Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Rib pain 4 years after lung removal and lung cancer treatment

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 0 Replies
  • Posted By: peppernlm
  • March 12, 2007
  • 11:13 PM

I'm a 4 year lung cancer survivor. One year ago, I developed what is now chronic pain. I have 3 scars. 1) Along the left back rib area where left lung was removed. 2) Front chest area. Pericarditis scar. Surgery performed to remove 1 liter of fluid in pericardium - side effect of radiation therapy. 3) Left clavical area. Port insert and removal to aid chemo-therapy.
The pain radiates along the pneumonectomy scar, is constant under my left arm, the tissue surrounding my left breast, and a numbness over my heart, to the left of the pericarditis scar. I will often get a muscle spasm along the scar and up the left side of the spine.
Things that make it worse are: wearing a bra of any sort for long periods, lying on my back sleeping, lying on my side sleeping, touching the area, walking in bare feet, slouching, weight lifting at the gym, long periods (>1/2 hour) of walking. Things that make it better are: heating pad and leaving my home and just blocking it out mentally with lots of activity, however, this requires a bra, NASID'S which I use very seldom. My sleep is disrupted to the point of chemical dependency. I will go for several days with intermittent sleep and then give into one or two nights of Lunesta or Xanax for sleep. Otherwise, I'm up every one or two hours with muscle spasms that need heat, stretching or movement for relief.
My question is what are the underlying physiological causes that may occur so many years after the surgeries resulting in this type of pain? I lived 3 years after the pneumonectomy and 2 years after the pericardial operation with much less pain. Then another year goes by and my physical capacity is cut in half with pain, sleeplessness and associated weakness.
Most importantly, where do I go for diagnosis. I went to one neurologist and he just wanted to give me a shot for pain. I don't want relief until I have a good diagnosis. I'm at a loss as to try another Neurologist, Orthopedic surgeon, or rheumotologist. What do you recommend.
My internist sent me to the neurologist that just wanted to give me the pain med. I don't believe pallative meds are appropriate without at least attempting a diagnosis.

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