So, all our bodies have a lymphatic system, draining all ‘the nasties’ out:
5/32 of my lymph nodes, however, were already infected with cancer at my mastectomy, so they removed all of the ones on my left side (leaving no lymphatic system on that side). This left me at a 25-30% risk of developing lymphoedema (various people seem to spell this different ways). For the last few weeks I have felt pain in the back of my hand, and last week I noticed that my hand looked swollen.
I rang the hospital last Friday, and by Monday they had me in (to their new home in The Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe) to see Mr D, who confirmed that yes, that is lymphedema (mild, and only in my hand) – and good to have caught it early.
I have an appointment with the lymphedema clinic on 28th, but on using the advice that a friend sent me from the clinic (and another demonstrated), the swelling is already reducing. I’m going, obviously, as once you have it, needs to be controlled, but pleased that it seems to be responding to my (feels like rather vague attempts) at massage:
Likely to need controlling with massage, compression garments (LympheDivas has some more fun ones), keeping up with the exercise that I’m trying to do (any company out in the fresh air swimming or (slow!) walking appreciated) and seeing what other advice I’m given to treat/manage it, so it can impinge on my life as little as possible (on top of all the other physical/mental side effects/ongoing treatment I’m trying to manage!).
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.