Friday, July 31, 2009

A Cautionary Tale about Axillary Dissection effects

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to look at the upper tricep area on my arm...right at the point where it hits your back or your side....the side of your back? as I was getting ready for bed.
I was alarmed to see that there was a HUGE welt...about 1 1/2 - 2" long about 1/2" wide and raised about 1/4". I suspect it was a spider bite, but it was red and angry.
I never felt it. I wouldn't have noticed it except I happened to see it out of the corner of my eye on the mirror as I walked by it.
I never really noticed until then how much nerve damage I had there from the axillary dissection. Basically, the whole tricep area is numb.
I will have to pay particular attention to make sure that it doesn't get infected. P. J. Hamel on the Healthnetwork also pointed out that one could get lymphedema quite easily from this.

Lymphedema can happen at any time post-op....6 months, 6 years...or for me 60 years. ...ok..more like 16 years, I doubt I'll make it to 109. It is something to be aware of. I'm fairly lax about it...but certainly using antibiotic ointment on small cuts and insect bites on the affected arm, as well as using hydrogen peroxide is not out of line. My sister got lymphedema when her dog pulled sharply on her leash. I hear that you are supposed to make sure that you carry heavy loads on your opposite arm...and I admit that I'm very bad about that as my left arm is my strongest.
Anyway, just a little heads up and a aware, fore warned is fore armed...not forearmed. ; )


  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to post your blog! My 24 year old niece has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and it is encouraging to read about your life. The blog is beautifully done and I admire your writing style.
    I have a question, I'd like to make a comfort quilt for her to use during chemo. Do you know what size it should be, twin size or lap size?

  2. I prefered a large lap size....although a twin wouldn't be out of the question.

    My "cold points" were my arms and my feet...

    I'm sorry that this took so long to respond to...for some reason it didn't fall into my mailbox! Lisa