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Anyone have breast pain after lobectomy?

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2012

Up until now I've been an active, energetic person but things have changed. I was 70 in November. In December I had a scan for thyroid cancer (on hold for now) that revealed I had Stage II A, adenocarcinoma, a non-small cell cancer. The 6.3 cm (about 3 inches) tumor was completely removed, with all margins “clean” and negative pathology on all of the 17 lymph nodes tested.
I had the upper third of my right lung removed on January 20th. That is 4 months (or 123 days) from today. I was advised to have chemo to improve my chances of remaining cancer free.
I had half the chemo treatments but suddenly my husband needed surgery and I cancelled them in order to care for him. They made me very sick, tossing my cookies and all of that sort of thing. His recovery isn't going well, but that's another story.
I am ignoring my own pain to care for him and take him for his daily visit to his surgeon. My problem is pain. From the moment my anesthesia wore off, three days after my surgery, I have had pain from my sternum to the center of my right breast. This is NOT where my incision is. The incision is under my right arm and that area is pretty numb.
After three visits to my surgeon's office following my operation I was told that my ribs were accidentally broken during the procedure. The ribs and the cartilage. However, my pain doesn't seem to be from the rib as much as IN my breast.
To complicate matter, I had to stop the various medications I was given for the pain (Vicodin, Percoset, Oxycontin, Hydromorphone ) because of the nasty side effects. In addition to the constipation and feeling like a druggie, they all make me itch. Really itch! Even Benadryl doesn't help much. Ibuprofen, Aleve and Tylenol, which were recommended, don't help at all.
Pain level is something the doctors all ask about these days, although I feel the numbers are different for everyone. I feel my pain is mostly at a number two, with spikes to five or six (like today) and sudden, sharp spikes up to an eight. Basically, it hurts a lot.
Since this has been going on for so long I'm getting very depressed. I'm an actor and have had to miss auditions and work. I can't even wear a bra for more than an hour or so.
Has anyone had a similar problem or is there something else going on here? Something the surgery may have triggered.
I appreciate any information and encouragement anyone can provide.
A Maltese Mama

ellenm4's picture
Posts: 124
Joined: Dec 2011

Feb 28, 2012 left upper lobe removed and not done vats. This is nerve damage! It is a hurting numbing pain that does not go away! I went to a pain management Dr. He did a nerve block a few days later, the numbing feeling went away in a snap...the pain still the. But at least that horrible numb feeling is gone. Hope you and your husband both recover well. Will keep you both in my prayers!

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2012

Thanks Ellen,

I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow and was going to ask for a referral to a pain management professional and now, thanks to you, I know what to ask for. Nerve block: excellent. Was your pain a combination of hurt and heat? I described mine as "someone holding a blow torch" on my breast.

My husband is doing a little better today too so things don't look quite so bleak. His surgery (removal of 10 to 15 hernias and an 18 inch incision) was 4/20 — more than a month ago — but he's not healing as well as he should. Still tons of drainage (I take him to the surgeon's office daily for wound packing, although we change his bandages at home several times a day) and running a temperature due to infection. Honestly, this past weekend, between the two of us, we were a sorry sight.

I now know what avenue to pursue to end this pain so I thank you, with all my heart.
I hope you're doing well and I do thank you for your prayers. The same will go out to you.

A Maltese Mama (Brooke)

PBJ Austin
Posts: 347
Joined: Mar 2009

Hello AMalteseMama,

I had the UR Lobectomy in Sept 2009 and I thought the pain would never go away!! I also had a lot of pain in the ribs as well as around the breast. I couldn't wear a bra for the longest time either. My pain was not directly in the breast like yours and they never told me they broke ribs or cartilige but I'm sure they did. Even now, after almost 3 years, I still have considerable numbness and unpleasant tingling around the breast but it has gotten better over time. I know it's hard, you want to feel better ASAP but the body does take time to adjust and to recover from the trauma.

Sending you hugs and prayers, you and everyone on this board are in my thoughts every day.

ellenm4's picture
Posts: 124
Joined: Dec 2011

My pain was from my nipple to down under the breast about 2 ". It was a hurting burning numbness. After the nerve block that feeling was gone instant! I still have pain some now under the breast, under my arm and certain places on the scar hurts and burns bad. For a woman of 70 years young...you are doing great! I will keep you and you husband in my prayers. Sure hope he recovers a little better, boy it is tough when you both have major surgeries like that! May God be with you both. I pray I can be as strong as you when I get your age! Blessings!

Posts: 26
Joined: Nov 2011

I had my middle lobe removed in September, 2011. I had stinging pain inside my breast and pain as well. Still hate to wear a bra because I still sensitive. But no more pain. Just a little tightness around the chest sometime. It will go away just be patient. Try Pilates.

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