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Question-Surgery site healing

ptomom
Posts: 26
Joined: May 2002

Hi Everyone:

I had a double mastectomy with 6 months of chemo and five weeks of radiation and now on my way with my five year drug. I still have the numbness in my surgery site i.e. under arms and tightness across my chest. Is this a normal feeling. My husband assures me it is nerve ending healing. But as positive as I have been through this journey, we always have that small wonder about reoccurance. I would appreciate some information or comfort. Thanks!!

iris48's picture
iris48
Posts: 92
Joined: May 2002

Hi Ptomom,
You didn't say whether there was lymph node involvement and if they removed any. That too would be adding to your discomfort. I use the heart shaped pillows at night to prop both my arms so the weight of them doesn't do that pulling or the arms fall asleep (I too have had a double mastectomy 8/21/01 with chemo my last session ending in Dec. I also found that by moving your arms without weights initially helped in improving the range of motion. I'm a licensed massage therapist so for me having my arms work is critical. I used orange glow on my kitchen cabinets and polished that the counters wherever I could reach. My husband would have to do the top halves of the cabinets because I didn't want to climb. The house smelled good and I got some excercise. The body takes time to heal and it is amazing what we do to it and it keeps on ticking. I have my expanders in now for over a year... and have had to wait for my body to untraumatize before I attempt my reconstructive surgery. Hang in there. Sending hugs.
Iris

ptomom
Posts: 26
Joined: May 2002

I did have two lymph nodes involved. I was staged at a two. What is an expander? I have ugly what I call "wings" on each side where the surgery line ends. I was told I can have them removed. I have not decided yet on reconstruction. Although the thought of wearing the uncomfortable, heavy substitute is also mind boggling. Although I must say I am glad to be here. I am 45 years old with two young sons. Thanks for the info. Hope to hear from you again.

cruf
Posts: 931
Joined: Oct 2000

Don't worry about numbness and tightness. That's perfectly normal. You may always have the numbness cause when they do the mastectomy, nerves are cut and grow back at a very slow rate and often the sensation never returns. As far as the tightness, that should ease up with time . Are you doing any exercise? Gentle stretching will help that. Good luck! Keep us informed! HUGS!! Cathy

banker
Posts: 321
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi, I had a mastectomy 4 yrs ago, still have numbness and tingeling ,the nerves are cut in that area. For the tightness, the surgeon explained, there is scar tissue, which contracts when healing, some more then others, gentle stretching should help . Since I had my tram flap reconstruction (1 yr later) all that scartissue was removed, but the numbness is still there. No big deal, its normal. I can understand your concern, in time it will get a bit easier. Take care, if you have questions just ask. Hugs....Emmi

ptomom
Posts: 26
Joined: May 2002

Hi Emmi,

what is a tram flap reconstuction? I have "wings" as I call it on each side under my arm that are ugly and sometimes uncomfortable. I was told that this could be removed even if I don't opt for reconstruction. I haven't pursued reconstruction as yet due to needing breathing space from the year's roller coaster. See ya Darla

martyzl's picture
martyzl
Posts: 196
Joined: Jun 2002

Hi Darla! I'll step in for Emmi as she's tied up with chemo today...
I am a "Flapper" too. It's the movement via tunnelling under skin of abdominal skin/fat/muscle up into the breast region (in my case, the surgery was done at the same time as the mastectomy and we used my breast skin as a "pocket", filled it with a sling of muscle and fat, abdominal skin which was removed when my original skin survived.)
There are loads of sites out there- one is:
http://www.breastdoctor.com/breast/reconstruction/TRAM.htm
Do remember, before you are put off by pics on the net and such.. they don't always look like this!! In fact, if you wish, I can send you a pic of me just out of the hospital which isn't scary at all. *smiles* Everyone is different and every plastic surgeon is different. Mine is divine! *grin*
Of course, I felt different JUST after surgery!

If you need any more info or have any other questions, feel free to ask. My email addy is zenhound@cac.net
Have a wondrous day and remember, wings are not all bad. *smiles* Look what birds do with them. (penguins, etc. excepted- they are impressive in their own right!)
Marty

shirlann
Posts: 235
Joined: Oct 2001

Hi, dear I am coming up on 4 years and have numbness under my arm and even tingling in the fingers of that hand. I am afraid this is permanent if you had axilliary dissection? If you didn't then I agree with your husband. The nerves take a long time to find "friends" on the other side of the site. So be patient. Tis is not a sign of recurrence. Hugs, Shirlann PS I still can't sleep on that side and feel a "pulling" funny feeling. So much loose tissue in these areas, I guess. Don't worry.

ptomom
Posts: 26
Joined: May 2002

Hi Shirlann

Thanks for the info. I feel so much better since I put this note on here. I have been a bit concerned in the back of my mind regarding something coming back just when I finishing up. It was been a long, frustrating road. Gee I'm getting tear-eyed just tying about it. I definitely is an emotional roller coaster regardless how positive I am. I also have some slight numbness in my fingers and pulling/tightness feeling every so ofen. I guess I need to do some stretching exercises. Thanks!

judy22
Posts: 119
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi there. I had my mastectomy 5 yrs ago and I still have the numbness and tightness there. you woll get use to it Judy

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