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Pain after Lumpectomy

1Lizzy
1Lizzy Member Posts: 3
edited June 2014 in Stage I Breast Cancer

I am entering the third  week after a lumpectomy and removal of lymphnode.  Does anyone know how long before I can use my arm without it stabbing me with needles.  Even goosebumps and chills wake up my arm and armpit area.  OUCH!  I can't even graze it with a blanket or touch it.  It has this unexplainable pain and discomfort.

Comments

  • Sydney6
    Sydney6 Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2010

    Lizzy - I'm sorry you're experiencing so much pain.  I did have pain, but I don't remember it being as bad as you describe (maybe I've just forgotten as it has been a little over a year for me).  I do remember however having numbness on my back for a long time on the side of my surgery.  When I asked my surgeon she said that it was normal to experience that.  Also I remember thinking the whole process of healing was taking a long time.  Now I just think that is what it is.  It takes your body time to heal.  Believe it or not I still have pain where the lumpectomy was done.  I keep thinking the more time goes by the better it will feel.  (When I was 18 I had a fibroid lump removed and I do not have any pain in that area at all.  I am 46 now.)  Good luck to you and much good health!

    Sue

  • 1Lizzy
    1Lizzy Member Posts: 3
    edited April 2010

    Thank you Sue.  Sounds like your surgery tapped into a whole different set of nerves.  I need my left arm as it is my strong arm.  I am new to this and don't know how the rules go.  I have questions about the treatment and symptoms during tamoxifen and radiation.  If you can direct me that would be great. 

    Have a great wknd! Cool

  • kk69Z
    kk69Z Member Posts: 38
    edited April 2010

    hi Lizzy,

    I also lumpectomy. Two really. I didn't have any pain at all. The first time I was off work 4 days and the second time 2 days. They took out 3 sentinel nodes. The only thing that bugs me still is the under arm part where the scar from the nodes is is numb and when I have an itch I hate trying to scratch it. Hope things get better for you.

  • Sydney6
    Sydney6 Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2010

    Lizzy - I would be happy to help you in any way I can.  Just let me know.  This is a great place to come for information and understanding.  From my own personal experience radiation & tamoxifen - not that bad, but I will help you in any way possible.

    Sue

  • robynlee
    robynlee Member Posts: 2
    edited April 2010
    • Hi Lizzy

    My name is Robyn, i had a lumpectamy and 4 glands removed 2 weeks ago, and then the doctor went back last week to get some more flesh, my underarm is killing me, as well as my breast is reallty sore, i have just come online to look if that is normal, and my google search found you.  I dont think my husband really understands the pain, he has been wonderful, he is doing everything for me, but i think because i am not black and blue he doesnt realise just how sore it is.  I hope all is well for you, I am haveing some more scans next week, one of them being a bone scan, and something else as well, not sure exactly what it is, and i get all the results of the scans and the second operation in a week.  I havent started any treatment yet, i find out about that next week too, what about you, its all very scarey really, i find the wait and see thing a bit hard. What about you, have you had any treatment yet.

  • ctmom1234
    ctmom1234 Member Posts: 22
    edited April 2010

    My lumpectomy healed faster than the wound from the node removal. Believe it was a fairly large lumpectomy because it was coded partial mastectomy -- definitely within 3 weeks I had no pain, but the scar line/node area still causes discomfort from time to time and that's been 3 months. What does your Dr. say?

  • robynlee
    robynlee Member Posts: 2
    edited April 2010

    Oh Joyce   HUGS, it is a horrible thing, but perhaps we can just support each other, dont be discouraged,  and please have the radiation, otherwise it might come back.  We are all new at this and it is scarey.  Do you have any support at home.  I havent been told what my treatment will be yet, i find that out next week, but we all need to work at getting better.

     Hope to hear from you again soon

    Robyn

  • Sydney6
    Sydney6 Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2010

    CTMOM - I think they just call a lumpectomy a partial mastectomy.  That is whatt mine was billed as and the same goes for a friend of mine.

    Sue

  • friscosmom
    friscosmom Member Posts: 15
    edited April 2010

    1Lizzy - I had lumpectomy and node removal back in December. I wish I could tell you exactly when the major pain/needles started to go away but I didn't write it down and I can't remember. I can tell you that 4 months out I no longer have pain in my arm but still some numbness on the back side of my arm and in the armpiit area. Your doc probably already told you this but make sure you move/use your arm so you don't end up with the tendons tightening up on you. I wasn't sent home with specific excercises but some people were. When I went back for a follow up a few weeks after surgery the doc got onto me for not using my arm and said I needed to start using it or he'd have to send me to a physical therapist.

