Question for my Breast Cancer Survivor Friends

12 Oct

Dear Breast Cancer Survivor friends who’ve had lymph nodes removed…I have a question for you,

I’ve had lymph nodes removed from both sides.  I have occasional lymph node pain.  Mostly in my chest, armpits, neck and inside of elbows.  It gets so bad I have to just lay flat and work from bed.  I haven’t had it since May and I thought it was gone for good.  It returned last Thursday and I’ve been dealing with it all weekend.  I went back to my calendar to see if there was some connection.  Well, I’ve been on a plane 4 times in the last 2 weeks.  Same as earlier this year when it was happening.  Have you experienced lymphatic pain after flying?  I do wear my compression sleeves when I fly and I’m wearing them today to see if it will help me. I don’t know if I want it to be from flying or not.  I want an answer to this pain, but not sure that is a good answer.

2 Responses to “Question for my Breast Cancer Survivor Friends”

  1. reclinerwoman October 13, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    Sweet Jayde,
    Do you know how to “pump” your lymph nodes? I was getting breast infection symptoms, and my care team was prescribing antibiotics each time. I was frustrated with that response, so searched on-line to learn more about the lymph node system. It turns out your lymph node system is responsible of pulling infection out of your body. Somehow, what it gathers gets “stuck” in my breast because of the removal of that one “sentinel” lymph node. So I have to “pump” my lymph node system to help it work around the missing piece.

    Here’s a link that talks about it, but I’ll describe what I do also.
    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/exercises-after-breast-surgery

    Every day I’m well, most times when I fly, and several times a day if I’m fighting anything, I raise my wrists to my forehead, crossed, and then close and flex my hands 30 times. If you can’t raise your wrists, you can lay on your bed and use pillows, but you need to have your shoulders above your heart, your elbows above your shoulders and your wrists above your elbows.

    You also need to drink extra water.

    Walking also pumps your lymph nodes. If you can’t walk, sit in a rocking chair or just point and flex your toes 30 times.

    Any time your lymph node system is in pain, it is “stuck” and you need to get it unstuck.

    Please let me know if this helps you as much as it has helped me.

  2. reclinerwoman October 13, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    Sweet Jayde,
    I only had one lymph node removed, but even that has caused me issues. I kept getting breast infection symptoms in that breast, which my care team responded to with antibiotics. At the third occurrence (in less than 60 days), I was frustrated and researched lymph nodes and breast cancer. Here’s a link from the ACS, but I’ll describe what I do also.

    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/exercises-after-breast-surgery

    First, flying is hard on the lymph system of people who have all their lymph nodes, so there is definitely a connection. Second, I “pump” my lymph node system daily, when I fly, and extra if I’m fighting anything or have “symptoms.” I haven’t needed antibiotics for a breast infection since I started this.

    Position compared to gravity is everything. If you can raise your hands above your head, fine. If not, lay down and use pillows. You need to have your shoulders above your heart, your elbows above your shoulders and your wrists above your elbows. I just raise my wrists, crossed, to my forehead, and that aligns me. If you are in bed, adjust yourself as necessary. Next, close and open your hands (fists to fingers splayed) 30 times. I do this when I shower, at a minimum.

    Walking also helps pump your lymph nodes. If you are too weak to walk, rocking in a rocking chair helps (who knew it was healthy for grandma?). If you can’t do that, laying in bed and flexing and pointing your toes also helps.

    You also need to drink extra water to help your body flush out whatever the lymph node system is fighting.

    I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me.
    And if I posted this twice, I apologize. My first post seemed to disappear.

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