Thursday, 8 March 2018

Lymphoedema Awareness Week 2018 Day 5 ~ Pauline

"I hate the fact that I'll probably have to wear a sleeve forever...."


About two weeks after my mastectomy I went to see the surgeon. She looked at my arm and said "That's swollen". I was sent for a scan on my arm to check for blood clots. Nothing was found and so it was lymphoedema.

I had to wait a few weeks for an appointment with my local Lymphoedema Clinic where my arm was measured. It was about 12% bigger than my other arm. I was put on this machine with this massive sleeve that massages your arm. It did seem to help a bit. I was also given this enormous padded sleeve to wear. I could hardly get my coat over it.

I went back every few weeks for the same treatment. Then had the news that this particular Lymphoedema Clinic was being taken over as the contract had ended, so I had to go elsewhere. The only problem is they don't believe in using this massage machine. So basically I had a nice, proper sleeve tailor made for me. I wear it everyday and do some exercises but the swelling isn't reducing any.

Whenever I go to be measured, it's either about the same or slightly worse. I'm annoyed there isn't more they can do for my lymphoedema. Luckily, I'm not in much pain with it. My arm does ache and I hate wearing the sleeve in the summer, especially as with my hot sweats it makes matters worse. I want to go abroad but worry about my arm. You have to be so careful not to get injuries in case you develop cellulitus. And, I hate the fact that I'll probably have to wear a sleeve forever as I've been told it probably won't go.

I'm only being seen now twice a year, but if it's only to be measured, I suppose that's sufficient.

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