Lymph node transfer is a viable treatment for severe lymphedema

breast anatomy

“Cancer was a piece of cake,” Virginia Harrod says. “It was the lymphedema that almost killed me.”

NPR reports that nine months after Harrod’s mastectomy, her cat scratched her hand. She wasn’t concerned at first, but her doctor “recognized her symptoms as a serious and advancing infection.”

Harrod was in the hospital for eight days, and that’s when she first learned she had lymphedema. Over the next 10 months, she was readmitted twice more with dangerous infections.

Lymphedema (secondary/acquired) is a common complication of breast cancer treatment, but it gets short shrift from doctors when patients are assessing treatment risks. My experience confirms this research finding.

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Where do I go from here?

proton therapy plates

The past 4.5 months have both zoomed by like a Ducati on the racetrack and crawled like I-5 at 5 pm when there’s a week night Mariners or Seahawks game.

This exercise – write a post a day for a month – has grounded me in the reality that is breast cancer in ways I did not imagine when I got a wild hair and decided to do this. It’s been challenging in the time commitment, in the search for a nugget to jumpstart 700-1000+ words each evening, in the discipline needed to write when I didn’t feel like writing.

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