Supporting women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer

Sentinel Node Biopsy

by Y

The histology results from the WLE indicated that although all the margins were clear there was a small area of ‘invasiveness’ which meant that the cancer was not in fact ‘in situ’ as first thought. It was now categorised as a ‘Stage 1’ cancer, therefore a Sentinel Node Biopsy was needed to determine whether any cancer cells had ‘escaped’ from the primary site. If this proves to be the case then it would become categorised as a ‘Stage 2’ cancer.

The procedure was pretty uneventful but then I couldn't understand what all those people were doing in my bedroom (Recovery Room)!!!

The first part of the procedure was an injection of a radio-opaque substance just above the WLE scar. This was done quite early in the morning on the ward I had been admitted to. The second injection (of the blue dye) I have no knowledge of as it was done after I went to sleep in the anaesthetic room. Both of these injections were to aid the surgeon in locating the Sentinel Node so that it could be removed for biopsy - to check for any sign of cancer cells spreading from my breast.

The post-operative morphine made me feel pretty groggy and I was not with it at all, I again got away without being sick although I do have a vague recollection of feeling a little queasy. I felt nice and cosy in bed again after the op and managed to call hubby when I was settled in my bed; he and sis came to visit me. I stayed in overnight, still quite sore but the dull pain was manageable with Paracetamol and Codeine. I was a little jealous of hubby getting the bed to himself and being able to stretch out and do a 'starfish'.

The blue wee is amazing!!! Very funny.

I also had this little squishy drain dangling between my breasts (it was about the size of a party popper) and originated from the wound under my arm , it didn't get in the way at all really but I was very conscious of it and kept checking that it was not leaking (which it didn't). I felt much better when I got out of bed, had a quick wash and cleaned my teeth then ate my eagerly awaited supper.

They took four nodes in total - now I feel like my upper arm belongs to someone else!!! It feels like when you have an anaesthetic injection at the dentist and then touch your jaw. I can move my fingers, hand and arm as normal but just have this strange sensation in the upper arm. The surgeon explained that with all the firking around they did, the tissue is bruised and swollen possibly causing pressure on the nerves but he assured me that this should only be a 'temporary' sensation.

The drain was removed by the nursing staff before I left the ward and a clean dry dressing covered the suture line under my arm.

All I can do now is wait again for the histology report - 8 days and counting.


The preceding WLE can be read here WLE