Question re numbness post surgery

Maggie62 Member Posts: 2
Hello. Recently diagnosed and had lumpectomy and two nodes removed on 7/11. Am really bothered by the numbness extending from my elbow to my breast with the worst section in the armpit. Live rurally so hopefully some answers here.


  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,269

    Hi! I had a lot more nodes removed (17) and my underarm completely belonged to someone else for a significant amount of time!! I couldn’t feel much including hot and cold (so wise not to wax!). But the numbness didn’t extend down my arm. Even the best surgeon - I had a mastectomy, healed very quickly, almost no impact on my arm mobility - can’t avoid some impact on the nerves while locating lymph nodes. 
    Equally, suffering in silence is rarely a good idea when something seems wrong. Have you a breast care nurse you can consult? The likely response is to give your arm more time, but always good to alert a nurse or your surgeon to the situation. Best wishes.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,276
    Hi @Maggie62 - welcome to the forum - the one exclusive club you probably never thought you'd be joining!   

    Where abouts are you?  You can add your town/area to your profile - we have quite a few rural members (including me)  and we also have a private rural group that you can join, to discuss the issues that affect us rural folk in particular!  Are you aware that you can claim back petrol & some accommodation costs thru IPTAAS (if in NSW) and all states have a similar scheme.  Your GP & Specialists need to sign off the forms before you can submit them for reimbursement.

    Re the numbness - your surgery is very recent, so everything is trying to 'knit together' again, including the nerves ..... Most of us have a degree of numbness following the surgery & node removal ... and the 'healing' time will vary as to whether it goes back to 100% normal or not.  Shaving your underarm will feel REALLY weird for some months, even years, as has mine .... Gently Massaging the area may help - I was lucky that it was only the underarm really, not radiating down the arm .... Definitely let your team know about it ...

    When you have a minute, Jump onto this thread - it just shows other areas of the forum that you may be interested in - art, craft, gardening & other topics .... and there is also a link to some 'tick sheets' that you may like to check out before you see the Onc or other team members ... they can help you assess yourself, re how you are going.

    take care & all the best xx
  • Maggie62
    Maggie62 Member Posts: 2
    thanks for your kind comments and advice @arpie. Am still experiencing the numbness which feels like I am carrying a giant pumpkin under my arm. BC nurse said it was normal and no one complains about at the six month check up. Felt a bit brushed off as they so busy and it was very much on to the next one who is possibly more serious than me.
    Guess I am still coming to terms with the whole diagnosis and waiting for the next steps to happen.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,276
    edited November 2022
    Hopefully it will settle down soon, @Maggie62 but it can take a while ... even months! :( 

    Feel free to call the helpline here on Mon-fri ... they may also be able to put your mind to rest xx  it is just good to chat about it.

    It is such a steep learning curve and we've all 'been there' :(   if there is real pain, swelling and discomfort  .... contact your surgeon's rooms.  

    Make sure you get your travel forms filled in too ... you may as well get reimbursed what you can. ;)  We have quite a few members in SA too ... who knows, you may be able to get together for a coffee and a chat.  ;)

    Take care xx
  • Bluehibiscus
    Bluehibiscus Member Posts: 8
    This was a question I had too. I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy in March this year then axillary node clearance (32 all up) April 1. My numbness is in the armpit, around towards my back and down the side of my torso a few inches. As Maggie62 said, it feels like carrying a pumpkin under your arm (mine is more like an orange 😊). At least I now know the feeling is normal, thank you