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All TopicsForum: Surgery - Before, During, and After → Topic: How long does the pain last?

Topic: How long does the pain last?

Forum: Surgery - Before, During, and After — Surgical options and helpful tips for recovery and side effects.

Posted on: Dec 3, 2008 03:15PM

CaroleT wrote:

I had a total mastectomy on 11/5/08 and as of this date, I am still in pain if I move.  I still cannot use my left arm as I had in the past, and even can't put anything on the area where the breast was because it is very sensitive and almost feels like shingles.  I did NOT have reconstruction and have not gotten any kind of prosthesis so I am using dressing sponges inside my bra as best as I can but the pain is sometimes unbearable.  Does anyone know how long the pain is supposed to last?  I somehow feel my surgeon thinks I am a "woos" or "drug dependent" when I ask for more pain medicine.  Said Motrin or Advil or Xtra Strength Tylenol should be helpful but it isn't.  Has anyone else had these problems?  What worked?  I have been praying, have others praying for me, and I need prayers to get through this.  I am 59, married, grandmother.

CaroleT Dx 10/12/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes
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Dec 3, 2008 07:22PM Snowbird wrote:

Carole, I'm so sorry to hear you're still in pain. I also had a mastectomy 11/25 but have not yet tried to wear a bra or anything similar so I've not experienced the pain you are. It is still difficult for me to make certain moves, but doing my exercizes 2Xday has helped a LOT. I also had no recon because, like you, I'm 60, married and a grandmother, so felt no need to replace something that wasn't looking all that great anymore anyway! I do still take THREE Tylenol occasionally and get enough relief that way, and have been advised by various medical professionals that 3 is OK, even tho 2 is the usual dose. I've heard that it takes 6 weeks after surgery before getting "fitted" for whatever "stuffing" I may want or need, so I have a ways to go yet before then. Meanwhile, I'm "hanging loose" in t-shirts, sweatshirts and big old baggy shirts for comfort. I've even bought a nice big pink fabric flower pin to wear over the "empty spot" when out & about. Surely no one will notice I'm missing a boob underneath something so fashionable!?!?!  I will pray for you and hope you get the relief you need soon. I hope your medical professionals will respond with whatever you need in the meantime. You're not alone...  It WILL get better... 

DX 10/15/2008, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- OncotypDX=26(17%) BiLat DIEP (1-delayed, 1-immediate) 12/8/09, Stage 2 10/22/10 w/Craigie/Charleston COURAGE IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF FEAR, IT'S ACTING IN SPITE OF IT!
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Dec 3, 2008 07:28PM 1penny wrote:

Hi Carole,

I'm afraid I can't offer any advice as my surgery is scheduled for January.

I just wanted you to know that I hope the pain goes soon and I am thinking of you (( Hugs))


Dx 7/7/2008, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Dec 3, 2008 08:57PM Caya wrote:


Did you have alot of nodes taken?  If so, this could be affecting your recovery.  I am coming up on 2 years post MRM, with 16 nodes (all negative) taken.  Snowbird is right - the exercises like climbing your hand on the affected side up the wall, circling the arms etc.  really helped.  It is better to do the exercises 4 or 5 X/day in short spurts, rather than 2 longer sessions.  Try doing 5 minutes/session.  I was vigilant doing the exercise, my healing time and range of motion were great. 

Please go back to your surgeon or call the physio therapist at your hospital - you should not be in so much pain nearly 4 weeks past surgery, in my opinion.

I had my MRM Dec. 18,2006 - I got fitted for a prosthesis about 5 weeks later - but then I was feeling pretty good, no pain at all, scar was mostly healed by then.

Let us know how you are coming along.

Dx 10/16/2006, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH)
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Dec 3, 2008 09:05PM lewisfamily503 wrote:

Hi Carole,  I am sorry you are in pain.  Please do see your surgeon.  We are all different.  Just because you are having pain, doesn't mean there is something wrong necessarily.  It might just take longer for you to heal or maybe there is a nerve issue.  Your surgeon will be able to figure this out--don't suffer in silence.  You sound like you need more powerful medication until this is under control.  Let us know how it turns out!!  

Anne Dx 10/19/2007, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Dec 6, 2008 04:06PM lovemyfamilysomuch wrote:

Carol, I am sorry you are in pain.  I am about 2 weeks out of lumpectomy with nodes out and the pain today is driving me crazy.  I feel like screaming.

