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Surgery to remove tumor

Forums General Melanoma Community Surgery to remove tumor

  • Post
    carol b
    Participant

      I was wondering if anyone on here can tell me about having a baseball size melanoma tumor removed from under they arm. What all do they cut out and what am i to expect pain wise and recovery time. I am a little scared and concerned. Any comment will be appreciated because i have been looking it up on the computer on other sites and it seems like a horror story so i thought someone on here has had it done and could give me some correct advice.. Thank You in advance…

      Carol b

      I was wondering if anyone on here can tell me about having a baseball size melanoma tumor removed from under they arm. What all do they cut out and what am i to expect pain wise and recovery time. I am a little scared and concerned. Any comment will be appreciated because i have been looking it up on the computer on other sites and it seems like a horror story so i thought someone on here has had it done and could give me some correct advice.. Thank You in advance…

      Carol b

    Viewing 9 reply threads
    • Replies
        boot2aboot
        Participant

          they will cut until they get clear wide margins…all the lymphs will in all likelyhood be removed…you will be at increased risk for lymphodema and winged scapula…make sure you get lymphadema specialist and physical therapy lined up and measured for a sleeve and compression bra…and yes, you will have a big scar and likely nerve damage…but scars are a sign of victory…and nerves can regrow….

          pain is not too bad…worst is right after surgery…the bigger pain (in the butt) is dealing with drain tubes…and not being able to use the affected arm normally for awhile…

           

          "divine health manifests for me and in me NOW"

          HO!

          boots

          boot2aboot
          Participant

            they will cut until they get clear wide margins…all the lymphs will in all likelyhood be removed…you will be at increased risk for lymphodema and winged scapula…make sure you get lymphadema specialist and physical therapy lined up and measured for a sleeve and compression bra…and yes, you will have a big scar and likely nerve damage…but scars are a sign of victory…and nerves can regrow….

            pain is not too bad…worst is right after surgery…the bigger pain (in the butt) is dealing with drain tubes…and not being able to use the affected arm normally for awhile…

             

            "divine health manifests for me and in me NOW"

            HO!

            boots

            killmel
            Participant

              No matter what the doctor tells you expect the worst.

              I just had surgery & I have numbness which there is no guaratee willl improve. Also, I have cut nerves that might not grow back. My other surgerys the nerves never grew back. Nerve damage was permanent.

              Plus I have swelling & pain which even after 3 weeks I cannot sleep. I also got a hematoma.

              Bottom line surgery is not easy. You will never be the same. Once you realize that you will  never be the same, you will go threw a morning period for the loss of the way you were. And everyday you will be reminded by your scar that you are in the fight of your life.

              You might get depressed but at least you are alive & winning the battle

              My comments are rough but I wish some one had prepared me for the possible outcomes of surgery

              God Luck

                carol b
                Participant

                  OH WOWsurprise

                  killmel
                  Participant

                    Carol,

                    I wish you the best. The other posts did an effective job summarizing the results of surgery. You need to rember that this is major surgery & recovery will take time

                    I am sorry to say, you are going to have swelling , pain, etc & worst of all you body will never be the same.

                    BUT maybe you will be NED if you got a good surgeon. Unfortunately, I have had 2 sugeries & my sugeons (2 different ones) did not get clear margin) and I have had 2 recurrences. I guess what I am saying is be ready for the worst & hope for the BEST!

                    Good Luck!

                     

                    killmel
                    Participant

                      Carol,

                      I wish you the best. The other posts did an effective job summarizing the results of surgery. You need to rember that this is major surgery & recovery will take time

                      I am sorry to say, you are going to have swelling , pain, etc & worst of all you body will never be the same.

                      BUT maybe you will be NED if you got a good surgeon. Unfortunately, I have had 2 sugeries & my sugeons (2 different ones) did not get clear margin) and I have had 2 recurrences. I guess what I am saying is be ready for the worst & hope for the BEST!

                      Good Luck!

                       

                      lhaley
                      Participant

                        Carol,

                        I remember when you started IL2, the goal was to get to the point that surgically if needed this tumor could be removed. Now evidently it's time to do it!

                        I've had many surgeries and many recurrances. Once your stage IV we know that can happen. The surgery is to take care of this immediate problem. In your case hopefully the IL2 took care of those exploring loose cells.

