Pain continues one year after lung resection - 1288484

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merilee
Pain continues one year after lung resection - 1288484

Lung resection one year ago. Pain numbness and tenderness still causing concern. Dr doesn't understand either.. I am very thin and petite ..and wondering if this is why it is still so painful? It feels like someone punched me.... another issue is that I finished radiation and chemo for reoccurrence of mid chest lymph nodes that biopsied positive..pet scan showed all nodes normal again and no cancer seen... The Dr said my stage us still 2A and I worry about prognosis, if it is worse now due to lymph nodes ?? Any opinions would be helpful.. what's normal..it's been one year already...... thank you. Merilee

cards7up
It would be helpful to know

It would be helpful to know if you had VATS or a thoracotomy for your surgery? Where exactly is your pain and tenderness? Take care, Judy

I am not a medical professional but a two time LC survivor and advocate.

catdander
Hi Marilee,

Hi Marilee,

Good to hear from you and that you're hopefully cancer free. The prognosis depends on whether the nodes were on the right side of middle or left. If the cancerous node was on the same side as the primary then a cure from chemo/radiation is very hopeful but if the node was on the opposite side then odds are the cancer has spread and will show up usually within a few months. Since your doctor stated you were still 2a that means the cancer was on the same side. I can't say what the odds are exactly but as time goes on without new cancer the odds are more and more in the favor of a cure.

As for the pain it may be that you've not healed completely. An open thoracotomy is considered one of if not the harshest surgeries to withstand after which can take over a year to heal. Some people breeze through it and feel normal within a couple of months but probably more often it takes longer. Many factors are involved such as health before surgery, where the tumor was and how experienced your surgeon was.
I have read that people tend to recover better if they have a bit of fat to cushion the area. My husband has had a difficult time with pain and numbness in the chest and arm since his cancer. Whether it's from the invasion of the tumor in sensitive areas, surgery or scar from radiation it's not possible to say. He too is quite thin especially since being so sick. Continued mobility tends to foster continued mobility. PT may help. Most doctors wont hazard a guess at why it is or how to amend it. There is a syndrome called post thoracotomy syndrome where a small percentage of people who have the surgery have continued pain and numbness long after. My husband seems to have this. His surgery was 7 years ago and some of his pain seems specifically related to the surgery. There are drugs (Gabapentin and Pregabalin) that seem to help many with the nerve pain plus it causes some people to gain weight. It may be a win win.

I hope this helps.
Janine

merilee
Thank you for your responses.

Thank you for your responses..My surgery was vats I believe, the less invasive one... the one where their is smaller incisions.... a was stage 2A..Pain is in ribs and around area of surgery..I also had chest tubes three times...which also may contribute..have not had mammogram that's overdue..due to the pain... Dr doesnt to want to continue to prescribe pain medication and wants me to go to pain management.. she doesn't think I should still have this pain ???? Advice appreciated..... Merilee

catdander
See the pain specialist.

See the pain specialist. They are well trained in this field, oncologist just aren't as versed on the subject. While VATs surgery isn't near as invasive there's always a chance one may not recover well, including 3 chest tubes. Don had a chest tube for 9 days after surgery with a vacuum and he still has nerve pain that follows the route from incision to tubes. He didn't have other issues in lower area where to tube was and the path was obvious and has remained the same since surgery August 2009 to today. It seems all too often doctors appear mystified when post surgery pain is a problem. It seems like they are trying to wish it away. I shouldn't say this without a doctor to respond but the doctors on our faculty aren't disbelievers and I have every confidence that each take these matters seriously, probably sending their patients to a pain management specialist. So I'd not presume your doctor doesn't believe you but she just doesn't have answers for you.

I hope you continue to heal, gain weight, feel better and stay cancer free. and keep us updated. :)

Janine

popsy
I'm not sure if it's common

I'm not sure if it's common with VATS, but my husband had a thorocotomy and his pain increased at about one year. His new doctor had to do do more surgery due to first surgeon not removing all of the original tumor. When he went back in (VATS) this time, there were massive amounts of scar tissue. This was determined to be the cause of his pain.. He's had clean scans now for 4 years. You might ask your doctor if scar tissue could be causing your pain?

catdander
Popsy,

Popsy,

Thanks so for the input.
Did the second surgery clear up any of the scar tissue causing pain?

Janine

cards7up
Curious, where was the scar

Curious, where was the scar tissue that was causing him pain? They can remove scar tissue, but it does come back. My niece went through something similar with back surgery. They went in a few years later and scraped off scar tissue, but it comes back after it heals. Take care, Judy