pain after masectomy

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cathg
cathg Member Posts: 21
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I have recently has a single masecetomy to remove two cancerious lesions. One ductual in situ and another, invasive. It spread to 4 of my lymph nodes. I am herp+ . I am scheduled to have herceptin, tax, radiation, AC chemo. I chose immediate reconstruction, but the skin graft did not take and I had to have further surgery to have my breast removed.

My question is: my arm is so painful. I am doing physio, but it has been alsmot 4 weeks since the first op and I cant straighten it out completley. I am worried as apparently you have to have your arm straight for radiation. I also have numbness and a strange sensation that feels like a sunburn that has spread from my arm, armpit and over my shoulder blade.

Do these feelings eventually disappear? I did not realise I would have such side-affects? How long does it take to get your arm working correctly.

thanks for your time and help

Blessings
Cathy

Comments

  • Gabe N Abby Mom
    Gabe N Abby Mom Member Posts: 2,413
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    Hi Cathy,
    I wish I could

    Hi Cathy,

    I wish I could answer your question, but my bilateral was less than two weeks ago. Is the radiation next in your treatment plan? or do you have some time to continue the physio and get that arm better? The numbness (and maybe the sunburn feeling) sounds like there has been some impact to a nerve. In my understanding, nerves can take up to year to heal/regenerate, and in some cases they never do. I know that's not what you want to hear...wouldn't it be nice if something could just make it all go away?

    I'm sure others here will also respond, and you'll find this is an amazing group...kind, compassionate, always there for you, and more. I hate that you had reason to find us, but glad you did.

    Hugs,

    Linda
  • aysemari
    aysemari Member Posts: 1,596 Member
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    Cathy
    I had a bilateral mastectomy and have not experienced pain
    as you describe. For me the pain from the lymph node removal
    was worse than the mastectomy. It's been 4 months since my
    mastectomy and sentinel lymph node dissection, and the pain
    just started to ease off. I am still very sore and sensitive under
    that arm.

    I think you should talk to your doctor. Maybe you do have nerve
    damage like Linda suggested.

    I hope that over time, your pain will ease off and you will get
    some well deserved relief.

    Hugs,
    Ayse
  • kt1127
    kt1127 Member Posts: 51
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    aysemari said:

    Cathy
    I had a bilateral mastectomy and have not experienced pain
    as you describe. For me the pain from the lymph node removal
    was worse than the mastectomy. It's been 4 months since my
    mastectomy and sentinel lymph node dissection, and the pain
    just started to ease off. I am still very sore and sensitive under
    that arm.

    I think you should talk to your doctor. Maybe you do have nerve
    damage like Linda suggested.

    I hope that over time, your pain will ease off and you will get
    some well deserved relief.

    Hugs,
    Ayse

    I had a mastectomy in NOv
    I had a mastectomy in NOv and the pain from the sentinel removal was worse than the breast I am lefty and it was my left side so it takes time. I still get tired and sore after writing or typing to long. Call your dr they will be the best ones to address the burning and pain. I did also hear that all nerves take several months to a year to bounce back from the surgery..Good luck
  • CR1954
    CR1954 Member Posts: 1,390 Member
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    Hi Cathy...
    I had one breast and lymph nodes removed. And the sensations that you describe are exactly how mine felt.

    It will take some time, and if you are shown how to do a few simple exercises with your arm...like walking your fingers slowly up the wall several times a day, higher and higher. Or, one that really helped me was to lie on a flat surface (I used my bed) and hang onto a broomstick with both hands. Slowly, raise the broomstick from your waist area and up. You will find when you begin that your "unaffected" arm will straighten, but not your "affected" arm.
    But over time, you will be able to straighten both, all the way.
    These exercises were specifically designed to help you get back your range of motion after having lymph nodes removed.

    I did have to raise my arm over my head for rads. And it was not very easy. But it was only for a few minutes at a time and it was not as bad as I had imagined.

    The sensations that you are describing from your mastectomy and arm, armpit will fade some with time. Mine was in 2008, and the sensations have not gone away completely. But they are not as noticeable as they once were.
    I'm told that it's because so many nerves were cut during surgery.....there are a lot of nerves in that area.

