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Old 12-16-2015, 10:34 AM   #1
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Exclamation Bilateral Mastectomy 7 yrs. ago..pulled pectoral muscle..indented badly and painful!

I opted for a bilateral mastectomy 7 years ago. When I was 42, I found a lump in the left. breast. It was diagnosed as medulary (sp). Non-spreading, encapsulated. I had a lupectomy, radiation, and tamoxifin. My oncologist said that the reoccurance was very low. Sorry about my spelling (fibro). Anyway, 16 years later, I found another lump in the upper right breast. The same oncologist diagnosed it as a garden variety type of breast cancer. He said it was my choice on what to do. I opted for the bilateral mastectomy. I had no real problems after the surgery, but the scar left a lot of scar tissue which pulls horribly. I told my oncologist it feels like a tight rubber band. About four months ago, while lifting my granddaughter who is 3 yrs. old, I must have pulled my chest muscle. Right after this, I felt the need to pull my right arm backwards, while sleeping. At any rate, I must have damaged the exact place where the surgery was performed, because after pulling this muscle in my sleep for about a month, the right side of my chest is now indented deeply. Much more so than that done by the surgery. Also, under my arm is indented badly. It looks so different than what it did, after the surgery. I went to my G.P. and she sent me to therapy. I've been in therapy for months, but nothing feels better, or looks better. The pain is awful, and it's under the scar, on my right side, where my bra hits. Even if I don't wear the bra, it hurts. It's a stabbing, burning feeling. Therapy, massage, just turned me black and blue. I can't exercise like I used to...walking, because even with a 10's unit, it radiates down my right arm, then my back starts to hurt, and the arm tingles and goes numb. I'm seeing my G.P. today, and ask her to do an MRI to determine what's going on in there. I have not seen any posts like mine, anywhere on the internet, with the exception of weight lifters who suffer this type of damage. If my surgeon had told me what he actually cut when he performed the surgery, I would have been more careful. Lesson learned. Just because you're referred to a surgeon, with no bedside manner, like me, ask a ton of questions. Ask your family members to help you make a written list of things you want to know, and push the surgeon to explain, and don't take silence for an answer. I think my surgeon must have cut the muscles in my chest, but at the time, I was so upset over it all, that I barely asked anything, and he did not volunteer a thing!
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Old 12-16-2015, 04:44 PM   #2
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Re: Bilateral Mastectomy 7 yrs. ago..pulled pectoral muscle..indented badly and painf


I have not heard of a situation such as yours, but will appreciate hearing about the MRI results. Many of us have had mastectomies so your case may enlighten us to avoid certain activities. I hope relief will soon be forthcoming! It sounds so uncomfortable. Surgeons do cut the pectoral muscle with some reconstructive surgeries especially where a saline implant is slipped beneath the muscle. It does not sound as though you had reconstruction with implants from your post. Prayers for your healing and comfort!

Smile On!

Dx'd w/multifocal DCIS/IDS 3/08
7mm invasive component
Partial mast. 5/08
Stage 1b, ER 80%, PR 90%, HER-2 6.9 on FISH
0/5 nodes
4 AC, 4 TH finished 9/08
Herceptin every 3 weeks. Finished 7/09
Tamoxifen 10/08. Switched to Femara 8/09
Bilat SPM w/reconstruction 10/08
Clinical Trial w/Clondronate 12/08
Stopped Clondronate--too hard on my gizzard!
Switched back to Tamoxifen due to tendon pain from Femara

15 Years NED
I think I just might hang around awhile....

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Old 12-18-2015, 11:44 PM   #3
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Re: Bilateral Mastectomy 7 yrs. ago..pulled pectoral muscle..indented badly and painf

Please keep us updated as it may not be unique to you. I had implants and honestly, it's taken a couple years to feel comfortable with them. It's not minor surgery. Have you thought about going back to your surgeon? Mine has been really involved even a couple years post-surgery. Best of luck and good medical care.
Live in Orange County, CA

