I am a 44 year old woman and have undergone 17 abdominal surgeries in my life. 2 1/2 years ago I had a double mastectomy with tram flap reconstruction. I had to have 3 abdominal surgeries after that for abdominal reconstruction due to hernia, trapped nerve, and infection within the incision. For the last 2 years I have had chronic severe abdominal pain and lower back pain. I have tried excercise classes, therapy, oral meds, physical therapy, phycological therapy, pilates, water therapy, heating pads, ice packs. I was recently referred to a pain specialist by my surgeon as he advised doing more surgery would not help. I have adhesions that have grown over the mesh in my stomach and doing more surgery will only create more adhesions. I cannot stand, sit or walk for long periods of time. The pain is getting so unbearable I am unable to continue working. It is affecting every and I mean every aspect of my life. I really cannot take it much longer. I would like to know if anyone has had success with a pain specialist after breast reconstruction and tram flap surgery.
I can't speak to the breast reconstruction, but like you, I have abdominal adhesions (mostly small intestine involvement) and haven't been able to work for over 5 years. The fentanyl patch and breakthrough meds have helped a lot, but the pain and nausea are always there no matter what gets thrown at it. Mostly, I've had to learn to live with it and work around it. That means serious attention to what I eat. Fiber is a real killer as is meat. Therapy with my pain shrink has been a big help too. I've learned some self-hypnosis techniques that help me get through the worst bowel obstructions and usually help me get some sleep.
Sorry I can't be more helpful or hopeful, but adhesions are just not easy to live with and very frustrating for doctors to treat. Once it's determined that surgery is out of the question, you're stuck with trying to manage symptoms. That means some major lifestyle changes, which is where therapy also helps a great deal. You have to start thinking more about pain "management" instead of pain "cure." If a pain doc can help you function better on a daily basis, that counts as a success. Best of luck to you, and I hope that you get some kind of relief very soon. :-)
I had the tram flap almost 5 years ago. I have been in pain ever since then. My breasts at times feel like rocks and just ache. I have throbbing pain throughout my abdomen and around to my back. The only relief I can get - and it is minimal - is to lie in bed flat on my back. My doctor has prescribed Ultram 50 mg up to 3x a day - I take it only when I can rate the pain #8/10 - I have been to general surgeons, lymphedem therapists and used a personal trainer - nothing has helped. I am unable to walk any distances w/o being short of breath and tired.
It is like my life has been taken away from me. Prior to this I had a very active lifestyle - now I am feeling just awful. Needless to say my body shape has changed radically - I no longer have a waist and by the end of every day my abdomen is severely distended. This does not help much with body image!
Any suggestions with this are most welcomed!
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