Just sharing with you this comment that was posted on my blog… Comments can get a bit lost especially if they are on an older item, however I felt this was important to share.. This is a lady’s experience of surgery after Breast Cancer to help her Lymphedema… Thank you for sharing this with us…. An Experience of Lymph node transfer and Lymphatic Bypass for Lymphedema of the arm.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer (left) in Nov. 2008. Soon, a lumpectomy followed (sentinels: 2pos./2neg), so 3 weeks later a pre-cautionary auxiliary dissection surgery was performed. Ever since mid-January 2009, I have been suffering from severe lymphedema (stage3) on my left arm. Chemo followed, radiation (May-July) didn’t make it better either. I tried everything “Under the Sun”, all types of treatment, but none of these could provide me with any satisfying relief, except “Jovi” sleeve. This was the only garment I could apply and it would at least keep the arm from harding out and advanced fibrosis. Day-use compressions made it way worse, especially around the lower arm and back of the hand (“Popeye”-effect). Every night, the heavily padded JOVI sleeve returned some or most of the fluids, but even after 5 years of religious use, it became clear the progress of the decease will creep up year after year. Its only a matter of time that a tiny injury might cause blood poisoning. BTW, my insurance declined “Flexi Pump” as too experimental, which hit me very hard! I totally agree with Christine’s and your report what an enormous and constant emotional drain this condition is (FYI, the insurance accepted to carry the Reconstruction Surgery!).
Already in January 2009, I found and signed up for the Lymphatic Research Foundation (recently changed it’s name: http://lymphaticnetwork.org), which is an online forum and newsletter. Last June, the LRF held an online symposium containing extremely informative and encouraging videos about new surgeries Dr. Chang has been developing and was performing in Houston/TX.
As I’m writing this comment here in a Chicago hotel room, I’m literally just recovering from my Lymph Node Transplant and Lymphatic Bypass surgery he performed last Friday (12/13) after noon. After a 6 1/5 hrs surgery, I spent 3 days as an inpatient. Since I’ve flown in from Seattle for Dr. Chang’s surgery, my husband and I “relocated” to a hotel last afternoon (never mind, drains still attached). What I’m trying to say is, being from out-of-town is fairly easy to handle here.
I’m feeling and doing very well, every now and then, tears of relief and joy float up, but I certainly will happily wear my scars from any part of this life- and mind-altering and reconstructive, surgery. I feel I am a warrior who will wear this neck scar like a diamond necklace!
So, please anyone, keep building on this blog’s very helpful information. BTW, although most patients impacted by lymphedema are woman, it’s not gender specific: men can get it too, i.e. while receiving Prostate Cancer treatment.
Tomorrow, I might be able to report about my first post-op visit.
Thank you for allowing me to create a post out of this and I look forward to further updates as you rest and heal… Helen