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After bilateral mastectomy post 2 months I am still having swelling, tightness and inability to stretch arms upwards. Having so

Posted by Shirl

Invasive cancer right breast only; bilateral mastectomies performed July 17, 2009;  nodes on right side removed with no sign of cancer cells.  Wound care done in early Aug  to early Sept. due to steri-strips disolving.  Healing well and incisions closed now. No signs of infection, no strider or redness.   Had the bilateral mastectomies done for preventitive.

Post op +8 weeks now; having extreme tightness, pulling sensations and some swelling in chest area;   also right node area swelling and some numbness, tingling in right under arm.  Taking Lortab, Tylenol XS for pain.  Doing arm stretching exercises as instructed but can't seem to raise my right arm above shoulder.  Is this all normal for 8 weeks post op?

Is there anything else I can do to ease the tightness and pulling sensations in my chest?   Any additional exercises to help with the arm numbness/tingling and swelling?  Could I have something else going on causing my problems?

Answers (2)
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i had invasive cancer left breast only, left mastectomy with 12 lymph-nodes removed, on July2nd 2010, one being infected with cancer, i also had a port-a-cath placed in right chest and start chemotherapy in 2 days july 30th, dr.s saying 4mnths of chemo but maybe more. i have been up and about every day since the operation, i too have the pulling and stretching senstation and numbness in my whole left chest and left arm, i have not been able to feel any sensation exept the raw sandpaper feeling under my left arm. no infection or swelling. it has not been quite a month since my operation, but i find it getting worse and not better as far as pain, i am taking tylenol extra strength, but when the pain is really bad tylenol # 3.....i don't really think anything else is going on and it is just the healing process, i too am doing the exercise's ....and also have a rubber ball to sqeeze which i try to do when i am laying down watching t.v. i dont know if that sensation ever goes away as i have talked to women who had this done 8 yrs ago and still have the numbness tingling feeling...i find i actually feel physicaly better when i where the soft prostesies in my bra, i hope you feel better soon, write back if you would like and let me know how you are doing ...t.c jennifer

I had bilateral masectomy on April 20, 2010, with expanders for the start of reconstruction.  I have a hard time raising my right arm above my head, and my chest feels tight all the time, the tingling ad numbness is worse in the right arm then the left.  I chose the bilateral because I did not want to have to go through this again in five years.  Of all the women I have talked to , and been in support groups with, they all say that the tightness and numbness is very normal after having had a masectomy.  MY docs recommended that I do a chest massage to soften up the scar tissues.  I use vitamin e oil, which makes my skin really really soft, but I don't think the massage is doing anthing to soften the scar tissue.  Most women that I have talked with have also said that we will never ever go back to the "normal" feeling we had before the surgery.  Our bodies went through MAJOR trauma, a lot of nerves were cut, and lymph nodes, so although the numbness and tingling get better, it never quite goes away.  I don't know if it gets better, or it we just get so used to the areas being numb and tingly that it just becomes part of our "New Normal"   I have shed many many tears, and have finally found a woman counselor who has been fantastic in helping me to realize that YES, I am different, my body is different, and it is forever changed, but because Breast Cancer chose to take my breasts, it did not take my heart, my soul, or my life.   We may not be the same women physically that we were before the surgery, but we are definately the same but stonger women in our hearts and our minds.   I could not take pain medications the first four weeks, as I was allergic to every thing it seems, and I know you all know the horrible wretched pain, it is not easy, and with these expanders in, it is still very sore and painful. 

My heart goes out to each and every one who are going through this, we all become one in our pain and heart aches, there are so many emotions that go along witht his also, its not just the physicl pain, but emotional as well.     I will keep you all in my prayers, and I desperately pray for a cure.    May God bless, Kathleen C.  


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