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Topic: Sharp, jabbing zinger pain in reconstructed breast

Forum: Pain — Share important questions and provide support to others experiencing breast cancer and treatment-related pain.

Posted on: Apr 4, 2013 10:12AM

1openheart wrote:

I have been having a lot of generalized body pain in my neck, upper back and shoulder blades for the past 2-3 months and have been seeing my myofascial physical therapist and my acupuncturist.  So far, I have not found much sustained relief. But I am always hopeful and I know that this kind of body work will always be beneficial on some level.   Today I have had some sharp, jabbing zingers into the middle of my scar on my reconstructed breast.  I had a lot of breast pain during the first year after surgery....but this is different.  That pain was both deep inside the area where my biopsy was and also shallow and on the surface of my skin, like hypersensitivity.  Luckily, that discomfort has pretty much gone away completely.  These new zinger pains are pretty intense.  I'm coming up my two year surgery anniversary.  Could these jabbing pains still be nerve regeneration?  Any one else experience this?  Thank you!

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Posts 1 - 18 (18 total)

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Apr 4, 2013 03:31PM 1openheart wrote:

I hope it is not bad form to bump my own thread.  :)

"The wound is the place where the light enters you." ~ Rumi

Dx 4/28/2011, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+Surgery 06/15/2011 Mastectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left); Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent), Nipple reconstruction (Left)
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Apr 4, 2013 03:49PM ruthbru wrote:

Yes, it could still be the nerves growing back. That can take years and years.....I still get a few 'zings' almost 6 years out.

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche

Dx 2/2007, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Apr 5, 2013 04:32AM 1openheart wrote:

Thanks for your reply, ruthbru.  I still find it so strange that I can't feel anything pleasurable any longer, but the pain still seems to come through.  Frown

"The wound is the place where the light enters you." ~ Rumi

Dx 4/28/2011, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+Surgery 06/15/2011 Mastectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left); Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent), Nipple reconstruction (Left)
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Apr 5, 2013 10:36AM ruthbru wrote:

Go do something fun...pain or no pain!!!!!

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche

Dx 2/2007, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Apr 5, 2013 10:43AM 1openheart wrote:

Thanks....I did not mean I can't find pleasure in my life, just that I cannot feel pleasurable sensations in that breast any longer.  We have a fun weekend planned.  I hope you have a great one too!

"The wound is the place where the light enters you." ~ Rumi

Dx 4/28/2011, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+Surgery 06/15/2011 Mastectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left); Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent), Nipple reconstruction (Left)
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Apr 5, 2013 10:46AM ruthbru wrote:

That will take a long time but you can expect that it will keep getting better. I have so much work today, that my weekend will not be that pleasurable...boo hoo!! (I just got back from vacation, so don't feel too bad for me.)

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche

Dx 2/2007, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Apr 5, 2013 01:02PM 1openheart wrote:

Hope you went somewhere fun!!

"The wound is the place where the light enters you." ~ Rumi

Dx 4/28/2011, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+Surgery 06/15/2011 Mastectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left); Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent), Nipple reconstruction (Left)
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Apr 5, 2013 01:13PM ruthbru wrote:

Yes, I did. Sunny, warm Arizona!

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche

Dx 2/2007, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Apr 14, 2013 10:43AM cinnamonsmiles wrote:

Hello. Just thought I would chime in...I am 2 years and 3 months out from my BMX with node removal and I still get the zaps,too. Sometimes they are jolts that make me jolt...sorry for the crude humor. But hey, I gotta have a laugh here and there....Anyway, sometimes they feel like a bee/wasp sting.

I don't know if it was last summer or the summer before. I had been outside, came in and rested on the sofa. All of a sudden I felt like I was stung by a bee. I jumped off the couch, shaking my tank top, running out the door screaming for my partner, Brian, that I had been stung by a bee. There was no bee sting anywhere, no bee to be found.

Fastfoward to winter... I was getting a jar out of the cupboard while standing on a chair and I felt like I was stung by a bee.I had to chuckle to myself how funny it was that it was just the darn nerves and not a bee....

