POST MASTECTOMY ARMPIT/BREAST PAIN

I HAD MY MASTECTOMY ON JULY 21st- I've been in constant pain- my armpit (WHEN I STRETCH IT TOO FAR) FEELS LIKE SOMEONE IS STABBING ME_
MY BREAST IS SO SORE- it's hard to sleep- sharp pains randomly throughout breast-
anyone out there w/ similiar experiences-
HELP!!!

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Hi Chadneyann -- My double mastectomy was on July 5 and I also went through the stabbing sensation thing -- didn't even have to stretch. The stabs would make me yelp aloud. Was afraid to venture out in public -- figured folks would think Tourette Syndrome. If you are not still on pain meds (percoset?), you might advise doc that you need to resume. Don't skimp. No glory in suffering. Can't heal if you get no rest. See if there's a pain specialist affiliated with your hospital and get an appointment. Barring that, you might have to go with Advil PM at night. I still have to. My doc told me the stabbing may mean that damaged nerves are trying to knit themselves back together. The stabbing has abated -- now only happens a couple of times a day. If it happens at night, I don't know it as I'm downed out on Advil PM. So very sorry you're going through this.

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Hey! Wondering whether the stabs are starting to abate. Still get them at times, but they seem to arise from an intense physical therapy workout. Hope you're feeling better.

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Hi Chadneyann, yes, i too had the stabbing pain, felt as if someone was truly stabbing me with a knife, takes your breath away. I too advise staying on the pain meds until this subsides. hope you feel better!!!

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Hello Chadneyann, I had my BMX on May 13th and had pain similar to what you describe. If you are not in PT I urge you to get there soon. I walked into my first session literally holding one arm and hurting all over. The session was painful and as I walked out I was convinced that maybe I was starting this stuff a bit too early and that by tomorrow whatever I was feeling would be twice as bad. Surprisingly the next day I felt remarkably better. The first few sessions afterwards were also difficult but I could see results, better ROM , and feel results, less pain. I've had both hips and a shoulder replaced so I'm no newcomer to PT but I never thought that following a mastectomy I would see such rapid results. Take your pain meds on a regular basis especially before you go to PT if you decide to go. It's so much easier to stretch when you have something in your system that dulls the pain. It will get better.
Barbara

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I had my double mastectomy last Feb. 2010 and to this date I still have a stabbing pain right under my left armpit. I have it about 3-5 times a day and it is a killer. I have asked both my breast surgeon and oncologist and neither said anything about it. I thought I was crazy until I saw everyone's post. I hate that everyone is going through but glad that I am not alone and not crazy.

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Over a year? How awful. I'm amazed ur docs haven't told u how to remedy this. I can't imagine going through this another year. These pains stop me in my track.

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Kirby8 -- you're NOT crazy. Once got hit by a stab and almost fell down in the kitchen. My stuff is gradually improving. But not gone. You are NOT nuts!!! Please!!! Could you check with your doctor/hospital/surgeon as to a real honest to goodness pain specialist?

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I had my breast surgery in April (2011). I had a full mastectomy - they took out all breast tissue and 17 lymph nodes. I too still get pain. I also still have an expander that will not be removed until my next surgery in a few months. I also waited a while to get PT, which has made a big difference after only 2 sessions. I am currently undergoing radiation, so my armpit, neck and breast are really sore. Because of the expander, it always fees like it is pulling and sometimes I do get the big stab. I think some of this may just be the healing process.

I would emphasize that PT can be a great help.

I have also learned there are different ways to get treatment. I am on Medicaid (Medical in CA). They don't cover alternative treatments like acupuncture, massage or other non pharmaceutical interventions. But, sometimes, if you go to a mid size to large cancer center they can help you figure out ways around the system, and get you the treatment you need.
Good luck, it will eventually either go away or become less intrusive.

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Thank you so much- it's nice to know I'm not the only one in pain

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Hi Chadneyann

I've had dbl mastectomy, chemo and radiation at 38yrs. old. I too get the stabbing pain but only in my left chest area. However, to echo other posts on here. I've found pt to help but swimming is what has really made a big difference in my recovery. I can stretch underwater with the natural pressure of the water helping as a compression. I also have mild lymphedema and cording in my left arm (15 nodes removed) 5 had cancer. so swimming has given me an amazing range of motion and kept the lymphedema at bay.
Hope this helps!
Stay strong,
Tricia

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Tricia,

I can see how swimming would be a huge help. I haven't done any pt-- my doc never even mentioned it. I'm going in for another surgery on the 17th- more reconstruction. . . not looking forward to it. Sounds like you've had quite a lot to deal with. . . chemo, rads, & a dbl mastectomy. I'm sorry to hear that. Are you taking tamoxifen?