                        In 06 I had a latisimus flap where they removed a huge chunk of my breast and replaced it with the latisimus muscle from my back. I've had other surgeries also but this one was my largest. In about a months time I was seeing an occupational therapist and a month after that I was back working with my special needs K class. Yes, I can't say that I was totally painfree, but, I was good and enjoying life.   To help with the nerve issues they put me on a Lyrica along with a pain pill. I am allergic to most pain pills so I assure you I was off quickly.  5 years later I still have huge scaring which have left me some issues. I've gotten use to them. The worse part is when I have those pains it reminds me of what I've been through and then I worry and move on.

                        My most recent surgery was 3 weeks ago. I took a total of 2 pain pills and had an allergic reaction to the one I've always had in the past. I substituted Advil and tylenol.  I still have some nerve issues in that arm and then I remind myself that now it's been about 2 weeks since I've even had a tylenol.

                        Each of us experience healing differently. I know that each of my surgeries have had different issues. Expect to have your husband waiting on you. No lifting for at least 6 weeks and maybe longer. Find out about either physical therapy or occupational therapy if needed to help regain total strength in that arm.  Expect to have a drain or two in the arm.  Expect to follow the Doctors directions and keep ice on. Expect to heal which takes time.

                        Expect to keep your positive attitude which has gotten you through breast cancer and your IL2 treatments.  The hospital I go to even numbs the area before they insert the IV. I don't know if they do it for everyone but after the first time it's now the first request I make!

                        Let us know when your surgery date is scheduled. You go girl and banish this tumor from your body.

                        Linda

                        Carol Taylor
                        Participant

                          Carol,

                          I want to second Linda! Carol, you've been through A LOT!!!!! I can't argue with what the others say because they're being honest about their experiences…but, you'll have your own experience.

                          Like Linda reminded you, this has been your goal! The tumor is shrinking! My main concern is that you & hubby aren't moving heaven and earth to make them move up your surgery. You've got a history you can point to and that they ought to know. Hound them. Be that squeeky wheel and get your grease.

                          I know you're scared and you're tired of staring death, pain, and more awful healing in the face. I know, friend, I know. But you've got to do it this one more time unless that thing just shrinks on outta here. You can do this Carol! Maybe you won't have to do anymore treatment…at least for a while.

                          What came out from under my arm was a normal mass size that was big enough to house 27 lymph nodes. I'd be lying if I said I had a party at Duke and a grand time recuperating, but I'm here and as far as I know, the melanoma is not. That's what I want for you and that has to be your main focus, that and God but not in that order!

                          One more time. Take this one thing and one day at a time. Get this behind you and see what happens.

                          Holding you close in thought and prayer!

                          Dear Lord, in Your tender tender mercy, hold CarolB closer that close, shrink this tumor  away, get rid of it and get rid of her fears. Lord, You've taken stuff for me, I'm asking You to take this for CarolB please. Take it for her and from her and rid her body of melanoma and all cancer. Whether through surgery or continuing shrinkage. And Lord, please, just please about the IL2. She's had enough. Thank You Lord. Amen and Amen!

                          Grace and peace to you friend,

                          Carol

                          Carol Taylor
                          Participant

                            Carol,

                            I want to second Linda! Carol, you've been through A LOT!!!!! I can't argue with what the others say because they're being honest about their experiences…but, you'll have your own experience.

                            Like Linda reminded you, this has been your goal! The tumor is shrinking! My main concern is that you & hubby aren't moving heaven and earth to make them move up your surgery. You've got a history you can point to and that they ought to know. Hound them. Be that squeeky wheel and get your grease.

                            I know you're scared and you're tired of staring death, pain, and more awful healing in the face. I know, friend, I know. But you've got to do it this one more time unless that thing just shrinks on outta here. You can do this Carol! Maybe you won't have to do anymore treatment…at least for a while.

                            What came out from under my arm was a normal mass size that was big enough to house 27 lymph nodes. I'd be lying if I said I had a party at Duke and a grand time recuperating, but I'm here and as far as I know, the melanoma is not. That's what I want for you and that has to be your main focus, that and God but not in that order!

                            One more time. Take this one thing and one day at a time. Get this behind you and see what happens.

                            Holding you close in thought and prayer!

