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Topic: Partial Rotator Cuff Tear on Lymphedema Side

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

Posted on: Apr 1, 2016 09:31PM

Katiejane wrote:

Hi ladies, it has been quite a long time since I have logged in to the board here but I have been UTD on postings. I had my bilateral mastectomy and lymph node dissection in 2007, TV hysterectomy in 2008, DIEP in 2012, and LNT in 2015. Somewhere within that time frame I have torn my rotator cuff on my affected side but have no Idea how I did this! It has become more painful and keeps me awake at night recently and I can no longer raise this arm without using my non-affected arm to lift the affected arm. Wondering if anyone else has had anything similar to this and if so, what treatment did you receive? Has anyone opted for rotator cuff repair surgery or steroid injections??? If it's this painful and useless, what will this be like in a year or 2,3,4,5?? Any input or advice????

Dx 6/13/2007 Dx 6/13/2007, ILC, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 3/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 2, 2016 06:40AM glennie19 wrote:

I seem to remember a discussion about shoulder surgery. Forgot who. Hopefully they will chime in for you.

Fibromyalgia and Truncal Lymphedema,,, some of the fun things I live with. Total hysterecomy 9/29/14 Prophy MX Righty 11/30/17 Dx 6/27/2013, Paget's, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/7/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Dx DCIS
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Apr 2, 2016 06:42AM glennie19 wrote:

https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/64/topics/816905?page=2#top

Here is one thread about getting a cortisone shot in the affected arm.

Fibromyalgia and Truncal Lymphedema,,, some of the fun things I live with. Total hysterecomy 9/29/14 Prophy MX Righty 11/30/17 Dx 6/27/2013, Paget's, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/7/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Dx DCIS
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Apr 2, 2016 08:09AM Katiejane wrote:

Thanks Glennie! I'm still muddling through my first cup of coffee this morning and as soon as I'm coherent I will read this article. Thank you so much!! I thought there was a previous post regarding shoulder surgery too but couldn't locate it. Thanks again! katiejane

Dx 6/13/2007 Dx 6/13/2007, ILC, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 3/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 2, 2016 11:12AM carol57 wrote:

katiejane, I had rotator cuff repair seven months ago, but on my non-LE side, so I cannot comment much on related LE issues. I do know that despite being my non-LE side, I had crazy full-arm swelling, especially when I went to Florida a few weeks post-surgery and found myself in unaccustomed heat. I actually got a second set of night-time compression gear and wore that for quite a while until things settled down. My take-away there was that LE is a systemic disease, and the surgery altered the lymph balance, so to speak, and so my non-affected arm was affected. Massage helped, as did compression, and my greatest fear--two LE arms--did not materialize.

What I can tell you is not to put off the surgery, because despite the LE concerns, you sure need to use that arm. I also had a tear in my hip joint, and regrettably I put off dealing with that one so long that the tissue was not repairable, so I have issues remaining and will probably face a hip replacement some day. I had the shoulder taken care of within a short time of realizing that the limitations and pain were not temporary, and the outcome was much, much better. Mine too had no obvious cause, and in fact in my shoulder I had not only a rotator cuff tear at 90% detachment, I also had a labrum tear on the other side of the joint. I've since read that much of the population has degenerative shoulder tears, which come simply as we age, so you have lots of company.

The surgery is straight-forward, and then you have a resting period where you ice your shoulder and use momentum only to move the joint. They'll have you bend at the waist and use your torso to gently rock your hanging arm in a circle, the idea being to get more blood supply to the repair via movement of the joint, but without actually using your repaired muscle/tendon to initiate the movement. Gradually you'll start passive-range-of-motion exercises, where among other techniques, you use your other hand, or you grasp a stick and physically move the healthy arm or the stick (using the healthy arm's hand) to make your recovering arm/shoulder move. And eventually, you do start using your recovering limb by itself, slowly regaining lost range of motion and strength. Severity of your tear will dictate how long you're immobilized and how quickly you can start the therapy exercises. I was in a sling for 8 loooooong weeks, but a good friend who had her rotator cuff repaired quite recently only needed to be immobilized for two weeks. And the good news is that it's amazing what you can do with only one hand and arm!

On the bright side, I read a long time ago that it's quite healthy for the brain, and may help ward off cognitive decline, if we change things up a lot--how we do tasks, where we put things, etc. So I choose to believe that the obligatory re-assignment of all kinds of tasks to my non-dominant hand may have been inconvenient, but it added life to my brain!

