Mar 24, 2007 07:12 PM Binney4 wrote:Ooof! Nasty surprise, maryanne! I'm so sorry. It's unfortunately not uncommon to develop LE even several years after treatment. If I were you I would definitely check with the onc, if only because a therapist is no doubt going to ask you to clear it with him first.
Actually, Maryanne, because of the redness and warmth you mention, it really makes sense to go to Critical Care (do you have those in Canada? It's not an ER but they see you even on weekends, etc.) TODAY. Like, now. The reason is that in the presence of LE, a cellulitis infection can either be acute or it can "smoulder" for a few days or even weeks and then break out into a very volatile and difficult infection. You want somebody to look at it with the possibility of infection in mind and decide if it needs immediate antibiotic treatment.
The cording, by the way, is now (after the results of some recent research) considered by some to be a form of LE, and it seems to be predictive of later swelling, as you have sadly discovered.
As for what to do until you can see a therapist, there are a few things that help (besides seeing about Critical Care right away, that is). One is to keep your arm elevated as much as possible, whenever you're sitting watching TV, on pillows at night, whatever. Avoid heat, including long soaky showers or baths and even dishwater ( heh-heh!). Keep your skin well moisturized to avoid tiny cracks, and avoid nicks, cuts, scrapes, burns, and hangnails. A skin-tight, long-sleeved biker's sport shirt in a size smaller than you normally wear can help control swelling temporarily. And of course don't over-use the arm.
Okay, I sound like an alarmist, but as any number of women here can tell you (and probably will) it's a whole lot better to check it out and find it's nothing, than to wish you had.
The GOOD news is that LE can be dealt with and controlled, and with a well-trained therapist you'll soon have all the skills you need to keep it that way.
PLEASE keep us posted--you'll be in my thoughts!