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Topic: OMG i think i might have LE....

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: May 3, 2006 03:31PM

Paula wrote:

Hi ladies,
please tell me what i should be doing now...
I had SNB (3 nodes taken) last Sep. Had mast in October. I was told b/c of SNB my risk of LE is very low... but i was careful with blood being taken, blood pressure measurements etc...
BUT i did have acrilic nails done. OK, stupid, i know, but with short hair and all, i just want one part of me to look nice!! well, one nail got damaged in the process... she repaired it, but i am pretty sure there was SOME skin damage under the nail.

So, today, a few days later, i seem to have a swelling in the affected finger and along the top area of my hand. Does that sound like an LE to you?

I am currently taking a course of antibiotics (got them a couple of days ago for my upcoming dentist appointment), which is what i heard should be the first course of action anyway. But what else?? should i see if the swelling goes down, or run straight to my doc?? I have my surgeon appt end of May, can i wait?? which doc should i see??

sorry i am rambling, but i am slightly panicking, i have not expected to get this after SNB and i am VERY upset..
There is light at the end of the tunnel.. and it isn't a train!
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May 3, 2006 04:54PM rrs wrote:

Don't wait. It may not be LE and just some sort of infection but please - call you doctor and ask to be referred to a LE specialist. The sooner you catch it the better off you will be.

I think it is bad that the impression is out there that if you don't have lots of nodes removed you're not at risk. Anyone who has even radiation is at risk.

Until you can see someone - keep your arm propoped up on a pillow when you are in bed or watching TV. Don't take hot baths or showers and try not to overuse your hand.

And, p.s., you look just fine without having to have your nails done!
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May 3, 2006 06:57PM Paula wrote:

Thanks rrs!
yep, had snb, surgery, chemo, rads, the whole thing...
so i realise the risk is fairly high for me.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.. and it isn't a train!
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May 4, 2006 03:36PM NPat wrote:

Don't feel badly about the nails... we are all prone to poor judgement. I already had LE and helped my husband move a bookcase... developed truncal LE. There have been gals on the board that developed LE from a hangnail... sigh. Always have antibiotics handy and bactroban crean in the event you have some sort of interruption in skin integrity.
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May 6, 2006 08:08AM SheriH wrote:

I had acrylic nails the whole time I went through treatment.(surgery, chemo, rad) In fact, I am just now letting them grow out. My drs. said it was ok to have them. My nails bother me more now that they are off!

Sheri Dx 12/18/2004, IDC, 5cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 5/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 6, 2006 09:14AM SunshineSmiles wrote:


It may or may not be LE. I just got diagnosed with very mild (thankfully) LE, after lifting some boxes a few weeks ago. My hand puffed up, especially across my knuckles. It got very hard to make a fist and by weeks end it was obvious something had changed. The good news is, it got better with a compression sleeve and glove, and was noticeably better in the mornings. So now I know, I just put on my sleeve and glove when I know I'm going to be lifting things more than usual. The trick is to be mindful of it and educated on managing the swelling. Definitely have someone look at it, but sounds like maybe you'll be like me, a lucky "caught it early" gal. Good luck! Susan
"Never, never, never give up" - Sir Winston Churchill - - Age 43, orig dx 5/2005 Stage III; Dx 11/22/2007, ILC, Stage IV, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 7, 2006 02:43AM Paula wrote:

Thanks ladies,
but the swelling was completely gone the next day...I had a couple of mozzie bites that were itching, so perhaps that was it.
i will mention it to my surgeon when i see him in a couple of weeks.
Oh, the joys of BC!!! Before my dx, i wouldnt have given my hand another thought... now i worry about every little ache, pain or swelling... what a way to live!!
There is light at the end of the tunnel.. and it isn't a train!
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May 8, 2006 11:00AM Graycie wrote:

OK, I am starting to get a little panicky....I was out pulling weeds this morning and I think I over did it. I had gloves on but I noticed my left wrist and hand was a little swollen. I also had radiation and 23 lymph nodes removed on that side. I decided I better call it quits and went in the house since I thought maybe the hot sun had something to do with it. Now, a couple hours later the swelling seems to have gone down, I am just a little swollen on the wrist but the fingers look better. Does this sound like LE? My fingers always get a little swollen when I am out in the heat but since the one hand was alittle worse it makes me wonder. Did this ever happen to anyone else? Now I am afraid to do too much.

Live each day to the fullest Dx 8/30/2005, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, 1/21 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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May 8, 2006 11:02AM - edited May 6, 2008 11:10AM by jasmine

This Post was deleted by jasmine.
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May 8, 2006 03:23PM Binney4 wrote:

Hi, Graycie,

Do see if keeping your hand elevated helps reduce the wrist as well. Prop it on the back of the couch if you're watching TV, and tonight try sleeping with it elevated on an extra pillow. This should help.

Heat and overwork can definitely lead to LE swelling, and generally in the earliest stage it can be readily reduced by elevating it. Here's the thing: even if it's reduced, you'd really benefit from a visit to a well-qualified LE therapist, who can do some baseline measurements as well as give you some prevention tips. (Here's a web site for locating a qualified therapist near you: ). Especially since you're nervous now about doing anything, it would be a help to get all your questions answered. She might well suggest a compression sleeve and glove for those activities that are likely to stress your arm, and if so, you'll want to be sure whoever fits you for them is experienced in LE.

For sure don't panic, Graycie. There is help available, and once you know what to watch for and how to protect and treat yourself, you'll be a happy gardener again!

Keep us posted,
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May 8, 2006 06:03PM marywo wrote:

or be like me...whenever something needs to be done just respond "i'd like to help but lymphdema, you know"! geez i'm getting away with doing almost nothing!

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Jun 1, 2006 07:21AM sherry7 wrote:

Please make sure your nail tech knows about your BC, you can incur LE from having fake nails put on because they rough up the surface, therefore breaking the seal for fungus and infections. I have LE and my daughter is a nail tech and she say no to that arm for anything other than typical manicure. No cutting cuticles, etc. I understand your need to do something that feels normal....
Pedicures are nice! Take care, Sherry
let the miracles happen... Dx 9/17/2005, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+

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