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Topic: Mastectomy/Expander pain

Forum: Pain —

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

Posted on: Nov 4, 2018 06:21PM

jacks24 wrote:

On October 16, I had a mastectomy on my right side, and an expander put in. On the other side, I had a reduction and a lift. I am very uncomfortable on the expander side. Its cutting into my skin and is burning. No matter what I do, it just feels awful.

The other side also has a burning sensation along my stitches. It all looks good, no signs of infection, but it hurts non stop. Any ideas what's going on? I'm guessing the expander will hurt until I get it exchanged for my implant... but the burning needs to stop!

I also have burning/pain in my underarm from lymph node removal... anything to do for that?

Thanks!

Jackie

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Nov 4, 2018 07:39PM rachelcarter35 wrote:

Each week you will probably feel less pain. At two or three weeks out I was still in a lot of pain. I stayed in front of it with pain meds most of the time. At about 5 or 6 weeks I noticed an improvement and then it really fell off quickly from there. By the time I had my exchange after chemo I was completely pain free. Be good to yourself and let yourself heal. Don't be a hero with the pain meds. By 5 weeks I was able to do it only with Tylenol but before that no.

Dx 2/21/2018, DCIS/IDC, Both breasts, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 4/24/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction, Nipple tattoo, Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction, Nipple tattoo, Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 6/15/2018 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Targeted Therapy Chemotherapy
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Nov 4, 2018 09:05PM CBK wrote:

Does the burning feel like a bad brush burn? I had that sensation months out of BMX and it was painful. I was told it was nerves regenerating. And it did indeed go away, however it took a long time. You probably want to ask surgeon for a topical for that, if that’s the burning sensation you are describing. Regular pain meds won’t help that sensation from my experience and since it might take a long time to go away you might be better off with ointment.

Expander should NOT hurt until exchange. You may feel like you have a very tight chest or as some describe “rocks” in there. But you should not be in pain until exchange!

I’m not sure about your underarm pain, I would check in with BS on that. I don’t recall that pain but I didn’t have many nodes removed or a lymph node dissection.


Good luck!

Dx 3/26/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/11/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/22/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 1/25/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 2/18/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 4/9/2018 Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap, Silicone implant Surgery 9/28/2018 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 4/3/2019 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction, Silicone implant
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Nov 5, 2018 01:48AM Bcbc wrote:

Jacks24, besides the usual post op pain, you may also be having neuropathic pain related to the damage to nerves at the time of your mastectomy. There are several medications that are specific for nerve pain. I suggest you speak with your surgeon about adding one of these meds. Gabapentin and lyrica, for example. I couldn't believe what a difference gabapentin made for me. I still required Vicodin for awhile, but not as often. I'm five months post op. I still hate the expanders, but honestly, I'm so much more comfortable now. I thought they became more comfortable as they were expanded. Early on, the "folds" in the expanders put so much pressure on my skin and chest wall, it added to my misery. Best wishes.

Dx 3/30/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 4/18/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal Hormonal Therapy 4/25/2018 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 6/1/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 11/28/2018 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Nov 5, 2018 01:58AM jacks24 wrote:

Thanks for the feedback. Yes, it feels like a constant burning pain... I'm also experiencing this on my nipple, so while I guess it's good it's happening, it sure doesn't feel good! I am going to the doctor tomorrow, so hopefully he can give me something to help with this! I have only had my expander filled once, and I feel like the pain is the same as before. I shouldn't need them in too long, so I'm hoping to get my implant in January.

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