Muscular skeletal side effects from radiation

Posted by cedar75 @cedar75, Jul 7, 2021

I had lumpectomy surgery. Did great with that no residual pain or change in range of motion of my right dominant arm. Three weeeks after radiation I developed severe pain, decreased tang of motion of my arm, my rib cage, and shoulder pain. I had nerve pain that went from my chest to arm pit to just above my elbow. I saw physical medication and rehabilitation doctor and have begun program of physical therapy. I developed cording. I am curious if other patients have developed these symptoms and did they go away with time. How long did they last? I feel that the only symptoms radiation oncology addressed was skin and fatigue. I have read that 7/8 women have muscular skeletal issues after radiation. One of my other questions is why all women who undergo surgery and radiation are not referred to physical therapy prior to intervention for PT program and education of what to watch for. Also measurements can be takes at baseline for possibility of lymph edema and baseline range of motion measurements. I still cannot lay on my right side. Any one else with similar issues?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Breast Cancer group.

By the way, tomorrow is my first appointment with Mayo in Red Wing. A bit closer than Rochester. Getting setup for a primary to do lots- I think I re broke my heel from 3 yrs ago, check cancer?, blood thyroid osteoporosis and anything else they decide. It’s new to me, wishing I had my other doctors in LA, but happy to be close enough to go to MAYO. Here’s to nothing being wrong and no cancer!! 🙏

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@happy2bhear

By the way, tomorrow is my first appointment with Mayo in Red Wing. A bit closer than Rochester. Getting setup for a primary to do lots- I think I re broke my heel from 3 yrs ago, check cancer?, blood thyroid osteoporosis and anything else they decide. It’s new to me, wishing I had my other doctors in LA, but happy to be close enough to go to MAYO. Here’s to nothing being wrong and no cancer!! 🙏

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I am hoping with you. Good luck

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I found this video that may be helpful.

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@happy2bhear

Fun fun! When lymph nodes dry out they shrink. That’s what causes pain. Therapists will take your arm and slowly massage and stretch your skin. You may or may not hear a little pop. It’s breaking those shrunken vein like structures between the lymph node in your underarm going down to your hand. It is a bit of a workout but feels so much better. They won’t do all at one time. And tell you to raise arm and lean into it like on a door. You press w your palm high above your head. But if your nodes are affected, you won’t be able to do it all. A little each day.

First though is your surgery. Then a good month or so not lifting even 5 lbs. maybe less for you. So even if they take a node, you won’t do anything for a couple months. If there’s no cancer, they won’t touch them.

But you’re right, it’s good to know. I believe one reason I wasn’t told is they thought my limp was smaller. When the surgeon got in she found it was bigger, and sent a biopsy of a node right then. It came back positive, so she had to take 3. I went from simple maybe no chemo to double, nipple, node radiation. But again I went with it. Nothing fazed me. Just went through the motions and got through.
I will say, I am hearing impaired. I had a beagle who came with me and slept on my chair/bed. She made it to my last radiation day and was time to head to rainbow bridge w kidney cancer. She was a great help to me.

I don’t think doctors keep info from us on purpose. They just do their best for you and are human too.

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Thank you. I'm just saying I'd rather know what to expect so I can plan for it. Will I have to re-home my dog because a doberman takes some energy or will I get thru it? Do I need to move to be close to family? Will I be too much for them and should stay put?

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@kjn

Thank you. I'm just saying I'd rather know what to expect so I can plan for it. Will I have to re-home my dog because a doberman takes some energy or will I get thru it? Do I need to move to be close to family? Will I be too much for them and should stay put?

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Those are big decisions. I’m sure you’ve gotten feedback from doctors and your family.

Here’s one thing. Hospital nurses teach you how to drain your tubes. Yours will probably be less, maybe only one tube.

When I got home, a home ‘person’? Came and taught me again how to do it and other simple things. Charting blood etc.

You could drive home, if it’s not too far. I think they prefer u not put any pressure on arm/breast. So maybe have someone drive you home.

You will want to be certain to eat. Huge issue w cancer patients not eating. So either have protein and veggies already, or permanent some things or use one of those services delivering healthy food. Keto type diet. Mediterranean diet. Not too many carbs or sweets. You could do that by yourself.

Your dog needs a dog Walker for a week. If he’s not trained to heel you won’t want him jerking your arm. But after that, walking w other arm shd be fine. They encourage you to get outside and walk often. Your dog will be a help to you and great company.

