Post mastectomy and axilla clearance

Merry Christmas you wonderful lot x
Just after some advice , I have just recently had a mastectomy on the 21st December with a axilla lymph node clearance . Felt I was doing of but the last 48 hrs under my armpit back and of arm is so painful and numb. Some mild swelling but doesn’t look like a Seroma. Also have a little bit of swelling to my forearm on the underneath part is this normal ? Any advice ? Being doing all my exercises and feel I have relatively good movement . Just sick of relying on pain relief I have being taking occasional paracetamol and ibuprofen .

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Hi Carpediem

I had the same op on the 19th Dec and I have all sorts of weird numbness and tingling in my arm, though I find applying light cream to the area, massaging upwards, really relieves the pain.

I’m still on regular paracetamol and ibuprofen and not intending to go without any time soon. It hurts too much and I’m obviously not brave. Had to ditch the codeine pretty early on though. It and the accompanying lactulose had some nasty side effects. Bleurgh!

Things seem to change for the better each day though, thank heavens. Just got to wait until 8th January for the results now :roll_eyes:

Take care x

Hi and many thanks for your reply hope your doing ok yes sounds very similar to myself. Hopefully will ease as the days go.
I get my results the day after you on the 9rh fingers crossed and wish you well xx
It’s a rollercoaster that’s for sure it’s nice to be able to reach out to those who are going though similar x

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@carpediem23 Just wanted to say, it’s still early days for you and also everything you appear to be experiencing sounds similar to what (& normal) I did when I had my Mastectomy & subsequent Axillary Dissection surgery 2 months later. I had the same questions and insecurities as you appear to be, as I didn’t know what was normal vs. not.

Numbness around the mastectomy site and underarm / back of arm up to around the forearm / elbow area (with Axillary Dissection surgery) is normal. I experienced this in increments, first time with Mastectomy + SLNB then with Axillary Dissection surgery. The reason for numbness is because nerves get severed during surgery, then some repairing happens over time - but there will be some remaining permanent numbness. The numbness I have now is primarily around mastectomy scar, underarm and the upper area behind my arm (I regained sensation in the area near my elbow / forearm & also the level of underarm numbness underarm feels less).

Regarding pain underarm + back of arm; I too felt this. Particularly the back of my arm was sore for about 3-4 weeks, it increased gradually and then gradually decreased during the subsequent weeks. I took paracetamol 3 times a day for 3 weeks, irrespective of level of pain to avoid unmanageable levels of pain that would hinder my ability to continue with stretching exercises 3 times a day, as I wanted to regain full range of arm movement soon. I stayed off Codine tablets though and managed alright.

Regarding swelling, I didn’t experience this but a few weeks after my Axillary Dissection surgery I felt like my long sleeved tops were slightly tighter on that side, but this was checked by surgeon & nothing measurable was noted even though I was worried about lymphoedema at the time. This disappeared several months post surgery, I feel it was mostly as a result of using my arm as normal now. So no sign of any difference between both my arms 8 months from axillary surgery.

I did have small amounts of bruising in the area which cleared over time, I was told this was normal and I expected it myself. If you have anything that feels like fluid (+/- deep bruising) sloshing around (seroma/ haematoma) it would be a good idea to check with your BCN.

Hope some of the above is helpful.

Wishing you well. Take care xx

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Thanks so much for your reassurance. It’s difficult to k ie what is normal tbh so good to hear others experiences. Glad to hear you are doing well , I will keep ontop of pain relief and exercises. All the best x

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Hi everyone

I hope you are all doing ok.

I’m now nearly three weeks from surgery. My scar, while very long, slightly past the mid point of my chest, and very tight, is neat and healing well, I’m experiencing a lot of soreness in my chest which is adding to the weird armpit sensations.

The only way I can describe it is that it feels like I have a layer of sandpaper under the skin of my chest. It makes walking around very uncomfortable, which is so annoying I really want to move more. It’s hard to have anything against that side too. It’s not hot or anything, so I assume it’s not an infection.

