A Node to a Lymph (not to be confused with An Ode to a Nymph!)

Before all this I had of course heard of lymph nodes, but I had never given any thought to what they are, what they do, how many we have and what they look like!  Waking up with mass theft of lymph nodes and the unexpected discomfort (ie PAIN and TWANG), naturally made me curious about these weird things we all seem to have.  And even though I knew nothing about them, I realised that I did have a lot of pre-conceived impressions about them.

Pre surgery I did not really have much idea of what they really are except that they are hidden away somewhere and get swollen sometimes.  Apparently lymph nodes belong to the immune system and are found all through the body, and act as filters or traps for foreign particles.  (Thanks, Google 😉 ).  That is why they are often tested for signs of cancer cells, in order to establish if the cancer has spread at all. Hmmm.

In my mind I imagine a lymph node to be a little bit like a tiny, baby octopus.  So the thought of having 15 removed from under one arm is really weird – that is an impressive swarm!! No wonder the upper arms can get a bit flappy!  I was really disillusioned to see them described in several (thanks again, Google) places as “small bean shaped organs” Beans??   How disappointing!

I was also mildly disappointed to learn that there is no definitive number of lymph nodes – we all differ.  Well, all I know is that I have 15 less now!

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One thought on “A Node to a Lymph (not to be confused with An Ode to a Nymph!)

  1. I was given a booklet published by the Breast Cancer Care charity. There are apparently 20-30 lymph nodes per armpit but only some of them will drain the breast (i.e., can get infected by breast cancer).

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