Dx 10/14/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 6, 2008 04:29PM CaroleT wrote:

Hi everyone and thank you so much for your responding to my question.  When I went back to see the surgeon she could tell by the look on my face the pain I was feeling.  I realized in speaking with her it was more of a nerve pain than a "pain pain" because the area where the breast used to me is like a goiter now and skin very sensitive, almost like the shingles feel.  So she prescriped lodocaine patches for me and WHAM!!!!! the pain is gone.  I take Tylenol only if I get uncomfortable when I can't have the patch on, 12 hours on, 12 hours off and I am now very happy with my recovery from the surgery.  Also, to let everyone know that I DO NOT need chemo, I am just going to take medication x 5 years (estrogen) and I am the happiest woman on earth when the oncologist told me that yesterday.  Blessings and peace to all who read this.

CaroleT Dx 10/12/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes
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Dec 6, 2008 04:54PM sbmolee wrote:

Give it time.  It took me a full 6 weeks before I felt human.  Hypersensitivity on my arm from the SMB was the worst.  You might try a close fitting cami so clothes do not rub and brush against your chest.  Once your ps says you can do range of motion exercises - do so - helps to do right after a warm shower or in the warm shower.  I did exercises 3-4 times a day and slowley I got range of motion back.   I like the idea CaroleT had of lidocaine patches - although lidocaine makes me anxious and my heart race a bit. HUGS

Live life to the fullest - it is not a spectator sport. Dx 3/27/2008, DCIS, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 16, 2008 09:56AM girlmace wrote:

I am 12 weeks post double mast with latis dorsi and reconstruction. I still am taking a couple of vicodin in the evenings. This has been both depressing and ultimately, the only thing that takes the pain away. 6 weeks after surgery, I was still taking 6-8 vicodin/day and 8-10 weeks after 2-4/day. My ps has been very sympathetic to my pain (thank God) because you feel so lame for still being in pain when others are "Fine" after 2 weeks. I have come to accept that I still need the pain meds for now and am grateful when my pain is gone for those couple of hours in the day. I say, "No need to be in pain."

Dx 8-18-08, DCIS, grade 2,>7cm, extensive, ER-PR-, bilateral mast with latis dorsi + 350 cc saline implants . 12/18 revision to 375cc silicone implants
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Jan 3, 2009 03:51PM Happyme wrote:

Hi, Girlmace.  Wondering:  how does latis dorsi reconstruction compare to tram flap?  I had bilat masts at the end of August with tram flap reconstruction;  my "breasts" are reeeeeelly tender, and so are the spots in my diaphragm where my surgeon tacked the mesh. I haven't had much success finding info about breast soreness 4 months after surgery, so I am replying to lots of posts here in hopes of learning something.

 Thank you;  I sure hope we'll both get permanent relief soon.


"Dear God, please give me a grateful heart."
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Jan 4, 2009 02:22PM - edited Jan 4, 2009 02:24PM by girlmace

I'm so sorry for your pain. I know just how you feel. It's so frustrating. I'm having a hard time finding info on such long term pain as well. I actually had revision surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago. Nothing like the first but still a set back. I feel almost as "good" as I did before this recent surgery. I don't know the comparison, really, between tram and lat dors but from what I've read, it's similar in pain and recovery. Sucks for us.I have to admit that most of my pain is resulting from some scar tissue build up I've received post double mx. Near one of m y drainage tube sites, where I was aspirated 6 times, a large amt of scar tissue has developed. It sticks out (like a small 3rd boob, ha ha) and is painful 50% of the time. Now I'm wondering how long the tightness and stiffness lasts. Every minute I feel like I have to take off a super tight bra. Does everyone feel this way?

Thanks for reading. Health to all in 09.

Dx 8-18-08, DCIS, grade 2,>7cm, extensive, ER-PR-, bilateral mast with latis dorsi + 350 cc saline implants . 12/18 revision to 375cc silicone implants
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Jan 4, 2009 02:32PM Happyme wrote:

Thanks for the reply, girlmace.  Guess it will slacken off in time.  I don't have the "super tight bra" feeling so much - for me the tight feeling is across my lower belly incision where my surgeon took the flap. It's hypersensitive, not painful exactly; it's a feeling as if I'm wearing a tight wire across my lower stomach. Sometimes with tiny barbs at the ends. The mesh he implanted gives my diaphragm a super-tight feel. I dropped a 900-page book on it the other night - the book bounced!

"Dear God, please give me a grateful heart."
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Jan 11, 2009 02:05PM tbird57 wrote:

I had two lumpectomies, August 19 and September 5, and I still have pain at the chest wall under my breast where the majority of my surgery took place.  When will this go away?  I also have some pain within my breast around the cavity but it's definitely not nearly as noticeable as the pain where my breast connects to my body.  Any suggestions, advice?  Is this normal? 

Love, love, love - that is the soul of genius. Mozart Dx 5/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Aug 3, 2009 11:59AM scareds wrote:


I read alot of your posts. Did your pain ever go away? I just had bilateral lat dorsi and am pain. Wondering if your pain ever went away>>>


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