Cancer doesn’t end when your treatment does. The disease might be gone, but its effects live on for many of us. That’s what we’re talking about in my blog series, Welcome to Your New Normal: Cancer Survivorship. Today we’re going to tackle the topic of pain management.
What can cause post-surgery pain?
Your surgery is over, but the scars and numbness can hang around long after that last stitch is removed. Scars can be painful or you can experience numbness in your hands or feet due to your surgery injuring nerves.
Pain is real and should be managed
Post-surgical pain isn’t something you need to suffer through, and you’re not weak for wanting to feel better. If your pain is impairing your day-to-day life, then it’s definitely time to talk with your doctor.
When you have that discussion, keep these things in mind:
- Use a pain scale of 1 to 10 – 1 being the least amount of pain and 10 being severe pain
- Be sure to note what makes that pain better or worse, how it impacts your life
- Can you easily work? Or does your pain slow things?
- Can you do household chores?
- What about getting out and enjoying a social life?
- List medications you’re taking
- Keep a diary or journal of your pain – having something written down to reflect on will help your discussions with your doctor
Ways to Manage Pain
Just like your pain scale, managing that pain can range from mild treatments and medications to stronger ones:
- Pain patches
- Antidepressant medications to help reduce numbness and pain
- Physical therapy
- Applying heat or cold
- Meditation, relaxation exercises, guided imagery
Remember, you do not have to suffer in silence. Life after cancer does not have to be lived alone. Talk to your doctor and share what’s happening in your life. You might find that they’ve been where you are – I know I have.
At OhioHealth, we offer numerous classes focused on your care during and after cancer. You can find our current listings here.
Dr. Halaharvi is a board-certified general surgeon with over six years of experience. She completed the Breast Surgery Fellowship at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center and provides a surgical practice focused on breast care and breast surgery.
Dr. Halaharvi’s interests include teaching, involvement in clinical breast disease research and community outreach activities. She can speak 4 languages which include: English, Hindi, Urdu & Telugu.