Burning Stabbing Pain 6 Months After Surgery

My dad had an upper lobectomy, with 3 ribs removed, back on March 24 of this year. He seemed to be healing nicely around his 3 month mark, and now we're about at the 6 month mark and he is having very bad pain under his arm, on his back and around his shoulder blade. He describes it as a stabbing and burning pain. We recently went to a pain management doctor last week, who prescribed him something that is helping a little but not a ton. My dad barely does anything all day because of the pain, barely eats, and is skinnier than ever. I have no clue how bad the pain feels but I wish he would try to walk more and get back his appetite. He also sleeps a lot. I don't know if it's a mixture of depression and pain, but something needs to change. We have an appointment to go back to the pain management doctor next week. Has anyone else had this kind of set-back 6 months out, or experience this kind of pain? The doctors confirm it is normal, but it seems strange that he would be getting better at first, then seem to be getting worse.

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I think your dad may be suffering from a mixture of depression and physical issues. I had my surgery two years ago and still have pain, pulling, tightness and other weird sensations. For me, being active has helped. When i am sedentary for long periods of time the pain and tightness is worse! Your dad should give an antidepressant a try and.. he needs to start moving! The antidepressant will help with his mood issues and increase his energy level so that he may be more apt. to exercise. It is very easy to give in to the pain and feel sorry for yourself but he needs to know that he can live a normal and active life after the surgery if he chooses. In spite of my issues I have no physical restrictions in my daily life..I run, bike, weight train etc...

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My sis didn't have surgery but radiation gave her basically the same kind of pain. Her pain management dr put on her Cymalta. It did help her. They use it for pain the diabetics get. As with any other drug please read possible side effects. This was the only thing that helped her.

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Sounds a little like the pain I experienced 10 months after surgery - it was shingles. EXTREMELY painful!
Tennis1

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Shingles is one thing to check for and another is that it could be the nerve endings starting to connect again. I had surgery in 2002 and I found the nerve reconnection extremely painful, but not all the time. I had a mild case of shingles (had vaccine a few years ago) and it sounds more like that kind of pain. There is a lot of help if it is shingles. I would call his PCP and get him seen ASAP. Good luck to you both

Sandie

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My husband had surgery in August. If your Dad is not eating and is very fatigued, you might want to have him checked for dehydration. Since my husband was diagnosed in April, he has been hospitalized 6 times for dehydration. He wants to sleep all the time, barely eats or drinks. It may not be the answer for you Dad, but it is worth checking. My husband had upper right lobe lung surgery in August that was not completed, when they found that the middle lobe also involved. He is on the Fentanyl patch (100 mcg) for pain with 5-10 mg Oxycodone for break through pain. Here's hoping that we may be 'managing' his pain. Meet with his oncologist later this week. Good luck to your Dad. I will be thinking of him.

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Omg! I've been looking for something like this for a while now.
On December 26,2009 I was diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer stage2. Had the lobectomy on January 04,2010.
I had the upper right lobe removed with apart of 3ribs.
Recovery has been little hard at first and I even thought I had snapped back to the old me early-on to only to find out that I was over doing it.
It's been 9mos since my surgery and I still have the burning stabbing feelings too.
Some days better than others, just take it one day at a time and thank GOD for one more glorious day'
you and your dad are in my prayers

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As soon as I read this I was also going to reply SHINGLE. My mom had her surgery November 17th 2009. 2 weeks ago she started to expierience the same exact pain. a week later the rash popped out. The pain comes and goes she is on pain meds as needed and they also gave her a cream. If it is shingles, there is an anti viral drug they can give you within 72hrs of the rash coming out, and it is supposed to work pretty good.

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The protocol drug for shingles is "valtrex." It really doesn't help with the pain but supposedly stops it from spreading. I was pretty much horizontal for several days taking vicodin and xanax just to escape the excruciating pain. All in all it took almost a month to recover. The good news about my rash was that it did not blister. It has been six months and I can now get the shingle vaccination - it won't prevent shingles but will hopefully lessen my chances of getting it again. My theory for getting it is because it attacked my incision from lung surgery - an area of my body that was compromised and shingles is known for attacking weak areas of the body. I would definitely get to the doctor and demand some kind of answers!
Tennis1

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I had a lobectomy in 2004. I have had burning pain in my LEFT shoulder blade that worsened with activity. Even now I get Right back/ shoulder blade area pain ( under my scar...duh) at certain times..it is worse with activity, and for some reason worse when I am cold. You know there are a lot of large muscles in the back and when they do that surgery they cut, and pull and stretch everything all out of whack. Some people are never quite the same after. There is a name for this, it is called post thoracotomy pain syndrome. You can google it for lots more info.
Good luck to you and your Dad.

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Hello sm444 ,I have the stabbing tingling type pain, about where the big scar is, it just started a couple days ago. I been dx with Large cell Neurodoctrine carcinoma! theyI had the vats surgery on my left upper lobe,on June 4th 10, 4 months ago, i just thought my surgen really tore me up inside ! It hurts worse when i walk. I will see doc this week. I hope it won"t get any worse,just finished chemo,going to get 1st cat scan, next brain rads i guess? Good luck to your dad chet1

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I had my ULL removed the end of June 2010. Once the typical surgical pain subsided and I was home, the burning/stabbing type of pain started, or came to the surface because I was reducing my oxycontin dosage. A nurse suggested Neurontin (Gabapentin) and it has worked wonders for me. The pain is less severe and less frequent. It is typically used for shingles, fibromyalgia and neuropathy but ... whatever works! In fact my insurance company initially denied its use since I was no longer undergoing chemo (the neuropathy), but we "discussed" it and they changed their mind. I would suggest that you read about it's side effects and decide accordingly.

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I do have another suggestion. I have continuing never pain. Two of my docs believe I may have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). They are not sure what causes it. In the case of CRPS Type II, it is started by nerve injury. This is where we come in. CRPS I has no identifiable nerve injury. Here's a website for more information:

http://www.rsds.org/2/what_is_rsd_crps/index.html

Shingles is also a type of nerve pain. Lyrica is used to treat shingles now.

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Thanks for all your replies. Not sure if you saw any of my other posts after this, but we ended up bringing my dad in to the ER on October 6th and after having a ct scan they found a tumor that was pressing on his spine...therefore the unbearable pain. We were in shock, considering everyone including the doctors said it was nerve pain and also mentioned "post thoractomy syndrome". Good thing we made him go. They started radiation immediately and now he will begin chemo again next week. He is still in pain, but who's to know if it's from the surgery or from this tumor. I just hope he responds well to the chemo. We were not expecting this when we brought him in to the ER, but we are ready to fight this again. Trying to stay strong...Thanks everyone

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Hi,
My hubby, now 2 years and 6 months out of surgery still has tightness in area of his surgery. He had described exactly what your Dad had for ayear after surgery or more. Some days better than others and complaints were mostly at bedtime. The nerve endings have been severed....they are searching for the other ends to reattatch. If the same nerve is not found it just lingers and I was told that causes the pain, the throbbing...etc. My husband took Norco for the pain, now he is on a lower pain drug, Vicodin for only when needed, once a day usually or not at all.
There were times I felt he was acting a bit like Doc (on the show "House"). He would get irritable and really crabby. All is better now until he gets into Politics....LOL. Hang in there....it will get better, but do get excercise and on pain meds at least at night.

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