Pain After Surgery

I had a lumpectomy in Nov. 2009, followed by 6 months of chemo and 36 radiation treatments.

Since I finished treatment, I have started having a great deal of pain in my armpit, side and breast. My doctors told me that this is the result of nerve damage during surgery.

I have taken several different types of meds to help – Gabepentin, Lyrica, and now Sevella. The first two didn’t work as well over time & I gained a lot of weight. Now I am started on the 3rd one. I am hoping at some point in time that the pain will just go away. I understand that nerve damage takes a a very long time to heal.

hiya bwilson , im nowhere near where you are as re treatment - started radiotherapy thurs but wanted to say that when i asked about the pain under my armpit going away i was told it can take years !i do find that doing daily arm exercise helps = are you still doing yours ? i think its worth bearing in mind that the knock on effects from surgery etc can stay with us for very long time , when i mentioned to my doc he said if persisted he could prescribe amyltripaline which i believe blocks the pain signals - i think xx

Are you sure its not cording?? I went to phsyio last week and the pains in my breast that I assumed were due to the op are the start of cording. She then stretched me and found 5 cords in my armpit, one starting to run down my side and one starting to run down my arm. She has shown me how to stretch and massage them, and it hurts, but she says I am lucky that we found it early because it would have just got worse. I cannot see them when i look in a mirror, but she spotted them.

I start rads next month and that department has a masseur that comes in specifically to help with cording so i am hoping that will help too.

Echoing what Trish and OAL said:
The surgery often damages lymph vessels and that can cause just the sort of pain you’re describing, called cording.
Exercise and massage help a great deal, but you need to go and see someone to show you how to do the massage safely yourself, a physiotherapist is usually the best bet. For exercises, send off for the BCC DVD and leaflet, they’re really useful.
For initial nerve pain immediately after surgery I found Amitriptyline 20mg per day was excellent, and helped me sleep, but only needed that for the first few months. Later on it was cording that caused the pain.
Sarah x

Hi ladies,

Here’s the link to BCC’s DVD and publication ‘Getting fitter, feeling stronger’. Hope you find it helpful.

breastcancercare.org.uk/healthcare-professionals/publications/quick-order-list/*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/159/

Jo, Facilitator