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Topic: How long were you experiencing pain after mastectomy?

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

Posted on: Apr 26, 2012 08:43PM

Judy6 wrote:

Hello all, I am 3 weeks out and doing pretty good.  Still have tolerable pain but today I have "new" pain.  I am just wondering about how much longer this will go on.  I do have a low pain tolerance so maybe it is just me, lol!  I would love to hear time frames so I can set my sites on an ending to this. Thanks so much :)

Dx 2/7/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 26, 2012 09:24PM barbe1958 wrote:

I found that when the nerves started regenerating that it was the most uncomfortable part for me. If you had recon, make sure you don't have any hot or red areas indicating an infection. If no recon, do you have a build-up of fluid somewhere? Have someone check along the incision line to make sure nothing is going on. Otherwise, it's good news that you are getting feeling back as a lot of the area can stay numb for a long time.

Dx 12/10/2008, IDC: Papillary, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/16/2008 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Dx 2/4/2016, IDC: Papillary, Left, Stage IV, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 2/11/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 2/17/2016 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Apr 26, 2012 09:34PM camillegal wrote:

Judy u didn't say where the new pain was and where the old pain was--are u taking pain meds. U must be seeing u'r surgeon, did u lat him/her know about this? OK I have more questions then u do --so answer LOL

Dx 2007, Stage IV, 24/38 nodes, HER2+
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Apr 26, 2012 09:50PM Mooleen wrote:

It was a good 6 weeks before I started feeling like a human again. I did have a little complication (seroma) which probably added to my pain. Hang in there,

Dx 11/1/2011, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 2/23/2012 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Surgery 2/23/2012 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 8/21/2012 Reconstruction (left) Surgery 10/9/2012 Reconstruction (right)
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Apr 26, 2012 09:54PM wildrumara wrote:

I agree with Moleen......I had a BMX with direct to implant reconstruction and I will still in quite a bit of pain up until about 5 weeks.  Lots of burning, pinchy type pain and tightness.  After about five weeks, I turned a corner.  Hopefully you will do the same!

Aug 2011, dx wth IDC Stage 2, oncotype 25, neoadjuvant chemotTC X 6, BMX with reconstruction, Tamoxifen March 2012, April 2014, two small mets discovered on liver. Arimidex, May 2014 Liver wedge resection. June 2014 SBRT of second liver lesion. Dx 8/23/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 9/29/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 2/28/2012 Hormonal Therapy 3/26/2012 Hormonal Therapy 5/7/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx 2/8/2018, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to other, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Apr 26, 2012 10:20PM - edited Apr 26, 2012 10:22PM by Judy6

Ladies thanks so much for your responses.  The new pain today seems to be under my breast bone.They are sharp pains that come out of left field and last about a minute and then stop.  This just started today.  If I arch my back it seems to alleviate some of it. The old pain was more achy constant, would dull with over the counter pain meds.  I am not very good at explaining pain I hope you all can understand what I mean.  I had a right side mx with TE's.  I have had one fill and am filled to 250cc's. 200 in the OR and 50 cc's at my first PS visit.  I am not taking any pain meds, just over the counter stuff.

Dx 2/7/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 28, 2012 03:10PM barbiecorn wrote:

I am almost 3 months after BMX  no reconstruction and I have my days - tightness - pain generally in the incision areas and radiates around my back also...but I always had back pain issues before BC - I work at a computer and have for 40 years and I think it is arthritis in my back area from being on the computer all day long....but I did read that neuropathy can cause this after breast surgery and hopefully I will not be one of them who can have this type of pain permanently....ugg....my breast surgeon said it can take a year to not have any pain in the area...ugg to that too!!!!

Dx 12/26/2011, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes
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Apr 29, 2012 10:38AM iLUV2knit wrote:

I was painful for quite a few weeks....I think I was still taking pain meds 5 weeks out...off and on.  I had drains for SEVEN long weeks.  My left TE sat on a nerve and it hurt so much. MY drain sites were inflamed, irritated and sore and if I moved jusssst right....YOUCH!

I just had my exchange on March 28 and am just feeling better from that!  I am a pain wimp too.  I would like to think I am "tough and strong" like everyone says I am...but I am only tough and strong with medication helping me along the way. LOL

Your life is now~ John Cougar Mellencamp Dx 8/18/2011, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Apr 29, 2012 12:00PM Judy6 wrote:

Omg iluv2knit!!!  Drains for 7 weeks?  I think you win the prize!  No wonder you were in pain for so long. I think my situation is that I am just a baby!!! 

