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Pain in my scar!

cboone75's picture
cboone75
Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2012

So it's been a long time since I've posted.  For any who do not remember me, I had a 22 cm tumor on my Right Kidney.  It's been almost a year since my surgery and for the past couple days, the top end of my scar (part that starts on my right Latissimus Dorsi) has been burning.  Today, it freaking hurts bad...I can barely move my arm without feeling the pain. 

Anyone feel this?

 

Chris

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Chris,

Good to hear from you & glad things are basically going well.  My scar is directly above my navel and considerably shorter than yours I'm sure, but I'll relay my experience although it may be unrelated.  A few months after surgery I began having intense burning pain in the area of my scar, it would start low and over a minute or two build to the point that I could not move and I got light headed and nauseous.  The peak pain would last about a minute and then the pain would subside over the next two or three minutes until I felt normal, each episode lasted perhaps five to eight minutes.  This happened about once a week at first and diminished to about once a month over several months, it has been close to a year now since the last time.  The doctors told me it was most likely due to nerve damage from the surgery and that nerves take a long time to heal/regrow and it should go away over time.  As long as my scans were normal there was nothing to worry about.  I have a much larger scar where they went through my left rib cage and lat to repair damage from the accident that led to my diagnosis, but never had any similar pain there.  My advice would be that if you haven't called your doctor, you should.

Hope this helps,

Gary

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Even knowing you're young and an athlete, many of us who've been here for a year or more must have been dying to know how you are, and also the answer to Gary's question. 

Given the size of your tumor (I still remember your exchange with iceman, who was sure you must have made a typo!) I, for one, have worried about whether you'd made it.   For the benefit of newcomers, can you give us a few details of your path report Chris? 

I'm inclined to agree with Gary that it would be as well to seek medical advice on the pain.  Have you otherwise been trouble-free?  I hope so and it's really good to hear from you again.

cboone75's picture
cboone75
Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2012

I'm happy to know that you all remember me.  Unfotunately it's for our common reason instead of being a rock star or somethign of the sort.  To answer you and Gary's question, married life has been good.  It was definetaly a strange start to our marriage as I had just gotten the all clear a week prior to leaving for our wedding and honeymoon.  Since the wedding, we've just been working on making the house better.

As for my large tumor, I do not remember to many of the details, it all happened so fast a lot of the details escaped me.  I do know that going into the surgery, it was supposed to be a 21 cm tumor and it turned out to be slightly bigger at 22 cm.  

 

No worries now, through 6 months I was all clear.  I have my one year check up in April and will have a chest scan and another CT scan.  Only problems I've had is the random pain in my scar, which does not burn any more but does still have a sharp pain from time to time.  Pretty sure it's nerve damage but I'll follow up on it in April.  Also, I've had one hell of a time getting my motivation back for the gym and work.  Just try and wake up everyday and tell myself to get after it. 

Hope you and Gary are doing well since this was an answer to both your quesitons.   

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1720
Joined: Oct 2011

I'm still disappointed that I couldn't stand in for you and dance with your wife. ......nobody loves me....but,...let's look at the possibility that after all this time an adhesion has finally started to break free. That may cause sharp pain as the area will get pretty inflammed.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Fox, could you expand a little?  What would precipitate the adhesion breaking away and what is the nature of the inflammatory respone? It sounds like a plausible additional explanation for some of our pains.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1720
Joined: Oct 2011

A stitch that has been holding soft tissue together may have finally disolved or broken allowing for the separation of dissimilar tissues which pull apart. The result may be micro tears which may bleed, stimulate a free nerve ending which creates pain, or can be partially released pulling one area but not another. Sort of like being snagged by a small fish hook. The irritation may create inflammation. Adhesions may break from normal  dissolution or from mechanical means such as stretching or muscle contraction. Dissimilar tissues held by stitches or scarring would be like skin bound to fat, or muscle to fascia, muscle to fat, etc. Think of sewing up a small tear in your pants while you wear them. You may end up stitching into your pocket or even underwear. Then when you try to move or reach into your pocket, everything is stuck. Keep forcing it and something will give. Maybe pants, maybe pocket, maybe underwear... Or if you got snagged by a nail as you turn a corner. You don't go to much further... Or think bout the limit your golf swing would have if your shirt was too small and tucked in tightly in your pants. The problem isn't your swing. The problem is being restricted at your waist which won't allow your shoulders to turn or follow through. That's an adhesion. And often distal to the area of complaint

This process explains alot of long term post op pain. Most often totally undetected by any medical tests. It doesn't show up in blood work, xrays, or scans. Good therapists can find them and assist in freeing up such tissue with release of pain. The process is called Myofascial release. There should be plenty of internet description. On a less technical level, massage therapists do this. Surgeons at times go back to remove scar tissue. Same thing.

Here is an interesting anecdote. It is felt that there may be a sort of "memory" associated with fascia and its related scarring. Let's say someone experiences multiple injuries from an accident. They get fixed up by drs, but have long term pain. They experience loss of range of motion and mobility. Their therapist identifies a "restriction" limiting the mobility. He or she begins the process of separating the scar by specific soft tissue manipulation. As the process progresses, the person verbalizes "reliving"the experience associated with the accident in an almost reverse order. Cool or what? I've seen it many times. I've seen therapists start with the "laying on of hands" on a patient but not told of the physical complaint a patient has. Following the natural rythm of the body as one breathes and as fluid circulates throughout the body, the therapist can sense areas of restriction and complete a diagnosis. Believe me. I've done it.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Thanks Fox. I'm so glad I asked.  Not only a helpful explanation but a fascinating addendum which really is cool ("more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy").

cboone75's picture
cboone75
Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2012

I'm sure you would have made for a much better dance partner than myself...dancing is not one of my strong points!

cboone75's picture
cboone75
Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2012

I'm sure you would have made for a much better dance partner than myself...dancing is not one of my strong points!