My surgery was August 24 and today I have nearly full range of motion, although my surgery side is not nearly as strong as my healthy side, and I really notice that when I pick things up or put items in a high cupboard. So I continue to do my strength training exercises. I cannot recall if you are an avid gym or workout person. One potential concern with doing strength training on a lymphedema arm is that after post-surgical inactivity, you risk triggering some added lymph if you stress the arm by hefting too much, i.e. unaccustomed, weight. The good news however is that the therapy protocol will definitely have you adding resistance and weight in just the manner that the PAL Protocol established for safe weight training for those with, or at risk of LE: slow, steady progression using small resistance increments. I do believe that the post-surgical therapy routine will be LE-safe for you.

You'll want to chat with your surgery team in advance about the possibility of using compression on your arm and hand during and after surgery, with thought given to wrapping, considering how long you will be in surgery, and then during your initial inactivity during the very early recovery period. I'm sure you have good resources to check with on this, thinking of your LE surgical team.

Before my surgery and recovery, I could not even reach the garage door opener clipped to the passenger visor in my car. OK, there's a work-around for that: I moved it to my own visor. But more important, I could not paddle my kayak, and even grocery shopping-type reaching had become a two-armed gymnastics event. For the same reasons you've been doggedly determined to put your LE in its place--you want your life back--I'm sure you want the same for your shoulder and arm. I am so very happy I did the surgery, even as I continue to work toward getting the life back because I'm not as strong as I want to be. But now I see my old life coming along on the horizon, and the desired strength is a happy goal.

Good luck!!

Carol

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Apr 2, 2016 01:21PM glennie19 wrote:

Carol, good to see you! Glad to hear that you are mending up well, and hope to hear you are kayaking when the weather get nicer up there.

Fibromyalgia and Truncal Lymphedema,,, some of the fun things I live with. Total hysterecomy 9/29/14 Prophy MX Righty 11/30/17 Dx 6/27/2013, Paget's, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/7/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Dx DCIS
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Apr 2, 2016 02:20PM carol57 wrote:

I sure hope so, Glennie! We were in Key West for New Year's, and we went on a night-time kayaking tour. It was just a few hours, and not strenuous (and spectacular!!). I had no issues, so I'm super hopeful for this coming spring.

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Apr 2, 2016 03:28PM glennie19 wrote:

Excellent!! Night time kayaking in the Keys, sounds awesome!

I was gifted a small canoe with a double paddle, so I'm working on my small hand weights. I have a small pond behind me, so I can't go very far,, but it sure is peaceful out on the water.

Fibromyalgia and Truncal Lymphedema,,, some of the fun things I live with. Total hysterecomy 9/29/14 Prophy MX Righty 11/30/17 Dx 6/27/2013, Paget's, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/7/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Dx DCIS
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Apr 2, 2016 03:39PM carol57 wrote:

Paddling is peaceful, that's for sure. Glennie, I'm so glad you're able to enjoy that!

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Aug 29, 2016 09:02PM - edited Aug 29, 2016 11:36PM by Katiejane

Well, I finally broke down and had an MRI on my LE affected shoulder-I guess I just needed to know what was going on. I have extensive rotator cuff tears involving the posterior rotator cuff tendons-the infraspinatus and teres minor. The tendons are retracted and there is mild atrophy of the muscles. The infraspinatus has a complete tear as well as a complete tear of the biceps tendon.

I have no idea what caused these tears other than this is the shoulder/chest area where I had 25 rads. I'm guessing the internal radiation burns fried my tendons/ligaments and combined with usage and age, lack of hormones, it has all just torn apart.

I had a DIEP(bilat) in 2012 and just 1 year ago had a lymph node transfer to my R axilla. Both were done by Dr. Massey.

I'm just not sure how to proceed with treatment. I have done physical therapy and continue to use my arm as much as I can-still riding horses, working with my dogs, cutting grass and everyday household chores, etc. I certainly don't want to lose use of my arm but I don't think surgical repair is an option. I'd rather live with this the way it is then to cause more Lymphedema problems. I might add I have had cellulitis x5 in this arm and became septic 3 times.

I have an appointment with a Shoulder specialist next month and have sent a note to Dr. Massey for an opinion but have not received a reply.

