Learned something about my new breasts today …
I had my post surgery follow up with my plastic surgeon today. All is healing well. Next follow up in three months or so just to check that things are healing well. She did say that I needed to take it easy for the first three weeks after surgery (so another week and a half), and that I should slowly add each sport and see how it goes. She so doesn’t know me … anyways, it will be a challenge, but I shall do my best to take it easy for another week (no biking, no gym, no swimming) – I think I can achieve the latter two, but biking might end up back on the table sometime mid next week. I did get full clearance to return to my range-of-motion exercises (which is more like yoga and gentle exercise).
I had been told a while back that I should not be looking for “lumps” in my new breasts. That I no longer have breast tissue, so I need not worry about lumps. So, I asked my plastic surgeon about the hard spots at the bottom of my breasts (both can be quite firm). She pointed out that I no longer have lymph nodes in my breasts (my pathology reported that two nodes were removed from each breast as part of the mastectomy – all nodes were clear of cancer). The flap tissue does not have lymph nodes. The tissue left after the mastectomy can swell and fluid can pool because there are no lymph nodes to encourage drainage. If I spend most of my day upright (and I do), then the bottom of my breasts can feel hard (this is especially the case when I lay down). To help soften them I can do some massage to encourage lymph drainage – massaging towards the center chest wall. If the skin, when pinched, looks like an orange peel, that is mastectomy skin and the firmness can be quickly massaged away. Once I tried it, I saw was surprised that it only took like a minute or two to make things much softer. Why, oh why, did someone not tell me this sooner?
I have a lump that feels like a contracted muscle directly over lumpectomy incision (surgery 5 weeks ago) which surgeon says is normal & will eventually be resorbed by my body? I wonder if it is a seroma? Thank you for your blog, bcbecky!