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Topic: pain after lymph node removal

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: Jun 26, 2006 09:05AM

ktwist wrote:

Just wondered...how long did it hurt others in armpit area after lymph nodes were removed? Also, has anyone experienced pain behind arm on back or on the back side of the arm? I had surgery only a week and a half ago, so maybe this is all normal, but I have an area that is totally numb still and the other parts on the upper arm are ultra sensitive to touch. Also, I get very sharp pains going down my arm and behind my armpit on my back. Anyone else have this? One more thing...how long until you can lift light things again? I can't seem to lift anything without pain...even laundry. Only a tiny bit of swelling. Thanks-

Karen Log in to post a reply

Posts 1 - 27 (27 total)

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Jun 27, 2006 09:22AM Lhunhen wrote:

Karen,

It does get better with time. I had my SNB in April and it did take time to feel better. I am still numb in the armpit but not as bad as when I first had the surgery. Also those shooting pains your talking about do get less. Every once ina while (especially if I'm sleeping on that side) it will not feel good for a little bit.

When you go back to see your surgeon they will give you exersices to do to help get your arm muscles back to working. Do them as they do help. I have total movement in my arm now.

Take care and give it some time. It will get better. (smile)
Cathy
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Jun 27, 2006 09:32AM Sige wrote:

Karen-

My surgery was June 5 and I still have some pain. I have numbness in my armpit...I have the "electric shock" pains you're talking about...my surgeon says that's the nerves knitting back together and coming to life!! My skin is also extremely sensitive...surgeon also told me this was normal.

I have a question...when did you have your surgery and WHY are you doing laundry??? LMAO

Hugs,
Peggy

"Religion is about creation, and for that reason religion should be about the earth." - Laurie Cabot

Dx 4/3/2006, DCIS, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 03/25/2006 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Radiation Therapy 08/01/2006 ExternalHormonal Therapy 09/22/2006 Tamoxifen
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Jun 27, 2006 09:41AM Sandra1957 wrote:

Quit doing the laundry. My drains stayed in for 3 weeks and the mast. surgeon continued draining by needle for another 3 weeks. Started doing laundry at 2 weeks post bi-lat. as I felt so good, but was too much. When I saw the PS at 4 weeks post bi-lat. for my first consult. he told me not to do anything for two weeks and see if the drainage stops. He knew that my right side was draining more cc's because I'm right handed and was doing more with my right side. Even lifting the detergent container was too much. I

I'm always steppin' in and out of crap!

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Jun 27, 2006 02:15PM ktwist wrote:

ha...so I take it that's a NO on the laundry? I actually started doing in only a few days after surgery...but only lifted with the "ok" arm. It was a pain because it took so long doing it that way so I started using both...hence the problems. You know, 4 kids and a husband who is a contractor (hence "lots" of laundry) and things add up. I guess everyone will have to start pitching in. The most difficult part is my 3 year old who is trying so hard to be good..but still wants to jump into mommy's arms. (who is sitting on my lap right now..ha) I guess I will have to try to let things heal. I'm happy that the symptoms sound pretty normal. Thanks-
Karen
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Jun 27, 2006 03:44PM windygail wrote:

my surgery was in Oct 2005 and still get pain now especially after lifting (without realising), the numbness is still in armpit - it takes about 1 year after surgery to get proper feeling but not everyone gets full feeling so prob something to just get used to. Keep doing arm exervises to stop fluid building up and remember to protect your arm from scratches and burns to avoid lymphodema.

Hugs

Gail

Windygail

Dx 10/4/2005, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 5/20 nodes, ER+/PR-
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Jun 28, 2006 05:09AM Lhunhen wrote:

Karen,

(smile) Yes, I would not be doing the laundry so soon. Take it easy in the lifting and putting too much strain on that arm. The numbness is a strange feeling for sure.

Have you seen your surgeon for your post of visit yet?

