post op numbness

allready posted this but in wrong section [new and daft] just been diagnosed and had lump removed and clearance of lymph glands 9/12/08. i am absolutely horrified by op site cant look at it cant touch it feel sick at thought of it. the area is numb so i am unable to feel anything i think this is making it worse. i will end up smelling like a bag lady soon as i am too afraid to wash area. can anyone please help me.


Just replied in the orig place you posted !! No idea how to move it so have a look there & I hope it may help.

came out of hospital yesterday in the same boat scared to touch or clean it but how do you know so quickly that lymph glands are clear or do you mean glands removed (same as me)

sorry glands removed ,doc called it a clearance. wont get results for two weeks. thanks for reply and sorry to hear you are in same boat as me good luck

Sorry haven’t seen the other area you’ve posted in but I know what you mean about the numbness making it worse. I really didn’t want to look after my mastectomy either but by the time it came to take the main bandage off I was desperate to know. It was really neat and clean just like a little thin pink scar across my chest that’s all but the numbness made me feel like the bandage was hiding something nasty prior to that but honestly I was really suprised, pleasantly so.

I assume you’ve still got the bandages on then?

Good luck, it does get easier. It’s been 11 months since I was diagnosed nearly and life is suddenly starting to feel normal again (well the good bits anyway, don’t think I’ll bother with the stressy stuff anymore :wink:


Hi Kittyw,
I had a mastectomy on the 11th November, and 4 lymph nodes removed.Me, like yourself was very afraid to wash area properly and it took massive courage to even look!!! ( I have 36ff sized chest so it really is very lopsided). You will with time find the strength to look and and touch the area - mine is also completely without sensation, which as you say, feels very peculiar.
Take time and good care of yourself, every step is one step further to healing inside as well as outside-this i think varies greatly from one person to the next.You will in time over come your fears,
good luck,

thanks very much for support i am really afraid i will cause myself damage washing too hard or scratching. Must give my head a shake and get on with it. thanks again

Once you’ve done it once, you’ll be fine ! Honest ! Just take your time and be gentle at first, then you can do it a bit harder once you know you won’t damage yourself.

thanks everybody, its funny how we all seem to think we*r the only ones scared to touch, look or wash and now i know the numbness is normal too. thanks again

I fully understand how you are feeling. I started with a lumpectomy with lymph node removal and then had to have a mastectomy in October. I did post somewhere on here that I still couldn’t look at my scar and did get some helpful replies, but I still can’t look at my scar properly. I am forcing myself to rub oil into it but do it by moving the towel just enough when I get out of the shower. I still avoid mirrors until I am dressed. I know people say that the scar is not as bad as they imagined when they do see it but I just don’t feel like that yet. I am sorry not to be making a more positive comment. One thing though, the numbness in my arm has not gone completely but is something that you get used to.
Sorry again that it’s not a more positive comment.

I’ve had two lots of surgery in Oct/Nov as didn’t achieve clear margins ist time around, had sample nodes removed (8) 1st op and because it was found in 2 of nodes then went back for a wider excision lumpectomy and remaining 19 nodes removed. Finally got clear margin on breast but not without removing nipple 1st, and found one more node that was affected.

I’m now 7 weeks post op, can’t feel a thing because of numbness, can’t wash very effectivley and certainly can’t look now the nipple has gone, didn’t realise I was so attached to it, don’t really remember looking at it much when it was there, funny what you miss when it’s gone! I’ve got appointment through for New year to have stick on nipple made, don’t know how Im gonna manage to look to put that on when it’s done, looks like another job for my poor husband!

I’ve also suffered with a seroma under my armpit for the last 3 weeks which makes it feel even weirder. Told my Onc it felt like i was walking around with a melon under my armpit but he laughed and said it was more of a small satsuma!!! that’s obviously the numbing sensation again, plays tricks with your mind. but all these things slow down physio and my lack of arm movement is scarey!! now got shoulder probs where nerves were cut. Sorry I’m not very positive either am I?!!

I’m sure it will improve, my physio is a star and working really hard with me! She assures me that although it will probably never feel completely normal again, it will get much better in time and the mind accommodates accordingly where numbness in concerned so it won’t alway be a prob!

mjjje so sorry you are feeling so rough and what a b;tch having to have second surgury.guiltily however i feel better knowing its not only me.i have felt unable to tell how bad this is as i felt everyone thinks i should have got over this by now. i could not find any other posts with people having same problems as i am having. i also have feeling of huge lump underarm and very swollen breast. my armpit is biggest problem as it seems so deep that even when i try [very gingerly] to sponge it i can not really get into the armpit.i do try exercises but my arm is very sore. sorry for moaning but thanks for your post it really has helped put my mind at ease.

Mjje and Kittyw, like you had 2 ops in Nov, luckily kept my nipple although I have no sensitivity in it and it looks all sucked in. I keep thinking I’m swelling under the armpit especially by the end of the day, arm is numb amd across my shoulders, guess it will eventually go. BCN suggested I go and see her to check it wasn’t lymphodema, but it only feels swollen in late afternoon. I’ll speak to them when I start chemo on 5th Jan. The operation scar improves day by day although he doesn’t look to have done a very neat job, like a tuck in it. If you can bear to do it E45 cream is supposed to be very good for them. Good luck for the rest of your treatment.

Hi All

Had a mastectomy and level 2 node clearance 03 December this year.

I found that over the weeks a lot of the numbness has gone (slowly) and the ‘pins and needles’ feeling on my upper under arm has eased as well. This could be because I masasage my arm (once a day only) with some E45 cream (my Macmillan Nurse told me it was good to keep my arm in good conidtion) and do my physio exercises - go for ‘the burn’ but don’t over do it.

Look at your scar girls!! Then remember you’re alive and can fight this invader!! The more you look and touch it the better you’ll feel and the more positive you are the better and quicker you’ll recover and can get on withy our life. It’s part of you now, embrace it and look after your scar so it will heal well and only be a faint mark in a year’s time!!

We all have ‘off days’ when we feel bad/low and the dark thoughts creep in but don’t worry, this is normal and the next few days you’ll feel better. The dark days will get less as time passes and you start to accept what has happened and are starting to plan the future - holidays, a new career, anything you want to do!

There’s lots of us out here willing to support you and I’ve chatted with lots of nice people who have had the same or even worse ops than me but they’re all cheerful and are a godd source of advice.

Chin up and keep smiling - you’re worth it!!


alison and dee
thanks very much your replies and support really do help