Posted 6/25/2015 1:43 PM (GMT -6)
On December 22, I had a bi-lateral breast reduction. Should have been an easy-peasy surgery, right? No such luck!
I had immediate complications, and was rushed from the UofM Surgical center via ambulance to the UofM hospital in Ann Arbor. After being admitted 2 days, they determined my insurmountable pain was coming from a a hematoma under my left arm. So I was released.
I was admitted again 7 hours later, when my drain tub filled up with clotted blood in a matter of an hour. I actually passed out and went unresponsive. I was again admitted, this time for 2 days.
My Surgeon decided that he wasn't going to operate on the hematoma, and insisted it would resolve itself. So I went home, hoping to recover.
Nearly 2 months later, I was still in excruciating pain. The pain was starting to work its way up to my left armpit, and it felt like a non-stop pressure, almost making it difficult to breathe. After multiple visits to my Surgeon's office, I finally threatened an Attorney if he didn't stop pawning me off on his interns.
So when he finally looked at me, he noticed that masses had formed under both of my arms. He decided it was time for an ultrasound. The ultrasound revealed two large 'masses' underneath each arm. So he insisted that I needed another surgery to cut into each of the masses and insert tubes to drain them.
Off to surgery I went again. However, after the operation the Surgeon told me they were NOT fluid filled masses, and that no fluid could be removed. So I was misdiagnosed and went through being sliced open again for nothing.
Then my Surgeon decided that I should get steroid injections... So back to his office I go. Big mistake! Within a day, all underneath my arms was inflamed, and it felt like I'd been beat up. Imagine putting two tennis balls under your armpits, and squeezing as hard as you can. That's the kind of pressure that never goes away for me. Ever. It's so deep, it runs along my rib cage, and is even painful to breathe.
I also had some weird cording going up my left armpit.
I eventually switched Surgeons for post-op care, and have seen my PCP, a Pain Management Specialist, a Pain Management Psychologist, a Lymphedema Occupational Therapist, (2X/week for 5 months) been to physical therapy, and today I went to a Lymphedema Specialist out of St. Joes hospital.
All this time I've been treated for lymphedma, and my symptoms seemed to support that. I have massive swelling, constant pain that radiates into my armpits, and a non-stop pressure underneath each armpit, that radiates into along my rib cage on both sides.
Today, this new Lymphedema Specialist really got to me. I left in a fit of tears. She insisted I've been treated incorrectly, and that I don't have lymphedema, and that it's impossible to have it if I didn't have breast cancer. FIVE other therapists and doctors have told me otherwise. I am so confused, my head is spinning! She made me feel like a pathetic child, and insisted I'm dealing with normal post-op pain. (I've had 4 surgeries in my life, and I can assure you, this is NOT "typical"!)
Every time I go to a new doctor, I feel like they just pawn me off on someone else. I almost feel like they think I'm lying or exaggerating. Let me tell you, I have a VERY high pain tolerance. I've driven myself to the hospital while passing a kidney stone. So by all means, I'm not a big baby. But as of right now, I am going out of my mind. I don't sleep, my anxiety is through the roof, and I feel like I'm going to have a meltdown at any minute! This is so unlike me!
If anyone has any suggestions on what might be going on, or how to deal with this, I would be forever indebted to you. At this point, I don't even know what kind of a Doctor I should be looking for. I just don't know where to turn anymore.