Cathy
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Jun 28, 2006 08:22AM moogie wrote:

Hi! I had SNB and have had all manner of weird feelings in and around that arm. It seems to change as time goes on. My PS said there is a nerve involved in my case that has been excruciating and prevented me from opening even the fridge door with that arm.She has me massaging a big lump of scar tissue in the armpit that is near the nerve and exacerbating the pain. Apparently when the nerves heal it can resolve. Other sensations ( a creepy crawly thing on my side, an itching in an area that is completely numb from the outside, and sharp pins/needles like pain) seem to come and go with the healing process. a NURSE TOLD ME ITS THE NERVES " WAKING UP" from the ordeal. Everyone has told me that time is the best medecine, so I'm doing my best to be patient.Hope yours resolves soon!!!
moogie
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Jun 28, 2006 08:33AM ktwist wrote:

Thanks moogie...it helps to know that these syptoms are nothing to worry about. I hope you start feeling back to normal soon too!

Cathy, no...I have not had my post op appointment yet. My doc is out of town next week so I'm going the following week on the 12th. In the mean time, I'm just going to take others up on offers to help do the "big" stuff around the house. Thanks again!

Karen
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Aug 23, 2006 11:28AM jazziD wrote:

I will be having an axillary node dissection Friday, August 25th... I wanted to know, what the drain is like and what I will have to do with it? empty it, etc... Also, I want to go back to work.. I have a job where I type, I don't have to lift anything, so is it possible to work within, say, a week after surgery? How do you find out about the exercises, from the doctor? I know I have a lot of questions, please forgive my rambling... but I would like to understand what's going on before the surgery, so that I will know what to expect. Please help ... Dee

Dee

Dx 7/7/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 3/27 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 23, 2006 12:53PM Binney4 wrote:

Hi, Dee, and welcome,

Gee, you've got enough on your plate this week without having to apologize for asking questions! They're all good questions, and I'll try to answer what I can and trust others will be along too.

The drains are longish tubes with bulbs on the end that draw out the accumulating fluid following surgery. You'll be taught to empty it, measure the drainage, and keep the fluid moving in it. Everybody agrees they're pesty and obnoxious, but try to think of them as your good friends, because they prevent even more obnoxious (and sometimes painful) fluid buildup that can lead to other troubles. They're a GOOD thing, and however you may feel about them after a couple of days or a couple of weeks, you definitely don't want them pulled early.

You can find out about the exercises from your doctor or the nurse at the hospital, but you probably won't unless you ask them specifically. I believe the American Cancer Society also has a booklet about post-surg exercises, so call them up and ask for one (or ask your Reach to Recovery volunteer, if you have one).

I don't know about going back to work -- do ask your surgeon. It will depend somewhat on YOU, since we're all different. Within a week after my surgery I would probably have been fine with it, though driving can be a trial.

Small soft pillow for under the seat belt; a fanny pack to hold the drain bulbs; plenty of pillows to arrange around you when you get home; a long shoe lace or fabric bathrobe belt to tie around your neck when you shower to hang the drains on (if your surgeon lets you shower -- some don't); a couple of meals in the freezer; some good books or videos for while you're resting up afterward. It'll be good!

And in the meantime, here's the web address of the National Lyphedema Network, where you'll find some guidelines for those of us who are now at risk for lymphedema (click on "Position Papers"):
www.lymphnet.org
Lots of great information there and, just like with bc, the more you know the quicker you regain control of your life.

We'll be thinking of you on Friday, so let us know how it goes!
Binney
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Aug 23, 2006 09:47PM jazziD wrote:

Thank you so much. This is great information. My surgeon's nurse called today and I will go in to see her tomorrow. She says she will go over the questions I asked about here, specifically the drain; and allthough it seems like it will be a challenging experience, I will be glad when this tumor/lymph node is removed. I will keep you posted and thanks for the suppport, it means a lot to me. Dee

Dee

Dx 7/7/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 3/27 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 28, 2006 02:18AM RenatheScot wrote:

