Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oedema update

The Lymphoedema therapist has been for my first appointment. Because lymphoedema is often related to the treatment of cancer, she is a Macmillan therapist and so gave me a leaflet from the MacMillan Trust. After taking my medical history, she decided that the best guess is that I have a poorly developed or sluggish lymph system. It is rare but not unknown. And over the years, I have had a few different infections etc that indicate my lymph system might not be the best. Certainly there is scarring. It coped for a long while. But some trauma happened and it is out of balance.
Treatment for oedema is therapy led because really there is no magic tablet. It is a combo of things to try and put my system back into some sort of balance.
First up -- I have to moisturise and attempt to keep my skin soft. The biggest problem for oedema sufferers is infection. There is excessive fluid and celluitus is far more common. If I get an infection, it is 2 weeks of antibiotics.This means wearing gloves when I am washing up, gardening or doing general housework. Making sure that I wear insect repellent and sun cream. I need to avoid getting burnt and insect bites. Animal bites are of severe concern...Anything really that can trigger an infection.
I am also supposed to avoid carrying heavy bags with that arm...
I have been shown two simple exercises that I have to do after every 30 minutes of writing time to exercise my forearm. And I need rest my arm on the arm of a chair when watching tv.
The next time I see her, she will give me a whole series of exercises.
I need to lose weight as I am too heavy for my lymph system. And the weight loss will take the strain off the system. It is a factor, not a cause.
I get to do a Michael Jackson impersonation as she is ordering a compression sleeve and glove for me to wear. The idea is to get the oedema under control quickly and so we are using a number of different tools.
Anyway, it is going to be an on going thing and I am going to need to make lifestyle changes...
And did I say how much I love the NHS (even with all its problems!)?


Nell Dixon said...

Big hugs, I'm so glad it's being treated. I use Elemis as my moisturiser - it isn't cheap but it doesn't give me allergies, doesn't make my skin greasy, lasts for ages and you can use the milk body bath stuff neat on your skin as lotion if your skin is extra dry. E45 is another good one - much cheaper but I need to use it several times a day.

Kate Hardy said...

Glad it's being treated - have been thinking of you.

Allergenics is also v good as a moisturiser.

Anonymous said...

Hugs. You must be pleased to have the advice and support you need. I use baby lotion as a moisturiser but there are great alternatives as Nell and Kate suggest.
Best of luck with the weight loss and life style changes.
Not easy.
But you can do it.

Donna Alward said...

The good news is there are several steps you can take that are all really doable!

And it is good to have the info and resources. :-)

Carol Townend said...

I am so glad something is being done. Thinking of you...