This entry is part 06 of 44 in the series Breast Cancer Posts

My first shower since surgery was Thursday, due to the fact my mom couldn’t get over to my place until then to help me remove the bandages and cover the incision area with plastic to keep the drainage tube insertion point dry. I’ve noticed, since that day, a distressing reaction to either having my underarm all taped up or the surgery itself. Part of my right arm is numb, from the underside around to the back. I think this numbness goes onto my back, and I know it extends to an inch or two above my elbow on the back of my arm. I have some minor numbness around the front where more tape was, but my breast has not had this reaction at all, and it was also pretty extensively taped with a bandage of its own. Also, I’ve noticed a propensity for this numb area to itch and tingle, two sensations I have to endure because scratching does nothing whatsoever due to the lack of sensation when I touch my arm.

I, however, do not consider this something to worry about right now. If it’s still bothering me when I have my surgical follow-up on the fifteenth, I’ll ask about it.

What I do find of greater (though not necessarily extremely great) concern is the fact my drainage tube seems to be blocked up. I won’t describe what seems to be in it (it might make you sick), but it definitely fills the tube all the way around. I’ve been trying to squeeze this blockage down on and off since yesterday, and it’s just not working. I’m not greatly concerned yet due to the fact I still seem to be draining . . . through the incision point where the tube enters my body. This is all clear (or relatively clear) liquid, so I’m not staining my clothes. Whatever I wear will just need to be cleaned before I put it on again.

I’m not sure if I should go to the emergency room with this complaint or wait and call on Monday to see someone. Since I’m definitely still draining, I don’t want to cause undue concern. My main issue with it is the fact I’m supposed to be recording the output for some reason, and having my lymph drain the way it is now is preventing that.

There’s also the fact that transit isn’t its best here on weekends, and if I end up hanging out at the emergency room with this late, I won’t be able to get home without taking a cab. I’d really rather not do this because my income is rather limited and I’m having to save up money for the first round of Chemo appointments later on, so I can cover my transportation costs before the VA pays me back for it all.

I’ll have to figure something out. Maybe a friend can drive me to/from the hospital.

Edited to add:

It seems to be draining into the bulb again. I feel no additional pain or discomfort from retention of any fluid, and I don’t see any bloating. Looks like all that tube-squeezing I did worked.

Edited again to add:

Everything seems to be back on track with the drainage system. I had a bit of drainage through the incision where the tube enters, squeezed a few more times, and the blockage is now in the bulb reservoir. I apparently was having some sort of collection of fluid up under my arm, because after the drainage and the blockage moved, I noticed a great relief of pain I’d been having, which I’d thought was due to me moving my arm up and around too much (similar to normal, despite discomfort). Now the pain is gone and movement of my arm over my head is accompanied by the same level of discomfort as it was before the blockage happened. So all is well, thank goodness.