Lymphodoema and frequent flying

Hi everyone, I was recently diagnosed with lymphodeoma in my breast, but noticed a problem with my arm too at the end of last week, and both were worse when I arrived home after travelling.
My job involves flying to cities in Europe most weeks, and just wanted to know if any of you ladies that are a bit more experienced with lymph problems are aware of any issues with flying?
I haven’t had a referral to the Lymph clinic yet - I need to ask for that this week. I was only diagnosed with the breast problem last Monday, so all of this is very new for me.

Hi project woman,
My lymphondema was triggered by a business trip to the west coast of the US. Fortunately it settled pretty quickly, and I have been managing it, it is now down from 15% to less than 10%. I now always wear my sleeve and my glove when on a plane, and on the train. Not sure where you are but you might want to consider going to Brussels via Eurostar.

Hi Projectwoman
I am flying to Australia in July and was advised to wear a sleeve for the trip even though I don’t have lymphoedema.
Hope you get an appointment with your clinic soon which will help get you back on track.

Haya, agree with Ragamuffin. Wear a compression sleave. I travel to the Middle East (6 hr flight) every month and have been fine. Walk up and down the isles to get your legs moving and wear compression should b


This is interesting - I don’t have lymphodoema, but have had full clearance, and I’m flying to South Africa in a couple of months. Should I get a compression sleeve? Where do you get them from?

hiya projectwoman
ditto to what everyone else has said, & i’d add

  • take a stress ball & play with it or just clench & relax your fist a lot, to keep the lymph moving on your affected side
  • avoid an aisle seat with your affected side sticking out - less bumps & thumps
  • ask people to put stuff in overhead locker for you
  • when you’ve met the lymphoedemaaa nurses & had the all clear to start, do extra simple lymphatic drainage / kinesiotape yourself up for travelling
  • find out how to eat chocolate whilst having a bmi at the bottom of ‘normal’ range & let the rest of us know
    welcome to the gang, sorry you’re joining us but don’t panic!

LOL because the current “Latest posts page” lists this thread as
“Lymphodo youreema and frequent flying” i kid you not, i did a quick double take came back to the thread went back reloaded the page, no it’s still comical, sadly will probly autocorrect and vanish into the ether and i will look really silly. Good while it lasted!

Ed: yeah, aw boo, it’s corrected itself.

Hi projectwoman,

I didn’t suffer from LD when I went on holiday last year (4 hour flight) but after having an axillary clearance was advised to wear a compression sleeve, I was also advised to keep it on after landing for the same time as the duration of the flight.

Unfortunately, I do now have mild LD in my wrist but nothing to do with flying.

DJ007 - As I hadn’t been diagnosed with LD at the time of flying I had to go to a medical supplies shop and be fitted for one. Obviously now I get my gloves on the NHS, lucky me!!!

I’ve just had a quick Google about compression sleeves and nearly fell off my chair at the cost!

Don’t think I’ll be buying one for myself. I’ll have to just heed Norberte’s advice and do some exercises.

What with those and doing leg exercises to help prevent DVT, I’m going to look like a mad twitching lady. An impression that’ll be reinforced by my travelling alone - all I need to do is start mumbling and make sure I smell of cats and I’ll get a whole row to myself!

just remember to do all that (& the tiniest bit of dribble?) after the plane’s taken off - try to pass as ‘normal’ while there’s still a chance they could chuck you off the flight!!

Oh no, now DJ007 has stolen my tactics for ensuring that I get the row to myself (although I draw the line at smelling of cats, I do find developing a nasty cough can be useful…)!
Hymil - pity I missed the title having a mind of its own - sounds much more fun than the original.
Thanks for the tips everyone!

Prior to being diagnosed with lymphodema, I did ask about flying and risk. I was told by a nurse specialist who used to run a large clinic that I could consider wearing a sleeve if the flight was 5 hours or more, otherwise there was no evidence to show it helped.

I think I’ve looked at this before and there is little evidence about flying worsening or being a trigger for the development of lymphodema anyway as I recall - correct me if I’m wrong anyone!

In the end, I haven’t been on a flight since I was diagnosed with BC which was 3 years ago. This September I am actually going abroad! Big step forward for me.

I love the ideas for getting your own row. If you do enough exercises that’ll probably swing it anyway. Another good tactic might be to be overfriendly to everyone, staring and smiling and patting the chair next to you as someone approaches - I did try it on the train once and it worked! Elinda x

Dribble - good point Norberte, it’s the little details that all the difference!

I do like Elinda’s idea - if I got my wig out of the cupboard and wore it slightly asquew that would also help. However, there’s a tiny bit of me that’s scared that this tactic might not work and then I would be stuck sitting next to someone who thinks that the persona I’m portraying is attractive! Hmmmm…


PS. I do love it when threads fly off (no pun intended) in different directions! I obviously a closet subversive!

shame you can’t take your knitting on planes any more - if you could, you’d be able to accidentally poke away any other passengers with strange tastes in new acquaintances!
i love the mental image of a mad woman patting the seat with a big creepy smile, elinda - another tactic i find is to have the compression gear on show & trip people over with my walking stick any time they look like they might want the seat next to me
like you, i’ve only tested it out on trains but pretty good success rate