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Lymphatic fluid

Meems
Posts: 15
Joined: Nov 2004

I had a large swelling in area under my arm but on my side and half way across chest area. The doctor said it lymphatic fuild and drained 160cc out of it today. Said sometimes this happens afer surgery, mine was 2 months ago. He said eventually it will stop doing that and that there was nothing I could do to prevent it or fix it on my own. Anybody else have this problem?

Meems

SusanAnne
Posts: 245
Joined: May 2003

Wow Meems, you must feel so much better after getting all that fluid drained! I kept building up fluid after my drains were removed for probably a month after my mastectomy but I would have my surgeon aspirate the 40 cc's or so each week. Did you notice what color the fluid was? Once mine turned yellow that's when it stopped. If yours continues, have it drained more often instead of waiting. Good luck.
Susan

DoubleKnot
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 2004

Hello Meems,

I just read your post about your Lymphedema in your arm. First and what is very important, DON'T let anyone take your blood pressure on that arm and absolutely no needles in that arm. I was told to protect my arm no matter what to prevent the Lymphedema. I have done what I was told, and Thank God, I occasionally have a small amount of lymphatic fluid collection in the armpit, but that is all. No arm swelling. YES, you can do something to prevent it and to ease the discomfort. I was told to keep that arm elevated when I sit and watch TV & when I go to bed, I make sure that arm is lying upon a pillow,higher than my heart. What I am talking about are the exercises/massages. I found the exercises detailed on a site while I was searching for info. There are 12 steps/instructions to it and it is one page long. I would be more than glad to send the info. to you in an e-mail. I don't know how large of a "message" can be typed in this reply. Do you know about the "Walk the Wall" exercise? You just take your fingers on the side where you had the surgery, and slowly walk your fingers up the walk as if you were doing the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" up the wall. Go slowly and not too high, not to where it hurts you. If you feel any discomfort, don't go any higher. Then "walk" your fingers back down the wall. Repeat this same routine approx.8-10 times "walking the wall up and then down." In these instructions, it also tells exactly how to do the massage to make the lymphatic fluid flow the way that it should normally. As I said, I would be more than glad to type the instructions in an e-mail to you.

I am new to this site, so I don't know how long of a message they allow. If I knew that they would allow the whole Exercise Routine to prevent the Lymphedema, I would type it in the box so that everyone could have access to it. Before I had my breast cancer surgery, I did a lot of searching for info. on the internet and then also asked the doctors if that info. was correct. Yes, they approved it, including the Radiologist. I will check for a message from you and if you want me to e-mail the info., please provide me the address to send the info. to & it will be done immediately. We all have to help each other as much as possible. You can make a copy of the info. that I send to you and check with YOUR doctor to see if he agrees with it. All of my doctors DID AGREE with the exercise methods.

Sincerely,
DoubleKnot

DoubleKnot
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 2004

Exercises and Massages to Prevent Lymphedema

Here are the Self Massage Instructions:
1. Place your fingers in the space behind your collarbone, outside where a necklace would fall. GENTLY stretch the skin forward toward the collarbone, in an arc, then release. Repeat 10 times each side. (I use one hand and lay my fingers lightly on the area and do it all at once instead of one side then the other.)
2. Raise (affected) arm. Place other hand so the palm is on the hairiest portion of armpit. (If you don't shave that is!) GENTLY stretch the skin upward in an arc toward the collarbone 10 times.
3. Place your hand flat on the skin above the breast (surgical side) area. GENTLY stretch the skin in an arc toward the unaffected armpit, and release. DO NOT slide on the skin. Repeat 5 times. Move hand slightly and stretch skin toward the neck, repeat 5 times.
4. Take 5 slow deep breaths, pulling your stomach muscles in slowly on each exhale. (breath in; belly goes out. Breath out; belly goes in) Breathing deeply actually helps to facilitate lymph drainage!

5. Place unafffected hand on the top of your other shoulder muscle. GENTLY stretch the skin in an arc toward the unaffected side (collarbone again).
6. Place your hand on the outside of affected arm above the elbow. GENTLY stretch the skin in an arc toward the top of the shoulder, repeat 10 times.
7. Place your hand inside of the arm, just above the elbow. GENTLY push the skin in an arc to the outside and up to the shoulder. Repeat 10 times.
8. Place your hand on the outside of the elbow. Without sliding, GENTLY stretch the skin in an arc toward the shoulder. Repeat 10 times.
9. Place your hand on the forearm. Using the same stretching arc technique, work up from the wrist to the elbow on the front of forearm. Do 10 times then repeat same instruction for the back of forearm.
10. Using the same stretching technique work the hand. Use palm and start at base of fingers and work up the hand to the wrist. Repeat 10 times.
11. Do each finger using the thumb and forefinger of your other hand and start at the top of each finger and stretch skin toward the hand. Repeat 10 times.
12. Repeat the arm/hand massages briefly.

FYI: Only LIGHT gentle touch is needed! Also, don't use your fingers, only your palm for the massages. Also, because lymph fluid drains upward, NEVER put lotion on your arm in a downward manner; ALWAYS go from wrist to shoulder.
Picking up heavy objects can really set off lymphedema as well. Some are told 5 pounds max. using your affected arm.

Suggestion: When using the compression sleeve, wrap your hand properly while wearing a sleeve so the fluid doesn't just sit in your hand.

(These are the Exercises/Massages that I found in my internet search and when I made copies of it and showed them to my doctors, the approved/agreed with it. I hope that it helps some of you. Good luck. Take care.

Healthy New Year!
DoubleKnot

melperkins
Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2004

After having both my breast removed in July 2003, I had fluid build up in both area. That was fluid that filling into empty tissue spaces there that hadn't filled in yet.It had to be drained off several times in the first few moths after that horrible surgery. I now have developed lymphedema in my chest and armpit and out into my left arm and hand. I haven't been able to wear my wedding rings since my surgery. They removed six lymph nodes on that side as I had cancer in three of them, sadly to say. I don't have pain in those areas in the morning though it is always numb. My pain, which is worse in the late afternoon and night has been a huge problem. Does anyone else have BIG TIME PAIN from their lymphedema at times? I have and use the compression sleeves on both my arms and hands with only so much help. I also have the Sequential compression machine which I can use if my swelling gets to bad but only on low pressure levels. Higher settings can cause more pain than it helps. I would like to hear from others if they have painful lymphedema besides the numness.

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