Going back to work

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possitive
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 9/25/2005 4:03 PM (GMT -7)   
After having a double mastectomy and chemo,Being off work for six months im going back to work in a week.Im a school custodian with some heavy lifting and physical work.Im around alot of sick kids,do you think my immune system is strong now?Im so afraid i wont be able to do this type of work anymore.Have any of you gone back to work after mastectomies and was able to lift heavy things ok?Are there dissability laws for cancer survivors if they cant do their normal work?....Tammy

gma
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 9/26/2005 10:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Lifting heavy items is a problem for lymphedema. Gail (postal2) worked at a post office and had to give up because of heavy lifting. You could try to go back to work and see how you do, but your doctor should be telling you about heavy lifting. Do you have disability benefits with your job? Many school retirement programs have such insurance. You need to check into everything before you mess up your arms with lymphedema. Also I can't remember if you had reconstruction or not, but if you had tram flap you really don't heal inside for a long time. Breast cancer does not alone qualify you for disability, but other factors can. Hugs MK


debbiR
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Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 9/26/2005 4:04 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Tammy! MK is absolutely right. You need to be very, very careful about the lifting. The lymphodema is not something that will go away. I think that you could probably do the cleaning part but I definitely would check w/ my onco about what you can and can't do. Have him/her write you a letter that you can give to your principal showing your limitations. W/having a double mastectomy and lymph nodes removed, you are a prime candidate for the lymphodema. Please, please be careful. Your immune system will be somewhat compromised for awhile. I know that having my 3 granddaughters living w/ me (2 in grade school) I am careful when they come home sick. Have your onco do a cbc and see how your counts are. You may be ok in that department. Our schools have both a day and evening custodian. Would it be possible for you to work the evening shift? That might preclude your having to lift so many heavy things.

Please let us know what happens.

Hugs..Deb



 

Post Edited (debbiR) : 9/26/2005 5:07:44 PM (GMT-6)


babyseeester
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Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 9/26/2005 4:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Even without lymphedema, I was told by my onc that my limit to lift was 20 lbs.  Good luck.
L & H,
Kathy


possitive
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 9/26/2005 4:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Deb,Ihad 6 lymph nodes out on left arm and 2 out on right,could i still get lymphodema with that small amount of nodes out? Tammy

possitive
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 9/26/2005 4:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Deb,Ihad 6 lymph nodes out on left arm and 2 out on right,could i still get lymphodema with that small amount of nodes out? Tammy

possitive
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 9/26/2005 4:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Kathy,Did you have lymph nodes taken out? Tammy

babyseeester
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Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 9/26/2005 4:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, I had 4 lymph nodes removed.
L & H,
Kathy


possitive
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 9/26/2005 4:24 PM (GMT -7)   
My onc. doesnt seem worried about me lifting.Im kinda worried about that...Tammy

JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 9/26/2005 4:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Do we have an HR specialist on this Board? What about ADA and accomodating you with your job. I, too, have been told not to lift over 20# and I do not believe that I could do it for 8 hours a day. Seems like they might have to taylor a work program to accomodate your "disability".

JUJU

debbiR
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 9/26/2005 5:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Kathy! My understanding is that it doesn't matter whether you had 2 or 20 lymph nodes removed. The problem is that the lymphatic system is compromised. As I am sure you are aware, the arm will get very large. If you get lymphodema, then usually you have to wear a sleeve 24/7. There is no way for the fluid to drain if there is an infection. That is why we are told to be sure and wear a glove if doing garden work and keep the arm covered when out in the sun. I was also told to be careful w/ manicures and getting any scratches or bites on the arm. As for the lifiting, my onco told me 10lbs. If your onco is not concerned, then take it upon yourself to get the documentation you need. I can't believe that he hasn't warned you about this.
 
Deb
 


chantry31
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 9/27/2005 11:00 AM (GMT -7)   
If you have had a "sentinel node biopsy" you are not as much at risk for lymphodema. However, if you've had an auxilliary node dissection, you are at a greater risk. The reasons may have to do with the number of nodes removed, and with the position of the nodes that were removed (if the nodes higher in the armpit are removed, there is a greater risk). I had 22 nodes removed, but my surgeon and radiologist both feel that the risk of lymphodema is slight. I'm praying that they are right!

Chantry
There are no wrong turnings, only paths we did not know we were meant to take - Guy Gavriel Kay


babyseeester
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Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 9/27/2005 10:01 PM (GMT -7)   
The only place I have heard about lymphedema is from this website.  My doctors have never mentioned it.  Maybe it's because I haven't had it - I don't know.  I was never advised to cover up my arm or not get scratches.  I do know not to have blood taken from that arm and not have blood pressure taken on that arm.  Actually, I forgot about that last one.  I saw my general practitioner last Wed. and he took my BP on that arm.  I didn't think about it until much later.
 
