|This photo of Grand Rapids through the Ford Museum window hasn't anything to do with the subject at hand but is part of my current project to make a book of my favorite photos. The window makes it appear almost like a water color|
The intercostobrachial nerve serves the upper arm, under arm, shoulder and chest region. The pain can be constant or intermittent. In my case, it led to frozen shoulder. For almost a year, I could not extend my arm upwards. As I had physical therapy for frozen shoulder on my other arm due to breaking it a year before my stay in Cancerland, I knew the drill and eventually was able to get most of my mobility back though I still feel a twinge when I do the pull downs at the Y.
What is left is occasional stabbing pains in my rib cage. The first time I felt this, I panicked as I thought it was bone mets. But the pain went away within hours, sometimes within minutes. Also it isn't always the same ribs. Sometimes it feels suspiciously like a heart attack but I chose wisely at the Cancer Store: get the right breast kind, well away from the left sided heart.
I will go for months without feeling anything and then it will hit: just last month I was sitting in a car somewhere in Pennsylvania driving back from NY and I feel a crushing pain taking my breath away. It passed within 10 minutes. More often I feel this in the middle of the night. But it always fades, which I always have to repeat to myself even when I feel I am going to pass out.
The article in Cure (winter 2013, p 48)lists all sorts of medications that might help. But as it is most likely neuropathic pain (damage to nerves themselves), only substances such as gabapentin might help and that takes 2 weeks to kick in. In my case, it happens so rarely I just have to buck-up, Buttercup.
The pain can occur anywhere from a couple months after surgery and last for more than 6 years. So if surgery caused it, why didn't it immediately show up (radiation seems more like the culprit). Also Taxol can damage nerves but usually in the fingers and toes. I seem to have less attacks as time goes on so maybe it is fading away.
Ah still cold. I am waiting for it to warm up a bit before my run. The insurance inspector is here to make sure we got a new roof. Yesterday it would not have been obvious underneath that 4 inches of snow. Hopefully it melted.