Empowered Blogger

Empowered Blogger


Yesterday I received an email inviting me to become an Empowered Blogger! I had seen this logo on others blogs but did not know what it entailed. My hope is by being part of this the voice of Lymphedema will get louder! Empowered Blogger is part of the Empowered Doctor website

Below is the information from the Empowered Blogger program which explains all about the benefits of being part of this web site. Thanks so much for inviting me!

“What is the “Empowered Blogger program”?

The Empowered Blogger Program is a network of writers, bloggers, and advocates coming together to raise awareness and do all we can in the fight against cancer.

Bloggers from around the web (initally those from within our Top Cancer Blog program) are reviewed by our committee then selected for inclusion. These parties will receive their own subpage on EmpoweredDoctor.com, ex- EmpoweredDoctor.com/BillsBlog, where they will be able to post stories, updates, links, images, and anything else of interest. They will be given a username and password that will allow them to login to EmpoweredDoctor.com, as well as our new website Treatment of Cancer, whenever they wish to update their page. Membership to the Empowered Blogger program entitles each member to receive a widget or RSS feed to display on their personal blog, which will list all the contributions they’ve made to their dedicated page on Empowered Doctor. Lastly, each member will be provided with a personalized badge that identifies them as an Empowered Blogger!

What are the benefits of being an Empowered Blogger?

Reach a much larger, entirely new audience (EmpoweredDoctor.com averages 100,000 visitors per month)
Have your own personal, customized page on one of the web’s leading medical news websites
Personal username and password that allows you to login and update your page at your convenience
Recieve an RSS Feed to post on your personal blog which displays your latest contributions to your Empowered Blogger page
A custom logo identifying you as an Empowered Blogger
Author your own stories, for which you receive full editorial credit!
Have the possibility of your writing appear on Chicago Tribune, CBSNewYork, or AZCentral!
Weekly newsletter and continuous correspondence so all members can keep in touch on important events, news articles, and many other things.
..and most importantly, finally receive the credit you deserve for all the time and effort you put into your blogging!Quoted from the Empowered Blogger site..


Deep Lymphatic Drainage …. Update

imageI originally wrote about going for a session of Deep Lymphatic Drainage a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday I went for my third session and as promised I am now following up, as the therapy is a little different to usual MLD!!

Prior to seeing Shan at Shan Therapy I had been attending Macquarie Uni Hospital physiotherapy department for MLD and follow up post surgery care. The problem was there did not seem to be a protocol for this, as some doctors have overseas. Dr Massey likes all her patients to bandage and do MLD for three months after surgery… 24/7…. I found myself trying  this and trying that and I found that when I asked question I was given the “I don’t know” answer and the problems I was having with my knee after the surgery were also not being addressed. However my leg did reduce from the post surgical swelling using Ready Wraps and compression stockings and weekly MLD,  but then it just got to a plateau and my knee was worse than pre surgery, which was very scary.  It is not always good to be the first and to “blaze the trail”. I decided that I needed to find some help for myself. My body was feeling congested, I was struggling emotionally. I started to question why I would have had this surgery, being the first in Australia I had no one to relate to and felt quite alone. Thank goodness for the Internet and this blog which has allowed me to contact fellow patients overseas which has really helped. We call ourselves “the leg ladies.”


Visiting Shan for the third time I felt like I was returning to a safe haven, where someone would listen to me and help. At the start of each session we talk about what has happened as a result of the previous session, how is the leg,  how does the treatment need to be adjusted to make the most impact. I think that this is the difference in conventional MLD, as the therapy is always the same, at the hospital the work was all about the leg and not my whole body and we reached a stage where no more could be done. The lymphatics are all one network, each area affecting another, if they are not in balance you have no hope of helping the problem limb. Deep Lymphatic Therapy is MLD with extras!!!!

