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Guess I jumped the gun a bit

missrenee's picture
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

Last week my pain level after my mastectomy on 8/10 was pretty minimal. Then, the pain/numbing medicine ball with catheter finished and I was told to pull out the catheter--I'm expected a couple of inches. Silly me--I'm pulling, pulling, pulling--12 inches came out of my chest! Luckily, it didn't hurt, but they could have told me--right?!

Anyway, for the last 4 days (the numbness is subsiding), the pain over my ribs along with the intense pressure has been pretty darn annoying. I saw the surgeon yesterday--he pulled my drain (yeah!). He said things looked good and I asked him, then why does it feel like you've knelt on my chest below my incision and broke several ribs. He was like, "Gee, that's unusual that you're feeling that." I hate it when they do that--it's like really--out of the 1,000's of mastectomies you've done, you've never heard that?!! I'm not going to blame you for anything--just tell me it's okay and it can happen. It just feels like the muscles over these ribs have been ripped.

Everything feels so tight there and getting up from a laying down position requires a set of hands to help me.

Just waiting for all of this to get better. I've heard from so many of you that you had minimal to no pain--makes me feel like a baby, but this is real.

Hugs, (but very gentle ones), Renee

EveningStar2's picture
Posts: 494
Joined: Jan 2009

is different. And most of us did not have local anesthesia (the ball that you removed) so you are where we were right after surgery. Are you taking pain medication? Maybe even tylenol? I'm 6 weeks out and my ribs on the right are still tender--my surgeon said "I'm not surprised" I need to ask her what that meant. And my left, unradiated side is fine but the poor right side still hurts when I lie on my right side. So you gotta deal with what *you* feel--it's all different.

Hang in there.


salls41's picture
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2012

The more you do move around, the better it will get. But don't beat yourself up over your pain just because some of us didn't have it. Just remember what your body has been through! Ouch, it should hurt! Take ibuprofen if you can. Everyday is a bit better!

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

Oh Renee, I'm so sorry you're dealing with all this pain. Part of me thinks it's a little like having a baby...we are maybe forgetting how painful it really was. I can't truly say there was no pain, but it did gradually reduce.

Has your surgeon given you any gentle exercises to do yet? I know that with the pain, it is probably the last thing you want to think about. But the gentle stretches I did helped more than anything else to reduce pain and get me back to 'normal'. Does your LE specialist also do PT? It might be good to see him/her when your surgeon approves it.

And yes, I agree they should have prepared you for 12 inches. Glad you are done with the drain, that's one step closer to recovery!

I hope you can get out and enjoy the day the day today...maybe Barnes and Noble starbucks again...

hugs (gentle of course),


smalldoggroomer's picture
Posts: 1181
Joined: May 2010

I'm so sorry you are having this pain. I had right side mastectomy and I didn't have this much pain. My numbness is ever lasting though and I am almost 2 years out from surgery. I want you to know you are in my prayers and thoughts. Wishing you are feeling better every day. Take care Darlin Kay,

Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

gentle hugs heading your way...wow 12 inches...I would have been on the floor..prior warning would have been helpful...right?

I hope you feel better soon..I have no advice since I had lumpetomy..


Penny67's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

Oh Renee I completely feel your pain! When I came out of surgery last August (double mastectomy with expanders ) I woke up with the most intense, take your breath away pain and I started to cry. It felt like I had an elephant was sitting on my chest and I couldn't breathe. It probably didn't help that I got back to my room from recovery at 11:30 pm and was really sick from anesthesia. I felt like I was being a baby because my mom had gone through a single mastectomy 6 years prior and never had any pain. I have heard that if you have expanders put in during surgery, that can cause quite a bit of pain.

I will tell you that the numbness and pain do subside, but it does take a while. I still find that the bottom of my left arm does not have all of the feeling back and probably never will. When I think back to where I was last year at this time and where I am now, it seems like an eternity ago. Good luck on your journey and hope your pain goes away soon!


RE's picture
Posts: 4644
Joined: Feb 2004

You are not a baby Renee you are hurting and its just fine to say so! I hope it lets up soon, no fun! I am really surprised they had you remove that catheter yourself without giving you all the particulars geesh! Keeping you in prayer!


Sunrae's picture
Posts: 808
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi Renee, You're not a baby if you pulled out the cath yourself. I don't think I could do that. Baby yourself for a little while and then start gentle exercises. When I had my masectomy I came home with 3 drain tubes. Now that bothered me trying to move around, take showers, etc. My husband had to empty the tubes ever so often and keep a record of how much fluid came out. The chest was so tight and sore and I think I was on percoset for awhile. Sorry that you're in such pain and hope you get relief soon. Take care, Love, Sunrae

trixytwo's picture
Posts: 59
Joined: Nov 2011

Lots of prayers your way

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