    To help with the pain in my arm early on I would sleep with an extra pillow to rest my arm on to keep it from touching my body and that really helped, you might try that. I rested the lower part of my arm on the pillow so the upper part had no contact with anything; mine did the same as yours I couldn't stand anything against it. Just know it will get better, mine has been much better for the last couple of months at least.

  • daisylego
    daisylego Member Posts: 7
    edited April 2010

    Joycek: I know exactly what you mean. If I had known how bad it was going to be, then I would have been better prepared to deal with it! For my whole surgery story see "my drain is a pain". (including my later post at the bottom of the page.) I had also been considering postponing my next treatment (chemo for me) until I have a chance to feel normal again. But at the same time part of me is afraid that I will never feel "normal" again.

     1Lizzy: Today is *exactly* 3 weeks since my surgery. (3/18) Does your surgeon know how much pain you are having? They should be doing something about it! They need to look into the possibility of it being infected (like mine) AND they definitly need to be giving you more pain killers!!! There is no reason for you to suffer like that! I also had my surgery on my stronger arm. After compensating with my left arm for so long though, I'm more ambidextrous. Now I'm measuring my recovery by strength and flexibility in my good arm as compared to my "bad" arm. When they are at least even I can consider myself mostly better. I don't know how ladies with surgery on their weak arm measure their recovery.

    Robyn: Wait and see is pretty hard. We just have to stick it out together. I had a bone scan and found it to be not uncomfortable at all. Staying completely still wasn't too easy, but it was fine. I don't know what your diagnosis so far is, but I think a lot of the scans they do at the begining are to get a baseline to compare it to after chemo etc.

    Sydney & CTmom: My surgeon told me that all lumpectomies are technically "partial mastectomies" because that literally means "take out part of the breast" no matter what size. "Quadrantectomy" and "segment" tend to mean bigger chunks. He said he took about 18% of my breast tissue. On a size D breast, that isn't small.

    friscosmom: My hospital does a lot of breast surgeries and they send everyone home with a special pillow made by volunteers. The best thing ever! Especially on bumpy car rides! And to protect myself from clumsy cats!

  • amoccia53160
    amoccia53160 Member Posts: 3
    edited April 2010

    Wouldn't bypass it but postpone until your healed.  Check with the rad oncologist to see what is recommended.  xxoo Annette

  • maltomlin
    maltomlin Member Posts: 48
    edited April 2010

    Hi Girls

    I'm two years out from my lumpectomy and full node clearance and still get occasional pains in the boob. The arm has been more of a problem in that it aches and has no strength whatsoever. I can't even open a jar. BUT you learn to live within your limitations.

    The operation itself presented no problems and I gained full movement very quickly but I am left with a very weak, aching arm.

    Good luck.

    Mal x

  • ctmom1234
    ctmom1234 Member Posts: 22
    edited April 2010

    sydney6 & daisylego: Thanks!  Here's where my confusion first arose. When  the anesthesiologist introduced herself to me shortly before my lumpectomy/partial mast.surgery, she asked whether I was having general or local -- and I enthusiastically said that I'd prefer local and would "be good, not move, etc." Heck it was my first ever surgery and had been spooked about general (ironic, because I've now undergone it twice in the same month, first for lumpectomy then second for sentinel nodes ). She said that she needed to see how surgeon had coded my lumpectomy. Then she came back and said that it wasn't a lumpectomy, but a partial mastectomy, and would require general. NICE way to keep me calm before my surgery, huh?  All I heard was the word 'mastectomy', so I asked her to please triple check, because I was not having a mastectomy and dropped the whole general v. local discussion.

    Nice to know that they mean the same thing, although still not sure what she was talking about then.

  • Sydney6
    Sydney6 Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2010

    daisylego - The pillow sounds great.  When I went for a second opinion at Sloan Kettering (I live in upstate NY about 2 hrs. away) on the way home I told my husband I don't think I can go back there.  The drive was just so stressful.  While we were weighing the pros & cons of each facility on the way home he accidentally hit a pothole.  He said, "Could you imagine if that happened on the drive drive home after surgery?"  I chose the hospital that is 10 minutes from my house. 

    Sue

  • Sydney6
    Sydney6 Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2010

    joycek - Any lymphovascualr involvement?

    Sue

  • Sydney6
    Sydney6 Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2010

    joycek - I'm sending you positive thoughts for today.  I just want to let you know that about a month ago I woke up with this huge lump next to my sentinal node scar.  Took 10 days of an antibiotic and it has been getting smaller ever since.  The surgeon, radiation oncologist & medical oncolist all seemed puzzled over it.  A few day before I got this I had been shoveling snow.  I just think things don't move like they're supposed to after you have those nodes out.  (This happened to me 14 months afer surgery!)  I am thinking of you and hoping it turns out to be nothing.

