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Topic: Sentinel Node Biopsy - I now have pain and numbness

Forum: Help Me Get Through Treatment — Medications and other treatments, medical benefits, and managing side effects.

Posted on: Jan 17, 2011 02:00PM

heavenschild wrote:

I had a sentinel node biopsy the end of December and now I have pain around the edge of my shoulder blade and down the inside of my arm, can anyone relate?  Should I exercise, or will that make it worse?

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Posts 1 - 27 (27 total)

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Jan 20, 2011 10:35AM JulieH wrote:

I had the same pain.  It was actually worse than the pain at my lumpectomy site. It eventually goes away, but I did find that mild stretching helped it out over time.  Since I had just one node taken the exercise wasn't too much of an issue.  My armpit is still numb, but the pain really is gone, about 1 month and 3 weeks out from surgery.

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." - Marcus Aurelius Chemo started 1/18/11. DD A/C x 4 + DD T/H x 4 + weekly Hx52 then rads (completed 7/6/11)

Dx 12/10/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 21, 2011 03:46AM heavenschild wrote:

Thank you so much that gives me hope!  The surgeon accidently nicked a blood vessel during the lumpectomy, so I had to go in for an emergency surgery to excise the hematoma later that night (I looked like Dolly Parton). It definitely wasn't fun.  Been afraid to do any stretching or exercising (the doctor's office said not to exercise), but I will do some stretching.  It was actually very painful to the touch, sleep has been an issue. 

Dx 11/27/2010, DCIS, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 11/2012, DCIS, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 12/29/2010 Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Surgery 01/28/2011 Lumpectomy (Right)Radiation Therapy 03/10/2011 ExternalSurgery 01/23/2013 Mastectomy (Both); Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)Surgery 06/07/2013 Reconstruction (Both)
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Jan 21, 2011 03:53AM jacee wrote:

I had the same type of pain. It did go away. But you should always be aware of signs of lymphedema anytime a node has been removed. I had alot of surface pain that remained tender to touch for months. I found with all my breast surgeries ( biopsy, lumpectomy, mx, AND, DIEP reconstruction) that there are all sorts of "phantom" pains, shooting pains, nerves coming back to life and most of them go away in time.

My body has cancer, my spirit does not!

Dx 4/27/2009, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 1, 3/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 05/05/2009 Prophylactic Ovary Removal (Both)Surgery 06/06/2009 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 07/06/2009 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolHormonal Therapy 01/04/2010 FemaraRadiation Therapy 02/12/2010 ExternalSurgery 09/09/2010 Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)Surgery 10/09/2011 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
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Jan 21, 2011 04:23PM Pompeed wrote:

Had the same problem.  More pain from the node dissection than from the breast surgery.  Along my side and into my back.  It has eased considerably since the surgery in August.

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Jan 21, 2011 04:38PM shells43 wrote:

Katetarbill - welcome to the club.  I think your symptoms are shared by eveyone who has had a SNB or axillary dissection of the lymph nodes. My armpit and arm from about the biceps back to my shoulder blade is still numb. I don't think exercise will have any effect on it because it is nerve damage. You should do your stretching though to maintain range of motion. Be careful shaving. Over time the numbness should lessen.

Rt. Mx 3/11/10 no recon. FECx3-Tx3. 28 Rads. Finished 10/26/10. Arimidex. On with life.

Dx 3/8/2010, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 03/11/2010 Mastectomy (Right)
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Jan 24, 2011 04:59AM Vlady4848 wrote:

Hope you are doing better. I had sentiel biopsy right before my surgery the same day, Lumpectomy. I was very sore, seemed more sore from biopsy than surgery. I work full time. Went back 2 weeks after surgery. Im sure it will get better. I think light stretching and exercise is good. It seemed to take a while, was very sore. good luck to you.

vicki

Dx 8/27/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jan 24, 2011 06:25AM Letlet wrote:

Vicky, just saw that you were diagnosed on the same day that I was. It's a little surreal to know that someone got the same bad news on the day I had it...

Dx 8/27/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 6/23 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2+
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Jan 24, 2011 07:59AM Paula66 wrote:

Hi all!  I to have the feeling of pins and needles under my arm, but have noticed that it has let up.  It was driving me a bit crazy, but I keep telling me myself is that it does get better with everydays passing.  The thing I find strange is that I had more nodes taken on my left side and have none of this going on. Strange huh?

Fight Like a Girl!!!

Dx 10/24/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 2/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 24, 2011 08:19AM WinterStorm wrote:

If you are talking about phantom pains, I had that. And what I found to bek most helpful was self massage. These little pains and the pins and needles are a good thing!

Mindy xxx

Mindy

Dx 7/21/2010, IDC, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 24, 2011 01:46PM phxsunshine wrote:

Ladies thank you all for sharing your stories. I've had pain that comes and goes as you describe.  I saw my Rad Onc on Thus. and she said she believes the pain is from nerves damaged or severed during the SNB procedure.  I've been doing stretching and it helps and I began a yoga class today, and fingers crossed it helps too.  It's good to know this is normal, even if it is annoying.

