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Swelling from lymph node removal Swelling from lymph node removal

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Unread 02-01-2003, 10:45 PM
Swelling from lymph node removal

Hi again. It seems like every day I think of something else to freak out about over this upcoming surgery. To recap briefly, I had a TAH/BSO 7 1/2 weeks ago because of an ovarian mass. The pathologist at that time called it a tumor of "low malignant potential" so I wasn't "staged". A second (and 3rd and 4th) opinion on the pathology said it was really a mixed serous and mucinous ovarian cancer and should have been staged. So I'm having an exploratory laparotomy on Friday, Feb. 7 to do that. This includes an omenectomy, appendectomy, and biopsies of lymph nodes. The gyn onc mentioned that if he accidentally removed the lymph nodes that drain my legs, my legs will swell. Has this happened to anybody? How common is it? I do a lot of hiking, walking, snowshoeing, etc. and really don't want swollen legs to interfere with my favorite activities. Does anything else swell up because of the other lymph nodes they remove? I didn't have a bad swelly belly with my first surgery. I'm afraid that even if they don't find cancer, I'll have these complications from the surgery and never get my normal life back. Help! I'm really starting to freak and get depressed. I feel like I'm being mutilated!

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Unread 02-02-2003, 10:14 AM
It's called Lymphedema

I don't know much about this, the swelling when the lymph glands are removed, as I haven't had it. There may be a pull-down on this or else if you type in lymphedema on a search engine or check reliable boards like Mayo Clinic, WebMD, or Johns Hopkins, you may get information. I can understand how you must be feeling right now. Ask your doctor for something for depression or see someone about it after that surgery heals--I have been seeing a wonderful social worker for about a year and in the past four months taken Celexa; they do help me a lot.
The "mutlilated" feeling will leave you gradually--I had it initially even in the hospital and for some time--the feeling I'd been hung up like a side of beef in a meat plant and just slit down. It took a bit but that I came to terms with--I wasn't mutilated--I was operated on and cancer removed to make me healthier. But it took a while! This is a good place to vent; if you want to vent or ask more, you can do a private message to me. and best wishes for a stage 1 at most. Ellen
Unread 02-02-2003, 02:09 PM

Thanks, Ellen. That's the term I was looking for. Brain fog has set in. Can't remember anything. I know a lot of women who've had mastectomies have terrible problems in their arms with it. I never heard of it happening in the legs before. Wonder if it means you have to spend a lot of time with your feet elevated. I'll do some research on it.

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Unread 02-02-2003, 02:21 PM
Swelling from lymph node removal


It's another thing to worry about, isn't it? I don't believe it's a common thing to have happen. It's not necessarily uncommon (because it does happen), I'm just thinking it doesn't happen more than it does happen.

Most women who have mastectomies, do not have arm swelling--but again, it can happen, and obviously you know some women it has happened to. Lymphedema can be minimized. There are physical therapists who specialize in the treatment of lymphedema, so if you end up having a problem with it, ask your doctor to refer you to one.

Good luck, Felicitea! Here's hoping for stage 1!!

Unread 02-02-2003, 03:52 PM
Swelling from lymph node removal


I wanted to pop in and wish you the best for your surgery this week. I hope the news is good and you won't experience any problems from the node removal.

Keep us posted. We'll be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.



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