I drove myself 45 min to the last few Chemo. And a few radiation. Radiation is a breeze. A few minutes everyday. You get a little tired overall that’s it. My dr suggested Udder ? Cream it’s great and prevents burns.
You will feel fine before chemo and after. 4-6 hrs. The trick is 2 days later you feel awful, but they give you meds. Then slowly feel better until it’s time for chemo again. Otherwise we wouldn’t be wanting to go back. So getting there and home is easy. Maybe one day you won’t want to walk your dog- get someone for that day. You will probably have a Neulesta?sp stuck to your tummy. It goes off 23 hrs after chemo and prevents pain.

It can be done alone. I know they won’t be thrilled w you, but you can do it. If you have more questions if I know I’ll try to answer. You’re right- I read everything twice three times and still new things come up bc we are all different and have different responses. 🙏

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@happy2bhear

Those are big decisions. I’m sure you’ve gotten feedback from doctors and your family.

Here’s one thing. Hospital nurses teach you how to drain your tubes. Yours will probably be less, maybe only one tube.

When I got home, a home ‘person’? Came and taught me again how to do it and other simple things. Charting blood etc.

You could drive home, if it’s not too far. I think they prefer u not put any pressure on arm/breast. So maybe have someone drive you home.

You will want to be certain to eat. Huge issue w cancer patients not eating. So either have protein and veggies already, or permanent some things or use one of those services delivering healthy food. Keto type diet. Mediterranean diet. Not too many carbs or sweets. You could do that by yourself.

Your dog needs a dog Walker for a week. If he’s not trained to heel you won’t want him jerking your arm. But after that, walking w other arm shd be fine. They encourage you to get outside and walk often. Your dog will be a help to you and great company.

I drove myself 45 min to the last few Chemo. And a few radiation. Radiation is a breeze. A few minutes everyday. You get a little tired overall that’s it. My dr suggested Udder ? Cream it’s great and prevents burns.
You will feel fine before chemo and after. 4-6 hrs. The trick is 2 days later you feel awful, but they give you meds. Then slowly feel better until it’s time for chemo again. Otherwise we wouldn’t be wanting to go back. So getting there and home is easy. Maybe one day you won’t want to walk your dog- get someone for that day. You will probably have a Neulesta?sp stuck to your tummy. It goes off 23 hrs after chemo and prevents pain.

It can be done alone. I know they won’t be thrilled w you, but you can do it. If you have more questions if I know I’ll try to answer. You’re right- I read everything twice three times and still new things come up bc we are all different and have different responses. 🙏

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Get your meds before your operation. Mark them all 1 2 3 the order you would take if you get nauseous. Listen to drs. They will tell you to take one right away bc if you wait for pain you won’t be happy.

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@kjn

Thank you. I'm just saying I'd rather know what to expect so I can plan for it. Will I have to re-home my dog because a doberman takes some energy or will I get thru it? Do I need to move to be close to family? Will I be too much for them and should stay put?

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Wow @happy2bhear, great advice for @kjn! Thank you.

kjn, you might also be interested in these related discussions.
– by @roch: Breast Surgery; any advice to prepare for surgery? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/breast-surgery-any-advice-to-prepare-for-surgery/
– Exercise and Physical Activity after Breast Cancer Surgery https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/exercise-and-physical-activity-after-breast-cancer-surgery/
– Videos about Breast Cancer Surgery from Mayo Experts https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/videos-about-breast-cancer-surgery-from-mayo-experts/

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@kjn

This all is an eye opener. I'm scheduled for a lumpectomy next week and have asked doctors what to expect without much information. I live alone and have a big dog to care for, so it's important for me to know what to expect. Tell me what cord popping is?

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I think it depends on what they find when they get that lump out. If it is anchored to the chest wall or deep in the breast it may cause more pain. I have had friends who have had smaller lumps that were not anchored not really have a lot of pain or scarring. Just a small scar, not even a drain.
Then they should test this lump for all kinds of information that guides your treatment. A good oncologist takes into account, the grade or how fast the cells are multiplying. Hormone receptors, your overall health, and age. All of those things guide treatment decisions.
I agree that knowing what to expect is very helpful, but many people have very little trouble with surgery, many do not even require chemo anymore, and radiation and hormone therapy would be decisions that you and your doctor can decide using your pathology and/or your onco DX score. Did they do a biopsy on this lump prior to scheduling for removal, or is this a surgical biopsy?

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