Does it ever end??

I finished active treatment last September including chemo and radiotherapy. Since then I have had a frozen shoulder (caused by the radio) for which I had surgery 3 weeks ago. I have developed lymphoedema, suffering the usual symptoms on Tamoxifen and several weeks ago I started to get pains in my chest. One night I woke up and thought I was having a heart attack I was in so much pain. I saw my onc for a check up today and happened to mention it and he says I have costochonditis brought on by the radiotherapy. He said it is a known side effect and that I have to just manage it with pain killers and anti-inflammatories. He said it may just go away or it might re-occur off and on for ever.

Why don’t they tell you all these things…rant over just a bit fed up!!


Hi Viv

I’m really sorry to hear you’re having such a hard time. Hopefully the surgery will help the shoulder - how long is the expected recovery time?

As for the pain in your chest, that sounds awful. Perhaps it will just fade as time passes. Sometimes it’s a case of getting used to the new ‘normal’, but pain that wakes you up and makes you think you’re having a heart attack isn’t right. Can your onc tell you what might make it flair up and how to prevent it?

Any point trying a complementary therapy? They seem to work for some people.

Really hope it clears up - you deserve to have a moan!
xxx Jane

Hi Jane

Thanls for replying.

The shoulder recovery time can be 6 9 months but I have to say the movement in improving already (though physio is very painful).

The onc said that the costochondritis can be triggered by exercise so I think I have to strike a fine balance when exercising for the shoulder…come to think of it…it has got worse with this round of physio. I will mention it to my physiotherapist when I go next.

I think my main problem is that I feel I have had to take painkillers for one thing or another for the last 18 months and I hate the way they make me feel…I feel a visit to the GP is on the cards.

Viv xx