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Sub-clinical lymphedema?

Amybb
Amybb Member Posts: 9
edited August 2022 in Lymphedema

I had a Sentinel node biopsy, radiation along with a lumpectomy on the right side three years ago. I am right handed. After treatment I completed the Livestrong program. My upper body has never been the strongest, but I had my pre-surgery strength on my right side. I actually went back packing in Croatia 3 weeks after surgery with a lighter than usual backpack (pre-radiation). I had no issues during that trip.

Thee years later my whole arm is weaker, my arm feels heavy, my hand feels numb at times and my the area of my pectoral lymph nodes is numb. When doing CPR I have to use my left arm and my right arm shakes when doing dumbbell weights. The nurse practitioner I am seeing has diagnosed me with possible sub-clinical lymphedema. I am wearing a sleeve. I have slightly more fluid in my right arm. I realize it could be a orthopedic issue. I have had those in the past. What’s different about this is I never have sharp pain just numbness and weakness. I guess my question is, if anyone has had sub-clinical lymphedema, are your symptoms similar.

Comments

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
    edited August 2022

    Amybb I am guessing I had this condition as well. Because I did not have baseline measurements presurgery cannot really say. I know my left arm (cancer side) was always a little smaller because of how rings fit. When I first went in for a lymphedema check I was experiencing pain - much worse at night and weakness in grip in that arm. At that time, my left arm measurements were equal to my right but given the pain symptoms I was directed to begin using sleeves. I also continued lymphatic massage with a therapist. A year and a half later my condition advanced to the point where I had measurable truncal and arm changes, although not large changes. Enough to earn me a flexitouch pump to work on the issue.

    The numbness you describe could be the swelling pushing on nerves creating a carpal tunnel like secondary issue, I don't know. I do get occasional numbness.

  • Amybb
    Amybb Member Posts: 9
    edited August 2022

    Rah2464 thank you for the reply. Your symptoms sound similar. I did not have pre-treatment measurements either. I wish I had. The breast health center I go to now has a machine that tests the fluid in both arms and compares (I think that’s what it does). I am actually an OT and am a certified lymphedema therapist. I went for an intense 7 day course after treatment. Unfortunately, since I work in mental health I have never used it in practice. Based on what your saying I may start self massage, and if they offer me OT I will take it. The course I went to was very textbook. They really didn’t tell us what to do with someone whose subclinical. The massage took about an hour to complete. I am not sure if therapists have that long in the real world.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
    edited August 2022

    Amybb by all means with your training I would try self massage including clearing the groin just to really move the lymph in your system. I continue to go to a lymphatic massage therapist once a month. Between that, wearing compression garments as needed both arm hand and sometimes compression bra and self massage I have been keeping things steady. My lymphatic massage lasts an hour when I go.

  • Amybb
    Amybb Member Posts: 9
    edited August 2022

    Rah 2465 time to get out my textbooks! I definitely need to start using my skills.