I interviewed my son recently about how he continues to live with TOS as part of his life.
It has been eight years since his one-sided rib resection. He was 14 at the time of resection, and the one who blazed the TOS trail for my daughter and myself. I hope you will find some hope in the experiences shared here, and helpful information, even if it gives you more questions to ask.
Now for the interview...
So, son, how are you feeling lately? Do you feel TOS is affecting your life now, and if so, how?
"I feel good. I don't pursue certain jobs-like lifting. I feel like I was told things to avoid (postop) but because I was young and in shape I have ignored most things. Now (eight years later) it's catching up with me some and I wish I had listened more. I'm finding I'm having problems with the same shoulder,(the same side I had resected). I think the pain is related to thoracic outlet -I think. It feels like it."
Ever have problems or pain with the other arm?
"To a much lesser extent, I do. I still get some of the same pain I had before surgery in certain scenarios; it's a much lesser degree- bearable.
Is your armpit numb where they took the rib (transaxillary)?
"The underside of my arm is numb, the pit is not. The feeling is 'different' but not numb, hard to describe. It's lumpy."
Would you have surgery again?
"If the pain and ache got to the point same as before-I would, yes. The doctor said we (he and his sister) would probably need surgery again on same side eventually,(because they were so young when they had the resection)."
(Ugh. I had forgotten about that).
Does anything aggravate your arm, neck, shoulder TOS pain to start up lately?
"Oh, standing in line, walking around with my arms hanging down aggravate it. I've become accustomed to the feeling of some amount of TOS pain, so I don't notice it half the time."
Anything else that continues to be a problem for you with TOS and the cervical ribs?
"Well, no one is allowed to massage my neck-not even my wife. It's tender and does not feel good-hurts to touch those muscles at the base of my neck.
Mainly I just feel limited by TOS because I can't pursue any job lifting. I expect fully that someday I won't be able to golf, etc. If this keeps up, when I'm grandpa's age I won't be going golfing. Maybe I could if I took better care of my arm. I don't know if it'll matter."
Any other pains or issues you have now that you associate with TOS?
"My arm aches and tingles if I ignore it a long time."
What advice would you give someone new to TOS?
"Get surgery done-sooner rather than later. My experience has been positive with surgery.
The night after surgery was the worst of my life; not pain in my arm but from puking, anesthesia and feeling nauseous and tired and crappy. At home (postop) I was drugged enough (the first couple weeks) I didn't feel alot. I recovered extremely quickly.
Remember?... I went to football camp!
Yes, (cringe) I remember.
*Stay tuned for Interview - the daughter, coming soon.