Help! Got stung by a bee in arm and fear lymphedema

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1257
   Posted 7/19/2007 9:29 AM (GMT -7)   
I was diagnosed w/breast cancer in 2005, had a lumpectomy in right breast followed by 33 radiation treatments.  Am now taking Arimidex for next 5 yrs.  I have tried to be so careful with my right arm as that is where I had 2 lymph nodes removed.  No cancer in the nodes.  The other day I was stung in my right arm by a yellow jacket.  At first it just seemed like a regular bee sting. I took benydryl to avoid swelling.  The sting was on top of my elbow.  The next morning my arm had swelled at the elbow and felt stiff, was red and itched to bad I could have scratched my arm off - but didn't as I new that would be bad.  I went to the Dr. and was prescribed some steroid cream and told to use ice packs.  I did but itching, swelling and redness did not improve.  Went back to Dr. and got one of those 21 prednisone packs where you start w/ 6,5,432,1.  The swelling and redness are improving - so far have taken the first 6 and 5 dose pills.  I still have terrible itching despite using the cream.  I see my oncologist in a few days so I am sure she can tell if I have any problems.  I am scared about lymphedema as I hear it can be very painful and can not be cured only treated.  My cousin has it and has to massage her arm for 20 min each night and wear a bandage like an ace bandage.  She does not have to wear her compression sleeve.  Does any one have any experience with this or lymphedema and can tell me what to expect?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 7/19/2007 2:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Boy it sounds like you have had a really bad allergic reaction to the yellow jacket sting. Yes, it could cause lymphedema, but that doesn't mean it will for sure. Keep an eye on your arm and if it looks like it is starting to swell all over, call a lymphema center. Better yet, call now and ask them what to look for. Of course I am assuming there is a center near you because there is one here. Not everyone gets lymphedema. I sort of take care of my arm, except for lifting some things. My daughter really abuses her arm with lifting and she has had no problem. Jo-Ann had all her nodes removed from one arm and just a few from the other, and has terrible lymphedema in the arm with less nodes gone. Lucy, an old friend to all of us who is currently MIA got a bite of some kind on vacation, went to the ER and tried to tell the intern about lymphedema and her concerns. He pooh poohed her and it got in a terrible mess, infection and all. It took her doctor back home a good while to get it straightened out. I think a letter might have been sent to the hospital where they wouldn't listen to her. So you are right to be concerned, but you have been seeing a doctor so I am sure you are in good hands. No one wants lymphedema, but taking care and not letting it get bad if it starts is best. I would also suggest that another sting from a yellow jacket even on another part of your body could be a real problem, too, so beware. Do you need to carry prevention materials with you? Hugs MK

Post Edited (gma) : 7/19/2007 3:06:22 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 7/19/2007 7:35 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't know about lymphedema from a sting like that, but you can get cellulitis, which can be very dangerous as well. If the itching doesn't subside, then go back to the doctor. But please be sure to check with the oncologist, at least.

Hope it's better soon.

Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.  -Charles Schulz

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 1373
   Posted 7/20/2007 1:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Man!  Now I gotta worry about stings??????
It's amazing how often I forget about favoring the old arm.  Thanks again.  Maybe I'll be good to it when I'm berry picking this weekend.
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Confucius
Don't knock on Death's Door.  Ring the bell and run.  He hates that.


Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 7/23/2007 6:33 PM (GMT -7)   
I get Lyphodema, it comes and goes. sometimes I use the sleeve as well. Try to avoid getting any blood taken from the arm, do it in the hand. Also...when you go to dry off from taking a shower, instead of using the towel and going from shoulder to hand go up...hand to shoulder. Hope this makes sense. I had 12 nodes removed on one side and 5 on the other. Hope this helps!
The true joy of life is in the journey

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 892
   Posted 7/26/2007 4:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Re: That Bee Sting:  I wouldn't worry so much about lymphedema as I would about cellulitis.  You're scenario matches mine exactly.  When I first saw the dr. I was sent home with an ice pack and zithromax.  By the next day the arm was red, swollen, stiff and painful
When I saw my own internist later on the second day, she started IV antibiotics right in the office 2 times and a third the next day.  Plus I took 500 mg capsules of cipro for 21 days after the third IV.  I also ate a ton of yogurt, trying to avoid a yeast infection.  It worked.
Drs. like to think they know all about cellulitis/lymphedema, but in reality know very little about its tx.  Hmmm, but I haven't met very many drs. who are willing to concede that they don't know everything. Even when I told the first dr. that I was worried about cellulitis he blew me off. 
Be your own advocate. Find out about cellulitis and protect yourself. If your dr. isn't listening; you need a new one.
Regards, Luci
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.  Albert Camus

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2016
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/21/2016 3:28 PM (GMT -7)   
barkyboys said...
I don't know about lymphedema from a sting like that, but you can get cellulitis, which can be very dangerous as well. If the itching doesn't subside, then go back to the doctor. But please be sure to check with the oncologist, at least.

Hope it's better soon.


Thanks so much Bev, this is exactly what I had happen to me after a bad bee sting. I only learned about it through this post. Thank you so much for alerting me to go to urgent care and check for this. My regular doctor looked at it and didn't have any concern, when it continue to swell, I called my oncologist but she was not in. I went to urgent care based on your post, and it turned out it was cellulitis. Thanks for your post here or else I would have never known what to be concerned about. I'm now on antibiotics and it's starting to subside. The bee sting was on the side where I had six nodes removed 10 years ago.
Thanks again,
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