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May 20, 2012 11:41AM, edited May 20, 2012 11:52AM
It's been a long time since you posted this (Nov 2011), but since I found your post as I was researching exactly what you describe, I thought I'd reply in case it helps someone else. I had lumpectomy surgery on 4/3/2012 for early stage 1 cancer in my right breast, and three lymph nodes were removed under my right arm, so I have two incision locations.
I have been told by multiple medical professionals that the sharp shooting pains, aches, burning sensations, electrical shock sensations, feelings of engorgement and aches up into my right arm are totally normal and can last a year, and even beyond. In addition, I also have many of the same sensations as others have posted: feeling that the nipple is being retracted inward, pulling and tugging within the breast in a different location than the incision. Although I have not tried the cabbage leaves (no cabbage handy!) I, as others, do periodically feel the need to use soft icepacks which really do seem to help. I also continue to find the need forTylenol, often in combination with Ibuprofen to help alleviate some of these symptoms.
From my consultations with medical professionals and from research I have done on my own, I believe that some of this pain is nerve related pain. Many of us suffer from numbness after surgery, and some of the pain and sensations we feel are a result of small nerves coming "back to life" (my term). Unfotunately, I find that to some extent, the neuropathy (nerve pain) does not seem to be controlled by either anti-inflammatories (Ibuprofen) or pain relievers (acetaminophen/Tylenol),
One of the things that seems to bring more of these symptoms into action is stress. Often in a stressful situation, the symptoms clearly flare up. I also agree that being rested helps me a great deal and I have fewer symptoms. There will be days that I finally feel "almost back to normal", and then I'll have a day or two of symptoms all over again. I'm resigned to the fact that this is apparently normal, and I need to find ways to deal with it.
You may have already discovered this, but there are clinics all over the country that will offer Mammograms at no cost to those whose insurance does not cover them (or they are without insurance). While every one of us who accesses this site is certainly at risk for the recurrence of breast cancer, although I am no expert, I can tell you that the symptoms you describe are identical to the ones I have continue to have, simply as a result of the surgery.
I hope that this may server as a source of some encouragement to others. Blessings to all who are dealing with this.... K :)
Dx 3/20/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 04/03/2012 Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Radiation Therapy 05/29/2012 ExternalHormonal Therapy 06/01/2012 Arimidex