I cannot properly express how great this feels!

compression sleeve

This is a testament to spring microsurgery and daily use of my FlexiTouch pump: the sleeve on top is my new one. It looks smaller in real life. So much so that when I took it out of the package on Monday, I blurted out an adult word! But it fits great!!

Fingers crossed for additional surgery in the spring!

Take that, lymphedema!

Cancer, the gift that keeps on giving: LVA and LNT on deck

UW pre-op

At UW Medical Center pre-op center with the awesome heated air blanket! This is what is on tap for me later today if all goes well.

“In the first procedure, called lymphovenous bypass, surgeons peer through a microscope and use minute instruments to connect blocked lymphatic vessels as small as 0.3 millimeters in diameter to a nearby vein. The bypass allows excess lymph fluid to flow more freely.

“In the second procedure, called lymph node transfer, surgeons microsurgically transplant healthy lymph nodes that have a rich blood supply to an area of lymphatic injury to re-establish lymphatic connections.”

Continue reading “Cancer, the gift that keeps on giving: LVA and LNT on deck”

Surviving breast cancer treatment: lymphedema

side-effects

After the initial breast cancer diagnosis, days are crammed with tests and your brain can become overloaded with what seems like a never-ending list of decisions about treatment. The patient is the center of a large and complex health care team. But once those initial, traditional treatments are history – surgery, chemotherapy, radiation – it’s time to cope and recover from side effects.

Some side effects are less well-known by lay people (or even other doctors, such as cardiac specialists) and may be less well-described by the care team.

One of these side effects is breast cancer–related lymphedema. A form of secondary lymphedema, it is a debilitating byproduct of breast cancer treatment (lymph node removal, either sentinel node biopsy or axillary, and radiation therapy).

Continue reading “Surviving breast cancer treatment: lymphedema”

Lymphedema bandaging screw up

lymphedema

This is what it looks like when you screw up your lymphedema bandaging.

Believe it or not, the left hand looks a lot better than it did at 9 am, when there was no knuckle definition at all.

The ARM looks great. But it’s because I sent lymph down to hand instead of up. I thought bandage across hand was tight enough but clearly it wasn’t.

And FINGERS look good. Just palm and wrist (outside).