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Topic: Shortness of Breath/Pain

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

Posted on: Sep 26, 2017 12:01AM

GarnetWI wrote:

Background: Left BC in 1995 w/mastectomy, chemo & tram flap reconstruction; First LE in 1998; treated & then dormant until 2011; Again treated--wear day & night sleeves and do MLD since then.

I've been having fatigue and shortness of breath for a few months. Two weeks ago I wound up in ER and hospital for 3 days after having intense pain at outside bottom of reconstructed left breast. THIS PAIN CAME ON RIGHT AFTER I FINISHED MY MLD THERAPY THAT NIGHT! Pain eased up after about 2 hours, went down to twinges when taking deep breaths, and then totally gone.

At hospital, heart problem ruled out. Spot in lung on initial CT scan, but then gone next day when they went to do CT-guided biopsy in left lung. Lung doctor said bottom of lung must have been collapsed and was reinflated by breathing tests and treatment I received the morning of the biopsy. Lung doctor can't diagnose problem & calls it "an asthma-like condition." Treating with inhalers. Also scheduled for sleep study for possible sleep apnea.

I continue to have shortness of breath and wheezing when I walk up stairs or do more active household chores--also upon waking up in the morning.

LAST NIGHT AS I FINISHED MY MLD, I HAD TWO FLASHES OF THE SAME PAIN IN THE SAME SPOT! This happened just as I was about to do the final stroke of MLD. Could my LE have spread to trunk and be causing the breathing issue? Has anyone had a similar experience?

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Sep 26, 2017 02:53PM Moderators wrote:

GarnetWI, welcome to Breastcancer.org! Sorry you have to be here, but glad you've found us and hope you get responses from other members who can help soon.

As you can read in our main site "It's also possible to have lymphedema in the breast, trunk, and/or abdomen depending on what type of surgery and additional treatment you had." More information in the Lymphedema section of the Breastcancer.org main site.

Hope this helps! Let us know how you're doing.

The Mods

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Sep 26, 2017 11:29PM - edited Sep 26, 2017 11:30PM by hugz4u

You've got me stumped. Deep Breathing is excellent for le wherever it presents as it helps drain fluid.

When my truncal kicks in it feels like a faint bee sting and like a rubbery boiled egg at the back of my pit. Some get tingles, heaviness or nagging pain and other weird symptoms.

Your MLD shouldn't cause a problem because you or your therapist should never stroke yourself harder than petting a cat. It should be helpful for trunckal. Perhaps your reaching to get at your body and causing a muscle pull making pain. Idk but it's important to keep your doc in the know to rule out cancer rearing ugly head maybe presenting with pain.

Hopefully Binney our expert will weigh in. Sounds like lots going on.

Thx for posting. Don't give up and keep asking us questions so we can find the right key.

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Sep 28, 2017 08:42PM Binney4 wrote:

Hi, Garnet, and welcome. I'm so sorry about this new problem. What you're describing doesn't sound like anything generally associated with lymphedema, though it's certainly possible that you're dealing with truncal lymphedema now. That possibility needs to be dealt with, for sure. It can be hard to diagnose truncal LE because swelling is hard (impossible?) to measure in the chest and back, but if your LE therapist is experienced she should be able to tell by examination.

Here's information about truncal lymphedema:


You might want to check with a cardiologist about possible coronary artery disease, which may not have been tested for in the ER, and which could have symptoms like you've described.

Please keep us posted and let us know what you discover.

Gentle hugs,

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Sep 29, 2017 02:52AM GarnetWI wrote:

Thank you for your comments and information, Hugz and Binney. I had wondered if there was a possible connection due to having the pain right after doing MLD. Saw my doctor this week and he pretty much ruled out any connection to LE. However, he did say he'll refer me to an LE therapist once the current issues are checked out further, saying the other issues are more important right now.

After ER, I was admitted to hospital, saw cardiologist and lung doctor, and had multiple tests, including a PET scan that showed some "hot spots." They are concerned about the possibility of a cancer recurrence, and I had a biopsy today on a lump on my shoulder about 1 1/2" from neck. My former primary care doctor told me two months ago that it was a cyst, but next week we'll know for sure.

I've been sleeping a little better so the fatigue isn't as pronounced, and the breathing issues have improved some with use of an inhaler. I've also been doing a lot of breathing exercises.

So I'm hanging in there until all the results results come in. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks again,


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Sep 29, 2017 06:40AM - edited Sep 29, 2017 06:40AM by Binney4

Garnet, the waiting game is so hard! Really glad the breathing is easier and you're able to sleep though.

Hanging in there with you! Gentle hugs,

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