..just to add, I bought myself some 'arm hosiery' by Charnos (like a pair of tights that cover your arms and link around your back), from Mary Portas on the House of Fraser website. I bought a black lacy pair which means I can still wear a sleeveless black dress with the arm hosiery over my lymphoedema sleeve. Also, if you need to wear a glove (I do when I use the computer and mouse at work) there are black ones, which look much nicer than the 'hearing aid beige' ones and don't look grubby so quickly. With a bit of nail varnish, it can even look a bit glam!
Also, keep doing shoulder shrugs, arm lifts and deep breathing every time you think about it to keep the lymph flowing.
hi perita & everyone
glad it's not giving you too much bother at the moment
good luck for thursday - the chemo gang will be able to give you lots of advice & support on their threads
Thankyou all so much for your advice will try it all have to say it feels much better today Got my biggestt challenge on thursday start my chemo !!!!
Good tip re walking. I always complain that my hand is swollen after long walks. I have long been toying with the idea of getting walking poles. They are now on my shopping list.
Norberte's list is pretty comprehensive and all sound advice. The only things I would add that work for me are:-
When out on a Rambling type walk I use walking poles. By keeping them quite long the arm is held up rather than hanging and it stops my hand swelling. It also gives me more stability and less likely to fall and damage the arm.
I wear my sleeve as a preventative measure on days I'm doing things that caused a problem in the past. That takes time to sort out but it does mean I don't wear it all the time which would be a bind.
Finally I treated myself one birthday to a posh sleeve and glove from Lymphodiva. They have fancy colours and patterns and just give me lift if I'm having a bad few days or I'm going somewhere posh and my arms playing up.
As Norberte says though don't panic there are worse things.
I now have my lymphoedema under control and only wear my sleeve in planes, long journey by car or by train. While it is essential for the plane (it is was started it in the first place) for longish train an car journey, this is more to remind me not to pull my suitcase with the affected arm, and generally be careful.
My GP gave me some E45 on prescription and I do moisturise twice a day
(with our free prescriptions it is a good saving). He also gave me a box of antibiotics to carry with me at all time, so if my arm gets infected over a week end or when I am not at home, I can start antibiotics straight away. It has now been 3 years, and I have never had to use them.
sorry you're having to join us but welcome to the gang
& well done to your gp for being the one to spot it
first of all don't panic!
i'm assuming it's in one of your arms and / or hands?
things i suggest you try & bear in mind before you see the lymphoedema nurses would include
- try not to constrict that whole arm - for eg don't carry a shoulder bag on the affected side
- try not to carry anything heavy with that side - get used to using a trolley rather than a basket at the supermarket, even for small shops, & carry shopping with the other hand (or get someone from the shop to carry it for you / get home delivery)
- try not to cut or puncture the skin. if you do, just wash with soap & water, shove a bit of savlon or tea tree cream on & a plaster; that applies to things like hangnails too, & if you think you're going to get stung, ask the mozzie / midge nicely to avoid that arm!
- don't have blood pressure taken using that arm, or bloods, or injections
- avoid heavy work like hoovering (shame!) or carrying heavy loads
- try & keep your arm straight when you're resting: having your elbow open rather than closed helps the lymph flow as well as it can
- keep an eye out for any redness or heat, & if that happens nip to the gp failry sharpish to get some antibiotics before waiting to see if it definitely is cellulitis
- keep it nicely moisturised - stroke the cream or lotion upwards when you're putting it on, with one lot of downward strokes at the end to encourage any hairs to lie flat
- use an electric razor for that underarm rather than a manual one; if you do anything to remove arm hair, stop for now till you've seen the ld nurses
that's all i can think of for now - if you get bored, have a read through previous threads to see if there's anything else although i'm sure the rest of the gang will be along later with other ideas
i wouldn't try any massage, stroking or taping till you've seen the nurses & they're happy there are no signs of infection
don't worry about sleeves & gloves for now - wait to see if / what you need & have a look at the ones they've got to demonstrae before starting to worry about all that
i'm sure i've missed something obvious, but hope that helps for now
hope you get an appt soon - if there's a long wait, stamp your feet butt only thump the desk with your non-affected fist!
While you are waiting for replies from your fellow forum users, I have put for you below the link to BCC's publication regarding Lymphoedema. Hope you find it helpful.
I have been to see my GP and he says that i have mild lymohoedema
I have rung my BCN who said ring my GP back and ask to be refered to the Lymohoedema nurse In the meantime i was wondering if any one has any advice on any thing i could do to help till i get my appointment