Hang in there! I'm in Michigan and have family in the N. suburbs of Chicago, I also lived in Buffalo grove when I was a baby.
Ouch, 6 staples! I had steri-strips on that incision. The thing is that they try for one node, but they sometimes get a lot. In my case, I had the SNB and my doc took out 15! He took out anything that was "warm" and "blue", although the "hot blue" node was identified as the SN. The nodes are in clusters and in my case, smaller than expected, so he thought he submitted a sample with one and found like 4 or 5 each time. He told me the number of nodes removed is not the concern for lymphedema, rather it is the procedure and less cutting with the SNB compared to the full node dissection.
As for Cancer Center of AMerica, I have not heard much about
them except when someone is in final stages of cancer and they are looking for a miracle. Sorry, I have no info. As for the multiple opinions, good idea, always. I had 2 opinions for each, saw indiv docs and then went to the U of M breast care clinic at their cancer center and met with the whole team, ended up switching. Even though the chemo was the same, the surgeon at UM was willing to do a SNB, which in 1999 was not as common. So I ended up doing chemo there too, just to be consistent. I'd consider looking with a university hospital or a comprehensive cancer center, but those who saw private docs at community hospitals would also probably have good feedback. I just felt more secure with a major facility, but it was just my preference.
Rest up and be a good patient. Please ask the doc or nurses about
stretches for the arm. No one told me to do it since I "just" had the SNB and I still have some tightness that improves with stretching.
And great attitude! Yes, your node will be negative! We'll start the benign mantra chant from here!