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numb and painful chestwall


Karin

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Its been a year after my right Thoracotomy and chest tube under my right breast. I am still extremely numb on the upper half of my right chest with radiating to the back where the scare is. The numbness is extremely painful at times and nothing seems to help. I am an avid cyclist and work out on a regular basis which seems to exaggerate the pain and numbness.  Has anyone else experienced that and what was done to make it go away. I do not want to take painmeds or have injections because that will only mask the situation and not heal it. It is however getting to me and i am getting scared that the lungcancer is coming back. I asked all my docs and they don,t know what to do. Help please

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Karin,

I'm not sure I have a good answer about numbness.  I had an extensive incision when my right lung was removed and because of surgical complications and the need to address a fistula, I had two follow-up procedures that used the same incision point.  So I have chronic pain but not numbness.  Was your lung removed?

When my incision pain soars, my wife applies lidocaine patches.  These are available by prescription and they are a medical miracle for me.  Using them some times allows me to avoid taking pain meds.  I also soak in the pool and the buoyant effect reduces the tug of gravity on my chest and thus helps relieve pain.  But, not numbness, in fact, I've never felt numbness in my incision area.  

Are you consulting with a medical oncologist and are you having regular scans to check for recurrence.  A scan would address the scare of recurrence.  So, I advise following up with your doctor and getting a script for lidocaine patches if it is pain you are feeling.  If numbness, I don't have a clue.

Stay the course.

Tom  

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thanks for answering me,  yes i am under the care of my oncologist and had a scan in march. I also work at the same Hospital where i had my surgery and see my surgeon often. He is aware but does not have an answer for me. I had a right lobectomy. My Pulmonologist thinks it has something to to with the surgical approach and technique. It all started getting bad when i stepped up my workouts and started yoga again. Maybe i just need to lay on the couch and eat ice cream and be waited on. HAHA just kidding.  

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Hi Karen.

I had my thoracotomy to take out my right upper lobe of lung in 1998..   They broke 2 ribs to get into my chest besides cutting all the muscles on my back.  

Those ribs never "healed" or they never came back together like before the surgery.  It hurts if I wear anything that tight around them.  (Guys don't have that problem).

So I am careful when I dress.  I do go to workout at LA fitness. ( local in Minnesota).    Even after surgery I went to the Y and did water aerobics.

I pray you will be feeling better soon.  

Donna G

 

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Karin,

My mom had an right upper lobectomy in January 2015. She continues to have pain (no numbness that she talks about) around the incision and back to her shoulder blade.  Her surgeon and oncologist say it's pretty common due to all of the nerves in that area.  The pain in her shoulder blade was bad enough recently that she was pretty sure cancer had spread to her bones (she's currently battling a recurrence on her trachea). Her scans showed that the cancer had not spread. She has tried different bras because the scar is where they rub but hasn't had much luck.  There are some ladies at the cancer support group that she attends who swear by rubbing lotion with marijuana in it on their scars to help with pain, but my mom doesn't want to use anything like that - I see you live in WA, so maybe this is an option for you (For the record, I am not in support or against it!).  I've heard both good and bad about it and you may want to check with your oncologist before thinking about trying it.  As mentioned by Tom, water aerobics and just being in the water also helps my mom with the pain.  

Sorry to hear of your constant pain, take care.

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