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Shoulderblade pain.......15 weeks after CABGX5
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Shoulderblade pain.......15 weeks after CABGX5

It is now fifteen weeks plus since I had a CABGx5 surgery. I have fought and am still fighting my battles post op. I have recently started experiencing excruciating pain in my right shoulder blade making it a nightmare trying to lie down or sleep. It feels like a dozen elephants are jumping on me. Painkiller effect lasts only for an hour or so and then the elephants start jumping again. BTW I am nearly 67 years of age. Any suggestions, any one?
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Avatar_f_tn
Congrats on being alive!!  I had quadruple emergent by-pass a year ago.  1st: I hope you have called your surgeon... 2nd: Recovering from the cracked sternum was a huge obstacle for me.  I had to sleep almost sitting up in bed.  3rd: I used tons of pillows.  It helped a great deal to prop my arms up with pillows.  I wore a soft althletic bra to sleep too.  4th:  A heating pad between my shoulder blades on low helped too.

Be patient with yourself.  It takes time...  I am praying for you... Take deep breathes & smile... you have a whole new world ahead of you!!

Merry Christmas!!

elliot777
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976897_tn?1379171202
I struggled a great deal recovering from bypass surgery. After 11 months I honestly believed that I would never feel normal again. What I did after 11 months was find the most uncomfortable place to sleep instead of a soft bed. I picked a 2 seater settee. I had to squash my body up into quite a position to sleep on that thing, but within 4 weeks, I felt no discomfort at all. I have no idea if it would have worked at 3 months, but if I have to endure it again then I will certainly try. I've concluded that the more you have to use the chest muscles, the quicker they resolve themselves, but obviously not too soon after surgery.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Elliot,

I'm not sure whether the congratulations are in order for today. Yes, I not only called but have been to see my surgeon over a dozen times regarding this pain and now also regarding the infection I have suddenly developed in the incision......the answer is "it's normal" "nothing to worry about" "pain will go away itself" "this very common and can happen even a year after the surgery"......these are some of the encouraging or discouraging answers I've got from the surgeon and his team. I do not have your problem of sleeping sitting up...........I have problem sleeping. Only get to sleep an hour and a half to two hours at a stretch....NO more and that too smothered in six pillows. I can't wear a soft bra........my wife and daughters would kick me out of the house:-) A heating pad increases the pain in my shoulder and my GP advised me against it.

I keep asking myself....."why me?" and is all this pain and discomfort worth it? and WHERE is the whole new world that everyone promised me before my agreeing to the surgery?????

Merry Christmas and a VERY happy new year to you and your family!

sherdil
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Avatar_f_tn
It's not a problem with my chest..........it's my shoulder blades, specially the right one and my right arm. The pain in them is just driving me up the wall. you say you struggled for eleven months????????? OK, I'll also try and be patient like you and hope for the best.
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63984_tn?1385441539
I had some discomfort after bypass surgery in the back and shoulder blades for about six to eight weeks, but it abated until I slipped and started to fall and grabbed a rope attached to the fence, and saw stars.  Have you fallen down or picked up any weights more than ten pounds?  That can aggrevate your condition.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I have not slipped down, but I did make the mistake of carrying a load of clothes from the laundry that weighed more than thirty pounds. My surgeon suggested that go for physiotherapy and I did and now due to the negligence of the therapist I have a sun burnt back too. Instead of helping me, I am now more miserable than ever.
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Avatar_f_tn
If this shoulder blade pain started recently, then maybe it is not going to last very long.  I hope not, anyway.  Open-heart surgery can take up to a year to fully recover from.  It's true that it's not all that unusual to have some ups and downs along the way.  I think the main concern would be to rule out a cardiac cause for your pain.  If it is not cardiac, then it is probably musculoskeletal, and you can treat it the same way you would treat a musculoskeletat problem that arose in the absence of heart surgery.  

I had a similar issue after both of my two OHS, only with rib pain, rather than shoulder blade pain.  Both times, it was a sudden onset, about a month after surgery.  It was in the same place both times, on my lower left rib cage.  The pain radiated out from a very specific point.  Sternal wires broke both times, and it may have been that when a sternal wire gave way, the alignment of my rib cage shifted.  Both times, I gradually got over it within a couple of months.  

