As the typical story is told, hormone positive breast cancer can return up to about 25 years. Really? Indeed. I experienced a new primary cancer 10 years after the original lumpectomy and radiation. BEWARE! As time passes after the original tissue-sparing, conservative surgery PLUS radiation —- 5 years, 10 years, 20 years —- there are more women that are falling into my same path of bilateral mastectomy. But there is a caveat to the story that surgeons rarely discuss until the second cancer presents. What about the previous radiation? What effect does that have when you remove ALL the breast tissue? What about reconstruction? What about healing and pain? The discussion about the quality of life can change significantly. Well —– previous radiation, they say, can cause a problem going forward. In my circumstance, I agree – plus 100 times over. Healing problems, dysfunction, tightness, decreased range of motion, pain, old scar tissue, new scar tissue, lymphedema with subsequent physical therapy, pain, more therapy, more problems, pain in my chest, neck, shoulder, back, headaches— more therapy, different modalities of treatment, no lasting relief, desperation. We can’t help you anymore…..
I made calls searching for more providers for yet more opinions. On arrival another practice, I told my PT that I understood if there was no more help available for me. I told her I just wanted an opinion. I just needed to turn over another stone. She proceeded to tell me about Astym therapy and the benefits, and I agreed to go forward. It was my last hope, in all honesty.
With a complex case and other scars from other surgeries, my PT continued. After many weeks of treatment and working through discomfort and dysfunction from distant and recent breast surgeries, fibrotic changes from radiation, scar tissue from other past surgeries, dysfunction from previous musculoskeletal injuries and congenital defects – I have about 90% improvement. The path has not been a straight line by any means, and work continues with ongoing exercises and manipulation to maintain function. It is difficult to put the gratitude into words….for pain relieved, for function restored, a life returned. Amen!
Katherine L. Henson
Clinic: GO Sports Therapy | 1199 S Beltline Road, #140, Coppell, TX 75019
Phone: (972) 745-9060 | Website: http://www.gosportstherapy.com/