Once again I was laying on a bed of magnetised water and also around my head, Crystal Quartz were taped to all the main areas of lymph nodes. Shan said she would take a picture of me but not sure I am ready to share that picture on my blog!! Again Shan starts to work on the nodes and pathways using a Crystal Quartz wand, this feels warm, first the left arm is cleared then left leg, right leg and finally right arm. Each area is checked to see if it feels lighter when lifted and only then does Shan move on to the next limb. I am also given essential oils to inhale, these vary but we have used, Wild Lavender, Peppermint, Fennel, Fragonia and Ylang Ylang, dependent on what Shan feels is needed. The session lasts two hours and during it I have water to drink and before a detox tea of lemon, ginger, dandelion and honey. By the end I am ready to go to the loo!!!! I know some of you are reading this and going, “What is she doing, has she gone quite mad!” There are times that we don’t always understand why things work, but just have to except that it does and also that there are people who have the ability to heal. Some MLD therapist have been in touch with me and find it very difficult to acknowledge this therapy, but I say I have the results!! I now have two ankles the same size, the knee and thigh are reducing and look much better, my tummy and groin area have reduced, I notice this especially in the morning, I don’t feel congested anymore, I feel better mentally, I feel supported and best of all Shan has an answer for my knee!!! When you have surgery there is scar tissue, the muscle sheath or fascia can get puckered or gathered and this leads to the kneecap not tracking properly when you move it. Makes perfect sense as below my knee cap you can see a tight line, Shan is now working to release this and in time my knee should return to normal. All I can say is why could neither a doctor or physiotherapist recognise this or listen to my repeated, “There is something wrong with my knee when I walk!”  I also have exercises to improve the numbness in my lower leg and foot.

I  think that what is working is the holistic approach to my Lymphoedema in conjunction with the transplanted nodes, which are supported while they grow.  The use of different modalities including medical and alternative are all helping. I don’t believe that my Lymphoedema will ever be “cured” but I do believe it will be greatly improved and easier to manage…. A cure would be a wonderful bonus!! Thank you Shan for your help and if Rosemary were  alive I am sure she would be interested to see the progress.


Dr Corrine Becker talks about Lymph Node Transplants

In this video Dr Corrine Becker talks about Lymph Node Transplants. This is one in a series that she made for Talk About Health, an interactive site, where you can find out about the latest treatments for various health issues. Thanks to Talk About Health for creating these videos to increase our knowledge of Dr Becker’s work..


This is a link to connect and view the rest of the videos of Dr Corrine Becker created by Talk About Health.. In them she answers many of the questions that people have regarding this innovative surgery.. Please click on the link below.


In retrospect…. Living with Primary Lymphoedema… Reblog

I found this blog today , or should I say this lady found me, her blog is about her life living with Primary lymphoedema. Please give her your support as she had stopped writing for a while as she felt there was a lack of interest. Her account is open and honest and gives a true picture of the difficulties she encounters every day. Primary Lymphoedema is different to secondary as there is a weakness in the entire lymphatic system which causes a whole set of different
problems… Please follow and share to build awareness.. Thanks


In June of 2001, I met my best friend. She was small, practically pocket-sized, and kinda wrinkly. The first time I looked at her I was in love. She was already pretty spoiled when I met her; she’d had her own built-in swimming pool for months, music piped in daily with her very own soloist to accompany, and more sushi than she could eat.

At 8 months, something went wrong with her swimming area. The pool flooded so, with a little help, she was brought into the world one month early. Bright and beautiful. What we didn’t know then was that my lymphatic system had shut down.

In 2006, five years after my daughter was born, I found myself sitting in a salon in a barber’s chair talking to one of my then-clients, Brian Kuhn at Evolutions. I think hairdressers and bartenders must be kindred, it always seems so…

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Exercises to stimulate the Lymphatics .. Video

This is a set of exercises for the upper and lower body that can be done at home. The videos are put together by Heidi Roe for the Michigan State University rehabilitation unit. In the videos Heidi refers to a sheet of exercises with the repetitions which we do not have, but I would say five of each would be a good number. Just remember do not over do the exercises and keep the body cool as over heating creates more lymph, which in turn needs to be expelled. These exercises create an effect on the lymphatics by the movement of the muscles that squeeze the lymph vessels, this then pushes the lymph away from the extremities to the neck and abdomen, to then be released from the body. It is best to do the exercises wearing your compression garments as this helps to also move the lymph along the lymphatic vessels. Drink plenty of water to help expel toxins. Remember that the lymphatics do not have a heart to pump as the veins do and are reliant on movement to work.
Swimming, water aerobics and walking in a pool are also great exercises for Lymphoedema as the water acts as a natural compression, it is very liberating to get out of the compression garments for a while especially in hot weather. Going out for a good walk at anytime also gets the lymphatics pumping, just a short walk can make a difference. Make some form of exercise part of each day no matter how little or how much it will help. My favourite is to go for walks and in the summer to find a pool!!