Hi Dee and everyone else......and my friend Gail xxxx
I had a lumpectomy and 15 lymph nodes removed on 31st December 2005, initially I did not feel too much pain apart from the nerve endings which were real stingers...just got some good painkillers and took them for a time.....I had only one drain in while I was in the hospital and can honestly say I never felt it coming out. The nerve pains have stopped stinging now but I still have a numbness around the under arm area and the upper back of my arm. I took a touch of lymphadema in my breast where the lump was removed, I then saw a lymphatic nurse who taught my husband how to do the type of massage that would move the fluid to the other lymph nodes to ease it. It worked wonders. It is important that you keep the arm moving it really does help it even though its tender and you will feel it a bit tight, we all seem to hold it like a broken wing on a bird to start with. Dont do any lifting with the arm for a while and even when it starts to feel better take it easy after all you have had surgery and it will take some time to heal.
I find even now I dont have as much strength in that arm as before but gradually it is getting stronger...keep exercising it....stretching it for a couple of minutes in all directions and eventually it will get easier to move.
Stick in there Dee you will cope with it
God Bless and hugs to you all
Rena
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Aug 28, 2006 03:08AM Lhunhen wrote:

Rena,
Quote:

I took a touch of lymphadema in my breast where the lump was removed, I then saw a lymphatic nurse who taught my husband how to do the type of massage that would move the fluid to the other lymph nodes to ease it. It worked wonders.




Can I ask you about this? How can you tell if it's lymphadema in the breast or the lump left by the surgery? I am only 4 months out from surgery and still get pains sometimes in the breast and under my arm. I had a total of 10 lymph nodes removed.

Cathy
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Oct 21, 2006 02:21PM RenatheScot wrote:

HiCathy sorry never got back to you sooner. My breast is red and always has been since my surgery. It sort of swells up a bit and feels very heavy compared to the other side. Lymphadema sometimes has lumps in the breast but they do go with the massage. I still get some shooting pains in it but thats as far as I know "normal" for a while.
It was settled down quite well until I had my rads and that flaired it up again but its beginning to get a lot easier now. I find I cannot not wear a bra of some kind even when in bed as the weight of the breast unsupported seems to pull on my scar and then it aches. So I have some nice soft but supporting bras.
It is a long slow healing process but if your concerned why not have a wee word with your nurse they will be able to put your mind at ease
keep well
Rena
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Feb 15, 2008 08:59AM try wrote:

I dont know where to start i found a lump under or around my armpit is lypnodes sore to touch .

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Feb 15, 2008 01:41PM, edited Feb 15, 2008 01:41PM by Binney4

Good morning, try, and welcome!

I know you must be confused (and if you're anything like me, probably frightened too!Frown), but if you give us a bit more information I'd bet there are lots of women here who can help you get this sorted out. Have you had breast cancer? Are you in treatment now? What treatment have you had?

I'll be thinking of you and hoping to hear back from you soon so we can all help steer you in the right direction. In the meantime, please don't worry too much, as there are many possible explanations for what you're describing that are easily treated and not any big problem.

Be well!

Binney 

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Feb 21, 2008 11:18AM, edited Mar 20, 2008 01:44PM by northern

This Post was deleted by northern.

AC x 4 tx - April 18/08 - June 20/08 then tamoxifen

Dx 1/7/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/29 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 3, 2008 10:26PM anna47 wrote:

I had axillary lymphnode dissection on 1/3/08. I'm 8 weeks out now and still feeling numbness under my arm and on my upper back. I also have the nerve sensations- burning, tingling, sensitivity - underneath my upper arm. I still have some swelling and am seeing a certified lymphedema therapist. I have a compression sleeve and glove that I wear every day for now. I do stretching exercises and have lymphedema massages 2X a week for now. I also have a lot of tightness all the way around my affected shoulder and into my breast area. It almost feels like a vise around my shoulder/arm. Is this normal after surgery or is it the mild lymphedema I'm experiencing? My range of motion has improved and the swelling has reduced in my arm, but I still feel really tight around the shoulder. Anyone out there experienced that feeling? and does it get better?