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1720
Joined: Oct 2011

I wasn't Class Dancer for nothing in high school. The black guys called me "Sunshine!" Motown was big 40 something years ago, I whispered quietly under my breath.

GSRon's picture
GSRon
Posts: 951
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Fox... I was born and raised in the Motor City..!  We have far tooooo much in common...

Be Well..

Ron

cboone75's picture
cboone75
Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2012

I'm sure you would have made for a much better dance partner than myself...dancing is not one of my strong points!

Limelife50's picture
Limelife50
Posts: 405
Joined: Nov 2011

The only problem i am having are these muscle like contracting cramps in my right side where nephrectomy was performed and i am a year and 4 months out

JackieP125's picture
JackieP125
Posts: 55
Joined: Jan 2012

I have a long scar too. Sometimes it is very sensitive and painful. I ask the Oncologist about it a couple of weeks ago and he said it will take time for all that to go away because I have a lot of scar tissue. I can't stand anything tight around my waist and (although not in your case) the wire in my bra just kills me.  It's been 1 yr since my surgery. I have had to re-think my entire wardrobe.  Also, I have a never ending back ache in my lower right back that I have complained about to all my doctors. 

GSRon's picture
GSRon
Posts: 951
Joined: Jan 2013

I too have some "sensitivity".... mostly around my waist area... but when the doctor poked me, nothing..  Remember they most likely cut through some nerves and I suspect we get these phantom aches and pains...  I wear looser clothing than I would want to...  I came out of the hospital with a 6 inch smaller waist size..!  Oh, the Surgeons named my incision the "Mercedes".. yes that upside down "Y" is pretty big... but I am amazed how much of it has mostly healed...

Ron - in not so sunny California today..

cboone75's picture
cboone75
Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2012

You are correct, no wire to worry about in my bra!  I do have and have had lower back pain in my right side for a good 6 months prior to my surgery and still have it.  THey told me that was probably nerves being pinched due to the size of my tumor.  I have nothing there now though so not sure if it just damaged the nerves and they haven't come back? 

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Chris, it was reassuring to hear that the wire in Jackie's bra isn't troubling you, or in your bra either!  Embarassed

For everyone still troubled with significant pain, it may be worth noting that there is a medical specialty of pain management and it could be worth seeking out an expert if the pain gives too much bother?

 

flatlander's picture
flatlander
Posts: 46
Joined: Dec 2011

I am laying here in pain on my partial nephrectomy side. For those who don't know.... Surgery 14 months ago didn't go so well, tumor was bigger than thought, got MRSA infection from hospital and wound wouldn't close etc. Had a cath for 2 months, stint in ureter... Oh and he took half a rib as a 'precaution'. So I got put through the wringer but I'm alive. My 12 month scan just went by and he said I still have swelling and a small pocket of fluid where I had been leaking for months. BUT no cancer ! And good kidney function. So believe me I am grateful tobe alive. That said, a few months ago I had prostititus. Antibiotics made everything feel better. Now the aching back has returned but no other symptoms. So I feel guilty to whyne as so many people are still fighting cancer. However that said I freak out thinking I need another round of antibiotics. Then I remember I shoveled snow for two hours today and say to myself its just that. I guess my ramble is trying to say, I'm comforted to see others still have aches and pains from adheisions etc. It doesn't mean I'm dieing or sick again. There's comfort in knowing you're not alone. Someone cutting you almost in half can still hurt a year later and its okay. I'm going to call him even though he said my urinalysis showed no infection last month and if he says don't worry I'm gonna have a.rum and coke and shovel some.more.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

How fine it is to have the flatlander we know and love drop by and to know that he's doing well. 

I know I'm one among many who've been wanting to know you're OK.  Following on from having Chris re-visit, after so long, and start this thread it's all good news.  You and Chris are spectacular cases and show us all that we can deal with amazingly tough spots and come through.   I hope you and Chris will continue to touch base here, at least once in a while.  (Chris, have you consulted your doc about the burning sensation just to know for sure it's ok?)

flatlander, I mentioned you to a recent arrival here roaddr23 - a fellow fire-fighter and one very tough lady - just like you.  If you haven't seen it, you will enjoy reading her story. You'll get the background in her thread called  "Feeling Anxious tonight as the Surgery date gets closer"  You'll find that easily by looking down the list of threads, or by going to:

http://csn.cancer.org/node/253665

She just got out of hospital on Saturday and I'm guessing she'd enjoy hearing from you.  I looked hard, but in vain, for that very moving post you gave us about how all your 'brothers and sisters' in your Fire Department helped when you needed them so badly.   Are you, or anyone else here, able to run down that posting?  It was such a lovely and inspiring story that it would be a shame not to be able to read it again.

Eims's picture
Eims
Posts: 409
Joined: Feb 2013

Chris I am not sure where you are but if you could get your hands on some Bio Oil and rub it in twice a day.  It really helps with scar healing and its inexpensive so it might be worth giving it a try.

Eims x

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