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Hello -question about auxiliary clearance

LucyLou_71LucyLou_71 PerthMember Posts: 10
edited September 2019 in Newly diagnosed
hi, I’m new to the forum - I had a lumpectomy two weeks ago along with an auxiliary clearance- I get my path results tomorrow!  Can anyone advise how long it took their arm to feel half normal again?  Just a slight touch on the back of my arm is very sensitive and my under arm can feel like it’s on fire sometimes.  The area is still very swollen and achy.  I’m doing all my exercises - along with the Pilates ones on this website.  Any advise or tips on how to get through this bit would be appreciated, thanks in advance, Lucy


  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,269
    I had an axillary clearance along with a mastectomy. I think initial reactions can vary a lot depending on how many lymph nodes, nerve ending damage etc. I had no swelling or pain, but lost a lot of feeling. Quite a lot of the feeling has returned (over years) but I think it will always have a degree of numbness. Affects nothing except that I am not particularly sensitive to hot and cold under the affected arm. Good to keep up the exercise as it not only helps mobility but may also help prevent lymphoedema. Best wishes. 
  • TonyaMTonyaM Member Posts: 2,672
    It took me about 8wks of physio to get my arm above my head and for my arm to’settle’down.I’m permanently numb in my armpit which makes shaving abit tricky.I had my clearance in 2003 and my arm is ok,just get abit of puffiness under the arm.My arm got gradually better over time but is not 100%.I just got used to.
  • Blossom1961Blossom1961 Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,732
    I had severe pain on my arm just below my shoulder. Surgeon says nerve damage. I protected the area as much as possible and found massaging it helped. I did all the recommended stretches/exercises. Pain lasted constant for about eight weeks then intermittent for about another two months. Numbness is still there and although it feels swollen, it isn’t. I had my surgery ten months ago. Hope this helps.
  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 1,531
    HI @LucyLou_71,

    It's all so variable.  I got strength back pretty quickly. Do lots and lots of the wall walk, then do some more!  It's painful at first but really helped with the range of movement and I zero problems with swelling after a month. After 6 weeks I was handpainting a timber ceiling which was great physio and I've never had any problems with swelling or lymphodema.
     It feels weird for quite a while, an odd combination of half numb, half super sensitive and kind of flabby if that makes sense.  Makes shaving under your arm interesting for a while. When the nerves start to refire it can feel like electric shocks and takes you buy surprise.
    The feeling came back gradually over the next 12 months.  i would say it took 18 months to get the sensation of light touch returned on the back of my arm. So nearly 3 years down the track my arm is as strong as it ever was and feels about 90% normal. The only really numb part left is along the scar line, which is almost invisible, thank you Bio oil. :)
    All the best lovely.
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,767
    That "on fire" feeling is a shocker but it should settle down soon.  I found that keeping soft padding on the area stopped the contact rub but it will have to go away by itself.  For me, 21 months later, I have regained some feeling but mostly the area is numb although does get prickly sensations at times.  I don't expect it to get any better.  Make sure you keep up your exercises and be alert for lymphoedema.  I had cording that I didn't recognise (diagnosed at my follow-up appointment) and I had to have specialist physio for it.
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,269
    I like @kezmusc’s ‘flabby feeling’ - I still have a bit of that. But my arm was perfectly strong and mobile almost immediately after and has remained so even though I have lymphoedema. Long term pain or weakness is worth checking out. 
  • VangirlVangirl Melbourne CBDMember Posts: 325
    I had a couple of sessions of specialist physio for cording which sorted out the pain part - which for me felt like a pulling sensation from armpit to wrist. I am still numb down the back of my upper arm but it's improved a little bit over 11 months.
    Definitely get some measurements taken as reference for lymphedema. If you catch it early it's much more likely you'll be able to get on top of it. You can put together a treatment plan via Medicare with your GP which means you get a rebate on a certain number of sessions with your physio.
  • RednickRednick Member Posts: 3
    Hi Lucy hope you're results were good! I had an axillary clearance 3 weeks ago today, I've had better movement and less stiffness over the last couple of days. I've been doing the exercises given from day 10 as I had a drain in. I also went to a lymphatic physio on monday and that was amazing, I had a lump under my incision and she used a laser to free it up, gave me a massage and so much more knowledge of lymphatic system too. I still have numbness and get the sharp pains but overall these last few days have felt so much better. 
    I'm always moving my arm above my head whether just a wave, stretch or exercise my son thinks i've gone crazy!!!! I too wondered when it was going to get better but it has onwards and upwards 😊
  • Olivia_JL2019Olivia_JL2019 Member Posts: 1
    Hi Lucy, I had axillary clearance and bilateral mastectomy 4 weeks ago. I have had a lot of pain swelling and have had very limited range of motion in my arm. I got referred to a Lymphoedema specialist, I don’t have lymphadema but have pretty bad cording from my underarm to wrist. The pain has slowly travelled from a burning sensation if the back of my arm got touched. Then a few days later it hurt at my elbow joint and then at my wrist. I still can’t lift my arm high enough to shave under my arm. The Lymphoedema specialist is doing weekly low level laser and massage and I am seeing improvement in range of motion and pain. I have done all of the exercises as directed by the hospital and the specialist has added a few more. It might be worth getting a physio to check if you have some cording also. It took 2 weeks to get my results back, hope you get positive results very soon. Olivia 
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,767
    @Olivia_JL2019 Be very cautious about shaving under your arm particularly with numbness as the last thing you want is to provide an opportunity for infection.
  • Brenda5Brenda5 Burrum Heads, QldMember Posts: 2,396
    Good news is I seem to only have half the hair follicles in the underarm now. I use and electric shaver when it grows long but because I have a dent under there I have to sort of pull the skin across to get the shaver head over it.
    Pain with lymphodema is just something I live with. I doesn't help that its my main writing arm and arthritis in the opposing thumb on the other hand makes some tasks very difficult. Thank goodness for keyboards.
  • Blossom1961Blossom1961 Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,732
    I had my underarms lasered on advise from a lymphodema physio.
  • LucyLou_71LucyLou_71 PerthMember Posts: 10
    Hi everyone 
    thank you for your tips and advice, I appreciate them all.  
    My arm is starting to feel less sensitive now.  I have just spent the past 4 nights in hospital as my breast had a abscess and I had to go in for it to be cleared up (as well as more of a margin taken from one of the lumps).  I don’t think the infection helped with my pain!  Anyways, I’m on some strong antibiotics and follow up appointments this week.  Thank you 😊 
  • RednickRednick Member Posts: 3
    Good luck with your follow up appointment, hopefully you're on the mend now with antibiotics👍

  • lrb_03lrb_03 Member Posts: 1,205
    The infection definitely wouldn't have been helping the pain. Hopefully on the mend now, and hopefully clear margins this time 😊
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