Diagnosed with DCIS Oct. 2012

Bilateral Dec. 19, 2012
IDC, ER/PR-, Her2+++, Grade 3
Stage IIIa
15.6 cm
4/14 nodes + macrometastases
First thing each morning, I try on my bathing suit. Then, nothing worse can happen the rest of the day.
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:52 PM   #4
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Unhappy Re: Bilateral Mastectomy 7 yrs. ago..pulled pectoral muscle..indented badly and painf

Here's a part of the follow-up that I promised. The "injury" happened in June, 2015. My chest (pectoral) right region is indented about an inch. I have pain (stabbing and burning) in the pec region as well as under my right arm, which is also indented. Finally, about two weeks ago, the results of my MRI were given to me. My G.P. told me that there was a mass there. I asked her to fax the information to my oncologist. The oncologist got the MRI results on Monday, and called me this past Monday to come in on Tuesday.

He's been my oncologist since my first breast cancer when I was 42, which was medulary (sp). It was encapsulated, and in the left breast. I had radiation, lumpectomy and hormone treatment for three years. I was told it would not return. Sixteen years later, I got a different type in the right breast. I could see the lump. It sat at the top of my right breast and was the size of a walnut. I was informed that it was a "garden variety" type of breast cancer, and when I asked if I should opt for the bilateral mastectomy, my oncologist told me that it was my call, so I did. I had chemo, the bilateral mastectomy, and hormone treatment.

Eight years later, the "garden variety" has come back on the right side. Now, I don't have any fat in my chest area, and this does look like a very bad muscle pull. It looks like the muscle rolled up, as happens with weight lifters. The only difference is that I am indented. It looks like I was in an accident.

My oncologist took one look at me and said the cancer had returned. He was surprised that my G.P. had not referred me back to him, especially with my extensive history. He scheduled a blood test for last Thursday, and a PET scan which I had yesterday (Friday). I have a biopsy scheduled for Monday.

I am somewhat surprised, and in shock that it came back. I had a enlar, the bilateral mastectomy, etc. I have no adipose tissue in my chest area. The area is right where the lump was in the second incursion. It's hard as a rock and it does feel like a muscle that has hardened. It has not gotten bigger, but it's warm. The burning under my arm is horrible, so my oncologist gave me a pain pill for it.

I asked my oncologist if he had ever seen this before, and he said yes. He is a chair on the Hilman in Pittsburgh, and extremely qualified.

I'm scared that it went too long. My G.P. sent me to therapy when she saw it in June, and never said to see my oncologist. I pray it did not spread.

The lymph nodes are enlarged, but in the other two breast cancers, none of the samples of the lymph nodes were involved.

I'm asking for prayers. I live with chronic mylegenous leukemia, which my pain doctor said came from being subjected to x-rays too much, especially when I was a child. I'm a chronic asthmatic who grew up in a dirty mill town.

I also tested positive for the Brac 1 gene mutation. My children did not, thankfully. I should mention that nobody in my family had breast cancer or died of it. I feel like a freak. I know that it can happen to anybody, but these health problems have thrown me for an emotional loop. The other two breast cancers did not hurt, at all.

If you will, please pray for me. I'm scared and I honestly thought I would never have to deal with this again I'll try to keep you posted.
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:58 PM   #5
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Re: Bilateral Mastectomy 7 yrs. ago..pulled pectoral muscle..indented badly and painf

You're correct. I did not have reconstruction. I also have Sjogren's Syndrome, which is an extreme drying out of bodily tissues, i.e. eyes, gums, skin. My surgeon did not want to take the chance of infections with this skin problem. I was also diagnosed with fibro, and Sjogren's in 2000. In 2002, I was diagnosed with CML. It's supposedly an elderly person's cancer, usually appearing in their 80's. I'm 63, and was diagnosed with it in my 50's. Two people, in my county, have it, and I'm one of them. Sometimes, things just get too be too much.
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Old 02-14-2016, 05:55 AM   #6
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Re: Bilateral Mastectomy 7 yrs. ago..pulled pectoral muscle..indented badly and painf