Any advise ladies??? Thanks for listening!!! Katiejane

Dx 6/13/2007 Dx 6/13/2007, ILC, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 3/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 16, 2016 09:05PM Katiejane wrote:

Well, I have been waiting for at least 3-4 weeks for a reply from Dr. Massey but have not had any communication from her. I guess once she has done her part with her patients that's it! I am very disappointed with her lack of response. All that I requested was her opinion, nothing more. So, I will do what is necessary to maintain use of my arm. As long as I can still use it and it is not too painful I will do nothing. If and when I start to lose use then I will need to do something. Thanks for listening ladies!! Katiejane

Dx 6/13/2007 Dx 6/13/2007, ILC, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 3/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 16, 2016 09:16PM Binney4 wrote:

Boy, Katiejane, I'd go bang on Dr. Massey's door a few more times. Email, call, keep it up until you get a response. If she's going to do these (essentially still experimental) surgeries then she has an obligation to advise you on the situation you now find yourself in. Make a ruckus! And do, please, let us know what she thinks about it.

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this now, but cheering for you as you continue to move forward. Hoping for no progression on the pain or disability in your shoulder/arm!

Gentle hugs,
Binney

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Sep 17, 2016 01:49PM Jennie93 wrote:

That is a bummer, Katie, my first thought was - maybe she didn't get your message? Did you only try once?

When is your appointment with the shoulder specialist, soon?



49 at dx. Found on routine mammogram. Complications: cording, truncal LE. Dx 8/2012, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 4/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/5/2012 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 10/16/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 3/24/2013 Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 5/23/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 2/1/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Sep 17, 2016 04:19PM Katiejane wrote:

Jennie93, I have tried twice-once at the beginning of May and then 3-4 weeks ago. I believe she probably wants me to call her office and communicate through them. So why does she give her e-mail and private cell # to her patients?????

Thank you Binney. I will keep trying! My appt. with the shoulder specialist is this Wednesday. Katiejane

Dx 6/13/2007 Dx 6/13/2007, ILC, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 3/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 18, 2016 03:52PM Katiejane wrote:

I have sent another E-mail to Dr. Massey within the past hour today, Sunday, the 18th of Sept. I'm really hoping she will respond as I see my Shoulder Specialist this coming Wednesday, the 21st. I'm just about ready to accept the fact that I will lose use of my LE dominant arm as I am so afraid to cause more problems with my LE. I guess it could be worse, right????? Katiejanre

Dx 6/13/2007 Dx 6/13/2007, ILC, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 3/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 18, 2016 05:29PM Binney4 wrote:

Way to go, Katiejane. I hope you mentioned that deadline of your Wednesday appointment in your email. If you don't hear tomorrow dash off another email. You're not begging, you're asking for critical follow-up. You absolutely should NOT settle for losing the use of your arm because of the LE--that's just too much to ask!

Hang in there!
Binney

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Sep 18, 2016 07:48PM Katiejane wrote:

Hi Binney and All!!! Binney, thank you for your support! I did hear back from Dr. Massey soon after I sent the 2nd e-mail to her today. Basically, she said she has spoken to many Ortho/Shoulder specialist in the Charleston area who treat torn rotator cuffs but they absolutely will not treat a lymphedema patient! Especially one who is not in their area. So, as she said in so many words, I am on my own and to treat this accordingly. Not much support and she wished me the best---period! So, I guess I'm on my own. When I start to lose use of my arm, I will need to do something. I will see the specialist this Wednesday and go from there. Thank you for ALWAYS being there! You are a special person!!! Thank you and Hugs!!! KatieJane

Dx 6/13/2007 Dx 6/13/2007, ILC, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 3/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 19, 2016 10:28AM Binney4 wrote:

THAT. IS. INFURIATING.

Well, that kind of help you sure don't need. And it's completely nuts as well. Lymphedema doesn't come with an exclusion clause that guarantees we won't have any other arm/hand problems, and rotator cuff tears aren't going to heal themselves. So, okay, next step is to hope (and pray) this specialist you see on Wednesday has enough sense and sensitivity to offer you the benefit of her/his skills in fixing one problem without exacerbating the other. All it takes is the right person, gentle hands and openness to the calling doctors accept along with their privileged training.

Hmmm, can you tell I'm writing this with all the restraint I can muster? Let's look forward together to better news on Wednesday. If it helps make you feel more secure you might copy off the "Essential Information for Health Care Providers" page from StepUp-SpeakOut as a hand-out:

http://www.stepup-speakout.org/essential%20informa...