As for pain...I have post mastectomy pain syndrome from the nerve damage from the BMX w/no reconstruction and node removal, and lymphedema.

I see a pain clinic to help manage my pain.

Can you tell my about yours? And have you talked to your doctors about the pain?

Mastectomy without reconstruction was NOT the worst or only available option. I chose it and am happy with my decision.

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Apr 14, 2013 01:41PM 1openheart wrote:

Hi cinnamon...how are you this lovely day?  We had just a beautiful day here.  I spent my time digging in the dirt, planting herbs and flowers and spreading mulch.  I bet I'll pay dearly for it tomorrow!

My current breast pain comes and goes, much like your bee sting pain.  That is a good analogy.  The neck, shoulder blade and upper back pain is relentless.  But I have had some relief over the past week.  I think that the acupuncture is kicking in and with the myofascial release PT that I get weekly, I am beginning to have some days where the discomfort is not so bad and have been able to practice yoga some again.

The post mastectomy pain after my UMX did not start until about 3 mos after my surgery.  It was really uncomfortable.  Like I said in my original post, the pain was really on two levels.  I hurt at a deep muscular level when I would move my arm.  And then I had a lot of sensitivity, nerve like pain whenever I touched my upper outer quadrant.  Funny thing was is that it was exactly where my stereotactic biopsy was.  One of the things that I used to help get some relief was a One Touch Cold Laser.  My PT had one in their office.  I used it regularly.  In fact, I purchased one to use at home.  It helped a lot.  

Then I had the surgery for nipple reconstruction and lift to the remaining breast.  My PS also did a pocket revision on my foob.  After that surgery the pain was gone!  I was so happy.  Weird thing though.....about the same amount of time passed as after my UMX and the pain returned....exactly like the pain I had 3 mos. after my UMX.  MY PS and PT both think it is caused by scar tissue forming and nerves regenerating.

Knock on wood, I have not had much trouble with that pain in several months.  I hope it stays away.  I did not start using the laser until after the pain returned the second time.

I really do think that the shoulder pain and upper back/neck pain is also related to my surgery.  There is a fair amount of tightness across my chest and up into the neck and over the shoulder and down the upper back.   I have not been able to practice yoga as much as i like.  Whenever I raise my arms up in a sweeping motion, I feel tightness down my arm into my hand.  I don't see any evidence of cording and neither does my PT.  I did have truncal cording after my second surgery....several tight painful guitar string cords running from under my breasts down into my belly. I had incisions under both breast....one to perform the lift on the natural breast and another on the foob when he removed the implant to do the pocket revision.   These cords were very painful.   They did not occur until about 3 mos. after that surgery and lasted another 6-8 mos after that.  Luckily, the are gone now.

Probably more info than you wanted.  I hope that you get some relief from your discomfort soon.  I was considering going to a pain clinic at one point.  I have not talked to my surgeons about the neck/should blade pain.  I see my BS for my check up next week and I am having my yearly breast MRI tomorrow.  I hope that my over doing it today in the yard does not make lying in the MRI machine more difficult than it already is!!

Take care, cinnamonsmiles!

"The wound is the place where the light enters you." ~ Rumi

Dx 4/28/2011, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+Surgery 06/15/2011 Mastectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left); Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent), Nipple reconstruction (Left)
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Feb 20, 2014 04:44AM Colt45 wrote:

My wife is 15 months post bilateral mastectomy with axillary clearance (21 nodes removed on her right side) and immediate reconstruction (right breast had cancer/ left breast did not).

Just yesterday she told me she got a "pain" that started the day before.  She described it as a sharp, zinging pain.

She pointed out the location to me---it was on the inner edge of her right breast, but not on her scar line.  

I felt the area and felt no lump.  It felt exactly like the same area on her left breast, which had no pain.  The skin is smooth, no redness or discoloration.

She also told me she feels no lump.

She was wondering if it could be nerve regeneration.  

She's going to make an appointment with a doctor, but she wants to know which one she should see (BS?  PS?  Who?)

Anyone else hear of this/ experience this?

Any advice or positive thoughts would be appreciated.