 
L & H,
Kathy


gma
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 9/28/2005 5:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Your doctor should have a warning on your chart for BP and injections, etc. just as they would for an allergic reaction, so the nurse would instantly see whiich arm to use. No one ever warned me specifically about lymphedema, either. It wasn't until I met some of the women here that I ever saw the results. Believe me, I saw and I learned that it was not something I wanted to deal with. Fortunately so far I have not, but I understand that it could happen at any time. So it is best to stay on the safe side as much as possible. I worked in schools for years. the first seven as a cafeteria supervisor. I lifted 65# USDA hamburger boxes. I lifted cases of #10 cans to put up stock and I know how heavy all that can be. Quite often our custodians helped us when an order came in. Be careful. Hugs MK


debbiR
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Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 9/28/2005 6:50 AM (GMT -7)   

I discussed this w/ my chemo nurses yesterday during my treatment. They were amazed that there were so many women that had NOT been educated about lymphodema. My surgeon and onco both told me that I was NEVER to have bp or receive and injection in the arm that the lymph nodes were removed from. There is a great article in the new issue of "COPING" (Sept and Oct) regarding lymphodema on pg. 22.

Hugs...Deb


 


possitive
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 9/28/2005 12:08 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ladies,i just heard back from my surgeon and she said i have no restrictions on lifting heavy items.This doesnt sound right because i had 6 lymph nodes taken out.Im waiting to hear from the onc.about his opinion...Tammy

skeeter1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 9/28/2005 12:23 PM (GMT -7)   
I will be returning back to work on monday. Yikes!! I have no lifting restrictions either. I had 7 lymphnodes removed. I have full range of motions. They way I look at it I never had any muscles cut so figure I  should be fine. I will have some lifting but not alot. Good luck going back to work it will we hard for us huh.. at times I can't wait to get back and than other times I wonder if I can do it... skeeter1

Tavish
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 9/28/2005 6:58 PM (GMT -7)   

To chime in late....my surgeon had told me that it was dependent on what was cut and now how many nodes were removed. In the axillary node dissection, they cut more and deeper, compromising more nerves and tissue.  The onc should be concerned, but I would encourage you to talk to the surgeon and the RN about the risks. This is more likely to fall under the surgeon's area than the onc.

Good luck!

Lori



possitive
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 9/28/2005 7:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Well my onc. said no restrictions on lifting and so did the surgeon.I get this wierd feeling that they dont know what their talking about because everyone i talk to says to be very careful for lympadema.I had muscles and nerves cut and i still have numbness and burning under my arm.I go back to work monday and im so nervous about the heavy lifting.Skeeter good luck to you on monday for your first day back to work....Tammy

debbiR
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 9/29/2005 6:55 AM (GMT -7)   

Good Morning Tammy and Skeeter: I can't help but be concerned about your not having any restrictions what so ever on lifiting. Here is a suggestion that will perhaps give us all some new info as well as ease your minds. Why not contact a lymphodema group and ask your questions. They are the experts. I would imagine that your onco or local ACS could put you in touch w/ someone. Also, there are lymphodema therapist at most hospitals. They would be able to give you answers also. I believe that it would be worth a phone call.

Have a great day! It is cold here. 42 when we woke up (yesterday it was 72) High today is suppose to be 64 and high yesterday was 81. Go figure. lol..Only in Mo!

Hugs...Deb


 


Candy
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1294
   Posted 9/29/2005 7:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Good Morning Ladies,

I did not need any node removal but with just the surgeries I had a 20# lifting limit. Thank goodness my DGD could crawl into my lap on her own. I love taking care of her (and now her little sister) and the timing was great. She was walking and could pretty much ambulate on her own.

Deb has a wonderful idea and I hope you call a lymphodema therapist. Everyone is different in what their particular treatment is needed or what we are cautioned against. But.....so are the doctors different and there are some very definite treatments and cautions for certain situations. It amazes me how different medical care can be from patient to patient, to geographical area, specialists, hospitals etc. The list can go on and on. During my journey through BC I find myself going directly to the specialist. The one that handles a particular concern 24/7. Hope you make the call. Good Luck in going back to work.

Thoughts and hugs are with you,

Candy

PS:  Yep Deb it is finally Fall here too.  40 when we woke up with a high of about 60 to look forward to.


Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
 


gma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 9/29/2005 7:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Yeah it was cool here this morning, in the 50s and yesterday was 104.......... I am more than ready for fall and winter weather. Hugs MK


chantry31
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 9/29/2005 1:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Sorry Ladies, got ya all beat (what a wonderful thing to "win") ... three days ago we had frost. My tomatoes are all toast. Ahhhhh the great white north.

Chantry
There are no wrong turnings, only paths we did not know we were meant to take - Guy Gavriel Kay

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