Please do keep us posted, and know we've got your back!
Binney

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Sep 19, 2016 01:21PM carol57 wrote:

Oh, Katiejane, NO ONE should have to be put through the runaround you've received from Marja Massey. She cannot do a node transfer and then simply leave you to puzzle through how to handle life's damage to the limb and joint. One thought--can you provide her contact details to your shoulder specialist, and ask that surgeon to get in touch with her? If he is to formulate a plan for you, whether it is surgical or some kind of therapy plan, he needs the full picture of your anatomy and your LE surgery. It's extremely unlikely that he has ever given node transfer more than a passing thought, or even that it's ever landed on his radar screen. And...orthopedic surgery differs from breast/recon/lymphatic surgeries, so I would trust that he will have insights Dr Massey may not have, and if he learns what he can from her about node transfer, and especially your case, he will be better equipped to develop a strategy for you. At a minimum, her office must respond to a request for a printout of her operative report and office notes. But I hope that the two surgeons will talk, with your shoulder specialist advocating on your behalf for a solution.

As for orthopedic surgeons never operating on patients with LE, I'm left speechless on that. Candidly, I am not willing to be certain that you got the full response from the surgeon(s) Dr. Massey spoke with. With the tears you have, you need some intervention. My understanding as a two-shoulder-tear person is that many rotator cuff tears are asymptomatic, so it is possible to function with some degree of tearing. But you've got serious impairments, and you are in pain, and you've been doing the therapy already. So while it's possible that more physical therapy might help, I would not be surprised if the shoulder specialist tells you that your limitations will resolve only with surgery.

I have a couple of thoughts about surgery on your LE side. First, pain draws lymph, so unless you resolve what's causing the pain, you're probably aggravating your LE. Second, we know that muscle movement is key to moving lymph through our lymphatic pathways, so to help your LE, I think you want to restore all the movement and function that you can. Third, more and more studies are hinting at physical activity/exercise as being remedial for LE. I'm not holding my breath to hear that physical activity, whether cardio or strength training, will 'cure' LE, but I do think that common sense says that if our arms are fit enough to hold a 25-lb dumbbell, then lifting a 25 pound baby is not likely to trigger a lymphedema flare. If I can lift a 40 lb barbell, I can lift my suitcase into the overhead bin without having my lymph come to the rescue, because that lift is not stressful. Which is to say that even if you think you can relinquish use of your dominant arm, can you really? You will use it, inevitably, but you will be particularly vulnerable in your LE, because that usage will provoke pain, and your arm will be weak, both of which will invite the body to produce lymph and send it to the site in distress.

Your history of infection is scary, yes. No wonder you're gun shy about surgery! But I hope you will open your heart to the shoulder specialist's perspective on that.

Finally, although not on my LE side, I can report a great outcome from surgery 13 months ago to repair my supraspinatus tear, my type II SLAP tear (the labrum), and subacromial compression. It was a slow recovery, with aches that lasted well into nine or ten months, and it felt like I was in PT forever. But the pain and inconvenience were nothing compared to my pain and loss of mobility prior to the surgery. I'm back to normal and very glad that I opted for the surgery. I feel for you on the LE complication, and I wish you the absolute best of luck in your meeting with the shoulder specialist on Wednesday. I SO want you to find a pathway to success on this.

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Sep 22, 2016 02:02PM Katiejane wrote:

Hi Ladies, Well, I saw a shoulder specialist/ surgeon yesterday and he told me everything I expected to hear.

My rotator cuff is damaged beyond repair and the only thing that would fix this mess is a shoulder replacement. He was quite knowledgeable on the lymphedema/cellulitis/sepsis subjects and said that the risk was too great for me, which I totally agree. He said if the pain would become unbearable, a steroid injection could possibly be done but again he thought the risk for complications(cellulitis and aggravation of my LE) were too great. He confirmed what I have been thinking all along so .................. I just needed that confirmation from a professional. It sure could be worse! Thank you all for helping me along and being so supportive! Next (Oct. 10th) is the lumbar area of my spine. It's actually a lot more painful then my shoulder! Go figure!!! Ah, the Golden Years!!!!!

Big Hugs!!!! Katiejane

Dx 6/13/2007 Dx 6/13/2007, ILC, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 3/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 22, 2016 02:11PM Binney4 wrote:

You ARE golden, Katiejane! Even if this aging business is a, uh, challenge. Not for the wimpy. But then, only the stout of heart are chosen by the LE fairies to be part of the this "Swell" Sisterhood in the first place.