Husband

Dx 10/9/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 11/07/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/13/2012 Adriamycin, CytoxanChemotherapy 02/07/2013 Taxol
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Feb 20, 2014 04:54AM karody wrote:

I am 4 years out.  I still get those crazy nerve pains, too.  Sometimes for no reason, sometimes if my lymphedema is flared up it seems like I get them on my affected side.  Maybe the nerves are just rearranged in a way that they feel things differently.

Dx 9/10/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 4/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy 09/21/2009 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolSurgery 02/21/2010 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Surgery 02/22/2010 Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Hormonal Therapy 03/15/2010 ArimidexSurgery 09/10/2010 Prophylactic Ovary Removal (Both)Surgery 09/20/2010 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Radiation Therapy 10/27/2010 ExternalSurgery 03/20/2011 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
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Feb 21, 2014 10:47AM Colt45 wrote:

Karody, thanks for checking in.  I hope some more members can offer their insight.

Husband

Dx 10/9/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 11/07/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/13/2012 Adriamycin, CytoxanChemotherapy 02/07/2013 Taxol
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Feb 21, 2014 06:34PM Ariom wrote:

My surgeon gave me a lovely explanation for the zingers I was experiencing. He said there were nerves that had been cut during the surgery that were regenerating and trying to find their other half, and that sometimes they actually do!

I am not one who reconstructed, but I believe the feeling is the same either way.

Openheart, I too, had Mondors Cording, just as you described, and running from where my right nipple had been down my abdomen and branching off like a tree branch. I was told it was "self limiting" and it was. It was gone in a bit under 10 weeks. I had it massaged by my remedial massage therapist, who did Myofacsial release on my chest too.

I call this, the surgery of strange sensations. I did my exercises religiously and I have massaged my chest every day to avoid adheasions and I believe this has helped in both acceptance and in helping with these unusual sensations. I have just had some revision surgery for my "Dog Ear" at the end of my incision this week and have felt some zingers again. At least I know what they are this time:)

Nerve regeneration, adheasions, scar tissue, they can all cause pain or discomfort, but hopefully they will either disappear with time, or we just become so used to them that they no longer bother us.

Dx 11/2012, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodesSurgery 12/19/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)
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Feb 22, 2014 05:21AM Colt45 wrote:

Ariom,

Bless you once again for taking time to help.  You always help.  You're a special lady.

Husband

Dx 10/9/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 11/07/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/13/2012 Adriamycin, CytoxanChemotherapy 02/07/2013 Taxol
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Feb 22, 2014 07:12AM Maddie57 wrote:

Hi Colt45- Just wanted to reassure that those sharp zinging pains seem to be completely normal. As the other ladies have said it is the nerves regenerating. The nerves further away from the scar obviously regenerate more quickly. The pains there will probably change over time from a sharp zinging pain to a weird sensitive pins and needles feeling if  any clothing rubs on the area. A bra seems to catch a nerve at the edge of one's armpit after a while. This pain/feeling changes over time, and the good news for your wife is that she will probably get some feeling back there in a few months. If the area gets red or swollen then you need to see the Dr.

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Feb 22, 2014 08:08AM Colt45 wrote:

Maddie57,

Thank you for responding.  It means a lot to me and many others, I'm sure.  

As I mentioned earlier, the 'zinging area' felt normal in that there was no lump (just like the identical area in her unaffected breast)  and the area had no redness or discoloration of any kind.  The skin was smooth with no swelling.  

My heartfelt thanks go out to all of the tremendous people on this site who tirelessly come to the rescue of so many when questions and concerns arise.

You are all such beautiful people.

Husband

Dx 10/9/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 11/07/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/13/2012 Adriamycin, CytoxanChemotherapy 02/07/2013 Taxol
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Feb 22, 2014 10:15AM Ariom wrote:

Thank you Colt, it is an absolute pleasure to answer any questions you put to us. I, for one am so glad that you're so "there" for your wife, and have been, every step of the way. We hear so many awful stories here of husbands who never step up, or who are wonderful at the start and then waiver as time goes by.

You are the "rock" that every woman needs on this journey!

Dx 11/2012, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodesSurgery 12/19/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)