Katsie, I am praying for you. I can only imagine the fear and uncertainty you are feeling right now. Thankfully, you have a qualified oncologist who will get you properly diagnosed and give you a treatment plan. It's the waiting that is most difficult. I found it easier to focus once I had a firm plan in place. Again, my prayers for you.
Tracy Arcari
11/12 BSE ignored the lump for SIX months.
5/1/13 IDC ER/PR- HER2/neu+++
5/14/13 Mastectomy and SN biopsy
5/20/13 IDC Stage IIb Grade 3 Nodes 1/4 also IDC and DCIS multi focal in remaining dissected tissue.
5/30/13 MUGA and CT thorax, abdomen & pelvis, establish baseline.
6/4/13 Installed my little purple power port.
6/14/13 Chemo started TCH
6/14/13 Informed of suspicious ares on scans scheduled PET.
7/1/13 PET Scan NED!
9/27/13 FINAL CHEMO taken! ----well, maybe not.
10/15/13 Three little tattoos.
10/24/13 Radiation begins and fourth tattoo placed.
11/27/13 Perfectly radiant! Radiation completed the day before Thanksgiving and so, so much to be thankful for this year and every day hereafter.
1/2/14 Happy New Year, you have a Goiter? Muga down to 59%.
1/17/14 Hashimoto's Dz Dx'd. Now maybe I'll feel BETTER!
5/2/14 Herceptin completed! New kitten!
8/19/14 Prophylactic mastectomy (right) and PORT OUT! I'm DONE and now I really am a SURVIVOR.
2/15 Started not feeling so swell. Memory lapses and GI issues with nausea and blurry vision.
4/30/15 U/S cystic gallbladder, cyst on right ovary and mass in my uterus. GYN consult scheduled---and cancelled. I'm not ready.
5/4/15 Brain MRI clear (big sigh of relief)
7/30/15 Back Pain
8/31/15 Radiograph: compression fracture L2
9/10/15 Bone Scan positive
9/21/15 CT scan conclusive for tumor
10/1/15 CT guided biopsy & Brain to Pelvis MRI reveal additional lesions on spine C6, T10, T11 and L2 is collapsing.
10/8/15 Abbreviated pathology: new tumor(s) poorly differentiated carcinoma consistent with known breast primary.
ER-/PR+ (40%)
HER2/neu+++ Ki-67 4% Pancytokeratin AE1/3 Strong Positivity in all malignant cells.
10/13/15 Abnormal Dexa: moderate risk of fracture to both femoral head/neck R&L. Significant risk to lumbar spine.
10/14/15 Radiation consult back to the cooker.
10/20/15 MUGA 50% down from 54% after a year off Herceptin (???)
10/21/15 Kyphoplasty L2
10/22/15 Re-start Chemo: Perjeta, Herceptin & Taxotere
10/26/15 PET Scan confirms C6, T10-11, L2, new lesion noted at L4 but no visceral involvement---Happy dance!!!
10//29/15 Xgeva
10/29/15 Radiation Simulation--three new tattoos to add to my collection. Just call me Dotty.
10/30/15 CA27-29 63 U/mol (<38 U/mol)
11/3/15 First Trip to see Dr. E. Mayer at DFCI
11/4/15 Surgical consult to re-install my little purple power port.
11/9/15 Radiation treatment one of five.
11/10/15 Installed my little purple power port and not a moment too soon, took them four tries to get an IV started today.
Yes, we really are going down this road again.
12/5/15 CT for suspected pulmonary embolism demonstrates increase in T10-11 mets.
12/8/15 Bone Scan uptake at T10-11 (not seen 9/17/15) & Right 8th Rib (not evident on PET 10/26/15)
12/10/15 Consult Re: PROGRESSION. Halt THP due today. Schedule PET and order TDM1 for next week. PLAN B.
12/14/15 PET scan: NO PROGRESSION! THP is working, metabolic activity minimal. Merry Christmas to me! Sticking with PLAN A, it's working.
1/7/16 Start Taxol weekly instead of Taxotere (has been too taxing and not rebounding between txs.) Zometa instead of Xgeva.
3/28/16 CT shows new sclerotic lesions on T12, L3, L5, L6, right ilium and head of right femur. No uptake on Bone Scan (progression????)
3/31/16 Discontinue Taxol start Arimidex, still getting H&P.
6/2/16 Discontinue Arimidex and start Exemestane.
6/18/16 PET is NEAD!!
7/1/16 Discontinue Exemestane and restart Armidex (SEs)
8/29/16 CT/Bone Scan Stable (still uptake at T10-11)
10/3/16 BSO pathology negative
10/10/16 MRI: Brain clear!
10/14/16 Switched care to Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care
11/24/16 Xgeva, New MO preference to Zometa
12/12/16 CT/Bone scan Mostly stable significant uptake at L2 plan to PET
1/12/17 PET shows NEAD celebrate with a new puppy!
3/29/17 CT & BS = NEAD
7/31/17 Aetna denies access to H&P <gearing up for a fight>
8/4/17 CT& BS= STABLE
8/9/17 No treatment, Aetna still denying H&P
8/14/17 Aetna appeal approved H&P through February 2018!
2/5/18 CT & BS = STABLE