REALLY good that this doctor was knowledgeable about LE--very reassuring surprise. May the pain not raise its ugly head.

Okay, keeping you in my thoughts for the lumbar spine issues next month. Be well, y'hear?! Onward!
Binney

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Sep 24, 2016 09:28PM - edited Sep 24, 2016 09:52PM by Icietla

Hi Katiejane. I am so sorry you are suffering so with those terrible injuries, besides your same arm being afflicted with lymphedema too.

Since my first mastectomy surgery, I have had just a mild degree of truncal lymphedema on one side of my chest, at the axillary area. My biceps injuries preceded my cancer diagnosis and treatment. Your case is much more complicated, as a very troublesome degree of lymphedema affects your injured arm/shoulder, and your injuries in there are clearly more extensive.

The biceps tendon in my dominant arm was torn more than forty years ago, in my later childhood. I could not have any treatment for it then, and I had to keep using it then, so it was never capable of healing. Most use of it can still give me the same sharp pains as when the tear was new. With that arm extended at all -- i.e., with my humerus and elbow positioned away from my trunk at all -- it can lift its own weight and about one pound; however, with that arm close against my trunk, I have ordinary lifting strength for a weak, sick person. That side of my back is very weak from all the years of compensation (avoidance, when possible, of the most painful motions), so that if I reach out with that arm (on its own strength) more than just a few times in a while, I get a backache. My posture has naturally been affected too. I do regular passive stretching to keep that shoulder from freezing up.

The biceps tendon in my other arm was torn in a very bad fall three winters ago. My arm was frozen stuck down very tightly and painfully for some time, then I gradually recovered wrist and lower arm use, and then the shoulder loosened up a little. For a long time I could wear only very loose kaftans -- to put one on, by dropping that one arm into its armhole first of all; and to take one off, by pushing the rest of the kaftan up overhead and then dropping the kaftan off from that one arm. I could no longer manage with back-closure bras, and front-closure bras were a long, difficult, painful struggle for me to fasten or unfasten, and I still needed help to get the second of my arms into them and to adjust the positioning of their back bands. I had a few steroid shots in that shoulder, and physical therapy, sometimes with battery-charged special dressings following sessions. The strengthening exercises made significant setback for me, though, and after some more weeks I was dropped for not making further progress. The refreshed pain went on, and even after some improvement, that degree of pain returned sometimes over a very long time. I did passive stretching exercises every day unless my arm complained that it was too much, and then I would just rest it for a few days before starting passive stretching again. That arm does not have nearly the range nor the strength it had before the fall that injured it. These days I can manage pulling lightweight covers over myself without too much pain. I believe that shoulder's having had lengthy rests was key to its eventually having its appreciable improvement.

I am on pain medicines for the duration, for a quadruple-whammy of painful disabling conditions.

You will still naturally tend to use your dominant arm and hand. You will find your very own, better-for-you, adaptive ways of doing what you must do. With some time and practice you may find some particular zig-zaggy way around (not through -- but avoiding) having the most painful (angles among) positions coincide with the most painful arcs in your arm's range of motion. Ordinary closet-rod arrangement is a real bitch. Some kitchen cabinet arrangements can be a real bitch -- but there are lots of practical ways to deal with some of the kitchen challenges. You will very likely become an enthusiast for Universal Design. If you cook, you might want to get a Swedish coil whisk -- it can work from simple wrist action, even from simple fingers action. You will want "helper handles" (handles on opposite sides) on any of your larger cookware items. Immersion blenders are much easier to use than countertop blenders. You will want a countertop model microwave oven. If you use a purse, you might want to get a rather small, flattish, lightweight shoulder bag and wear it crossbody style to hang at its easiest-to-handle position on your front side; but using handy pockets or lightweight vests with sufficient handy pockets instead (like fishing type vests, as examples) might be kinder for your shoulder and arm. Wall corners and doorjambs make excellent back-scratchers, and indoors, one can always be found nearby. You will find that some (currently) able-bodied persons seem not to have the capacity to believe in invisible disabilities. Theirs is far worse than yours.