Dx 11/29/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 1/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 4, 2008 11:17AM inspiewriter wrote:

I am 2.5 years past last surgery and still have numb spots, and the occasional shooting pain.  My range of motion is much,much better than it was that first year after surgery!

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Mar 17, 2008 11:29PM Carly68 wrote:

yep you sound just like me mom (to the mark)....she is going through the same and her surgury was about 2 weeks also,,,every day is a new pain around that area.....

Dx 2/5/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, 0/12 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 9, 2008 10:07AM tongeh wrote:

yes i ve had those affects after my lymph node surgery iwent to hyperbarics for my therapy & i no longer have the same pains i did after my surgery i still have an occasional tingling like pain in my right arm & i was told to expect that for life because lymph nodes are nerve ends which i no longer have

m s tranter

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Jul 11, 2008 11:11PM Summers wrote:

Hi

 I had surgery in Oct 2008, removed tumor, 18 nodes and a nerve.  I have not had any swelling in my arm, but I have pain in my breast, under arm and shoulder blade at times.  I do have alot of scar tissue that I am to message but it feels so gross not having feeling because of the nerve. 

Dx 10/5/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 2/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 22, 2008 02:27AM, edited Sep 22, 2008 02:29AM by AliceJ

Yes, mine is painful too as you describe.  Mine is also not on the arm itself but on the BACK behind the arm.   Doesn't hurt much to touch but feels like a bad cut if I try to lie on it.  Simply can't.  In the daytime it just feels like a sunburn but is worse if I bend down to reach something. Just had lumpectomy, (2 breast lumps - 1/2 inch and 1 inch).  No radiation or chemo yet.  Haven't had it checked yet but will. 

Over a month has passed and can't use massager to help it because sensitivity is too great. Need to return to work in a few days but really fear that constant heavy lifting all day long will worsen it tremendously.  It's very scary!  There are so many things to worry about aren't there  -- literally one thing after another in every aspect imaginable.  Not sure which torture is most, the physical or mental.   It didn't go to the lymph nodes but I still wonder many times, if the whole thing wouldn't have been best left alone.

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Sep 18, 2009 08:33PM dukesm54 wrote:

This is my first time here and I'm so glad this forum is here.  I had a Lumpectomy on Sept 10th and they found cancer in my lymph nodes.  So of course they removed them.  As most of the women here.  I've had  surgery before like total knee replacement, gallbladder removal, three surgeries for vulva cancer so I'm not new to pain. The first few days I was recovering rather well but for the last 3 to 4 days WOW, It's bad. Not just under my arm but along the underside.  You know the flabby part.  Its almost impossible to get comfortable  to sleep.   IS THIS NORMAL?



 

S Duke

Dx 7/10/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIb, 14/17 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+
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Sep 19, 2009 03:57AM mind_boggling wrote:

after reading all the discussions, i suddenly thought of my wife's drain after her left mastectomy with axilliary clearance done last 13th of Sept 2009... there were two drains and one drain was removed on the 3rd day post op and the second one was pulled out on day 4 since there were minimal drain on both drains. on the 5th day she was already discharged frm the hospital. how come you guys had the drains on for weeks? i'm afraid that there might be fluid accumulation on that area (left breast). actually she is doing execises on her arm just to prevent complications... please advise... thank you and God bless.

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Sep 22, 2009 03:41PM Welga wrote:

Pain after lympnode removal is normal. Pain in the back of the arm also. I had PT and massages specially to help and it did. As far as I am concerned it took about 1 year to felle comfortable, but a lot of people recover quite faster. Good luck to all of you this place is great for informations, it has helped me a lot when recovering.

Dx 4/4/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 25, 2009 11:25AM grammyof4 wrote:

RenatheScot: I saw in your post of several years ago that you had redness in your breast. If you read this please let me know if it ever went away and how long it took as I have redness in mine also. I have been given several diagnosis, including lymphedima. Thank You grammyof4