That little dog ear has caused you no problems but suddenly it’s painful—many weeks after your mastectomy.

What could this mean? First of all, even though the pain may have a sudden barb-like quality, there’s no reason to panic – assuming that you’re many weeks out from your mastectomy and have not had any infections or other complications.

I’m going to tell you what caused my little dog ear to develop pain about seven weeks after my prophylactic double mastectomy without reconstruction.

There had been no infection or anything else remarkable about the healing process other than a small seroma under each incision.

There was one small dog ear that, from a medical standpoint, did not require revision.

As of about seven weeks out from the preventive double mastectomy, I still had not been fitted with prostheses or had found any padded bras that worked for me.

So to conceal my flatness, I’d been wearing button-up shirts with pockets at chest level, and keeping things in the pockets to create the illusion of small breasts.

Well, one day in the gym, my sunglasses—one of my pocket props—kept tumbling out. The other pocket had my cell phone—another prop—and it too kept tumbling out.

So I removed them. I don’t want gym patrons noticing how flat I am. Yes, this is a concern of mine, because they might then think I had a double mastectomy—which I consider a highly private issue.

So to conceal the mastectomy in between sets, I positioned my hands at my sternum so that my upper arms would block my profile view of flatness.

Little did I know at the time that my upper arm was pressing into the dog ear. It did not hurt at the time.

However, next day, I kept feeling sudden brief episodes of this very odd pain in that area.

I couldn’t figure out why it was happening other than maybe it was some nerves coming back to life after being numbed by the anesthetic. I was still numb in places.

But it didn’t feel like other spontaneous, two-second episodes of superficial pain that I was occasionally getting.

I then realized that the pain seemed to be coming specifically from the dog ear. I replicated my arm positioning at the gym the day before, pressing my upper arm into the dog ear.

Sure enough, this produced the pain! I repeated this with predictable results. Well I’ll be danged – compression of the dog ear aggravated some nerves.

Once I made this conclusion, I made sure to keep my arm away from the dog ear, no contact whatsoever when seated or during any activity, to give it some rest.

The pain magically disappeared! I am now careful not to let my arm press into that area, which can easily happen when my arms are crossed to conceal the flatness.

If your dog ear is suddenly hurting, you should assess your body and arm positions in the 24 hours or so preceding the onset of the pain.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images