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Old 02-14-2016, 01:53 PM   #7
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Re: Bilateral Mastectomy 7 yrs. ago..pulled pectoral muscle..indented badly and painf

I'm so sorry that you are having to deal with so many health issues. I will certainly keep you in my thoughts and prayers. As Tracy said, the waiting is the toughest. Hang in there.

Take care,
8/2013 Diagnosed IDC Left Breast ER-/PR-/HER2+ Stage 3C, DCIS ER+/PR+/HER2- Right Breast (54 yr)
8/2013 PET/CT scan shows mass in uterues and suprclavicular nodes
8/20/13 Begin 6 rounds TCH chemo, Perjeta added for rounds 4-6
9/2013 After 1st round of chemo, mass in neck and breast no longer able to feel
11/2013 Hysterectomy, mass from PET/CT scan not cancer (adenomylosis)
12/2013 Finished chemo
1/2014 Double mastectomy with chest expanders
1/2014 Pathology report from surgery and SNB show complete pathological response!
3/2014 Finish IMRT radiation
8/2014 Fat transfer to radiated breast
8/2014 Completed 1 yr of Herceptin
10/2014 exchange surgery expanders removed implants placed
6/2015 3D nipple and areola tattoos
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Old 02-16-2016, 07:58 PM   #8
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Re: Bilateral Mastectomy 7 yrs. ago..pulled pectoral muscle..indented badly and painf

I had a similar thing happen to me and when they x-rayed my chest it showed that I had a fractured/separated rib. It was very painful for some time, however, I have no pain now. The rib is still fractured and due to all the radiation I had to that area, it will likely never heal properly. I just have to be a little careful about lifting and moving things but other than that it is manageable. Has that area of your body been x-rayed? Might be something to consider.
Diagnosed June, 2006 HER2+++, ER- PR-, Grade 3, Stage IIB. Modified radical mastectomy, radiation, chemo, Herceptin, Tykerb 1 year. [*]In remission until 2/2010. Small tumor detected on chest wall during routine scan. 2/2010 surgery to remove tumor, started Herceptin/Tykerb, follow up radiation. [*]12/26/2010 - Off Tykerb due to allergic reaction[*]12/16/2014 - Have continued on Herception for almost 5 years now and remain NED. Discussion with onc re adding Perjeta to the Herceptin as another way of preventing recurrence. Still in discussion phase. 12/26/14 Onc applying for approval for Perjeta.
Perjeta approved and I received one infusion. It had an immediate impact to my lungs and I experienced difficulty breathing so.....I'm going to be sticking with just Herceptin. Still looking for a good vaccine program to enroll in.

Debbie K
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