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Lymph-edema after Mastectomy
LoriG425 posted:
I had my left breast removed on August 29,2007. I was left with 3 lymphnoids. I woke November 16, 2008 with my left arm swollen to three times the size as my right. I hadn't done anything different the day before, so I was shocked. I called my oncologist and told him my problem, he saw me immediately and told me I had lymph-edema. I was in a great deal of pain so he sent me to the ER across the street so I could get the neccessary test done. I had no blood clots.
Since then I have seen a lymph-edema massage theripist, she taught me to warm my arm and the massage that she used. When we wrapped it my hand swelled to twice it's normal size and was very painful. She said to unwrap it and try again, but seemed very disinterested. I don't have insurance and the state sent me to her to learn he techniques, but wouldn't pay for anything else.
I was told that was the only option I have, so I deal with the pain daily. I can't were my clothing because my arm is to big.
My question is, is there nothing I can do to deal with this that doesn't require me to have insurance. I elavate my arm every night and I've tried wrapping but this just causes me more pain no matter how lose or tight I wrap it.
kiwiallright responded:

I do not know where you live etc, but there are places that may have used supplies like compression sleeves for your arm that you can wear to help with the swelling. (most times you need a compression sleeve that fits your arm.) Also check with therapists that deal with BC lymp-edma and they can help you massage your arm properly. There are certain ways that you need to massage your arm etc. that help move the fluid up in your arm.

I do not know enough about state insurance or plans but you need to keep bugging them until they will pay for what you need. Did the massage therapist they sent you not suggest a compression sleeve and a wrist sleeve as well, get back in touch with her.

This is what I was taught.
1. Take your right arm and lightly touch your left arm in an upward motion, start at the wrist to the elbow then elbow up to shoulder, it is more like you are brushing or dusting something off of your arm but you are not doing this deeply as all of the cells are just below your skin.
I then continue up around my shoulder, along my back and around my throat. Sorry, I have not done the massaging for a while, most times I just do may arm and it gets things moving.

I would also get back with your oncologist or even BC support groups because there is always someone out there who can refer you to someone for help.

Good luck''

Love to all

cindy12345678 responded:
I had bi-mast in jan 2011. I haven't had lymphodema yet
thankgoodnes. I have read that differnt things work for
different people. It's not one thing works for all. Have you
tried the local library? There are alot of books written
about it. I have read that for some people wrapping can
aggrivate it. You have to figure out the right combination
of things for you. I read that you may never find out what
triggers it ( maybe nothing) But if you can get it under
control a little it will be better for you.
Stay strong, you beat BC , you can conquer this too!
LoriG425 replied to kiwiallright's response:
Thank you so much for your input. I will keep bugging them. Even if it doesn't help me maybe somewhere down the road it will help another woman's breast cancer journey. I always say that the lymph-edema was one of my parting gifts from breast cancer.

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