Swollen Lymph Nodes...Should I be freaking out as much as I am?

Posted By
2/16/2011 11:42pm
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Replies: 4

I need advice---and maybe for someone to tell me to stop overreacting--but it has been exactly 3 weeks today since my sugery, I was healing well, handling the pain of the 5 incision, etc, until today. Although I have been taking it super easy, the pain tonight has been intense. It feels like my nerves are waking up in my shoulders, neck, arms. The numbness isn't really numbness anymore. It is more of a tingling pain. None of this is unusual...I have had these problems since the surgery. But it is becoming a little worse. For example, someone touched my chest bone to remove a piece of lint today and it HURT. not like a cry out in pain hurt, more of a "please don't touch me" type of hurt. Another example, my boyfriend ran his hand down the back of my arm and I cringed. I have had all of these pains before...but it seems intensified today. I don't know if I did too much yesterday/today?

What IS really unusual is the fact that my lymph nodes in my neck are swollen.

I was checking out my neck incisions tonight because of the pain level...started feeling around...it feels like there are two small rocks placed above the incision sites. Asked the boyfriend to feel and he said it definitely feels harder than he imagined it would...All other sites (both armpits, back incision) look fine...Still overly numb.

Should I be concerned? Should I call my oncologist tomorrow? I have an appointment at Memorial Sloan Kettering on the 25th, I don't know if I should wait until then, or check in with my local oncologist.

I realize I may be overreacting...but I was told to keep an eye open for swollen nodes...so now I am a nervous wreck.

I apologize if I am being dramatic........Advice, anyone?

"The odds are that the...the odds mean crap. So people should face it, and they should fight." ~Grey's Anatomy. http://adventurewithmelanoma.blogspot.com

This is a lot to go through, please don't think your being over dramactic. My husband went through the same surgery except his primary was on his back and they removed lymph nodes from each armpit. I kept worrying about his healing. I don't think anyone here can tell you what to do because really calling the oncologist will get your answers. It may be they are reacting to that incision because it's bigger than the armpit incisions. If yours is like my husbands was the main spot was 6/7 inches long stapled together. The armpits were only 1 or 2 inches of an incision.

I would call because I'm like you and this is stressful and you've been through a lot. Do whatever it takes to put your mind at ease.




The pain level is normal!!  Nerves were moved around or maybe even touched during your surgery, this takes time to heal.  I am now about 5 months out from my last surgery. For several months when I went to my quilt guild meeting the president would come up to me and ask how I was doing. She is a touchy feely person and when she would put her hand on the side of my arm and I would cringe from the feel of the nerves then shuddering down my arm. I still have moments like that but they are not nearly as intense. However when I see her the memory comes flooding back and I cringe internally - lol.   It does get better.

The issues with the hard spots near your insision line could be stitches that were internal that did not disolve and have worked to the surface. There could be other reasons also besides cancer.  This is why you have a local oncologist. Call and talk to him today and get fit in for an appointment. It's the only way you will be able to know.  Hopefully it's just a normal part of recovery but get it checked out. 

You are not being overly dramatic!!  We've all been there.  Let us know what the Doctor says!


I agree with everyone that you should call your oncologist for your own peace of mind! That's what they are there for and there is no reason for you to have to be stressed out till the 25th! Go make that call!

As for the pain and sensation...unfortunately it is normal and will slowly settle down, sometimes over months and possibly even years. I found using soothing oils on my skin helped and wearing silk under layers of clothes too. Just be very kind to yourself as you heal!

In my own case, they severed a nerve under my arm and it seems I have permanent neuropathy in the upper left quadrant of my body. That is *very* unusual though but if it happens and is completely manageable with acupuncture and meds designed to help with nerve pain.

Hang in there and please let us know what your onc says! Carmon in NM

Carmon in NM: Stage IIIB 9/2008; Stage IV 6/2010 with brain and adrenal mets; NED since 4/13/2011.
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. ~ Epictetus

Thank you all for the replies. I felt like I was being quite the drama queen last night, but I could NOT relax until I talked to my oncologist this morning. Because I have had a pretty bad skin rash for 3 weeks, he believes my body is fighting off the last of the infection. He advised me to take my temperature every hour, if it goes over 100 degrees to call ASAP, and to keep an eye on the swelling. He talked to me for a good 15 minutes and I now feel more relaxed.

Even though the weather is beautiful outside, I believe I will nap today...Give my body the rest it is obviously craving.

And hearing that you all have experienced the numbnes/ongoing pain relieves me. I guess we all like to know that we aren't 'alone' in our experiences.


Thank you again for being here to answer my very frantic message! Off to nap...

"The odds are that the...the odds mean crap. So people should face it, and they should fight." ~Grey's Anatomy.