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Topic: How long does redness and pain last?

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

Posted on: May 10, 2006 04:44AM

alexa61 wrote:

I have suspected that i have had a mild degree of lymphedema for about a year now. My arm measurements have not put me into the lymphedema category but I have noticed that my clothes and jewlery make deeper marks in my skin on the affected arm. Anyway, recently I moved alot of heavy furniture and have resumed the elyptical trainer (a double whammy). Also had a mole removed on the affected arm and did not take abx right away. Anyway, I now have redness, sl increased swelling and achiness under my L arm. I have started to see an OT who hopefully will be able to reverse the situation. My question is, if she can decrease the swelling, does one always have redness and pain once new onset lymphedema has occurred? I am very upset because I really don't know what to expect. It seems to be not so bad in the morning and as the day progresses it gets worse. I would appreciate hearing about other people's experiences. Has anyone been able to get thier lymphedema to go away and stay away? Thanks.

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May 10, 2006 08:06AM rexi wrote:

Just started having swelling after 10 years as a survivor. Went to lymphedema therapist yesterday who explained a lot, but strictly warned me: IF YOU DEVELOP UNUSUAL REDNESS, PAIN OR SWELLING, CALL YOUR DOCTOR OR GET TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM A.S.A.P. IT MAY INDICATE AN INFECTION IN THE LYMPH SYSTEM.

I have been warned since my first operation to watch for infections on my affected side. I understood the possibility of this resulting from cuts, scratches, gardening, etc. I DID NOT know it can occur from heaving lifting, overexertion, etc., with no breaks in the skin.

Sooo...CALL YOUR DOCTOR NOW! IF S/HE ALREADY KNOWS ABOUT YOUR CONDITION, REPORT YOUR ONGOING REDNESS AND PAIN, AS WELL AS YOUR ACTIVITIES AND MOLE REMOVAL. DON'T WAIT UNTIL YOUR NEXT O.T. APPOINTMENT TO FIND OUT MORE!

Keep us posted.
-rexi
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May 10, 2006 08:42AM Binney4 wrote:

Heartily agreed! Get medical help at once!

On the OT, since there are no legally binding standards for lymphedema (LE) therapists yet, you need to make sure anyone you see for LE treatment is well-qualified. That means at least 135 hours of specifically LE training beyond the OT or PT certification and at least 1 year of supervised LE experience. You have to ask about these things, because anyone with as little as a week's training can currently set themselves up as a LE therapist -- NOT GOOD! You can see the National Lymphedema Network's Postition Paper on Therapist Training (and get lots of other information as well) at:
www.lymphnet.org

The "lymphedema category" is strictly an insurance company term: you clearly are already suffering from LE and definitely want to see a well-trained LE therapist for therapy AFTER YOU GET ANY POSSIBLE INFECTION UNDER CONTROL. If you can't get a hold of your doctor right away today, do go to an Urgent Care of ER right away. These infections require immediate treatment.

BUT...to answer your original question about redness and pain, therapy with a well-qualified LE therapist and continuing self-care -- including massage, use of compression bandages or garments, meticulous skin care, and LE-specific exercises -- will reduce and contain the swelling, help prevent serious infection, protect your tissues from further damage, and eliminate the pain.

Please get help and do come back and let us know how you're doing.

Hugs and prayers,
Binney
P.S. -- Hi, rexi, and welcome. Hope therapy goes real well for you -- let us know!
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May 14, 2006 10:05AM RobinTN wrote:

Binney I am amazed at your knowledge in this area.Have you had a lot of problems with lymphodema?Mine seems to be just starting.I didnt know that lifting and over exertion can make it worse.Thanks for your help.

Robin....."I wont back down".... Dx 11/3/2004, IBC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 1/9 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 19, 2006 01:53PM Graycie wrote:

I have had pain in my arm the last couple of days but no swelling or redness so what do you think? Could that be lymphodema? I am guessing I just overexerted myself.
Graycie
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 19, 2006 04:38PM sherry7 wrote:

This is such a tricky thing, I got a mosquito bite earlier and freaked, bit me on the finger of LE side....buggers.
I would like to know how you know when you need to wear garments at night and what kinds to get. How do you know when to get a reid sleeve for instance? I appreciate you all. Gracie, keep an eye on that arm, my arm hurt before visable swelling occured. I waited two weeks wondering what it was til doc told me. take care
let the miracles happen... Dx 9/17/2005, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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May 20, 2006 02:47AM Graycie wrote:

Thanks Sherry. It feels better this morning but I know as the day progresses it will start to ache again. It is always worse at night until I go to bed and then it doesn't bother me while I am sleeping or in the morning.....The more I do the worse it gets and it is really hard to keep me down. I am pretty active. I want my old life back....I guess that will never happen...
Graycie
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 20, 2006 07:49AM Binney4 wrote:

Hi, Sherry and Gracie,
The pain from lymphedema (LE) is usually achy, heavy, a bruised feeling, sometimes a burning or tingly sensation. LE can be present in your arm before any swelling begins, so you're wise to at least be thinking about the possibility. If what you're experiencing is just a normal reaction to over-exertion, then you're much better off giving it a few days' rest. Our lymph system reacts to pain anywhere in our body by sending extra lymph fluid to the site (it's to help ward off infection and carry away waste from fighting infection). If it's not LE and you continue to aggravate it, your already-compromised lymph system can become overloaded and -- oh, swell! Why not try giving it a few days. If the pain continues or any visible swelling occurs, then you'll want to call your onc for a consult and a LE evaluation from a well-qualified LE therapist. Keep us posted!

Sherry, I'm sorry but I get confused: do you have a LE therapist? She should be able to help you order a night sleeve if you need one. If you're not having to wrap at night, then I don't see why you'd need one at all. If you need one, there are several companies that make them: The Reid Sleeve People, Jovi-Pac, Solaris-Tribute, to name the ones I'm familiar with. Have you done a LE therapy intensive yet? If not, don't put it off, as this stuff progresses by stages (like bc does) and it's best managed when you start therapy early.

Be well, both of you!
Binney
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May 20, 2006 07:56AM Anonymous wrote:

Thanks for the description Binney. I don't have LE...yet and hope it doesn't develop. When I did rads, I took part in a clinical trial study that did my breast and underarm and one of the possible side effects of that (as well as the axillary dissection) is LE. I chose to do the study and take the rads which might really be helpful to me in the long run and take my chances with the LE. As my 18 year old said when his father questioned why I'd do that, "hmmm dad, her extended life or her arm???"...anyway, I'm still being followed by the nurse who is responsible for the study and all is well. Now that I've read your description in response to another Sherry's post, I'll know what to be on the lookout for. Sometimes it aches when I've done too much and then I just "stop". One thing I have learned from bc tx is patience and I never had much of that before.

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May 21, 2006 04:28AM Graycie wrote:

Thanks everyone for your advice,I have no patience either but I have to say the last couple of days have been better. I must have just over used my arm. I am being careful now. I wanted to start using my hand weights but I guess I better forget about that until I see my ONC next week for my follow-up appt.
Today is my Birthday so I am trying to be good and not overdo it so I can enjoy my day. Graycie
Live each day to the fullest Dx 8/30/2005, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, 1/21 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-

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