adding to what is already very uncomfortable. It will be a very slow process stretching my skin to accommodate the implants so I am trying to get my head around how I am going to manage it all when I return to work.
The massage therapist worked on relaxing muscles in my chest, neck and upper back. The manipulation felt good. My upper body is always in a state of extreme tension as I am always anticipating the jabbing pains of my incisions being stretched, the ache of the hematoma and the overall unease of how my body feels everyday since my surgery. I experience a lot of anxiety if I have to venture out where there are a lot of people in case someone bumps or knocks me. It’s crazy that everything I do now has my “condition” factored into it.
The therapist worked away as she chatted about her vacation. I was enjoying her recount of her two week adventure on the east coast and was trying to let my body relax as she kneeded the knots in my neck. Then came the treatment under my arm. I had five lymph nodes removed and by most “cancer standards” that’s not a lot. It is because of the lymph nodes being removed that I have all the excess swelling, lymphodema, and why I am seeking treatment.
“Last time you were here, I didn’t do too much as I wanted to take it easy on you the first time. I’m going to be gentle but I am going to work getting your lymph system to start absorbing all this fluid.” No problem I thought. Great in fact. Fluid be gone…..! She gently cradled my arm and then proceeded to push her fingers into my underarm. I instantly felt nauseous. The pain shot through my arm and chest. “Are you ok?” she asked staring intently at my face. I am sure it had turned a whiter shade of pale. “It hurts” I managed to squeak out. “So sorry, I will try to be gentler”.
I am going to continue with my lymphatic massage in hopes that it will get the fluid to drain. I will continue with the exercises to get more mobility in my left arm and of course, I will continue to get saline injected into my expanders in hope that I will eventually stretch the skin enough to have implants inserted that will resemble breasts and I will continue to do everything I can to become less tense with my new situation and more comfortable with my new life.
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.