Dx 2/7/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 2, 2012 11:48AM BuddhaWolf wrote:

Im afraid I was in pain for some time, as my TE felt quite heavy on / under the muscle it was placed on so even going down the stairs, rolled over in bed onto my front, or out for a short walk was quite sore.. I think it's great that you are asking for different opinions, as not everyone fits into the 24 hrs  - driving, 6 weeks - return to regular activities framework - I didnt, then got cross woth myself thinking i wasnt healing quickly enough (partly work pressure influencing those thoughts..) All the best!

*Buddhawolf Dx:Feb 2010 6mm tumour/IDC -Grade 2. DCIS, papillary pattern-Intermediate grade.Triple negative. April 26 2010 - skin-sparing UNI MX/senitel node sampling (3:0) Revision Surgery May 2012, TE; recon ongoing
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May 2, 2012 08:46PM barbe1958 wrote:

Aha!! Judy, I'm hearing a couple of options in your second post. You may be healing from where the drain(s) were!! It takes longer for that area across your front to heal, because just as it started to get better, the drains got ripped out! I was sure I was dying with the amount of pain I had.

The second thing, not so clear-cut is something called Costochondritis. It is an inflamation of your rib. True!! The sharp, intense pain lasts seconds, but feels like minutes. It's your body's way of complaining about the breast surgery. It is a form of arthritis (there are 137 kinds!) so normal pain meds could alleviate it. The problem is, you never know when it's going to hit, do you?

I hope some of this gives you something to Google.

Dx 12/10/2008, IDC: Papillary, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/16/2008 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Dx 2/4/2016, IDC: Papillary, Left, Stage IV, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 2/11/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 2/17/2016 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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May 16, 2012 11:51AM RachelM11 wrote:

I only had pain for the first few days. I actually went to lunch with my family (in the hospital) the day after my BMX. I stopped taking pain pills when the bottle they gave me at discharge ran out. My drains came out in 6 days. After that I was feeling great until my first TE fill up. The surgery is a breeze compared to the reconstruction. I'm feeling tight and uncomfortable but not "pain". For me, the more I move around the better I feel. I try to take a walk everyday and do some light housework to get me moving. Hope you're feeling better soon! It's different for everyone.

Stage 3, Triple Positive 2/2012. BMX 4/2012, Recurrance 10/2012 Her2+, ER-, PR-
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May 17, 2012 02:04AM - edited May 17, 2012 02:04AM by lorime

I had a BMX with TEs put in on April 16th. First week and a half took pain killers pretty non stop. Drains came out at Day 8 and Day 16. Pain has subsided but after a month I am still in what I consider to be a lot. I sometimes take over the counter stuff but it rarely does any good so I usually don't bother. I believe most of my discomfort presently is from the TEs and also from the pretty massive swelling I have along the sides of my "breasts". It is pretty miserable and is getting very frustrating. My PS says the swelling could last up to 3 months. I go in for my last fill tomorrow. I have only had 2. He was able to,fill my rt side to max of 800cc during surgery and my left to 650cc. I have rested like crazy these 4 weeks but have also walked daily since day 2 per doctors orders. Have only driven a handful of times and it sucks!!!!! If I do one extra activity it seems I relapse for a good day or so. Not fun. Any tips are welcome!!! Hang in there everyone!!

Dx 1/10/2012, DCIS, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/13/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Surgery 4/15/2012 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left
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Jun 16, 2013 10:50PM sweetrose8 wrote:

Hello all,

I had my right side mastectomy + right axillary dissection on 24th July 2012, a year getting almost completed. Now, after such a long time.. I've started to feel a sharp pain, in the operated area of the chest. It's not continuous, but happens at random times. It has got me worried! 

Some kind of mass has also developed right below the mastectomy cut line. My breast surgeon earlier told me that there would be slight rise in the chest area which would be due to weight gain, and that's totally normal, nothing to worry about. It exactly has happened like that, I have gained maybe 3kg and there is this fleshy increase in that area..

So my questions are: 1) why is the pain still there? is it the nerves still growing? or somethingelse? should i be concerned? or is it normal? and will fade away? if yes, then till when? any time frame?

