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Apr 22, 2010 12:45PM
Mine is mostly like Michelle's -- it's a dull, aching feeling, with a sense of "fullness" or "heaviness" that's difficult to describe. Sometimes there is a surprisingly sharp, but not severe, pinprick, kind of like the shooting pains others have mentioned. I seldom have the pins-and-needles feeling.
My LE "discomfort" is really easy for me to detect. Nowdays I mostly feel it in my left upper chest wall, where 2 of my 3 sentinel nodes were located and where the mast/SNB drain tubes led and exited my skin.
Eighteen months ago, I also had "Stage 0" (subclinical) LE in my left hand and forearm. It was really mild -- not measurable by bioimpedence or tape measure. But I could feel that same dull ache and "thickness" in the base of my thumb and forefinger, my thumb-web, and back of my hand, as well as in my wrist and forearm. Look at the new photos of LE that were posted on this forum a few days ago -- I saw some of those changes.
The "discomfort" and mild swelling comes and goes. I can easily feel it coming on after I do something stupid, like yard work or cleaning or wearing a bra without my lateral Swell Spot. So, I take action and back off, and it goes away within a few hours or overnight. Last summer, we spent 2 months camping in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, mostly at elevations above 7,500 or 8,000 feet. I wore my sleeve and glove for the first few days; but then I decided to wean myself off the compression to see what would happen. I did feel that now-familiar achiness in my arm and chest wall lots of times, but I did MLD and all the other stuff (low salt, lots of water, stay cool, take it easy, don't wear tight clothing, put that sleeve & glove back on for awhile) and the feeling would disappear. I never did see even the slightest indication of swelling at those times. So, for me, the sensation of "discomfort" precedes the visible changes.
I am really, really lucky my LE isn't more severe.
2008, IDC, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-