wide-eyed at 4am

Good News and Then …

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Lymphedema Therapy went well.

Waiting to see my therapist was sort of different than at Levine – or even CMC.

It was definitely a place to people watch.

Dennis had volumes to tell after waiting with me for my appointment and then for the hour during my session since he didn’t go back with me to talk to the therapist.

This initial session was more about Q&A and measuring.

But to net it out, I basically have no evidence of lymphedema now.

Hurray! Great news.

Then…

My therapist told me that I would be coming in for therapy 2 days a week for the next four weeks – at least.

Wow. What was it the scheduler at the oncologist’s office said, “Your appointment schedule will be slowing down soon.”

Maybe she forgot about Lymphedema Therapy.

I did learn what is behind this.

My surgeon believes in preventive, proactive Lymphedema Therapy. Apparently, not all surgeons do.

The therapists wish more surgeons would be proactive. Of course this is great job security for them, but there is evidence behind it also that it staves off Lymphedema symptoms to do the therapy – no matter what your evidence of having it are after surgery.

And I’m fortunate that my schedule of treatment has worked out the way it has. I’m getting to them at just the right time. Just starting chemo with plenty of time for therapy before radiation (which can increase the potential for Lymphedema to develop.)

My surgeon also prefers the program at Carolinas Therapy and Rehabilitation since they have therapists who are Lymphedema specialists. I will work with the 2 that the CMC Main location has. Their schedules are pretty full so I don’t start until September 17. I will finish up my 4 weeks of therapy about the time that I complete the first phase of chemo.

The session was very informative and – of course – they sent me away with lots of info. But mostly my therapist measured – and measured. Since this will be one of the ways they track the main Lymphedema symptom of swelling, I imagine that this will take place at each session.

I’m glad my doctors are taking a proactive stance. I’d rather do the therapy and reduce my risks than avoid it and suffer the consequences. Lymphedema symptoms can develop right away or even three years down the road.

Part of my therapy is wearing a sleeve when I exercise or do work with my left arm. This will continue after my formal therapy is completed. Apparently being on the lookout and managing any signs/symptoms of Lymphedema is a lifelong thing. Woo!Woo! There are exercises and massage techniques that I’ll be experiencing and learning to do for myself. I don’t have to change exercises that I do. I can still box and do arm weights etc. I just need to wear the sleeve when I do.

The sleeve uses more pressure at the lower part of the arm – gradually moving the pressure upward to encourage the lymph veins in my arm to find their new paths to move fluids from my arm. Since the Lymph nodes were removed (and thus my Lymph system damaged) my left arm’s system has to find new ways to get the fluids deposited by circulatory system back to the heart.

The therapy encourages this to happen so that’s a good thing.

My therapist wasn’t happy that I hadn’t been released to do more exercises to get my flexibility back. But I told her that I felt pretty sure that would happen in Friday’s appointment with the plastic surgeon. Those restrictions were still in place two weeks before and I’d made lots of progress in my range of movement since that time.

The therapy sessions are 1 hour long. I’m sure they are not going to take place without some “discomfort” (medical translation: pain). It could even be intense. But it will be worth it if I can keep Lymphedema symptoms from ever showing up.

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Author: jillpurdy

A few months ago I wasn't but now I'm a statistic. That doesn't define me. I'm a daughter, a sister, a wife, a step mom, a grandmother, a friend and a Christian. I will continue to love exercise, music, cooking and food, and my family and friends. I'm stubborn, energetic, giving and too OCD for my own good sometimes. And I'm going to stay this way - despite cancer and the treatments that it takes to give it the royal beatdown.

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