                            Dear Lord, in Your tender tender mercy, hold CarolB closer that close, shrink this tumor  away, get rid of it and get rid of her fears. Lord, You've taken stuff for me, I'm asking You to take this for CarolB please. Take it for her and from her and rid her body of melanoma and all cancer. Whether through surgery or continuing shrinkage. And Lord, please, just please about the IL2. She's had enough. Thank You Lord. Amen and Amen!

                            Grace and peace to you friend,

                            Carol

                            lhaley
                            Participant

                              Carol,

                              I remember when you started IL2, the goal was to get to the point that surgically if needed this tumor could be removed. Now evidently it's time to do it!

                              I've had many surgeries and many recurrances. Once your stage IV we know that can happen. The surgery is to take care of this immediate problem. In your case hopefully the IL2 took care of those exploring loose cells.

                              In 06 I had a latisimus flap where they removed a huge chunk of my breast and replaced it with the latisimus muscle from my back. I've had other surgeries also but this one was my largest. In about a months time I was seeing an occupational therapist and a month after that I was back working with my special needs K class. Yes, I can't say that I was totally painfree, but, I was good and enjoying life.   To help with the nerve issues they put me on a Lyrica along with a pain pill. I am allergic to most pain pills so I assure you I was off quickly.  5 years later I still have huge scaring which have left me some issues. I've gotten use to them. The worse part is when I have those pains it reminds me of what I've been through and then I worry and move on.

                              My most recent surgery was 3 weeks ago. I took a total of 2 pain pills and had an allergic reaction to the one I've always had in the past. I substituted Advil and tylenol.  I still have some nerve issues in that arm and then I remind myself that now it's been about 2 weeks since I've even had a tylenol.

                              Each of us experience healing differently. I know that each of my surgeries have had different issues. Expect to have your husband waiting on you. No lifting for at least 6 weeks and maybe longer. Find out about either physical therapy or occupational therapy if needed to help regain total strength in that arm.  Expect to have a drain or two in the arm.  Expect to follow the Doctors directions and keep ice on. Expect to heal which takes time.

                              Expect to keep your positive attitude which has gotten you through breast cancer and your IL2 treatments.  The hospital I go to even numbs the area before they insert the IV. I don't know if they do it for everyone but after the first time it's now the first request I make!

                              Let us know when your surgery date is scheduled. You go girl and banish this tumor from your body.

                              Linda

                              carol b
                              Participant

                                OH WOWsurprise

                                Addy 09
                                Participant

                                  Before surgery I couldn’t see anything clearly without glasses.Cataract Surgery  Even worse, all outdoor activities were a strain. Needless to say I couldn’t score many points playing basketball. At work I wasn’t able to use a computer for more than an hour before I started getting head aches. This not only affected my performance but also my attitude. Now that I’ve had the surgery I finally have a full field of vision during every waking hour. Being able to walk outside with no glasses or contacts and seeing everything is amazing. I highly recommend a surgery.

                                  Addy 09
                                  Participant

                                    Before surgery I couldn’t see anything clearly without glasses.Cataract Surgery  Even worse, all outdoor activities were a strain. Needless to say I couldn’t score many points playing basketball. At work I wasn’t able to use a computer for more than an hour before I started getting head aches. This not only affected my performance but also my attitude. Now that I’ve had the surgery I finally have a full field of vision during every waking hour. Being able to walk outside with no glasses or contacts and seeing everything is amazing. I highly recommend a surgery.

                                  killmel
                                  Participant

                                    No matter what the doctor tells you expect the worst.

                                    I just had surgery & I have numbness which there is no guaratee willl improve. Also, I have cut nerves that might not grow back. My other surgerys the nerves never grew back. Nerve damage was permanent.

                                    Plus I have swelling & pain which even after 3 weeks I cannot sleep. I also got a hematoma.

                                    Bottom line surgery is not easy. You will never be the same. Once you realize that you will  never be the same, you will go threw a morning period for the loss of the way you were. And everyday you will be reminded by your scar that you are in the fight of your life.

