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Should I still be on pain-killers?

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2019

I had a lumpectomy about two months ago. Big lump, 6cm, I think (is that big?) and I didn't have any trouble with it. They gave me hydocodone and I never needed it, or even tylenol, was back to work in 4 days.

Then they told me there were cancer cells on the edge of the tissue they'd taken out. I decided I didn't want to chance having to go in a third time, so I said just go all the way, remove both and no reconstruction. That was four weeks ago. It still feels like I have barbed wire stretched across my chest, and the big rolls of numb tissue under my arms (severed muscles?) hurt. I get through the day at work, knowing that I can allow myself to take 5 mg of hydrocodone in order to sleep and the pain will stop for a little while. My husband is freaking out a little because he's afraid of me getting addicted.

I feel like I was not given adequate post-op advice or care. They told me nothing about the lumps under my arm (a fellow double survivor told me what they were). When my surgeon took out the tubes and ripped the tape off the stitches (surprisingly little pain for that) she told me it looked like I was healing extremely quickly (at 1-1/2 weeks) and that was that.

The hospital didn't give me any pain-killers when they discharged me, so it was fortunate that I had my hydrocodone from the lumpectomy. Then I ran out and I was really desperate because it hurt so bad. My husband, bless his heart, went out to get me some marijuana (which is legal here) and THAT was an experience that I hope I never have to repeat (can you say baaaad trip).

So, I have these huge, numb lumps under my armpits and barbed wire chest pains and I can't sleep without a very strong pain-killer even after four weeks. Is this just par for the course, or is has something gone wrong? There's no heat or fever or red streaks so I know I don't have an infection. Am I just being a big baby and I need to suck it up?


Posts: 46
Joined: May 2019

I had a double mastectomy Nov 2018 and my armpits are swollen, feels like barbed wire around my chest, pain in my ribs occasionally, and feel like a ton of bricks are on my chest when I get out of bed.  I also have some flab under my arm and a little flab below. The doctor said just in case I want reconstruction in the future, he left some extra flab.  No you are not being a big baby and no you don't need to suck it up.  LOL.  I am still trying to find something to relieve the feel of barbed wire across my chest. I thought it was all in my mind until I read your comment.  I do excercise and had physical therapy and still no relief. If you decide to take PT or do any type of exercise, please talk to your doctor.   Please if you find something or have some advice about making the feeling of barbed wire across my chest go away please let me know. 

Apaugh's picture
Posts: 856
Joined: Aug 2016

Keep it up warrior,  you will forever be in maintence mode.  Ask your doc to get you inito a little PT.  Learn what they teach you and then you can do that on your own for the rest of your life.   I have been since 2016 and know I will have to always do this to stay loose and ease the pain.  I dont take pills, I stopped those 6 wks post op.   Take tylenol and do your massage and stretches.  I am now doing them plus going to the Y  3 days a week for pool rehab aerobic in warm water only.  Cold water makes me hurt.   




Ibjustfine's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2020

I I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and wished I had asked for more pain meds.  If you don't go through it you don't realize the pain of the swelling even.  I only had about 3 weeks of pain meds and would pillage the house for muscle relaxers.  I don't think you are extreme at all.  After watching now how they do what they do?  You should be in pain and why the officers are not more honest about this is unreal to me.  Feel better and take care of you!!  If you have a nurse navigator, share all of these concerns with her.  Mine ended up getting me to take a bot of XANAx which also helps to loosen you up.  Also, sleep with lots of soft fluffy blanket throws against that check.  Kind of hold it there.  It acts like a compression and worked wonders for me.  My existence in life got so much better after about 3 months...but it was still about 3 more months until all of the discomfort went away.  Sounds like you went back to work pretty early, you poor thing!!  Of course you are in pain!  Also, I was surprised how much tylenol they will let you take and how much that helps too.  Take Care!

Posts: 7
Joined: Apr 2020

I had a single masectomy and your not supposed to even go back to work for at least six weeks. As far as pain that stuff is super addictive I d be really careful pt does help alot. Noone like to be in alot of pain but getting addicted to pain meds is no good eigther. I'm sure your talked to your oncologist what has he said! It is normal to have the lump under your arm think most of us do

And pain depends on the person and what they can handle just be really careful. I took that stuff and couldn't function just like being high and I pita know ex addict. 

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