((Hugs))

Dx 2/12/2016, ILC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/19/2016 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2016 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/25/2016 Prophylactic ovary removal
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Sep 26, 2016 01:27PM - edited Sep 26, 2016 01:28PM by Katiejane

Icietla, Thank you so much for taking the time and sharing all of this info with me!!! Honestly, the shoulder pain is not half as bad as the lower back pain!! I have been able to work around and make my non affected arm do more and more! My body and brain have learned to step in to protect my bad shoulder. The only thing that I have trouble with that gets under my skin is getting the saddle on my horse! I do have family members who are always there to step in to help too.

I will see the Ortho/Neuro Doc on the 10th of Oct and we will go from there. Surgery isn't in the picture for this either but maybe I will be able to receive a steroid injection to relieve some of the discomfort.

I really think the thing that has upset me the most is the way Dr. Massey has blown me off. As a patient, she and her staff tell you that you will always be a Dr. Massey patient once she accepts you as a candidate for surgery. (DIEP 2012 & LVNT in 2015). I know how busy she is trying to keep her practice open and care for her patients(I am a retired R.N.) but to not take 5 minutes for an e-mail and a quick response I don't understand-and that was all I requested, just her opinion since any shoulder treatment would be in my lymphedema arm/trunk. It made perfect sense to me to ask. Oh well, venting is done! Thanks for listening!! HUGS! Katiejane

Dx 6/13/2007 Dx 6/13/2007, ILC, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 3/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 27, 2016 09:49PM Kicks wrote:

Have you been seeing a PT? They can definitely help as do the exercises they give you yo do at home.

Last Feb I succeeded in doing 'something bizarre' - almost impossible to explain exactly how I did it. Thought at time I had torn something below my knee. Next morning leg was feeling better but not upper arm which was rapidly getting more painful. Hard headed old me did not go to the Dr until June - still had some pain in mid upper arm and ROM limitations. Had MRI and X Rays which showed a small rotator cuff tear and a healed fracture under arm. Started with PT weekly and was given exercises to do twice daily (have been encreased weekly). Definitely did increase ROM. Saw Ortho again in late Aug and was offered 3 options - do nothing, surgery or a cortisone shot. Decided to try a cortisone shot to see if it will aid healing and continue PT. Doing great so far and will see Ortho again in Nov. This was not the first time I 'did a job' on my LE arm - 4 yrs ago I slipped on a dog bone in our hall and messed up my wrist requiring surgery to align bones. Both of these 'accidents' were to my LE arm.

Getting my roping saddle on my 16.2hh gelding has been a 'fight' for years ( he is so patient) as it is quite heavy but no problems getting my dressage saddle on him.

Dx 8/7/2009, IBC, Stage IIIC, 19/19 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 8/25/2009 AC Surgery 10/21/2009 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/11/2009 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/4/2010 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 28, 2016 11:07PM Katiejane wrote:

Kicks, I'm so glad to hear the dressage saddle is no problem for you! He is one big boy at 16.2 !!!!! My girl is just 15 or maybe 15.1 and I most always need help lifting the roping saddle- Roping saddles are so much heavier! Like your guy, she is patient and it's never a problem for her, just pisses me off to ask for help!!!

I have found out since I made my original post that my tear is a complete tear with retraction. Like you, I guess I should have seen an Ortho sooner but it still would be the same outcome for me-no surgery on my affected arm/shoulder. I have had cellulitis 5 times in this arm and have become septic twice. I'm just to frightened to even allow a steroid injection at this point! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me and I certainly do wish you the best! katiejane

Dx 6/13/2007 Dx 6/13/2007, ILC, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 3/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 2, 2016 07:47PM macb04 wrote:

Hi Katiejane, Ihave a Rotator Cuff tear on my left side, which is also the sidedamaged, quite severely from rads 3 years ago. It was really bugging me. I also started to have swelling from LE this spring. I went and got Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT ) on my arm. It is also known as Cold Laser Therapy. Before I got it, I did alot of research, found out LLLT is used routinely for tendinopathies like rotator cuff tears (Football and Baseball players use it frequently ) It works well for most, and no benefit for others. Doesn't seem to have any side effects from the research I did. It is even used as treatment for LE in a few studies from Australia and also the US.

It helped with the pain I had with lifting my arm, it is kind of coming back because I have gone back to heavier exercise again. I plan to get another treatment. PM if anyone wantsmore info.

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Oct 27, 2016 07:09PM JJOntario wrote:

Hi Everyone,

Just reading these posts as I was recently dx with calcific tendonitis on my non BC side. It has been a full 2 wks of very little sleep and some of the worst pain in my life. I'm determined to keep this shoulder moving and it is but now my BC side shoulder is hurting..I'm assuming from over use. I'm doing pt and eating Advil. Any advice??