                                    You might get depressed but at least you are alive & winning the battle

                                    My comments are rough but I wish some one had prepared me for the possible outcomes of surgery

                                    God Luck

                                    ChrisTheWilsonZoo
                                    Participant

                                      Carol,

                                      I think I got very lucky – my oncologist referred me to a surgeon who specialized in breast surgery.  She does breast surgery and (and of course the lymphh nodes in that region) and absolutely nothing else.  I think because that region is her specialty, I had far fewer problems than I might have with a less specialized surgeon.

                                      Some pointers from a female perspective:  If you are "blessed" with large, heavy breasts, ask your surgeon for a post-surgical bra.  The weight of your breasts can pull on your incision site, causing considerable discomfort.  A soft surgical bra can help take some of that weight and pressure off the incision site.  Also, invest in a couple front close bras – they'll be easier to get on and off during recovery (goes without saying, no underwires).

                                      I started using my arm within the first 48 hours.  Nothing too strenuous or heavy – just reaching for lightweight things, like kleenex, the remote, the bottle of pain pills, a bottle of water.  I also stretched the arm, working to get full range of motion.  I had read that using the arm as soon as possible was better not using it.  I'm also right handed, and the surgery was on my right arm, so in a lot of instances, using it just sort of "happened" without me thinking about it.

                                      I too requested a referrel to a lymphedema/physical specialist.  In addition to getting a lesson in what to watch for as far as lymphedema, she also checked my post-surgery recovery progress to see if I needed any exercises to recover range-of-motion, etc.  I thought I had full range-of-motion back, but she proved me wrong!  She was able to provide some exercises that got me back to 100%.

                                      Chris

                                      ChrisTheWilsonZoo
                                      Participant

                                        Carol,

                                        I think I got very lucky – my oncologist referred me to a surgeon who specialized in breast surgery.  She does breast surgery and (and of course the lymphh nodes in that region) and absolutely nothing else.  I think because that region is her specialty, I had far fewer problems than I might have with a less specialized surgeon.

                                        Some pointers from a female perspective:  If you are "blessed" with large, heavy breasts, ask your surgeon for a post-surgical bra.  The weight of your breasts can pull on your incision site, causing considerable discomfort.  A soft surgical bra can help take some of that weight and pressure off the incision site.  Also, invest in a couple front close bras – they'll be easier to get on and off during recovery (goes without saying, no underwires).

                                        I started using my arm within the first 48 hours.  Nothing too strenuous or heavy – just reaching for lightweight things, like kleenex, the remote, the bottle of pain pills, a bottle of water.  I also stretched the arm, working to get full range of motion.  I had read that using the arm as soon as possible was better not using it.  I'm also right handed, and the surgery was on my right arm, so in a lot of instances, using it just sort of "happened" without me thinking about it.

                                        I too requested a referrel to a lymphedema/physical specialist.  In addition to getting a lesson in what to watch for as far as lymphedema, she also checked my post-surgery recovery progress to see if I needed any exercises to recover range-of-motion, etc.  I thought I had full range-of-motion back, but she proved me wrong!  She was able to provide some exercises that got me back to 100%.

                                        Chris

                                        triciad
                                        Participant

                                          Carol,

                                          I can't give you any advice because I haven't been through any of these types of surgeries.  I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you every day!  You have the desire and the will to face anything that's thrown at you, so…hit a grand slam!  Please keep us posted and let us know if you need anything.

                                          Best of luck with the surgery and the recovery,

                                          Tricia

                                            carol b
                                            Participant

                                              Thank you all for posting,, i was hoping for better news but what will be will be and i will get thru this too.. once again thank you

                                              carol b
                                              Participant

                                                Thank you all for posting,, i was hoping for better news but what will be will be and i will get thru this too.. once again thank you

                                              triciad
                                              Participant

                                                Carol,

                                                I can't give you any advice because I haven't been through any of these types of surgeries.  I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you every day!  You have the desire and the will to face anything that's thrown at you, so…hit a grand slam!  Please keep us posted and let us know if you need anything.

