August 13, 2012

The sentinel lymph node

Today I had to go to the hospital for the sentinel lymph node thing. A low-activity radioactive substance wass injected near the tumor. After a gentle massage (had to rub my breast in public) I had to wait for two hours. Then they took photos and marked my sentinel lymph node. A lovely blue cross is now covering my armpit. 

Tomorrow about 15 minutes before my operation the physician injects a blue dye in the same manner. One or several nodes may take up the dye and these nodes are designated the sentinel lymph nodes. The surgeon then removes these first lymph nodes and sends them to a pathologist for rapid examination under a microscope to look for the presence of cancer.

This is probably what I'm most nervous about. The concept of sentinel lymph node surgery is to determine if the cancer has spread to the very first draining lymph node or not. If the sentinel lymph node does not contain cancer, then there is a high likelihood that the cancer has not spread any further. But I try not think about it too much, it would not really change my path after all. Because I will still have to do the radiation, chemo and hormone blocking therapy.

I have to be at the hospital very early in the morning (as in you have to get up in the middle of the night). I'm not much of a morning person but this is quite a relieve actually. Better get it over with.

As Arnie always put it, "I'll be back!"


  1. Good luck tomorrow love, I really hope it goes very well and it makes a turning point in your recovery. It's good your appointment is early so you can get it over with. Lots of love xxx

  2. Good luck! I had to undergo the same procedure last week and the good news is: you won't feel a thing thanks to anesthesia:) If you're lucky they'll inject the blue stuff when you're under. No pain whatsoever, but you'll pee blue for two days, that's hilarious. The wound is a bit painful, but well.. there are worse things we have to go through:)

    1. Yeah I read about that on your blog! They are going to remove my tumor as well though.. so I will have two wounds... I'm hoping to be back on my feet really soon!

  3. I wished I read this earlier, because I only knew the timing of your surgery after the fact. However, now I am aware of the details of your operation. In any rate, I'm glad that you're resting well now, and I am hoping that your path to complete recovery is a short and smooth one.

    Hugs and positive energy from Jakarta!