Breast reconstruction and Lymph node transfer surgery..

In these two videos we see Dr Corrine Becker and Dr Marga Massey performing a breast reconstruction and Lymph Node Transfer… It is amazing to be able to see these two doctors working side by side. Dr Corrine Becker has been performing Lymph Node Transfers for 20 years but it is only in the last few years that more doctors have been following in her foot steps, many trained by her. It is very exciting to see such innovative steps in the treatment of Lymphedema which can cause many problems for Breast Cancer patients, also those treated for other forms of cancer, where lymph nodes have been removed.

The surgical procedure was filmed by WCBD-2 Charleston at Roper Street, Francis Healthcare.

The Daily Routine… Self massage videos

I get very bored with the daily routine, so I like to have a variety of videos that I can use so that I can mix it up a bit!!! Every video gives you a slightly different regime and method, or though the basics are the same. I often find it easier to follow a video while I work on myself so that I do not cheat and skip bits!! Some days I skip the MLD and do plenty of breathing and exercises to stimulate the lymphatics, other days I use MLD either in the morning or evening. However as we all know it takes time and effort to do all this, but if we do not our limbs get worse! If we can make it interesting it helps…

I found the following videos from Michigan State University Rehabilitation, the therapist is Heidi Roe. I like them as they give clear instructions as to how you should use your hands while doing the MLD, it is a cupping motion. I also like the knee work she demonstrates as my main swelling is in the middle of the leg. I hope you find them useful too.

Video of upper body self massage for Lymphedema by Heidi Roe

Video of lower body self massage for Lymphedema by Heidi Roe
This one helped me as it shows massaging around the knee area.

Video of self massage for lower leg and ankle by Heidi Roe
This is a great video as many people experience their worst swelling in the lower leg and ankle so this is really helpful.

My Positive Mojo is Back!

I thought that I would reblog this to remind myself of how far I have come and for those of you who are new to my blog… this is where it all started!! Hospital was not the best for me, due to an infection but now I am building fitness and hoping those little nodes will grow and create new pathways. I am now 3 months since surgery and wear a compression stocking each day and Ready Wrap sometimes.. lower leg looks good and knee and lower thigh gradually improving.. At six months I will have an MRI and Lymphescitagraph to check progress. I also have regular MLD and Deep Lymphatic Drainage… It is slow progress but in the right direction!!!

My Lymph Node Transplant

I suggest that those of you who get a little queazy with medical details should maybe not read this post, as I will give details of surgery!

Firstly I am still in hospital and only allowed to the bathroom keeping my leg straight, otherwise sitting with leg up or on the bed. At the moment I am only allowed to bend leg to 30 degrees, let me tell you getting in and out of bed is a real trick!!! Cellulitis appears to have made its last stand by coming up around the knee incision, so some very strong IV antibiotics. I am tired but in no pain, as areas appear numb, but as of yesterday my sense of humor returned and I think my “positive mojo” is back! In the last couple of days I had truly thought myself a lunatic to go through with this!

I have said before…

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I am really looking forward to hearing how Lisa goes with the laser. When I was being treated at Mt Wilga they used laser on the fibrous areas and scar tissue and I am sure it helped. It seemed to help soften the fibrous areas allowing bandaging to work better. Good luck and I am sure you will have good results… Thanks I have reblogged this as an area of interest in treating Lymphoedema.. Thanks Lisa

Lisa Higgins - massage across the table

I usually write my posts on Monday afternoons but this week I’m going to spend my time investigating my new laser – it was delivered at lunch time today and I’ve been itching to get it out.  Here’s a photo …

Here’s a link to RianCorp’s page which talks about lymphoedema and clinical trials run on this laser and it’s effectiveness in reducing symptoms of lymphoedema … http://www.riancorp.com/Riancorp/lymphoedema.html

I have to thank one of my favourite clients for making this possible, she very kindly gave me a significant donation towards the purchase cost and I feel very honoured that she felt me worthy.  I wrote a post about her some time back, read it here http://ozhiggins.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/inspiring/.   And I also need to thank another of my favourites for talking through the pros and cons of the laser over the L-dex and for her time and effort trying to organise a…

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