    When you next see your surgeon, or breast specialist, talk to them about what you are experiencing, if you need the reassurance. They may even have some pamphlets which show different exercises. But it sounds just like what I went through...except I opted not to have reconstruction.

    Hugs,
    CR
  • cathg
    cathg Member Posts: 21
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    CR1954 said:

    Hi Cathy...
    I had one breast and lymph nodes removed. And the sensations that you describe are exactly how mine felt.

    It will take some time, and if you are shown how to do a few simple exercises with your arm...like walking your fingers slowly up the wall several times a day, higher and higher. Or, one that really helped me was to lie on a flat surface (I used my bed) and hang onto a broomstick with both hands. Slowly, raise the broomstick from your waist area and up. You will find when you begin that your "unaffected" arm will straighten, but not your "affected" arm.
    But over time, you will be able to straighten both, all the way.
    These exercises were specifically designed to help you get back your range of motion after having lymph nodes removed.

    I did have to raise my arm over my head for rads. And it was not very easy. But it was only for a few minutes at a time and it was not as bad as I had imagined.

    The sensations that you are describing from your mastectomy and arm, armpit will fade some with time. Mine was in 2008, and the sensations have not gone away completely. But they are not as noticeable as they once were.
    I'm told that it's because so many nerves were cut during surgery.....there are a lot of nerves in that area.

    When you next see your surgeon, or breast specialist, talk to them about what you are experiencing, if you need the reassurance. They may even have some pamphlets which show different exercises. But it sounds just like what I went through...except I opted not to have reconstruction.

    Hugs,
    CR

    many thanks..and a few tears too
    It si so good to hear that Im not the only one. I had the most amazing physio visit me at home and she gave me some excellent steady exercises, mobilised my scapula , helped me with breathing to soften the chest wall ect...an angel!

    I did cry as it was the very first time someone int he medical field has shown sympathy and compassion.

    i start taxol and herceptin this week and I really dont want to do it. The thought of that first time...I will only have radiation later and then 4 sessions of the old red chemo...

    CR...are you clear and healthy now? what was your treatment?

    cath
  • CR1954
    CR1954 Member Posts: 1,390 Member
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    cathg said:

    many thanks..and a few tears too
    It si so good to hear that Im not the only one. I had the most amazing physio visit me at home and she gave me some excellent steady exercises, mobilised my scapula , helped me with breathing to soften the chest wall ect...an angel!

    I did cry as it was the very first time someone int he medical field has shown sympathy and compassion.

    i start taxol and herceptin this week and I really dont want to do it. The thought of that first time...I will only have radiation later and then 4 sessions of the old red chemo...

    CR...are you clear and healthy now? what was your treatment?

    cath

    Cathi...
    Hi Cathi, I was dx'd in July 2008. Right side mastectomy with all lymph nodes under right arm removed...9 out of 21 cancerous. ER & PR -. HER-2+ Stage IIIa.
    I had 4 A/C chemo, then 4 Abraxane (a cousin of Taxol) and Herceptin for a year. The Herceptin was every 3 weeks, and it was very easy...no real side effects for me, and won't cause you to lose hair.

    Then 33 rads.

    A total 15 months of treatment.

    As of right now (knock on wood!) things are good. And my arm is sometimes just a bt tight feeling when I try & raise it, but if I do it a few times, like a warm-up, it's fine. Like most things...use it or lose it. Regular use is probably the best thing you can do.
    I did develop some lymphedema in that arm and hand, and sometimes it gets very sweollen and painful. But that is a whole separate issue...lol!

    All in all, I'm good and I'm happy. It did take me awhile to get all of my strength back, but some of that could be attributed to just plain getting older too.

    I'm very happy that you got some great help! Everybody needs the medical profession to treat them like a person & not just a number. After diagnosis, you are scared to death, confused, sad...all of those emotions. So, any help that can be had, is a good thing.

    Don't be afraid to post when you are unsure of things, or scared, or if you just want to unload about something. We are here..I am here ..to listen and help where I can.

    Hugs,
    CR