44 yrs old. 2 daughters. Oncotype Scoree 16. Breast augmentation done 10 months prior to dx. Dx 12/1/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/1/2014 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Surgery 12/7/2014 Lumpectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 1/29/2015 Radiation Therapy 3/29/2015
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Jun 17, 2017 05:58PM Chae wrote:

I did over 2 years of Pt/Ot starting with a lymphedema specialist.  Pain increasing, not getting better.  Lightening, stabbing pains in my chest.  I have tried acupuncture, deep tissue massage, shiatsu massage, chiropractic treatment, essential oils, anti-inflammatories, narcotics, stretching, hydrotherapy, trigger point injections, etc.  Anyway 3 years later, I am to the point where I can hardly get out of bed or do anything, and beg for mercy.  They finally do an MRI and discover that I have a torn rotator cuff.  Seriously?  3 years later?  Who else had this problem?

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Jun 17, 2017 09:25PM - edited Jun 17, 2017 09:26PM by macb04

I had a partial Rotator Cuff tear too on the side they wreaked. It doesn't sound as bad as what you got, but it upset me and bugged me every time I lifted my arm away from my side more than a little. That went on for several months. I got Low Level Laser therapy (LLLT). The pain stopped almost that day. It was a HUGE improvement. I had a couple of treatments done at Bastyr University's Naturopathic Clinic. I went in and got the LLLT because I tried PT and it didn't help. Then I read up on it, and figured I had nothing to lose. I also read some studies that said that it was just a placebo effect. It seems to be almost equal in terms of saying yea/nay. So who knows? I don't care if it was a placebo effect or not, I just know my pain with lifting my arm sideways from my body went away (called abduction)

30 patients with supraspinatus or bicipital tendonitis were randomly allocated to active infrared laser therapy at 904 nm three times weekly for 2 weeks, dummy laser or drug treatment for 2 weeks. Objectively maximum active extension, flexion and abduction of the shoulder, and subjectively pain stiffness movement and function were measured at 0 and 2 weeks. Significant improvement of active over dummy laser was noted for all seven assessments. Active laser therapy produced significant improvement over drug therapy for all three objective measures and pain. Naproxen sodium significantly improved only movement and function compared to dummy laser. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of laser therapy in tendonitis of the shoulder.

Key Words: laser, shoulder, tendonitis

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Jun 18, 2017 05:39PM Kicks wrote:

A year & 1/2 ago I did a small tear to my rotor cuff on my LE arm. (I've been dealing with LE 7 1/2 yrs, my LET Guy is an OT and fantastic.). When I saw my Ortho, PA, he had me in for an MRI quickly. Then he had me in for X-ray. We discussed it and basically there were 2 options - surgery or cortisone injections. I decided on cortisone injection first to try to see if it would heal rather than jumping to surgery immediately. Well, the tear didn't heal even with PT directed at it. So now, every 6 mths I get a cortisone injection and have no problems/pain/ROM limits with it.

I have to add that my care is through VA and it has always been prompt and to the point.

Dx 8/7/2009, IBC, Stage IIIC, 19/19 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 8/25/2009 AC Surgery 10/21/2009 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/11/2009 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/4/2010 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Aug 16, 2017 09:41AM WarPony wrote:

In July, 2016, I had a double mastectomy with lymph node removed on left side. I have had lymphedema in that left arm ever since, in which nothing seems to help for very long. I have had pain in both shoulders ever since the surgery. The Drs have dismissed my complaints as inconsequential by telling me it will get better eventually, or some people have pain for a long, long, time and/or by throwing more drugs at it, like Lyrica. Physical therapy and lymph massage made the pain worse, so I stopped doing it.

The pain kept getting worse, so last week I went to an orthopedic surgeon. He ordered a bilateral MRI. The DX came back as bilateral bone spurs and rotator cuff tears! I never had this problem before the surgery and I elected not to do chemo and radiation, so, I can only conclude that these injuries happened during the surgery! A nurse friend confirmed that sometimes your arm can be hyper extended during the surgery. I have tried to research the topic but have not found much. I am told that the arthroscopic surgery required can be at a higher risk because of the Lyphedema.

I would appreciate any and all information anyone might have on this to help me navigate through this stormy sea! Medicare seems to limit my options, but I am still pushing.

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