                                                Best of luck with the surgery and the recovery,

                                                Tricia

                                                rlstevenson
                                                Participant

                                                  Carol,  did you have the surgery.  I just had similar surgery to remove tumor from under my arm.  margins were clear but now waiting for pet scan results.  How did you do?  I hope that you continue to be positive and strong and know that there is a huge community of support.  Robert

                                                  rlstevenson
                                                  Participant

                                                    Carol,  did you have the surgery.  I just had similar surgery to remove tumor from under my arm.  margins were clear but now waiting for pet scan results.  How did you do?  I hope that you continue to be positive and strong and know that there is a huge community of support.  Robert

                                                      carol b
                                                      Participant

                                                        Hello,, yes i did have my surgery,, around 6 weeks ago. I have completed my PT. There is still alot of pain and numbness. I did not get clear margins. The Dr. thought it was just one tumor but it was 3 matted altogether and wrapped arounf nerves and blood vessels, They took out part of the muscle under my arm. The scar is really nasty. Nothing like the straight 3 inch incision i was told. But having the surgery is what is keeping me alive for now and i am thankful for it no matter what i look like. Ive been trying to stay active to keep from getting lymphodema.. i started painting the inside of my house,,lol.. I am on High Dose Rads now to kill what they could not get out. I have 3 more left. I can tell its starting to mess with my lung which was a side effect that i was told about. and im a smoker so ,,,, i know,,,, i need to stop,,,, its how i keep my sanity…the rads r gonna do more damage than my smoking, Im gonna lose 20% of my right lung.. BUT once again that is what is keeping me alive….. my last thoughts on me is i will get my PET Nov. 22 and it WILL be clear and i will be NED.. i cant take anymore so for now thats my state of mind..

                                                        I am so happy that u got clear margins from your tumor, did they take any lymphnodes? I say a prayer for all my MRF buddies.. I hope they r heard. Sometimes i just dont know, I dont get on the board often. Its very depressing for me. There is so many  of us. And so many more that arent on here.  I dont understand why advertisements are not on all television channels to warn people of melanoma like they do smoking commercials.. More and more people r getting mel and the age is getting so much younger,, Makes me so sad and mad all at the same time..omg i have talked your head off.. Must have meant to be since you posted yesterday and i havent been on in so long..

                                                        I pray all is well with you and your PET comes back clear and you never have this crap again,,i pray it with all my heart,, amen

                                                        Carol b

                                                         

                                                        carol b
                                                        Participant

                                                          Hello,, yes i did have my surgery,, around 6 weeks ago. I have completed my PT. There is still alot of pain and numbness. I did not get clear margins. The Dr. thought it was just one tumor but it was 3 matted altogether and wrapped arounf nerves and blood vessels, They took out part of the muscle under my arm. The scar is really nasty. Nothing like the straight 3 inch incision i was told. But having the surgery is what is keeping me alive for now and i am thankful for it no matter what i look like. Ive been trying to stay active to keep from getting lymphodema.. i started painting the inside of my house,,lol.. I am on High Dose Rads now to kill what they could not get out. I have 3 more left. I can tell its starting to mess with my lung which was a side effect that i was told about. and im a smoker so ,,,, i know,,,, i need to stop,,,, its how i keep my sanity…the rads r gonna do more damage than my smoking, Im gonna lose 20% of my right lung.. BUT once again that is what is keeping me alive….. my last thoughts on me is i will get my PET Nov. 22 and it WILL be clear and i will be NED.. i cant take anymore so for now thats my state of mind..

                                                          I am so happy that u got clear margins from your tumor, did they take any lymphnodes? I say a prayer for all my MRF buddies.. I hope they r heard. Sometimes i just dont know, I dont get on the board often. Its very depressing for me. There is so many  of us. And so many more that arent on here.  I dont understand why advertisements are not on all television channels to warn people of melanoma like they do smoking commercials.. More and more people r getting mel and the age is getting so much younger,, Makes me so sad and mad all at the same time..omg i have talked your head off.. Must have meant to be since you posted yesterday and i havent been on in so long..

                                                          I pray all is well with you and your PET comes back clear and you never have this crap again,,i pray it with all my heart,, amen

                                                          Carol b

                                                           

                                                          rlstevenson
                                                          Participant
                                                            Carol, many thanks for ALL your words. I wish I could assist you in your struggle other than to say you are a true hero and courageous in my mind. I had pt scan today, hopefully all is clear, but if not I will take strength from your journey. Take care, robert
                                                            rlstevenson
                                                            Participant
                                                              Carol, many thanks for ALL your words. I wish I could assist you in your struggle other than to say you are a true hero and courageous in my mind. I had pt scan today, hopefully all is clear, but if not I will take strength from your journey. Take care, robert
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