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I'm scheduled to but have put it off ( with my oncologists consent) at the moment because I have had late onset of neuropathy in my hands and feet. so because this didnt happen immediately during chemo they're trying to figure out why...
Also I should say that I'm not doing huge arm swinging pool moves. Gentle breast strokes and just movement in the pool. Here's the link i looked at initially then just trust your body and how you feel. Dont over do it.
http://www.lymphnotes.com/article.php/id/24/

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what is neuropathy? sounds like problems with nerves/sensations? sorry you're going through that-
hope you get that worked out so you can move on-

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I just had a masectomy 12 days ago now getting " thunderbolt lightning pains " in chest area . Stops me in my tracks .
Glad I went on net to see I am not going to have a heart Attack .
Going to dr today to have drain tube removed , she sd that
Also may help to alleviate pain . I can handle everything else but this pain
Stops me in my tracks !

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I literally hear your pain. Just had second surgery- 10/17- reconstructive- breast is so sore I can hardly do anything. Have to wear sports tops w/ built-in breast support. . . bruised & painful. Going to doc tomorrow to check on progress. Had stomach redone too- fat was used to reconstruct breast in first surgery- itching & also really sore. . .

So sick of being in a state of either pain or itching or just feeling like crap.

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Chadneyann,
I post my question to you since you are the most recent poster about Mastectomy. Im scheduled to have a bilateral with immediate reconstruction. What was it like immediately after coming out of surgery..Did you feel different? like you were missing something? or does the immediate reconstruction sort of make it ok? Why did you have to have a second surgery? Im kind of a nervous wreck trying to figure everything out and be as prepared as i can be. any information that ANY of you can share will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Dietta

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Dietta,

Well, after surgery & immediate reconstruction, there's really nothing I missed, considering I had another breast already "created." As for the second surgery, the docs can only do so much the first time, so when I was healed enough, my plastic surgeon went back in & took out a lot of fat that was in the new breast to even it out & make it look like the other one. He also added a nipple. More of the tummy fat was removed & cleaned up.

Are your docs reconstructing your breasts from your tummy fat? DIEP FLAP- if so, be prepared for some serious discomfort. I was really sore for quite a while (but then I have NO pain tolerance whatsoever). The best part of all this (if there is a best part, aside from getting rid of the cancer) is the flat tummy- I've always wanted a tummy tuck, I just didn't think I'd have to get cancer to get one.

Anyway, good luck. I'm sure you'll do great. Just do everything your docs say-- & if you're in pain, tell them so- I wasn't shy at all about screaming my brains out when in pain-- got pissy with the physical therapist & he never came back to my room--

Chadney

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I had my double mastectomy March 2010 and had severe pain in my armpit ever since. I had one of my many reconstructive surgeries this past Feb. My doc looked under my armpit and didn't find anything. Just last week I had nipples put on and some small touch up and he checked under my arm pit because I was still having severe pain and he found a large mass of scar tissue that was causing my pain. It has been just over a week and I don't have any pain. I would ask you doctor about the possibility of scar tissue. It could be what is causing you pain.

Kirsten

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Kirsten,

that's a good point... my doc told me the other day that I'm a "scar maker"- scar tissue as well as physical scars-- yeah for me!! I will mention it to him, however- thanks

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Well I just got home from a 5 day hospital visit for the dbl mastectomy. Overall, im pretty sore but i do feel that the pain is under control with the pain meds. I was very nervous about what id feel like when i woke up. While my body is terribly different, its not nearly as bad as i thought it would be. I even think that after the expanders come out (changed my mind from TRAM/DIEP at the last minute) my body will not be as foreign to me as i imagined. I also wanted to post to say thanks to whoever told me to get the XL pajamas prior to the surgery. They came in really handy and i felt so much more prepared because i heard the wisdom from all of you ladies. Thank you again! Good luck and many blessings to come!

Dietta

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