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Lingering Pains a year after Melanoma 2A surgery

Forums General Melanoma Community Lingering Pains a year after Melanoma 2A surgery

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      Hi All, I just found this and wish I knew it had been available a year ago when all this started. I’m considered clear by my oncologist as of current which I am truly grateful for. Here is my story in a nut she’ll, I had a mole in-between my shoulder blades that itched and bothered me because it rubbed on my bra straps. Over a course of about a year and a half I had it removed from a dermatologist 3 times, each time it grew back, but the doctors had sent it to the lab each time and each time it came back clear. Cue, last year I went to have it looked at again because something told me in my gut something was up. 3-4 weeks waiting on lab results, it was sent to 5 states before I got the call it was melanoma Nevoid in type and that I needed surgery right away. It started out as what they considered stage one. I had a wide excision and a sentinel lymph node biopsy, 2 nodes from under my collar bone and 3 from my armpit. Recovery was rough, they didn’t place a drain in my back, so I ended up with a large seroma that then became infected. Once I finally healed from this surgery I made it back to work for about 2 weeks, and got a call that the melanoma had been much deeper than they expected and that I needed to come back in for a 2nd wide excision to have the whole area scooped out deeper. Then recovery from that. My lymph nodes came back clear and the doctors believe now after a year of checkups that I am as clear as I can be. I am forever grateful to the medical staff and surgeons who treated me. So I’m writing this for more than one reason, one to have a community with others who are struggling or have struggled with this cancer and two to find out if anyone is still having lingering pains from surgery. My collar bone is still numb since the removal of the lymph nodes and my armpit aches sometimes for weeks and then goes away, almost like a bruising that’s deep inside still. I don’t believe it’s swollen or anything. Also I still have issues with what I believe is nerve pain on my back.. has anyone else had any of these. Any comments or communication would be much appreciated
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          Hi Jessie,

          Sorry you have the need to be here, but welcome. You don’t mention the dimensions of your lesion. This report may interest you: From 2017 – SLN biopsy. General guidelines.
          Bottom line – In 2017 this was developed: Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy and Management of Regional Lymph Nodes in Melanoma: American Society of Clinical Oncology and Society of Surgical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline Update. Wong, Fariers, Kennedy, Agarawala, et al. Ann Surg Oncol, 2017 Dec 13. Which states: “SLN biopsy may be considered for thin melanomas that are T1b (0.8 to 1.0 mm Breslow thickness or less than 0.8 mm Breslow thickness with ulceration)…”

          It is a double edged sword, but, given what you’ve been through – I guess I hope that your lesion met these guidelines. Sentinel node biopsy is not indicated for every cutaneous lesion as it once was back in the dark ages of melanoma.

          Speaking of – I was diagnosed in 2003 with a roughly 0.6 mm lesion to my right upper back. As it was the dark ages (for which I’m lucky? I guess???) I did have sentinel node mapping and it was determined that the lymph flowed to my axilla – not groin. So, I had a complete lymph node dissection of my right axilla. Unfortunately, I had a positive node, making me Stage IIIb. As it was the dark ages, there was no effective treatment available. I watched and waited. I developed another cutaneous lesion in 2007 to my left forearm. Again, another complete lymph node dissection, this time of the left axilla. This time all nodes were negative. I too developed seromas both times (very common) though I was spared an infection.

          To this day I have strange tingling and numbness to the bilateral axilla and weird, unpleasant sensations to my right breast. The acute pain has decreased over time. As nerves heal they almost feel worse as they regenerate in a stopping/starting sort of way. (We once believed that nerves never heal, but they do – at least to some extent.) So, I think you will improve over time, however, you may forever have some residual nerve damage. Unpleasant as they may be initially, stretching exercises help. Breast cancer websites often have good diagrams and descriptions of them.

          Most importantly, if you have concerns about your condition (and you clearly seem to) it is best to see your doc in follow-up.

          I hope this helps. Take care. Yours, celeste

            Ugh. I am sorry. Recovery stinks. And some things take longer to heal. And they hurt and itch and look wrong and have an emotional costs as well. Try and give yourself more time to process. It may help to go see a physical therapist who can help you move in a more comfortable way.
              Thank you both so much for your replies and sharing your stories, I’m so sorry that both of you had to go through what you did. It’s definitely been difficult physically and mentally. After the 2nd surgery I was labeled T3A thickness 2.4 malignant melanoma in depth, but they said I had clear margins afterwards. I’m still learning the terminology for everything. My doctor’s seem very confident for my rate of full recovery and no reoccurrence if I keep an eye on myself and with regular checkups of course. I’m very grateful for where I am. Just still having some trouble with emotions and the physical pains and tinges. Thank you for responding it’s nice to talk to someone about it, that’s been through the same or similar.
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