When you have surgery for breast cancer, you don't just carry scars from losing your breasts. There is trauma to the entire chest and underarm area. Under and behind my arm? Still completely numb, and probably always will be. Muscles are affected and the lymphatic system can be damaged. Thankfully I haven't (knock on wood) shown any signs of lymphedema swelling in my arm, but I feel like my entire left side has a whole host of spiderweb-feeling THINGS that make everything feel tight. I don't know if it's the 'dead' lymph cords from having so many lymph nodes removed or if it's scar tissue from surgery....All I know is it feels weird!
I am fortunate that I didn't have any real complications after my surgery, but I had no idea I'd still be feeling the effects from it almost seven months later. My muscles are so tight regardless of how much stretching I do and my range of motion is nowhere near where it's supposed to be. I have been seeing an occupational therapist/lymphedema specialist for my left side where the more extensive surgery was done. She gave me some exercises and stretches to do at home (which I've been doing somewhat faithfully....sometimes). She told me the goal is to be able to lay on the floor and make a snow angel. Ha. She's delirious. There is no way this arm is anywhere close to doing that!
I know it will get better the more I work on it. I hope. But it's SO.DARN.FRUSTRATING.
One day at a time.