Radiation induced Brachial-Plexus Peripheral Neuropathy Patients

Posted by robin0613 @robin0613, Apr 27 1:01pm

I am looking for other post-Breast Cancer w/Radiation to the Breast and Lymph nodes, suffering from RIBN (Found this acronym from a UK Paper). Let me say I’m sorry for your pain.

My Story: I am 65 now, I had L Breast Cancer in 1997, followed by a Stem Cell Transplant at Fred Hutch in Seattle, then Radiation to Breast and lymph node area that had 3 bigger tumors . 2006, I woke up to severe burning pain down my left arm into my fingers. I was sent to my 1st neurologist that did not have a diagnoses, I was sent for hand therapy for 2 yrs even though I knew it was coming from the shoulder (But I learnt some good hand stretches). In the meantime, I found an Angel, in a Therapeutic Massage specialist, she found the knot under my L shoulder blade, (Brachial-plexus) and immediately relieved my pain. (We would find out later, the relief was at first good for months, then like now weeks to days. I was told by Drs my muscles are loosing blood because a neuroma is attached in the shoulder area.

I’d go to 2 more Neurologist, the final one took me 7 months to get into at UWMedical (with the push from my Oncologist). By then I’d lost over 25% of the dexterity of my hand. After tests and diagnoses, I started Ot/Pt to learn how to keep my L Hand/arm stretched, dexterity exercises, and how to use my right arm to compensate for my left, trying to clip my nails on my R hand is a big chore (I thank God I am Right handed). I was told that most PN stops at some point, but mine was moving, and still is. No surgery would be worth the risk of loosing nerves I need vs the ones that are DOA. And what I could loose.

Today, my L hand feels like I have an extra small rubber glove on and stretching my fingers is a chore). I have pain up to my elbow and a knot in my back (that was a pin point last June) and now constant. I do find getting into a routine that gets me up and moving, my meds (Gebapantin allergy, so I take 90mg of Cymbalta, Tylenol and Topically I use lidocaine and a roll on CBD oil (being 65, I put off for 3 years). With constant movement and stretching, I’m working through it. I volunteer at a Food Bank.

Now I have a Palliative Pain Specialist, my Massage Therapist, Oncologist, PT/OT and neurological team. And still my PN is moving through the Nerve Roots and Path. My hand is at 80% loss, pain runs down arm from neck sometimes like I’m shooting flames from my fingers, and some days my face is numb when the weather is dramatically changing, I’ve noted Barometric Pressure causes my pain to increase. My pinky and ring finger are 100% numb. If my hand gets cold, it’s very hard to regain warmth. Most people that know me, know why I wear one wool glove in 80 degree weather. They know the weather is changing.

I’d love to start a support and information thread. I don’t know anyone with this, it’s hard to Describe my symptoms. Im blessed with friends and family that give me empathy .

Robin, your journey with radiation-induced neuropathy, brachial plexus, pain and loss of dexterity sounds complicated and challenging. I'm tagging @pedie @susan24 @lorirenee1 and @lauries as I believe they have somewhat similar experiences to share.

I'm so glad that you have access to a palliative care pain specialist along with OT, PT and neurology specialists. How long have you been with a palliative care team?

Please sign in or register to post a reply.