It's just not always smooth sailing, and 15 weeks out is not all that long.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Agree with elliott777 that it is a huge thing, just to be alive.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for the encouraging reply and I am getting accustomed to the fact that it's not always smooth sailing and there will be ups and downs too. It seems I'm headed for more downs than ups. As if this was not enough, I am now also suffering from a burnt back. For this pain, I was referred to a Physiotherapist who over did the heat lamp therapy and now I also have a burnt back, with the skin peeling off :-((
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Avatar_f_tn
Sorry about the burn.  I had one of those, too, only 3rd degree, accidentally inflicted during my first heart surgery.  I had to go back into the hospital to have surgery for the burn.  And then it turned out that the surgeon didn't do the cardiac part of my procedure right, and I had to have my valve replacement redone.  I almost died in the process of all of that.  I had to travel to a distant city to find a surgeon who could re-do what, the second time around, was a much more complex procedure than initally.  Because of the delay that was incurred in finally getting the valve operation done right, I now have permanent heart damage.  So that is my frame of reference.  If your heart operation was done competently, and if you heal from the burn without a need for any drastic medical treatment, and if this shoulder thing resolves itself, and if in a few months you are pretty much okay except for maybe a few dings here and there, then you did well.  Hopefully, a year from now, you will look back on this, and it will be like a bad dream.  It won't be an experience that you will want to repeat, by any means, but it will be over -- and you will still be here to talk about it, which, with a need for five bypasses, you might not have been without the operation.  Happy new year, and I hope things get better quickly.
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Avatar_f_tn
Greetings!  

Wondering how you are doing these days...

Infection?  Healing?

Attitude?  New Life...better yet, a new perspective?

elliot777
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Avatar_f_tn
Love, love, love your attitude!  Accepting life on life's terms.  Coming to grips with our limitations as I age and still appreciating all that I can do, want to do and will do!  Blessings on all of us!!

elliot777
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for both the comment and the blessings, elliot777.
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Avatar_f_tn
Greetings to you too elliot777.

I am still as miserable and frustrated as ever. The is no change in the infection problem. It has gotten worse. Expecting the first infection to clearup and heal I now also have a SECOND one at the bottom of the incision. The back ache and the burn has cleared up, though the ache does occur off and on but not is not as severe as earlier.

Attitude can only change when I get to see a better life. After all seeing is believing. So far all I have seen is every thing going down the drain, my health and my business. I'm have practically reached my wits end.

sherdil

I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

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Avatar_f_tn
Chronic infection in the incision is not a good thing.  I would be concerned, too, if it were me.  How has it been treated?  Sometimes you can get a "pocket" of infection that is hard to resolve with antibiotic treatment alone, and it needs to be opened up and cleaned out surgically.  It might be time to get a second surgical opinion, re the infection.  If I had a post-OHS infection that was getting worse instead of better, I would be looking for something fairly aggressive to be done.  Infections this long after surgery are not "normal."  Sorry for the situation.  
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Avatar_f_tn
The surgeon has opened up both the points and I go to his clinic daily for cleaning up and a new dressing on both the points and always remember to have my daily Doxylag capsule. The problem now is that they are not closing/healing........ I do have an appointment on Feb. 04 with another doctor, let's see what he come up with..........as for me I am utterly fed up with the situation as I see no end to my problems.
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Avatar_f_tn
I get it.
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Avatar_m_tn
My CABGx2 surgery went fine. I spent the first week after surgery showing progress every day. Five days after going home the incision began to look infected at the lower three inches, so back to the Hosp. for five more days, this time for intravenous antibiotics. During this time they gave me the wrong pain med. (one I'm allergic to) which caused me to see things crawling across the bed, and have flashes of negative images (like a photographic negative). Because of this, I stopped sleeping, but kept my eyes closed at all times. This lead to even more medications (13 at one point) none of which really seemed to be doing anything positive. I got out and came home again. About two weeks later (just as I was beginning to feel 'normal') my shoulders began to ache. This got worse every day, and soon I couldn't use my arms without severe pain in both my arms and shoulders. Pain meds didn't touch it. My Cardio said it was a reaction to Crestor, and he took me off of it. That was six weeks ago, and the shoulders are still killing me. My GP has me on HEAVY meds for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They help with sleeping, and dull the pain a little bit. Doing some research I came upon a piece on "Shoulder Girdle Impingement" being a common post CAGB occurrence. It comes from the spine being under severe lateral stress when the chest cavity is opened and the sternum split for an extended period of time. The front ribs carry the stress onto the back ribs that carry it directly to the spine, crunching nerves between the shoulder blades. The bad news? I have yet to find anything on treatment!!
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