Archive for April 25th, 2009
Today I had an appointment with physical therapy to help with lymphoedema. After my most recent surgery, my hand and right arm (the side where I lost my breast) started to swell a bit. I had several lymph nodes removed when I had my mastectomy (over a year ago) since they found cancerous cells had spread to my nodes. Lymphoedema isn’t to be confused with Lymphoma. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that has to do with the lymphatic system in your body.
Lymphoedema can be serious if you don’t treat it. Your arm can swell more and more until you can’t move it and there is a lot of pain and risk of developing an uncontrolled infection in the affected limb.
Treatment involves exercise, wrapping the arm to force the fluid out of it into the trunk of your body to be eliminated by the rest of your lymphatic system. Massage is a way of moving the fluid, and if it is really severe, surgery. I had my arm pretty well under control with exercise in the pool. However, my most recent surgery 2 weeks ago started the swelling in my arm and due to the incisions I have not been able to go in the pool yet. Next week I am going back to the pool, so I am counting on it reducing and controlling the swelling in addition to some more physical therapy.
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