2) is this swelling or due to weight gain? anyone with similar experiences? 



Please do reply! Thank you so much sisters, My other treatment details would be shown in my signature. Blessings to you all~ 

It's hard to fly when something is weighing you down ~ Dx 5/23/2012, DCIS, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/24/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 8/26/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 3/3/2013 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 4/23/2013 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Sep 2, 2017 11:22PM SouthernGinger wrote:

Well it's reassuring to know the pain and tightness I am feeling two weeks after BMX surgery with left aux dissection (3) and immediate recon with silicone implants may be normal at this time. I have a pretty high pain tolerance (as red-heads do) but was becoming concerned that today I was in about as much pain as I was in the first few days after surgery. On day 7 post-op (when left drain tube came out) I was feeling great! Day 10 the right drain tube came out. 2 days after that I was able to wash myself in shower, put on makeup, comb my own hair and went out with my husband to a meeting and dinner - out & about for approx 5 hours...During the visit when the right tube came out, the PS Nurse had given me instructions for exercises I was to begin a few days after the last tube was removed and she said to do them daily. So on day 14, I started doing them. Now, on day 15, that burning pain across my chest has returned (I can barely stand to touch my skin at the top of the implants) along with a few new shooting/stabbing pains along my sides (where the compression bra hits my ribs) plus my breastbone area feels achy, liked I've been punched! I also have this 'sand under my skin' feeling in the implant area. It's weird - I don't have pain WHILE I'm doing the exercises but it hits me like a train afterwards!! Have been wearing a compression bra filled with 'fluff' (gauze pad) since surgery 24/7 and did have my husband loosen it a little - that helped a lot. I had been down to 1/2 an oxycodone (only 2.5mg) every 12 hours but now I'm back up to 3 pills a day...Still taking 650 mg Tylenol every 6 hours around the clock also. So I type in info looking for how long pain should last after this type of surgery and found this site and this post. I have read where some of you say it was about 5 weeks before things settled down. I had no idea it would take that long. Right now I feel like I have something 'sitting' on my chest - which I do - and wondering am I ever going to get used to the implants and feel somewhat normal again. If anyone else has had recon with Allergan Natrelle Inspira SRF 'gummy bear' silicon implants, I'd love to hear how your healing process went and how you feel now. Thanks so much :)

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Oct 23, 2017 12:46AM sistergal wrote:

hi there, I think all of our surgeries are different, but I never thought the reconstruction would be so difficult. I hope you are having some relief. Just so you don't feel alone in your pain, I had mastectomy and Lat flap surgery with tissue expander dec 2016 and implant replacement June 2017. Still feeling much pain, like someone is sitting on my chest plus lots of fatigue from pain. Pain in ribs ongoing. My PS says he's never had any patients who experienced this pain, but looking at this site, I'd say he's wrong. PT has helped and I've started Pilates, which helps with stretching. Based on my reading, I think it may be due to scar tissue. Hopefully, stretching and massage will help over time. My PT is doicupping which hurts like heck but seems to loosen the tightness.

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Oct 23, 2017 09:04AM Kahnartist wrote:

I had a bmx Thursday 10/19/17 and I still can’t really move. Lots of pain in my drain areas and under the boob areas. I think healing is different for all and you need to give yourself however much time you need. Scar tissue can hurt. I had a breast reduction 20 years ago and I always felt a little pain from the old drain locations and scar tissue. I hope you feel better soon. Sounds like you are doing exactly what you can do to help yourself. Pilates I should great

44 year old cat mom Dx 9/18/2017, IDC, Left, 5mm, Stage 1, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery: BMX 10/19/17 0/4 nodes
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Nov 29, 2017 04:51AM - edited Nov 29, 2017 04:51AM by clanqc

I am 10 years out, 2 surgeries, one lumpectomy, 5 days later full mastectomy with 17 nodes removed. I am still having pain and numbness. My left armpit is 1/2 the size of my right. I take a small amt of pain reliver during the day. Just now trying Neurontin....taking a very long time to kick in, if at all. No recon.


Sue Jacobsen Dx 11/30/2006, LCIS/DCIS, Left, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/17 nodes, mets, ER+, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/4/2007 Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 5/8/2007 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Surgery 5/13/2007 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 7/1/2007 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2007 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)

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