I had to sleep in a recliner and spent most days sitting in it as it was easier to get up when I needed to. My surgeon started me on vicodin but after a week we switched to Ibuprophen (Motrin 600 mg) because I was experiencing arm pain. After three weeks, I was sent to a physical therapist, and although the initial visits were quite painful, the exercises eventually helped. You might have to try one or two different pain relievers until you find the one, and the correct dosage that works. By all means, communicate with your doctor. Our breast care center has a nurse who called every few weeks to check on me and made sure I felt comfortable about calling her if/when I had any problems. That kind of service is a God-send when you are going through something like this. Find out if there are such services available to you. I hope so.
- St Paul, MN
- Member Since Sep 2012
Their Diagnoses (1)
- Patient: Breast Cancer
- Patient Info: Prefer not to answer/not applicable/unsure, Diagnosed: over 4 years ago, Female, Age: 60, Stage III, HER2 Positive: Yes, ER Positive: Don't Know, PR Positive: Don't Know
- View this journey (6 Experiences)
How to deal with pain of first stage of breast reconstruction?
I had hot burning pain all the time and then there'd be the occasional "lightening strike" traveling across the chest. Wow. I was told not to lay on side post-op mastectomy. I got some thin bed foam and folded it up to make a bed wedge and that with my pillow was pretty good. I think maybe less stretching of muscles/ scar tissue than laying flat. It kept me from rolling over and it was allergy season, so I could breathe better. Daytime, I stayed in my recliner (whoever invented those is a saint). Because I do well on narcotics, I was on high dose nsaids, tylenol with codeine (only narcotic that doesn't make me manic), and alprazolam. Valium family helps you relax a little, which can ease the pain. I basically was trying to keep myself just groggy enough to sleep as much as possible for the first week. The burning constant pain took couple weeks to get to the annoying constant "uncomforable" stage, but the "lightening strikes" continued for months. These are from nerves cut---phantom boob pain! (I swear it would go across my chest and out thru the nipple, which, of course, I no longer had!). I alternated a heating pad across my chest with some cold packs too.
Stupid expanders feel like they are giving you paper cuts and will continue til they are out, likely, but this is NOTHING compared to the initial post-op pain. Permanent boobs are definitely more comfortable.
I hope all is well.
Your question reminded me of some content we have on reconstruction experiences.
It also reminded me to let WhatNexters know about our Beginner's Guide to Cancer, including a guide on how women chose between a lumpectomy and mastectomy.
Best of luck to all,
LPO posted an update
Can anyone suggest a way to reduce the pain of the reconstruction process. I am getting weekly injection. It has been 2 mo and the bigger they get the greater the pain. I do take ibu for pain. I am wondering if I made the right choice.