Lumpectomy & re-excision, Oncotype DX score 8, no chemo. Canadian protocol rads.

Dx 5/24/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 06/10/2010 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Surgery 06/21/2010 Lumpectomy (Left)Radiation Therapy 08/12/2010 ExternalHormonal Therapy 09/12/2010 TamoxifenHormonal Therapy 02/14/2011 FemaraHormonal Therapy 07/05/2012 AromasinHormonal Therapy 08/30/2012 ArimidexHormonal Therapy 10/03/2012 Tamoxifen
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Jan 24, 2011 01:57PM flopsy wrote:

I had a axillary node dissection and BMX and I still have pain and numbness in my chest and underarm.  I have found that if I sleep with the little soft pillows they gave me after surgery it does not wake me up anymore.  My surgery was in May and this is still an issue for me.   My surgeon told me that I will always be numb but I will adjust after time.  I sure hope so.

Sorry you are having these issues also and I hope you will improve.  Definitely do the stretching exercises and some gentle massaging because it does help.       Hugs to you Ginny

flopsy

Dx 5/3/2010, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 1, 5/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 05/15/2010 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Chemotherapy 06/25/2010 Adriamycin, CytoxanRadiation Therapy 09/08/2010 ExternalHormonal Therapy 09/22/2010 Femara
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Jan 24, 2011 03:52PM bevin wrote:

HI there. I had pain, numbness and tingling down to my fingers.  I did the stretching excercises the BS gave me starting 3 days after surgery.  I did them faithfully every day and they really helped.  I am 5 mos out from surgery now and have almost no pain. Just a little tenderness around SN biopsy site. But all the other issues have gone away.  Ask you BS to give you a chart showing the stretching you can do. It honestly helped me a ton.  Good luck to you.

Age 45, Oncotype 11, Primary Tumor 2.1 cm, smaller satellite tumor nearby

Dx 8/8/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 08/10/2010 Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Radiation Therapy 10/10/2010 External
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Jan 24, 2011 05:38PM heavenschild wrote:

Yeah, receiving the diagnosis was surreal.  I have fibrocystic breasts, so never worried, ha!  I have my second lumpectomy scheduled for this Friday, not looking forward to it.  My surgeon is wonderful, it seems a shame to have to open up such a beautiful scar!

Dx 11/27/2010, DCIS, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 11/2012, DCIS, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 12/29/2010 Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Surgery 01/28/2011 Lumpectomy (Right)Radiation Therapy 03/10/2011 ExternalSurgery 01/23/2013 Mastectomy (Both); Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)Surgery 06/07/2013 Reconstruction (Both)
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Jan 25, 2011 06:58AM phxsunshine wrote:

katetarbill- I had a re-excision 10 days after my lumpectomy in June. Not something you look forward to but I actually felt better afterwards, my surgeon said she'd drained off a lot of fluid that had collected in the hole.  Never needed anything more than a tylenol for pain.  I hope you have the same good outcome and I'm sending you hugs and prayers.

Lumpectomy & re-excision, Oncotype DX score 8, no chemo. Canadian protocol rads.

Dx 5/24/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 06/10/2010 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Surgery 06/21/2010 Lumpectomy (Left)Radiation Therapy 08/12/2010 ExternalHormonal Therapy 09/12/2010 TamoxifenHormonal Therapy 02/14/2011 FemaraHormonal Therapy 07/05/2012 AromasinHormonal Therapy 08/30/2012 ArimidexHormonal Therapy 10/03/2012 Tamoxifen
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Jan 30, 2011 11:25AM nancep wrote:

I had sentinal node biopsy 1/15 (2 nodes) and yes I have annoying pain and numbness.  It hurts to touch under my arm, hard to explain.  I know it hasn't been long since surgery so trying to be patient.  It's nice to know I am not alone.  I go for brachy therapy tomorrow--I get so anxious about all the potential side effects of all these treatments.  Thanks for listening.

Dx 12/14/2010, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 30, 2011 11:50AM charlottesmama wrote:

Hi all. I've had very little pain from the SNB, but a fierce and persistent itching in my arm-pit. I'm not giving in to the urge to scratch. Putting pressure in the arm-pit seems to help. It comes and goes. Tried hydrocortisone, but figured it's really internal--the nerves healing. I'm going to take a Sudafed to see it that helps.

A/C, Start date: 2/8/2011. Uni-MX and DIEP 5/3/2011. Taxol start: 6/3/2011

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Jan 30, 2011 12:44PM phxsunshine wrote:

I saw my Rad Onc a week ago and my surgeon on Friday and both said these pains are normal and they may come and go for years and not to worry about it.  There is nothing I can do that will injure anything, i.e., I can keep my exercises up, but if something seems to irritate it, try to change or modify my activity.  I was relieved to know I'm not hurting myself.  I haven't found any pain reliever that seems to make any difference, so I'm thinking it is the nerves.  mfrenchcaz ~ I had that itchy sensation for a time too, but it's gone and hasn't come back.