    Sue

  • JennyB
    JennyB Member Posts: 16
    edited April 2010

    Hi everyone. I'm having similar problems, but I don't have numbness or swelling. I have shooting pains down my arm all the way to my wrist, it hurts when anyone touches the inside of my arm, and I can't straighten it completely or lift it over my head. I asked the surgeon one week post-op and he said "normal." But it's been three weeks and I still feel like a cripple.

    I also have an ocassional shooting pain through my breast where the reexcision was done. I had zero effects like this from the lumpectomy. Very weird. I figure it must be just because the area is larger (8 cm this time, 3 cm the first time) and takes longer to heal?

  • diapermaker64
    diapermaker64 Member Posts: 1
    edited May 2010

    Lizzy, I haven't been on this site for a while but what you have is nerve pain from the surgery.  I had the same thing after mine, went to a pain management doc. and he but me on Symbalta and Nurontin for the pain.  I got releif within 2 weeks.  I stayed on the meds until one month after radiation was finished.  I still have some numbness and a little tenderness under my arm and on the back of my arm pit. I also ended up  with lymphedema so make sure you get a base line measurment from a Lana Certified Lymphedema Therapist if you can. You don't want to not be on top of that if you have it, as it will get worse and harder to treat if you're not trained on lymphedema drainage.  Good luck and I sure hope you're free of pain.  Terri

  • Rittie
    Rittie Member Posts: 1
    edited May 2010

    I had my lumpectomy and axillary node dissection (AND) 2 1/2 weeks ago. (Diagnosed IDC April 29 ,2010 Stage 2,M0 N0, 2.3cm Grade 2 ER+/PR+ HER2 absent) I do all the stretching exercises as advised by BCCA, and I massage the painful areas myself on my upper and lower arm regularly whilst in the stretches, massaging has really really helped, I have almost full range of motion for the most part. Significant bruising at first, but subsiding now, but some breast pain on movement, i.e. walking, but a good Enell sports bra keeps things from moving and is a great help, virtually no pain when wearing it, but unable to wear it 24/7, too tight.  Some tingling in back of my upper arm, and numbness in armpit   Waiting for my radiation dates, however I'm hearing that some women my age (60 and postmenopausal) may only need hormone therapy. Anyone have any thoughts on that?

  • FaithFollower
    FaithFollower Member Posts: 18
    edited June 2010

    Lizzy, daipermaker64 & Rittie -- Thank you!  I've been dying from the pins & needles pain by my SNB scar for a few days now and it seems like its worse every day!  More percoset, more ice, back to wrapping myself up w/Ace bandages just to get some relief.  I'll check out the execises and do more research re nerve damage/pain, but at least when my surgeon says, 'you had major surgery, of course you're gonna have some pain,' I can speak intelligently about what exactly I'm feeling and direct them accordingly!!!

  • FaithFollower
    FaithFollower Member Posts: 18
    edited June 2010

    FOUND SOMETHING THAT WORKS GREAT -- Lidocaine -- think sun burn relief stuff or you can get an Rx.  I found some burn gel in my first aid kit and used it -- I'm an oh so happy camper!

  • truebff
    truebff Member Posts: 322
    edited September 2011

    I am just two weeks out of lumpectomy. My breast is now so swollen and my nipple is so paintfully swollen. Help!

  • tashalobo
    tashalobo Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2011

    Hello I hear you on the pain . It has been 2 weeks since my surgery and my breast is so sensitive to touch,bra hurts,breast is still swollen . My stitches were removed last week, told the surgeon about the discomfort she said the nerves were coming back to life and I could have some fluid buildup causing the sensitivity . Ice packs help and it feels the best after waking up. If you find out how long this pain will last please let me know.

  • chrisWI
    chrisWI Member Posts: 1
    edited November 2011

    It's so nice to know I'm not crazy! I just got back from seeing my surgeon about breast pain I've been having since my lumpectomy October 17. He seemed dumbfounded that my skin is so sensitive to touch. He prescribed Lyrica for the pain, but first I'm going to try the burn gel as suggested above. Thank you, ladies, for sharing your stories. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this site. 

  • tnhelen
    tnhelen Member Posts: 2
    edited December 2011

    I am two weeks out after a re-excision after the first lumpectomy due to unclear margins and I tell you it HURTS.  I try not to take any pain meds but it burns like someone is taking a soldering iron and running up and down the scar line.  I wear a sports bra.  Felt a little better yesterday and today it hurt so bad I could hardly stand it.  I don't know when it will get back to normal.

  • peggy_j
    peggy_j Member Posts: 89
    edited December 2011

    tnhelen, have you thought of calling your BS?  That soldering iron sounds painful.

  • tnhelen
    tnhelen Member Posts: 2
    edited December 2011

    I'm talking to the radiation oncologist tomorrow.  If it doesn't ease up some I will have to make the call to the bs.  The incision looks fine.