Does anyone else have this? I want it to stop! I’m keeping up with the pain relief, but I’d hoped to be reducing this by now. I’ll speak to the surgeon about it tomorrow when I have my results meeting, but ouch. Is this just an adjustment or is it how it’s going to be forever? It’s really upsetting me, when I was doing ok, ish.

Karen x

Good luck today for your results, hope you get the best ones

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You’re describing exactly my experience after my mastectomy and slnb last Sept. Feels like armpit been scrubbed, burning, sore, yet numb all at the same time. Tempted to smear icecream on my armpit to relieve it. It took about 5 weeks before I could say it was definitely easing off.
Keep up with with the paracetamol. Shove your soft squishy cushion in your armpit. Sleep with it if necessary. Make sure to keep the arm stretching going. It will ease x

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Thanks Jackie :kissing_heart:

Good advice, thanks @isitreallyme

I’ve started to massage my whole chest with Bio Oil, not just the scar, which seems to be helping. The cushion works too!

I’ve realised that I have to move it a lot to make it feel better, which is counterintuitive, but definitely helps. Keeping it still by my side seems to make it worse.

I’ll speak to the nurses when I get my results later today, see what they say.

Glad to hear yours eased off though.

My chest is really bony and flat. I was asking my husband, ‘what’s this lump, and that lump (paranoia)?’ he says, ‘it’s your ribs!’ Taking some getting used to!

Karen x

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Hi Jackie

Just to let you know (I’ve posted this on another thread to as Leigh was aksing) my follow up appointment was ok. No nasty surprises.

They knew about mets in two lymph nodes, but there were a further two with micromets in (of the 19 lymph nodes that were removed). So now, waiting begins again for results of Oncotype DX test that I qualified for because of my ER+ PR+ HER2- cancer type.

Because I am 58, if there is a result =/<25, no chemo will be done, just radiotherapy. If the result is >25, then chemo and probably radiotherapy too.

I have to wait 5 to 6 weeks to see oncologist when I’ll be given the results, even though the results will be back in two weeks.

Treatment will start 2 to 3 weeks after that.

I’m happy with this, except the wait of course :roll_eyes: but at least I have no obvious cancer in me while waiting this time.

Sending love

Karen Xxx

Glad to hear no big surprises today. It’s strange how the different areas work isn’t it. I’ve got to wait 3 weeks to go back for my onco results and then get an appointment date for oncologist I believe. I’m the same age as you so treatments sound very similar dependant on score. The only difference is I only had 8 lymph nodes in total removed as that’s all I had lol.


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Twins again!

Let me know what you find out, and I will do the same.

Karen xxx

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Will do, my results are on the 17th. I’m in London going to panto tonight at the palladium to take my mind off things lol.

Have a good day, hope your feeling stronger everyday

Jackie xx

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Just thought I’d let you know, got my results today from oncotypedx test. Scored 11 so just radiotherapy, I was so pleased and relieved I can tell you.

Onto the next step through the forest, I’m detemined to find my out of this.

Best wishes to everyone


This is fantastic news! I’m so happy for you :heart_eyes:

I am trying to manifest a similar score. I have to wait another three weeks or so for mine. It’s driving me mad. :crazy_face:

Let me know how the radiotherapy is once you get to it

Karen xxx

I’ve now got a 2-4 week wait to see oncology next

Hope you get a similar result :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:


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I have to wait to see the oncologist for my result. I wish they would just tell me the magic number over the phone so I could at least then know what to prepare for.

I know they will have it already as they told me they’d have it in two weeks. I have to wait an extra three weeks. It’s my body!



I know, I had to wait three weeks for this result. I don’t think I realised how much it was effecting me until this morning, I feel like a heavy weight has been lifted and I feel so much lighter.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not there yet but feel so much better.


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I bet you do.

I decided to call the breast care nurse to see if I could get my Oncotype dx score before I see the oncologist, and it was an emphatic NO. So I am back to waiting. Another three weeks (minimum) due to long waiting lists. And this is for cancer.

Sorry, I am having a bad day today. This is just all very very hard.

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