Friday, 9 March 2018

Lymphoedema Awareness Week 2018 Day 6 ~ Serena

I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer in March 2015. I had a lumpectomy at the end March/Early April but did not have clear margins so had a second operation to go back in and take a little more. I had sentinel nodes removed but no others. I had a course of chemo Fec(T) followed by 3 weeks of radio.
I went back to work full time towards the end of my radiotherapy. My arm and shoulder on my surgery side had always ached and I had to have physio on my shoulder as it was so tight, so I did not really think much of it at the time. However my breast started to swell every morning. It's really heavy and significantly larger than my left breast, it also really became really itchy.

I went to a follow-up up appointment where the consultant noticed the swelling too and I was then referred to a clinic where it was then confirmed that I had developed lymphoedema in my breast, and under my breast in my trunk sometimes, affecting my ribs under my breast. We tried kinesio taping however I reacted badly to the tape.
The nurses helped me to manually drain the fluid using massage and showed me how to do this myself. However I have found this to be very time consuming, especially in the morning when it affects me the most. I am not great in the mornings and take ages to come to by which time I am rushing off to work.
I have yet to find a bra which does not make it worse as every little seam leaves massive indentations in my breast. I know we are not supposed to wear underwired bras so I have ones without wires but have not found one without any seams as all my fluid collects at the bottom of the breast so even just the band irritates mine.
I find it very frustrating having lymphoedema but I do consider myself lucky compared to other people who are affected in their arms and hand.

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