Complications


20 Mar
20Mar

After putting off massaging the Brachy insertion site for almost two months, I decided that during this time of COVID-19 sheltering the least I could do was to adhere to my surgeon and radiation oncologist's recommendation to "deeply massage" the hardened, bumpy tissue while I stayed at home bing watching movies and TV shows.  My postponement of fulfilling this request was my dread of aggravating the site and causing any more discomfort than I had already experienced. 

Approximately three days into the application of heat followed by massage, the site became inflamed, swollen, and "angry".  I quickly scheduled an appointment to see my surgeon two days later.  During the time in between scheduling and the appointment, the site only became more swollen, turning a deep purple, and hot to the touch.  I was convinced that I had contracted an infection.  

After taking my temperature in the atrium of the medical building lobby I was allowed to enter the surgeon's waiting room with my mask in place.  After being called back and asked to put on the examination cape I crawled onto the examination table.  Six weeks after the completion of radiation it was good to see my surgeon again.  

As I laid back on the table, she gain to poke on the now tender insertion site and asked if she could drain fluid from my incision.  She wanted to see if I had an infection.  After a quick needle stab to numb me, she withdrew 7ccs of clear fluid.  Whew!  No sign of infection. After examining the site further she said, "I've seen this before in a few other patients.  It is fat necrosis.  We don't know exactly why it happens but likely it is related to the trauma that has been experienced by the tissue around the insertion site."  She said that it could take many months for it to clear up.  She recommended that I let up on the massage and reassured me that future mammography images would be able to detect any future masses in my breast through the dense scar tissue.  

I remember getting into my car greatly relieved to know that I did not have an infection and that there would likely be no negative consequences for not thinning the dense tissue around my Brachy insertion site.  Amazingly, the swelling and redness/purple coloration dissipated within three days.  The insertion site finally began to look like it was on the fast track to fully healing.  




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