Lumpectomy & re-excision, Oncotype DX score 8, no chemo. Canadian protocol rads.

Dx 5/24/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 06/10/2010 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Surgery 06/21/2010 Lumpectomy (Left)Radiation Therapy 08/12/2010 ExternalHormonal Therapy 09/12/2010 TamoxifenHormonal Therapy 02/14/2011 FemaraHormonal Therapy 07/05/2012 AromasinHormonal Therapy 08/30/2012 ArimidexHormonal Therapy 10/03/2012 Tamoxifen
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Jan 30, 2011 01:48PM, edited Jan 30, 2011 01:49PM by BeckySharp

This Post was deleted by BeckySharp.

Becky

Dx 1/20/2011, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 31, 2011 01:38PM heavenschild wrote:

Thank you - it is actually getting better.  Funny that is the worse part of this whole ordeal!

Dx 11/27/2010, DCIS, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 11/2012, DCIS, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 12/29/2010 Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Surgery 01/28/2011 Lumpectomy (Right)Radiation Therapy 03/10/2011 ExternalSurgery 01/23/2013 Mastectomy (Both); Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)Surgery 06/07/2013 Reconstruction (Both)
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Jan 31, 2011 04:25PM Blah2 wrote:

Yes,  I have that, just as you describe, and after BLMX I have scar tissue pain.  PT can help, especially with shoulder pain.  So can a GOOD experienced massage therapist

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Jan 31, 2011 04:28PM Letlet wrote:

My axillary LN dissection has so far been much worse than my mastectomy. I have so many arm issues and pain - the surgeon certainly glossed over that part!!! I had read a ton of literature regarding the mastectomy and none regarding the LN dissection, I was completely blindsided as to how much it screwed up my arm.

Dx 8/27/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 6/23 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 2, 2011 08:49PM DiamondGirl wrote:

Hi, I had snb and there was no pain post surgery. It was around the 2nd or 3rd week of rads that irritated it. I'm 60 days out of rads and my underarm is still tiny bit swollen and at times sensitive. There is slight pain under shoulder blade too. When will this go away?

~ Whenever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive. Matthew 7:7-8

Dx 6/29/2010, IDC, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 4, 2011 12:09AM annielynn wrote:

I am so glad to have you all in my life. 4pm the morning, can' t sleep..but hear you are! I had bmx with 2sentinel nodes taken from each side. It feels like scratchy sand paper is constantly rubbing even when naked. I start my te fills next week so will ask for advice. How long before you can shave the arm pit.?

Dx 12/13/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3
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Feb 4, 2011 03:12AM Beesie wrote:

annielynn, my underarm was completely numb (except for the pain from the nerves regenerating) for 6 months.  I went out and bought an electric razor. 

Be prepared for the sharp shooting pains that run from your underarm right down your arm.  Mine started a couple of weeks after my surgery.  That's the nerves regenerating.  I can't recall how long those pains lasted but I don't think it was too long.  Overall my arm was numb for about 4 months; my underarm for 6 months.

Dx 9/15/05, DCIS-MI, 6cm+ Gr3 DCIS w/IDC microinvasion, Stage I, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- “No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke

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Feb 4, 2011 11:31AM MIchelle67 wrote:

Annie: I echo what Beesie said. I had a snb in December and it was numb for a while and then suddenly I had this strange buzzing sensation there, followed by the shooting nerve-regenerating pains. I'm happy to report that now its back to normal, one day the unpleasant feelings just stopped. I hope the same happens for you. I also used an electric razor for a few weeks but am now fully healed and using a ladies' blade, very carefully.Smile

"Women are like tea bags, you never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

Dx 11/30/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 5, 2011 05:41PM JeanH wrote:

Hi all,my SNB was on 12/1. With a second incision later that day to repair a bleeding blood vessel that had formed a hemotoma and started to bleed out as I was leaving the hospital....
I still have tingling in my pinkie on the left side...and pressure in scar area even fromapplyimg deodorant was sore in beginning much much improved now.
BS said it was all the nerves regenerating and will take awhile to repair.

Jean

Diagnosed 10/26/2010. Completed treatments except for ongoing tamoxifen.

Dx 10/26/2010, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIb, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 2, 2013 02:33AM, edited May 2, 2013 02:35AM by 2good2btrue

Glad to know that I'm not alone...Just had a core biopsy of lesion and lymph node, and my arm is weak, painful and still getting shooting pains and radiating shoulder pain.  Talked to the Dr about it, and she told me that it could be because sometimes surgeons hit a nerve...After reading all of your stories, I don't believe her at all. 

This is annoying to have to go through this and hoping that it will eventually return to normal....Cheers